Lunchtime News Tuesday 17th November 2020


Health crisis - The French government has announced this morning that the Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon is to hold a press conference tonight at 7pm to take stock of the health situation in France.

Meanwhile the government spokesman Gabriel Attal has promised "prospects" at the beginning of December for bar and restaurant managers. Gabriel Attal confirmed this morning on France 2 that bars and restaurants "will not reopen on December 1" but that they “will have prospects given at the beginning of December", assuring that "there is no fixed timetable".

Christmas with the family? - Speaking on French television this morning France’s Minister of Health Olivier Veran has said that “he, like all French people, wanted  to be able to celebrate Christmas with the family, but it is too soon to confirm whether or not this will be possible”.

Véran reminded people of the “necessity to continue to respect the barrier gestures" and "look after each other, whatever the situation for the end of year festive season”.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex said at a press conference that the government's objective "is to be able to allow further relief in time for the Christmas holidays so that the French can spend the end of year celebrations with family”.

The head of government, however, clarified that these end-of-year celebrations "cannot be held as per previous years” and that after December 1st a certificate will always be necessary to travel, a requirement confirmed by Olivier Véran this morning. Whether it will still be necessary during the Christmas holidays has not yet been decided. The answer will certainly depend on the health situation.

Christmas trees on sale from Friday - Meanwhile France’s Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie has announced this morning on RMC that Christmas trees will go on sale in France from Friday November 20th.

In France, 6 million Christmas trees are sold each year, mainly in supermarkets, DIY stores and garden centers, 80% of which are from French suppliers according to figures provided by the French association of the natural Christmas tree. (AFSNN).

Christmas market cancelled - The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has announced the cancellation of the Christmas market in Nice due to Covid-19 restrictions.

On Monday Estrosi welcomed the recent figures showing that “we are going in the right direction” in the fight against Coovid-19 and encouraged the people of Nice to continue their efforts.

Volunteers - The “Conservatoire d’espaces naturels” has appealed for volunteers to help towards the preservation of the Saint-André La Pardiguière site, an area of 400 hectares located between Le Luc and Le Cannet-des-Maures in the Var.

Supported by the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), the association of the of Conservatoire d’espaces naturels of the  Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur has launched the citizen involvement programme for more information go to

French authors defend small bookshops - A group of French authors has promised to pay fines imposed on bookshops that remain open in defiance of coronavirus lockdown restrictions currently in place across France.

The pledge has been made by author Alexandre Jardin, who said authors were getting together to support booksellers during the crisis.

The current lockdown rules mean that only essential shops and businesses can remain open and bookshops are not deemed “essential”. Shops can sell books but only through online orders, which has been a challenge for smaller outlets.

#NoelsansAmazon - Several French politicians including the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, have signed a petition pledging not to use Amazon during the Christmas period and are calling for laws that slow down the development of the digital giant in France.

#NoëlSansAmazon is asking consumers to favour the use of local shops for Christmas gifts. The petition also demands laws "to benefit France’s economy and not the fortune of Jeff Bezos”.  

The publication of the petition comes after a forum where politicians, trade unions, but also booksellers or publishers call for the imposition of an exceptional tax on Amazon sales, underlining "the urgency of stopping the expansion of the e giant. -trade".

Faced with criticism, the management of Amazon France defends its investments in the country and claims the direct creation of 9,300 jobs for 10 years.

Radio France Internationale - The French radio station Radio France Internationale has apologised after publishing the obituaries of several prominent and alive people, including the Queen.

Others on the list which went live on their website included Clint Eastwood and Brigitte Bardot.

RFI said that A "technical problem" led to the publication. Broadcasters and media outlets often prepare the obituary material in order to be able to publish it promptly when a death is announced. According to a statement “the problem occurred when RFI was moving its website to a different content management system”.

Around a hundred draft stories were published in error - not just to its own site but to partner sites including Google and Yahoo.

And Finally

According to a forum called flight attendants use secret codewords when they want to say something without passengers hearing and they even have a secret codeword that means they fancy you.

If a member of the crew says “cheerio” to you on the way out, there is a big change they think you're attractive.

One crew member explained that the “cheerio” game is something they play when passengers disembark the plane.




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