French and Riviera News Friday 25th February 2022

News

Ukrainian nationals protest - Ukrainian nationals have demonstrated in Cannes and Nice. Thursday saw a handful of Ukrainian residents here on the Côte d’Azur gather on the Croisette in Cannes and the Promenade in Nice, to express their concern over the war in Ukraine. More demonstrations are planned today and Sunday.

Macron accuses Putin of wanting to “stutter European history” - Meanwhile speaking at the end of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday, France’s President Emmanuel Macron has accused Vladimir Putin of wanting to “stutter European history”. The summit had been organised due to the crisis and now war between Ukraine and Russia. Macron also indicated that France would accelerate the deployment of soldiers in Romania within the framework of NATO, in response to the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army.

Summit - During the summit the EU approved a new set of sanctions against Russia targeting the finance, energy and transport sectors. They also plan to expand their list of people deprived of access to EU territory and whose assets will be frozen.

Far left obtain the 500 signatures in order to stand for the presidential election in France - Leader of the far-left political party in France Jean-Luc Mélenchon has obtained the 500 sponsorships validated by the Constitutional Council to stand for the presidential election. Mélénchon is the eighth candidate to be able to participate in the elections, as far right leaders Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour have still not reached the number of signatures required. On Thursday Mélenchon thanked the elected officials who had made it possible.

Change of name - The French Parliament has passed a law allowing individuals to change their name once in a lifetime. The National Assembly adopted the text on Thursday. The law opens the possibility for any adult to ask, once in their lifetime, to take, or add, the name of their other parent.  

Nice Carnival – Tomorrow Saturday 26th February, marks the end of the carnival in Nice with the burning of the king. The event starts at 8.30pm and entrance is free for those who come in fancy dress. 3,000 additional places have been made available. For more information go to www.nicecarnival.com

Crossover on roads in France - Bison Futé has announced that today Friday 25th February and tomorrow Saturday 26th February, will be busy on the roads as it marks another crossover weekend for holidaymakers in zones A and C. Difficulties are expected in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Both days have been classified as orange in the direction of departures in Île-de-France and in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Business

Asian markets have rallied this morning on the back of Wall Street’s gains after US President Joe Biden hit back at Russia following the invasion of Ukraine with tough sanctions on banks and individuals. Investors rediscovered some risk appetite overnight although analysts say that any market rallies may only be fleeting and US futures are down again this morning. Experts say that while US and EU sanctions on Russia and President Biden’s reluctance to pour troops into the region are welcome, the conflict is going to be a protracted issue and will add to inflationary pressures that will keep central banks on the path to tightening monetary policy. Oil prices have fallen back a little today and gold has declined a little. The dollar has eased against a basket of currencies while the Russian rouble has clawed back some ground against the US currency. The yield on 10 year US treasuries is at 1.95 percent this morning after an initial slide to 1.84 percent on Thursday, it’s biggest daily drop since last November.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine with banks and individuals targeted. Five Russian banks including the country’s two largest lenders Sberbank and VTB have had their assets frozen along with wealthy Russian individuals and their families. President Biden has also announced new export control measures. The US Treasury Department says that its imposing sanctions on what it described as “Russian elites” including high ranking bankers and industrialists. Meanwhile the European Union has beefed up its sanctions package to target large sectors of the Russian economy including in the transport and energy sectors as well as in financial products. Sanctions have also been applied to Belarus for aiding Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. So far there’s been no agreement on kicking Russia out of the Swift banking system which Ukraine has been calling for. Some European banks in Italy, France and particularly Austria have large exposure to Russian debt and the European Central Bank has asked banks to provide a breakdown on their dealings with Russian financial institutions.

A British MP has called for the government to freeze the UK assets of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Chris Bryant said that he was in possession of a leaked Home Office document which had suggested that the owner of Chelsea Football Club should not be allowed to base himself in the UK. Mr Bryant said that “very little had been done” to follow up on the document since it was put together in 2019 adding that it suggested that Mr Abramovich has close ties to the Russian government and corrupt practices. The Leader of the House of Commons Mark Spencer replied by saying that the government had taken “very strong action against high-profile Russian individuals who are of concern”. Mr Bryant called for the billionaire’s UK assets to be frozen and for him to be removed as the owner of Chelsea Football Club. On Thursday, the Nice Matin newspaper reported that the Russian billionaire’s private jet had left Nice Cote d’Azur Airport to return to Russia. Mr Abramovich is a frequent visitor to the south of France and his luxury yacht Eclipse is often berthed at the Millionaire’s Quay in Port Vauban in Antibes. He also owns the Chateau de la Croe on the Cap d’Antibes.

Sport 

Rugby Union - It’s the third round of the 6 Nations Championship this weekend as France look to pursue their dream of securing the Grand Slam. France will play Scotland at Murrayfield tomorrow at 3.15 while England face Wales at Twickenham at 5.45. Manu Tuilagi’s latest comeback has been devastated as he picked up a hamstring injury in training and will miss the game. Ireland play Italy in Dublin at 4pm on Sunday.

There are three games in the Gallagher English Premiership tonight. Bristol play Wasps, Sale play London Irish and Worcester play Harlequins.

In the United Rugby Championship Zebre play Bulls and Leinster face Lions.

Football - Arsenal’s recent run of good form has continued as they beat Wolves 2-1 last night in the English Premier League.

In the Europa League Rangers are through to the last 16 after drawing 2-2 against Borussia Dortmund on the night to take the tie 6-4 on aggregate, while in the Europa Conference League Leicester are through to the last 16 after beating Randers FC 3-1 away on the night to take the tie 7-2 on aggregate, but Celtic are out after losing 2-0 at Bodo Glimt to lose the tie 5-1 on aggregate.

In the English Premier League there’s one game tonight. Southampton play Norwich. On Saturday Leeds play Spurs, Brentford host Newcastle, Brighton play Aston Villa, Crystal Palace face Burnley, Manchester United play Watford and Everton host Manchester City. On Sunday West Ham play Wolves.

Formula 1 - The new Mercedes driver George Russell says that the team is behind Ferrari and McLaren following the second day of pre-season testing in Barcelona. Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari clocked the fastest time in testing with Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri second and Daniel Ricciardo in the McLaren third. Russell says that both McLaren and Ferrari look to have things under control and that there is more work to do at Mercedes. Testing concludes today but will resume next month ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain.

Cricket - The former Australia wicket keeper Rod Marsh is in a critical condition after suffering a heart attack. Marsh claimed 355 dismissals for Australia in 95 Tests. He also played in 92 one day international before retiring in 1984. The 74-year-old fell ill while travelling to a charity cricket match in Queensland.

It’s stumps on day 1 of the 2nd Test between New Zealand and South Africa in Christchurch. South Africa won the toss and decided to bat.At stumps they’d reached 238-3 with Temba Bavuma 22  not out and Rassie van der Dussen 13 not out.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate westerly winds across the Var. Top temperature 17 degrees. Overnight lows of 7-9 degrees in coastal areas and 3-5 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend - Clear skies tomorrow with a high of 16 degrees. Partially cloudy on Sunday with a high of 14 degrees.

And Finally

A survey in the UK has shown that the average shopper has 26 items of barely worn clothing in their wardrobe. Many respondents admitted to buying items on a whim, with 65 per cent saying they have at least one item they had never worn. As many as six in ten admit neglecting certain items simply because they get buried at the back of the wardrobe. The study also found the average adult reckons a fifth of their clothes don’t fit.

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