French and Riviera News Tuesday 24th November 2020


Marseille - 14 people have been arrested in Marseille and half a million euros seized following a year-long investigation into a drug trafficking network. Nine kilos of drugs and four firearms were also found by police who had been investigating the gang working out of the northern districts of the city. Out of the 14 people arrested, ten were imprisoned, two were placed under judicial supervision, and two have since been released.

Meanwhile police at the French-Spanish border have reported that 4 tonnes of cannabis, hidden in a load of fruit and vegetables, have been seized by customs officials over the past two weeks.  The value of the goods is estimated at 13.7 million euros. In early November, customs officials checked several trucks from Spain on the A9 motorway, mainly carrying fruit and vegetables. Several people were arrested. Some have already been sentenced in Perpignan.

Covid-19 figures - France has reported less than 5,000 new cases of Covid-19 and 501 additional deaths in 24 hours. With 4,452 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, this is the first time that this figure has dropped below the 5,000 daily cases mark since September 28th showing that the epidemic continues to decline.

Taking a closer look at the situation in the region and according to Public Health France through the website, on November 23rd the Alpes-Maritimes recorded 479 current hospitalisations due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care. 1,894 patients have been discharged from hospital and to date 387 people have died in hospital since the start of the epidemic in the Alpes Maritimes.

For the Var 410 people are currently hospitalised due to COVID-19, including 58 in intensive care. 1,961 patients have been discharged from hospital and to date, 357 people have died in hospital since the start of the epidemic.

Monaco - In Monaco, one new case of Covid-19 was declared on Monday bringing the total to 583 residents affected by the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. 23 people are currently hospitalised and 28 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Meanwhile since Monday, employees in Monaco have been invited to get vaccinated against the flu. The first phase and second phase of the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in the Principality was launched in October for residents over 65, all Monegasques and it’s now available to employees covered by Monaco’s health system for free.

Lockdown measures - French President Emmanuel Macron is to speak this evening at 8pm, to discuss the consequences of the lockdown. Macron is expected to announce the stages of a gradual exit from lockdown. While retailers and those considered during lockdown to be “non-essential”, are expected to reopen possibly from Friday 27th November, several sectors await news on their businesses such as sport clubs, cinemas, theatres, bars, restaurants, hotels.

Meanwhile following a meeting on Monday with representatives from the industry and France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex, a decision on the opening of ski resorts is to be announced in two weeks’ time and will depend heavily on the health situation at that time.

Place de la République - France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has said that he is “shocked at behavior from police in the capital following images released on social media”. 500 tents had been installed by associations on the Place de la République on Monday evening to raise awareness about the living conditions of migrants. Barely an hour after the installation, the police began to remove part of the tents, sometimes with people still inside. The minister has since requested a detailed report on the reality of the facts from the Prefect of Police by midday today.

Sarkozy trial – Meanwhile the trial of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been abruptly adjourned pending a medical report on former top judge. Gilbert Azibert had requested a postponement, arguing that heart and lung problems prevented him from attending court leading to all of the defendant’s refusal of appearing via video link. Sarkozy vigorously contests the accusations of bribery and attended Monday’s short hearing in person. Sarkozy is the first former French president to appear in court as a defendant - although his predecessor as president, Jacques Chirac, was convicted of corruption in a fake-job.

Monoprix - French supermarket Monoprix has defended its latest advertising campaign in a statement saying that the group wanted to “bring a little lightness and humour to these gloomy times by making its customers smile”. To inform its customers of the closure of non-essential departments, Monoprix had opted for an ironic in-store poster campaign. Posters stating that “Clothing for children up to 3 years old is essential again. Others are asked to stop growing." Or "If bottles were not needed, we should have been warned not to have babies during the first lockdown." These messages have been displayed on Monoprix shelves to indicate the closure of non-essential goods imposed by the government.

Attestation – Finally, we’ve all been asked to fill in "attestations" to justify our reason for circulating outside of our homes, as part of the lockdown in France in the fight against Covid 19, one man however, seems to have taken the duty of filling out the form to another level. According to local media in Brittany police recently fined a man who left his home with a written lockdown declaration stating he was out to “smash a guy’s face in”.

The man, who has not been named, had correctly filled in the legally-required declaration, with his name, address and time that he had left his home. However, officers found that instead of ticking one of the boxes stating a legitimate reason to go outside during lockdown such as, going shopping, visiting the doctor, travelling to work or exercising, the man had written “aller péter la gueule à un mec”, an activity not covered by the form.

When asked by police what he was doing, as he was seen lurking behind a car late at night. He explained to police that he was waiting for someone to ‘smash their face in’. He had the written form with his real name and the time he had left home, but police soon informed him that his reason for going out was not valid.


Janet Yellen, the former chair of the US Federal Reserve is set to be named as Joe Biden’s new Treasury Secretary. Ms Yellen, who’s 74 will become the first woman to be named to the post and will be expected to use her expertise as a seasoned economist and labour market specialist to lead the US economy out of its steepest recession since the Great Depression. The move, which has been confirmed by Democratic allies of US President-elect Biden will shift the Treasury’s focus towards progressive efforts to tackle growing economic inequality from the Trump administration’s pre-pandemic emphasis on cutting taxes and easing financial regulations. The former Fed chair has called for fiscal taps to be opened to revive an economy that’s been heavily hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Yellen made history in 2014 when she became the first woman to hold the top job at the Federal Reserve. Her new position will be much more political and will give her the opportunity to rubber-stamp economic policy over the next four years.

The governor of the Bank of England has said that the economic cost of a no-deal Brexit will be far greater in the long term than the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew Bailey says that failure to agree to a deal before the Brexit transition period ends would cause disruption to cross-border trade and damage goodwill between London and Brussels. Mr Bailey was speaking to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee on Monday and said that it was in the best interests of both sides for there to be a trade agreement. His comments are a stark contradiction to the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak who said over the weekend that Britain should not accept a deal with the EU at any price and insisted that Covid-19 posed a much greater threat to the economy than a no-deal scenario.

Apple’s head of security has been indicted on charges of bribery with prosecutors alleging that he promised a donation of 200 iPads to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office to secure four concealed-weapon permits for Apple employees. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office says that 50-year-old Thomas Moyer and two officers in the Sheriff’s department have all been charged. The officers have been accused of soliciting bribes for issuing concealed weapon carrying permits while Mr Moyer has been charged with bribery. Carrying concealed firearms is illegal in California without a permit and County Sheriffs have broad discretion over their issue. Lawyers for Mr Moyer say that he categorically denies the charges. Apple says that it’s conducted its own investigation and has found no wrongdoing.


Football - There were two games in the English Premier League last night. Burnley got their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Turf Moor while Wolves and Southampton drew 1-1.

There’s more European Champions League action tonight including Rennes against Chelsea in Group E. Manchester United play Istanbul Basaksehir in Group H and Paris St Germain host RB Leipzig.

Cricket - South Africa are training in two separate camps in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus ahead of the start of the limited overs series against England. Two players have tested positive for Covid-19 and a further two are self islolating. South Africa and England meet in the first T20 international on Friday with a one-day series due to start on December the 4th.

Rugby Union - Luke Cowan-Dickie and Anthony Watson are both back in the England squad for the Autumn Nations Cup game against Wales this weekend. Cowan-Dickie has been recovering from knee surgery while Watson has recovered from an ankle injury. Both are available for selection for Saturday’s game against Wales in Llanelli.

There was one game in the Guinness Pro 14 last night. Munster were 27-13 winners at Glasgow Warriors.


Mainly fine with light variable or south westerly winds. Top temperatures 16 degrees. Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine with highs of 15-16 degrees.

And Finally

The controversial topic of whether mothers have a favourite child has been put out there after the debate was sparked in an episode of the new series of The Crown. Mothers on Facebook had varied responses to the subject, but many agreed that they do in fact have one child that they prefer over the other or others. One mother said in a response that resonated with a lot of parents. 'I tend to favour my son and my husband favours our daughter’. Another said: 'I definitely do. My daughter is a high achiever and I'm so proud of her. My son (four years younger) can't get it together'. Some said that their favourite child 'changes' daily or even hourly, depending on who is behaving well and how, while others said that they don't think that they have a 'favourite' child per se, but their relationships are different with each of their kids. Some parents were horrified by the idea that they would have a favourite, while others said they are convinced their parents have one child that they prefer, despite them insisting otherwise.


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