French and Riviera News.Monday January 27th 2020

Coronavirus-The Mayor of Nice ,Christian Estrosi has written to the French Health Minister to ask what measures are being taken to protect the population against the spread of the Coronavirus.

Mr Estrosi has suggested that a regional committee is set up to monitor the progress of the virus and wants to see increased checks at Nice Airport and at hospitals in the region.

He says that even though there have been no cases of the virus detected yet in the south east of the country ,it would be prudent to increase checks to minimise the risks to the population.

Three cases of Coronavirus have been detected so far in France.

French tour operators have removed organised tours of China from their services.

 

Missing girl-Gendarmes in the Var are appealing for information about a minor who’s been missing from her home at Saint-Paul-en-Foret since Saturday.

Maena Andre was wearing a pink jacket ,black leggings , a black polo shirt and black boots when last seen.She’s got auburn hair is of slim build and is 1 meter 83 tall.

Anyone with information is asked to call Gendarmes on 04 94 39 16 40

 

Let it roll-CCTV footage from Nice has found that some 1,000 heavy good vehicles are using the Promenade des Anglais on a daily basis during the working week.

Under a 1957 French Ministerial Decree ,the road is classed as a “Grand National Highway” which allows HGV’s to use it.

Nice City Hall has asked for the road to be declassified and local residents complain that the trucks are causing both noise and air pollution.

Authorities want to see vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes banned from the road and the rest of the city centre as is the case in many other large French towns including Paris.

The Promenade des Anglais was reclassified as a Grand National Road in 2009 and one of the reasons that big trucks continue to use it is to avoid the Nice St Isidore Motorway peage to save money.

There have been persistent calls for the St Isidore peage to be removed for environmental ,safety and congestion reasons but the prefecture has so far rejected the idea.

 

Pedestrian Zone ? An enquiry by the Nice Matin newspaper has found that a majority of local residents would like to see the old town of Antibes completely pedestrianized.

With the local elections approaching ,the paper says that the idea is gaining traction but so far there have been no concrete proposals.

The old town is closed to vehicles in the evenings but a majority of the local population would like to see the ban made permanent.

 

Urban Rodeo-Police in Antibes has issued more than 30 fines and confiscated vehicles after what’s described as an “urban rodeo” took place at the car park of the AzurArena over the weekend.

Some 100 people riding a variety of motorbikes from cross trail to quads attended the illegal gathering which was organised via social media on the internet.

Police reinforcements from Nice were called in to help control the crowd and several off road motorbikes which has not been insured were confiscated.

Authorities are trying to establish who organised the event.

 

In National News.

 

Coronavirus-French health authorities are stepping up checks on passengers travelling from China after the first cases of Coronavirus were detected in the country.

Three people have been confirmed as having contracted the virus , one in Bordeaux and two in Paris. They are all members of the same family and had recently travelled to China. They’ve been placed in hospital isolation wards for treatment and monitoring.

The French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn says that efforts are being made to trace the history of the patients and to trace people that they may have been in contact with.

The Minister said that rapid test procedures have been established which should allow the detection of anyone who may have contracted the virus.

Meanwhile some passengers arriving back in France on flights from China say they were surprised at how little attention they were paid by officials at the airports.

Many coming off flights from Shanghai said that there had been no health checks carried out when they could easily have been carrying the virus.

Police on patrol at Paris airports have been seen wearing masks and rubber gloves.

 

PSA-The French car manufacturer PSA says that it’s repatriating staff from its plant in Wuhan as fears increase that more cases of Coronavirus will be found in France.

The firm ,which manufactures Peugeot,Citroen ,Opel and Vauxhall vehicles said that 38 of its staff and their families would be quarantined in the Chinese city of Changsha ,around 300 kilometers from the site of the original outbreak of the virus and then would be returned home.

French authorities say that other nationals currently in China are “being monitored”.

A medical team looking for signs of the virus has now been set up at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

 

Missing aid workers-Fears are growing for the safety of three aid workers from a French Christian charity who’ve been missing in Iraq for a week.

Authorities from both France and Iraq are investigating the disappearance but that so far there have been no ransom demands.

The French aid organisation SOS Chretiens d’Orient says that the three French nationals and one Iraqi worker were last seen in Baghdad on Monday the 20th of January.Their disappearance comes at a time of heightened tensions in the country.

 

Business.

 

Experts say that there is no doubt that the new Coronavirus will cause some harm to the global economy but they’re not sure exactly how much.

In China ,travel restrictions and the effect that measures are having on the movement of goods plus a fall in consumer spending are already having an effect but for the rest of the world it very much depends on how far and quickly the virus spreads.

The extent of the effects on trade and consumer activity is very much dependent on how easily transmissible the virus proves to be and the death rate among those infected.

There have so far been some negative consequences for stock markets but they have not been large.

Some businesses including drug makers have made gains and there is certain to be profitability for a firm that develops an effective vaccine which industry insiders say may be available within a year.

 

The US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned the UK Finance Minister to delay what he says is a “discriminatory” tax on big tech firms.

MR Mnuchin met with Sajid Javid over the weekend and directly warned him against applying the new tax as part of his forthcoming budget.

The UK will officially leave the European Union on Friday and the United States appears keep to nail down a free trade deal with Britain as soon as possible.

However ,the new digital tax as well as differences on Middle East policy  and plans to use technology from Huawei in the new 5G network may prove to be major stumbling blocks along the path to a deal.

Mr Javid has also said that his first priority will be a trade deal with the EU.

Mr Mnuchin told Mr Javid that he didn’t think the new digital tax was “appropriate” adding that the two countries were “trying to work through it”.

 

And-It’s a big week for the tech giants as they report fourth quarter earnings this week.

Amazon ,Apple ,Facebook ,Microsoft and the electric carmaker Tesla will all be reporting this week with seemingly no signs of a chink in their collective armour despite the growing problems being faced by the world.

Apple shares have more than doubled over the past year while Amazon is forecast to deliver record quarterly revenues.

Microsoft is also expected to report near or record profits boosted by its cloud computing division and Facebook is being tipped to post record profits and revenues above 20 billion dollars for the first time.

Last week’s valuation of Tesla at more than 100 billion dollars also suggests that investors are placing it in the same bracket as the tech giants.

Despite the world being overdue a recession ,so far there’s no sign that big tech is in line for a hefty fall until at least governments come good on their repeated threats of serious regulation.

 

Sport.

 

Tributes have been paid to the former US basketball star Kobe Bryant who’s been killed in a helicopter accident in California.

Mr Bryant who was 41 along with his 13 year old daughter and 7 other people all died when the helicopter they were travelling in came down in fog above the city of Calabasas.

The LA County Sheriff said that there were no survivors.

Bryant ,who was a 5 time NBA champion ,played for the LA Lakers throughout his career  and is considered to be one of the greatest players in basketball history.

Among those to pay tribute were President Trump ,his predecessor Barack Obama and the golf star Tiger Woods.

There was also a tribute at the Grammy Awards taking place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles where Koby Bryant made his name for the Lakers.

 

Tennis-The 5th seed Dominic Thiem has moved into the last 8 of the Australian Open in Melbourne after beating Gael Monfis of France in straight sets.

Thiem didn’t face a single break point as he came through 6-2 6-4 6-4.Roger Federer is also through following a  4 set victory over Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.

In the women’s event the 4th seed Simona Halep is through to the quarter finals.She beat Elise Mertens 6-4 6-4 and will now play Anett Kontaveit.

 

Cricket-England have set South Africa 466 to win the 4th Test in Johannesburg as they close in on a series victory.

England swung the bat in their second innings and were bowled out for 248 on day three.

They have 2 days to remove South Africa and win the series 3-1.

 

Football-There were 3 FA Cup 4th round ties on Sunday with Liverpool held to a shock 2-2 draw at League one Shrewsbury Town.

In the other games Manchester City beat Fulham 4-0 and Manchester United were 6-0 winners at Tranmere.

There’s one tie tonight with Bournemouth against Arsenal.

In the Scottish Premiership on Sunday St Mirren and Aberdeen drew 0-0 and Hearts beat Rangers 2-1.

 

Motorsport -Thierry Neuville of Belgium has won the 88th Monte Carlo Rally.

The 31 year old Monaco resident came home ahead of the Toyotas of Sebastian Ogier and Elfyn Evans at the end of Sunday’s special stages to take the first round of the World Rally Championship.

 

Rugby Union-Joe Launchbury will miss the start of England’s 6 Nations campaign with a knee injury.

The 28 year old lock picked up the knock in his club side Wasp’s European Challenge Cup match against Begles-Bordeaux last weekend and has been ruled out of the trip to Paris to face France next Sunday.He may be fit in time for the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland on the 8th of February.

And-there was one game in the Gallagher Premiership on Sunday.Harlequins thrashed relegated Saracens 41-14.

 

Weather

 

Partially cloudy with light variable winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Mainly fine but windy with highs of 14-16 degrees.

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