French and Riviera News Tuesday 8th December 2020

News

Cases of Coivd-19 have stalled in France - The president of the Confederation of French medical unions (CSMF) has warned that “there is a certain relaxation, from the French concerning restrictions for Covid-19, which could prove to be catastrophic”. Jean Paul Ortiz made the comments following a press conference held by France’s General Health Director Jérôme Salomon on Monday evening.

The General Health Director warned that “France is still facing a high risk of an epidemic rebound” and that the “objective of passing below 5,000 cases per day” is still not in sight.

Health authorities in France are worried, that the milestone of 5,000 coronavirus cases per day now seems difficult to achieve, as the number of positive cases has "stalled" in the past week.

A new health defense council will take place on Wednesday morning at the Élysée Palace, in order to take stock of the situation, with a view to preparing a new press conference, which should take place on Thursday with Jean Castex and Olivier Véran. The Prime Minister and his Minister of Health are expected to make announcements on the next steps in easing the current lockdown.

French President Emmanuel Macron had initially set the course of December 15th to lift the lockdown, explaining that it would again be possible to travel without authorization, including between regions, and spend Christmas with family. And that "cinemas, theaters, museums would be able to resume their activity". However according to reports, several scenarios are to be examined by health authorities in case the initial target of 5,000 cases per day is not reached by mid-December. One possibility is to consider the establishment of a curfew at 5 p.m. in order to limit the flow of people and reconsidering the reopening of theatre which could be postponed by a week.

Elderly woman with dementia fined - A French court has ruled that an elderly woman diagnosed with dementia must pay a fine of 166 euros for having put the wrong date on her form for leaving home during lockdown.

Her daughter had appealed against the fine imposed during a police check in April. The 73-year-old woman was stopped while out shopping in Luxeuil, eastern France.

Tous AntiCovid app scam - Meanwhile authorities have warned of a scam currently circulating concerning the “Tous AntiCovid” application set up by the French government to track and trace Covid-19 cases.

Since Wednesday an SMS which looks similar to the one sent by the government to download the app has been in circulation. One cybersecurity specialist warns of a potentially “expensive hack which allows hackers to infiltrate your phone”.

The only difference is the link that does not redirect to the government site bonjour.tousanticovid.gouv. More than 11 million French people have downloaded the official application.

Notre Dame Basilica perpetrator charged - The alleged perpetrator of the attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice has been charged with several offences. The anti-terrorism prosecutor said that the 21-year-old Tunisian national had been charged with assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise, attempted assassinations in conection with a terrorist enterprise and participation in a criminal terrorist association. Three people died in the attack on 29 October. The accused is still in hospital in the Paris area.

Ski resorts open, but not to everyone - Nice mayor Christian Esrosi has said that he's decided to open Auron and Isola2000 for high-level athletes and also for licensed ski schools. The mayor pointed out that like all ski resorts in France, local ski stations are awaiting government decisions to open ski lifts for the school holidays. He reminded winter sports enthusiasts that Nordic skiing and snowshoeing activities are already open.

Cancellation of Mimosa Festival - Due to Covid-19 the Mimosa festival in Mandelieu-la-Napoule which was scheduled from February 17th to 24th has been cancelled. The announcement was made by the town hall on Monday. The news comes following other cancellations to regional events such as the Nice Carnival and the Menton Lemon Festival.

CannesSeries Festival – However, the CanneSeries Festival fourth season is set to go ahead from April 9th to 14th.  The event will take place at the Palais des Festivals and is launching a call for projects from all productions, including “international”.
Sarkozy trial - In his landmark trial in Paris on Monday former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has said he "never committed the least act of corruption" and vowed to go "all the way" to clear his name.

The 65-year-old, who led France from 2007 to 2012, is the country's first modern head of state to appear in the dock.

In one of several cases against him he is accused of trying to bribe a judge with a plum retirement job in exchange for inside information on an inquiry into his campaign finances.

He risks a sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of one million euros if convicted of corruption and influence-peddling.

SNCF - SNCF has said that the date for exchanges and refunds of mainline tickets will be extended. The rail operator said that changes and refunds for TGV INOUI, OUIGO and InterCity trains will remain free of charge, up to 3 days inclusive before departure, for journeys until March 7, 2021. However, if the price of the new exchanged ticket is higher than the original ticket, travellers will be required to pay the difference.

Man sentenced for shooting noisy rooster - A five-month suspended sentence has been handed to a man for shooting a noisy rooster and then pinning it onto an iron bar.

Marcel, a cockerel from the Ardèche, was shot dead in May by a neighbour who had become irate with his crowing. Following the incident Marcel’s owner Sebastien Verney, started a petition calling for “justice” for his rooster, which has since been signed by almost 100,000 people.

The neighbour was found guilty of animal cruelty and other offences. Along with the suspended sentence, he was also fined €300 and banned from carrying a weapon for three years.

Last year, a French court ruled in favour of a cockerel owner after her bird's early morning crowing provoked a noise pollution complaint from neighbours. The rowdy rooster in question, Maurice, passed away in June. He was six.

Business

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to fly to Brussels before the end of the week to meet with the president of the European Commission Ursula van der Leyen in a last ditch effort to secure a post-Brexit trade deal.

The two leaders spoke for 90 minutes on the telephone on Monday after which the Commission president held a video conference call with the leaders of Germany and France.

In a joint statement on Monday night ,leaders said that the conditions for a deal had not yet been reached and that “significant differences” remain on fishing ,business competition rules and the governance of any agreement.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord David Frost have been asked to prepare an overview of the remaining differences which will be discussed at a physical meeting between Boris Johnson and Ursula van der Leyen in the coming days.

In a positive development on Monday ,the UK said that it was willing to remove parts of its domestic Internal Market Bill which would give it the power to override any Brexit deal in defiance of international law.

However ,late on Monday ,British MPs voted to reinstate measures in the bill which were removed by the House of Lords last month as a “fall back” option in case a deal is not reached.

 

Shares in the online health and pharmaceutical firm JD Health have soared by 34 percent above their issue price in Hong Kong’s biggest stock market debut of 2020.

The firm ,which is a spinoff of China’s second largest online retailer JD.com opened at 94 Hong Kong dollars 50 -well above the list price of 9 dollars 11.

The company had raised 3.48 billion dollars and was valued at 29 billion dollars ahead of its trading debut.

JD.com is retaining a majority stake in JD Health and it will remain a subsidiary of the e-commerce giant.

The firm is hoping to cash in on China’s large and growing market for health services and pharmaceuticals.

 

And-Uber is selling its driverless cars subsidiary to the start-up firm Aurora Technologies but maintains that it still remains interested in the sector.

Aurora which was founded in 2017 said that the deal will help it to step up its mission to make self-driving cars a reality.

Uber will invest 400 million dollars in Aurora which will give it a 26 percent stake and its chief executive will serve on the board.

Uber says that it’s taken the decision in order to focus on profits.

The development of driverless technology had been a key goal for Uber’s founder and former chief executive Travis Kalanick but the programme hit setbacks after one of its cars was involved in a fatal crash in Arizona.The driverless car unit was also involved in legal fights over allegations of technology theft.

Sport

Football-There was one game in the English Premier League last night. Southampton are up to 5th place in the table thanks to a 2-1 win at Brighton.

The final group games in the European Champions League are being played tonight and tomorrow.

Group E winners Chelsea are at home to Krasnadar while Manchester United need at least a draw to qualify for the knockout phase when they visit RB Leipzig in Group H.

If Paris St Germain win their home  game against Istanbul Basaksehir ,they’ll win the group no matter what United do.

 

Formula 1-Sergio Perez has said that he’s determined to stay in the sport following his maiden victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain on Sunday.

The Mexican is out of contract at Racing Point and will leave after the final race of the season.

The only possibility for him to continue will be if Red Bull choose him as their second driver.

Perez said that his best option will be to continue next season but he’s prepared to take a year out and come back in 2022 if necessary.

 

Cricket-England’s limited overs tour of South Africa is over following a number of positive coronavirus tests.

Two members of the England party have returned “unconfirmed” positive tests while a South Africa player and two hotel staff also tested positive.

The England and Wales Cricket Board says that the tour has been called off to ensure the “mental and physical health and welfare of the players”.

 

Boxing-Anthony Joshua says that he’s developed a “gladiator mentality” as he prepares to put his world heavyweight titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena on Saturday.

Joshua will be defending his WBO ,IBF .WBA and IBO titles for the first time since he beat Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision last year.

In a BBC interview last night ,Joshua said that he’s wary of the threat posed by Pulev but that he is learning to become “uncivilised” in the ring. He also said that he would bide his time before agreeing to any clash with Tyson Fury.

Weather

Overcast with outbreaks of rain and some bright spells this afternoon. Moderate westerly wind and highs of 12-13 degrees.

Overnight lows of 6 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Sunshine and showers tomorrow ,rain on Thursday.Highs of 10-12 degrees.

And Finally 

An Italian husband who stormed off on a 280-mile walk that lasted seven days to calm down after arguing with his wife has been  fined 400 euros for breaking Covid restrictions. 

The man, went for a week-long hike to calm his anger following the heated exchange.  He left from Como in the north of Italy and made his way south, traversing around 40 miles per day.  

Police officers discovered the man walking at 2am in breach of the country's coronavirus restrictions.  They came across him while conducting a standard search for Covid-19 rule-breakers.  Across Italy, a curfew is in place from 10pm until 5am to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

 

 

Last local news

Evening Update Friday 22 January 2021

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that the government has ordered enough vaccines to protect all French people before the end of August... Evening Update Friday 22 January 2021 Read More

22/01/2021

Evening Update Thursday 21 January 2021

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that if the so-called British variant of the coronavirus increases "significantly" then a new lockdown w... Evening Update Thursday 21 January 2021 Read More

21/01/2021

Lunchtime News Friday 22nd January 2021

A PCR Covid test will be mandatory for all European travellers arriving in France from midnight on Sunday. The measure will only be exempt for fronti... Lunchtime News Friday 22nd January 2021 Read More

22/01/2021