Lunchtime news Monday 9th March 2020
Ban on public gatherings of more than 1,000 - France’s Health Minister has announced the ban of all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people in order to try and slow the spread of Covid-19. The announcement comes as France prepares a transition to an alert level that would mean widespread school and transit closures.
The new restrictions on gatherings will mainly affect sporting and entertainment events. Health Minister Olivier Véran said officials would issue a list of events considered “useful to national life” that would be allowed to continue, including some public demonstrations.
The ban extends previous restrictions on gatherings of more than 5,000 people that was set to run until 15 April. Véran did not specify the limits of the new and stricter ban.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned this morning that the spread of the coronavirus meant economic growth would most likely fall short of the 1.3 percent of GDP expected in 2020.
MIPTV cancelled - Organisers of MIPTV, one of the world's biggest television and entertainment markets, have announced the cancellation of the event due to the coronavirus. The gathering in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was due to take place from March 30th to April 2nd.
The Canneseries, which runs in parallel to MIPTV, has also been postponed until October.
However, for the moment, the 73rd Cannes Film Festival which is due to take place from May 12th to May 23rd, still appears to be on track, according to organisers.
Decline in the number of inhabitants in Nice - Recent figures published have shown that the population of Nice is declining. Between 2007 and 2017 there were more than 8,700 fewer inhabitants recorded. In the run up to the local elections some local politicians are questioning “if the reason could be due to the real estate market in the city”.
According to left wing candidate MP Partick Allemand “housing has been the city’s number one problem for years", with his party regretting that "the social housing rate in Nice, at 12.7%, has only increased, under Christian Estrosi's two terms, by 2.2%" while the SRU law provides for a rate of 25% in 2025.
Meanwhile Nice Écologique has recommended "limiting Airbnb rental to 90 days a year and increasing the tourist tax for Airbnb type rentals".
The local elections are set to take place with the first round of votes being held on March 15th.
Black Widow spider - A man in southern France has been hopsitalised with blood poisoning after being bitten by a Mediterranean Black Widow spider.
The man from Sainte-Marie-la-Mer in the Pyrénées-Orientales was given a “shock” antibiotic treatment and has since made a full recovery.
The Mediterranean Black Widow is one of the most dangerous - if not the most dangerous - spiders found in France.
It is black, with thirteen yellow or red-orange spots on its back, and can be found near fields and crops, and in areas with long grass.
Church goers able to donate with contactless bank card - Church goers in Antibes Juan les pins who find themselves without any cash to donate during the collection at the end of the service can now give money using their contactless bank card.
The new basket has been equipped with a card reader which allows those wishing to donate, to swipe the card over the reader located at the bottom of the basket.
Shooting in Paris mosque – According to reports a gunman has opened fire in a mosque in Paris and left one man seriously injured. The attack took place shortly after 8pm on Sunday the suspect, wearing a helmet, is said to have fled on a scooter.
The 32-year who was reportedly shot twice in the leg was taken to hospital. Around 15 people were in the mosque at the time of the shooting, according to a police source.
BNP Paribas computer bug - BNP Paribas customers have been victims of a computer bug. The incident dates back to the first week in March when many BNP Paribas customers saw monthly direct debits such as rent, subscriptions and credits be debited twice from their accounts.
The bank confirmed the “IT incident “ on Saturday reassuring customers who were worried they’d been hacked.
No date however has yet been given for the reimbursement of transfers and any overdraft costs caused by the incident.
As a result some customers, saw their accounts blocked over the weekend.
Ski resort closes - A French ski resort has gone into administration with debt worth nearly £1.5m, blaming a lack of snowfall caused by global warming.
Le Mont-Dore in the central Auvergne region was forced to close the majority of its 33 slopes during one of the warmest winters on record in France.
The council-run company that manages the resort’s slopes and ski lifts has subsequently gone into receivership.
Biggest gathering of smurfs - According to organisers of the Landerneau carnival about 3,500 Smurfs have gathered in Brittany. The gathering means that the world record for the largest gathering of Smurfs has been beaten.
The teams of the Carnival launched the challenge to exceed the record held so far by a city in Germany, which had managed last year to gather 2,762 Smurfs.
Did you know? The Smurfs were invented as a result of a silly conversation over dinner. Pierre Culliford, a Belgian artist known as Peyo, was dining with a friend when he had one of those momentary lapses of vocabulary “ he couldn't remember the word for "salt"and asked his friend to pass the "schtroumpf."Mocking him, his friend responded with, "Here's the schtroumpf. When you are done schtroumpfing, schtroumpf it back."This sparked an idea, and "les Schtroumpfs" were born in comic strip form shortly thereafter.
The Smurfs are specifically "three apples" tall.
The answer to the age-old question "What color does a Smurf turn when it's choking?" is purple.