French and Riviera News Wednesday 7th October 2020

Local

Cemetery washed away following Storm Alex - 150 bodies from the cemetery of Saint-Dalmas in Tende, in the hinterland of Nice, have been washed away following Storm Alex.

The mayor confirmed that "the bodies have gradually been found downstream with three quarters of the cemetery disappearing in the floods, or about 150 bodies".

Meanwhile the mayor of Saint Martin Vésubie Ivan Mottet also confirmed that his village had also seen its cemetery ravaged by the floods with firefighters recovering coffins which were floating in flood water.

Rescue operations - Rescue workers continue to evacuate hundreds of people from villages hit by flash flooding with the death toll expected to rise as searches continue for survivors. 

Collection points - Many collection points have been opened across the Cote d'Azur to receive donations for those affected by the floods. Non-perishable foodstuffs and hygiene products are being collected at the Palais de l'Europe in Menton from Monday-Saturday from 9am to 7pm non-stop. Four tons of food and 2 m3 of clothes have already been sent to the disaster areas. You can get more details of which goods are needed by going to https://www.menton.fr/Collecte-de-dons-tempete-Alex

A collection centre for non-perishable food and hygiene products, excluding clothes, has been opened in Antibes at the Maison de Associations, 288 chemin de St-Claude from Monday to Saturday from 12 noon to 6.30 p.m.

In Cogolin, there's a collection centre in operation until Thursday at the Centre Maurin des Maures, from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected in the area this afternoon and If you're seeking information about loved ones who may have been affected by the storm, a special number has been set up. It's 04 93 72 22 22.

Monaco announces financial aid to flood hit area following Storm Alex – Meanwhile as rescue operations continue around the clock Monaco's Minister of State Pierre Dartout, has announced that the Monégasque government has agreed financial aid of four million euros to the areas hit by Storm Alex.

The announcement came following the national council meeting held on Tuesday evening by the government here in the Principality where it was confirmed that one million euros will be allocated to the four valleys hit by the storm in both the Alpes Maritimes and over the border in Italy, in the valley de la Roya behind Ventimiglia.

The funds will go to helping those affected as well as the reconstruction of villages hit by the devastating storm.

Fire – A fire has broken out overnight in a warehouse in Marseille in the Saint-Pierre district destroying more than 7,000 square metres.

Hundreds of firefighters were on site and still battling the blaze at 7am this morning.

Monaco Covid-19 - One new positive case of Covid-19 has been reported in the Principality with the number of residents affected by the coronavirus in Monaco to date standing at 224.

Four patients, all residents are hosptialised and there are no more patients in intensive care. 21 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Covid-19 – Meanwhile on a national level the number of Covid-19 patients currently hospitalised in intensive care in France has increased slightly on Tuesday, October 6th. There are now 1,417 patients. In the past 24 hours, 168 new patients with the most severe form of the virus had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Taking into account those being admitted and discharged from hospital, there are 8 more patients than yesterday, according to official figures communicated by the French public health agency.

In total, 7,377 patients are currently hospitalised for Covid-19.

The Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency also indicated on Tuesday that the occupancy rate of beds in intensive care units by patients with Covid-19 in hospitals in the region continued to increase, to 40.1% compared to 37% on Monday with 449 people admitted to intensive care units, out of 2,393 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the region.

Testing - The Prefect of Var has authorised five temporary coronavirus testing centres - 2 in Toulon, 1 in Bandol, 1 in Hyeres and 1 in Draguignan. Testing is free of charge but you'll need to wear a mask and take your carte vitale. You can find the locations and opening times at http://www.var.gouv.fr/covid-19-5-centres-de-depistages-temporaires-dans-a8757.html

Extended Monaco - As part of the government’s wish to use digital technology to increase the quality of life and in particular communications between individuals and any administrative procedures here in the Principality four new digital services are set to be up and running by the end of the year.

Since the launch in April 2019 of "Extended Monaco" the government’s target is to increase the number of tele-services which currently stands at 18 for 2020 to 30 for 2021.

Four tele-services to be launched by the end of this year concern the online payment of school dinners affecting 3,200 pupils which will allow parents to choose their method of payment with direct debits bringing an end to processing numerous payments by check.

The “Mon Espace Domaines” application which will allow tenants to pay online as well as access and receive all documentation concerning their residence. The aim is to provide residents of the 4,200 apartments with a better service and reduce the 120,000 documents sent each year. This application is in its testing phase and will be fully launched by mid-October.

Paying and booking an appointment online for an MOT giving motorists a faster and more flexible service. This service will be launched on November 10th.

And finally, to be launched by the end of the year the SPME or (State Medical Benefits Service) application which will allow online consultation of health reimbursements and treatment of personal files.

National

SUV cars - The French arm of the World Wildlife Fund is urging the government to take action against the country’s top-selling SUV cars, which it says have a “crushing impact” on both the climate and household budgets. 

In two reports published on Tuesday, the NGO said that over the past decade the vehicles had become the second largest source of growth in French emissions – just behind the aviation sector.

SUVs – powerful, large-format passenger cars that combine offload features such as raised ground clearance – have seen growing demand in Europe, the US and China.

Ban of neonicotinoids - A majority of French MPs have voted to approve a controversial provision authorising the temporary reintroduction of banned neonicotinoids

313 were in favour, 158 against and 56 abstained in a vote over the controversial reintroduction of banned neonics to protect beet farmers' crops from sugar beet jaundice.

Winners - Four homeless people have won 50,000 euros after being given a scratch card by a customer of a bar tabac in Brest.

The scratch card which cost one euro saw the four homeless in their twenties, claim their winnings much to the delight of the owner and the customer of the bar tabac where they were regularly outside begging.

Speaking to the local press the owner said, "how good it was to see the win go to those in financial difficulty" adding that they were a regular fixture outside the establishment he concluded by declaring it's a "belle histoire".

Business

Prospects for a fresh aid package for Americans struggling with coronavirus and US airlines hoping to avoid layoffs have evaporated after President Trump ended negotiation with Congress.

In a statement issued on Tuesday ,Mr Trump said that he had instructed his representatives to stop negotiating until after the election ,when immediately after he won ,he would pass a major stimulus bill that focused on hardworking Americans and small business.

Last week ,Mr Trump urged fast action on a fifth major coronavirus aid bill to add to the 3 trillion dollars approved earlier this year.

In response ,the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the White House was in “complete disarray”.

She also speculated that the steroids Mr Trump is taking to treat his Covid-19 infection may be “having an impact on his thinking”.

Pelosi said that lawmakers would pass more aid despite Mr Trump’s refusal to negotiate. She said that this could happen in a post-election “lame duck” session of Congress or that lawmakers could put coronavirus relief provisions in must-pass government spending bills.

 

A US Congressional report has recommended changes that could lead to the break-up of some of America’s largest tech firms.

The report comes following a 16 month investigation into Google ,Amazon ,Facebook and Apple.

Democrat lawmakers working on the report said that large tech firms have “too much power” and need to be reined in.

Republicans involved in the report did not agree on the recommendations.

US tech firms have been facing increasing scrutiny in Washington over their size and power.

The investigation by the House Judiciary Committee is just one of a number of probes that firms including Facebook and Apple are facing.

 

And-In the UK ,analysis by the National Audit Office of the government’s loan scheme for struggling small businesses suggests that criminals have stolen more than 1.9 billion pounds from taxpayers.

The report also says that big banks will pocket nearly a billion pounds between them from the scheme.

Under the government’s ‘bounce back’ scheme ,small businesses can borrow up to 50 thousand pounds.

The government says that it’s tried to minimise fraud through background checks but estimates suggest that up to 60 percent of the loans could turn bad and that criminals may have helped themselves at the expense of the taxpayer.

The National Audit Office analysis said that losses from the scheme are set to reach “significantly above” normal estimates for public sector fraud of between 0.5 and 5 percent.

Sport

Cycling-The Italian rider Luca Wackermann has been taken to hospital after a helicopter flying “too low” caused a crash near the end of stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia.

Wackermann and Etienne van Empel both fell in the incident with Wackermann suffering a suspected broken back.

As the helicopter flew over the riders ,the movement of the air blew up the barriers which weren’t secured properly.

An investigation is under way.

Stage 4 was won  by Arnaud Demare of France with Joao Almeida of Portugal holding the leader’s Pink Jersey.

Tennis-World number 131 Nadia Podoroska is through to the semi finals of the French Open after sensationally beating the third seed Elena Svitolina in the last 8.

The 23 year old came through 6-2 6-4 and will now play Iga Swiatek of Poland in the last four.She beat Martina Trevisan 6-3 6-1.

In the men’s event Rafael Nadal beat Jannick Sinner 7-6 6-4 6-1 in the quarter finals and now play Diego Schwartzman.

Football-The England manager Gareth Southgate has warned his players about their conduct.

Three players have been reprimanded for breaking coronavirus protocols last weekend ,adding to the two who were sanctioned for breaching regulations in Iceland last month.

Southgate has reminded players what it means and the expectations of playing for England and has urged the squad to be extra ,extra careful and to follow the rules.

Rugby Union-Sale have named their side for the delayed Gallagher Premiership match against Worcester which will decide whether they get a place in the playoffs.

The match had to be postponed on Sunday after 19 positive cases of coronavirus in the Sale squad.

In the event of another positive Covid-19 test ,Sale will forfeit the match .Otherwise ,kick off will be at 8.45 French time tonight.

 

Weather

Mainly fine with a strong Mistral across the Var gusting at up to 75 km/h.

Top temperature 24 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees on the coast and 13 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Mainly fine with highs of 21-23 degrees.

And Finally 

Accroding to a new study in the UK people living in a city or major urban area are no less friendly or helpful to strangers than those living in the country or more rural areas.

Researchers from University College London carried out social experiments in 12 cities and 12 towns across the UK to measure how friendliness rated among residents.

Experiments carried out by the research team looked at whether people would post a lost letter, return a dropped item and stop to let someone cross the road. 

They found city-dwellers were just as helpful as people in smaller towns - the difference depended more on the wealth of any given area - not how built up it was.

People from more deprived areas were less likely to help than those from better off communities, according to the British research team.

Those in wealthier areas were more likely to help a stranger than people in poorer areas, but the team couldn't say if this was due to the people or the environment.  

 

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