French and Riviera News Tuesday 9th June 2020

Interior Minister bans use of chokeholds - France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has announced a ban on police officers from using chokeholds on suspects. The ban introduced on Monday comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the United States. In an attempt to quell rising anger in France towards police officers, Castaner said: “The chokehold method will be abandoned. It will no longer be taught in police and gendarmerie schools. It is a method that has its dangers.” During a televised announcement, Castaner also addressed complaints about racist behaviour among police officers.

Masks - The French government is urging employers to buy protective masks which have been made in France. Secretary of State for the Economy Agnès Pannier-Runacher said in an interview on Monday that about ten percent of those businesses who converted to producing masks have stocks on their hands. About 450 French companies converted their production to masks in order to help with the health crisis, often at considerable cost. However, large quantities of masks have also been offered for sale from businesses abroad, particularly in China. A meeting is being held today involving French companies who have unsold stocks in order to attempt to resolve the situation.

Laughing gas - Police in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region have warned of an increase in consumption of laughing gas among young adults. Nitrous oxide is used among adolescents for its side effects. The product is available over the counter, costing around 50 cents each, in stores and supermarkets. In 2019, dozens of cases of side effects were reported from consuming the gas, including at least eight cases of serious neurological damage, mainly in the Hauts-de-France region.

Online petition to save the beach huts of plage Mala - An architect from Nice has launched an online petition to save the beach huts on plage Mala in Cap d’Ail. Threatened with destruction following a decree from the prefect issued in October last year, the huts are considered to be on the public domain making them illegal. Nicolas Svetchine argues to protect the heritage site which he considers to be the last visible testimony of the region’s fishermen.

“Sean Connery’s house” for sale - The former Riviera home of 007 actor Sean Connery has gone on the market for a reported 30 million euros. The house was acquired in the 1970s by the actor and is located on the Cap of Nice. Having changed hands since, the house is still referred to as “Sean Connery’s house” in the neighbourhood.

Mother gives birth on sailboat - An expectant mother has given birth at sea. Just in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday Nina and Damien, who live on their sailboat in Port Gallice, in Juan-les-Pins welcomed their baby daughter onboard. Mother and daughter are reported to be doing just fine.  

Business

Asian stocks have rallied for the 9th straight session today and oil prices are up as the lifting of coronavirus lockdowns in many countries led investors' hopes of a relatively quick global economic recovery. Markets have been particularly encouraged by Friday’s nonfarm payroll numbers which showed a surprise drop in the US unemployment rate which sent Wall Street surging. Markets were battered in March at the start of the coronavirus crisis with investors concerned over the extent of both the short and longer term damage to the world economy. Most indices are now back to pre Covid-19 levels with analysts saying that the efforts of central banks to stabilise markets appears to have worked. There are warnings however that the road to recovery will take time while the threat of a second wave of coronavirus infections can’t be ruled out.

The US economy officially entered recession in February ending its longest period of expansion as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The US National Bureau of Economic Research says that activity and employment hit a “clear and well defined peak” in February before falling. A recession had been expected after the US economy contracted by 5 percent in the first three months of the year. Employers reported cutting some 22 million jobs in March and April as restrictions on activity forced many businesses to close. Some economists are now hopeful that job losses have stopped and that a rebound has begun. There have been 12 declared recessions in the United States since 1948, the longest of which lasted 18 months during the financial crisis from December 2007 to June 2009.

BP has announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs following a global slump in demand for oil because of the coronavirus crisis. BP had paused redundancies during the peak of the pandemic but told staff that around 15 percent will leave the firm by the end of the year. In an email to staff, the firm said that the oil price has plunged well below the level we need to turn a profit and that BP was spending much, much more than it’s making. Some 2,000 of the job cuts are expected to come in the UK where the firm employs 15,000 people.

Sport

Football - The Manchester City star Raheem Sterling has called for more black managers to be appointed at English Premier League clubs. Sterling says that progress to stamp out racism will only come when more black players become managers. Thousands of people have been taking part in anti-racism marches in the UK following the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May the 25th. Sterling said that the protests were a “great starting point” to make your voice heard but that protests alone would not lead to a change.

Formula 1 - Lewis Hamilton has called for governments around the world to remove all racist symbols following the toppling of the statue of a slave trader in Bristol. The world champion has saluted anti-racist protestors who tore down the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol on Sunday. He said that governments should implement the peaceful removal of all racist symbols and that the statue of Colston should “remain in the river” where it was dumped.

Rugby Union - English Premiership clubs have unanimously voted to cut the salary cap by 1.4 million pounds to help with losses incurred as a result of coronavirus. The senior ceiling will come down to 5 million pounds from the 2021-22 season and will be in place until the end of the 2023-24 season. Some Premiership clubs have returned to phase 1 training which allows small groups of players to train together while observing social distancing. Last week, the league gave a provisional restart date for matches of the 15th of August.

Weather

Mainly fine this morning, heavy thunderstorms with hail at times this afternoon and light westerly winds. Top temperatures 20-23 degrees. Overnight lows of 16 degrees on the coast and 12 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Sunshine and thundery showers. Highs of 21-23 degrees.

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