French and Riviera News Monday 14th February 2022

News

16-year-old skier dies in Courchevel - A 16-year-old skier has died in the ski resort of Courchevel. The accident occurred on Saturday on a red ski slope of the ski resort. According to reports the young skier who was skiing at great speed suffered a heavy fall after losing control and hitting a ski bump. He later died from his injuries. An investigation into the incident has been opened.

Mountaineer falls to his death in Isola 2000 – Meanwhile a 46-year-old mountaineer has died in Isola 2000. The incident occurred on Sunday when Pascal Pompei, member of the French Alpine Club, reportedly fell to his death during a climb. An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances.

Weather alert for the Alpes Maritimes - The Alpes Maritimes has been placed on a yellow weather alert due to snowfall expected in the hinterland. The warning was issued on Sunday evening at 7pm. After nearly two months without rain or snow, the region's ski resorts are expecting snowfall of between 30 and 50 centimetres. Scattered showers are expected to intensify, continuing throughout the day. The sunshine is expected to return tomorrow.

Covid curve continues to decline in the Alpes Maritimes - The covid curve in the Alpes Maritimes continues to decline. For a third consecutive week the incidence rate has dropped now below 1,500 per 100,000 cases, a figure not reached since the end of 2021. The rate in the Alpes-Maritimes is below the national average of 1,780 and the department is now among those with the lowest. According to Public Health France 118,611 new cases were identified on Saturday, February 12th.

Rules for the vaccination pass to change from tomorrow Tuesday 15th February – Meanwhile from tomorrow Tuesday February 15th, the rules for keeping or obtaining, the vaccine pass in France are set to change. According to the government spokesman Gabriel Attal "between three and five million French people" risk losing their vaccines pass, due to not having had the booster dose. From Tuesday it will be required that you have completed your booster dose four months, instead of seven months, after your second dose in order to have a complete vaccination scheme and maintain a valid vaccination pass.

Freedom convoys arrive near Lille - Some 200 vehicles have arrived near Lille in northern France on Sunday afternoon, for a stopover, before a rally in Brussels scheduled for today Monday 14th February. A few hundred participants in the anti-pass convoys formed in France arrived near Lille for a stopover following their passage on Saturday through the French capital (which saw tear gas fired, more than 300 fines issued and 54 people arrested). By late afternoon on Sunday, some 200 vehicles, cars and vans, including several adorned with French flags, had arrived at the meeting place 10 km from the centre of Lille. Belgian authorities had announced last Thursday that they would ban the convoys from entering Brussels.

Presidential elections – As part of the run up to the presidential elections in France, candidate and leader of the far-left party "La France Insoumise" Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has held a meeting in Montpellier. During the meeting on Sunday Mélénchon denounced the social inequalities in France and criticised the holders of large fortunes claiming that "French billionaires have earned in 19 months 236 billion euros, that is to say 12 billion per month, 414 million per day, 17 million per hour, 287,000 euros per minute and 4,790 per second". Adding that on the contrary, the salaries among the lowest such as a home help which sees an average of 680 euros per month or a supermarket cashier on 859 euros per month. Mélenchon went on to present solutions including the creation of one million public jobs, the 100% taxation of the part of an inheritance exceeding 12 million euros and a young student allowance of 1,065 euros.

SNCF Connect is maybe not so connected - France's Transport Minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, has asked the SNCF to "solve as soon as possible" the malfunctions of its new digital application. Since the recent launch of SNCF Connect there have been numerous hiccups such as loss of travel documents, problems reading QR codes and difficulty in accessing the service to cancel a ticket. In response the CEO of the SNCF has promised that improvements will be made by the end of March.  

Business

Asian markets have fallen back this morning on fears that Russia could invade Ukraine "any day" and oil hit a 7 year high on fresh supply concerns. On Sunday, the United States warned that Russia might create a surprise pretext for an attack and pledged to defend "every inch" of NATO territory. Markets have also been heavily affected by an alarmingly high US inflation reading that sparked fears that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates by a full 50 basis points in March. The rate rumours also saw Treasury yields rise to peaks not seen since 2019 before geopolitical tensions prompted a safe-haven rally. The risk of war in Ukraine has also hit the euro while the safe-haven yen gained some ground. Gold is rising and has held on to gains of 1.6 percent on Friday to reach 1,859 dollars an ounce.

Oil prices have hit their highest level in more than 7 years on concerns that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could trigger US and European sanctions that would disrupt exports. Brent crude futures were up by 1.2 percent a little earlier at 95 dollars 56 with West Texas Intermediate up 1.4 percent to 94 dollars 38. Analysts say that prices will remain extremely volatile and sensitive to developments in Ukraine. The fresh tensions come amid an already tight market with Opec+ struggling to increase production despite monthly pledges to do so. The International Energy Agency has said that the gap between Opec+ output and its target widened to 900,000 barrels in January with 7 members of the cartel's 10 failing to meet quota increases. JP Morgan has forecast that oil prices are likely to overshoot 125 dollars a barrel on widening spare capacity risk premium.

Europe's largest banks have provided billions of dollars for new oil and gas production despite net zero pledges. The environmental group ShareAction says that analysis shows that 25 banks that signed up to reduce emissions have provided 33 billion dollars and other financing to 50 firms with large oil and gas expansion plans. The companies include ExxonMobil and the state-owned Saudi Aramco as well as Shell and BP. The analysis shows that since 2016, banks have provided financing worth 406 billion dollars. Climate scientists and economists have warned that stopping expansion of oil and gas production is vital to reducing global carbon emissions, the key driver of the climate crisis.

Sport

American Football - The LA Rams have beaten the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win Super Bowl LVI. The Rams scored a late touchdown to secure victory in a tight game to deny the Bengals their first ever Super Bowl victory just two years after they were the worst team in the NFL. The Rams become only the second team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl in their own stadium and vindicated their decision to return to Los Angeles 6 years ago from St Louis.

Winter Olympics - It's day 10 of the Winter Games in Beijing with Norway leading the medals table. Norway has 9 gold medals in a total of 21 with Germany in second place with 8 gold medals in a total of 4 and the USA in third place with 6 gold medals in a total of 12.

There are 5 medal events today in bobsleigh, freestyle skiing, figure skating and ski jumping.

Rugby Union - France top the 6 Nations table after two rounds of games and are now the only side who can pull off the Grand Slam. France won a tight game against Ireland in Paris 30-24 on Saturday while England are up to second in the table on the back of a comfortable 33-0 win over Italy in Rome on Sunday. Wales beat Scotland 20-17 in Cardiff on Saturday.

There are no games next weekend before the Championship resumes in two weeks time.

There was one game in the Gallagher English Premiership on Sunday. Saracens beat Harlequins 19-10.

Football - There were 4 games in the English Premier League on Sunday. Burnley lost 1-0 at home to Liverpool, Newcastle beat Aston Villa 1-0, Spurs lost 2-0 at home to Wolves and Leicester and West Ham drew 2-2.

In the English Championship on Sunday Swansea beat Bristol City 3-1.

And in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup, Hibs were 3-1 winners over Arbroath and Celtic beat Raith Rovers 4-0.

Weather

Overcast with rain and moderate to strong south, south-westerly winds. Top temperature 11 degrees. Overnight lows of 5-9 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Mainly fine with highs of 13-15 degrees.

And Finally

A recent survey carried out in the UK has shown that almost half of pet owners love their cat or dog more than their partners. The survey of 2,000 cat and dog owners in relationships discovered four in ten would prefer to cuddle up on the sofa with their furry friend than their significant other.

While nearly a fifth of owners enjoy spending one-on-one time with their four-legged companion more than with their partner, with not being asked “silly questions” one of the top reasons. Others favour the company of their pet because they help them relax, and they are better for their wellbeing.

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