Riviera and French News Friday 16th October 2020


Missing - An investigation has been opened following the worrying disappearance of a 17-year-old medical student in Marseille.

Ahmed Belrami has not been seen since leaving the family home to attend the Timone medical school in Marseille on Monday morning.

Described as having a pale complexion, brown hair and brown eyes, Belrami was at the time dressed in a black jacket, black trousers and trainers. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police in Marseille.

Explosion at refinery lab injures two employees - Two people have been injured following an explosion at an Esso refinery lab in the Fos-sur-Mer west of Marseille on Thursday.

The incident occurred shortly after 4pm while an experiment was being carried out by lab technicians.  A 50-year-old man was seriously injured, and a 24-year-old woman suffered slight injuries.

A spokesperson for Esso confirmed that “it was not a gas leak and there was no impact on the population following the blast”. The company is carrying out investigations to understand the exact cause of the accident.

Aid for victims of Storm Alex - The association “Secours populaire 06” has announced the opening of two new branches in the valleys behind Nice which were badly hit by Storm Alex.

The branches are located in Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Breil-sur-Roya, a third branch is also planned in the coming weeks.

Open to the public and operational, volunteers are on site proposing aid be it food, financial or administrative.

To make donations, you can visit the association's website or send it to Secours populaire in the Alpes-Maritimes, 30 rue Bonaparte, 06300 Nice.

Yellow Vest - Yellow Vest protestors who caused over a million-euro worth of damage to the pay toll at Le Muy during the national protests have appeared in court at Draguignan.

The damage included unscrewed barriers, broken surveillance cameras and an office set on fire. Of the seven who appeared in court, two were given prison sentences of eight months and two years respectively.

Ryanair - Ryanair has announced it is to cut all its flights from Nice Cote d’Azur airport to London and Dublin for the entire winter season. The next available flights are late March next year. The airline is also to close its French base in Toulouse.

Carbon-free future - Monaco’s push for a carbon-free future has taken a big step with the acquisition of three new wind farms in France. It means that a quarter of the Principality’s consumption needs will soon be met with clean energy. The principality aims to meet its energy consumption needs 100% green electricity production by 2050.


Prime Minister justifies new restrictions - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has justified the reasons for the government’s decision to impose a curfew in nine cities across France as of Friday midnight during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Castex called on the French to limit gatherings to six people in both private and public spaces and announced that all private parties and weddings held in public places are banned across the country.

The Prime Minister went on to explain that the new rules in place are designed to curb the spread of Covid-19, announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday.

He emphasized collective responsibility and the need for citizens to respect health restrictions. The new restriction come as public health authorities reported a further 100 deaths in the last 24 hours and 193 people in intensive care.

Meanwhile Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said a justification letter will be required for anyone needing to stay out past the curfew, with a letter from the employer if necessary, much like during the lockdown.

12,000 police officers have been designated to enforce the curfew, with people facing fines of 135 euros for no justification and 3,750 euros and prison time if caught a second time.

Exceptions to the curfew would include going to work, or seeking medical treatment, going to the pharmacy, to visit dependent family members, to take care of pets, or to take a train or plane booked outside curfew hours.

On the economic front, France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire stated that all companies of 50 employees or less in the zones effected by curfews would be able to claim 1,500 euros from the solidarity fund if they had lost at least 50 percent of their turnover.

For hotels, cafés and restaurants, he said the rescue package could reach 10,000 euros to compensate for losses of at least 50 percent of revenue, a level which used to be 70 percent.

Ministers under investigation into handling of the health crisis - Meanwhile on Thursday police searched the home of Health Minister Olivier Veran as part of an inquiry into the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. The home of former prime minister Edouard Philippe and other officials were also searched.

Veran is one of several current or former ministers being investigated over their response to the pandemic following complaints by victims of Covid-19 that they were slow to act.

Veran's office was also searched as part of the investigation by a court that hears cases of alleged wrongdoing by ministers in the course of their duties.

Officers also searched the home of the director of the national health agency, Jerome Salomon.

Prime Minister Jean Castex is also under investigation over the pandemic, as is his predecessor Edouard Philippe and Veran's predecessor in the health ministry, Agnes Buzyn.

Anger towards imposed curfew - Anger has been expressed by restaurant owners at the government-imposed curfew, which will affect a third of France from this weekend.

The president of the national restaurants and hotel group has said that the 9pm curfew is ‘economic nonsense and a decision to close’.

Meanwhile other European countries are tightening restrictions with 9 million Londoners being banned from meeting family or friends inside, while Germany are limiting gatherings to just 25 people outside, or 15 people indoors.


A high-flying tech mogul has been charged with the largest tax evasion case in US history.

Houston technology executive Robert Brockman was charged on Thursday after another billionaire ,Robert Smith gave evidence against him to avoid prosecution.

Mr Brockman who’s 79 is the chief executive of Reynolds and Reynolds and has been charged with hiding 2 billion dollars in income from the Internal Revenue Service over two decades.

The US Justice Department says that Brockman used a web of offshore companies in Bermuda and St Kitts and Nevis to hide the money.

Reynolds and Reynolds  provides software to car dealers to help manage their business.

Brockman has also been charged in a securities fraud scheme after allegedly buying and selling debt securities in his own company.

He’s pleaded not guilty to all charges.

There’s been a negative reaction from Downing Street after EU leaders led by French President Emmanuel Macron told Boris Johnson to accept Brexit on their terms or face a no deal.

At a summit in Brussels on Thursday ,EU leaders proposed a further two or three weeks of negotiations  but stressed that Mr Johnson needed to make the “necessary moves to make an agreement possible”.

The development is being seen as a deliberate ploy to put pressure on the British Prime Minister who’s been threatening to walk away from the talks unless the EU moved on some issues including fisheries and state aid.

The official EU communique issued on Thursday afternoon said that there had been “no progress” but asked chief negotiator Michel Barnier to “continue negotiations in the coming weeks”.

The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost said that he was “disappointed” by the conclusions of the summit and that he was “surprised” that the EU was demanding that all future moves must come from Britain.

And-Morgan Stanley has eased past Wall Street estimates for third quarter profits after capitalising on a flurry of activity in financial markets.

Revenue comfortably beat estimates ,up by 16 percent to 11.7 billion dollars  as all three of the bank’s business units posted gains.

Morgan Stanley’s chief financial officer Jonathan Pruzan said that the bank had been encouraged by client engagement across all of its businesses with a particular boost to the buying and selling of securities in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Morgan Stanley shares gained 1.5 percent to 51 dollars 40 on the news.


Cycling-There are calls for the Giro d’Italia to be halted a week early because the coronavirus bubble has been “clearly compromised”.

The EF Pro Cycling team has written to the race organisers asking for the event to be stopped this Sunday.

Cycling’s governing body the UCI has rejected the request.

Earlier this week ,two teams Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma pulled out of the race following several positive tests in their camps.

The race is due to finish in Milan on October the 25th.

Jhonatan Narvaez of Ecuador won stage 12 in wet, treacherous conditions on Thursday with Joao Almeida retaining the leader’s Pink Jersey.

Football-The English Premier League is back in action this weekend after the international break.

On Saturday Everton play Liverpool.Chelsea host Southampton.Manchester City play Arsenal and Newcastle face Manchester United.

On Sunday Sheffield United play Fulham.Crystal Palace host Brighton.Spurs play West Ham and Leicester play Aston Villa.

West Brom play Burnley and Leeds host Wolves on Monday.

Rugby Union-Eddie Jones has named a 26 man squad ahead of the busy autumn international schedule.

The uncapped Worcester centre Ollie Lawrence is drafted in as a replacement for injured Manu Tuilagi while the Bath pair of Tom De Glanville and Beno Obano are also included.

England play the Barbarians on October the 25th before completing their 6 Nations campaign against Italy in Rome on the 31st of October.

It’s the final of the European Champions Cup tomorrow with Exeter meeting Racing 92 in Bristol.

Kick off is at 5.45 french time tomorrow with Exeter the overwhelming favourites.

Racing-Magical and Serpentine will line up against each other in the Champion Stakes at Ascot tomorrow as part of British Champions Day.

The Aiden O’Brien pair will be joined by rivals Addeybb and Mishraff as well as Pyledriver.

The 10th edition of Champions Day will be held behind closed doors.



Partially cloudy with light variable winds.

Top temperatures 18 degrees.

Overnight lows of 13 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine with highs of 18-19 degrees.

And Finally 

What’s your flavour? It’s that time of year again when Walkers crisps have revealed its festive flavour for Christmas 2020 - and this year it's sausage rolls.

It's the latest in the line of festive tastes from the company. Last year saw the unusual Brussel sprout flavoured crisps hit the shelves.

Crisp lovers will find the new snacks in stores in the UK from this Monday, October 19.


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