Lunchtime News Tuesday 1st February 2022


Earth tremor in the Nice region this morning - According to authorities the Nice region has experienced an earth tremor. Local media has reported that "the earth shook very slightly" with a magnitude of 1.1 at 7.55am this morning in the Roya Valley, near the commune of Saorge. The epicentre was located a stone's throw away from the Italian border. The tremor comes following an earthquake of a greater magnitude estimated at 4.5 in the Pyrenees at 3.03 this morning. The epicentre was reported to be seven kilometres away in the Principality of Andorra where is was "strongly felt". No damage was reported.

Strong winds - High winds are still blowing in several departments including the Vaucluse and the Bouches du Rhone. On Monday January 31st an orange warning, forecasting strong winds was in place and thousands of homes were without electricity in the Var. During the night fire fighters carried out 60 interventions due to falling trees, electricity polls and chimneys however no casualties were reported. In Marseille, cemeteries, parks and gardens remain closed until further notice.

On street parking in Nice to change from today - From today Tuesday 1st February, the hourly rate for on street parking in Nice is to decrease but the fine is set to nearly double. The hourly rate will drop by 10 centimes but, in the event of non-payment the charge of a fine will increase from 16 to 25 euros. The fine increase will see Nice move into line with the national average in France however, still behind Lyon where the fine for non-payment is 60 euros. 

Private companies to deal with rubbish in the streets of Marseille due to strike action - After almost two weeks of conflict between bin collectors and the city council of Marseille, authorities have announced a mobilisation of companies to collect rubbish due to the risk of fire and pollution. The city council announced on Monday, after discussions with the prefect, that it was going to mobilize private companies in order to proceed this Tuesday to the collection of waste in the city, 13 days after the start of the bin collectors' strike, the third since the month of September. The move comes after local MP Sébastian Barles in charge of ecological transition, suggested an intervention by the army in order to put an end to the accumulation of waste in the city.

Daily permits to visit the Calanques National Park - Meanwhile French authorities have announced plans to begin testing limited daily permits to visit the Calanques National park near the Mediterranean city of Marseille, where summer crowds have sharply increased erosion risks. About 1,500 people converge at the site each day in the high season, a major environmental strain. In recent years people have increasingly trampled down the slope to the beach instead of taking the path intended to limit damage to vegetation.

Subvariant of Omicron BA.2 more contagious - A Danish study, a country where the "subvariant" of Omicron BA.2 is largely dominant, has claimed that the latter is more contagious than the original. Unvaccinated people are also more likely to be infected with the subvariant compared to Omicron. The study published on Monday shows that if someone in your household is infected with BA.2, there is an overall 39% risk that another member of the household will be infected within the first week. On the other hand, if the person is infected with BA.1, the risk is 29%," said the Danish Infectious Diseases Control Authority (SSI). The study further shows that vaccinated people, and especially those who have received a booster, are much less likely to be infected. In France, as revealed by Public Health France on January 25th, "according to the sequencing results, there are detections of BA.2 in France, but at very low levels. One-off cases spread over different regions were detected by sequencing over the last two weeks of December 2021 and the first two weeks of this year."

Government to meet on Wednesday to discuss covid epidemic - As restrictions are lifted tomorrow Wednesday 2nd February, French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with cabinet ministers. Government ministers are set to discuss the state of the covid epidemic as one leading emergency doctor warns that "the epidemic is not over". According to figures while the number of covid cases have dropped recently, hospitalisations are still high.

Apple headphones no longer sold with their iPhones - Apple will no longer sell headphones with their iPhone. According to new legal requirements manufacturers no longer have to provide a pair of headphones for each mobile sold and it will now cost 19 euros more for a pair of Apple headphones when buying an iPhone. Since February 1st, the Californian giant no longer supplies its Earpods headphones with its smartphone, all generations combined. Until yesterday, January 31st, the description of the box included the audio accessory. Now, only the smartphone and a charging cable are mentioned. Until now, France was an exception: it was the only country in the world where Apple still supplied its Earpods with each iPhone, due to a legal obligation dating back to 2010. The regulations, which aimed in particular to protect users from exposure to waves, were finally amended at the end of 2021, ending this obligation for ecological purposes. For France, the goal is not to multiply the accessories provided, in order to produce only those that are intended to be used. This development is also the reason behind Apple's decision to no longer provide chargers or headphones in the box since 2020 - with the exception of France, therefore, also for ecological purposes. Note that the abolition of headphones also concerns resellers, such as specialized brands or telephone operators.

Mother is looking for woman who helped her give birth in hospital car park - A mother who gave birth in a hospital carpark in northern France, is looking for a woman who helped her. The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday January 21st when Mélanie gave birth to her child alone at the entrance to the hospital of Compiégne north of Paris. The mother had arrived accompanied by her husband but, unable to get out of the vehicle her husband went to look for a doctor. Alone and in labour a young woman came to help Melanie as the baby was born. The medical team soon arrived and Melanie was taken inside however, the identity of the person who helped the mother remains a mystery and eleven days after the birth of their son Lenzo, the couple, want to find the one who came to reassure Mélanie at this critical moment and in the cold of the car park. They wish to not only say thank you, but also "to introduce her to their  son".


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