French and Riviera News Thursday 7th January 2021

News

Jacqueline Veyrac trial - French millionaire hotel owner Jacqueline Veyrac is to testify in court today, as part of the trial of 13 people accused of involvement in her kidnapping. The 80-year-old owner of the five-star Grand Hotel in Cannes was bundled into a van outside her home in Nice in October 2016. She was found tied up in the vehicle two days later. The suspects include an Italian restauranteur, a British former soldier and a private detective. The proceedings are expected to continue until the 29th January.

Nice Attack - A court-appointed expert has published a report concluding that the deadly attack of July 14th, 2016 on the Promenade des Anglais “could not have been avoided”. The investigating magistrates appointed a judicial expert to answer the question which continues to haunt the families of the 86 victims of the attack, who believe that the security system of anti-intrusion devices was not in place and could have prevented the attack. However, after having reconstructed the conditions of the attack, the report published on Wednesday shows that no devices, available at the time to the city of Nice, could have stopped the truck. Meanwhile investigations are continuing as to the possible indirect responsibilities of authorities on the night of the attack.

Covid-19 - The French government has confirmed that ski lifts will not reopen as planned today with no new date being fixed before next week’s Defense Council meeting. The French Prime Minister is to give an update on the health situation in France this evening at 6pm. Meanwhile the President of the Scientific Council has said that while “France is currently handling the situation” new measures are expected to be announced by mid next week to stop an “explosion” in the number of cases of Covid as seen in the UK and he “does not rule out the possibility of a third national lockdown”.

Vaccination in Nice - Meanwhile the city of Nice has announced the opening of three vaccination centers for priority cases, such as those at with an underlying health condition and healthcare professionals from Monday 11th January. The city of Nice plans to be able to carry out up to 50,000 vaccinations per week in several centers. The Mayor Christian Estrosi will present his vaccination plan, this morning at 11am.

Monaco - In Monaco 31 new cases of Covid were identified on Wednesday bringing the total number of residents affected by the virus to 978. Twenty-three people are hospitalized and 128 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre. During a press conference this week Monaco’s Minister of State Pierre Dartout, outlined the government's vaccination campaign saying that “vaccinations will continue at an accelerated pace, with over 65s and health personnel being called upon as a priority”. Vaccinations for the general public are being administered at the Espace Léo Ferré.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemns intrusion of Capitol building in Washington - French President Emmanuel Macron has called for people “not to give in to the violence of the few against democracy” following the violent intrusion of pro-Trump protesters in the Capitol building in Washington. Macron added that “what happened in Washington was not American”. The President's solemn address was given from the Elysee Palace and broadcast on social networks around 3 am this morning.

CSA notifies RMC - France’s “Superior Audiovisual Council” has issued a “notice” to RMC for a programme with Professor Christian Perronne. The media control authority points to the lack of respect for the radio's obligations in terms of processing information. The CSA said the group had lacked "rigor", "of balance" during the programme which was broadcast at the end of August and in which the Professor made controversial comments on the Covid-19 pandemic, Lyme disease and malaria. Dismissed from his post as head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital in December, Professor Perronne is the subject of a complaint from the Order of Physicians. He lost his job after other controversial comments about hydroxychloroquine and for claiming that Covid-19 patients represented a “financial blessing for doctors”. Christian Perronne also supported a theory on Lyme disease, arguing that it was "created in a laboratory [by the US military] by a former Nazi".

British motorist drives wrong way down motorway in France - French police have stopped a British motorist for driving the wrong way down a motorway on New Year's Eve after being turned away from the Spanish border. The British motorist was refused entry to Spain because he did not have a valid Covid test, so he had decided to drive back to the UK. The motorway was empty due to the curfew, so it is possible he did not see any other vehicles and became confused about which side of the road to drive on. The incident took place on the A75 motorway. According to French media the police pulled him over after he drove around 6 miles. He told officers that he just wanted to go home after being refused entry in Spain because he did not have a valid coronavirus test. The French police escorted the man to the correct side of the motorway and, after giving him a £122 fine for driving the wrong way down the motorway and violating curfew hours, allowed him to continue on his way.

Business

The head of a major United States business group which represents more than 14,000 firms including Exxon Mobil, Pfizer and Toyota has called for President Trump to be immediately removed from office following Wednesday’s violence in Washington DC during which demonstrators stormed the Capitol Building. Jay Timmons, the chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers says that Trump “incited violence in an attempt to retain power and that any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the constitution and rejecting democracy in favour of anarchy”. Mr Timmons went on to say that Vice President Mike Pence should work with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment to preserve democracy. The chaotic scenes in Washington unfolded after Trump addressed thousands of supporters near the White House on Wednesday during which he repeated unfounded claims that the US Presidential election had been stolen from him due to widespread fraud and irregularities. Several Democratic lawmakers in Congress have also urged Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump from power.

Many leading US business figures have condemned Wednesday’s violence and have called on Trump to move aside and to issue a statement condemning the actions of his supporters. Donald Trump has been blocked by Twitter and Facebook for at least 24 hours after using the social media platforms to send messages of support to his followers. Trump tweeted “I love you” to his supporters before calling on them to go home. He also repeated false claims about election fraud. Twitter said that it would require the removal of three of Trump’s tweets which it said had “violated its Civic integrity policy”. It added that the President’s account would remain “locked for good” unless the tweets were removed. Facebook has removed a video posted by Trump and has suspended his account for 24 hours after judging that it added to the risk of ongoing violence. YouTube has also removed the video because it said that it “violated policies on spreading election fraud”.

Amazon has pledged billions of dollars to support affordable housing in the United States. The e-commerce giant says that it’s started a fund of more than 2 billion dollars aimed at creating or preserving 20,000 homes across three regions of America. The money will be used primarily to support low-cost loans for moderate income families. House prices in the United States have been climbing by around 6 percent annually since 2012 despite muted wage growth for most workers. Rental rates have also been climbing resulting in a shortage of affordable units.

Sport

Football - Manchester City are through to the final of the English League Cup after beating Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford. City’s goals came from Stones on 50 minutes and Fernandinho on 80 minutes. They’ll play Spurs in the final.

Cricket - It’s day 1 of the third Test between Australia and India in Sydney with the series at 1-1. Australia won the toss and elected to bat. They’d reached 55-1 midway through the afternoon session.

England have been able to train in Sri Lanka following a round of coronavirus tests. The squad started restricted training and will undergo more tests today. On Monday Moeen Ali tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating. The first Test is due to start on January the 14th as the Sri Lanka squad flies home from South Africa with the tail between their legs after being hammered in the two match Test series.

Rugby Union - The big East Midlands derby between Northampton and Leicester has been called off because of coronavirus. A number of Northampton players have tested positive for Covid-19 and several others are self-isolating. The game, which was due to be played on Saturday will not be rescheduled and points will be awarded by a Premiership panel. 

Weather

Becoming quite cloudy with light variable or easterly winds. Top temperature 10 degrees. Overnight lows of 4 degrees on the coast and 1 degree inland with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Clear skies tomorrow with a high of 10. Cloudy on Saturday with a high of 8 degrees.

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