French and Riviera News Friday 18th June 2021

News 

Mask no longer an obligation in Monaco from tomorrow Saturday 19th June - The Principality has announced that wearing a mask outdoors will no longer be an obligation from tomorrow Saturday 19th June. Despite the increase in incidence and positivity rates observed over the past 10 days but to avoid a pause in the gradual easing of health restrictions, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has adopted the following decisions:

Wearing a mask will no longer be compulsory outdoors from Saturday, June 19, 2021, with the exception of the areas listed below:

Place du Palais Princier and the alleys of the old town of the Rocher, Place du Casino, Esplanade du Centre Commercial de Fontvieille, the Condamine and Monte-Carlo markets during operating hours, public transport access areas and in particular bus stops and the train station as well as the surroundings and access areas to schools.

And the curfew is maintained from midnight to 6am.

HSH the Prince will assess the situation next week. Prince Albert wishes to remind people of the importance of respecting barrier gestures in the face of covid which continues to circulate in Monaco and around the world adding that a return to a normal life will only be possible with a vaccination, calling for all people not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated in order to find over time both a personal and collective well-being.

Warning to health workers from Health Minister to get vaccinated - France's health minister has warned that covid vaccinations could become compulsory for health workers if they do not drop their resistance to getting the jab. The vaccination rate among health workers in care homes is lagging behind that of the general adult population. The threat came on the first day on which people in France were authorised to be outdoors without wearing masks. Health Minister Olivier Véran made a "solemn appeal" to health workers, especially in care homes, to "take the plunge."

Nightclubs - Meanwhile Veran has also announced on Thursday that the government is aiming to reopen discotheques in July with specific conditions. He said that a health protocol is being developed and that more will be known after the 21st June.

Strike action - Unions at the SNCF are calling for a rail strike in Paris on June the 21st and across France in July. Workers are calling for equal rights for all employees. The Unions representative says strikes will have significant impact.

French Grand Prix - Traffic restrictions are being put in place in the vicinity of Le Castellet in the Var because of the French Grand Prix this weekend. The first spectators are expected at the track this morning. Traffic restrictions can be found on the Var Prefecture's website.

Forest fires - A map showing the fire risk in the forest massifs of the Var is being published every day over the summer. As every year during the summer, the prefecture of Var regulates access, traffic and parking on certain roads serving the 9 forest massifs of the department. The map is published every day until the end of September, before 7 p.m., for the next day. You can find it here

Study shows that the French do not trust news media - An Ifop study published on Thursday has shown that French people do not trust the news media and want to see greater transparency. The study said the French felt a "tide of negative feelings" towards the media. While more than half of respondents (55 percent) used the word "distrust" to describe their feelings towards the media, others went with "anger" (18 percent) and "disgust" (17 percent). Positive emotions – "interest" (16 percent) and "curiosity" (15 percent) – came further down the list. Twenty-four percent of young people said they felt "indifference" towards the media, compared with 11 percent on average.

François Hardy - French singer songwriter François Hardy, who found fame in the 60s, has said she feels “close to the end” of her life in a new interview. 77-year-old Hardy was diagnosed with a tumour in her ear in 2018. She told Femme Actuelle that years of radiation had caused immense pain and suffering and that she was in favour of assisted suicide. It was back in May of last year that the singer told Paris Match that “France is inhumane” for not legalising the procedure.

Business

The US dollar has registered its largest two day gain of the year after Federal Reserve officials brought forward the timing of its first post pandemic interest rate rise. The dollar index jumped by 0.87% on Thursday after gaining almost 0.6% in the previous session. The Euro lost nearly 0.8% against the dollar taking it to US$1.19 and making the US currency’s gain over its eurozone counterpart 1.8 percent over two trading sessions. On Wednesday, the Fed said that most of its officials expect a rate rise in 2023 against earlier predictions of 2024. The US economy has been recovering strongly from the pandemic and consumer price inflation hit an annual rate of 5% in May. Fed chair Jerome Powell has also said that officials are talking about reducing the $120 billion a month asset purchases which have been boosting financial markets since March 2020.

UK food and drink exports to the European Union almost halved in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2020. The UK Food and Drink Federation says that EU sales dropped by 47%. The trade body says the decline is largely due to changes in the U.K.’s trading relationships but added that the pandemic was also a factor. The FDF says that the drop is a “disaster” for the industry and a clear indication of the scale of losses that UK manufacturers face in the longer term due to new trade barriers with the European Union.

Oil prices have fallen for a second consecutive day as the US dollar soared on the prospect of higher interest rates. Brent crude was trading down 0.7% a little earlier at $72.56 with West Texas Intermediate also down 0.7% at $70.56. The dollar has rocketed in the past two trading sessions since the Federal Reserve projected possible rate hikes in 2023. A rising dollar makes oil more expensive in other currencies, curbing demand. The prospect of rate hikes is also weighing on the longer term growth outlook which would eventually hurt oil demand.

Sport

Euro 2020 – Players and fans from Denmark and Belgium have shown support for Christian Eriksen during a minute’s applause at their Euro 2020 group game. The referee stopped play in the 10th minute as fans and players joined in with applause. Christian Eriksen is recovering in hospital after he suffered cardiac arrest in the same stadium during Denmark‘s opening loss to Finland last Saturday. Denmark came out of the traps on fire in the first half against Belgium yesterday but couldn’t keep up the momentum as Belgium won the group B game 2-1 to progress to the last 16.

In group C on Thursday Ukraine beat North Macedonia 2–1 and the Netherlands booked their place in the knockout phase with a 2–0 win over Austria.

Tonight, all eyes will be on Wembley Stadium with England taking on the auld enemy Scotland at 9 pm. A win for England will put them into the last 16 while Scotland will need at least a point to keep their hopes of qualifying alive. Kickoff is at 9 pm. The other group D game is between Croatia and the Czech Republic.

In group E today Sweden play Slovakia.

Tennis – Naomi Osaka will not play at Wimbledon this year but is planning to return in time for the Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old announced that she would be taking a break from tennis after experiencing depression and anxiety. She’ll be spending time with friends and family but says that she’s excited to play in front of her home fans in Tokyo.

Rafael Nadal has also pulled out of Wimbledon and the Olympics citing fitness concerns after a long clay court season.

Andy Murray has been knocked out in the second round of the Queen’s tournament in London. Murray lost to Matteo Berrettini 6–3 6–3 and said later that he is rusty and needs match practice.

Golf – Russell Henley of the United States leads heading into the second round of the US Open at Torrey Pines, California. Henley shares the lead with Louis Oosthuizen after both players carded first round 4 under par 67s.

Francesco Molinari and Rafael Cabrera are on 3 under. Fog delayed the start of the third major of the season and 36 players didn’t finish their first rounds because of fading light.

Brooks Koepka is on two under but Bryson DeChambeau faltered and Rory McIlroy carded a one under 70.

Formula One – First practice for Sunday’s French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard Circuit takes place at 11.30 this morning. Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by four points heading into the weekend with Sergio Perez a distant third.

There will be great focus on the tyre manufacturers Pirelli this weekend after incidents at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which cost Verstappen the race and also caused a high-speed crash for Lance Stroll. Pirelli say that there was no production or quality defect in any of the tyres used in Azerbaijan and there was no sign of any fatigue or delamination. It says the failures were related to the running conditions of the tyre.

Hamilton and Verstappen disagree on the findings with the 7-time world champion saying he doesn’t think that’s Pirelli are to blame on this occasion but the Dutchman maintaining that he did nothing wrong and so the blame cannot be be apportioned to Red Bull or the car.

Weather

Mainly fine with moderate easterly winds. Top temperatures 27-28 degrees on the coast and up to 30-31 degrees inland. Overnight lows of 20-22 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend - Mainly fine tomorrow with highs of 26-31 degrees. Some rain on Sunday, clearing during the afternoon with highs of 26-28 degrees.

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