French and Riviera News.Monday July 27th 2020

Castex-The French Prime Minister Jean Castex has been giving interviews to journalists following his visit to Nice on Saturday.

Mr Castex visited the scene of last week’s shooting in Les Moulins district of the city and held meetings with local officials including Mayor Christian Estrosi and the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes Bernard Gonzalez.

The Prime Minister has promised an extra 60 National Police officers will be drafted into Nice to help crack down on violent crime and there are to be reinforcements to the Gendarmarie and extra powers for Municipal Police.

Mr Castex has also said that a government experiment to issue fixed penalty notices for possession of or consumption of illegal substances will come into force nationwide in the autumn.

Police will issue fines of 200 euros to offenders with the fine reduced to 150 euros if paid within 15 days but increased to 450 euros if not paid for 45 days.

The government hopes that the idea will take the pressure off police and the courts but prosecutors will still be able to pursue individuals for more serious offences such as dealing and trafficking.

 

Covid-19 -The Prime Minister has said that he wants to avoid a fresh national lockdown for coronavirus “at all costs”.

Jean Castex said that lockdowns would be “targeted” at areas where infection rates have spiked.

He said that a new general lockdown would be “catastrophic” for the economy and would have serious “psychological consequences” for certain sections of society.

He said that so far ,although Covid-19 cases were rising again ,there is no extra strain on hospital services.

Meanwhile ,the French Health Minister Olivier Véran has appealed to people aged 20-40 to respect social distancing and exercise good hygiene.

Mr Véran said that he understood why young people wanted to congregate together after lockdown especially during the summer holidays but with the 20-40 age group showing the biggest numbers in new Covid-19 infections ,he said that there was “no choice” but to follow government advice.

 

Covid-19 Monaco - Monaco authorities say that 7 new cases of Covid -19 detected in the principality in the week to the 24th of July are mostly in people who’d come into the state from overseas destinations.

Health authorities say that they are confident that the situation is under control but urge the public to continue to wear face masks where required and to exercise good hand hygiene.

One person is in hospital with the disease but tested positive after being admitted for a separate medical matter.

Nobody is in intensive care and those who have tested positive are mostly asymptotic and being treated at home while self isolating.

 

Nights from hell-Residents in the St Tropez area have been complaining about the frequency and noise of house parties.

With nightclubs and discotheques closed because of the risk of the spread of coronavirus ,some people have taken to holding parties at villas ,many of which have been rented for the summer months.

Full time residents are complaining about excessively loud music which they say goes on all night and even up until 8 or 9 am the following morning.

 

Fire warnings- Residents and visitors alike are being warned about the risk of forest fires with the south of France now experiencing the hottest period of the year.

Although temperatures have not been excessive so far this summer ,  forest land is very dry and a single spark can be enough to set off big fires.

Lighting fires or smoking in forest land is strictly forbidden and motorists should pay particular attention and remember never to throw a lit cigarette end from a moving car window.

Extra patrols are on the ground keeping an eye out for the merest puff of smoke and there is extra air support this year too following the devastating fires of two years ago.

 

Animal rights-Animal rights activists have been protesting outside a Lidl supermarket in Nice over the weekend to bring attention to what it says is the deplorable treatment of chickens that end up on the shelves.

The L214 group staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Lidl store on the boulevard Gorbella.

It says that intensive farming methods sees chickens reared in darkened sheds where they never see daylight and packed in 20 per square meter without enough room to perch or stretch their wings.

L214 says that it wants the chain to commit to better treatment of poultry like other supermarkets including Carrefour ,Intermarche and Super U.

They are also angry about the way the birds are killed which involves forcing their heads into baths of electrified water.

Lidl has made no comment.

 

In National News.

 

Nantes Cathedral - A volunteer worker at Nantes Cathedral who was first arrested in connection with last weekend’s fire has now been rearrested and charged with arson.

The 39 year old Rwandan national was first arrested and released last Saturday as police looked into the cause of fires that hit three different parts of the St Peter and St Paul Cathedral ,blowing out stained glass windows ,damaging works of art and destroying the 16th century organ.

The suspect’s lawyer initially said that there was nothing to link his client,who was responsible for locking the Cathedral up on the night before the blaze ,to the crime.

Reports now though say that he’s confessed in front of a judge and has been charged with “destruction and damage by fire”.

The state prosecutor will call for a 10 year jail term and a fine of 150,000 euros.

 

Spain-Many French holiday makers have been crossing the border into Spain over the weekend despite warnings about a possible second wave of coronavirus affecting the country.

The government has warned people about the dangers of entering the country but roads into Spain from the French side of the frontier have been busy with many people saying that it was “too late” to cancel their trip.

Although the situation is worsening in Spain ,cases of Covid-19 in the neighbouring French departments are still very low with nobody receiving hospital treatment for the virus in the entire Pyrenees Orientales area.

Some countries including the UK have now reimposed quarantine restrictions on people returning from holiday in Spain but France has not acted so far.

 

Business.

 

A report by Bloomberg says that the euro area economy is set for a better recovery from the coronavirus pandemic than the United States owing to starkly different responses to the pandemic.

Bloomberg says that America’s failure to get a grip on the virus is putting the brakes on its rebound compared with Europe where many Covid-19 hotspots have managed to resume economic activity without seeing a similar surge in infections.

The report says that Europe’s relative success in controlling the virus may help persuade consumers to shop and businesses to invest ,further propelling demand and growth.

Bloomberg says that the euro area has also done a better job in protecting employment and incomes with furlough schemes keeping millions of workers on payrolls.

 

McDonald’s says that it will require customers to wear face masks in its US restaurants from next month as coronavirus cases continue to surge across America.

The fast food giant also says that it will extend delays on re-opening dining areas in some places for another 30 days.

Other large US firms including Walmart ,Target and Starbucks have also made the wearing of face masks compulsory despite some Americans opposed to the measure as they see it as a violation of their constitutional rights.

McDonald’s says that it will train staff to speak to customers who refuse to comply “in a friendly manner”.

The use of face masks in public is the top recommendation from US health experts and government officials looking to control the spread of Covid-19.

 

And-In the UK , signs of an economic rebound from Covid-19 could last only a few months according to retail analysts.

Rising unemployment which could hit 10 percent in October is being seen as the main reason why people will stop spending.

The data provider IHS Markit says that the current trend for laying off workers is storing up trouble and could eventually see the recovery stall.

The most recent survey of manufacturing and business activity for July shows that output was up strongly from June but that firms were not only continuing to lay off workers ,they were doing so at a faster rate.

The latest warning echoes the concerns of the Bank of England which has said that a “V-shaped recovery” is far from assured and that consumers would continue to be reluctant about venturing out to buy goods and services.

 

Sport.

 

Football-Manchester United and Chelsea have joined Liverpool and Manchester City in qualifying for next season’s European Champions League on the final day of the English Premier League season.

United beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power Stadium to finish in third place while Chelsea beat Wolves 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to finish 4th.

Leicester have to settle for a place in the Europa League after finishing 5th and they’re joined by Spurs who finished 6th thanks to a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

At the bottom ,Aston Villa escaped relegation thanks to a 1-1 draw at West Ham. Bournemouth and Watford were relegated alongside Norwich.

 

In the first leg of the Championship semi-final play off last night Swansea beat Brentford 1-0.

The second semi-final between Cardiff and Fulham is being played tonight.

 

Cricket-England are closing in on victory in the third and decisive Test against West Indies at Old Trafford.

Stuart Broad was once again the pick of the bowlers as he took 6 West Indies wickets across two innings starting with 4-31 as the tourists were dismissed for 197 in their first innings and then striking twice shortly before the close of play as West Indies were reduced to 10-2 in their second innings still trailing England  by 389.

Broad needs just one more wicket to reach the milestone of 500 Test Match wickets but he may have to wait as the weather in Manchester is not forecast to be good today and there may be little play.

 

Motorsport- Fabio Quartararo from Nice has made it back to back Moto GP wins with victory in Sunday’s Andalucia race.

The Frenchman now has a 50 point lead in the championship over title holder Marc Marquez  who missed Sunday’s race as he recovers from a broken arm he sustained last week.

Quartararo started from pole and didn’t look back. The Spaniard Maverick Vinales finished second with the Italian veteran Valentino Rossi in third.

 

Weather.

 

Clear skies with light variable winds.

Top temperatures 27-30 degrees.

Overnight lows of 22 degrees on the coast and 20 degrees inland with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Fine in coastal areas ,thundery showers inland.Highs of 27-33 degrees.

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