Lunchtime News Monday 23rd November 2020


Regional Health Agency - According to the Regional Health Agency while hospitals in the Alpes Maritimes remain overwhelmed the circulation of Covid-19 continues to slowdown.

The circulation of Covid-19 has slowed significantly since the beginning of November with the incidence rate dropping by half in two weeks in the Alpes-Maritimes.

In the latest data available for the week of November 13th to 19th the incidence rate stood at 171, slightly below the national average of 181.

Lockdown - Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron is to address the nation at 8pm tomorrow Tuesday 24th November. The French government have made plans to ease the lockdown in “three stages” according to the government spokesman Gabriel Attal.

Ahead of his address the Head of State, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche, said that “nothing is worse than incertitude and the impression of endless morosity,” adding that “we have to be coherent, clear and give a sense of direction” concluding that  “It’s difficult because the pandemic is unpredictable and worldwide. But it’s the key to trust, which itself is the key to success."

In describing the “three stages” Attal said that the "the first step will be on the 1st December, then before the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and then from January 2021".

The slow but steady improvement in the health crisis is continuing. According to official figures, the number of new infections on Saturday was 17,881, down 5,000 on the previous day. There was also a slight drop both in the number of intensive care admissions and Covid-related deaths. 

As a result, Attal said some shops would be allowed to reopen in the lead-up to Christmas.

He warned however that bars and restaurants which currently can only serve takeaway food and make deliveries until 9 pm - would continue to face restrictions along with people's freedom of movement.

Ski resorts - The question of ski resorts reopening this winter remains unanswered as the Prime Minister Jean Castex is set to meet with representatives today to decide.

Mink – Mink infected with coronavirus have been found in France and are set to be culled after the virus was detected at a farm in the western part of the country.  

One thousand mink will be slaughtered after tests identified the virus at a farm in western France after the country started testing its four mink farms in mid-November.

Nicolas Sarkozy trial - The trial of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy opens today before the Paris Criminal Court.

Sarkozy is going on trial accused of corruption and influence-peddling, for allegedly trying to bribe a magistrate in return for information about an investigation into his party finances.

It’s the first time in the Fifth Republic that a former President stands trial. The former president led France from 2007 to 2012 he faces ten years in prison and a million euros fine for corruption and influence peddling.

Danone to cut jobs - The French food giant Danone has announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs at its headquarters in France and abroad, in order to "simplify" its organization and reconnect with growth.

Speaking to French media this morning the CEO Emmanuel Faber said that in France the cuts would affect between 400 to 500 people, mainly directors and managers.

In a press release the group said that it wants the decision to result in "a reduction in its general and administrative expenses of 700 million euros, representing approximately 20% of the company's structural costs,"

New security bill - Journalists’ groups, human rights activists and unions in France have organised protests in Paris and other French cities.

The protests at the weekend come after France’s parliament voted to approve a controversial law that will ban the publication of images of on-duty police officers as well as expand the use of surveillance drones and police powers. 

Article 24 of France’s new security bill would make it a criminal offence for anyone to show images that might “harm the physical or mental integrity” of police officers.

Critics of the bill say it threatens to make it more difficult for journalists and others to report on police brutality or other infractions, with journalists’ groups, human rights activists and unions organising the protests in French cities.

And Finally 

British dog experts have compiled a list of the best dog breeds to match each star sign, according to their personality traits.  

The research found that water signs including