French and Riviera News Tuesday 3rd March 2020

Local

Coronavirus - 8 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the region since Friday 28th February. The latest on Monday is a three-year-old child who has been hospitalized at the Lenval children’s hospital in Nice. Doctors say her state of health “does not cause any concern” and “all precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the virus have been taken”.

Of the eight cases, three are in their twenties and are reported to be doing well, two of the three were reported in Monaco and the third in Cannes. The other cases are an elderly couple and a fifteen-year-old boy from Nice, and an Italian national who was on holiday in the region and is in intensive care. All of the four mentioned had recently visited Italy.

Here in the Principality His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco organized a working meeting in the presence of several government officials on Monday evening in order to provide a full update on the situation of the “Covid-19” in Monaco. Measures taken were discussed as the Prince took the opportunity to thank and praise the state services and the staff at the Princess Grace hospital and emergency services for their dedication and professionalism in the management of this unprecedented health crisis.

Further government meetings are planned in order to provide regular updates on the virus, the next is schedule for Friday 6th March.

On a national level the French Health ministry announced a third death linked to the coronavirus on Monday evening. The patient was an 89-year-old woman in the L’Oise region of France, which remains the worst hit by the virus. The Health director Jerome Salomon added that “he did not know if the death was caused by the coronavirus but added it was linked to “Covid 19” since the postmortem test was positive.

191 cases of the coronavirus in France were confirmed on Monday evening an increase of 61 since Sunday. France is one of the most affected countries in Europe with Germany (157 cases confirmed Monday morning), far behind Italy, which has more than 2,000 people tested positive and 52 dead.

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron has cancelled all his trips that are not related to the virus outbreak. He was due to attend a dinner on Monday evening and to travel to the Gers today.

The Louvre museum in Paris remains closed to visitors after staff on Sunday refused to work due to fears over the coronavirus.  The Paris Book Fair has also been cancelled.

British Airways has said that it’s cancelling some flights between the UK and US, as well to some European countries including Italy, France and Germany. The airline said it was merging a number of flights between 16 March and 28 March and would be contacting affected customers. Ryanair and Lufthansa also announced today that they'd be cancelling and reducing some flights to and from affected countries.

A criminal trial in Nice has been postponed because of protests by lawyers outside the court. Lawyers from the Nice and Grasse bars have been demonstrating at the trial of a teenager on Monday who is alleged to have opened fire on pupils at the Lycée Tocqueville in Grasse in 2017.

The trial was due to get underway on Monday but has now been postponed until 9am this morning. The trial is expected to continue until the 20th of March. The lawyers are demonstrating against pension reforms which they say will seriously affect some members of their profession.

National

Unions call for strike action - French unions opposed to President Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension overhaul have called for a new day of strikes today, after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe moved to push the reform bill through parliament without a vote. 

The pension reform was one of Macron's key campaign promises. His proposals have brought millions out onto the streets during a record transport strike and ten days of general strike between 5 December and 20 February. 

Car of the Year is French - The Car of the Year award ceremony has taken place in Geneva and the Peugeot 208 has been named “Car of the Year 2020”. The car which was up against six other finalists including Tesla, Porsche and BMW stole the show at Mondays awards.

The car stood out from its competitors thanks to its engine, which offers an electric version in addition to the traditional petrol and diesel engines.

Business

Global shares and oil prices have extended gains in Asian trade this morning after Wall Street bounced back on Monday amid mounting speculation that policymakers will move to ease the economic fallout from the spread of the coronavirus.

Finance ministers from the G7 group of nations are expected to hold a conference call today to discuss measures to deal with the economic impact of the outbreak.Reports suggest that the G7 will attempt to come up with a coordinated plan to fight the virus including possible fiscal spending.

On Monday the European Central Bank added its voice to the chorus of central banks signaling readiness to deal with the growing threats from the outbreak.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has already acted by cutting interest rates by a quarter of one percent to a record low of 0.5 percent.

Money markets are now fully pricing in a quarter of one percent cut by the US Federal Reserve at its next policy meeting on the 17th and 18th of March and a 0.1 percent cut by the European Central Bank.

The moves by policymakers reflect growing fears that the disruption to supply chains ,factory output and global travel caused by the virus could deal a serious economic blow to the world economy which is still trying to recover from the US-China trade war.

 

British Airways and its budget rival Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of flights as demand for travel drops amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

BA says that its cancelling 216 flights from the 16th to the 28th of March from London to destinations including New York ,Italy ,France ,Austria ,Belgium ,Germany and Ireland.

Ryanair says that its cutting up to 25 percent of flights in and out of Italy from the 17th of March until the 8th of April.

The moves come as tourists and business travellers are cutting back on foreign trips.

Airline shares have fallen dramatically over the past week amid investor concerns about the potential economic impact of the virus.

 

And-Apple has agreed to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit in the United States over allegations that it deliberately slowed down older iPhones.

The proposed settlement which still has to be approved by a judge could cost the firm 500 million dollars.

The ruling could result in a payout of just 25 dollars for each affected user depending on how many claims are made.

Apple has denied any wrongdoing in the case but settled mainly because of the cost of the continuing litigation.

In December 2017 Apple admitted that it deliberately slowed down some older iPhones but maintained that it had made the move to preserve the life of the devices as batteries aged.

Critics said that it was proof of the firm’s “planned obsolescence” for older devices in order to prompt users to buy new models.

 

Sport

Boxing-Anthony Joshua will fight Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday the 20th of June.

Pulev ,who’s 38 is the mandatory IBF challenger to fight Joshua who holds the WBA ,IBF and WBO versions of the world heavyweight title.

The announcement puts off a showdown between Joshua and Tyson Fury almost certainly until next year with Fury due to fight Deontay Wilder again for the WBC title probably sometime before the summer Olympic Games.

Talks for a showdown between Fury and Joshua are said to be ongoing but no date can be arranged until the next series of fights are concluded.

Football-Arsenal are through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup in England after beating League 1 Portsmouth 2-0 at Fratton Park last night.

There are three more 5th round ties tonight.Chelsea play Liverpool.Reading face Sheffield United and West Brom face Newcastle.

Cricket-The England players will not shake hands on their tour of Sri Lanka according to captain Joe Root.

The England players and coaching staff suffered bouts of ill health on the recent tour of South Africa with many coming down with flu and gastroenteritis.

Root says the players will greet opponents with fist bumps and that everything will be done to prevent illness especially in the light of the spread of the coronavirus.

England play their first warm-up game in Sri Lanka on Saturday in preparation for the two-Test tour.

Rugby Union-The organisers of the 6 Nations say that two of the games this weekend will go ahead as planned despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The match between Ireland and Italy in Dublin has already been cancelled on concerns over the large visiting faction of fans from Italy but England against Wales will go ahead at Twickenham as will the match between Scotland and Grand Slam hopefuls France at Murrayfield.

Weather

Mainly fine with moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Fine tomorrow.Rain on Thursday.Highs of 13-16 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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