French and Riviera News Wednesday 1st September 2021

News 

Firefighter killed in road collision - The Monegasque government has expressed its “great emotion and sadness” following a fatal road accident in which a firefighter from the Principality was killed. The 42-year-old was part of a group of four bikers and all four were firefighters from Monaco. The accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon on the RD 6202, in Puget-Théniers when a motorist collided with the group of bikers. The exact circumstances of the accident are still to be determined. On Tuesday night, a 22-year-old from the group was in a critical condition in hospital.

The accident led to traffic being cut in both directions and rail traffic was also interrupted. The president of the departmental council, Charles Ange Ginésy, reacted on Twitter saying his “thoughts were with the families and loved one’s victims. Courage to all our rescuers on site."

Macron in Marseille - French President Emmanuel Macron will today begin a two-and-a-half-day visit to France's second largest city, Marseille. Macron, accompanied by seven ministers, is to present an ambitious plan, with the release of significant funds for schools, transport and urban renewal.

This morning the head of state will meet with the mayor of the city Benoît Payan, before travelling to the northern districts of Marseille to meet local elected officials. Tomorrow Thursday 2nd September, Macron is due to attend the start of the school year at the Bouge school, in the 13th arrondissement, before having lunch with the president of the metropolis, Martine Vassal. The President of the Republic will present his plan "Marseille en grand" at 4.45pm from the Pharo palace.

Finally, the Presidents last day will be devoted to the environment, with a visit to the Calanques National Park and the inauguration of the World Nature Congress in the presence of Heads of State, NGOs and citizens of 160 countries.

WHO monitoring new covid variant - The World Health Organization has announced it’s monitoring a new variant of the coronavirus, called "Mu", which was identified for the first time in Colombia last January. The WHO says the variant has mutations that could indicate a risk of "immune escape", including being resistant to the vaccine and stresses that further studies are needed to better understand its characteristics.

The WHO has decided to name the variants following the letters of the Greek alphabet, in order to avoid any stigmatization of a particular country and to make it easier for the general public to pronounce the names. Currently, the WHO considers that four variants are of concern, including the Alpha variants, present in 193 countries, and Delta, present in 170 countries, while five other variants are to be monitored (including Mu).

Personal data made available to all - According to Mediapart, the names, dates of birth, phone numbers, social security numbers, email, as well as the results of covid tests of 700,000 people have been made accessible to all. The personal data became available following a flaw on Francetest which is a private company founded last January that specializes in the transfer of data from Covid tests carried out in pharmacies to the government’s official platform.

Largest importer of cannabis to France is to stand trial - After ten years on the run a drugs baron is to stand trial in Bordeaux today Wednesday 1st September. Arrested last March in Dubai, Moufide Bouchibi, alias "Mouf" is considered the largest importer of cannabis in France. Having slipped through the hands of investigators on two occasions he was finally arrested last March after 10 years on the run.

Mushroom season - French authorities have called for caution after three people have died from mushroom poisoning. Between July 1st and August 29th 330 cases of poisoning were recorded and three deaths. Due to this year’s weather conditions the mushroom season has arrived earlier than usual. Authorities call for vigilance when picking mushrooms, last year 1300 poisonings, including 29 serious and 5 deaths were recorded between July 1st and December 31st.

Business

The S&P 500 rose by 2.9% in August its seventh straight month of gains while the Dow Jones and Nasdaq put on 1.2% and 4% respectively. The performance reflects the level of investor confidence in US equities derived from the Federal Reserve’s continued dovish tone towards tapering its massive stimulus programme. Investors are now considering where Wall Street will go in the closing months of the year and how soon the S&P will reach the 5,000 barrier. While a strong recovery in economic growth and corporate earnings have boosted US stocks, investors continue to be concerned about the rise in coronavirus cases and the path of Fed policy. US consumer confidence fell to a six month low in August according to survey data published by the Conference Board on Tuesday raising a cautious note for the economic outlook.

The Indian economy rebounded at a record rate in the three months to the end of June despite a devastating second wave of COVID-19 that hit the country. GDP rocketed by 20.1% in the quarter between April and June compared to a year earlier. At the same period last year the economy shrank by 24%. Looser pandemic curbs allowed for more economic activity compared to India’s first nationwide lockdown in 2020. Economists point to private investment and consumer spending for the boost with manufacturing and construction also driving growth. Experts are optimistic that India will continue to post strong growth although consumer spending is still lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The US retail giant Walmart has said that it’s ready to administer millions of COVID-19 booster vaccine shots this autumn if health officials endorse the jab to improve fading immunity against the coronavirus. US health regulators have approved a third dose of the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna for those with weak immune systems and the government says that it plans to make booster doses available to more Americans this month. The need for boosters however, has not yet been recommended by health regulators. Walmart, which runs one of the largest US pharmacy chains is currently administering the 3rd shot to immunocompromised people.

Sport

Paralympics – China is still streaking ahead in the medals table at the Paralympic games in Tokyo. China has 62 gold medals with Great Britain still in second place with 29 gold medals and Russian athletes in third with 25. Great Britain won 12 medals on day seven of the games with Reese Dunn setting a new world record to win his third gold medal at the games in the pool.

There are 42 medal events today including in the men’s javelin, road cycling, swimming and wheelchair tennis.

Football – English Premier League spending topped £1 billion again as the transfer window closed although outlay was down for the second year in a row. The most eye-catching move saw Cristiano Ronaldo return to Manchester United while West Ham signed Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow and Chelsea signed Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Tennis – The British teenager Emma Raducanu showed talent and maturity again to move into the second round of the US Open. The 18-year-old was a break down in each set but came through 6–2 6–3 against her experienced Swiss opponent Stephanie Vogele. She is now the only Briton left in the women’s draw.

There were also first round wins for world number one Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Belinda Bencic.

In the men’s event Novak Djokovic started his bid for a calendar Grand Slam in a four set win against the Danish qualifier Holger Rune while Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini are also through.

Cricket – The England captain Joe Root has warned his side not to take their foot off the gas in the fourth Test against India which starts at the Oval tomorrow. England recovered from a 151 run defeat in the second Test to power to an innings victory inside four days at Headingley in the third Test. Root says England need to get in front and keep driving the game forward. The 5 Test series is level at 1–1.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate south easterly winds. Top temperatures 26-28 degrees. Overnight lows of 18-21 degrees with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday - Sunshine and scattered showers. Highs of 25-27 degrees.

And Finally 

Betsy, George and Beast are amongst the most popular pet names car owners have for their motors. The poll showed that four in ten motors have a nickname with Rusty being amongst the top 20. Owners also say they express their love for their cars by talking to them, stroking the dashboard and even giving them hugs. And more than a third of younger drivers say they feel more attached to their car than to their parents or grandparents. Many found selling a car more upsetting than a break-up.

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