French and Riviera News Monday 14th March 2022

News

Restrictions lifted from today - From today Monday March 14th, several health restrictions are to be lifted in France and in Monaco such as wearing a mask and the vaccination pass, as well as the opening of the 4th dose to people over 80 in France. Faced with the downward trend of the covid epidemic observed in early March, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the lifting of numerous health restrictions. The mask does however remain compulsory on public transport. Meanwhile the health protocol in French schools is to return to level 1 and today marks the end of the health protocol in French companies.

At the weekend, Public Health France identified 72,443 new covid contaminations in 24 hours, a figure that has been increasing for several days. Over the past 7 days the number of cases is more than 63,000, compared to 52,000 last Saturday.

In Monaco one new case of covid was identified on Sunday bringing the total number of residents affected to 9,778. Seventeen people are hospitalised and 168 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Skier dies in the Hautes-Alpes - A skier has died in the Hautes-Alpes following a collision with another skier. The accident occurred on Sunday morning in the resort of Les Orres. According to reports the collision between the victim a 42-year-old man and a 17-year-old occurred on a black run. The teenager was taken to hospital in Gap. An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances.

Road accident - Four people have been injured in road accident in Callian in the Var. The collision between two cars, occurred on Sunday evening at around 7.30pm on the D37. Emergency services intervened and all four victims were taken to hospital. Traffic was disrupted in the area following the crash.

Demonstrations in Corsica - 67 people have been injured, including 44 police officers during a demonstration in Bastia, Corsica, on Sunday. Several hundred people gathered to show their support for the Corsican independence activist Yvan Colonna who has been in a coma since being attacked in prison in Arles.

Pro-Ukrainian rally postponed following death threats – Meanwhile a pro Ukraine demonstration has been "postponed" due to death threats towards the Russian church in Nice. The pro-Ukrainian rally was to be held on Sunday in front of the church however, following the death threats the prefecture announced the postponement of the gathering.

Princess Charlene returns to the Principality - Princess Charlene has returned to Monaco to continue her recovery. The Prince's Palace made the announcement on Saturday afternoon in a press release. A happy occasion for her children and for HSH Prince Albert who celebrates his birthday today.

Paris-Nice – The Slovenian Primoz Roglic has won his first Paris-Nice. The 80th edition of the Paris-Nice came to an end on Sunday crowning 32-year the winner while the UK's Simon Yates came 2nd.

Business

Asian markets have risen this morning and oil prices are down on hopes for progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks even as the fighting raged and Russia hit a large Ukrainian base near the border with Poland on Sunday. Despite the violence, both sides have hinted that some progress may be made in peace talks today with Ukrainian negotiators saying that Russia is beginning to start to talk “constructively” and Russian sources saying that “significant progress” is being made and that it was possible that the two delegations could soon reach draft agreements. Neither side has yet said what the new talks will cover but three rounds of negotiations in Belarus, the last of which took place last Monday had focused on humanitarian issues. More than 2.7 million Ukrainians have fled the fighting since the invasion started and hundreds of thousands more are trapped in sieged cities with food, water and medical supplies running out. Moscow has denied targeting citizens and says that Ukraine is to blame as it’s failed to evacuate civilians from encircled cities.

Oil prices have fallen this morning as diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in Ukraine are being stepped up and markets brace for higher US interest rates. Brent crude was down by 2.7 percent earlier this morning to 109 dollars 72 with West Texas Intermediate down 2.8 percent at 106 dollars 23. Both benchmarks have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February the 24th but there are tentative signs that peace talks may be making some progress. Analysts say that oil prices may continue to moderate this week as investors digest the impact of sanctions on Russia and hopes for peace increase. The focus away from Ukraine will switch to monetary policy this week with the US Federal Open Markets Committee meeting this week to decide on interest rates. The Fed is expected to start raising rates this week which will also put downward pressure on oil prices with crude typically moving inversely to the US dollar as the rising greenback makes commodities more expensive for foreign currency holders.

The Chief Executive of one of America’s largest gas companies says that the US can step in to help shore up global supplies. In an interview with the BBC Toby Rice, who runs the largest American natural gas supplier EQT said that the US “could easily” replace Russian supply. He estimated that the United States could quadruple its gas output by 2030 adding that America has the ability and the desire to do more. However, without more pipelines, EQT can’t send its gas where it’s needed most. Another obstacle to the export of more liquefied natural gas is a shortage of facilities with US terminals currently shipping close to as much gas as they currently can. Before natural gas can be exported it has to be stored at a special facility where it’s cooled to below – 260 degrees Fahrenheit turning it into a liquid which can then be loaded onto cargo ships. There are currently just 8 such terminals operating in the US with construction plans for 14 more.

Sport

Football - There were 6 games in the English Premier League on Sunday. Chelsea consolidated third place with a 1-0 win over Newcastle, Everton’s relegation concerns deepened as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Wolves. Leeds beat Norwich 2-1, Watford got what could be a vital 3 points in a 2-1 win at Southampton. West Ham beat Aston Villa 2-1 and Arsenal rose to 4th in the table on the back of a 2-0 win over Leicester. There’s one game tonight. The leaders Manchester City visit Crystal Palace.

In the English Championship on Sunday, QPR boosted their playoff hopes with a 2-1 win at Luton.

In the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup Hibs were 2-1 winners at Motherwell and Rangers were 3-0 winners at Dundee.

Rugby Union - France are just one game away from their first Grand Slam since 2010 after narrowly beating Wales in Cardiff on Friday. Scotland beat Italy in Rome and England, who played most of their match against Ireland at Twickenham lost 32-15. In the final round of games next Saturday, Wales host Italy, Ireland play Scotland and France play England in Paris.

There were two games in the Gallagher English Premiership on Sunday. Harlequins were 38-29 winners at Bristol and Northampton beat Wasps 27-22.

In the United Rugby Championship, Lions beat Cardiff 37-20 and Stormers thumped Zebre 55-7.

Formula 1 - Lewis Hamilton has said that Mercedes are off the pace and not in a position to win a Grand Prix as pre-season testing ended in Bahrain. Hamilton said that the new car has “potential” but is “not at the top” and insisted that he’s not deliberately understating his prospects. Hamilton goes into the new season which starts in Bahrain next weekend looking for a record 8th drivers championship which would eclipse Michael Schumacher’s 7. The current world champion Max Verstappen was quickest on the final day of testing with the Red Bull putting in some impressive lap times after a major aerodynamic upgrade appeared to vastly improve the car’s performance.

Golf - The Player’s Championship at Sawgrass, Florida will be completed today after bad weather affected the weekend. Anirban Lahari of India leads on 9 under par with Tom Hoge and Harold Varner III both one stroke back on 8 under. Paul Casey is on 7 under and others in contention include Shane Lowry and Francesco Molinari on 5 under and a cluster of players including Tommy Fleetwood on 4 under.

Paralympics - China has finished top of the medals table at the games in Beijing. China ended with 18 gold medals in a total of 61 with the popular Ukraine team in second with 11 golds in a total of 29 and Canada third with 8 gold medals in a total of 25. France finished a creditable 4th with 7 gold medals in a total of 12 while Team GBM managed 1 gold medal in a total of 6.

Weather

Cloudy with showers and moderate to strong easterly winds. Top temperature 14 degrees. Overnight lows of 11-13 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Mainly fine but still with a brisk easterly wind. Highs of 15 degrees.

And Finally

If you’ve become a pro at procrastinating, help may be at hand, thanks to a little trick from psychologists. It’s as simple as telling yourself: Do the dreaded job on your to-do list, but only for three minutes. After that, if you still can’t face it, you can just stop. The ‘three-minute rule’ makes chores seem manageable and not too overwhelming, researchers found and in fact, led most people to persevere with an activity for much longer.

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