French and Riviera News Wednesday 11th November 2020


Interior Minister calls for controls on lockdown restrictions to be stepped up - France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has asked prefects across France to "strengthen controls" and "enforce the rules of lockdown". The Minister wants police checks stepped up on gatherings, parks, gardens, airports and train stations. Since the beginning of the second lockdown police have issued 65,000 fines for noncompliance to lockdown rules.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Jean Castex is to hold a press conference on Thursday 12th November at 6pm following the defense council meeting which is to take place in the morning. Castex will “take stock of the current health situation” in France but according to reports it will be too soon for a"possible easing of restrictions" despite calls from small businesses.

Working from home during lockdown - According to a recent survey carried out by Harris Interactive for France’s Ministry of Employment, 39% of French employees say that their job does not allow them to work remotely. With the arrival of the second lockdown in France the French government called on employers to make their employees work remotely from home “as soon as possible”. The survey showed that 39% of employees were unable to do so, 36% said they were able to and 25% were able but with difficulty. Meanwhile 15% indicated that their employer has not authorized them to work remotely, even partially, despite being able to do so.

Pregnant women not obliged to wear protective masks during childbirth - The French government has clarified that pregnant women must not be obliged to wear protective masks during childbirth. The announcement comes after a flood of complaints from mothers who said they were forced to do so by hospital staff. While some maternity wards in France have insisted on the masks, others were less strict. To end the uncertainty, three French ministers released a joint statement reminding health professionals that “giving birth must remain a privileged moment” – and that while wearing a protective mask in the presence of caregivers was “desirable”, it cannot be made compulsory.

Green Party leader calls for Covid-19 vaccine to be mandatory - Yannick Jadot, a leading figure in France's Green Party has said getting vaccinated against Covid-19 should be mandatory, once the jab becomes available. Jadot, a European MP with France's Green Party EELV made the comment after American laboratory Pfizer reported that its candidate vaccine had shown 90% success rate in preventing people from catching Covid-19. Meanwhile past polls have shown the French to be amongst the most reticent about vaccination. Jadot defended his comments by saying "look at the difficulties facing our societies" adding "we cannot allow ourselves to extend lockdown and to keep decreasing the cultural, social and economic activity of our country".

MP calls for grant to areas hit by Storm Alex - MP Eric Ciotti has expressed his "concern" for the valleys devasted by Storm Alex. Speaking at the National Assembly on Monday the Alpes-Maritimes MP submitted an amendment to grant 500 million euros to the area. The majority elected officials present voted against the amendment. On October 2nd Storm Alex left the valleys of the Roya, Vésubie and Tinée devasted, and some residents are still without drinking water.

School bans parents from “throwing children over the school gate” - A school in Avignon has banned parents from "throwing their children over the school gate". The poster was displayed at the entrance of the establishment after claims from staff that parents, which were running late, had taken to "throwing" pupils over the gate. The unusual warning intended for students and parents was soon taken down after negative reactions on social media.

“Culture and you” in Monaco - Despite the curfew currently in place in the Principality to control the current health crisis, the Department of Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with key players in culture including amongst others, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the Grimaldi Forum, the Princess Grace theater and the Monte Carlo Opera, is launching “Culture et vous” in Monaco. The project's goal is to send a clear message to artists that “cultural life must continue”. “Culture and you” runs until November 30th. Residents will have access to shows at preferential rates and will be able to enjoy certain museums for free. For more information go to

Armistice Day - Today November 11th marks the end of World War One or Armistice Day. This year’s commemerations will be different around France due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures. The traditional large military parade along the Champs-Elysées in Paris will not be taking place. President Emmanuel Macron will still lay the wreath this year, but he will only be accompanied by a small gathering. The ceremony will be broadcast on television. 

Virtual summit on security - During a virtual summit with EU leaders on Tuesday French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the European Union would study how to reform its free-movement Schengen area in order to assure security in response to a series of terror attacks in France and in Austria in recent weeks. Macron said recent attacks in France and Austria underlined the need to toughen European security without sacrificing the principle of free movement near the heart of the European Union.

Macron holds first telephone conversation with Biden - Meanwhile President Emmanuel Macron held his first telephone talks with Joe Biden on Tuesday. The talks between Biden and Macron focused on international cooperation on main global issues. "The president congratulated Joe Biden and his vice president and emphasized his desire to work together on the current issues - climate, health, the fight against terrorism and the defense of fundamental rights”. Macron has never met Biden, who served as vice president under Barack Obama from 2008-2016 before Macron arrived at the Elysee in 2017.

Printemps to close shops and shed jobs - French department store group Printemps has announced the closure of some of its shops and the loss of up to 15 percent of its jobs as it struggles to cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Le Monde newspaper reported that the measures were aimed at stemming operational losses. The newspaper said 428 jobs had been earmarked for losses, 70 percent of which were retail positions. 


The Chinese parent company of the video-sharing app TikTok has filed a petition with a US appeals court to challenge the Trump administration’s order requiring it to divest the firm which is due to take effect tomorrow. ByteDance was ordered by President Trump to divest TikTok within 90 days as it contests that the app poses a national security risk. TikTok, which has more than 100 million users in the US has denied that the personal data of its users is being harvested by the Chinese government. ByteDance says that it is seeking a court review of the divestment order and claims that it’s unlawful and violates rights under the US constitution. The firm has been in talks with Walmart and Oracle to shift TikTok’s US assets into a new firm and wants an extra 30 days to finalise the terms of the deal. The White House has refused to comment on the development.

The European Commission has charged Amazon with abusing its dominant online presence to gain an unfair advantage over its competitors. The charges relate to Amazon’s alleged data use on third-party sellers that use its marketplace which the Commission says that it transforms to boost sales of its own-label goods. Amazon has rejected the charges and says that no firm “cared more” for small business. The online retail giant could face a fine as high as 10 percent of its global turnover if its found to be in breach of EU competition law. The EU’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that it’s vital that platforms with market power did not “distort competition”.

Apple has introduced a MacBook Air Notebook and other devices with the first central processor designed for Macs. The move will tie the firm’s computers and iPhones closer together technologically and marks a shift away from Intel products that have driven the electronics in Macs for some 15 years. Apple is hoping that developers will now create families of apps that work on both its computers and phones. Apple computers have been rather overshadowed by the ubiquitous iPhone in recent years but they still rack up tens of billions of dollars in sales annually. The new MacBook Air will retail at a starting price of 999 US dollars, the same as its predecessor, but it will have up to double the battery life. The new M1 processor will also power the MacBook Pro Notebook and the Mac Mini.


Football - The chairman of the English Football Association has resigned for using what he’s admitted was “unacceptable” language that he used when describing black players. Greg Clarke said that he was “deeply saddened” for the offense that he’d caused by using the term “colored footballers”. He made the comments when he was giving evidence to the House of Commons Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sports select committee. He later said that his comments were “a disservice to the game”. Mr Clarke also caused offense when he referred to gay players as making a “life choice” and also that a coach had told him that young female players didn’t like the ball being hit hard at them.

Cricket - Mumbai Indians have won their 5th Indian Premier League title with a five wicket victory over the Delhi Capitals. Mumbai were chasing 157 to win with 8 balls to spare and got over the line thanks to 68 from captain Rohit Sharma. Trent Boult took 3-30 including the wicket of Marcus Stoinis with the first ball of the match in Dubai.

Rugby Union - The former England wing Ugo Monye has said that Wales are like a “sinking ship” under coach Wayne Pivac. Pivac has endured a disappointing first year in charge with Wales losing their last five matches. Monye says that he doesn’t think that the players are happy and that questions are being asked. The Wales defence coach Byron Hayward left his position on Sunday and Pivac is facing questions about his own future.

Golf - The defending champion Tiger Woods will play with the 2019 Open winner Shane Lowry in the opening two rounds of the 84th Masters which starts at Augusta tomorrow. The pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau who’s the US Open champion will play with Jon Rahm and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Rory McIlroy will go out with world number one Dustin Johnson. The Masters, which is normally held in April has been delayed until November because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players will start on the 1st and 10th tees tomorrow and on Friday to ensure that everyone can complete their rounds before darkness.


Mainly fine with light variable winds. Top temperatures 19 degrees. Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 10 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday - Partially cloudy with highs of 16-18 degrees.

And finally 

New research has revealed that telling white lies to children to keep them on the straight and narrow can have longer lasting negative implications than parents might realise. The research found fibs such as 'eating carrots help you see in the dark' and 'watching too much TV gives you square eyes' may lead to heightened anxiety as a teenager. It also found that girls take the deceit hardest and can feel unattached to their lying parents, whereas boys are more likely to brush off the lies. Parents often have good intentions when they tell white lies, but for their children such lies may create uncertainty and then anxiety. Many parents have told their child a white lie or two, usually with the best of intentions. Research suggests 45% of parents tell their children a white lie at least once a week, and a fifth (20%) tell them well-meaning untruths daily to satisfy their curious minds.

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