French and Riviera News Thursday January 20th 2022


Nice shooting - A police officer is being held in custody following a fatal shooting in the centre of Nice on Wednesday.
Shots were heard in the rue de la Buffa shortly before lunchtime during a police operation during which a 22 year old man was fatally wounded and later died. Reports say that police officers rushed to a local pharmacy to get a defibrillator in an attempt to save the man but he died at around 12.30.

The Nice State Prosecutor says the fatal shooting happened during a “botched” police operation. Xavier Bonhomme says that the police operation was being carried out in connection with the murder of a man in the Las Planas area of Nice on Christmas Eve. He said that several suspects had been arrested and that the officer in custody is being held on suspicion of “voluntary homicide”. No weapon was found on the body of the dead suspect.

Winter respiratory illness - French health experts say that a bronchiolitis epidemic which has been affecting the country in recent weeks appears to have peaked but that cases of flu are continuing to grow. Numbers of young children, mostly under the age of two receiving hospital treatment at accident and emergency departments across France fell last week but cases of flu are increasing markedly in some regions including the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur.
Bronchiolitis, which is highly contagious causes breathing difficulties for young infants and leads to painful coughing. In most cases, children make a full and rapid recovery but some require hospital treatment including oxygen. Flu cases, although rising are not anywhere near what might be normal for this time of year, in part due to the success of mask wearing and other coronavirus restrictions.

Covid fraud - A chemist from the Paris region is being held in custody after being charged with fraud in connection with the fabrication of fake Covid-19 tests which have cost the French health insurance body “several million” euros. The news was revealed on Wednesday by judicial sources  after the man was arrested on the 17th of December. The Canard Enchaine newspaper which first reported the story says that the fraud was picked up by a doctor who told authorities that he had been charged for “thousands of tests” which didn’t exist. Prosecutors say that the suspect vastly inflated the numbers of testing kits sold to doctors in a deliberate operation to defraud the Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie ( CPAM).

Actor killed - The French actor Gaspard Ulliel has died following a skiing accident at La Rosiere in the Savoie. Gendarmes say that Mr Ulliel who’s 37 was critically injured after colliding with another skier and was taken to hospital in Grenoble where he died from severe brain trauma. An investigation has been started into the exact circumstances of the accident. Gaspard Ulliel was first recognised as a rising star of French cinema in 2005 after appearing alongside Emmanuelle Beart in the film “Les Egares”. He won the Cesar award for best upcoming male acting and for best actor in a film in 2017 and had also been gaining international recognition. He’ll be appearing in Marvel’s new TV series Moon Knight and had a stack of other acting projects in the pipeline.

Candidate no more - The left wing politician Arnaud Montebourg has announced that he is pulling out of the French Presidential Election contest. Mr Montebourg, who was only being given around 1 percent of the first round vote said he was pulling out to “reduce the confusing number of left wing candidates” who are standing in the election. Mr Montebourg refused to back any of the remaining candidates and maintained that his policies are the right programme for the country. 5 candidates from the left remain in the contest but progressive politics in France is in serious decline and it’s doubtful whether any of them will make the second round runoff which most polls suggest will be contested between the Emmanuel Macron and either Marine Le Pen or the Republican Party candidate Valerie Pecresse.

Homeless man found dead - A well known local homeless man has been found dead in Roquebrune Cap Martin. Authorities say the man, who was being cared for by the French Red Cross in Menton was discovered dead near the Victoria roundabout on the promenade de Cap Martin. Many local people knew the dead man, who was called Luigi but was known as “Merci-Merci” because he always said thank you when he was given money or food. He died from a suspected heart attack.

Monte Carlo Rally - The 2022 World Rally Championship is underway with the Monte Carlo first round taking place from today until Sunday. Hybrid vehicles are taking part this year as the FIA aims for the sport to b