French and Riviera News Wednesday July 21st 2021

Suspect dead- The 33 year old man suspected of murdering 32 year old Doriane Ragon in Plan de la Tour last Sunday morning has been found dead by Gendarmes in woodland near Gréolières.

33 year old Marc Floris had been on the run since Sunday and had opened fire on police when they approached him before disappearing into the hills between Grèolières and Andon.

Officers conducted house to house searches and sealed the area off while they attempted to locate the suspect.

His body was found early on Tuesday afternoon.The cause of death has not been officially confirmed but reports say that Floris shot himself.

 

Death threats- The Paris prosecutor’s office has launched an enquiry after several politicians in the French National Assembly received death threats over the introduction of the government’s new health pass.

The president of the Assembly, Richard Ferrand informed prosecutors last week that several deputies had been sent death threats as the government unveiled its plans to step up the national vaccination campaign and extend the use of the health pass to cover a range of services from cinemas to restaurants.

 

Health pass- The first phase of the health pass regulations comes into force today with cinemas , theatres , fitness centres and other services and attractions where more than 50 people are present required to demand proof of double vaccination or a negative covid test before admittance is granted.

12-17 year olds are exempt from the new regulations until the the end of August.

The second phase of the new regulations covering restaurants , bars and long distance train and bus services will come into force at the end of the month.

 

Castex- The French Prime Minister Jean Castex will give a live interview on television news today to outline the government’s thinking on the health pass and extra measures being taken to fight off the more contagious delta variant.

Some areas of France have already reintroduced mask wearing in outdoor areas and there has been growing talk of curfews and even local lockdowns again.Mr Castex will give a full update on TF1 news at 1pm this afternoon.

Meanwhile ,the Health Minister Olivier Veran says that more than 18,000 cases have been detected over the past 24 hours.

Mr Veran says the numbers are unprecedented and has urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

 

Infections climb- COVID-19 infection rates are still increasing in the Alpes Maritimes with new cases above the national average.

Cases have been doubling in the department since the end of June with the current infection rate standing at 163 cases per 100,000 residents.

New cases are also doubling in number every week in the Var where the incidence rate is at 70 per 100,000 residents , slightly below the national average of 74.

President Macron has said that any department where the infection rate rises above 200 could see restrictions on movement introduced by the local prefect.

 

National infection rates- While most areas of France are at the national average of 74 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents, a few are getting to dangerously high levels.

The infection rate in the Pyrénées Orientales is the highest in the country at 299.6 with the Haute Corse at 249.1.

In the west of the country, people in the Charente- Maritimes have been instructed to wear masks in outdoor areas again. The infection rate is 109 per 100,000 residents, substantially lower than the Alpes Maritimes.

Hospital admission rates across the country remain relatively low but doctors in some large cities say they are starting to see a trend of mainly unvaccinated and younger patients requiring treatment.

 

Macron targeted-President Macron is one of several world leaders believed to have been targeted for phone hacking through spyware.

Media reports say that Mr Macron is on a list of some 50,000 phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to clients of the Israeli-based NSO group which provides the Pegasus software that infects phones and allows operators to spy on their targets.

NSO denies any wrongdoing and says that its Pegasus software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists.

 

Drive carefully! The summer continues and so do the road accidents.

Hardly a day goes by without some kind of incident on the A8 which has seen a number of serious and fatal accidents over the past few weeks.

On Tuesday a jam developed at Villeneuve Loubet after a truck collided with a car while in the Var, emergency services attended an accident involving two cars on the eastbound side of the motorway near Le Muy.

Police say the vast majority of accidents could be avoided if motorists used more care and attention.

Example ? The motorcyclist who was clocked doing 200 km/h in an 80km/h zone on the RD 402 between Le Castellet and Signes in the Var on Sunday.

He’s had his bike confiscated and his license suspended for 6 months and he’ll have an appearance in court in Toulon to look forward to.

 

Business.

 

The New York attorney general has announced that the three largest US drug distributors have agreed to pay $1.18 billion to settle claims by New York state over their role in the nationwide opioid epidermic.

 McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen settled mid-trial as prosecutors prepare to announce a landmark $26 billion deal with the distributors and the drugmaker Johnson and Johnson to resolve cases nationwide.

The deal with New York state including the counties of long island and Suffolk came three weeks into the first jury trial accusing companies of profiting from a flood of addictive painkillers that have devastated communities across America.

Nearly 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States between 1999 and 2019 and the crisis appears to have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention said last week that provisional data for 2020 showed it was a record year for drug overdose deaths with fatalities up 29 percent on 2019.

 

Production at some of Nike’s largest factories in Vietnam has been disrupted as COVID-19 spreads through the country.

Around half of the firm’s  shoes were manufactured in Vietnam in the last financial year but the country has seen a record rise in cases of the virus since April with many clusters in industrial provinces.

Nike has refused to say whether store supplies will be affected as a result of the outbreak.

Apple, Samsung and Puma could also be affected by the outbreak as a surge in coronavirus cases is being reported at factories across Vietnam.

Nike employs 450,000 workers in Vietnam, 80% of whom are women.

 

And – the music and entertainment retailer HMV is putting its faith  in the UK High Street with plans to open ten new stores across the country.

The plans include a new London flagship site after the former London store on Oxford Street closed two years ago when the firm fell into administration.

HNV was bought by the Canadian music retail executive Doug Putnam who says that he considers physical stores still have a future.

However, Mr Putnam warned that the success of the new stores very much depends on the British government’s stance on business rates and that HMV would not be signing any long term deals for the new stores given the level of uncertainty in the retail sector.

 

Sport.

 

Rugby union – The South Africa captain Siya Kolisi has been named in the starting XV to face the British and Irish Lions in the first Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Springboks skipper has recovered from coronavirus and will lead a side containing 11 of the players who beat England in the World Cup final in 2019.

The Lions coach Warren Gatland will name his starting team tomorrow.

All three Tests will now be played in Cape Town because of coronavirus restrictions.

 

Football-Celtic could only manage a 1-1 draw against FC Midtjylland in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier last night.

The second leg of the tie is in Denmark next week.

 

Cricket -England have beaten Pakistan in the third and final T-20 International to take the series 2–1.

Pakistan batted first and made 154-6 from their 20 overs.

In reply ,England squeaked home with a total of 155-7 from 19.4 overs to win by 3 wickets.

 

Australia have beaten West Indies by 133 runs under the Duckworth Lewis method in the one day international series at Bridgetown , Barbados.

 

Formula One – Fernando Alonso is set to continue racing for Alpine next season.

The chief executive of Alpine Laurent Rossi says that the 39-year-old Spaniard is “doing great “ and is getting the most out of the car.

Alonso will celebrate his 40th birthday next week and is currently in  11th place in the drivers championship on 26 points.

Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon is 13th with 14 points.

 

Olympics – The president of the International Olympic Committee has said that rescheduling the Tokyo games has caused sleepless nights but must go ahead to give hope for the future.

Thomas Bach said that cancellation had never been an option despite the difficulties of organising a major sporting event during the pandemic.

Several athletes due to complete at the games have tested positive for coronavirus as  strict health protocols are in force amid a surge in cases in the Tokyo area.

Most of the events at the games will be held behind closed doors.

 

Weather.

 

Hazy sunshine in coastal areas,some showers inland this afternoon.

Light to moderate variable winds and highs of 26-29 degrees on the coast and 31-33 degrees inland in the Var.

Overnight lows of 20-23 degrees with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Mainly fine with highs of 27-29 degrees in coastal areas and 30-32 degrees inland.

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