French and Riviera News Tuesday 21st September 2021

National News

Covid vaccination trials for 5 to 11-year olds considered to be “safe” - According to the first results of clinical trials on 5 to 11-year olds, the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine is considered "safe" and "well tolerated" by this age group. The two pharmaceutical companies claim is based on the partial results of a study carried out on 4,500 children between 6 months and 11 years old, in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain. This is the first clinical data for this age group. The promising results are a further step towards the imminent opening of vaccination for children under 12 for countries wishing to do so.

Submarine crisis - A Defense council concerning the submarine crisis is to be held at the Elysée this morning. France’s minister of defense will be present however, it’s not yet confirmed if France’s ambassadors recalled from both the US and Australia will attend. France accuses the United States of having concluded without notifying them, a new alliance which will notably see Australia equip itself with American submarines, cancelling an order placed by the Australians to the French a few years ago. US President Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron will speak on the phone on the subject in the coming days.

Opposition accuses head of state of “whatever it costs” for re-election ahead of presidential - Opposition to France’s leading political party have accused the head of State of an “electoral maneuver” in promising more than 6 billion euros in aid just a few months ahead of the presidential election.  

While Macron has confirmed the end of the solidarity fund on September 30th for most companies, the government has nonetheless promised to continue to support certain sectors and territories which need it.  Since the beginning of the month 6.2 billion euros in aid has been announced including 1.5 billion euros promised to Marseille the second largest city in France, 40 million euros for the revaluation of the salaries of midwives, 600 million euros dedicated to "crop insurance" for farmers, 400 million euros for the development of public transport in provincial communities.

And it does not stop there: 500 million euros to finance the new measures announced during the Beauvau de la sécurité, 600 million (100 euros for nearly six million modest households) paid in energy checks. 2 billion euros devoted to the energy renovation aid plan, 300 million euros plan for self-employed workers, 21 million euros allocated for the increase in contraception for all women under 25 years of age. Finally, an additional 50 million euros for the fishing sector faced with the economic consequences of Brexit and 170 million euros allocated each year until 2024 for rail freight have also been announced in recent days. In total, 6.2 billion euros in the form of aid were announced or confirmed in the space of two weeks.

Calais extends ban - The prefecture in Calais has extended the ban on non-mandated associations distributing free meals and drinks in several districts of the city. For more than a year, associations not mandated by the State have no longer been authorized to organize free distribution. The ban is extended until October 18th. The ban on food distributions in the city of Calais had been introduced to limit the disturbances caused "by the multiplication of distribution places".

Picasso works of art given to France - France’s minister of culture announced on Monday that nine works of art by Pablo Picasso have been given to France by the artist’s daughter Maya, as part of a "donation". On Monday Roselyne Bachelot, said that "It is with deep emotion that we celebrate the collection" of this donation, speaking of an "exceptional event".

The 'donation' includes six paintings, two sculptures and a sketchbook and will enable Maya Ruiz-Picasso to pay her inheritance rights. The works will be presented to the public from April of next year. The total amount of the collection was not specified, as ministers called for tax secrecy.

Local News

Fatal road accident - An 80-year-old woman has died in a fatal road accident. The accident occurred on the road from Grasse to Villeneuve-Loubet at around 5pm on Monday. Three vehicles were involved, and three other people suffered minor injuries. The exact circumstances of the accident are still unknown. The road was cut-off to traffic in both directions with a deviation by the RD 6 and 7, via La Colle-sur-Loup.

Swiss tourist drowns - A 79-year-old Swiss tourist has drowned in Grimaud in the Var. The incident happened at around 1pm on Monday at the Beach of the Mûres campsite in Grimaud. A couple alerted rescue services after spotting the victim five metres from the shore.

Chef Alexandre Mazzia - Chef Alexandre Mazzia has been named Chef of the Year by his peers, after having won the third Michelin star in early 2021 for his AM restaurant in Marseille. The 45-year-old former basketball player experienced a rapid rise to fame following the opening in 2014 of the AM, hidden in a residential area in the south of Marseille. During the health crisis, he was one of the most active and creative chefs, in particular via his food truck in Marseille with a packed lunch at 24 euros.

Lottery winner in the Var - A lottery player in Toulon has scooped 6 million euros after winning 6,000 euros the day before. It’s the biggest win in the Var for six years. The lucky winner has remained anonymous.

Just moved to Antibes - Have you just moved to Antibes? The AVF (an association which welcomes people to French cities) is pleased to announce that it has relocated to brand new premises at 15 Avenue Thiers in the city centre. The AVF offers various activities, such as hiking, to help people discover the Antibes region and has reopened the doors welcoming new members.

Nice half marathon - And there is still time to register for the Nice half marathon. Registrations for the 29th international Nice half marathon are open until midnight tomorrow Wednesday 22nd September. From 2 to 21.1 km, there will be something for everyone. The Nice half-marathon will take place this Sunday, September 26th on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice. A valid health pass is required to access the start and finish areas on the day.

Business

The European Commission has expressed that it would like to see a universal charger being introduced by smartphone manufacturers which would primarily target Apple. According to reports in French media a draft directive intended for all Member States of the European Union is to be unveiled which will force smartphone manufacturers to market mobiles (but also tablets, speakers and headphones) using a single charger and a potential application in 2024. The European institutions have long been targeting Apple in order to encourage the brand to use connectors identical to that of competitors.

The UK's business secretary has said that there is "no question of the lights going out" this winter as a result of huge rises in gas prices. His statement comes as smaller energy providers battle to stay afloat due to gas price hikes making price promises to customers undeliverable. High demand for gas and reduced supply are behind a surge in wholesale prices.

Research has shown that Bitcoin mining produces annual electronic waste (e-waste) which is comparable to the small IT equipment waste of the Netherlands. Miners of the cryptocurrency each year produce 30,700 tonnes of e-waste. The researchers estimate Bitcoin mining devices have an average lifespan of only 1.29 years. As a result, the amount of e-waste produced is comparable to the "small IT and telecommunication equipment" waste of a country like the Netherlands.

Pimlico Plumbers has been sold to US home services group Neighborly. According to the Financial Times the deal will see founder Charlie Mullins offload his 90% stake in the group and is expected to be worth between £125m and £145m.  

The London-based firm currently makes nearly $70m (£50.7m) in revenue a year and employs more than 400 workers. Founded in 1979, Pimlico's services include heating, plumbing, bathrooms, drainage and electrics. It completes an average of more than 100,000 service jobs for central London homeowners and businesses each year.

Sport 

Cricket - England have withdrawn their men's and women's teams from series in Pakistan that were due to take place in October due to a security concern. The men were set to make their first trip to Pakistan since 2005, while the women had never before played there.

Football – A week after its heavy defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League (0-3), FC Barcelona conceded a difficult draw against Granada on Monday in La Liga (1-1).

Romeo Beckham, son of former England captain David Beckham, made his debut for American third-tier club Fort Lauderdale. The 19-year-old started in his famous dad's midfield position for the reserve team of Inter Miami.

Rugby Union - RFU director of performance Conor O'Shea has said the body wants to improve leadership across its age-grade teams and pay "special attention to turning "spoon-fed" youngsters into the future leaders of English rugby. Former Harlequins and Italy coach O'Shea, who took over as director of performance last year, was speaking as the RFU published its pathway and development framework.

Weather

Sunny intervals with highs of 24-25 degrees along the coast in Nice, Monaco and Cannes highs of 22 degrees inland with a moderate breeze. Chance of thundery showers by this afternoon. This evening going down to 17 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday and the start of the Monaco yacht show - Clear skies highs of 26 degrees. Thursday mainly fine, Friday becoming increasingly cloudy showers forecast for Saturday.

And Finally

Some of you may have been guilty of belting out your favourite song while waiting for the lights to change. But is it time to change your car playlist?

According to a new study, listening to singalong hits behind the wheel increases your chance of making errors by leaving you 'mentally overloaded'. The team monitored drivers under one of six sound conditions — including urban traffic noise, spoken lyrics and either soft or loud music with or without lyrics. They found that the drivers' speed and performance was mostly unaffected by the music choices.

However, the researchers did find that listening to music that was loud or had lyrics led to higher levels of affective (emotional) arousal than soft, non-lyrical pieces. Past studies have noted that loud, lyrical music can elevate levels of activation and aggression, and encourage overconfidence, particularly among younger drivers.

The researchers concluded “drivers should consider the use of soft, non-lyrical music to optimise their affective state during urban driving”.

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