Lunchtime News Monday 18th January 2021


Pirate platform for vaccination - A pirate platform has caused chaos on the first day of the opening of a vaccination centre in Toulon in the Var. Members of the public flocked to the gymnasium of Port Marchand with a document obtained from the private site Maiia confirming their appointment which proved impossible for health workers to honour.

School canteens - Meanwhile schools in France have one week from today to introduce a stricter health protocol in their canteens. New measures include the ban on students from different classes being allowed to mix at the canteen, social distancing measures are to be put in place, as well as allocated time slots and a limit on the number of students allowed in at one time. Seating is also to be set out in staggered rows and not face to face or side by side.

In other news

Man sets himself on fire in Vence - A man has set fire to himself on the public highway in Vence. The incident occurred at around 8.30pm on Sunday. The 63 year old sprayed himself with a flammable liquid before going out into the street in front of his home on Rue de la Place-Vieille.

Shooting - A shooting has taken place in Carpentras in the Vaucluse. Shots were fired from two vehicles which stormed into the Green city district of the city early afternoon on Sunday before fleeing.  No injuries were reported however a dozen cars were damaged.  A similar incident occurred in the same area last week and five people were arrested as part of a drug trafficking investigation. Investigators will now determine whether or not there is a link between the two shootings.

Road works - Due to road works resulting in the closure of Rue Trachel in Nice, access to the dual carriage way the “Voie Rapide” is complicated leading to long tail backs for motorists. The work which started today is expected to last five months. Motorists are being advised to take an alternative route.

89th Monte-Carlo Rally - The 89th Monte-Carlo Rally is to take place under strict health restrictions with no spectators and Covid testing for all those involved. The event which runs until January 24th has been reorganized due to the 6pm curfew in France. The Automobile Club of Monaco has announced that those wishing to follow the event can do so live on

Meanwhile the 24th edition of the historic Monte-Carlo Rally scheduled from January 30 to February 3rd has been cancelled along with the 5th Classic Monte Carlo Rally from February 1st to the 3rd.

Nicolas Sarkozy - The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a preliminary investigation for influence peddling in connection with a €3m contract he signed with a Russian insurance company. According to reports the former President received a first payment of €500,000 last year after being hired as a “special adviser” to the group, owned by two Russian-Armenian billionaire brothers. Anti-corruption detectives want to establish whether Sarkozy was employed as a consultant or to lobby on behalf of the company. The latter could lead to a charge of influence peddling and covering up a crime.

The new investigation comes as Sarkozy is awaiting a verdict expected on March 1st for previous accusations of “corruption and influence peddling”.

Sanofi plan to cut jobs - The pharmaceutical group Sanofi wants to cut 400 research and development jobs. Revealed by France Inter the CGT considers the move "unacceptable", especially since the company is late in the race for the vaccine against Covid-19. According to the union the positions are included in the thousand job cuts that were announced last summer. Management has refused to confirm the figure. Unions have called for strike action on Tuesday January 19th in protest.


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