French and Riviera News Thursday July 15th 2021

News

The Nice 86 - The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has paid tribute to those who died in the 2016 terrorist attack in the city which cost the lives of 86 people. Speaking at the annual Bastille Day celebrations which marked the 5th anniversary of the massacre, Mr Estrosi said that “those who died will be forever in our hearts”. He also offered words of comfort to the families of those who died or suffered life changing injuries. The events of 2016 in Nice have left an indelible mark on the country’s national Bastille Day holiday with many commemoration ceremonies taking place around France.

Fire risks - Parts of the Esterel and Tanneron in the area between the Alpes Maritimes and the Var are under an extreme fire risk warning today following two days of strong winds. Forest land in the area has been closed to the public and fire patrols have been stepped up.

Meanwhile, firefighters have been battling a large blaze that broke out on the col de Vence shortly after noon on Wednesday. Around 5 hectares of trees and brush have been destroyed and a nearby equestrian centre had to be evacuated. Three water bombing helicopters have been sent to the fire to assist in putting it out.

Rush for vaccines - More than 2 million people have registered to be vaccinated against COVID-19 since President Macron addressed the nation on Monday night. Mr Macron’s announcement of the introduction of a health pass for admittance to many public buildings, shops, restaurants and other commerces appears to have had the desired effect. The Doctorlib platform says that by mid morning on Wednesday, 2.24 million people had registered to be vaccinated and some forecasts suggest that between 4 and 5 million jabs could be administered every week as people who’ve been previously reticent rush to get the vaccine before the health pass measures come into force.

Monaco jabs - People employed in Monaco and aged over 50 can now register to be vaccinated in the Principality. The Monaco government says that the move is part of its programme to get every resident and employee vaccinated against the virus. Anyone concerned should register by calling 92 05 55 00 or online at https://vaccination-covid19.gouv.mc. Vaccinations will take place at the Auditorium Rainier lll and you should take along ID and your work permit.

Cannes 2021 - The 74th Cannes Film Festival is entering its last couple of days as the jury led by Spike Lee deliberates on which movie to select as the winner of the Palme d’Or. They’ve still got a few films to get through today and tomorrow though before any serious decision making can start.

Today’s competition films are “Haut et Forte” or “Casablanca Beats”  from Nabil Ayouch which focuses on hip hop culture in Morocco amid a background of traditional culture, “France” a Franco-Belgian feature from Bruno Dumont starring Lea Seydoux as a journalist in the modern media world and “Memoria” from Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasetthakul starring Tilda Swinton as a Scottish woman on a strange journey through the jungles of Colombia. There are two more competition films tomorrow before the jury starts it’s deliberations.

Firework delays - A number of Bastille Day fireworks displays have had to be postponed because of high winds in the Var. Town councils in Six Fours, Bandol, La Seyne, Sanary and La Garde among others took the decision following advice on public safety. Displays will now take place this coming Saturday or at a date to be confirmed.

Jimmy’z - Monaco’s world famous nightclub Jimmy’z will reopen its doors next Thursday the 22nd of July following a 16 month closure because of the pandemic. Jimmy’z will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for the rest of the summer season although strict health protocols will be observed to make sure that everyone can enjoy themselves as safely as possible. The summer programme will be revealed in the next few days.

Business

The chair of the US Federal Reserve has said that the job market is still “a way off” from the progress needed before the central bank starts reducing support for the economy. Speaking at a Congressional hearing in Washington on Wednesday, Jerome Powell said that current high inflation will ease in the coming months and that the current spike in prices is linked to the reopening of the economy. With the job market still 7.5 million short of its pre-pandemic levels, Mr Powell said that the overall participation rate is still depressed. Analysts say that Mr Powell’s remarks suggest that he is still committed to the Fed’s current monetary policy and believes that the fast evolving recovery will bring millions of people back to work and that inflation will remain anchored over time near the central bank’s 2 percent target.

The U.K. department and supermarket chain John Lewis and Waitrose have announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs as part of a shakeup of store management. The move follows the closure of 8 John Lewis stores earlier this year with the loss of 1,500 jobs. The firm is trying to cut costs as shopping habits change and more people use online services. John Lewis says that affected staff will be helped to find new roles and stressed that it wanted to avoid compulsory redundancies.

U.K. property prices rose by 10 percent in the 12 months to May, the fastest rate since before the 2008 financial crisis. Data from the U.K. Office for National Statistics put the average price of a property at 254,624 pounds with growth driven by a desire for larger homes, outdoor space and stamp duty savings. The average price of a flat was up by 6.5 percent to 215,731 pounds with the price of a detached house up 11.3 percent to 391,656 pounds. While the market is booming, getting on the property ladder continues to be a challenge for first time buyers who had to pay an average 213,336 pounds for homes in May, an increase of 9.5 percent from the same time last year.

Sport

Golf - The Open Championship is underway at Royal St George’s in Kent with Shane Lowry the defending champion. It’s the event that all golf fans have been waiting for and is back after last year’s Open had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. Jon Rahm of Spain is the man in form having won the last Major, the US open but there will be a lot of attention focused on Rory McIlroy to see if he can get into the groove in what’s been another disappointing season so far. The US pair of Bryson DeChambeau and Jordan Spieth are also fancied and don’t rule out Phil Mickelson who put in a magnificent performance earlier this year to win the USPGA on the eve of his 51st birthday.

Cycling - Defending champion Tadej Pogacar has won stage 17 of the Tour de France to all but guarantee him victory in the race. Pogacar stormed away in a sprint finish to the line at Saint Lary Soulan Col du Portet in the Pyrenees with his nearest rival Rigoberto Uran losing time and seemingly now out of contention. Pogacar now has an overall lead of 5 minutes 39 seconds over Jonas Vingegaard with Uran slipping to 3rd. Today’s 18th stage is 129.7 kilometres from Pau to Luz Ardiden and is the final mountain stage of the race and arguably the most punishing of all. The stage features the iconic Col du Tourmalet as well as a final climb up to Luz Ardiden.

Football - The new Everton manager Rafael Benitez has said that he will “fight for the club and win over the fans”. Benitez is a controversial appointment having previously managed Liverpool. He was previously quoted as labelling Everton as “a small club” but says that was “a long time ago”. The 61-year-old Spaniard replaced Carlo Ancelotti who left to take over at Real Madrid.

Formula 1 - The Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll says that the team will have to wait for titles. The Canadian billionaire is overseeing a restructuring drive which will see staff increase from 500 to 800 but he doesn’t think that Aston Martin will be able to compete at the top for another four or five years.

Rugby Union - The British and Irish Lions have suffered the first defeat of their tour of South Africa, going down 17-13 to South Africa A in Cape Town. The Lions were 14 points down at half time but came back into it in the second half as South Africa A were reduced to 13 men after two yellow cards.

Meanwhile Alun Wyn Jones is rejoining the Lions squad just 18 days after dislocating his shoulder. The 35-year-old Wales captain has recovered quicker than expected and is in contention for the first Test on July the 24th.

Weather

Partially cloudy in coastal areas with some thunder inland later and moderate southerly or variable winds. Top temperatures 25-28 degrees. Overnight lows of 18-21 degrees with some showers possible in coastal areas of the Alpes Maritimes.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Rain in the Alpes Maritimes tomorrow morning, clearing later. Fine on Saturday. Highs of 26-30 degrees.

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