Lunchtime News Wednesday 9th February 2022


"Convoy of Freedom" heading for the French capital - Several thousand motorists are heading to the French capital planning to arrive this weekend, to demonstrate against government policy and in particular against the covid vaccine pass. The mobilization which started on social networks is expected to see thousands leave from Bayonne, Nice, Strasbourg or Cherbourg, to reach Paris, in a "convoy of freedom". The movement has been inspired by the action of Canadian truck drivers. In response the French government has said it is taking "things seriously" and says it is ready to act if necessary. The Minister of the Interior, however, has indicated that he did not have at this stage any information on "the numbers". On Tuesday evening, about twenty demonstrators claiming to be part of the "convoy of freedom" arrived in Paris. They have called on all French people dissatisfied with government policy to join their movement.

"Convoy of Freedom" leaves Nice – Local media has reported that motorists have left Nice this morning at 10am as part of the "Convoy of Freedom". The prefecture estimated that 150 people gathered at the Carrefour car park in Lingositère ready to head for Pairs, organisers claim there were 400. The convoy is expected to have a first break in Brignoles in the Var at 2pm with a second stop at Aix-en-Provence at 4pm, before leaving for Avignon where the convoy will spend their first night.

Alpes Maritimes issues "drought alert" - While the record sunshine of January in Nice and the region may have delighted many, it effects on the environment has led to the prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes issuing a "drought alert" due to the risk of forest fires. On Tuesday February 8th the prefecture announced a ban on "all burning of vegetation". The ban is in place until February 20th, 2022; however, it may be extended beyond this date if necessary.

Missing person - Police in the Alpes de Haute Provence have launched a missing persons appeal following the disappearance of 37 year old Baptiste Simonneau, who has been missing since Saturday in Colmars-les-Alpes in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. It was Simonneau family which raised the alarm after he failed to return from a walk and his car was discovered near a path leading to the Lance waterfall. Despite a search operation on Monday and Tuesday police have called for anyone who may have any information to come forward. At the time of his disappearance Baptiste was wearing blue jeans, a black jacket, brown hiking shoes and carrying a black backpack. If you think you have any information, you can contact the police on 04 92 83 40 20.

Teenager found - Meanwhile the teenage girl missing in the Var has been found in Toulon. Police had launched a call for witnesses to find 14-year-old Manon Schlenker who had runaway on Sunday, February 6. The last time the teenager was located was in Avignon the next day at 9.40am.

Several earth tremors felt in the Var region - Several earth tremors have been recorded in the Var region. At least 14 small earthquakes were recorded between Monday and Tuesday night in Draguignan. A rather rare event the strongest tremor was detected at 5.13am on Tuesday morning with a magnitude of 2.3.

Health center inaugurated in Var valley - The first health center in the Alpes-Maritimes Department has been inaugurated in the Var valley in Puget-Théniers. The objective is to make care accessible to all and to enable coordinated quality care in rural areas. The creation of the health center comes as the area is faced with the drastic drop in the number of general practitioners. Elected officials were present at the inauguration including Charles Ange Ginésy, President of the Alpes-Maritimes Department, Jean Leonetti, the Mayor of Antibes Juan-les-Pins and Pierre Corporandy, Mayor of Puget-Théniers. The center offers general medicine consultations every day of the week (with and without an appointment), a COVID vaccination center and nursing support.

For the first time in France, a court has allowed a transgender woman to be recognized as the mother of her child - For the first time in France, a court has allowed a transgender woman to be recognized as the mother of her child. The Toulouse Court of Appeal ruled for the first time today Wednesday February 9th, that a transgender woman could be considered the mother of the child she had conceived with her partner before her sex change. The couple initially of heterosexual orientation, residing in the Hérault, have several children, but the last was born after the change of civil status of the husband became wife. It was then impossible to register the recognition of maternity of this transgender woman, because only the pregnant mother appeared on the civil status of the child. The woman born a man then had to adopt her own biological daughter as a mother, which she refused.

Ban on demonstration from Paris police prefecture – Meanwhile the Paris police prefecture has banned a demonstration of the "Hijabeuses" who are campaigning for the right to wear the veil on a sports field in France. The collective of about hundred members, had planned to meet in front of the National Assembly today Wednesday 9th February, in protest. The regulations of the French Football Federation prohibit the wearing of the veil on its grounds. As part of the law "aimed at democratizing sport", an amendment voted by the Senate proposes to ban "the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols" to participate in official sports competitions. It will be debated today in the National Assembly.

And Finally

A report in the UK has claimed that a happy marriage really is the key to a longer and healthier life. In the first study of its kind researchers found that death rates among single men and women are up to twice as high compared to their married counterparts.

For men, being divorced appeared to carry the biggest risk of an early death followed by being single and being a widower. Among women, who traditionally live longer than men, mortality rates were highest in those who were single, followed by widows and divorcees.

The data mirrors findings from several previous studies which showed married people often live longer, healthier and happier lives. Experts believe that this is because partners look out for their loved ones, urging them to get health check-ups whenever an illness or condition emerges. Being happy has its own health benefits helping to reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle, while being family-orientated has been associated with a reduced risk of getting involved in risky behaviours. 



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