French and Riviera News Wednesday October 21st 2020

Posthumous award-France is to bestow the country’s highest honour posthumously on the 47 year old teacher who was barbarically murdered outside the school where he taught last Friday.

Samuel Paty is to be awarded the Legion d’Honneur and his life is to be marked at a special ceremony at the Sorbonne University in Paris later today.

Mr Paty ,a history and geography teacher was decapitated by an 18 year old radicalised Chechen refugee after the end of class last week after he’d used a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad as part of a school curriculum freedom of expression lesson.

The murder has sparked horror across the country and the government has moved to crack down on online Islamist extremism.

9 people are still being questioned in police custody in connection with the murder.

Meanwhile ,a source close to the investigation has told French media that the father of one of the students in Mr Paty’s class who called for social media protests against him had exchanged text messages with his killer.

BFMTV says that the messages were exchanged on WhatsApp but the contents have not been divulged.


Mosque closed-French authorities have moved to close a mosque in northern Paris as part of efforts to clamp down on Islamist extremism.

The mosque ,which regularly attracts around 1,500 worshippers had posted a Facebook video about Samuel Paty a few days before he was murdered.

The video is heavily critical of the dead teachers decision to show his class caricatures of the prophet Muhammad after giving Muslim students the chance to leave if they felt uncomfortable.

The mosque is to be closed for 6 months on the orders of the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.


Change in the law ? -French government officials have met with senior executives from Facebook ,Twitter and Snapchat with a view to combatting what the Interior Ministry has described as “cyber-Islamicism”.

The junior Interior Minister Marlene Schiappa has suggested that Samuel Paty’s murder  should act as a catalyst for new legislation in France and possibly across the entire EU to make social media companies more accountable for the content that they allow to be published.

More than 240 people in France have died from Islamist violence in France since 2015 prompting opposition politicians to accuse the government of taking tough but failing to act decisively.


Storm Alex- The cost of flooding to private property in the south east of the country during Storm Alex on the 2nd of October has been given a provisional price tag of 210 million euros.

The French Federation of Insurers says that 14,000 claims have been made but it’s too early to say what the final cost will be.

Large areas of the Roya ,Tinee and Vesubie valleys suffered extensive flood damage during the storm and the claims made are all from private property holders, businesses and farmers.

72 percent of claims made concern damage to property with 25 percent coming from business and agriculture and 3 percent from vehicle owners.

The limit for making an insurance claim from damage sustained during the storm has been extended until the 15th of November as some areas are still inaccessible so the final bill is likely to be substantially higher.

The estimate does not take into account damage sustained to public buildings and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.


Curfew fines-French police have issued more than 3,000 fines since a curfew was imposed in Paris and several other large cities on Saturday.

Some 20 million French people are subject to the emergency regulations which will be in force for at least a month and require people to stay at home between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

The Interior Ministry says that people are by and large respecting the rules with police issuing fines of 135 euros for those who break the curfew with penalties rising to up to 3,750 euros for repeat offenders as well as 6 months in prison.

There have been warnings that Nice and other towns in the Alpes Maritimes could see a curfew imposed soon if cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.

The Mayor of Nice ,Christian Estrosi has said that hospital intensive care beds in the Alpes-Maritimes are rapidly filling up and he fears the department will soon be placed in the red zone for Covid-19 infections.


Road deaths-The number of people killed on French roads fell by 11.3 percent in September compared with figures from the same period in 2019.

275 people died in road accidents last month compared with 310 in September 2019.

All accidents were up though by 0.9 percent to 6,320.

Numbers of cyclists killed in fatal accidents rose alarmingly last month though to 37 compared with  22 in September 2019.

Cycling has been becoming increasingly popular this year as the penny drops about climate change and also as a result of a lack of public transport during lockdown.

83 cyclists have been ki