French and Riviera News Friday 8th April 2022

News

Two cross-country skiers found dead - Two cross-country skiers, aged 38 and 42, have been found dead near the Pointe Maximin in the Ecrins massif north of Gap. The two men were caught in an avalanche and their bodies were found on Thursday morning at around 10:30am after family alerted mountain rescuers. Authorities have reminded skiers that the avalanche risk is high this weekend in the Alps.

Meanwhile three French skiers were reported to have died on Thursday in an avalanche in Lyngen, Norway. Thought to be in their sixties, their identity has not been made public. The victims were part of a group of ten French people traveling together.

Nice closes beaches and coastal paths - The city of Nice has closed its beaches and coastal paths until further notice. The closure came on Thursday evening due to a sudden yellow weather alert due to “large waves and high winds”. The warning is in place until 6pm this evening.

College students suspected food poisoning - College students in Tourrette-Levens have been taken sick due to suspected of food poisoning. Between thirty and forty students from the René-Cassin college were being taken care of on Thursday after having eaten at the school canteen. Food samples are being analysed by health authorities and in the meantime, parents have been asked to watch out for potential symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

Child hospitalised with symptoms of salmonella - Meanwhile a child with symptoms of salmonella has been admitted to the Princess Grace hospital here in Monaco, a few hours after eating a Kinder chocolate. Earlier this week, Ferrero recalled hundreds of tonnes of its Kinder products - in the run-up to Easter - due to suspected salmonella. This is the first suspected case in the principality. Doctors say the child's condition is not worrying. They will be placed on antibiotics and should recover quickly.

Hospital to reopen night-time A&E - Draguignan hospital is to reopen it night-time A&E from April 15th on Fridays and Saturdays. The emergency department had been closed every night since last October.

Presidential elections - Two days ahead of the first round of the Presidential elections in France to be held on Sunday 10th April, and the latest survey of voting intentions carried out by Ispos-Sopra Steria has shown that the gap is narrowing further between far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen and outgoing French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the poll, Macron loses half a point with 26.5% of voting intentions while Marine Le Pen gains one point and reaches 23%. Far left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon is still in third position, losing half a point at 16.5%.

Participation on the rise - To date, 72% of French people questioned are sure that they will vote in the first round on April 10th. Of those who are certain to vote, 70% have made their final choice while 30% believe that their vote can still change.

Russian influencer cuts up Chanel bag with scissors in protest - A Russian influencer living in Monaco and furious against the luxury fashion brand Chanel has posted a video on social media in which she is seen cutting up her Chanel bag with scissors. Following European Union sanctions due to the war in Ukraine the luxury brand Chanel withdrew from Russia, but also decided not to sell any more products to Russians past a certain amount, even outside of the country. A decision which sparked anger of the popular Russian influencer Victoria Bonya who has 9 million followers on Instagram. Bonya is not the only one angered by the move, dozens of other Russian influencers have also posted videos on Instagram cutting up their Chanel bags using scissors, secateurs or other gardening tools.

#ChanelGate - Meanwhile the #ChanelGate has even raised to the highest level of the Kremlin and according to the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, "Chanel has joined the Russo phobic campaign." Faced with the controversy, in a press release sent to the Russian press agency TASS, the French brand explains that it is working on "an improvement" of their "approach" and apologizes for "any misunderstanding that this could have caused". The statement concludes that "welcoming all of our customers, wherever they come from, is a priority for Chanel”.

Taxman – The French taxman is using artificial intelligence to track down Riviera property owners with an undeclared swimming pool. Owning a pool ramps up the price of your property tax. The tax authorities have developed an AI tool with Google to scan satellite imaging and aerial photos of people's land. It's been tested out here in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, along with seven other French departments, and if successful could be applied nationwide.

Summer job - If you're looking for a summer job, you're in the right place. The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region says there are 8,300 vacancies in tourism, as the sector bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic. The region is planning a big awareness campaign to attract people to jobs in tourism, hotels and catering. The ads will also appear in other French regions - encouraging people to look to the south of France for their next job. Half a million euros will be made available to fund vocational training for tourism jobs. Officials also want to draw up a charter of good conduct with hotel and restaurant owners, to improve the image of some jobs that might have had a reputation for low pay and long hours.

Business

Russia's central bank has said that due to a "significant change in market conditions" it would buy gold from commercial banks at a negotiated price from today April 8th. On March 25th, the bank had said it would buy gold at a fixed price of 5,000 roubles a gram until June 30th. Since that announcement, the rouble has strengthened sharply against the dollar. Five thousand roubles was worth around $52 on March 25 and around $63 on Thursday. Gold prices on the international market have remained stable at around $60 a gram, or $1,900 an ounce.

Meanwhile there are growing fears that the war in Ukraine could result in the destabilisation of other countries, particularly in central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. According to the United Nation Ukraine and Russia are big players in world food production, representing 53% of global trade in sunflower oil and seeds, and 27% in wheat. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put these exports at risk, causing particular concern for developing countries.

And Microsoft have said that it had disrupted hacking attempts by Russian military spies aimed at breaking into Ukrainian, European Union, and American targets. In a blog post, the tech firm said a group was using seven internet domains as part of an effort to spy on government bodies and think tanks in the EU and the United States, as well as Ukrainian institutions such as media organizations. Microsoft did not identify any of the targets by name.

The most hotly contested sports auction in history looks set to be extended as the last four bidders for Chelsea Football Club are extra time to table final offers. The move, which will prolong the next stage of the auction by a small number of days, has emerged less than 24 hours after Chelsea lost the first leg of its Champions League quarter-final 3-1 against Real Madrid, leaving last season's winners on the brink of going out of the competition.

Sport

Formula One – Drivers are getting ready for the Australian Grand Prix as first practice got under way in the early hours of this morning. Second practice is at 8 o clock this morning -with qualification at 8am tomorrow morning Saturday 9th April and the race is on at 7am French time on Sunday April 10th.

So, can Charles Leclerc maintain the title lead in Melbourne? Speaking to reporters Leclerc points out that the “track characteristics, which have been modified, are not fitting very well with Ferrari but, everything is to play for”. Formula One is returning to Australia for the first time in two years.

Golf - Tiger Woods shot a one-under-par 71 on his Masters comeback as the five-time champion made a stunning return to competitive golf in what he described as an "electric" atmosphere at Augusta.

Football – Busy weekend in the English Premier League. Tonight, Newcastle play Wolverhampton kick off is at 9pm. It's going to be tough for Newcastle as Wolves have picked up again after having a little blip. Tomorrow Everton play Manchester United there is still hope for Everton and they are playing at home, Arsenal face Brighton, Southampton play Chelsea, Watford face Leeds and Aston Villa play Tottenham. On Sunday Brentford play West Ham, Leicester against Crystal Palace, Norwich face Burnley and the big game of the weekend Manchester City play Liverpool kick off is at 5.30pm.

Weather

Sunny with strong winds in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var. Highs of 22-23 degrees in Nice, Antibes and Cannes. 21 degrees in Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 13 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend Saturday - Starting off cloudy, clearing by the afternoon with highs of 21 degrees. Sunday clear skies, feeling cooler, with highs of 16-17 degrees.

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