French and Riviera News Friday 11th March 2022

News

French President expresses deep concern on conflict in Ukraine - French President Emmanuel Macron has declared that he is not going to "spare efforts to try to obtain a ceasefire" on Ukrainian territory. Ahead of the European Union summit in Versailles on Thursday, which continues today, Macron said "our democracy is under threat” adding that he couldn’t see a “diplomatic solution” but that he will be “speaking again with President Putin in the coming days”. France’s head of state expressed his concern saying, “I am worried and pessimistic about the conflict in Ukraine” he concluded by saying that “Europe is united in the face of this war”.

Fewer covid patients in hospital, slight increase in number of cases - Latest figures from Public Health France show that there are currently fewer covid patients hospitalised in France but there is a slight increase in the number of covid cases. The number of new cases stands at 74,818, compared to 60,225 a week ago. The number of patients hospitalised stand at 21,287 this includes 1,122 admitted in the past 24 hours. Some 100 covid patients have died in hospital in 24 hours, bringing the number of deaths since the start of this epidemic to 139,880 just over two years ago.

Last week French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the end of wearing a mask, except in transport, and the suspension of the vaccination pass, from March 14th. The corporate health protocol will also be lifted on Monday.

Monaco - In Monaco on Thursday 32 new cases of covid were identified bringing the total number of residents affected to 9,686. Eighteen people are currently in hospital and 126 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Health Minister announces creation of 1,000 additional intensive care beds – Meanwhile, France’s health minister Olivier Véran has announced the creation of 1,000 additional intensive care beds. Among the decisions announced by the Minister of Health on Thursday, 1,000 additional intensive care beds will be opened from 2023.

Motorcyclist dies from injuries - The motorcyclist injured after hitting a police car in Cogolin has died from his injuries. The collision occurred on Tuesday March 8th in the Font Mourier district of Cogolin on the D61 which connects Cogolin to Grimaud in the Var. The victim was a young father of two who worked at the Les Palmiers club in Ramatuelle. A kitty has been posted on the Leetchi online kitty site to support his partner and his family.

Credit card theft - A man already known to police has been arrested in Beausoleil for credit card theft. The suspect over the last month had targeted the elderly as they typed in their code at supermarkets, bakeries and various businesses in the Alpes Maritimes. Later stealing their wallet and making substantial withdrawals from various cashpoints. The man was caught in the act and arrested in Beausoleil on February 18th. He is to appear in court on March 16th.

Delays on train network - There have been delays on the region’s train network on Thursday afternoon after a ten-year-old boy who was arguing with his brother on the platform at Mouans Sartoux train station, was inadvertently pushed onto the train. The incident caused delays at Cannes Station and impacted traffic on five other trains.

Michelangelo statues return to Louvre - Two Michelangelo statues have returned to the Louvre in Paris after restoration. "The Rebellious Slave" and "The Dying Slave" as well as several other major sculptures from the collections of the Louvre Museum, were presented to the press on Thursday after their restoration. They will soon be on public display.

EuroMillions win for family in the Var - A lucky family in the Var has won a million euros in the EuroMillions. On Tuesday, March 1st, a jackpot of 66 million euros was put into play during the Euromillions draw. While no one managed to pick all the winning numbers, several prizes were distributed, including the family from Flayosc who won the My Million prize of 1 million euros.

Business

The United States Senate has passed a 1.5 trillion dollar funding deal that will prevent a possible government shutdown and provide Ukraine with massive aid as it struggles to respond to the Russian invasion of its territory. A bipartisan effort to come to the aid of Ukraine saw the measures which include 13.6 billion dollars in humanitarian and security aid passed by an overwhelming 68 votes to 31. The new deal, which was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday will now pass to President Biden for signing. For the American people, the new bill means extra funding for the military, health care and in particular the fight against cancer as well as infrastructure and the violence against women act. However, there will be no more money for the fight against Covid after House Democrats objected to paying for it with cuts to state and local government aid. US Energy Department climate-related initiatives will get a 10 percent funding boost.

US inflation has soared to a 40 year high as prices continued to surge last month. Rising costs for energy, food and housing led the gains pushing inflation up to 7.9 percent, the highest level since 1982. President Biden and the US Federal Reserve are under pressure to rein in the increases which have been far greater than previously forecast. Interest rates are set to rise later this month although the current geopolitical situation may only result in a 25 basis point hike. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has said  that it will wind down some of its pandemic-era stimulus sooner than expected in response to price pressures. The Bank’s president Christine Lagarde says that the risks to the economic outlook have increased substantially with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and are tilted to the downside.

Global markets have slumped again as US inflation hit a 40 year high and the European Central Bank raised expectations for a series of aggressive rate hikes. The overwhelming sentiment is risk-off with investors already reeling from the war in Ukraine and the economic outlook darkening. Markets are now bracing for faster tightening of monetary policy on both sides of the Atlantic as analysts predict that the war will push up inflation further as it drives up the price of oil and other commodities. On the foreign exchanges the euro has gained more ground against the dollar while the gold is flat and oil prices are down this morning.

Sport 

Rugby Union - The 4th round of the 6 Nations Championship is on this weekend as France look to complete the penultimate stage of a first Grand Slam since 2010. France play Wales in Cardiff tonight at 9pm while Italy host Scotland in Rome tomorrow at 3.15 and England play Ireland at Twickenham at 5.45.

Football - There were 4 games in the English Premier League last night. Chelsea were 3-1 winners at Norwich, Southampton lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle, Wolves beat Watford 4-0 and Leeds lost 3-0 at home to Aston Villa.

In the Europa League last night Rangers beat Red Star Belgrade 3-0, West Ham lost 1-0 away at Sevilla and Monaco were beaten 2-0 at Sporting Braga.

In the English Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Brighton play Liverpool, Brentford host Burnley and Manchester United play Spurs. On Sunday Chelsea play Newcastle, Everton host Wolves, Leeds play Norwich, Southampton host Watford, West Ham play Aston Villa and Arsenal play Leicester. Crystal Palace play Manchester City on Monday.

Cricket - West Indies are on top heading into day 4 of the first Test against England in Antigua. On day 3 West Indies reached 373-9 in their first innings with Nkrumah Bonner making 123 to lead England by 62 runs with two days to play.

Formula 1 - Mercedes are facing accusations that their new car is not legal following a radical new design at the second pre-season test. The managing director of Formula 1 Ross Brawn says that the car’s aerodynamics around its sidepods are a “very extreme interpretation of the regulations”. Red Bull have complained and say that the wings are “illegal” and that Mercedes is not observing the regulations. Ferrari have also complained but Mercedes maintain that the car is perfectly legal.

Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri was quickest on the first day of the testing session in Bahrain with the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc second and third.

Golf - Tommy Fleetwood shares the lead heading into the second round of the Players Championship at Sawgrass, Florida. The Englishman carded a first round 6 under par 66 to share the lead with Tom Hoge of the United States. More than half of the field were unable to complete their opening rounds because of thunderstorms.

Paralympics - China leads the medals table on day 7 of the games in Beijing. China has 12 gold medals in a total of 40 with Ukraine second with 7 golds in a total of 21 and Canada in third with 7 golds in a total of 17. There are 13 medal events today including in women’s alpine skiing, men’s Nordic skiing and snowboard.

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate to strong easterly winds. Top temperature 15 degrees. Overnight lows of 9-11 degrees with cloudy skies.

The weekend - Cloudy and windy with some rain on Sunday evening. Highs of 12 degrees.

And Finally

The Acapulco nightclub in Halifax, West Yorkshire which is Britain’s oldest nightclub and is famed for its notoriously sticky carpet is selling chunks of its vintage flooring for up to £50 a piece to nostalgic clubbers.

Clubbers have the chance to buy a souvenir section of the sticky rug with prices ranging from £5 for an A4 sized piece to £50 for a larger, framed piece.

Owner Simon Jackson was inspired after hearing a young clubber celebrating his 18th birthday tell how his parents met at the club and his grandmother had worked there. Now, having been on sale for just a day, it has sold more than 100 pieces already and raised £1,000 for the local Street Angels charity, which helps homeless people.

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