French and Riviera News.Tuesday July 7th 2020

Migrants detained - 11 migrants have been detained after being discovered hidden in an Italian registered truck at La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var.

Officers were called by the truck driver who’d been surprised to discover the 11 when he opened the back of his vehicle.

The migrants ,who are all described as being in a poor state of health owing to the cramped and stuffy conditions inside the truck are all from Iraq ,Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It’s not yet clear how and where they boarded the vehicle. All have received medical check ups but none has required hospital treatment.


Fire risks-The prefecture of the Var has issued a severe forest fire risk owing to brisk winds which have been blowing across the department.

Winds of up to 65 km/h have been affecting areas between Sainte-Baume and the Hyeres Islands with increased fire patrols on the ground and the public warned of the risks.

Seven of the Var’s nine forested regions have been placed on a severe orange fire alert until further notice.

Anyone who spots a fire in woodland is urged to call 18 or 112 immediately.


Ready to serve- The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has said that he would be “ready to serve “ if he was asked to be part of the government of new French Prime Minister Jean Castex.

Mr Estrosi says that while he has “political differences” with President Macron ,he shares a “number of common goals”.

The Mayor stressed that his first priority remained the city of Nice but that he would be open to “serve his country” in some capacity if asked.

Jean Castex is in the process of naming his new cabinet of ministers following his appointment last Friday by President Macron.


Covid-19 - Four people suffering from coronavirus remain in intensive care in Var hospitals this morning ,down from 62 at the start of April.

At the height of the crisis ,325 patients were receiving hospital treatment at the same time for the virus but the figure now stands at 85.

There was one further death from Covid-19 at the end of last week taking the total number of fatalities to 231 since the start of the pandemic.

970 patients have fully recovered and left hospital.


Var car accident-Three people have been injured ,one seriously after a car came off the road on the RD39 between Flassans and Gonfaron in the Var.

Reports say that 5 people were inside the var when it crashed on Monday afternoon but only the three injured were found when emergency services arrived on the scene. The other two occupants are thought to have fled before police arrived.


Rugby star dies- The French Rugby world is mourning the death of Jean -Francois Meslier de Rocan who’s died at the age of 50.He’d been suffering with lung cancer.

Meslier de Rocan was a key player for Nice in the 1990’s and had a reputation as a tough and uncompromising prop forward.

Known as “Jeff” to his teammates ,he spent 8 seasons at Nice before moving to Auch and then Colomier.


In National News.


Reshuffle-The Elysee Palace has announced a list of new appointments to serve under new Prime Minister Jean Castex.

The big changes are the appointment of Gerard Darmanin who moves from the Budget Ministry to the Interior Ministry to replace Christophe Castaner.

Eric Dupond-Moretti becomes Justice Minister replacing Nicole Belloubet and the former Green Party politician Barbara Pompili takes over at the Environment Ministry.

Several Ministers keep their jobs including Bruno Le Maire at Finance ,Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian and the Education Minister Jean Michel Blanquer.

The former Interior Minister Christophe Castaner loses his place in the cabinet completely following a row over his perceived lack of support for the police over allegations of racism.

The new cabinet will meet in Paris later today.


Vicious Assault - A bus driver from the south west town of Bayonne has been declared brain dead after he was attacked by several people that he’d refused to let aboard his vehicle because they were not wearing face masks.

Police say that one person is in custody in connection with the attack and that others “are being sought”.

The incident happened on Sunday night when a group of people attempted to board the bus without tickets or masks.

The driver was repeatedly punched as he tried to prevent the group getting on the vehicle.

Several of the driver’s  colleagues have refused to work since the incident.


Accidental Americans- A lawyer representing people with dual French-American nationality has filed a new complaint over US tax and bank rules that he says are unfairly penalising his clients.

The civil lawsuit wants to force a Paris court to appoint a judge to investigate claims that French citizens are being discriminated against because of sweeping US legislation.

The Accidental Americans Association has been fighting for exemption from. 2013 US requirement that all citizens file extensive details on any foreign bank accounts along with their annual revenue declarations ,even if they have not lived or worked in America for years.

Many people who were born in the United States but only spent a few months there as infants before their parents returned to France say that they should not be subject to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act FATCA.

Banks face severe penalties for non-compliance and online banks in particular see the costs as too high to justify taking on French -American clients.




The US services sector rebounded strongly in June according to the Institute for Supply Management but a resurgence of coronavirus cases that’s forced some businesses to close again threatens the economic recovery.

The ISM says that services recovered to near pre-pandemic levels last month with its non-manufacturing activity index jumping to a reading of 57.1 in June-its highest level since February and up from 45.4 in May.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion but the flare up in new Covid-19 cases risks pushing the index down again in July.

The fresh report follows last week’s ISM manufacturing survey which showed US factory activity at a 14 month high.

The services sector accounts for two thirds of US economic activity but a resurgence of coronavirus cases in large states has hit bar and restaurant businesses in particular hit hard.


The European Union has threatened to ramp -up a 15 year dispute with the United States over aircraft subsidies for Airbus and Boeing unless Washington agrees to a settlement.

The EU and the US have repeatedly accused each other of propping up their domestic aviation markets with a series of tax breaks ,grants and other aid.

The EU Trade Commissioner has accused the US of rejecting moves to settle the dispute.

The latest news comes as Washington threatens to impose fresh tariffs on a range of EU products including beer ,gin and olives.

Tariffs of between 15 and 25 percent have already been imposed in 7.5 billion dollars worth of EU goods as part of the dispute.

A ruling is due in September on how much in duties the EU can levy on US products.


And-More jobs are going in the UK with the sandwich chain Pret a Manger closing some 30 retail out