French and Riviera News Monday 21st February 2022

News

25-year-old hiker killed by stray bullet during wild boar hunt – A 25-year-old hiker has been killed during a wild boar hunt at the weekend in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon when the woman was fatally hit and wounded by a stray bullet. The 17-year-old girl responsible for firing the weapon has since been placed in police custody for manslaughter. The incident has put the hunting debate back at the heart of the presidential election campaign, with several political figures calling for a ban at weekends and during the school holidays. France is the European country with the most hunters and is also the only European country allowing hunting every day during the season, while the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands or Portugal have introduced one or more non-hunting days. A petition calling for a ban on hunting on Wednesdays and Sundays had collected more than 120,000 signatures last autumn and prompted the Senate to create a commission on security.

People gather to show respect to those who died in deadly fire in Perpignan – This weekend more than 2,500 people have expressed their “solidarity” to the families who lost loved ones, following the deadly fire near Perpignan, which claimed eight lives on February 14th.  The gathering was held as a mark of respect to the eight people who lost their lives, including a baby and a two-year-old child. The fire had ravaged three adjoining buildings. The investigation into the cause of the deadly blaze is still underway.

The date for the lifting of covid restrictions to be maintained - France’s health minister Olivier Véran has said that the lifting of covid restrictions is maintained for “mid-March” despite the drop in new cases. The minister justified the decision to not bring the date forward due to the number of patients hospitalised which in his view is “still too many”.

Latest figures in France - According to the latest figures from Public Health France, published on Saturday, the number of positive cases stands at 86,000 on average over seven days, down 76% since the peak reached on January 25th. The minister also underlined the "decrease in the health burden" with "fewer and fewer patients in hospitals". They are still 28,600, including 2,900 in critical care.

Monaco - In Monaco on Sunday two new cases of covid were identified bringing the total number of residents affected to 9,188. There are currently 18 people hospitalised due to covid and 90 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Mayor of Cannes gives sponsorship for far-left candidate –The Republican mayor of Cannes David Lisnard has given his sponsorship to far left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. In a video posted on Twitter on Sunday evening Lisnard made the announcement adding, that his sponsorship was out of “civic concern and democratic requirement”. Three of the main presidential candidates have not yet received their sponsorships which means that if Jean Luc Mélenchon, Marine Le Pen or Eric Zemmour, are unable to take part in the run for presidency, Lisnard would consider this as a “serious blow to democracy”. The Republican candidate Valerie Pecresse who Lisnard supports has about 2,000 sponsorships and is therefore able to compete. In France a candidate needs to acquire 500 sponsorships to be able to run for presidency. It was announced this morning that due to the crisis in Ukraine French President Emmanuel Macron who was expected to announce his candidacy for the elections this week will now postpone the announcement until next week.

Macron obtains meeting over Ukraine crisis - Indeed, it’s been reported that that after numerous phone calls, Emmanuel Macron managed to obtain a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and American President Joe Biden in an attempt to end the conflict. But the Elysée warns that the proposed summit "can only be held if Russia does not invade Ukraine" beforehand. In its statement, the White House posted the same conditions: On Sunday following telephone exchanges between the Elysée and the various parties, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden accepted the principle of a meeting within the framework of a summit, proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Weather warning - The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var have been placed on a yellow weather warning with high winds expected this Monday morning. The alert is in place until 4pm this afternoon with gust of up to 70km an hour expected along the coast and 80km an hour inland.

Business

Asian markets have paired losses this morning and US futures have risen on slender hopes that a diplomatic solution may still be found to end the Ukraine crisis. Markets arrested a steep decline earlier when news broke that US President Joe Biden and the Russian leader Vladimir Putin had agreed in principal to hold a summit on the crisis. The diplomatic efforts which were brokered by President Macron of France will only be able to move forward on the condition that Russia does not invade Ukraine in the coming days. Mr Macron and Mr Putin held a lengthy telephone conversation on Sunday during which the French leader urged Mr Putin to come to the negotiating table along with the United States, France, Germany and the Ukraine. The United States is still warning that Russia is continuing preparations for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine soon and President Biden has said that any summit meeting could only be held if Russian forces stay out the country and start returning to their bases. Reuters is reporting that Mr Biden has already prepared a package of sanctions on Russia that would include barring US financial institutions from processing transactions from major Russian banks and freezing Russian assets in America.

Credit Suisse has denied any wrong doing after a massive leak of customer data brought to light the hidden wealth of several of its clients. Data on more than 18,000 accounts which hold assets of more than 100 billion US dollars were leaked to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zietung by a whistleblower. The data includes personal, shared and corporate accounts as well as those opened as far back as 1940. Journalists say that investigations have revealed that Credit Suisse accounts have been used by clients involved in serious crimes from money laundering to drug trafficking. Credit Suisse says that it strongly rejects the allegations and resented insinuations into its business practices and due diligence requirements. Reports in the New York Times and Guardian newspapers among other allege that the bank opened or maintained accounts for high-risk clients including criminal and human traffickers. The development is the latest in a series of scandals to hit Credit Suisse including the recent departure of two of its top executives for breaking Covid regulations and spying on staff.

The billionaire investor Carl Icahn has nominated two members to the board of directors of McDonald’s in an escalating row over the treatment of pigs by the fast food giant’s suppliers. Mr Icahn who says that he has 200 shares in the firm has nominated two people to stand for election at the 2022 AGM. He has previously said that its “obscene” how the animals used for McDonald’s products are treated. Mr Icahn wants McDonald’s to commit to better treatment for animals used in its products including a move  to “crate free” pork.

Sport

Winter Olympics - The Winter Olympic Games in Beijing have closed with Norway emerging triumphant at the top of the medals table. Norway won 16 golds in a total of 37 with Germany in second with 12 golds in a total of 27 and China in third place with 9 gold medals in a total of 15.

Away from the fantastic sporting action, the Games have been overshadowed by China’s human rights record as well as the controversy surrounding teenage Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s failed drug test. At the closing ceremony, the IOC president Thomas Bach called for peace and urged world leaders to be inspired by the athletes’ “example of solidarity and peace”.

Football - There were two games in the English Premier League on Sunday. Leeds were beaten 4-2 at home by Manchester United while Leicester’s problems are mounting after they were beaten 2-1 at Wolves.

In the Scottish Premiership on Sunday Rangers dropped points as they were beld to a 1-1 draw at Dundee United while the leaders Celtic beat Dundee 3-2.

Rugby Union - There was one game in the Gallagher English Premiership on Sunday. Newcastle lost 15-14 at home to Exeter and in the United Rugby Championship Ulster were 12-0 winners at Dragons.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate to strong westerly wind developing across the region with gusts of up to 90 km/h. Top temperature 17 degrees. Overnight lows of 10-13 degrees with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Clear skies with highs of 15-18 degrees.

And Finally

A UK study has claimed that eating lots of vegetables which, is often said to be the key to living a long and healthy life, will not help to ward off heart disease. Researchers at Oxford University looked at data from 400,000 Britons, who were tracked for 12 years. Participants were asked how many vegetables they ate each day and this was compared with rates of heart disease. Overall the group who ate the most raw vegetables were 15 per cent less likely to suffer heart disease than those who ate the least. There was no difference for cooked vegetables. But the benefit of eating raw veg disappeared when other factors, such as wealth and lifestyle, were taken into account.

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