French and Riviera News Monday 21st June 2021

News 

Curfew lifted due to improved health situation - The 11pm curfew has been lifted in France, eight months after it was introduced due to the health crisis. Sunday June 20th marked the end of the curfew after the government decided to advance its end by ten days, it was initially due to finish on June 30th.

The change in schedule has been justified by the French Prime Minister Jean Castex as due to a faster than "hoped" improvement in the health situation. On Saturday June 19th some 10,000 covid patients were hospitalized, including 1,703 in critical care, according to figures from Public Health France.

In addition, wearing a mask is no longer systematically compulsory outdoors since Thursday June 17th. However, it must still be worn in certain situations, such as in "gatherings, crowded places, queues, markets”. The obligation to wear a mask is also still in force in enclosed spaces, in particular administrative buildings, workplaces and shops.

Paris police open investigation for willful homicide - Police in Paris have opened an investigation into willful homicide and appealed for witnesses to come forward after a 31-year-old Italian woman who was hit by an electric scooter driven by two young women in Paris last Monday died. The two young women who were on the scooter did not stop after the collision and are being sought by the police. Witnesses, including divers from the River Seine fire brigade who were on patrol tried to revive the victim, without success. Investigators have launched an appeal for witnesses to find the two young women who caused the accident.

Regional and departmental elections – More than two in three French people stayed away from polling stations on Sunday in the first round of regional elections. According to the latest Ipsos estimates the elections have shown a historic abstention with the first round of the 2021 regional elections being shunned by 66.1% of French people. It was the Grand Est region which saw the least number of people going to the polls at more than 70% while Corsica saw the lowest abstention rate, at just under 43%.

Results in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region have seen the outgoing president of the region Renaud Muselier come head to head with the leader of the far-right National Rally Thierry Mariani and Jean-Laurent Félizia head of the ecologists come third. Speaking on Sunday Félizia announced that the ecologists would be continuing their campaign into the second round which is to be held on Sunday 27th June.

Bad weather - After a weekend marked by bad weather in certain parts of France, nine departments have remained on an orange weather alert for thunderstorms including the Ardèche, the Drôme and the Haute-Savoie. 8,000 homes were still without electricity in the south of the Ardèche on Sunday afternoon and in the Indre et Loire region, a church lost its bell tower after a tornado hit the village of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil (Indre-et-Loire). The bad weather also led to train traffic being disrupted in eastern Paris.

Corsica - Tests carried out in southern Corsica have not detected any new pollution on the beaches. The Corse du Sud Prefecture said that all the beaches recently affected by an oil slick in the area have been cleaned and two dams have been deployed as a preventive measure. The majority of beaches have now been reopened by the municipalities.

Monaco - The Monaco government is continuing to provide support to businesses and restaurants in the Principality, through the CARLO application, by continuing to cover the platform costs that would have otherwise been paid by businesses. The CARLO app has 290 partner shops and a user base of 19,000 customers.

Grasse sub-prefecture closed today - The Alpes-Maritimes prefecture has said that the public reception and the digital point of the Grasse sub-prefecture will be exceptionally closed on June 21st and 28th.

Business

Shares of banks, energy firms and other companies that tend to be sensitive to fluctuations in the economy have tumbled following the Federal Reserve meeting last Wednesday. The Fed surprised investors by anticipating two quarter percentage point rate increases in 2023 amid a recent surge in inflation. Analysts say that one factor driving the move is the idea that a central bank more focused on preventing the economy from overheating may begin unwinding easy monetary policies sooner than previously expected. The post Fed meeting slide in value has been accompanied by a retreat in some commodity prices, a surge  in the dollar and a rally in US government bonds that dragged down yields on the benchmark US Treasury to around 1.44% on Friday. Investors will be keeping a close eye on economic data this week for clues as to whether the recent surge in inflation will persist.

The UK supermarket chain Morrison’s has rejected a £5.5 billion takeover proposal from the US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Morrison’s, the U.K.’s fourth largest supermarket with 118,000 staff, said that the offer significantly undervalues the firm. CD&R, where the former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy is an adviser confirmed it was considering a formal bid after weekend media speculation about its plans. The US firm has previously made investments in the discount shop chain B&M, from which it made more than £1 billion. Morrison’s said in a statement that it has evaluated the proposal and unanimously concluded that it significantly undervalued Morrison’s and its future prospects. The bid, which is worth 230p a share does not constitute a formal offer and under UK takeover rules it has until the 17th of July to announce a firm intention to bid or walk away.

Oil prices have risen this morning underpinned by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal. Brent crude was trading up 0.4% a little earlier this morning at $73.81 with West Texas Intermediate up half percent at $71.96. Both benchmarks have gained over the past month amid optimism over the pace of global vaccinations and a pick up in summer travel. Negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal were put on hold on Sunday after hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi won the country’s presidential election amid a low turnout.

Sport

Euro 2020 – Italy and Wales are both through to the last 16 of Euro 2020. Italy beat Wales 1–0 on Sunday to maintain their 100% record in the tournament so far.

In the other group A game on Sunday Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1. Turkey are out but Switzerland could still qualify as one of the best third placed teams.

There are four games today. In group C, North Macedonia play the Netherlands and Ukraine play Austria. Both matches kick off at 6 pm. In group B, Finland play Belgium and Russia play Denmark. Those games kick off at 9 pm.

Golf – Jon Rahm of Spain has claimed his first major after winning the US open at Torrey Pines. The 26-year-old finished with back to back birdies to take him to 6 under par as Louis Oosthuizen faltered at the 17th leaving him needing an eagle at the 18th to force a play-off. He could only manage a birdie and ended on 5 under giving Rahm a one shot victory.

Formula One – Max Verstappen has won the French Grand Prix after Red Bull outfoxed Mercedes on tyre strategy. The Dutchman started on pole but slid wide at the first corner and ran off the track allowing Lewis Hamilton to take the lead. Mercedes were in control of the race but they surrendered their position following a bad error in Hamilton’s pit stop timing. Verstappen swept past Hamilton and with both drivers struggling with their tyres, Red Bull pulled the championship leader in again on lap 32 only 13 laps after his previous stop. Verstappen then hunted down Valtteri Bottas to move into second and then he passed Hamilton with a lap and a half to go to win the race. Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull played the perfect wingman’s role and finished third. Verstappen now leads the drivers’ championship by 12 points from Hamilton with Red Bull extending their lead over Mercedes in the constructors’ championship to 37 points. The next race is on Sunday in Austria.

Cricket – India hold a slight advantage over New Zealand heading into day four of the ICC World Test Championship final in Southampton. India made 217 in their first innings with New Zealand on 101–2 at stumps. A reserve day is available if there is no result at the end of day five. India lead by 116 runs but the New Zealand batsmen are building a partnership with Conway on 54 and Latham on 30.

Tennis - Matteo Berrettini has won the Queen’s Tournament in London. The Italian beat Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6–4 6–7 6–3 firing 19 aces in the process. He’s the first player to win the title on the debut since Boris Becker in 1985.

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate southerly winds. Top temperatures 26-28 degrees. Overnight lows of 19-21 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Mainly fine with highs of 26-28 degrees.

And Finally

Scientists have identified why people sometimes die from a broken heart after grief or relationship breakdowns. They found stressful life events increase levels of two molecules in heart cells which play a crucial role in ‘broken heart syndrome’. The breakthrough, by Imperial College London, paves the way for new treatment options that could prevent future deaths.

The syndrome occurs, when the heart muscle becomes suddenly weakened and the left heart chamber changes shape. These molecules are linked to depression, anxiety and stress – suggesting that longer-term distress followed by a dramatic shock could trigger the syndrome.

The symptoms often mimic those of a heart attack and it leads to chest pains, breathlessness and can cause the heart to stop beating. The condition, which was first identified in Japan in 1990, affects about 2,500 people in the UK each year.

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