Lunchtime News Tuesday 29th September


New measures - New additional measures in the fight against Covid-19 have come into force in the region. On Monday, September 28, the measures were added to those already in place. The measures are as follows;

A ban on gatherings of more than 10 people in parks and gardens as well as on beaches, however protests demonstrations, funeral ceremonies, guided tours organized by people holding a professional card and markets are not concerned.

The closure of restaurants from half past midnight until six in the morning will now also apply to shops selling food products, hygiene products and daily life (mini-market type) and shops whose main activity is the sale of drinks and meals to take away.

The early closure of bars is confirmed at 10pm.

A ban on the sale of take away alcohol after 8pm and a ban on alcohol consumption in public from 8pm until 6am.

Playing music on the public highway is prohibited because it may encourage people to gather.

Major events will be limited to 1,000 people in Nice.

Wearing a mask remains compulsory in certain towns or districts and respecting barrier gestures from 8am to 1am.

The closure of all private sports establishments with the exception for school or extracurricular activities, or outdoor activities.

Festive or family gatherings are prohibited in establishments open to the public (marquees, party rooms, tents, structures, etc.). However, associations can continue their activities.

StopCovid - Meanwhile France’s Secretary of State for Digital Transition, Cédric O, has reaffirmed the importance of using the StopCovid application in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

On September 24th France's Prime Minister Jean Castex admitted on France 2 that he had not downloaded the StopCovid tracking application, which was introduced at the beginning of the summer by the government.

The application, available for free on iOS and Android, is designed to record an (anonymous) list of smartphones detected nearby thanks to the Bluetooth sensor on their mobile, and to receive an alert in the event of contact with a patient.

Despite a very limited number of downloads (only three million users, for a few dozen alerts sent), the Secretary of State for Digital Transition assures the French people that he is counting on StopCovid, in the midst of an upsurge in the number of cases.

The low popularity of StopCovid contrasts with that of equivalent applications among other neighbouring countries. Less than 24 hours after its launch, the German version was already downloaded by 6.4 million people, even reaching 18 million downloads in September. The British version, available since September 24, has more than six million installations.

In other news 

Marineland - The director of Marineland in Antibes has deplored the lack of consultation ahead of an announcement this morning from France’s minister of ecological transition Barbara Pompili, foreseeing the "progressive end" of wild animals in traveling circuses and the end of the presence of killer whales and dolphins in French dolphinariums.

Cannes Film Festival 2020 - The 2020 Cannes Film Festival is set to return to the Croisette in October. A mini selection of part of the official Cannes 2020 selection will be screened from the 27th to the 29th of October.

The event postponed in May due to Covid-19 will offer the general public the opportunity to attend four premieres of films from the 2020 official selection.

A8 motorway - The stretch of motorway between Saint Laurent du Var and Cagnes sur mer in the Alpes Maritimes is the road section where the most motorists are flashed for speeding in France.

Hundreds of drivers are caught on this section of the A8 motorway just before exit 48 Vence Cagnes sur mer with the radar flashing 205,510 times last year which is twenty three times an hour, a national record.

It was in 2018 that the speed limit in the area was reduced from 110km an hour to 90km an hour.

Amnesty International denounces a system in France which is designed to make demonstrating more and more difficult - Amnesty International has denounced a system which is design to make it “more and more difficult to demonstrate in France”.

In the report published today, the 56 page document lists dozens of cases of peaceful demonstrations experiencing “random arrests" and "judicial harassment" in France, especially during the mobilization of "yellow vest movement" or against the “pension reform”.

Amnesty International says that in 2018 and 2019, more than 40,000 people were convicted of various offenses "on the basis of vague laws", frequently "used to illegally restrict the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression".

Researcher for the NGO Marco Perolini, said that while "Violence during demonstrations is a legitimate concern, there is a political will to set examples and dissuade people from taking to the streets," adding that he believes that offenses, often “too vaguely” formulated lead the courts to pronounce "disproportionate" sanctions against peaceful demonstrators.

According to official statistics, 1,192 people were convicted of this offense in 2019. According to Amnesty, the repression of demonstrators has increased with the adoption of new laws, in particular that of April 2019 penalizing behavior that was not previously an offense, such as covering the face.

The NGO says that in 2020, the health crisis was an opportunity to further extend restrictions on the right to demonstrate and according to the NGO, 85 people were sentenced.

And Finally 

A study has shown that making love lasts longer for couples in Sheffield than anywhere else in Britain, reaching an average exceeding 15 minutes which beat those in Portsmouth. 

Bradford came second followed by Bournemouth and Preston.

Bolton couples came fourth followed by Newcastle and Birmingham joint fifth. Middlesborough couples came sixth followed by Leeds, Leicester and London joint seventh

Sunderland, Norwich, Manchester and Luton couples came eighth followed by Wolverhampton ninth and Cardiff and Milton Keynes joint tenth.




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