French and Riviera News Monday 28th June 2021

News

Man suspected of killing ex-girlfriend and another man - Police in Marseille have reportedly arrested a man suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend and another man. The incident occurred on Sunday evening at around 6pm with the alleged perpetrator being arrested and taken into custody. An investigation has been opened.

Regional elections blow for the far right - The French far right party the National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, have failed to win any region in the second round of regional elections on Sunday while the centrist ruling party of President Emmanuel Macron suffered disappointment. The National Rally failed to realise its main ambition of winning the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) region that includes Marseille and Nice, with RN candidate Thierry Mariani defeated by his right-wing rival Renaud Muselier with 57.7 percent compared to 42 percent.

Right-wing Xavier Bertrand cements creditability for 2022 presidential elections - Meanwhile right-wing heavyweight Xavier Bertrand held onto the northeastern Hauts-de-France, with 53 percent of the vote, cementing his credibility as a 2022 presidential challenger from the traditional right.

According to a poll by Ipsos/Sopra Steria, the abstention rate for the second round was at 65.7 percent, slightly lower than the rate for the first round which stood at 66.72 percent.

Vaccination campaign slowing down in France - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has warned of the dangers in the slowdown of the vaccination against covid in France. Since the threshold of 30 million first time vaccinated was crossed in mid-June the campaign has stagnated. 

The number of new injections is slowing down among those over 65, while nearly 20% of French people said last May they did not want to be vaccinated, according to an Opinionway poll. Reacting to the alarming signals Castex announced in a statement "Be afraid of the virus, above all do not be afraid of the vaccine."

Monaco Safe Pass - The Monaco government has released details of its health pass, the "Monaco Safe Pass" for Monegasque nationals and residents. Employees in Monaco who were vaccinated in France or Italy will need to use their national health pass system. However, people who are employed in Monaco and who take a PCR test in Monaco will receive a Monaco health pass by SMS with the results of their test.

The health pass will be available no later than July 5th and will be usable in the Principality and in France. It will also be possible, on a voluntary basis, to convert the Monaco Safe Pass into a European Health Pass which will be recognized in the countries of the European Union and in countries having agreements with France and the EU, which are currently Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Monaco Safe Pass takes the form of a document that you can print or keep on your smartphone. Further details of how to obtain the pass can be found on the website covid19.mc

Health measures eased in the Principality - On Saturday June 26th current health measures were eased in Monaco by ending the curfew and expanding access to restaurants and bars. People wishing to go to a restaurant in Monaco must have a health pass or an equivalent proof of their vaccination status, their result of a negative test or their certificate of recovery to be verified. This measure does not apply to Monegasques and residents of Monaco, nor employees, nor residents of the Alpes-Maritimes and the province of Imperia. However, those people must have a document proving their residence.

Princess Charlene of Monaco - The Palace in Monaco has said that Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco has had to undergo several complicated procedures after contracting a severe ear, nose and throat infection in May. The most recent operation took place last week after complications arose during her first operation in May. The Princess is currently in South Africa where she is involved in the field of wildlife conservation and the fight against poaching in Africa. The Palace said that her medical team has asked her not to make the trip back to Monaco because the Princess still has to undergo other interventions and recover. Princess Charlene said that this year will be the first time that she will not be with her husband Prince Albert during their wedding anniversary in July, which she said is difficult and saddens her. She said that her daily conversations with Prince Albert and their children helps her enormously to keep her spirits up, but that she misses their presence very much. Prince Albert and their children will visit her in South Africa shortly.

Confusion over extension for Britons’ residency cards - While Prefectures and French officials last week reported that the deadline to apply for the residency card had been extended by three months, the British Embassy says this has not been confirmed to the embassy and that people who have not applied must do so now.

Man discovers 85,000 euros - A man has discovered 85,000 euros cash hidden in an ornament left on the pavement amongst a pile of rubbish, in Mérignac, in the suburbs of Bordeaux. The man decided to take the object, an elephant, to the police station. An investigation has since been opened to try to find out who the ornament and the money belong to.

Buzz of video shot in Nice - Seen more than 13 million times, the video of the world champion of longboard has created an incredible buzz. Shot in Nice, Marina Correia's choreography, broadcast at the end of May on Instagram, is one of the most watched videos currently on the social network. At just 23 years old, Marina Correia was crowned this January 10th world champion in freestyle dancing longboard. Longboard dancing is a new discipline which consists of performing acrobatic figures on a longboard. It originated in California in 2007.

Business

Asian shares have started the week on a cautious note with Chinese markets holding steady as a spike in coronavirus cases across the region over the weekend hurt investor sentiment. Investors are concerned about a spike in coronavirus infections in Asia with Australia’s biggest city Sydney plunging into a lockdown after a cluster of cases of the highly contagious Delta variant. Indonesia is battling record numbers of cases while Malaysia is to extend lockdown. Thailand has also announced new restrictions in Bangkok and other provinces. Investors will be watching for Chinese factory activity data which is out on Wednesday and will also be keeping a close eye on the progress of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal as it passes through the US Congress.

The US drugs giant Johnson & Johnson is to pay $230 million to settle claims that it fuelled an opioid addiction crisis in New York state. The firm has not admitted liability or wrongdoing in settling with the state. The payment removes it from a trial which is due to start on Tuesday in which several large opioid makers and distributors are defendants. Johnson & Johnson says that the settlements are consistent with a prior agreement to pay $5 billion to settle US opioid claims. The agreement with New York state also requires Johnson & Johnson to stop selling the painkillers nationwide. Tuesday’s trial is one of several scheduled for this year with others underway in California and West Virginia. In October, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin painkillers reached an $8.3 billion settlement and agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve an investigation into its role in America’s opioid crisis.

Oil prices have risen to their highest level since October 2018 this morning on expectations that demand growth will outstrip supply and that  OPEC will be cautious in returning more crude to the market next month. Brent crude was up by 12 cents a little earlier at $76.30 with West Texas intermediate up 13 cents to $74.18. Oil prices rose for a fifth straight week last week as fuel demand rebounded and OPEC and its allies maintained production cuts. The market has also been stimulated after talks on Iran’s nuclear deal stalled last week.

Sport

Euro 2020 – The reigning champions Portugal have been knocked out of the competition by Belgium. A swerving 30-meter drive by Thorgan Hazard on 42 minutes gave Belgium a 1-0 victory and a place in the last 8.

In Sunday’s other round of 16 match the Czech Republic beat the Netherlands 2–0.

Belgium will now play Italy in the quarter-finals on Friday while the Czech Republic play Denmark on Saturday. There are two more round of 16 ties today. Croatia play Spain at 6 pm and France play Switzerland at 9 pm.

Formula One – Max Verstappen has extended his lead over Lewis Hamilton to 18 points in the drivers’ championship  with victory at the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday. Verstappen dominated the race with Hamilton ploughing a lonely furrow to finish second and Valtteri Bottas in third. The next race is at the same venue for the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Cycling - Mathieu van der Poel has won stage two of the Tour de France to claim the yellow jersey. The Dutch rider powered clear twice on the double ascent up the Mur de Bretagne with defending champion Tadej Pogacar in second and last year’s runner up Primoz Roglic in third. Today’s third stage is 182.9 km between Lorient and Potivy and should be one for the sprinters.

Tennis – The Wimbledon Championships start today after last year‘s event had to be cancelled because of coronavirus. Novak Djokovic is favourite to retain his men’s crown and win a record equalling 20th Grand Slam singles title.

In the women’s event Serena Williams will once again be looking for a record equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title. The landmark has so far proved illusive for Williams who turns 40 in September. This may be her best opportunity with some of her major rivals missing through injury or other problems.

Rugby Union – Conor Murray will replace Alun Wyn Jones as British and Irish Lions captain for the tour of South Africa. Jones dislocated his shoulder during Saturday’s warmup game against Japan and Justin Tipuric also sustained a tour- ending shoulder injury. Adam Beard and Josh Navidi have been called up as replacements.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate easterly or variable winds. Top temperatures 28-30 degrees on the coast and 30-32 degrees inland. Overnight lows of 19-23 degrees with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Clear skies with highs of 28-32 degrees.

And Finally 

Experts say that the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster could finally be solved as the water level in the Scottish lake drops to its lowest-ever level. Over the years, there have been various alleged sightings of Nessie, with seven official "sightings" having been recorded so far this year. In 2020, there were 13 confirmed "sightings" of the mythical monster.

And now, with the RNLI reporting that water levels are now the "lowest ever recorded", dry conditions have led to a great opportunity to solve the mystery according to one expert. The latest sighting of Nessie was reported by a tourist who was up visiting from Cambridge and was standing close to the castle on the banks. Using a set of binoculars, the man was scanning the loch's surface on Wednesday, June 2, about 1.30pm when he said he spotted a creature for two seconds.

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