French and Riviera News Tuesday 30th April 2024

Lenval children's hospital warns of growth in whooping cough cases - Parents on the Riviera are being urged to make sure that they, and their children, are up-to-date with their vaccinations, after a three-week-old baby died from whooping cough in Nice. Lenval children's hospital says 10 cases of whooping cough have been recorded since the start of the year, which led to four infants needing treatment in intensive care. Cases of the contagious respiratory tract infection are on the rise. Vaccinations are normally given to babies from the age of two months, but their immunity does not kick in until around six months, and they often catch the infection from an unvaccinated adult. A booster is given at six years, again at 11 or 12 years of age, and it’s also offered to adults in their late 20s and early 30s, and to pregnant women.

Mum sentenced for leaving three-year-old alone in car - A mother who left her three-year-old son locked in a car in Saint-Raphaël for an hour while she played at a casino has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence. Municipal police discovered the boy at an underground car park in the city and managed to talk him through how to unlock the vehicle's doors to free him. He was dehydrated and had wet himself - and he told officers it wasn't the first time he had been left alone. He was taken to the paediatric ward at Le Pradet hospital for a check-up. The mother, who’s 47 and works as a school supply teacher, was also ordered to pay a €1,600 fine. Her son will receive regular visits by child welfare officers.

Gas leak in La Garde - Residents in parts of La Garde in the Var were told to stay at home with their windows closed yesterday due to a major gas leak. A digger on a construction site cut through a gas pipe. A security perimeter was set up and 16 firefighters attended the scene, while energy distributor ERDF worked to stop the leak.

Buy a Marseille football seat for charity - Marseille football fans are being given the chance to buy a seat from the Vélodrome stadium to help raise money for charity. 275 seats will go up for sale next Monday at 6pm, at €350 each. The seats were removed from the stadium during recent renovation works and each comes with a small plaque confirming its authenticity. The money raised will go to a local association that gives disadvantaged children the chance to learn new skills and meet new friends on an educational holiday.

May Day festivities moved to Saturday - Nice city hall has postponed its traditional May Day festivities because of a forecast for bad weather. With heavy rain expected, the folk dances, concerts, kids' activities and food planned for tomorrow in Cimiez will now take place on Saturday instead.

Siren test postponed until Thursday - Finally, the May Day celebrations - and the Wellbeing Window on Riviera Radio - aren't the only things that are being postponed tomorrow. The first Wednesday of the month is normally the time when France's emergency alert sirens are tested out. But, exceptionally, the sirens will not go off tomorrow at midday - but on Thursday instead, at 12.15. The monthly test of the nationwide warning system has been postponed by a day because Wednesday is a public holiday. When they're tested, the sirens sound for 1 minute and 41 seconds. In a real emergency, that's followed by five seconds of silence, then the siren sounds again for another 1 minute 41, on a loop until the alert is over.

BUSINESS

Elon Musk has visited Beijing with media reports saying he aims to discuss enabling autonomous driving mode on Tesla cars in China. Musk wants to enable Full Self Driving in China and transfer data collected in the country abroad to train its algorithms. Self-driving is available in countries including the US but not in China. The news came after a US report tied Tesla's autonomous driving modes to at least 13 crashes, involving one death.

There was drama in the foreign exchange market today, with Japan’s yen fluctuating wildly. The yen hit a new 34-year low, trading at 160 yen to the dollar for the first time since 1990.
But it then rebounded, back to 155 yen/$. The strength of this recovery has sparked speculation that Tokyo may have intervened to support the yen. The yen weakened last Friday after the Bank of Japan kept interest rates on hold, and didn’t provide any sign that it might lift borrowing costs.

And a year and a half on from the UK's mini-budget turmoil, British households are still paying sharply more when they take out a mortgage. New research from property website Zoopla shows that higher mortgage rates are adding to the affordability pressures on buyers, and dragging on house price inflation. Zoopla has calculated that the average home buyer taking out a 70% loan to value mortgage now faces annual mortgage repayments that are 61% higher today than three years ago (in March 2021) before mortgage rates started to rise. That’s because mortgage rates are around 4.5% today compared to below 2% in March 2021, meaning average annual mortgage repayments have risen from £7,100 to £11,400.

SPORT

Formula One - All eyes are on Miami for this weekend's Grand Prix, in the sixth round of the 2024 Formula 1 season. Reports that legendary designer Adrian Newey has decided to leave Red Bull will undoubtedly create renewed doubt over world championship leader Max Verstappen's future with the team. Sauber's announcement that they have signed Nico Hulkenberg for the 2025 season ahead of their transition to becoming Audi in 2026 is likely to stimulate further movement in the driver market. On the track, Verstappen will be seeking to create more history as he looks to continue his dominant start to the season. However, the fact that Miami is hosting a Sprint weekend for the first time could create unpredictability and a threat to the Dutchman's streak of pole positions.

Tennis - Daria Kasatkina, one of the few openly gay players on the WTA Tour, says she has been “given guarantees” about her safety should she compete in Saudi Arabia. The 26-year-old is in contention to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals, which will be staged in Riyadh for the first time this November. When questioned at Wimbledon last year, Kasatkina expressed reservations about the Finals going to Saudi Arabia - saying there were “many issues concerning this country”.

WEATHER

Mostly overcast today, with just some occasional sunny spells this morning on the Alpes-Maritimes coast, the chance of some light rain to the west of the Var this afternoon and temperatures reaching 23 degrees celsius on the Alpes-Maritimes coast and 21 in the Var.
Staying cloudy this evening with some strong winds on the coast gusting up to 55 kilometres per hour. Overnight temperatures going down to 16 degrees celsius.
The outlook for Wednesday: wet and windy, 16 degrees celsius.

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