French and Riviera News Wednesday 20th October 2021

Local News 

Home-jacking in Cannes - A family in Cannes have been victims of a violent home-jacking. On Sunday evening two armed and hooded men entered their home. After assaulting the family, they left with money and valuables, including luxury jewelry. According to reports the men attacked the father who tried to intervene as one of the burglars robbed the ten-year-old son. The two men fled on scooters. The amount of the damage is being assessed. Police investigating the incident believe it may be linked to a similar home-jacking which took place in Nice last week at the home of OGC midfielder Mario Lemina.

A record number of sea rescue operations for 2021 - According to the Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean this year has seen a record number of rescue operations carried out at sea with an increase of 16% compared to last year and up by 37% compared to 2019. Authorities say that they are witnessing more people and even more dangerous behaviour. According to figures from the Mediterranean Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (Cross), 26 people lost their lives this summer at sea and 1,316 had to be rescued, including 196 requiring medical treatment.

Apart from swimming accidents, which are also on the rise (112 this summer compared to 61 in 2020), it is the yachting activity that has mainly mobilized the rescue teams. "With the online rental platforms, access to vessels has been made very easy”. The authorities have also been mobilized to put an end to jet-ski rodeos, which have multiplied off the coast.  

International conference in Nice - From today Wednesday 20th October, Nice is to host the three-day international conference “Security, democracy and cities”, organized by the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) with 25 countries represented. The opportunity is "to discuss the major challenges facing European cities and regions to preserve, strengthen or improve urban security while respecting fundamental freedoms".

Since the attack of July 14th 2016, Nice has accelerated security experiments with, for example, the installation of emergency terminals in the street of which there are today 190 and 1,200 warning boxes installed in public establishments such as schools, theatres, universities and hospitals, as well as private establishments such as shops for example.

Cable car project - The city council of Saint-Laurent-du-Var has this week presented the cable car project linking Saint-Laurent-du Var to Nice. A computer-generated image of the cable car that could link Saint-Laurent-du-Var to Nice from 2025 was displayed at the town hall followed by a meeting to answer questions from local residents.

An investment of 40 million euros, it is presented as an ecological solution and above all extremely quiet. The pace would be fluid and appropriate to the needs of passengers with a departure every 4.5 minutes, a pace adjustable according to demand but also according to the departures and arrivals of the tram. The cabins have been designed to be large, spacious and comfortable and can accommodate 60 people.

The main goal of this project: to relieve road traffic by connecting the city center of Saint-Laurent to Nice eco-valley in 3 minutes. The project is currently on display at both the town hall in Nice Saint Augustin and Saint Laurent. You have until October 29 to give your opinion.

Mayor of Sanary-sur-Mer charged - The mayor of Sanary-sur-Mer in the Var, Ferdinand Bernhard has been charged with illegal taking of interest and the embezzlement of public funds. Bernhard was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years of ineligibility, a sentence for which provisional execution was ordered. An extraordinary appeal would therefore not allow him to remain mayor. He was also sentenced to three years in prison, one year of which must be executed "at home, under electronic surveillance", along with the confiscation of a large estate asset. He will also have to pay a 50,000 euros fine.

Charges against Ferdinand Bernhard included "illegal taking of interests", in connection with the acquisition of a plot of land and its real estate project (three villas were built there, as well as a swimming pool). "Illegal taking of interest and embezzlement of public funds", within the framework of the relations with a former collaborator of cabinet and "misappropriation of public property" for the use of a company vehicle and a motorway card.

Covid incidence rate on the rise in the Bouches-du-Rhone - The incidence rate is on the rise in the Bouches-du-Rhône region with the prefect indicating that there will be no easing of the health measures until at least mid-November, extending the measures until November 15th.

After a steady decline over the past two months, positive cases are on the rise in the region. The incidence rate is 111 per 100,000 inhabitants, a sign that the circulation of the virus is still active. For Philippe de Mester, director of Regional Health Agency for the PACA region, there is a real risk of the “return of the covid epidemic”. More than 170 Covid patients are currently hospitalized in intensive care units in the region. Mester goes on to add that the vaccine is "the only weapon against this epidemic", underlining significant disparities in the vaccination rate according to different regions, in particular in Marseille where the vaccination rate is 80% which is half as high as parts of the north of France.

Flu vaccination moved forward in France - Meanwhile for those most vulnerable the flu vaccination campaign in France has been moved forward to October 22nd. While it was due to start on October 26th for people at risk, it will finally begin four days earlier, on October 22nd. The measure was announced to doctors, pharmacists and nurses, by the Directorate General of Health on Monday October 18th.

From October 22nd, health professionals will be able to "issue vaccination vouchers, deliver and administer the vaccine" against flu to people at risk. Nursing homes and health establishments can deploy the vaccination from Monday, October 18th. The DGS concluded that this will “allow joint vaccination sessions against both the flu and covid”.

Monaco’s Fairground - Monaco’s outdoor fairground will be up and running from this Friday October 22nd until November 19th on the Port Hercule. Health checks will be carried out systematically at the entrances to the event in addition to the usual security checks. A valid health pass is compulsory for anyone over 16 years of age and wearing a mask is compulsory for all of those over 5 years of age. Rides and food stores will be on offer and the fair will be open every day from 11am to 11pm and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as on the eve of public holidays. On November 18th, the eve of Monaco’s National Day, the attractions will exceptionally remain open until 1am. For more information you can contact +377 93 15 06 04.

National News

Fuel prices - The French government is to announce in the coming days aid for households in the face of soaring fuel prices. Several proposals have been discussed from an energy check, lower taxes and price blocking. According to official figures form the Ministry of Ecological Transition the price of a liter of diesel reached a new all-time high on Monday, October 18.

Tax Foncière to increase - Homeowners will once again see an increase in property tax this year. In the 50 largest cities in France, the level of property tax has increased in 2021, according to the census carried out by the National Union of Property Owners (UNPI), unveiled on Tuesday. The increase is relatively small - from 0.1% to 2% - in most municipalities with the exception of Orleans (+ 9% compared to 2020), Poitiers (+ 8%), Strasbourg (+ 5%) and Toulon (+ 4.4%). Over the past 10 years, the property tax rate has increased sharply in most French municipalities, deplored the UNPI, based on official statistics from the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.

Nicolas Sarkozy to stand as a witness - A French court has called upon former president Nicolas Sarkozy to stand as a witness in a trial involving five of his former aides, who are accused of having misused public money and cronyism. Sarkozy is not directly facing charges, due to presidential immunity, but he is obliged to be present in court on 2nd November.

Feminist organization takes beauty contest to court - Osez le féminisme, a leading feminist organisation in France, has joined forces with three failed Miss France candidates to take the beauty contest to court for alleged discrimination in the criteria it uses to select participants.

Osez-le-Féminisme (Dare to be Feminist) said it had filed a complaint with the state labour tribunal on behalf of the former contestants. The complaint is targetting both the Miss France company and Endemol Production which makes the annual TV programme screened on the privately-owned TF1 channel.

Survey shows that 49% of French people exceed their overdraft limit at least once a year - According to a recent survey carried out by Poll & Roll for Panorabanques, 49% of French people exceed their overdraft limit at least once a year. The primary concern of the French a few months ahead of the presidential election is purchasing power. The survey published on Tuesday 19th October shows that more than a third of those questioned (36%) believe that they have low purchasing power, especially those who live alone (43%) and those who have a lower income, at 1,500 euros (61%).

Study to determine risks of living near vineyards - France has launched an unprecedented study in six wine-growing regions to determine if people living near vineyards are at greater risk of exposure to pesticides. Speaking on Tuesday Public Health France said that “while several studies have looked at the health risks of pesticides in recent years, little is actually known about how people living near crops might be affected”. Researchers are to take samples of urine and hair from participants – both adults and children – as well as samples of fruit and vegetables from their family gardens, and dust from their homes.

Business

The International Monetary Fund has said that Afghanistan's economic woes could fuel a refugee crisis impacting neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe. The IMF warned that the economy will contract by up to 30% this year which could push millions into poverty and cause a humanitarian crisis. With foreign assets frozen and most non-humanitarian aid halted, inflows of cash to Afghanistan have all but dried up.

Nine big companies including Amazon, Ikea and Unilever have signed up to a pledge to only move cargo on ships using zero-carbon fuel by 2040. They hope the "aggressive" target will push the heavily-polluting shipping industry to decarbonise faster. Cargo shipping produces one billion tonnes of climate pollution each year - as much as the country of Germany. But critics say shipping firms are not doing enough to meet Paris Agreement goals on emissions.

Facebook has agreed to pay a record £10.1m to settle claims it discriminated against US workers in its hiring practices. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) had claimed the tech giant routinely overlooked US workers in favour of foreign ones on temporary visas. It is the biggest penalty of its kind issued by the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

Netflix subscriptions picked up in the third quarter of 2021 as non-English language shows continued to be the streaming platform's best performers. The US firm added 4.4 million users in the three months to 30 September, more than double the previous quarter. Korean TV series Squid Game was its biggest hit, watched by 142 million households in its first four weeks.

Sport 

Football - Mohamed Salah continued his superb form as Liverpool made it three wins out of three in the group stage of the Champions League by beating Spanish champions Atletico Madrid 3-2 in a game of constant drama. Meanwhile Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi scored as Paris St-Germain came from behind to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 in the Champions League.

Rugby Union - Due to injury both winger Anthony Watson and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie will miss England's autumn Tests. Bath winger Watson, 27, has a serious knee injury and is likely to be out for the entire rest of the season. Cowan-Dickie, 28, withdrew after picking up an ankle injury in Exeter's win at Wasps at the weekend.

Tennis - Britain's Andy Murray showed all of his quality and fight to edge past Frances Tiafoe in a thrilling European Open first-round match in Antwerp. Murray saved two match points before taking a second of his own to win 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in a tense battle lasting three hours 45 minutes.

Weather 

Cloudy highs of 21 degrees in Nice and 22 degrees in Saint Tropez with a moderate breeze. This evening going down to 13 degrees with a risk of showers.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday - Sunny intervals chance of showers inland, highs of 21-22 degrees.

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