Dominique Estrosi-Sassone calls for a review of the travel restrictions between France and Monaco - The senator from the Alpes-Maritimes and President of the friendship group between France and Monaco Dominique Estrosi-Sassone has called for the French government to reconsider and review the travel restrictions currently in place between the Principality and France due to the health crisis. Following a tightening on France’s borders, announced by the Prime Minister on January 29th in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid, all those entering or leaving France to or from a country outside of the European Union require a valid reason outlined by the French government. For the inhabitants of the Principality a radius limited of 30km around the Principality has been put in place restricted to 24 hours.t Any travel further than 30km or for a longer period of time is subject to the presentation of a negative Covid test within the last 72 hours along with justification of a “compelling” reason.
In the senator’s press release published on Thursday Estrosi-Sassone says that "It is clear that the reciprocity of measures has been neglected, as Monaco does not prohibit French access to the Principality” adding that “it is necessary to respect the fraternal relations and strong economic and social ties between both France and Monaco”. The senator concludes that she hopes that “common sense will prevail so as not to penalise Monegasques and residents who have professional and family ties in the Alpes-Maritimes beyond the radius of 30 kilometers. "
Several health experts surprised by the government’s decision on the health crisis - As Prime Minister Jean Castex declared that the current health situation in France "does not justify" at this stage a new lockdown during a press conference on Thursday evening, health professionals on the contrary have expressed their astonishment at the status quo chosen by the French government.
According to Professor Gilbert Deray, of the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, while France is indeed in a pandemic wave, “health is no longer a priority in decisions that are made by the Head of State”. Adding “that the only way to end the pandemic is to introduce a complete lockdown”.
Press conference - French Prime Minister Jean Castex said at the weekly Covid press briefing on Thursday that Covid statistics in mainland France, though concerning, did not warrant a new lockdown. The head of government warned, that the situation was under constant review and announced that from this evening the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte would begin a lockdown to last at least three weeks.
The Prime Minister also announced that travel between mainland France and its overseas territories will no longer be allowed except in exceptional circumstances.
Health Minister Olivier Véran - In a summary of progress so far, Health Minister Olivier Veran said that by the end of March, every Care Home resident who so wished, would have had a first vaccination jab. Véran also announced more testing in schools and universities and a new saliva test is nearing approval. The aim is to have it ready for use when schools re open after the mid-term break, as it is considered more suitable for children.
Concern in the drop in the number of people working from home – France’s Employment minister Elizabeth Borne has expressed concern at the drop in the number of people working from home. Borne declared that wherever it was possible, people should do so. She listed banking and insurance among sectors where too little work was being done from home.In a sign that people are tiring of the restrictions, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin stated that fines for failures to respect anti-Covid rules, had gone up by 53% since the 6 pm curfew was imposed on Jan 16th.
In other news
Colllege evacuated in Nice Nord - The Jean-Henri Fabre college in Nice Nord has been evacuated due to a pepper bomb. The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon shortly after 4pm. Emergency services intervened, and no one was injured in the incident.
Protests in Marseille – According to local media nearly 3,500 people have gathered in the Old Port of Marseille. The demonstration on Thursday was to promote “social progress and the sharing of wealth” protesting against, amongst other things, the pension reform in France, lack of resources in France’s hospitals, and the closure of supermarkets over 20,000m2.
Citadel of Saint-Tropez - Renovation work is planned for the citadel of Saint-Tropez. The emblematic heritage site has ensured the protection of the village for centuries. Currently partially closed to visitors for security reasons renovation work has been launched which aims to give the fortress, bought by the city in 1993, and classified as a historic monument “a new lease of life”.
The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region has ranked bottom in its efforts for recycling – In the national ranking on waste management (production, recovery, recycling), the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region has ranked last in France.
Despite pressure from environmental associations and activists there is little improvement with the need becoming urgent for things to change. So, the region has recently set itself ambitious short-term objectives.
The plan is for the three large metropolitan areas in the South East of France Marseille, Nice and Toulon to create a sorting center on their territory before 2022 with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes a year for Marseille and 40,000 tonnes for Nice and Toulon.
French President announces ten-year strategy to reduce deaths from cancer - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a ten-year strategy to reduce deaths from the cancer by 50 percent. French funding for cancer research is to be boosted by one fifth, with campaigns planned against the excessive consumption of both alcohol and tobacco. Currently, 150,000 French people die every year from cancer. President Macron wants to target the "avoidable" forms of the disease and reduce that figure to 100,000.
Global shares have neared record peaks this morning after Asian Markets took their lead from Wall Street on hopes that increased vaccine distribution will lead to a rebound in economies and improved corporate earnings.
The main Wall Street indexes rose by 1 percent on Thursday with corporate earnings driving the market.
In addition ,analysts’ say that there are large amounts of cash that are being stored in Money Market Funds which are likely to be invested in stocks once economies normalise and vaccine programmes progress.
Risk sentiment is being supported by widespread expectations of large stimulus by the Biden administration while better than expected data on US jobs is fanning a bullish outlook on employment.
Longer-term US Treasury yields rose on Thursday in anticipation of a huge pandemic relief programme from Washington and also on heightened inflation expectations.
The dollar has risen against a basket of currencies with traders’ shifting to a focus of the relative strength of US growth.
The Bank of England has said that it expects a rapid rebound of the UK economy later this year as the vaccination programme takes effect.
The Bank forecast a slump of 4.2 percent in the first quarter followed by a resurgence of economic activity as vaccinations allow the economy to return to brisk growth.
However ,officials also warned that negative interest rates could be introduced if the recovery falters.
The central bank said that it wants high street lenders to prepare for negative rates by July in case there was a fresh downturn but added that it was not a sign that it was about to cut borrowing costs below zero.
The Governor of the Bank ,Andrew Bailey said that the Monetary Policy Committee was expanding its “tool-kit” of measures to stimulate growth as an insurance policy in the event of a downturn and that officials were clear that they did not wish to send any signal that the Bank intended to set a negative rate at some point in the future.
And-The chief executive of Unilever has said that the world is shifting to a more plant-based diet.
Alan Jope says that expanding the firm’s range of plant-based foods is one of its top priorities as it seeks to expand in fast-growing consumer markets.
Unilever is aiming to create a one billion euro plant-based food business within the next 5 to 7 years compared with 200 million euros at the current time.
Mr Jope described the rise of plant-based foods as an “inexorable” trend adding that there are signs in every country in the world that consumers are ditching meat-even in emerging markets.
The firm has been working to offer vegan versions of some of its best known brands including Magnum and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream as well as Hellman’s Mayonnaise.
Cricket-It’s day 1 of the 1st Test between India and England in Chennai.
England won the toss and decided to bat. They’d reached 35 without loss after 14 overs.
It’s day 2 of the 2nd test between Pakistan and South Africa in Rawalpindi. Pakistan are building after a wobbly start on day 1. They’d reached 149-5 after 64 overs.
And-It’s day 3 of the 1st Test between Bangladesh and West Indies in Chattogram.
Bangladesh made 430 in their first innings. In reply West Indies had reached 172-5 after 57 overs.
Rugby Union-The 6 Nations starts tomorrow with matches played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The holders England are the favourites to retain the title but a resurgent France may have other ideas as they build towards the next World Cup.
Tomorrow ,England host Scotland in the Calcutta Cup game at Twickenham with kick-off at 5.45 while Italy host France at 3.15. On Sunday Wales play Scotland at 4pm.
Football-There was one game in the English Premier League last night. Spurs lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea.
In the English Premier League this weekend.
On Saturday Aston Villa play Arsenal.Burnley host Brighton.Newcastle face Southampton.Fulham play West Ham and Manchester United play Everton.
On Sunday Spurs host West Brom.Wolves play Leicester.Liverpool play Manchester City and Sheffield United play Chelsea.
Leeds play Crystal Palace on Monday.
Formula 1-The new president of the sport has said that he is urging all drivers to lead by example as role models.
Stefano Domenicali says that he’s written to all drivers to point out their importance as positive ambassadors for Formula 1.
He said that there was a huge potential to reach new fans who will engage with drivers and see how they act.
Mr Domenicali singled out Lewis Hamilton who has been promoting anti-racism diversity and sustainability as a “massive ambassador” for the sport.
Golf-England’s David Horsey leads heading into the second round of the Saudi International.
Horsey had a run of 7 birdies in 8 holes as he fired a 9 under par 61 to lead by one shot from Stephen Gallacher of Scotland.
Afterwards ,Horsey said that he was in “shock” as he’d been playing “rubbish” of late.
Tennis-Organisers of the Australian Open have said that no players have tested positive for coronavirus after some 600 players,officials and staff were forced to isolate following a positive test at a quarantine hotel.
The draw is being made today and the tournament will go ahead as planned with fans from Monday.
Partially cloudy with moderate easterly winds.
Top temperature 16 degrees.
Overnight lows of 11 degrees with partially cloudy skies.
The weekend-Cloudy tomorrow with some light rain towards evening .Fine on Sunday.Highs of 13-15 degrees.