Evening Update Friday 02 September 2022

The new Energy Defence Council has been meeting in Paris this afternoon to discuss potential fuel shortages as winter looms. France normally has what it takes to cope with a classic winter, but the situation this year could be more complicated in the event of extreme cold peaks or an escalation of the war in Ukraine. The government is considering a three-stage plan; The first to ask the population to cut back its energy usage and turn down the heating. The second step being considered is power cuts for the companies and businesses that consume the most. The third more drastic step is a general drop in voltage across the country’s network, with consequences for everyone, where wifi would be less efficient, light a little weaker and cell phones taking a little longer to recharge. The government is hoping the plan will avoid the worst case scenario of rationing or even power cuts.

250 property owners in Marseilles are taking the city to court over disproportionate increases in property tax.  Tax Fonciere in France is based on the notional rental value of a property, and paid by the owner, regardless of whether it's rented or even occupied. In April this year, the municipal council in Marseilles voted for a 14% increase, which the plaintiffs say will push many small owners into poverty.

The creation of eleven new mobile police units, which could be deployed nationally as required, is to be debated in the French parliament soon.  One of the units will be permanently based in Nice, along with units in Marseilles and Lyon. This, and the creation of 200 gendarmerie brigades, are designed to double the presence of law enforcement on the ground by 2030.

A con artist who pretended to be a police investigator, and tricked police into revealing confidential information on music rappers, influences and reality tv stars, has been arrested for fraud. Using police jargon and fake telephone numbers, the man recorded the conversations and published them on YouTube. Today, he is in police custody and the YouTube channel has been shut down.

Analysis from Google Flights has busted the myth that flights are cheaper if you purchase them on a Tuesday.  Looking at five years of data, Google say flights purchased midweek were only 2% cheaper. However, the day you actually fly can make a big difference where the data showed mid-week flights can be 12% cheaper on long-haul or even more for short local flights. Google Flights also say the strategy of booking early also works, with airfares lowest between three and eight weeks before departure.

BUSINESS

The G7 nations have agreed to implement price capping on Russian oil exports, helping to protect consumers amid soaring energy prices, and cutting back the Kremlin’s ability to fund its war in Ukraine. Russia has warned it would stop selling oil to countries that impose price caps, saying the imposition of a limit on Russian crude, would lead to a significant destabilization of the global oil market.

New figures from the US Department of Labor show employers added 315,000 new jobs in August. While far fewer than in July, the figures are still seen as strong, while unemployment remains relatively low at 3.7%.  The American Federal Reserve, which is trying to slow down the market and calm inflation, is on track to deliver another three quarter per cent interest rate increase.  In Europe, the ECB is expected to lift its interest rate by the same amount to combat inflation here.

A report from Morgan Stanley says China’s struggling real estate sector could significantly drag down the economy and the stock market if authorities don’t provide enough support. The Shanghai composite has fallen by more than 12% so far this year and several analysts have slashed their China GDP forecasts to near 3% or less, as Covid controls and the property slump weigh on growth.

SPORT

Rugby - We have a huge game in Nice this weekend as France takes on Italy, in a game which will lead up to the Women's Six Nations Cup in New Zealand this October. The Italians face a tough challenge against a French side, who were last year’s runners-up and contenders to lift the Six Nations trophy this year. The game kicks off at the Arboras Stadium at 6pm tomorrow in Nice.

Formula 1 - Max Verstappen suffered a car failure early in the Dutch Grand Prix practice today, only managing seven laps, as Mercedes set the pace with a one-two. Team boss Christian Horner said Verstappen lost drive while shifting gear. He was fastest at the time but slipped down to 19th out of 20 runners. George Russell was fastest by 0.240 seconds from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with Carlos Sainz third.

Tennis - Britain's Andy Murray says his body is responding well to the rigours of Grand Slam matches as he prepares to face Italy's Matteo Berrettini in the US Open early this evening. The last time Murray faced the Italian in June, he picked up an abdominal injury, which contributed to a final-set defeat and damaged his Wimbledon preparations.

And despite a promising start against Raphael Nadal, our local hero Fabio Fognini from San Remo eventually lost out to the world number three last night. Fognini won the first set and was up 4-2 in the second set, when Nadal recovered to secure a 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 win.

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