French and Riviera News Monday 21st March 2022

News

Monaco releases emergency aid for Ukraine - Monaco has released an emergency aid of 150,000 euros for Ukraine. Following a televised speech by Prince Albert II of Monaco last week, the Minister of State Pierre Dartout gave an update on the establishment of a “coordination unit” dedicated to “welcoming and supporting refugees” from the war in Ukraine and announced the release of emergency financial assistance. About thirty Ukrainian nationals are in Monaco, in addition to the 171 residents. Those arriving are invited to report to the Department of Public Security in a “one-stop reception point” to register their arrival. While many arrive in the Alpes-Maritimes department and in the PACA region, Monaco has ensured a “permanent dialogue and coordination with France” and is willing to issue “renewable temporary residence permits" as well as the creation of a “coordination cell” with authorities and the Monegasque Red Cross to ensure that the housing, social and educational needs of Ukrainian nationals is met.

Meanwhile thanks to a citizens' initiative, Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Draguignan. Sunday saw the town in the Var welcome 43 refugees who had travelled nearly 1,700 kilometers.

Road accident - Two people have been injured in a road accident on the Promenade in Nice. The accident occurred in front of the Radisson Hotel westbound on Sunday afternoon shortly after 2.30pm. One of the victims was taken to A&E. Traffic was severely disrupted as emergency services intervened.

Jean Luc Mélenchon political meeting in Paris - Following Emmanuel Macron’s presentation of his political programme last Thursday in the run up to the Presidential elections, it was the turn of far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Sunday afternoon, as he presented his programme at his meeting at Place de la République in Paris. Mélenchon denounced the "authoritarianism" of the current head of State’s five-year term. Saying he would call for “an amnesty for all convicted Yellow Vests” as well as “guarantee and ensure the reclassification and compensation of victims of police violence" and that he would also “reintegrate those caregivers who are not vaccinated against covid”.

Marion Maréchal fears an “African France” by 2060 - Meanwhile, former far right member of the National Front elected in the Vaucluse Marion Maréchal, who has joined far right Eric Zemmour for his presidential campaign, has expressed her concern speaking to French media on Sunday of the "demographic curve" of France saying, that she fears an "African France" by 2060 adding that if the current curve continues “the natives of France will be a minority within the next forty years”.  Maréchal underlined that "African cultures are completely respectable" but that “France would bear the same name but would no longer be the same”.

Discrimination in the workplace in France - According to an IFOP survey, discrimination in France is at is strongest in the workplace particularly, at a job interview. The survey published today Monday 21st March, to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” showed that 16% of those questioned claim to have been discriminated against because of where they live, their origins as well as their religious beliefs. 15% claim to have been victims of derogatory remarks on their physical appearance such as the hairstyle, outfit, or sex.

Fnac-Darty join forces with Apple brand - The Fnac-Darty group have announced that they are to join forces with Apple to become the first "authorized repairer" of iPhones and iPads. The exclusive partnership signed with the Apple brand makes the Fnac-Darty group the first "third-party repairer" of certain Apple products. The new service will be available from June and will rely on the network of WeFix smartphone repair stores, in which Fnac Darty invested in 2018. Wefix has its own shops but is also accessible in Fnac and Darty stores.

Johnny Hallyday’s Harley sells for record amount at auction - The legendary Harley Davidson of the late French singer Johnny Hallyday has sold for a record amount at auction in Paris. Estimated at between 50,000 and 250,000 euros, the bike was the subject of a ten-minute battle between bidders before being sold for nearly 480,000 euros to an anonymous buyer.

Football - OGC Nice have been knocked out of Ligue 1 after losing last night at the Vélodrome stadium, against the Olympique de Marseille 2-1. Meanwhile Sunday saw AS Monaco beat an uninspiring PSG 3-0. 

Business

Asian markets have started the week in sober mood as the war in Ukraine shows no signs of stopping and oil prices up again. Most share markets rallied last week on hopes of a peace deal but there have been pessimistic statements from both sides over the weekend and the chances of a ceasefire appear to be receding. President Biden will visit Europe on Thursday to meet NATO allies and he’ll be in Poland on Friday to meet government officials and refugees who are continuing to flood across the border from Ukraine. Bond markets are braced for more hawkish comments from the US Federal Reserve with chair Jerome Powell due to make a major policy speech later today. On the currency markets the dollar has slipped in anticipation of a sustained run of interest rate hikes while the euro is steady. Gold has failed to benefit much from the rush to safe-haven assets but other commodities such as wheat and oil are rising again.

Crude prices have risen by around 2 percent this morning as fighting in Ukraine continued to rage and major oil producers said that they are struggling to produce allotted quotas. Brent crude was up by 1.8 percent earlier this morning to 109 dollars 89 with West Texas Intermediate up by 1.7 percent to 106 dollars 79. Prices have started to rise again after Ukraine’s deputy Prime Minister said that there was no chance that the country’s forces would surrender in the besieged city of Mariupol and the market has shifted to focusing on how Russian oil supplies which have been hit by sanctions can be replaced. A report issued by Opec and its allies has shown that some suppliers are still falling short of their agreed supply quotas. Opec+ missed its production target by more than 1 million barrels per day in February although Saudi Aramco has announced that it intends a major boost over the next 5 years after reporting a doubling of profits in 2021.

The UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has said that he’s “appalled” by P&0 Ferries’ sacking of more than 800 workers. Mr Sunak said that the move was “awful” and “wrong” and that the government is examining the legality of the firm’s actions. A report in yesterday’s Sunday Times newspaper says that government ministers knew about the plans to sack crew but did nothing about it but the Transport Ministry said that “full details” had not been available beforehand. Mr Sunak, who is due to make his Spring Financial Statement later this week said on the BBC on Sunday that P&O’s approach was “appalling in the way that they’ve treated their workers” but there are no suggestions that the government talked to the firm before the sackings. P&O Ferries which is owned by DP World of Dubai said that it had “no choice” but to sack workers in a last ditch attempt to remain solvent. Last year, the firm made 4.9 billion dollars in revenue.

Sport

Formula 1 - Ferrari scored their first 1-2 since 2019 as Charles Leclerc won the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday with team-mate Carlos Sainz second and Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes third. An intriguing battle for the lead between Leclerc and world champion Max Verstappen ended when the dutchman’s Red Bull suffered a power failure forcing him out of the race with Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull suffering similar problems and the team scoring no points. Lewis Hamilton made the best of an uncompetitive car to finish on the podium and score valuable points as Mercedes seek to sort out their aerodynamic problems. The next race is the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah next weekend with the signs suggesting that Ferrari will be able to make a sustained challenge for the world championship this season.

Football - The draw has been made for the semi finals of the FA Cup in England. Chelsea will play Crystal Palace and Manchester City will play Liverpool. Both games will be played at Wembley Stadium next month.

In the English Premier League on Sunday Leicester beat Brentford 2-1 and Spurs beat West Ham 3-1.

In the Scottish Premiership Rangers were 2-1 winners at Dundee.

Rugby Union - France look like they’re in with a real chance of winning next year’s World Cup as they secured their first 6 Nations Grand Slam since 2010 in Paris against England on Saturday night. France were far too good for England leaving questions over the future of Eddie Jones. Ireland finished as runners up after securing the Triple Crown thanks to a 26-5 victory over Scotland while there are also questions being asked about the future of the Wales coach Wayne Pivac as his side were beaten 22-21 by Italy in Cardiff.

Cricket - The second Test between West Indies and England in Bridgetown, Barbados has ended in a draw. West Indies ended day 5 on 135-5 in their second innings when play ended. The series is tied at 0-0 with one Test to play.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal has lost for the first time this year as he was beaten in the final at Indian Wells. Nadal lost 6-4 7-6 to Taylor Fritz who becomes the first American player to win Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001. Nadal looked out of sorts in the final and made 34 unforced errors during the match.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate to strong easterly winds. Top temperature 15 degrees. Overnight lows of 5-7 degrees with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Clear skies, moderate easterly winds and highs of 14-16 degrees.

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