French and Riviera News Wednesday 4th August 2021

News

Corsica introduces “plan blanc” in its hospitals - Corsica has introduced the “plan blanc” in its hospitals, as the number of covid patients increases. The “plan blanc” makes it possible in particular, to call on caregivers which are on leave and to reschedule operations to improve the flow of access to critical care units for covid patients.

Bastia hospital is close to saturation due to the current increase in the number of covid cases in Corsica. Over the last seven days the hospital has gone from eleven to forty beds dedicated to covid patients. The incidence rate reached 847 per 100,000 inhabitants on July 30th, well above the national average of 225 per 100,000.

Dr André De Caffarelli, head of A&E at the hospital, describes a critical situation saying, “that the patients admitted are young people, "with an average age of 50 and that the vast majority, 90%, are not vaccinated."

Appeal concerning the health pass - MPs have lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Council claiming that the health pass which has been compulsory since July 21 in places of leisure and culture (cinemas, museums, etc.) welcoming more than 50 people and which is due in August, to be extended to cafes, restaurants, fairs and trade shows, as well as to planes, trains, long-distance coaches and shopping centers by decision of the prefects, "undermines peoples freedom of movement, but also the freedom to lead a normal social and family life". 


As the decision is still uncertain more than 70 MPs, 120 senators and the Prime Minister himself, along with the Constitutional Council must announce a decision tomorrow Thursday, August 5, on the bill relating to the management of the health crisis, which must enter into force on August 9th. But According to more than 50,000 citizens, advised by several lawyers, the text does not comply with the Constitution. 

New York to create vaccination passport dubbed “Key to NYC pass” - Meanwhile on Tuesday August 3rd, the mayor of New York announced that the city was to become the first in the US to create a vaccination passport and that proof of vaccination against Covid-19 will soon be required to access restaurants, sports halls and theaters. The device, dubbed "Key to NYC pass", will be launched on August 16th, with the first checks enforced from September 13th. According to city hall figures in New York, a city of more than 8 million people, 71.8% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Hospital unions across France file for indefinite strike action - Meanwhile several hospital unions in France have filed notices of indefinite strike action. The move comes against the bill which is intended to make the covid vaccination compulsory for nursing staff by September 15th.

Lyon, Bastia and now Marseille are amongst several French cities where caregivers are mobilizing against the obligation to get vaccinated. According to the bill that was passed in Parliament and is currently in the hands of the Constitutional Council, caregivers must be fully vaccinated to exercise from September 15th.

Portrait of French President vandalized - Police have opened an investigation for theft, insult to a person holding public authority and damage to public property after a “yellow vest” supporter tore an official portrait of French President and replaced it with a QR code. The incident occurred in the town hall of Besançon. A video of the incident was posted as part of a "yellow vests" group on Facebook, showing people entering the town hall.

In response to the incident Emmanuel Macron in turn posted in a video on his Instagram account. In the video Macron said that "If France did not have the health pass it would be forced to shut down completely putting a strain on everyone” adding that he would be the first to welcome an end to barrier gestures and the health pass only this would mean that the battle had been won which is unfortunately, not the case”.

Elderly man dies from heart attack while swimming in Beaulieu sur mer - A man in his eighties has died after suffering a heart attack while swimming off the beach at Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning at around 11am. Emergency services were unable to revive the victim who was lifted from the water.

Le Lavandou mourns a key figure - "Mario du Lavandou", the famous hairdresser of stars and father of the mayor of Le Lavandou in the Var, has died at the age of 95. Son of Italian immigrants, Mario had become a key figure in the city and had climbed to the top after 60 years in the business.

Harry Potter store to open in Toulon - A shop exclusively dedicated to Harry Potter is to open in Toulon. The store dedicated to the magical universe of the world's most famous wizard will open in the town centre on Saturday August 14th and is one of eight in France and the first in the South of France.

Most popular names - INSEE has just published the 2020 ranking for the most popular baby names. In the Var Louise comes first in the ranking for girls and Léo for boys. The Alpes-Maritimes meanwhile see’s Emma take the lead for a girl and Gabriel for a boy.

Business

The Chinese electric car maker Li Auto has said it plans to raise as much as $1.9bn (£1.4bn) in a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong. Shares in the Tesla rival are already traded on the Nasdaq stock market in New York. The car manufacturer is the latest Chinese company to raise money closer to its home country in recent months. The move comes as Chinese firms listed in the US face increasing scrutiny by Beijing and Washington.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has demanded that the economy be allowed to "live with COVID" calling for a "new settlement" to help the travel industry and the broader UK economy to function better. In a report it was recommended to use "mass-testing to stop mass self-isolation", allowing passengers to take a test when they arrive in the UK to avoid quarantine.

Post-lockdown construction and DIY projects have created a huge demand for timber as its price rises sharply with builders struggling to get supplies. The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) said suppliers were "working around the clock" but are "struggling to keep up". Climate change is also increasing the pressure on supply with more wildfires and pests that kill trees. Sweden, which supplies almost half of the structural wood used in the UK, has recorded its lowest stock levels for 20 years.

Sport

Tokyo Olympics - There are 17 medal events today with one of the highlight’s being skateboarding which will see 13-year-old Sky Brown compete for GB. Born in Japan, 13-year-old Brown is a world bronze medalist in this event (she was 11 at the time).

Football - AC Monaco has beaten Sparta 2-0 in Prague in the third preliminary round of the Champions League on Tuesday, August 3. The match however was marred by racist cries against Monegasque players. Monaco boss Niko Kovac said he was "disgusted" by the alleged racist abuse adding that "We are all very sad and disgusted that it continues in the 21st century,". The return leg in Monaco takes place next Tuesday.

Formula One - Ferrari have discovered that Charles Leclerc's power-unit was "irreparably damaged" in the first-corner pile-up at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Leclerc was hit from behind by Lance Stroll's Aston Martin, becoming one of several drivers to retire at the first corner.

Ferrari said in a statement that Leclerc was now almost certain to receive grid penalties later this season for using more than the permitted number of engines.

Weather

Cloudy with thundery showers expected by this afternoon. Highs of 27 degrees in Cannes, Nice and Antibes 30 degrees in Saint Tropez with a moderate breeze. This evening going down to 20 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 21 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday highs of 31 degrees and clear skies.

And Finally 

A new stsudy has found that female giraffes have evolved to go through the menopause early so they can help care for their grandchildren. Elegant females spend up to 30 per cent of their lives in a 'post-reproductive state' to help raise successive generations of offspring in later life and ensure the preservation of their genes.  This evolutionary trait is known as the 'grandmother hypothesis' and has been used to explain why humans live such a comparatively long time after reproduction. The authors also say 30 per cent is comparable to elephants and killer whales, which spend 23 per cent and 35 per cent of their lives in a post-reproductive state, respectively.

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