French and Riviera News Tuesday 6th October 2020


Storm Alex - At least seven people have died following Storm Alex which hit the valleys behind Nice and northern Italy on Friday 3rd October. Eight people are still reported missing and the whereabouts of 13 others is still not known.

In the hinterland of Menton several towns remain inaccessible. Nearly 1,000 firefighters are still hard at work with 652 people being rescued.

The road leading to La Tinée the RM2205 will reopen today for residents and emergency services from 8am to 9am and from 5pm to 6pm.

Since Monday afternoon, the army have been transporting water and food supplies from Nice to those affected by the storm.

The prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes announced on Monday evening the reopening of five schools in the region. Meanwhile for those schools which remain closed a toll-free number has been set up to support staff, students and families the number is 0800 088 280.  

The Nice Côte d´Azur Chambre de Commerce has put in place a helpline number dedicated to businesses affected by the storm for all enquiries call 04 93 13 75 73 or email

2,644 households were still without electricity on Monday evening in Saint-Martin-Vésubie, Belvédère, Venanson and Utelle.

Meanwhile Renauld Muselier, the President of the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Region said that special rail links are being established to supply Breil and Roya and a helicopter is being chartered to connect Tende from today. Repair works on the Breil-Tende railway line will begin shortly but it's thought they may take two months to complete.

Alpes Maritimes MP Eric Ciotti has estimated that one billion euros of damage has been caused by the storm and French President Emmanuel Macron is to visit the area tomorrow afternoon.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that a procedure has begun to classify parts of the region as areas of natural disaster. He said that he expects this to be finalized at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

Meanwhile the Monegasque Red Cross has launched an appeal for donations for those affected by Friday's storm. You can make a donation at

Wolves - Following the storm Alex, the Mercantour National Natural Park, has said that the destruction caused has made it possible for wolves to escape. A spokesperson for the park has said that they do not represent any danger for the population saying that “they are not going to come to Saint-Martin-Vésubie to eat us,” adding that  "the wolf is intelligent, it is a social animal, it has plenty of other animals to eat". "The only danger for them is to fight with other wild packs of wolves”.

Restaurants reopen under stricter health guidelines - Restaurants have reportedly been allowed to reopen in Marseille under stricter health guidelines while bars remain closed. Several restaurants reopened their doors on Monday lunchtime with the move still to be confirmed by the president of the region.

Meanwhile in Paris bars are to close from today for two weeks due to Covid-19, as new tougher measures are introduced with restaurants subject to stricter health rules.  

Covid-19 – The latest figures from Public Health France show that 710 Covid-19 patients have been admitted to hospital in the last 24 hours, including 74 people in intensive care.

70 people have died from the coronavirus since Sunday and a total of 7,276 patients are currently hospitalized for Covid-19, including 710 who were admitted in the last 24 hours.

5,084 new contaminations have been reported in the past 24 hours, a figure much lower than the data published this weekend: Saturday, saw 16,972 new cases.

SNCF tickets - The SNCF has announced that reservations are open from today for the winter festive season. Tickets for TGV inoui and ouigo along with intercity trains are now on sale for the holiday period from December 13th to January 4th.

Due to the current the health crisis this year all train tickets are "exceptionally" refundable and exchangeable free of charge.

The SNCF regularly sees record sales on its site for Christmas tickets: in 2018, it sold 40 tickets per second on the opening day of sales for the end-of-year holidays.


The United States Space Development Agency has announced that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has won a contract to develop missile-tracking sites for the Pentagon.

The 149 million dollar contract is the firm’s first government contract to build satellites and the money will be put towards funding interplanetary targets.

SpaceX is the leading developer of reusable rockets and astronaut capsules and is now ramping up production for Starlink-a growing constellation of hundreds of internet-beaming satellites.

Under the contract ,SpaceX will use its Starlink assembly plant at Redmond in Washington to build four satellites fitted with a wide-angle infrared missile tracking sensor.

The contract is part of the SDA’s first phase to procure satellites to detect and track missiles such as intercontinental ballistic missiles which can travel long distances and are hard to track and intercept.


The BBC says that UK employers planned 58,000 redundancies in August taking the total number of job cuts to 498,000 for the first five months of the coronavirus crisis.

The figures were released to the BBC under a freedom of information request.

966 separate employers told the government of plans to cut 20 or more jobs compared with 214 in August 2019-that’s a fourfold increase.

A number of big businesses from many of the hardest hit sectors of the economy have recently announced big redundancy programmes.

A total of 9.6 million jobs have been furloughed since the start of the pandemic and with the government’s scheme coming to an end on the 31st of October ,many employers have been acting to introduce job cuts as they say they won’t be able to pat wages from the 1st of November.


And-in the United States ,Southwest Airlines says that its asking unions to agree to pay cuts in order to prevent furloughs and layoffs into 2021.

The airline industry is struggling for survival as a result of huge losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and in the absence of more federal aid.

Unions represent around 83 percent of the 61,000 Southwest employees.

Non-union staff salaries are being cut by 10 percent until the first of January 2022 when they will return to normal.


Tennis-Novak Djokovic is through to the last 8 of the French Open thanks to a straight sets win over Karen Khachanov and will now face the 17th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.

The 5th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also through-He beat Grigor Dimitrov and will now play Andrey Rublev.

In the women’s event Petra Kvitova is through to the last 8 following a 6-2 6-4 win over Zhang Shuai of China. She’ll now play Laura Siegemund of Germany who beat Paula Badosa of Spain 7-5 6-2.

Football-There’s been plenty of action on the last day of the transfer window with Arsenal signing Thomas Partey from Athletico Madrid for 45 million pounds and Manchester United securing the services of former PSG striker Edinson Cavani on a free transfer.

Premier League spending during the window was slightly down on last year but still higher than the rest of Europe.

Formula 1- Plans for spectators to attend the Turkish Grand Prix have been scrapped over Covid-19 concerns.

There had been plans to allow a crowd of up to 100,000 to attend the race on the 15th of November but the idea has been shelved following consultation with Turkey’s coronavirus provincial pandemic committee.

This weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix in Germany will allow up to 20,000 fans to attend.

Rugby Union-The England coach Eddie Jones has named 12 uncapped players in his training squad for the autumn internationals.

The 28 man squad will meet for the first time today with England playing the Barbarians on October the 25th before completing their 6 Nations campaign against Italy and then playing 4 games in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Jonny Sexton has been sidelined with a hamstring injury just three weeks ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations game against Italy.

The Fly Half will miss Leinster’s match on Saturday and may struggle to regain fitness in time for the match against Italy.

Cycling-Geraint Thomas is out of contention for the Giro d’Italia after losing more than 12 minutes on stage 3 to Mount Etna.

The 34 year old crashed just before the start after a drinks bottle got lodged under his front wheel.

Jonathan Caicedo won the stage and shares the overall lead with Joao Almeida.


Partially cloudy with moderate to strong south westerly winds.

Top temperature 21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Clear skies ,windy in the Var tomorrow and highs of 21-23 degrees.

And Finally 

Gestures including 'what's the time?' and 'give me the bill' could die out because young people do not understand them. 

Researchers say that the  gestures that have a specific meaning, which are known as emblems, are often specific to individual cultures or generations, they are specific to particular devices and so lose their value as technology changes.

One motion which is under threat has been one of the most popular in the western world for decades: a hand to the ear with the little finger and thumb extended to symbolise a phone. 

Similarly, the circular motion used to indicate the winding up or down of a car window is on its way out. 

And the writing in the air motion to indicate to restaurant staff that a diner is ready for the bill will also be consigned to history as cheque books become less and less common.  

Researchers say the : "Younger generations just will not know what these signals are".





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