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  • Covid-19 could cost airlines $250 billion in 2020

    The International Air Transport Association has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could ruin the global airline industry unless there is urgent government aid. Some estimates suggest that carriers could lose more than $250 billion in revenues this year alone.

    Posted: by RFI

  • Empty skies: How coronavirus has crippled air travel

    From Europe to Asia and North America, the skies have been unusually empty of commercial aircraft in recent weeks as countries close borders and enforce travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, forcing airlines worldwide to ground most of their fleets.

    Posted: by France 24

  • Environmental protection at Golfe-Juan's Port Camille Rayon

    CÔTE D’AZUR & PROVENCE

    Remy Dubas, one of Ecocean's divers, prepares the Biohut units for installation. ©Klaudia RzezniczakTogether with Port Camille Rayon, the city of Golfe-Juan-Vallauris has installed fish nurseries to protect local fish from the dangers of sea life and port obstacles. Ecocean’s ‘Biohuts’ have been installed in the port to not only protect baby fish, but also improve overall sea life and study the effects on local biodiversity.

    The use of concrete, pollutants and boat parts endanger biodiversity in ports – not least on the Côte d’Azur. For this reason, French company Ecoceans has developed artificial habitats especially to protect young fish. At the beginning of the March, their so-called “Biohuts” were installed in Port Camille Rayon in Golfe-Juan-Vallauris.

    Biohut Ecocean sustainability fish nursery – Port Camille Rayon

    The day at the beautiful yacht harbour in Golfe-Juan began with children’s games like Fish Memory. While some employees of the Ecocean company were busy attaching Biohut® cages to the pontoons, others informed two primary school classes about the dangerous life of fish in ports. Raising public awareness is particularly close to the company’s heart, explained Sabrina Palmieri, Ecocean’s spokeswoman, while in the background the schoolchildren played a life-size board game recreating the everyday life of young fish. That’s why every time the company installs its Biohut modules in a port, it also co-organises an open information event and, above all, workshops for school kids. “After all, children are the adults of the future,” Palmieri emphasised.

    In theory, harbours are a good home for growing fish that are not yet strong enough to swim against waves and therefore prefer calm waters. However, the increasing “concreting” of harbours creates a lack of food sources and hiding places for these baby fish. Water pollution as well as heavy anchors destroy the natural habitat and pose a threat to the survival of fish species. On average only ten per cent of young fish survive to reproductive age in ports. As a result, fish populations are declining.

    This is why Ecocean, a company founded by Gilles Lecaillon in Montpellier in 2003 to study the biodiversity of Mediterranean ecosystems, developed its Biohuts seven years ago. The steel cages serve as “artificial nurseries for young fish”. They consist of three chambers, the middle one of which is filled with shellfish and serves as a food source. The two outer chambers offer young fish protection at all times from their predators – adult fish for whom the approximately four-by-five-centimetre grid openings are too small. These artificial habitats are installed either on the quay, on the catwalk pontoons between the boats or on rocks on the seabed.

    Depending on the species, the young generation of fish remain for one to three months until they have grown up. Then they can lay up to a million eggs and live between six and fifty years. Along the Côte d’Azur, around 20 different species of fish can be found, among which the gilthead seabream and the golden maiden.

    Michelle Salucki, the Mayor of Vallauris-Golfe-Juan, Pierre Rayon, the Head of Port Camille Rayon, as well as Andrée Alziari-Negre, advisor to Région Sud, and Sabrina Palmieri, Ecocean spokespersons (from left), at the inauguration ceremony. ©Klaudia RzezniczakTwice a year, the facilities will be equipped with Biohut Ecocean sustainability fish and after three to four years a final assessment is made of the extent to which biodiversity has developed.

    “It’s a simple solution that doesn’t cost a fortune,” says Rémy Dubas, one of Ecocean’s divers. Biohut is basically installed at the initiative of the port, which will bear part of the costs, between 10,000 and 70,000 euros for four modules. Around 20 per cent is paid by Agence Région Sud, and Agence de l’Eau also subsidizes this marine protection measure.

    In the Mediterranean, Biohuts have already been installed at 26 locations, including 15 on the Côte d’Azur: for example in Monaco, Cannes, Antibes, Marseille and Fréjus. All of these ports are committed to improving water quality both in and around the port and are certified with Ecocean for being environmentally responsible ports. Not far from Golfe-Juan, a rare and endangered species of brown grouper was sighted in another port where a Biohut is installed, Sabrina Palmieri reports with pleasure. “Perhaps we will soon see one here too. I hope so!”

    The small inauguration ceremony that followed was attended by the president of the Port, Pierre Rayon, Harbour Master Alexandre Joskowicz and the Mayor of Golfe-Juan-Vallauris, Michelle Saluchi. The primary school children showed great interest in sea life. After the workshops, in which they eagerly participated, the children looked at the information flyers. Next year, the students will come back to watch their progress together with the Ecocean team. Until then, everyone can look down from the quay at the freshly installed Biohuts and watch what’s going on in the fish kindergarten.

    Klaudia Rzezniczak



    Posted: by Riviera France

  • Face mask diplomacy benefits Chinese billionaires

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues its global spread far beyond the outbreak epicentre of Hubei province, thousands of factories in China have turned to a new and very profitable export market: face masks.

    Posted: by RFI

  • Jeanick Brisswalter, new president of the University of Côte d'Azur

    CÔTE D’AZUR & PROVENCE

    Jeanick Brisswalter, a specialist in sports ergonomics, neuroscience and psychophysiology, is the new president of the Université Côte d'Azur. ©Service communication-Univ Côte d'AzurThere were big changes for the Université Côte d’Azur this year. A massive re-hauling of the multiple schools between Nice and Cannes now fall under the UCA title. Along with this conglomeration, a new president was elected to bring the university to international recognition.  

    Jeanick Brisswalter, 60, was elected on 9 January by the board of directors with 31 votes out of 38 (7 abstentions). He takes over from Jean-Marc Gambaudo, who at the head of the ComUE had prepared for the birth of this new UCA.

    On the first of January 2020, UCA replaced the Université Nice Sophia and the ComUE (Community of Universities and Institutions) and now includes major players in research and higher education.

    Dubbed the ‘university of the new millennium,’ Brisswalter’s goal is to build an integrated university that is internationally recognised, research-intensive and participates in the dynamic growth of its territory. Driven by the ‘Idex UCA Jedi project,’ he has a mandate to position UCA as a major player in the Côte d’Azur region and as an internationally recognized university bringing all of its missions to the highest level.

    The policy Brisswwalter will implement is based on four main pillars, in line with the ComUE :

    • Strengthening the links between research, innovation and valorisation, in order to develop the scientific potential of Université Côte d’Azur, which is based on disciplinary and transdisciplinary excellence, and innovation.
    • To position Université Côte d’Azur as a major player in the development of the Côte d’Azur territory, with strong links to the local, national and international ecosystem.
    • Promote training of excellence for students and professionals, to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to be actors in solving the complex problems of today’s world.
    • To develop university life, within the new perimeter of Université Côte d’Azur, with a view to improving working conditions and life on campus, to boost the latter through culture and sport, to (re)value local heritage and to promote all actions that enable the various players in the university community to engage in their profession and to flourish.

    In a January interview with Nice Matin, Mr Brisswalter said that he wants UCA to be known abroad—to have their researchers work abroad, to welcome international students to study here and French students to be proud to attend UCA. He also highlighted the Bastide Rouge project in Cannes (inaugurated 14 Feb) for UCA’s new ‘EUR Creates’ graduate programme in creative arts.

    Brisswalter said he will surround himself with a competent team of mission leaders who will facilitate these goals. 

    UCA President’s Bio

    Jeanick Brisswalter has been a university professor since 1996. After a doctorate in physiology at the Laboratory of Adaptive Physiology of Paris V, specialising in exercise physiology applied to high-level sport, he began his career as a researcher at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP). He then joined the Université́ of Poitiers in 1994; then Université́ de Toulon in 1999, where he headed the sports ergonomics laboratory, before joining Université́ Nice Sophia Antipolis in 2010, where he created and chaired the “Human Motricity, Sport Health Expertise” Laboratory (LAMHESS).

    His research work has focused on the management of substrates during exercise and the relationship with brain function in application with high-performance sport or ageing. He has published numerous international papers in the fields of exercise physiology, neuroscience and psychophysiology. He is an expert on several national and international organizations and assessment committees in the fields of life and health sciences, public health and sport science.

    He was Dean of the Faculty of Sport Sciences from 2014 to 2016, when he took over as Vice President of the Research Commission of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis and Vice President Research of the CoMue University Côte d’Azur.

     



    Posted: by Riviera France

  • Record-breaking 6.6 million Americans apply for jobless benefits amid coronavirus crisis

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, official data shows that more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits during the last week of March – more than analysts had expected. It follows an already record-breaking number of claims two weeks ago – underscoring the severity of the economic shock of the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. State offices have been overwhelmed by requests, meaning many claims have yet to be processed. Economists say that more job cuts are likely, and a recession in the US is all but inevitable. 

    Posted: by France 24

  • Stock markets continue slide after worst quarter since 2008

    European stock markets have started the month in the red, after global shares had their worst three months since the financial crisis. The massive sell-off began around six weeks ago as investors tried to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. As we enter a new quarter, there is no sign of improvement – stocks in Europe slumped by over 3 percent in trading this Wednesday. Also today, we discuss new figures showing that online sales have fallen for many French retailers since the lockdown began in the country.

    Posted: by France 24

  • UK pension options before Brexit deadline

    SPONSORED

    Photo: Gold Coin, https://p2.piqsels.com/preview/13/686/390/bank-british-cash-coins.jpg (CC0 1.0)Brexit took place on 31 January, however, there is a grace period for the remainder of 2020 before the rules come into effect. That means there is still time to plan for what to do with your UK pension if you are residing in France. Blevins Franks offers Riviera Insider readers a few options to consider. 

    Time to review UK pension options before Brexit

    As the clock ticks down on the Brexit transition period ending on 31 December 2020, there is increasing urgency to review your pension options and take advantage of current opportunities before things potentially change.

    Transferring your pension abroad

    Residents in France can currently move UK pensions to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) tax-free. This can unlock advantages such as flexibility to take funds in the currency you need, more estate planning freedom and protection from UK pension rules.

    However, the UK imposes 25% tax penalties on transfers to a QROPS outside the EU/European Economic Area. With expectations that the UK may include EU/EEA-based QROPS after Brexit, time may be limited to transfer without tax penalties.

    Pension transfers can take months to process, so if you decide to transfer, act soon to secure current benefits and avoid unnecessary taxation. Take specialist advice to navigate the complex options and determine the most suitable solution for you.

    Leaving your pensions in the UK

    You could do nothing and access your UK pension from France. For ‘defined contribution’ pensions, current options include taking cash, receiving a regular income (drawdown) or purchasing a lifetime income (annuity).

    You cannot usually take ‘defined benefit’ pensions as cash; instead, you receive a regular income throughout retirement. While you could transfer it for more flexible access, this is likely to be less beneficial than receiving a guaranteed income for life.

    Remember also that UK pensions remain subject to UK rules, including lifetime allowance penalties of 25%/55% when combined pension benefits exceed £1.055 million.

    The tax implications

    If you are French resident, UK pensions (excluding government service pensions) are generally only taxable in France. When accessing UK pensions or a QROPS, the French income tax rates apply (up to 45%). However, currently, it is possible to take your entire UK pension as a lump sum and pay just 7.5% income tax if you meet certain conditions.

    Pension income and lump sums are also subject to French social charges of 9.1% unless you hold Form S1 or are not registered for French healthcare.  

    Depending on your situation, it may be more beneficial to reinvest UK pension funds into an alternative tax-efficient structure that is compliant in France, so explore your options.

    Make sure you take regulated, personalised advice to protect against pension scams and establish the best approach for you and your family’s particular situation in France.

    Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.

    Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at www.blevinsfranks.com

    – Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks



    Posted: by Riviera France

  • US jobless figures set to rise as Spanish unemployment soars

    The number of people out of work in the United States is expected to soar when new figures are published later this Thursday. The previous data had seen a record jump of 3.3 million people claiming unemployment benefits, as businesses lay off staff due to the coronavirus crisis. Spain has also seen unemployment claims jump by 9 percent since its lockdown went into place. Also today, we look at the massive challenges facing airlines as international travel grinds to a halt.

    Posted: by France 24

  • Virtual English lessons with Hipe Kids

    CÔTE D’AZUR & PROVENCE

    Hipe KidsAre you worried about your children’s level of English? As we covered in our January school special, international couples in the Côte d’Azur can find it challenging to ensure their kids speak the language(s) of the home, proper French and not lose out on English lessons. But personal tutors can be difficult due to finding the time in our busy schedules and it can often be expensive. Sure, grammar can be learned in a book and phrases from an app, but fluid conversation, understanding people with different accents and building confidence requires consistent conversation with native speakers.

    HiPe Kids is a Sophia-based start-up with the perfect solution, offering one-on-one English lessons with qualified, native-English teachers in the comfort of the student’s home. Utilizing video-conferencing tools, teachers create lesson plans according to the needs of the student, whether they want to practice conversation, go over their school work or plan for an exam. All lessons are recorded and the video sent to the parents after for review with the child. Needless to say, this has been a perfect time for the virtual school to do their thing!

    Created by Carmina Catena and El Mehdi Benrahhalate, HiPe Kids already has students across the globe, able to take private lessons at a distance. Last November, before Coronavirus and before all schools were teaching online, we spoke with founder, Carmina Catena, about how HiPe Kids is breaking all the education moulds.  

    When the world returns to normalcy and travel is once again permitted, HiPe Kids remains an attractive solution because it allows students to keep up with their conversations even when on holiday. “There is often the problem of students stopping their lessons over summer holidays and then losing the progress they made,” Carmina points out. She tells Riviera Insider that even a 25-minute lesson, once a week, no matter where in the world the student is, can keep up their progress.

    What to expect with a lesson

    When a student signs up, they will have a free 15-minute session with Carmina where she will have the student talk and asses their level. The student is then free to choose their teacher – all qualified in the Cambridge English curriculum and native speakers located in different areas of the world (Canada, France, South Africa, etc). This can accommodate a time difference, as HiPe Kids has students in Europe, Asia and Africa.

    The other benefit of international teachers is a difference in accent. Carmina explains that they make sure students change the teacher occasionally so that they don’t get too used to understanding only one accent. “Students can sometimes get attached to their teacher as they build a relationship, but it’s so important for their comprehension to speak with someone else.”

    They take students from age 3 to 21 and from basic grammar to specialised business English. There is complete flexibility in the number of lessons and no commitment. After each lesson, a video file is sent to the parents to review, see the progress their child is making and for the student to replay and listen to how they speak.

    Current special: 
    Hipe Kids has opened group courses for a maximum of four students, organised by age and level.
    With the increased demand during school closures, the startup wanted to lower its prices to help families and is offering an attractive rate of 12€/student for 55-minute lessons.

    Information and registration on:
    https://hipekids.com/ 

    -NR 



    Posted: by Riviera France

  • What to watch on lockdown: Free classic films

    LIFESTYLE 

    LoisPettini / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)Coronavirus has us on lockdown and our chats and message streams are filled with questions for what to watch. So we’ve dug up some great resources for not-so-ordinary things to see at home on the small screen. Whether you want to rent a blockbuster release that is still in theatres (empty theatres) or some really great classics, here is a list of (mostly free) films available online.

     

    New releases

    Today, 24 March, Universal Pictures releases current films for home rental through Amazon Prime, Itunes and other streaming sites (where released by region). They shelved all the upcoming film releases, but those in theatres when the pandemic hit, can be rented for a 48-hour period. The films include: “Birds of Prey”, “Bloodshot”, “Emma” and “The Invisible Man”.

    Disney + was set to release in France by now but due to the overload on the internet connection, the French government has delayed the release to 7 April. This will include programmes from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. www.preview.disneyplus.com/fr 

    Movies with friends during a lockdown? Yes!

    Netflix has created a ‘watching party’ function and they couldn’t have done it at a better time! This allows friends anywhere in the world (as long as they both have the same regional rights) to watch the same programme at the same time with pause option and a side window for making comments. A great way to watch a movie with friends while stuck at home! Check it out here: www.netflixparty.com 

    Not sure what to watch? Have you been browsing longer than watching?? Our film critic, Alexa, has an excellent blog on the latest films and series and she doesn’t hold back! Now is a great time to explore her archives to find something you may have missed but would really like. She gives English language film reviews in English and French/foreign film reviews in French. Check out her site: offscreenreviews.wordpress.com/

    Film buffs

    Charlie ChaplinFor true fans of cinema, there are many sites offering a chance to see classic and vintage films. And what a great chance to expose your kids to how cinema started. 

    Charlie Chaplin:

    Here is a collection from OpenCulture of over 60 Chaplin films available for free.  “He starred in over 80 films, reeling off most during the silent film era. In 1914 alone, he acted in 40 films, then another 15 in 1915. By the 1920s, Chaplin had emerged as the first larger-than-life movie star and director, if not the most recognizable person in the world.”  A few of his most famous from the list: “The Kid”, “The Tramp” and “The Vagabond”, all listed here for viewing:  http://www.openculture.com/2011/12/free_charlie_chaplin_films_on_the_web.html 

    Film Noir:

    A dramatic genre from the 1940s and 50s whose stark visuals played just as much of a role as the actors. “These films were set in dark locations and shot in a black & white aesthetic that fit like a glove. Hardened men wore fedoras and forever smoked cigarettes. Women played the femme fatale role brilliantly. Love was the surest way to death.” See some of the films that inspired award-winning films like “The Shape of Water” and “The Artist”.

    From the list: “‘The Man Who Cheated Himself’ – Some call it ‘an under-appreciated and little known gem.’” Starring Lee J. Cobb, John Dall, Jane Wyatt, and Lisa Howard, 1951.  http://www.openculture.com/free_film_noir_movies

    Alfred Hitchcock: One of cinema’s greatest filmmakers, the master of psychological thrillers and the brilliant use of sound effects, dissonant music or even silence for heightened suspense. Here are 16 free films: http://www.openculture.com/free_hitchcock_movies_online

    The land of Oscar 

    Oscar statuetteSo many film buffs wish their repertoire included all the Oscar-winning films, but who has time for that? Well, maybe Corona can help! Hours at home can get you started. Here is a list of 36 Oscar-winning and nominated films from yesteryear, available for free. 

    From the list: 

    “The Old Man and the Sea” – Aleksandr Petrov won the Academy Award for Short Film for this film that follows the plot of Ernest Hemingway’s classic 1952 novella. Made of 29,000 images painted on glass. (1999)

    “The Red Balloon” – A short fantasy film directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse. Won Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956. www.openculture.com/2012/02/28_free_oscar_films_on_the_web.html 

    Also, this is a good time to mention how great www.openculutre.com is! They have collected so many amazing free content for enriching our minds and our lives. Mad props! Explore their site and if you feel inclined, they have a donate button to help them keep going…

    -NR



    Posted: by Riviera France

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