A weekly review of news from France
This is News from France, a weekly review in English, for Sunday 28 February
The focus for this week was:
further restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19
hopes for an agreement over the taxation of US tech giants
a settlement in court for French industrial group Bolloré
the migration of hundreds of continental cranes.
Prime Minister Jean Castex has called on the prefects of 20 departments already “under surveillance” for the spread of Covid-19 to reinforce their controls.
Speaking at the weekend, he urged further efforts for the vaccine campaign, tests and for people to respect the directives concerning working from home. Castex said the objective was to do everything to avoid a national lockdown and adopt the measures in force for the 20 departments most at risk from the spread of the virus.
The streets and beaches of the Cote d’Azur from Menton to Cannes were deserted as visitors respected the weekend shutdown.
The AntiCovid mobile app which reports on the management of the virus was showing nearly 24 thousand new cases in the previous 24 hours on Sunday (23,996) with 2.92 million people vaccinated.
With the change of administration in the United States, French government ministers are hopeful of reaching tax agreements for tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
After a G20 video conference on Friday, Finance Minister Bruno le Maire said an international agreement on taxation for business and digital services was within reach.
For many years, the US tech giants have been accused of exploiting loopholes to keep their tax bills to a minimum.
The G20 finance ministers hold their next meeting in Venice, Italy in July.
In a Paris court on Friday industrial group Bolloré reached a 12-million-euro settlement in a case of corruption concerning the management of the west African port of Lomé, Togo’s capital city.
However, the judge rejected a plea deal which would have seen three company executives recognize their guilt and pay a fine of 375,000 euros.
The judge said the fines were too lenient as the executives’ actions had “seriously harmed the public economic order” as well as Togo’s sovereignty. She recommended that the three should stand trial under criminal charges.
However, that decision depends on an investigating magistrate.
Hundreds of continental cranes took advantage of warm, strong southerly winds to fly north from their over-winter homes in Spain.
The birds circle to find the best air currents before arranging themselves in the most aerodynamic v-shaped formations as they fly hundreds of miles towards northern Europe for the summer.
Their migration route has moved in recent years and now goes directly over La Rochefoucauld, in the Charente department of southwest France.
The passage of the birds traditionally marks the end of winter.