French and Riviera News Tuesday 3rd August 2021

News 

Forest fire alert - Meteo France has issued a high “forest fire alert” for the Esterel and Tanneron region today. Following the warning, the forest areas of Mandelieu-la Napoule, Pégomas and Theoule sur mer will be closed to the public. The prefecture has reminded residents and visitors that any forms of fire are completely prohibited in the Alpes Maritimes region since July 1st and up until the 30th September. Forest areas in both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes are under surveillance due to the fire risk.

On Monday August 2nd shortly after 5pm firefighters managed to control a blaze which covered four hectares in Saint Aygulf. Meanwhile another fire was reported in the heart of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. The fire destroyed 2,000m² of vegetation at around 1pm on Monday just a short distance away from La Foux roundabout, next to a nursery and the mini golf course.

Travelling community moved from Sainte-Maxime to La Mole - Traffic has been disrupted in the Gulf of Saint Tropez after hundreds of people from a travelling community were moved. According to local media reports between 150 and 200 caravans were moved from Sainte-Maxime to La Mole on Monday evening causing long delays on the D98.

Group against health pass met with princely government – A facebook group mobilizing up to 3,300 people against the health pass in Monaco has met with the Ministry of State. The meeting took place on Monday afternoon and lasted nearly two and a half hours in what was described as a “peaceful dialogue where everyone was able to express and explain their position”. The health pass is due to be introduced for all in the Principality from August 23rd.

Former mayor of Cannes to stand trial for tax fraud - The deputy and former mayor of Cannes Bernard Brochand is to stand trial for tax fraud in September. According to reports the former mayor of Cannes and current dean of the National Assembly failed to mention an account in Switzerland with more than one million euros in it which he had held since 1973. 83-year-old Brochand will appear in court on September 8th in Paris.

Number of second homes in PACA has quadrupled - A survey carried out by INSEE has shown that the number of second homes in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region has quadrupled in fifty years. The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Var are the departments where the number of second homes has increased the most, with the Bouches-du-Rhône seeing its number of second home residencies multiply by 2.

Macron answers questions on Tik Tok and Instagram - While on holiday in the Var, French President Emmanuel Macron has interacted on social media using Tik Tok and Instagram to directly answer questions about the covid vaccination and dispel any “false rumours”. In a black T-shirt and sitting in front of a French flag, the Head of State, recalled that the vaccination is "the only weapon" in the face of the fourth wave of Covid.

The initiative of the Head of State comes as the third consecutive Saturday of demonstrations against the health pass was marked by an increased mobilization with more than 200,000 people.

On the vaccination front, 42,592,047 people have received at least one injection (i.e. 63.2% of the total population) and 35,472,139 people now have a complete vaccination schedule (i.e. 52.6% of the total population).

On the contamination side, the number of new positive cases stood at 23,471 on Saturday July 31st compared to 24,309 on Friday, with a positivity rate stable at 4.3%.

Education - The allowance for families on a modest income with children going back to school in September will be made available from August 17th. Nearly 3 million families in France representing 5 million children will benefit from between 370 and 404 euros per child, depending on their age, to help pay for schoolbooks and equipment.

Poverty - According to a recent study carried out by the CES, 28% of Europeans can’t afford to spend a week’s holiday abroad. The study published on Monday August 2nd showed that Greece was the worst affected with 88,9% threatened by poverty followed by Romania, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovakia.

Mountain tourism - Mountain tourism in France has reported a positive season so far, according to the national association of mayors located in winter resorts. Figures show a 9% increase in visitors compared to last year, with the Pyrenees coming top showing a 24% increase in July.

Business

The airline Qantas says it will stand down 2,500 staff due to the lockdown in Sydney which has impacted air travel across Australia. The airline said it would pay staff until mid-August, after which they could apply for government support payments. Since June, fresh Covid outbreaks have forced most Australian states to reimpose restrictions. The highly contagious Delta variant has forced lockdowns in several cities and some state border closures. The situation is most severe in Sydney. It is seeing about 200 new infections each day, despite being in lockdown since 26th June.

The UK government has abandoned a proposal to create an "amber watch-list" of countries at risk of moving to red in the travel traffic light system. The news comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted a "simple" and "balanced approach" to pandemic travel. Government sources said no new categories would now be added. Tory MPs and travel industry figures earlier warned a complex system risked putting people off from travelling.

In a move that it hopes will counteract the spread of misleading information Twitter is set to collaborate with two of the largest international news providers, Reuters and the Associated Press. The news agencies will help Twitter give more context and background information on events which create a high volume of tweets.

Goldman Sachs has increased its salaries for younger bankers following complaints of long working hours. According to the Financial Times the pay increase does not include bonuses. The move comes as a top banker criticised recruits for being "entitled". Xavier Rolet, who ran the London Stock Exchange for eight years, said the younger generation of bankers should stop complaining about long working hours or find another job. He suggested banks should hire "poor hungry kids who managed to put themselves through college" instead of "entitled" graduates. Mr Rolet, who worked at Goldman Sachs in New York and in London early on in his career, said on LinkedIn that he would regularly work 130 hours a week, seven days a week in the 1980s.

Sport 

Tokyo Olympics – British sprinter Adam Gemili's hopes of a medal in the men's 200m at the Tokyo Olympics were dashed as he pulled up injured in the heats. 27-year-old Gemili had been aiming to improve on his fourth-placed finish at Rio 2016 where he missed out on bronze by three thousandths of a second.

In today’s action there will be 26 medal events with competitions in artistic gymnastics, athletics, boxing, cycling, diving, sailing, weightlifting and wrestling and today’s highlights include the Women’s 200m.  

Football – Transfer target for Manchester City Harry Kane, did not return to the Tottenham training ground as expected on Monday morning amid speculation over his future. The striker was scheduled to have coronavirus testing on Monday before starting training today. Kane has had a three-week break after helping England reach the Euro 2020 final. Spurs have offered no explanation for why the 28-year-old did not turn up.

Meanwhile Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson will miss the club's training camp in Scotland this week as he recovers from Covid-19.

And new research by the University of Glasgow, which was funded by the Football Association and players' union the Professional Footballers' Association, says that defenders are more likely to have dementia in later life compared with other playing positions in football. The research also found that the risk increased the longer a player's football career was.

Formula One - Lewis Hamilton's championship lead has been extended to eight points after the correction of an error in the results of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel was listed as second in the "final" results on Sunday night despite being disqualified. The results have been re-issued with Vettel disqualified and Hamilton second. An appeal by Aston Martin may still happen.

Cricket - England Test captain Joe Root has said that he “just wants his friend to be OK" after Ben Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket for mental health reasons. All-rounder Stokes, 30, has withdrawn from the squad for the five-Test series against India, which starts on Wednesday at Trent Bridge. Root added: "As long as I've known Ben, he puts everyone else first, and now is an opportunity to put himself first”.

Weather

Mainly fine with a gentle breeze. Highs of 30 degrees in Marseille, 29 in Nice and Vence, 24 inland in Gap going down to 17 degrees along the coast and 10 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for Wednesday is highs of 27 degrees across the region with patches of cloud throughout the morning and rain forecast in the afternoon. Thursday clear skies and highs of 31 degrees.

And Finally 

A restaurant in the US has refused to serve vaccinated people. Managers say that the decision "defends individual liberty and the liberty of Americans". Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in California, has become accustomed to controversy since the start of the Covid epidemic after refusing to close despite instruction from authorities.

The managers now fiercely opposed to the vaccine, will only allow unvaccinated customers to enter posting a clear message on their door which reads: "We have zero tolerance for anti-American betrayal and stupidity." The restaurant had also created an association called "Make Restaurants Great again", in reference to Donald Trump's campaign slogan of which they are supporters. They claim to want to "defend individual liberty and the freedom of Americans" despite the "risks".

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