French and Riviera News Tuesday 31st August 2021

News 

Compulsory teleworking ends from today in France - The French government has announced the end of compulsory teleworking, which had been imposed on companies to fight against the health crisis. The measure will take effect from today Tuesday, August 31st. France’s employment minister confirmed that there will no longer be a "minimum number of days" of teleworking set by the state in companies.  The new protocol will allow "company management, in discussion with employee representatives, to define the rules for teleworking".

Covid incidence rate drops below 400 - Figures published by Public Health France have shown that the covid incidence rate in the Alpes Maritimes has dropped below 400. The region had seen the rate rise rapidly in July reaching 758 positive cases per 100,000 habitants, a record since the start of the pandemic.

7 out of 10 people in the region are now fully vaccinated and more than 78% of the region’s population have now received at least one dose. According to Public Health France, there is an average of 4 new deaths per day in the Alpes-Maritimes. In total, the coronavirus has claimed 2,077 victims in the department since the start of the epidemic (1,624 in hospitals, 453 in nursing homes). 

President of PACA region tests positive for covid - The president of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region Renaud Muselier has tested positive for covid despite being fully vaccinated. Muselier made the announcement in a tweet on Monday August 30th, he has since self-isolated and has cancelled all public engagements.

Health Minister hails health pass as a success - Meanwhile as the health pass became an obligation for some 1,8 million employees on Monday August 30th, France’s Minister of Health Olivier Véran, has hailed it as a “success”. Speaking to French media Véran defended the implementation of the health pass in France adding that “France has since inspired many countries to follow suit”. When asked about the extension of the health pass beyond November 15th, the Minister did not exclude it. He said that it “will depend on the health situation at the time”.

Failure to present health pass - At present failure to present a valid health pass in a place where it is required may result in a fine of at least 135 euros. A sanction which can go up to 6 months of imprisonment and 3750 euros fine in certain cases. The police have carried out some 179,000 checks and issued 1,331 fines since the introduction of the pass on June 9th.

Kate Powers has passed away - And we have some very sad news today. One of the best-known figures in Monaco, Kate Powers, the co-founder of StarsNBars, passed away on Monday morning after a brief illness. Kate and her family moved to Monaco from the United States in the late 1950's. In the 1980's, along with her brother Mike Powers, she opened the famous Le Texan restaurant. This was later followed by the creation of StarsNBars on the Port of Monaco with her partner Didier Rubiolo. She was also actively involved in a wide range of ecological and climate change initiatives. Kate was a charismatic and highly respected personality in the Monaco community and will be greatly missed by many people on the Riviera. We at Riviera Radio send our deepest condolences to Kate's family and many friends. Details of a memorial service are expected to be announced in due course.

Region’s train network - Major works have got underway on railway infrastructure in our region, meaning that there'll be changes to train services between Nice and Ventimiglia in both directions right through until April 2nd next year. The works involve reinforcement of the Villefranche-sur-Mer tunnel and renewal of the track in the Cimiez tunnel. Train traffic can only be carried on one track between Nice and Eze-sur-Mer throughout the work period and timetables are being modified accordingly. You can find out more information and timetables on the SNCF ASSISTANT app or on the SNCF TER SUD website.

Globetrotter arrives home - Former journalist Florence Renault has arrived home in Orleans after hitchhiking around the world. The 36-year-old globe trotter had left her job and home back in 2013, to achieve her dream and has since travelled 250,000 km and crossed 60 countries. Florence set off with 20,000 euros in savings and set herself a budget of 10 euros per day. She now plans to resume her profession as a journalist and write a book about her travels.

Business

McDonald’s and other fast food firms in the United States are closing indoor seating areas or limiting hours of operation because of the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19. McDonald’s closed indoor seating at nearly all its US locations in early 2020 but had reopened 70 percent capacity last month and said that it was on track to open nearly 100 percent by Labor Day. However, the fast food giant has now instructed its franchisees on the steps they should take to re-close dining rooms in areas where the Delta variant is spreading rapidly. McDonald’s says that it’s monitoring the impact of the Delta variant closely and has informed franchisees about updates to safety protocols. Deaths and cases of the Delta variant were up by 11 percent and three percent respectively across America last week with hospitalisations up 6 percent to an 8 month high.

Staff at the headquarters of the sports goods giant Nike have been given a week off to support their mental health. The firm says that it will be “powering down” until Friday to give employees a rest after a tough year. A growing number of employees have reported feeling “burnt out” as the pandemic drags on and many continue to work from home. Many large US firms including Apple, Uber and Wells Fargo have delayed plans for staff to return to the office as infections surge across the United States.

The Chinese economy has come under increasing pressure this month as factory activity expanded at a slower pace while the services sector slumped into contraction. The world’s second largest economy has seen momentum weaken of late due to domestic outbreaks of Covid-19, high raw material prices, slowing exports, tighter measures to tame property prices and a drive to reduce carbon emissions. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index fell to 50.1 in August from 50.4 in July, holding just above the 50 point mark that separates growth from contraction.

Sport

Paralympics - China continues to dominate the medals table at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo with 54 gold medals.

Great Britain has put in another outstanding performance with 26 gold medals to stand second in the table with Russian athletes in third and the United States in fourth.

There’s action in men’s archery, road cycling, shooting, swimming and track and field today with a total of 61 medals up for grabs.

Tennis - Andy Murray is out of the US Open despite a valiant effort in a five set thriller against the Greek world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Murray led by 2 sets to one before Tsitsipas came through 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Elsewhere there were first round wins for Andrey Rublev, Pedro Martinez and Diego Schwartzman.

In the women’s event, Naomi Osaka came through in straight sets in her first Grand Slam appearance since withdrawing from the French Open. The Japanese third seed beat Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 6-4 6-1.

Football - It’s transfer deadline day with several deals already completed or on the cards. Leeds United are closing in on a 30 million pound deal for the Manchester United winger Daniel James while Willian has left Arsenal to rejoin Corinthians. Ruben Dias has extended his contract at Manchester City until 2027 while Real Madrid have reportedly pulled out of talks to sign the PSG star Kylian Mbappe.

Formula 1 - The sport is to make changes to the rules to prevent a recurrence of the fiasco at Sunday’s rain hit Belgian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was declared the winner of the race after two laps behind the safety car after persistent heavy rain had prevented the event from being able to proceed. Many in the sport including Lewis Hamilton have branded the event as a farce and say that fans should have got their money back. Teams are to meet with Formula 1 bosses and the FIA to come up with a solution to prevent a recurrence of what happened at Spa. The FIA has rejected claims that the two laps staged under the safety car was a cynical move to make the event “official”.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate easterly winds. Top temperatures 26-28 degrees. Overnight lows of 18-20 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Clear skies with highs of 26-28 degrees.

And Finally

A study has found that adding half-a-cup of walnuts to your daily diet can lower your cholesterol levels by around 8.5 per cent and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

The researchers from the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona recruited 628 adults and put half of them on a diet which included daily walnut consumption. The team found that after two years, the walnut eaters also had modest reductions in their so-called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Study participants who ate walnuts daily saw a reduction in both the total number of LDL particles in their blood and, in particular, the number of small LDL particles. According to the American Heart Association, walnuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids — the heart-healthy fat famously found in oily fish.

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