French and Riviera News Friday 11th February 2022

News

Rules for the vaccination pass to change from next Tuesday 15th February - From next Tuesday February 15th, the rules for keeping or obtaining the vaccine pass in France are set to change. According to the government spokesman Gabriel Attal "between three and five million French people" risk losing their vaccine pass, due to not having had the booster dose. From Tuesday it will be required that you have completed your booster dose four months, instead of seven months after your second dose, in order to have a complete vaccination scheme and maintain a valid vaccination pass.

If you have received a dose of the Janssen vaccination, then the recall dose must be made no later than two months after the injection and if you have received a vaccine and have been contaminated more than 15 days after the injection, then the booster dose should be carried out no later than four months after infection.

"Freedom Convoy" - Belgian authorities have decided to ban the "Freedom Convoy" that was to connect Paris to Brussels to protest against the health restrictions. Thousands of motorists in France took to the road this week from Nice, Bayonne and Perpignan heading for the French capital to demonstrate peacefully against the government's policy and in particular the vaccination pass. On Thursday the Paris police prefect had announced a ban in Paris. The movement is inspired by a movement launched by Canadian truckers.

Paris police call for witnesses - The Paris police prefecture has issued a call for witnesses to find a fleeing policeman, suspected of having killed his girlfriend. On January 28th, his partner was found dead at the couple's home. Her partner, who fled and has still not been found, had already been convicted of domestic violence in the past. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police on 0800 00 27 08.

Louis Vuitton employees call for strike action - Unions representing the employees of Louis Vuitton have called for strike action. Employees from five workshops of the 18 factories that the group has in France, denounce a new agreement on working time and are demanding more substantial wage increases. According to a representative quoted by French media "the hourly rate of a Louis Vuitton employee with fifteen years of seniority is 14 euros". The call for strike action is the first in five years within Louis Vuitton, however, the discontent is rising within the LVMH group. Last September, it was employees of the champagne subsidiary Moët and Chandon who went on strike to demand the payment of the "Macron bonus" followed a few weeks later by their colleagues from the cosmetics brand Sephora.

Construction of Triangle tower gets underway in French capital - The construction of the Triangle tower in the French capital has begun, despite criticism from elected ecologists and right-wingers, the future skyscraper, located within the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre, will incorporate a four-star hotel, offices and health centre but, with its 42 floors and a height of 180 meters the project, validated in 2015 by the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, has faced strong criticism. With an estimated cost of 660 million euros, opposition denounce the impact on the landscape and the environment.

Nice Carnival kicks off tonight - The Nice Carnival kicks off this evening at 6.30pm with the opening ceremony at Place Massena. The theme this year is the "Animal Kingdom". Tomorrow, at 8:30pm, will see the illuminated "Grand Corso" take place, with no less than 17 floats, which will parade around the Jardin Albert 1er and on Place Massena. The Carnival runs until February 27th and there will be traffic restrictions from the Promenade des Anglais to the Port and behind the seafront on Avenue Jean Jaures. Today traffic will be prohibited from 3.30pm to 10.30pm in this area. Tomorrow Saturday 12th February from 5.30pm to 1am and on Sunday 13th February from midday to 7pm. During the week Tuesdays and Wednesdays will see traffic diversions in place from 5.30pm to midnight on Tuesdays and from 11.30am to 6.30pm on Wednesdays.

Summer concerts Monaco - Meanwhile here in the Principality the SBM has announced the artists set to perform as part of the summer concerts in Monaco, with singer Rita Ora and James Blunt included in the line-up.

French Cup – In football the draw for the semi-finals of the French Cup has been made with Versailles challenging Nice and Monaco will go to Nantes for a place in the final.

Business

The US Consumer Prices Index rose more than expected in January pushing inflation up by 7.5 percent, the highest rise since 1982. Food and energy increases were the main culprits for the rise with prices squeezing household finances as wages fail to keep up with inflation. The data puts fresh pressure on the US central bank with forecasts of a 50 basis point hike in interest rates next month and four more increases to follow before the end of the year. Many big firms including Amazon, Procter and Gamble and Netflix have announced that they're raising prices in recent months citing higher costs. The inflation issue is now having serious political ramifications for President Biden despite strong economic growth last year. Speaking on Thursday, Mr Biden said that his administration would be "all hands on deck" to win the fight against rising prices and acknowledged that household budgets are being stretched in ways that create "real stress at the kitchen table". Economists say that the real problem is that demand is exceeding supply.

A report by Bloomberg says that members of the billionaire Sackler family are considering whether to add a billion dollars to a settlement over the scandal involving OyxContin. The Sacklers, who control Purdue Pharma, the makers of the opioid pain killer are seeking to get a final settlement which would see US state attorneys general drop their opposition to the firm's bankruptcy plan. The addition of a billion dollars would take the Sackler family's total contribution to the legal process to 5.325 billion dollars. Earlier this week, mediators said that the Sacklers and US states were "even closer" to a settlement over claims that Purdue Pharma fuelled a opioid epidemic. Mediators have asked a bankruptcy judge to extend the deadline for negotiations to the 16th of February saying that the two sides need more time to finalise a deal.

A billion year old black diamond has been sold for 4.3 million dollars. The 555.55 carat gem which is named the Enigma weighs about the same as a banana and is thought to be the world's largest cut diamond. The auctioneer Sotheby's said the unnamed buyer had opted to use cryptocurrency for the purchase. There are conflicting views about the origins of the diamond including that it was carried to earth by an asteroid. The gem is a Carbonado, one of the toughest forms of natural diamond. They are extremely rare and have only ever been discovered in Brazil and the Central African Republic. Although Sotheby's did not name the buyer, Richard Heart has claimed that he bought the diamond and that it would be renamed the "HEX.com diamond" in reference to the blockchain platform that he founded.

Sport

Winter Olympics - It's day 7 of the Winter Games in Beijing with Germany still leading the medals table. Germany has 6 gold medals in a total of 9 with Norway in second place with 5 gold medals in a total of 12 and Austria in third place with 4 golds in a total of 13 and the USA in fourth with 4 golds in a total of 10.

There are 7 medal events today in women's Super-G alpine skiing, women's sprint biathlon, men's classic cross country skiing, men's half-pipe snowboard, men's skeleton, women's 1,000 meters short track speed skating and men's 10,000 meters speed skating.

Rugby Union - It's the second weekend of the 6 Nations Championship with the big game between France and Ireland in Paris tomorrow. Ireland captain Johnny Sexton will be missing with a hamstring injury and will be replaced by Joey Carbury. Kick off is at 5.45.

Also tomorrow, Wales host Scotland in Cardiff at 3.15 while on Sunday Italy play England in Rome.

There are two games in the Gallagher English Premiership tonight. Bristol play London Irish and Leicester play Northampton while in the United Rugby Championship Leinster host Edinburgh and Glasgow play Munster.

Football - There were 2 games in the English Premier League last night. Liverpool were 2-0 winners over Leicester and Arsenal were 1-0 winners at Wolves.

In the English Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Manchester United play Southampton, Brentford host Crystal Palace, Everton play Leeds, Watford against Brighton and Norwich play Manchester City.

On Sunday, Burnley play Liverpool, Newcastle against Aston Villa, Spurs play Wolves and Leicester play West Ham.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light to moderate westerly or variable winds. Top temperature 15-18 degrees. Overnight lows of 6-10 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend - Partially cloudy with highs of 12-15 degrees.

And Finally

A study published in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society has claimed that researchers believe there may be a planet that could sustain life, in the vicinity of a dying sun. If confirmed, this would be the first time that a potentially life-supporting planet has been found orbiting such a star, called a "white dwarf". The planet was detected in the star's "habitable zone", where it's neither too cold nor too hot to sustain life.

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