Evening Update Friday 22 April

Marine Le Pen has hit out at President Macron’s pension reform plans, saying that if they are implemented, an 18-year-old entering employment would have to work for 47 years before qualifying for a full pension. She said the electorate’s choice on Sunday is simple, they either vote for Marcon or France.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron has admitted failing to tackle some of the anger felt by voters but said the far-right was capitalising on the fears and resentment of the electorate to drive their campaign.

Two new polls today show Marcon as the favourite to win on Sunday with 57% of the vote. When questioned about the polls, Marine Le Pen said it’s not the polls that make the election.

Voting takes place from 8am to 8pm on Sunday, with a preliminary result expected shortly after. The final completed count will be announced on Monday morning but it’s usually only 1% or 2% different to the preliminary result, so shortly after 8pm on polling day, we should know who will be the next president of France.

If Macron wins he will be the first French president to win re-election in 20 years when Jacques Chirac beat Marine Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie to win a second presidential term in 2002. If Le Pen wins, she will be sworn in as president before May 14th and she will make history by becoming France’s first female president.

Monaco is lifting a number of coronavirus regulations from this weekend, including the requirement to reserve restaurants and nightclubs. There will also no longer be any limit on the number of people at a table. A Health Pass will no longer be needed in hotels, healthcare establishments or homes for the elderly. However, masks will still be required on public transport and in public areas of buildings such as hotel lobbies.

Opposition is growing to a massive fish farm project planned for the Gulf of Juan near Vallauris. The project, the size of three football fields, is being run by Aquafrais Cannes, who have a number of similar projects in the area. Opponents say the farm will double pollution, with fish poo destroying the sea bed. In addition, the site is in the middle of boat lanes to and from the Lerins islands.

Up to 20 fire-fighters have brought a fire in Cagnes-sur-mer under control this afternoon.  The fire at a building on Chemin du Val Fleuri caused no injuries and no residents are expected to need re-housing.

In Grasse, it’s been confirmed that ExpoRose will make a return to the streets of the town in mid-May after a two year absence. The event had been due to celebrate its 50th anniversary but was cancelled due to Covid. However, the 50th anniversary is going ahead this year, with the town planning a bigger event than ever, which will include the world-famous flower markets, street art, exhibitions, open-air cinema and the international rose exhibition at the Fragonard villa museum.

Millions of people in France have been targeted by an elaborate Carte Vitale scam. It starts with a message saying you must update or renew your card and pay a delivery fee. The scammers then call for confirmation by pretending to be your bank but will use your bank details to spend large amounts of money. The initial message usually says something like ‘Votre nouvelle Carte Vitale est disponible’

And finally, we are less than 3 weeks away from the grand opening of the new IKEA store in Nice. The superstore is doe to open its doors on the 11th of May. It’s the 35th IKEA store in France, with a surface area of 32,000m2 and 1,700 parking spaces. It will also be one of the most environmentally friendly, with over 30,000 solar panels and 10,000m2 of plants.

BUSINESS

Disgraced former Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said he is surprised France has issued an international arrest warrant for him, as he has always co-operated with the French authorities. Prosecutors have issued a warrant against Ghosn over €15m in potentially suspect payments. Mr Ghosn had faced charges of financial misconduct when he fled Japan in 2019, by disguising himself in the streets of Tokyo, then hiding in a large music equipment box and fleeing to his native Lebanon. He denies all charges.

Cathie Wood's Ark Invest is buying the dip by snapping up shares of Roblox, Roku and Zoom Video. Wood has also reiterated her bullish stance on Arks biggest holding Tesla which is worth almost a billion dollars or 10% of the Ark Innovation fund's weight.

SPORT

Football - It’s been announced the Coupe de France final between OGC Nice and Nantes will be refereed by Stéphanie Frappart. It’s the first time a Coupe de France match will be refereed by a woman. Madame Frappart has been refereeing Ligue 1 matches since 2019, the European Super Cup the same year and then in the Champions League at the end of 2020. The game between Nice and Nantes will take place at Stad de France on May 7th.

Erling Braut Haaland is said to be very close to joining Manchester City. His contract with Borussia Dortmund doesn’t expire until 2024 but a release clause would allow him to leave for 75m euros this summer. Sources believe City have convinced the Norway forward on the idea of joining now.

Formula 1 - The World Championship is in Italy for round four at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend. Support is strong for favourites Ferrari, as this is home ground for them. Drivers Charles Leclerc, who currently leads the driver’s standings, will be looking to use that support to add to his bank of points. Qualifying is due to take place shortly in wet conditions.

Rugby - England number eight Sam Simmonds could miss the summer tour of Australia with a hip and groin injury. The 27-year-old, who started three of England's Six Nations games this year, could also miss the Premiership play-offs, with Exeter in the fourth and final qualifying spot and three regular-season games to go.

Tennis - LTA, the governing body of tennis in Great Britain,  has announced a total ban for Russian and Belarusian players from all grass tournaments this summer. This is in addition to the ban on playing at Wimbledon.  Last month, the UK Sports Minister proposed Russian players should sign some form of anti-Vladimir Putin forms before they're allowed to compete. However, some thought publicly denouncing Putin could put Russian players in danger so a blanket ban has been put in place instead.

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