French and Riviera News Wednesday 21st April 2021

News 

Reopening of terraces and cultural places set for mid-May - French President Emmanuel Macron has set mid-May for the reopening of the first terraces of bars and restaurants and cultural places, promising a strict sanitary protocol which will be discussed at this morning’s Health Defense Council.

Survey shows majority of French in favour of a strict health protocol when schools reopen - Meanwhile according to a recent survey a majority of French people are in favour of a strict health protocol as schools reopen on Monday 26th April. The survey carried out by the OpinionWay institute shows that 83% of those questioned want "a strict protocol for the definition of contact cases" and the closure of the class to be from the first contamination declared - and not after three cases.

In addition, the respondents are overwhelmingly in favour of other measures to prevent contamination at school such as the free supply of masks to students (79%), the installation of CO2 detectors and ventilation systems in classrooms (75%) or even the organization of massive and regular testing (73%).

Covid data - According to the latest official data, while a downward slope seems to be starting in France concerning Covid numbers it is still a fragile situation with on average more than 32,000 contaminations per day.

Celebrity campaign to reassure French of AstraZeneca vaccine - Meanwhile faced with the reluctance of the population concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, the French government is considering launching a communication campaign involving celebrities in order to convince the French. Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday acknowledged "difficulties in convincing" the French to be vaccinated with the British-Swedish vaccine due to rare cases of thrombosis and therefore now plans to launch a communication campaign in order to restore confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Mayor of Nice speaks of health situation and plans for reopening - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has spoken to France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran about his intentions for the lifting of the restrictions in Nice. On Tuesday Estrosi spoke of the “encouraging figures for the region” with the incidence rate having dropped to 198 and the number of people being hospitalised standing at its lowest since the beginning of the year.

The mayor stressed that the “reassuring indicators” were no doubt due to the fact that the Alpes Maritimes went into lockdown ahead of other regions in France. Next week Estrosi plans to put forward details of a health protocol to the minister of health proposing the “reopening of around fifty restaurants to assess procedures and measure the impact on the transmission of the virus, with the monitoring of customers”. The mayor says that pedestrianized areas of the city will be able to extend terraces with the distribution of self-tests, which will be compulsory at least for the first ten days of May.

Wastewater in Cannes - Meanwhile tests carried out on the wastewater in Cannes show that the concentration of Covid is three times less than in wastewater in Nice. In Cannes wastewater is qualified as "moderate" while that of Nice is considered as "high".

Cap 3000 - The director of one of the largest national shopping centres in France, Cap3000, has said he believes in a reopening for May 17th. Roch-Charles Rosier has also expressed his wish for the sales to be postponed. With 135,000m2 Cap 3000 boasts up to 300 shops.

In other news

International arrest warrant - French officials have issued an international arrest warrant following the abduction of an eight-year-old girl last week. The child and her mother were found in Switzerland on Sunday, days after she was taken from her grandmother's house. Four men have been detained over the kidnapping, which is believed to have been ordered by the girl's mother, who has also been arrested. The investigation has now turned to a 55-year-old man based in Malaysia who is believed to have organised the abduction.

Gender equality - A new gender equality campaign is to launch in Monaco focusing on sectors such as construction or kindergarten. Posters include a woman on a worksite and a man working in a crèche with the slogan ‘everyone has their place’.  The campaign aims to end certain stereotypes by being the first country in the world to break traditional gender career coding from kindergarten.

Traffic lights - France’s Interior Ministry has given the go-ahead for traffic lights which let good drivers pass. The authorization marks a U-turn following a previous order to local authorities to remove such traffic measures back in 2020. 'Intelligent' traffic lights turn green when vehicles approach at the correct speed and allow them to pass without stopping. The lights will stay on red for those motorists travelling too quickly, forcing them to wait. 

Business

The chairman of the US Federal reserve has said that the economy is going to see “a little high inflation” this year as the recovery strengthens and supply constraints push up prices in some sectors. In a letter to Senator Rick Scott dated April 8th, Jerome Powell said that the Fed is committed to limiting any overshoot. Mr Powell said that the Fed would not seek inflation that “substantially exceeds” 2% for a prolonged period. He added that the Fed was fully committed to both legs of its dual mandate of maximum employment and stable prices. The Fed slashed its benchmark overnight interest rate to near zero last March after the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States and has promised to leave borrowing costs unchanged until the economy reaches full employment and inflation hits 2%. The central bank is also buying $120 billion in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities each month to keep interest rates at a level that supports hiring and spending.

Apple has announced a range of new computers, a paid podcasting service and devices for finding lost items. The firm is increasing the number of products which will contain its own in-house developed M1 chip as the sector struggles with the global semiconductor shortage. The firm has finally unveiled its much anticipated tracker tile, the AirTag which will launch at the end of April and it’s also announced its first significant updates to the iMac desktop computer in recent years. Apple has also showcased a new iPad Pro complete with M1 Chip and 5G connectivity. AirTags have been highly anticipated by Apple fans. They’re small round discs which can be attached to anything and transmit a Bluetooth signal to home gadgets to alert the user to their location. AirTags will cost $29 and are due to launch on April 30. The firm says they are designed to “track items and not people” with features such as rotating identifiers and audible alerts from unknown tags built in to protect privacy.

Netflix has reported a slowdown in subscriber growth sending its shares tumbling. The firm says around 3.98 million people signed up for Netflix between January and March, well short of the projected 6 million. The company said a lack of new shows may have contributed to the fall, adding it expected this to recover as sequels to hit shows are released. Netflix shares fell 11% in after-hours trading to $489.28 wiping $25 billion of the company’s market capitalisation. Netflix added 15.8 million new subscribers last year as COVID-19 forced people around the world to stay home.

Sport

Football – Plans for the new European Super League appear to be in disarray today after all six English Premier League teams formally withdrew from the competition. Manchester City were the first club to pull out followed by Chelsea. The other four teams – Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs have now all followed suit. The 12 team Super League was announced on Sunday to widespread condemnation. UEFA has welcomed the reversal. None of the Spanish or Italian sides involved in the competition have yet released a statement.

There was one game in the English Premier League last night. Chelsea and Brighton drew 0-0. There are two games tonight. Spurs play Southampton and Aston Villa host Manchester City.

In the English Championship last night Brentford and Cardiff drew 1-1. Norwich lost one nil at home to Watford. Preston beat Derby three nil. Sheffield Wednesday beat Blackburn Rovers one nil and Swansea lost one nil at home to QPR.

Rugby Union – The English Rugby Football Union has backed coach Eddie Jones following a review into the side’s disappointing fifth-place finish in the Six Nations. Jones’ position had been under threat since defeats by Ireland, Wales and Scotland in the same tournament for the first time in 45 years. Jones said that the debrief had been a valuable process and that everybody had learned a lot. More importantly he said that actions had been identified to enable the team to move forward positively towards 2023. Several recommendations will be implemented before July test matches against the United States and Canada.

Cricket – Ed Smith’s role as England national selector has been scrapped. In a restructuring of the way that the England men’s teams are selected, responsibility will now fall to head coach Chris Silverwood. England managing director Ashley Giles said that the restructure is in the best interests of helping teams to be successful. Smith had held the role of national selector since 2018. Ashley Giles said that the new structure makes lines of accountability much clearer with Chris Silverwood taking ultimate responsibility.

Weather

Rain this morning, clearing this afternoon with light to moderate easterly winds. Top temperature 15-16 degrees. Overnight lows of 8-10 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday - Mainly fine with highs of 17-19 degrees.

And Finally

A UK ticket-holder has won Tuesday's £59million EuroMillions jackpot. The ticket matched all of the winning numbers, which were 5, 17, 28, 41 and 46 with the Lucky Star numbers 10 and 11. Camelot said it was the second UK EuroMillions jackpot winner this month. A ticket-holder managed to land the £122 million jackpot on April 2nd.

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