French and Riviera News Wednesday 10th March 2021

News

French government is not expected to increase restrictions or ease measures - Ahead of today’s defense council meeting which is being held at the Elysee Palace to take stock of the health situation, reports say that the French government is not considering restricting or easing the measures currently in place in the fight against Covid. 

Today’s meeting is expected to give an update on the situation in the 23 departments of France which are placed under reinforced surveillance due to Covid. Apart from Dunkirk where the weekend lockdown has been extended "for the next three weekends” the government does not envisage any new restrictions. The Head of State is however particularly concerned with the situation in the Île-de-France where the incidence rate and the positivity rate are being closely monitored and following the cancellation of 40% of regular surgical procedures in hospitals in the Ile de France, where 400 beds were made available for patients with Covid-19.

League against cancer warns that thousands of cancer patients will die due to hospital cancelling surgical procedures – The president of the League against cancer Axel Kahn, has warned that due to hospitals cancelling regular surgical or medical procedures "thousands of cancer patients will die in the next five to six years”. Kahn went on to say that “people suffering from more serious diseases, which date from before Covid have seen their priority drop". 

Intensive care admissions continue to increase – As far as the lastest figures are concerned the number of Covid patients admitted to intensive care continues to increase in France. According to hospital data published on Tuesday 9th March there are 3,918 patients in intensive care units across France including 421 admitted in the last 24 hours. This number had reached below 2,600 at the beginning of January and is now at the same level as at the end of November, but is still far from figures reported during the first wave last spring, which showed 7,000 intensive care admissions in early April. 

In total, 25,201 patients were hospitalized on Tuesday across France, including 1,810 who arrived in the last 24 hours. Nearly 300 Covid-19 patients (299) died in hospital between Monday and Tuesday. France has more than 89,000 deaths since the start of the epidemic. 

Vaccination in France - France’s government has said general practitioners will be able to resume placing orders for the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine following an outcry over plans to make the jab solely available to pharmacists. French Health Minister Olivier Véran assured doctors that, contrary to a note issued by top health officials at the weekend, the government was not going to indefinitely suspend their capacity for delivering the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.  

In other national news

Teenage girl found drowned in the Seine had been a victim of bullying and social media harassment - According to French media, the 14-year-old girl found drowned in the Seine in Argenteuil on Monday March 8th had been the victim of school bullying for several weeks in particular, harassment on social media. One of the two teens implicated in her death is believed to have hacked the girl's Snapchat account to expose intimate content, photos and videos. The victim's mother had made a report last month for harassment to the school head. The two suspects, a 15-year-old teenager and his girlfriend of the same age, are still in custody.

Death threats - France’s National Assembly has taken action following death threats against MPs. The threats were sent to fifty elected officials from different parties, including local MP Eric Ciotti. Accompanied by photos, the threats were sent by email. At this stage the threats remain unclaimed and without a clear reason.

In local news

Homeless in Nice - 130 volunteers from sixteen associations have exposed the worrying number of homeless sleeping rough in Nice. An initiative launched by the Secours Populaire and Solidarité 06 gave alarming results for France's 5th largest city with 1,324 homeless. 324 are sleeping rough and a thousand are in emergency, temporary or precarious accommodation. 6% are between 18 and 24 years old and 33% are 55 years old and over. Secretary general of the Secours Populaire for the region Jean Stellittano, has been sounding the alarm for months on the explosion of poverty in Nice and in the department saying that “it’s very worrying that half of the homeless have been on the street for less than a year which means the sharp increase in poverty is clearly linked to the Covid health crisis”.

Train service interrupted - The train service between Antibes and Cannes has been interrupted following an electrical fault near Cannes on Tuesday evening. Traffic resumed shortly after 7.30 pm but several delays were expected into the evening as technicians intervened.

Monaco Bal de la Rose postponed - The 66th Monaco Bal de la Rose has been postponed for a second time due to the Covid pandemic. The news was officially announced on Tuesday March 9th in a press release from Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, which coordinates the organization of this annual evening launching the Monegasque social season. Planned to be held in March the organisers have postponed the event opting for March 19th, 2022. 

Business

The European Union has set an ambitious target to boost production of computer chips by the end of the decade. The EU wants to see a 20 percent increase in the manufacture of chips inside the bloc by 2030. In 2020 it was 10 percent. The pledge comes at a time when supply is failing to meet demand causing problems for car manufacturers and other firms. The news comes as the United States and China also seek to ramp up chip production. Taiwan and South Korea currently dominate the market but have been unable to keep up with growing demand. Setting up cutting-edge production plants for new chips will be costly with each plant costing up to 17 billion euros to build and equip.

A California firm is investigating a massive hack which is said to have involved 150,000 of its security cameras. A group of hackers claims to have breached the security firm Verkada which provides cameras to a range of firms and organisations including Tesla and the US prison service. Stolen footage shows the insides of hospitals, prisons, schools and company buildings. Verkada says that its notified authorities and is investigating the “scale and scope” of the issue. The hackers say that the reason for the attack was down to “a lot of curiosity, fighting for freedom of information and against intellectual property”. They also said that it was just “too much fun not to do it”. The hack exposes the amount of surveillance that the average person is subjected to on a daily basis and raises questions about privacy and the power of private firms as well as the state.

The energy giant Chevron has outlined plans to slow its carbon emissions while at the same time expanding oil and gas production between now and 2025. Investors have been putting pressure on Chevron and other energy firms to reduce spending and do more to limit carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The firm says that it can achieve both its output and carbon goals despite oil price fluctuations. It said that it was not “betting on higher prices” to bail it out but would cut costs in an efficient manner while still managing to increase output. Some analysts remain unimpressed and have described Chevron’s plans as “too modest”.

Sport

Football - There were two Champions League round of 16 second leg ties last night. Borussia Dortmund and Seville drew 2-2 on the night with the German side taking the tie 5-4 on aggregate to move into the quarter finals. Porto are also through to the last 8 despite losing 3-2 away at Juventus but a late goal from the Portuguese side tied the aggregate score at 4-4 and they qualify on the away goals rule. There are two more ties tonight. Liverpool host RB Leipzig leading 2-0 from the first leg and Paris St Germain lead Barcelona 4-1 heading into the second leg.

Cricket - The former England, Surrey and Warwickshire bowler Joey Benjamin has died at the age of 60. Benjamin took 387 first class wickets in an 11 year career but only played once for England where he took 4-44 in the first innings against South Africa at the Oval in 1994. He also played two one-day internationals. His death came following a reported heart attack.

Rugby Union - Wales have recalled scrum-half Gareth Davies and lock Cory Hill for Saturday’s 6 Nations trip to Italy. Wales are still on course for the Grand Slam and will only have France to beat in their final match provided they come through in Rome. Davies comes in for the injured Kieran Hardy while Hill is given the nod following his try-scoring substitute appearance against England. Adam Beard is being rested and drops out of the squad.

Tennis - Roger Federer’s first game on his return to the ATP Tour will be against Dan Evans of Great Britain. Evans beat Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round of the Qatar Open to set up a second round clash with the 39-year-old. The pair have been practicing together in recent weeks and Evans says that he thinks Federer looks “pretty good”. The winner of this evening’s match will progress to the last 8.

Golf - England’s Danny Willett will miss the Players Championship at Sawgrass after testing positive for coronavirus. The former Masters champion will be replaced in the field by Kramer Hickok of the United States who’s ranked 308 in the world. The Players Championship, which is billed as the 5th major, starts tomorrow. 

Weather

Clear skies with moderate south westerly winds. Top temperature 15-16 degrees. Overnight lows of 6-8 degrees with clear  skies.

Thursday and Friday - Mainly fine with highs of 16-18 degrees.

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