French and Riviera News Friday 4th March 2022

News

Macron suggests that “the worst is yet to come” – French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he thinks "the worst is yet to come" concerning the war in Ukraine and that Vladimir Putin's goal is to "take control of all of Ukraine". According to the Elysée during an hour and a half telephone discussion, the Russian president told his French counterpart that the Russian army operation would "get worse" if the Ukrainians did not accept its conditions.

In other news

Vaccination pass suspended - The vaccination pass in France is being suspended from Monday 14th March. Prime Minister Jean Castex made the announcement during an interview on French television on Thursday. The health pass will remain in force, except in emergencies, at the entrance to hospitals, in retirement homes and in establishments for disabled adults. Castex also said that the compulsory wearing of masks in almost all places where it is currently required will also end on March 14th. Masks will still be required on public transport.

France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran had announced the possible end to the vaccination pass on February 22nd on the condition that the covid incidence rate was less than 500 and that there were less than 1,500 patients in critical care. On Wednesday figures showed that there were still 2,329 patients in intensive care and the incidence rate stood at 585.  

Ban on consumption of tap water in Risoul - The prefecture of the Hautes-Alpes has recommended inhabitants purchase bottled water after several people were hospitalised in Risoul. The prefect of the Hautes-Alpes issued an order on February 25th, prohibiting the consumption of water from the public network. The ARS of the region has since identified several short-term hospitalizations. For the past ten days, the water from the Risoul station in the Hautes-Alpes has been unfit for consumption. The prefecture has specified that the lifting of the ban on consuming water can only be considered from next Monday March 7th and only if all the results show no risk.

French President announces candidacy for elections - French President Emmanuel Macron has officially announced his candidacy for the presidential elections in a letter to the French. Macron chose to publish the letter in regional newspapers from this morning Friday 4th March and will make a formal application to the Constitutional Council before the 6pm deadline this evening.

Tiktok under investigation - Accused of harming children's mental health, Tiktok is under investigation over its algorithms and methods of marketing to young people. A coalition of eight American states, including California and Florida, have announced the launch of an investigation into the very popular TikTok application. The authorities accuse TikTok of encouraging children to spend more and more time on the app. TikTok reacted to news of the investigation by promising to "provide information about the safeguards they have for teens”.

Business

Asian stocks have slumped to a 16 month low this morning and the euro has suffered heavy losses after a fire broke out at a Ukrainian nuclear power station following a Russian missile strike. The risk-off appetite has battered markets across the region as investors rushed for safe-havens and oil prices jumped again suggesting more pain for European and US markets when they open later. Late on Thursday, the Ukrainian Energy Minister said that a generating unit at the Zaporizhziza plant, the largest of its kind in Europe had been hit during an attack by Russian troops. While there are no reports of an immediate change in radiation levels in the area, investors have become increasingly anxious. Reports this morning say that the nuclear reactors at the plant are now being safely shut down. Oil prices along with aluminium, copper and nickel have all risen this morning and gold prices are also up. The euro is set for its worst week against the dollar in nine month after falling by 0.3 percent this morning to 1 US dollar 10.335.

Oil prices are rising again this morning as the disruption of Russian exports offset the prospect of more output from Iran from a possible nuclear deal. Brent crude futures for May rose as high as 114 US dollars 23 cents before falling back a little while West Texas Intermediate rose to 111 dollars 82. The market is concerned that Western sanctions on Russia will disrupt supplies with trading activity in Russian crude already appearing to be frozen as buyers are hesitant to make purchases because of sanctions. Prices swung in a ten dollar range on Thursday but settled lower for the first time in four sessions as investors focused on a revival of the Iran nuclear deal which is expected to boost output and ease tight global supplies.

President Biden has announced fresh sanctions against Russia in an increased effort to put the squeeze on Vladimir Putin as the war in Ukraine escalates. The new penalties will target members of the Russian elite, their families and close associates and will cut them off from the US financial system. Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov is among those facing sanctions and joins a list of at least 8 oligarchs and their family members and associates whose assets will be frozen in the United States and access denied to their properties. The White House says that the sanctioned individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people and that America will continue to work with its allies and partners to hold accountable the oligarchs and corrupt leaders who are profiting from “this violent regime”.

Sport

Cricket - The legendary Australia wicket keeper Rodney Marsh has died at the age of 74. Mr Marsh was taken ill last week after suffering a heart attack. He died in hospital on Thursday. Rodney Marsh effected 355 dismissals behind the stumps, a world record at the time of his retirement. He played in 96 Tests and 92 one day internationals before his retirement in 1984 and was chairman of selectors for the Australia team until 2016. In 1977 he became the first Australian wicket keeper to make a Test century and also commented on the game for television.

Football - Everton have booked their place in the last 8 of the FA Cup after beating non-league Boreham Wood 2-0. Everton will play Crystal Palace away in the quarter finals while in the other ties Middlesbrough host Chelsea. Southampton will host Manchester City and Liverpool will be away to the winners of the final 5th round game between Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield.

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

Athletics - The opening ceremony at the Winter Paralympic Games takes place later with Russian and Belarussian athletes banned from the competition. The International Paralympic Committee reversed its original decision to allow athletes from the two countries to compete in neutral capacity following an outcry from other nations about the war in Ukraine. The Russian Paralympic Committee says that the ban is “illegal” and has said that it may appeal.

Rugby Union - There’s one game in the Gallagher English Premiership tonight. Harlequins play Newcastle while in the United Rugby Championship Edinburgh play Connacht and Ulster play Cardiff.

Weather

Sunshine and afternoon showers with light to moderate easterly winds. Top temperature 14 degrees. Overnight lows of 6-9 degrees with partially cloudy skies and some showers.

The weekend - Sunshine and showers tomorrow. Partially cloudy on Sunday. Highs of 10-13 degrees.

And Finally 

A study has found that enjoying a glass with your meal, rather than on its own, could cut your risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers discovered that people who drank wine with their meals were 14 per cent less likely to develop the condition, compared to those who drank wine without food.

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