French and Riviera News Tuesday 20th December 2022

News

Current wave of covid has peaked - According to Public Health France the current wave of Covid seems to have peaked, and is declining, despite the number of hospitalizations and deaths which continue to rise. 37,264 new cases were confirmed on Sunday, a drop of 19.7% in seven days. Meanwhile the vaccination campaign for the fourth dose continues to stagnate. As of December 12th, only 12.6% of 60–79-year-olds had received a reminder adapted to the Omicron variant, and 16% of those aged 80 and over.

Meanwhile, the French High Authority of Health has recommended extending vaccination against Covid-19 to children aged 6 months to 4 years old at risk of serious form of the disease and death. 

Threat of strike action from SNCF remains - Unions at the SNCF have maintained their strike notice for the Christmas and New Year weekend. Although they have not formally called for strike action the group of controllers deem their management’s proposals “insufficient”. The management has proposed granting a work bonus of 600 euros per year in addition to the annual increases planned for 2023. The controllers were at the origin of a strike at the beginning of December which led to the cancellation of 60% of the TGVs.

French national football team arrive home - The French national football team has returned from Qatar to large crowds in Paris, after their heroic defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final. Fans let off fireworks on the Place de la Concorde. France came from behind twice in the final, which ended 3-3, before Argentina won the penalty shootout 4-2.

Mayor of Nice – Meanwhile, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has called for the age of criminal responsibility to be lowered to 16 following disturbances in Nice after the World Cup final. The mayor said that he wanted to thank the national police, the gendarmerie and the municipal police whose actions he said made it possible to arrest 33 individuals, including members of youth gangs. He also stated that he believes that "we must engage in a great reflection on the role of social networks", saying that "most of these thugs’ film themselves to spread their facts and think of themselves as heroes" on TikTok or Snapchat.

President Emmanuel Macron - It's been announced that President Macron will be spending Christmas on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The ship, which is normally based in Toulon, left the port on November 15 for a mission in areas including the eastern Mediterranean.

Product recall - French retailer Auchan has recalled a ham product because of the possible presence of listeria. The product affected is Auchan Jambon Superieur Decouenne Degraisse 4 tranches with a use by date of 31 December 2022. More details are available on https://rappel.conso.gouv.fr/fiche-rappel/8861/Interne

Saint Honorat island - The Heritage Foundation and the monks of the Lérins abbey on Saint Honorat Island opposite Cannes, are calling for a final outpouring of solidarity from individuals and businesses to complete renovation work. The 2022 Heritage Lotto has already announced 250,000, euros of aid towards the renovation project and a kitty has been set up to collect the remaining 40,000 euros. An emblematic monument of the Alpes Maritimes and classified as a historical monument since 1840, the building is "one of the rare monasteries protected by a tower and located on the seafront".

Hospital in Toulon evacuated - The Sainte-Musse hospital in Toulon in the Var was evacuated at the weekend after an 88-year-old man in arrived at A&E with a shell from the Frist World War stuck in his posterior. The elderly man was operated on to remove the device which was five to six centimetres in diameter and 20cm in length. One of the hospital staff speaking to local media remarked "an apple, a mango or even a can of shaving foam... we are used to finding unusual objects inserted where they shouldn't be. But a shell? Never!".

Business

In a move to protect consumers European Union nations have agreed a gas price cap. From 15th February, prices will be limited if they breach 180 euros per megawatt hour for three days running. Gas prices have spiked as EU countries seek ways to import less Russian gas following its invasion of Ukraine. Previously Moscow supplied 40% of the gas used across the bloc, but those flows have fallen sharply putting pressure on market prices.

British Airways has apologised after flights due to depart the US were grounded for several hours. The airline said it was urgently investigating a technical issue with its third-party flight planning supplier. BA passengers have reported waiting for hours in airports.

Twitter users have voted in favour of Elon Musk stepping down as the platform's chief executive after the billionaire ran a poll on his future. A total of 57.5% voted "yes" after Mr Musk asked his 122 million followers whether he should stand down. Mr Musk is yet to comment since the poll closed. Even if he were to resign as chief executive, he would remain as Twitter's owner.

In the UK the new banknotes featuring the image of King Charles have been unveiled by the Bank of England. The portrait will be the only change to existing designs of £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes and will start to enter circulation from mid-2024. New notes will feature the King's portrait on the front and in the see-through security window. Existing notes will still be accepted in shops after the new notes begin to circulate. Queen Elizabeth was the first and only monarch to appear on circulating Bank of England banknotes, starting in 1960. Notes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks do not depict the monarch. There are about 4.5 billion individual Bank of England notes worth about £80bn in circulation at present.

Sport

Football - Lionel Messi has been named BBC Sports Personality's World Sport Star of the Year for 2022. 35-year-old Messi led Argentina to their first World Cup triumph in 36 years in Qatar. The Paris St-Germain forward won the tournament's Golden Ball - awarded to the best player - after scoring seven goals at his fifth World Cup.

Meanwhile, France’s striker Karim Benzema has tweeted that his journey with the national team "is ending". Benzema, who turned 35 on Monday, missed the World Cup through injury. He has 97 caps, scoring 37 goals and now it appears has retired from international duty.

Cricket – England are looking to wrap up historic win over Pakistan. In day four of the five-day test match series England started needing another 55 runs in pursuit of 167.

Tennis - Venus Williams has been awarded a wildcard to compete in January's Australian Open at the age of 42. The American will be back in Melbourne 25 years after her debut in the tournament, which begins on 16 January.

Weather

Should remain dry in the Alpes Maritimes possibility of some scattered showers to begin with in the Var, along the coast. Light cloud and highs of 16 degrees in Nice and Antibes. 11 degrees in Puget Théniers. 17 degrees in Saint Tropez and 14 degrees in Draguignan. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast and 1 degree inland.

The outlook for tomorrow and Thursday. Tomorrow light rain showers in Nice. Cloudy in Saint-Tropez highs of 15 degrees. Thursday sunny intervals across the region highs of 15 degrees.

Sunrise:      08.00hr

Sunset:       16.55hr

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