French and Riviera News Tuesday 4th January 2022

News 

Surprise suspension at the National Assembly - The National Assembly in France has suspended on Monday evening the examination of the bill on the vaccine pass with its implementation being postponed. The examination of the bill transforming the health pass into a vaccine pass was the subject of a surprise suspension by the Assembly on Monday evening, after a majority of MPs refused to continue the debates after midnight. The coup de théâtre will derail the scheduled timetable for the final text to be adopted by parliament.

Minister says train passengers "can remove mask to eat or drink quickly" - Meanwhile concerning the new regulation of food and drink being forbidden on public transport France's Minister of Transport made a surprising announcement on Monday saying that train passengers could "remove their mask" to "drink or eat quickly". Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a week ago the ban from this Monday to consume in "public transport including long distance.

However, the decree published makes no mention of this measure, yet Matignon and the SNCF nevertheless promised to apply it with "common sense" and "discernment". In an attempt to clarify the rules, the minister said, "If you have an imperative need to drink or eat, because you are fragile or simply because you have this physiological need, you can take off your mask and drink or eat quickly, and then put it back on right after".

Support for businesses announced - French Minister of Employment Elisabeth Borne and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire have announced further support measures for businesses affected by covid restrictions. Amongst the measures, partial activity will be reimbursed at 100% with no out-of-pocket costs for all companies that are subject to new health restrictions if they observe a loss of turnover of at least 65%. The fixed costs system is also changing and will be accessible to certain companies from 50% loss of turnover. It was previously 65%. Bruno Le Maire also said that the fixed costs system will be extended to all companies in the tourism sector.

Laughing gas - A record seven tons of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, with a market value of 2.7 million euros has been seized in the Seine-et-Marne. According to police it's the largest seizure ever made in France and comes following an investigation into an organised network opened back in September. Over-the-counter laughing gas, which is found in the form of cartridges for chantilly cream siphons or in the medical field for anaesthetic purposes, is used by revellers and young people, who divert its use to get "high".

Its consumption presents serious risks such as loss of consciousness, burns but also, in case of repeated use and, or in high doses, severe neurological, psychiatric, and cardiac disorders. Since June 1, 2021, a law prohibits "selling and distributing" the product for misuse with a fine of 3,750 euros.

Sound radars - This week has seen the launch of sound radars in the Paris region which are soon expected to arrive in Nice in the coming weeks. Several local authorities across France are set to launch the radars which will initially be tested to determine the maximum sound level, initially set at 90 decibels. Within three months fines of 135 euros will be given for vehicles which are too noisy.  Exposure to noise, mainly from transport, has a "social cost" of more than 147 billion euros per year in France, particularly in terms of indirect health consequences, according to a report published in July 2021 by the National Council for Noise and Ademe (Agency for the Ecological Transition). According to the WHO, noise is the second environmental factor causing the most health damage in Europe, just behind air pollution, responsible for 40,000 premature deaths per year in France.

Missing person found - A man who was reported missing on Monday from the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence on 27 December has been found safe and well in Marseille. Reports quote relatives of 33-year-old Jesse as saying that he had been assaulted by thieves but was otherwise fine.

Joseph Acchiardo dies aged 87 - A familiar face and much-loved restaurant owner considered as a "figure of old Nice and Niçois cuisine" Joseph Acchiardo had died at the age of 87. Acchiardo's was known for its local cuisine as well as the familiar red and white checked table clothes. The family run business is an institution in the old town which Joseph had taken over from his grandmother in the 50s. He even continued the tradition of his grandmother of leaving just one table at the entrance to the restaurant always reserved for those who couldn't afford to eat.

Recycle Christmas trees - The Cannes town hall has launched a scheme to recycle Christmas trees. Dozens of glass containers have been placed around Cannes where trees can be deposited. The trees will be used as mulching on the green spaces of the municipality or as a supply for collective composting sites. You can find a map of collection points on www.cannes.com

Alpes Maritimes 2nd department of France with the most storms in 2021 - According to a recent study the Alpes Maritimes is the 2nd department of France where there were the most storms in 2021. While 2021 saw the least number of storms on average over the last twelve years, in terms of frequency, the Alpes Maritimes counted 67 stormy days just behind north Corsica which counted the highest number of stormy days at 73 for 2021.

Woman wins 200,000 euros after putting 80 cents in a slot machine - A woman has won more than 200,000 euros at the casino after betting 80 cents. The forty-year-old woman won more than 200,000 euros on New Year's Day by playing at the casino of Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine) after betting 80 cents in a slot machine. It was the first time that the winner had played on a slot machine. She was at the time, accompanying her mother with whom she was staying during the festive season.

Business

The founder of Theranos, the former darling of Silicon Valley has been found guilty of defrauding investors at the end of a landmark trial in California. The jury found that Elizabeth Holmes had deliberately lied about technology that she claimed could detect diseases with just a few drops of blood. Holmes has not been taken into custody and no date has yet been set for sentencing with a further court hearing scheduled for next week. The jury found her guilty on four counts of conspiracy to commit fraud against investors along with three counts of wire fraud. Theranos, which was once valued at 9 billion dollars, promised to revolutionise the health care industry, but its claims about rapid disease detection started to unravel in 2015 following a Wall Street Journal investigation that concluded that it’s core blood-testing technology did not work. 30 witnesses were called during the trial as prosecutors sought to prove that Holmes knew that the product she was selling to investors was useless.

The US tech giant Apple has become the first firm in the world to reach a market capitalisation of 3 trillion dollars. Apple’s share price has rocketed by around 5,800 percent since former chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007. Apple’s value did slip a little after reaching the milestone, closing the day in New York at 2.99 trillion dollars. The firm has been one of the major winners of the health crisis with lockdowns prompting consumers to buy into a range of gadgets as well as streaming services such as Apple TV. It took Apple just 16 months to increase its market valuation from two trillion to three trillion dollars. The iPhone accounts for around half of Apple’s sales.

Two of America’s largest phone companies have agreed to delay the rollout of 5G technology following a request from the US government. The US Transportation Secretary and the Federal Aviation Administration made the request following concerns about aviation safety. Plane makers have warned that C-Band Spectrum 5G wireless signals may interfere with sensitive aircraft electronic systems and could disrupt flights. AT&T and Verizon had initially rejected the request but have now decided to comply.

Sport

Football - The year has got off to a disappointing start for Manchester United who were beaten 1-0 at home by Wolves in the only Premier League game to be played on Monday. Joao Moutino scored the only goal of the game to lift Wolves to 8th place in the table and leave United in 7th place.

In the English Championship on Monday Reading and struggling Derby drew 2-2 and Stoke lost 2-1 at home to Preston.

Cricket - Usman Khawaja has been called into the Australia side for the fourth Test against England which starts in Sydney tonight. The Queensland batsman replaces Travis Head in the middle order following a positive coronavirus test. Fast bowler Scott Bolland keeps his place after producing a match winning performance in Melbourne on his Test debut. Josh Hazelwood is still suffering from a side strain but should be fit for the 5th Test.

South Africa have bowled India out for 202 on day one of the second Test in Johannesburg. India struggled without captain Virat Kohli who’s missing with a back injury. At stumps, South Africa had reached 35-1 in reply.

Cycling - The four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has suffered a setback in his preparations for the 2022 season after picking up a knee injury. Froome says that he’s damaged a tendon in his knee which he thinks is the result of pushing too hard in pre-season training. He said that he was not yet sure when his season would start and the injury has pushed everything back slightly.

Weather

Quite cloudy with light variable winds. Top temperature 12- 14 degrees. Overnight lows of 9-11 degrees with cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Partially cloudy tomorrow with the chance of an afternoon shower. Fine on Thursday. Highs of 9-13 degrees.

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