French and Riviera News Thursday 9th July 2020

White march to support family of bus driver left brain dead after attack - 6,000 people have participated in a white march organized on Wednesday in the streets of Bayonne, south western France, to support the family of Philippe Monguillot, the 59-year-old bus driver who was left brain dead after being attacked on Sunday. Four people have since been charged. In Nice buses and trams stopped for one minute at 7.30 on Wednesday evening to show support.

Protest against appointment of France’s Interior Minister – A young woman has protested in front of the courthouse in Nice following the appointment of Gérald Darmanin as France’s Interior Minister. 23-year-old Victoire from Nice protestedin front of the gates with a sign saying: "Hunger strike, resignation of Darmanin".  The young woman says that her motivation is “personal” and that she does not belong to "to any party, or association".

Since Gérald Darmanin’s appointment on Monday Feminist associations across France have been protesting. Darmanin faces a rape charge dating back to 2009. Further demonstrations are planned on Friday in Nice on the initiative of the #Metoo movement.

Lenval Hospital warns of fraudulent test messages - The Lenval Hospital in Nice has warned about a fraudulent text message which claims to come from the hospital. On its Facebook page the Lenval Foundation said that a text was circulating claiming to be about a hospital appointment and requiring a response to be made.

The hospital pointed out that its SMS messages regarding appointments do not require any response.

Nice city council plans to extend ban on access to coastal paths at night - Nice city council has announced plans to extend a ban on access to coastal areas in and around Nice. Following noise pollution and uncivil behavior last month access at night, to several coastal paths, was prohibited in certain areas. The ban is now set to be extended to Boulevard Franck-Pilatte on the port of Nice.

Brigitte Bardot Foundation launches campaign - The Brigitte Bardot Foundation has launched a major campaign aimed at pet owners who may be tempted to abandon their four-legged companions due to financial difficulties generated from the health crisis.

Through a dedicated hotline, 0 805 691 820 (free service and call), a team is ready to provide psychological and material assistance such as food for animals or veterinary care, for pet owners. The campaign intends to" put solidarity at the heart of its actions ".

Nice’s Russian Cathedral - The Russian Cathedral in Nice is one of fourteen buildings which has been selected to feature in the French television programme “France’s favourite monuments” presented by Stéphane Berne on France 3.

Viewers have until July 26th to vote for their favorite building from a list of 14 sites, which are all classified as Historic Monuments. Viewers can vote online, or by phone on 3245 (0.80 cents per minute + the cost of the call).

In National News

Coronavirus second wave warning - As France’s General Health Director Jerome Salomon warned on Wednesday of a possible second wave of the coronavirus, the French government has said that “while it is preparing for it, they do not plan to put the entire country into lockdown to contain a second outbreak”.

France’s new Prime Minister Jean Castex said in an interview that “his aim was to prepare France for a possible second wave, while preserving daily life and at the same time economic and social life” adding that the economic and human consequences from a total lockdown are disastrous," Instead, he said that “any business closures or stay-at-home orders would be "targeted" to specific areas”. 

Increase in stress and anxiety disorders in French children - Meanwhile a leading French psychologist has warned that the coronavirus crisis has caused an increase in stress and anxiety disorders in French children, with some experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Speaking to French media Benjamin Landman, head of psychiatry at Paris’s Robert-Debré paediatric hospital, said that lockdown measures and new social distancing norms have had a significant impact on children’s mental health adding that “the full psychiatric impact of the crisis will be revealed in the months to come,”.

Wealth of the richest man in France exceeds 100 billion euros - The wealth of the richest man in France has exceeded 100 billion euros for the first time. Despite the recent health crisis France’s 500 largest fortunes continue to grow increasing by 3% in 2020 to reach the record level of 730 billion euros.

Figures published show that it’s the luxury sector which dominates the ranking with Bernard Arnault CEO of LVMH and his family in first place jumping 13% to reach the 100-billion-eur