French and Riviera News.Tuesday July 6th 2021

News

Cannes 2021 - The Cannes Film Festival opens at the Palais des Festivals this evening having been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Spike Lee is the President of the Jury this year and the opening movie will be “Annette”, a musical from the director Leos Carax. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard star with music by Sparks duo Ron and Russell Mael. More than 2,500 films were submitted for consideration this year after last year’s event had to be cancelled. There are 24 films in the official competition including “Flag Day” by Sean Penn and Wes Anderson’s “French Dispatch”. Sadly there will be no British presence this year owing to coronavirus restrictions.

Respect nature - Visitors to areas of natural beauty are being reminded to respect nature and the environment. Park officials from Vence, Grasse, the Esteron and the Mercantour say that they’re shocked at the lack of respect shown by visitors from thoughtless parking to discarding litter. An information campaign has been launched but authorities have warned that if rules aren’t respected then fines will be issued. Paramount is the need to force home the message that lighting fires is strictly forbidden and that smoking is strongly discouraged and banned in many areas.

Anti tobacco drive - The French government is to step up efforts to get people to stop smoking and to drink less alcohol. In February, President Macron announced a 10 year plan to substantially reduce incidences of cancer in France, many of which are caused by smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. Latest statistics show that 382,000 people in France are diagnosed with cancer every year and there are 157,000 deaths from the disease annually. The French Prime Minister Jean Castex, says that he wants to see cancer rates fall by 60,000 a year. Smoking alone accounts for 45,000 deaths every year with fatal cancers caused by alcohol not far behind. The government has been steadily increasing the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes and more rises are on the way. 10 percent of the adult population are classed as problem drinkers and account for 58 percent of all alcohol sales in the country.

Fake veg - A fruit and vegetable wholesaler from the Bouches du Rhone is under investigation for allegedly switching labels on tonnes of Spanish produce and then passing it off as French at inflated prices. The state prosecutor’s office at Tarascon has been leading investigations along with Gendarmes from Arles and the French Competition Directorate. Reports say that the suspect bought several hundred tonnes of Spanish produce in 2020 and this year including courgettes, peppers, asparagus and squash, switched the labels and then passed it off as French to retailers. Fake invoices were also drawn up and a number of firms are suspected of compliance.

Mandatory jabs? - There are persistent rumours that the government is considering making vaccination against coronavirus mandatory. So far, there’s been no word from the government although health care workers may be ordered to get inoculated if they want to keep their jobs. There is considerable resistance to the vaccines from a sizeable minority of the population for a number of reasons from wild conspiracy theories to more reasonable concerns over the long term effects. 11 vaccines in France are currently mandatory for children under the age of two including MMR, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio and diphtheria.

4th wave - The French Health Minister has warned of a possible 4th wave of coronavirus “from the end of July”. Olivier Veran says that he is becoming increasingly concerned over the spread of the delta variant and is urging the public to get vaccinated. Locally, 75 percent of all new cases of the virus in the Alpes Maritimes and 68 percent in the Var are of the delta variant. Some health experts have said that a 4th wave is “inevitable” although the Pasteur Institute doesn’t think the situation will reach epidemic proportions until after the summer.

Senator death - The death has been announced in Toulon of Senator Patrick Boré. He was 64. Senator Boré served four terms as Mayor of La Ciotat and was a passionate supporter of Toulon Rugby Club. He was a native of the city where his parents kept a butchers shop and played rugby for Racing Club Toulon as a young man. He’d been fighting a long battle against cancer.

New flight - EasyJet has announced a new flight from Nice to the Balearic island of Minorca. Less popular than its neighbour Ibiza, Minorca offers miles and miles of white sandy beaches without the crowds of the more popular holiday islands. EasyJet already flies from Nice to Palma and Ibiza as well as destinations on the Spanish mainland including Barcelona and Seville.

Business

Global shares continue to hover at near record highs although concern over the spread of the delta variant of coronavirus is giving investors pause for thought. Markets have been buoyed by surging eurozone business activity, Friday’s better than expected non farm payroll numbers and increased activity for British services firms. Shares in France were flat on Monday as the Heath Minister warned of a possible 4th wave of coronavirus due to the highly transmissible delta variant while shares in Tokyo slumped to a two week low following a surge in infections just weeks before the city hosts the Olympic Games. Wall Street was closed on Monday for the extended 4th of July weekend.

A bidding war for control of the UK supermarket chain Morrisons is looking more and more likely after another US investment firm said that it was considering entering the fray. Over the weekend, Morrisons accepted an offer by the SoftBank owned Fortess Investment Group worth 8.7 billion dollars. Morrisons shareholders are being recommended to accept the deal but now Apollo Capital has said that it could come in with a better offer. Last month, Morrisons rejected a bid from another private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice which it said undervalued the company. There have also been reports that Amazon is circling as it already has a partnership with Morrisons but there’s been no comment from the online giant. Morrisons is the UK’s 4th largest supermarket chain with around 500 stores and 110,000 employees. The firm’s shares jumped by 11 percent on Monday on news of fresh bidding activity.

Hipgnosis, which owns the rights to a huge library of songs by artists from Neil Young to Blondie is raising its dividend as it expects the streaming boom to continue. The firm, which is listed in London almost doubled its revenues from 82 million dollars to 160 million in the year to the end of March. Hipgnosis makes money every time that one of the songs that it owns is played. The coronavirus pandemic saw a surge in the popularity of digital streaming services and the firm expects the trend to continue. Hipgnosis increased its pretax operating profits from 41.5 million to 44.5 million dollars year on year and has increased its annual dividend target by 5 percent to 5.25 pence a share. The firm is increasingly focused on buying classic hits which currently account for 60 percent of its total library.

Sport

Euro 2020 - The scene is set for the first semifinal of the competition with Italy facing Spain at Wembley at 9pm tonight. Italy have played some electrifying football at the competition and they will be favourites tonight against a Spain side that has been improving but has been struggling to find the back of the net at times. Italy haven’t won the European Championship since 1968 but they’re unbeaten in 32 games and have won their last 13 matches conceding only 2 goals. Spain needed a penalty shootout to get past Switzerland in the quarterfinals and although they’re the tournament’s top scorers a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal could cost them.

The second semi final between England and Denmark, also at Wembley is being played on Wednesday night.

Tennis - The 18-year-old British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu has been forced to pull out of her fourth round Wimbledon match after suffering breathing difficulties. Raducanu who’s been wowing the Wimbledon crowds was trailing 4-6 0-3 to Aija Tomljanovic when she called the trainer onto the court. She left the court and it was announced that she would be taking no further part in the match.

Elsewhere, world number one Ashleigh Barty is into the quarter finals as is Ons Jabeur of Tunisia who beat Iga Swiatek.

In the men’s event both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are through to the last 8 but the fourth seed Alexander Zverev is out after losing a five set thriller to Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada.

Cricket - The veteran England bowler Jimmy Anderson has passed the landmark of 1,000 first class wickets. Anderson took 7-19 for Lancashire against Kent in the County Championship which pushed him over the mark.

Cycling - The Tour de France resumes today following Monday’s rest day as the riders tackle stage 10 between Albertville and Valence. The 190.7 kilometre stage predominantly follows the lower areas of the Rhone Valley but it’s likely to be tricky owing to crosswinds and some steep ascents towards the end of the day. Tadej Pogacar holds a 2 minute 1 second overall lead from Ben O’Connor of Australia with Rigoberto Uran in third, five minutes off the pace.

Rugby Union - The Springboks squad is isolating again following a positive coronavirus test in the camp. South Africa are due to play Georgia on Friday ahead of their 3 Test series against the British and Irish Lions which starts on the 24th of July. Training was previously suspended on the 27th of June following three positive tests. A South Africa Rugby statement said that the current isolation is “preventative” and that further testing would be taking place.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate south easterly winds. Top temperatures 26-29 degrees. Overnight lows of 19-22 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Partially cloudy with highs of 27-30 degrees.

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