French and Riviera News Wednesday 23rd December 2020

News

Travel from the UK - From today France has authorised travel from the UK after French and British governments reached an agreement on Tuesday. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that the only people who will be authorised to travel to France or transit through France from the UK will be French nationals and nationals of the European Area, as well as British or third country nationals who usually reside in France, the EU or European Area or have to make essential trips. All such travellers will have to have a negative coronavirus test of less than 72 hours before departure. The arrangement agreed will be reviewed on the 31st December but could run until 6th January.

Since midnight on Sunday, France, like many European countries including Germany and the Netherlands, had suspended the movement of people and goods from the United Kingdom for 48 hours. Frances Transport Minister added that planes, boats and Eurostar trains would resume services this morning and an agreement between London and Paris plans to set up tests giving a result in half an hour for truck drivers to allow them to enter France.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has issued a recommendation that "all non-essential travel to and from the UK should be discouraged" to limit the further spread of the new strain of the virus. However, it added that essential travel and transit of passengers should be facilitated.

Draft law over “health passport” sparks anger – Meanwhile a draft law within the French government has sparked angry protests from opposition politicians. On Tuesday is was announced that the law would see “people who fail to get a Covid-19 vaccination being banned from using public transport in France”.

According to the text, which will now be submitted to parliament, a negative Covid test or proof of a "preventative treatment, including the administration of a vaccine" could be required for people to be granted "access to transport or to some locations, as well as certain activities". According to opinion polls 55% of French people say they will not get a Covid vaccine, one of the highest rates in the European Union. The government's vaccination campaign is to start on Sunday.

French nationality - Almost 3,000 people have submitted applications under a scheme to give French citizenship to foreign nationals in France who have been on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus. The Interior Ministry said that 2,890 applications have been submitted to prefectures across the country. The applications, which include those made by housekeepers, childcare personnel, cashiers and health professionals are currently under review. So far, 74 people have acquired French nationality under the scheme.

Montessori school closes - Following the closure of the Montessori school in Nice, after it was placed in liquidation, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has invited parents of the children affected by the closure to pre-register their child on the Nice.fr website or to go to the Nice Easy one-stop shop, located on Rue Tonduti-de-l'Escarène.

The Montessori school in Nice was placed in liquidation on Monday, December 21st following the verdict from the court after the company incurred significant debts.

Nice City Council approves 175 new emergency terminals - Nice City Council has approved the installation of 175 new emergency terminals in front of all private and public schools in Nice by the end of the first quarter of 2021. The move comes one year after the installation of 16 emergency call points around Nice.

The existing terminals were used 600 times in 12 months, including to alert authorities to the attack at the Notre Dame Basilica on 29 October. The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi expressed his thanks to the French government, which is financing 80% of the system. He said that while the city of Nice has been planning the installations for a long time, state support has enabled the speeding up of its implementation.

Cannes - Meanwhile the City of Cannes has announced the installation of a new "talking" camera. The town hall said that the camera equipped with a loudspeaker, which will be installed on the Place du Commandant Maria, will "contribute to the quality of life of residents and the safety of families". Cannes has 690 cameras, with 1 camera for every 109 inhabitants.

Ban on police use of drones - France's top administrative court has backed campaigners by imposing a ban on police use of drones for covering public protests in Paris. The Council of State said Paris police prefect Didier Lallement should halt "without delay" drone surveillance of gatherings on public roads. The move comes as parliament discusses a contentious security bill that includes police use of drones.Its main aim is to regulate how people share film or photos of police.

Legal action - The city of Nice has announced that it is to file a complaint for animal abuse after a goat on a lead was used in a music video filmed in the streets of the city. Local police are in possession of images and while it is "not forbidden to walk a goat" and there was so far nothing illegal the authorities are asking; where the goat come from? and what happened to it? Adding that the filming did not have the legal authorisation required from the council.

Nice and Toulon amongst hottest cities in Europe - In a ranking published by Météo France Nice and Toulon are amongst the three hottest cities on the continent in 2020. Corsica comes top of the ranking. This year the average temperature in Toulon was 17 degrees while Nice reached an average temperature of 17.2 degrees.

EuroMillions winner remains anonymous but generous with it - The EuroMillions winner who scooped the 200 million euro jackpot and lives in the South of France says that, while he “does not intend to reveal his identity, he will be generous in helping relatives and hospitals”.  

Little is known about the former executive who played a mix of lucky numbers corresponding to events in his life along with random ones. He has however, made it clear that he intends to give back by creating a foundation to “help hospitals, which have been under immense strain during the current health crisis”.

Cold spell - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas as temperatures are expected to drop sharply across France from today. With recent mild temperatures of between 13 and 17 degrees, well above seasonal norms, a change in the weather is forecast by Météo France.

Minimum temperatures of between 4 and 12 degrees with maximums reaching between 12 and 16 degrees in the north and 13 to 19 degrees further south.

Claude Brasseur - The French actor Claude Brasseur has died aged 84. Brasseur has played in about a hundred films, including the popular comedies "Camping" and "La Boum", and has also appeared in many stage productions. Over the course of his career, he received two Césars.

Business

In the UK the food industry has said that the chaos at ports caused by EU border closures has set back the UK's efforts to reassure foreign customers post-Brexit. France shut its UK border for 48 hours on Sunday amid fears of a new coronavirus variant in the UK. More than 50 countries have now banned UK arrivals. At the same time, UK-EU talks on a post-Brexit trade deal are continuing, with nine days left to reach and ratify any agreement.

Meanwhile the pound ended down again on Tuesday as the UK faced isolation over a mutant coronavirus strain, although hopes of progress in Brexit trade talks helped take some pressure off the currency. At the close of markets, sterling had fallen 0.76% against the dollar to $1.336 and 0.26% against the euro to €1.097.

Virgin Atlantic has joined British Airways and Delta Airlines in making travellers take COVID tests before they fly from the UK to New York. BA and Delta Airlines had taken the decision following the spread of a more contagious variant of the virus in the UK.

And Tesla founder Elon Musk says that Apple chief executive Tim Cook snubbed talks to buy the car company back in 2017. Mr Musk tweeted on Tuesday that he reached out to the Apple boss during his company's "darkest days". At the time Tesla was valued at $60bn (£45bn), but it has now grown to be worth 10 times that amount.

Sport

Football - Lionel Messi has broken Pele’s record of the most goals for one club after last nights victory saw him score his 644th goal for Barcelona.

Pele scored 643 goals in 19 seasons for Santos in his homeland between 1956 and 1974 meanwhile Messi’s first goal for Barca was in 2005 and he has since gone on to win 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Tennis - Andy Murray has continued his promising form at the Battle of the Brits, beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets.

The world number 122 had already claimed victory on Sunday against British number one Dan Evans and two days later beat Norrie 6-4 7-6 (7-5). The all-British event is taking place in Roehampton.

Rugby Union - Leicester's Boxing Day Premiership game at Newcastle has been called off following positive Covid tests in the Tigers squad.

Weather

Light cloud and a gentle breeze high of 16 degrees in Nice, 15 in Antibes and 16 in Toulon. This evening going down to 12 degrees along the coast in the Alpes Maritimes and 9 degrees in Vence. Lows of 12 degrees in Toulon and 10 degrees in Draguignan with clear skies.

The outlook for Christmas Eve is cloudy with sunny intervals and Christmas Day is forecast to be sunny but cooler with highs of 12 and going down to 3 degrees at night in the Alpes Maritimes and in Saint Tropez and the Var sunny with gusty winds highs of 11 degrees going down to 5 degrees.

And Finally 

A remarkable video has shown how cows in the world's coldest village wear fur or wool-lined bras when thermometers plunge in the Siberian winter. Local farmer Nikolay Atlasov, in his 70s fits the handmade protection as the seasonal temperature plunge.

Each time they go out to their watering hole this winter - which is likely to go below minus 60C - the cows will be dressed in their Siberian bras.

 

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