French and Riviera News Monday 3rd January 2022

News

Mayor of Nice expresses "devastation" after woman allegedly killed by ex-boyfriend - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has expressed his "devastation" following the discovery of a woman's body "allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend". The man had gone to police on New Year's Day claiming to have "hit his wife". He was taken into custody with his son. The body of the 45-year-old woman was later discovered In the boot of her car in a garage on the boulevard de la Madeleine in Nice she had reportedly been strangled.

An investigation has been opened. The two men in custody are not known to the police or the justice system. Since Saturday January 1st, three women have lost their lives due to domestic violence in France and the government's lack of reaction has enraged feminist associations.

Missing person - Police in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence have launched an appeal following the worrying disappearance of 33-year-old Jessy from the Pas de Calais. Relatives raised the alarm after not hearing from him since December 27th. Jessy had planned a trip to Marseille and his cell phone was last geolocated at Marseille Saint Charles train station. He was last seen in Pas-de-Calais wearing dark blue jeans, a black leather jacket and white high top Puma trainers. Jessy has a piercing on his cheek and a triangle tattoo on his neck. He is also tattooed on the hands. His hair is bleached, and he has a beard. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police.

Changes since January 1st - As with the 1st of every month in France the 1st of January saw certain changes introduced. From purchasing power, minimum wage to access to contraception. 

As of January 1st the minimum wage in France increased by 0.9% to 1,603 euros gross for a 35 hour week which represents 1,269 euros net. An increase of 11 euros compared to 2021. Due to the health crisis and working from home becoming mandatory, for at least 3 days a week where possible from tomorrow Monday 3rd, the "mobility voucher" will be introduced which covers employees transport costs linked to teleworking.

Concerning mortgages in France, individuals no longer have the right to borrow over more than a twenty-five year period to acquire real estate. The measure is to reduce risks in residential real estate, as the average duration of mortgage loans has risen from eighteen years in 2015 to 20.In addition, the debt ratio of borrowers may not exceed 35% of annual income.

Single-use plastics will gradually disappear with around thirty varieties of fruits and vegetables no longer being sold wrapped in plastic film. Toys offered in children's menus can no longer be made from plastic and the state no longer has the right to purchase single-use plastic products for use in the workplace or at events it organizes.

And in an attempt to stop the use of plastic bottles, bars and restaurants are now required to provide drinking water for free, even if customers are not eating. France has also chosen to ban the destruction of unsold non-food items, which concerns two billion euros of goods each year. Heavy fines will be introduced to sanction companies which continue to burn unsold electronics, textiles, furniture or hygiene products.

Contraception becomes free for women up to 25 years old. The State will now cover the cost, including biological assessments, prescriptions and all contraceptive care.

Finally the price of a postage stamp in France increases from 1,28 to 1,43 euros.

Back to school - As children in France and Monaco return to school this morning Monday 3rd January, new health protocols will be implemented due to the current health situation. 

All students attending school in Monaco as well as staff working in schools in the Principality will be offered a free self-test.  Some 10,000 self-tests for children have been commissioned by the government and will be distributed free of charge in schools, colleges and high schools. However, these self-tests will be carried out only with the agreement of the parents.  In case of refusal of screening, nursery students will not be able to attend class. A precautionary measure since the mask is not mandatory for this age group.  From CP classes the return to school will not be subject to the completion of the back-to-school screening as the mask is mandatory for those over 5 years old. In case of a positive result of the self-test, the child will have to isolate and perform a PCR test as soon as possible. Teaching and non-teaching staff will also be offered free self-tests.

In France from today the emphasizes of the health protocol in schools is on the multiplication of tests for students and teachers who are declared as contact cases. If a positive Covid-19 case is detected in a class, all students will have to take three tests in four days. The first negative test will allow them to come back to class.  In detail the government said that "what changes is that from now on, when the family takes the first test, they will receive two free self-tests from the pharmacy, so that the students can test themselves again at home on day two and day four.

Teleworking - There are also new measures on teleworking in the Principality as Monaco on Sunday identified 43 new cases and deplored a death from covid at the weekend of a 73-year-old resident. Since the beginning of the pandemic 39 people have died and there have been 5,253 cases. 39 people are currently in hospital and 369 people are being looked after by the Home monitoring Centre.

France has also introduced teleworking from today, to three days a week where possible. However, France's health minister confirmed on Sunday January 2nd that the health pass will not be mandatory in companies in France. The idea of a health pass extended to all companies had been suggested but has since been dismissed after meetings between unions and the Employment minister Elisabeth Borne.

France has also eased isolation rules for people who test positive with covid. In detail, those who are positive with a complete vaccination schedule, will now have to isolate themselves for seven days, instead of ten. But "this isolation can be lifted after five days in the event of an antigen test or negative PCR" and on condition of not having any clinical sign of infection for 48 hours. For people with an incomplete vaccination schedule "they will have to isolate themselves for ten days, with a possible discharge after seven days under the same conditions".

The rules are also relaxed for contact cases. Fully vaccinated people will no longer have to observe quarantine but will have to respect barrier gestures and "do regular tests". For non-vaccinated contact cases or with an incomplete vaccinated schedule, a seven-day isolation is mandatory. A negative PCR test will be necessary to get out of this isolation period.

Minister of health announces that time to receive booster dose reduced from seven to four months - France's Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, has announced that from February 15ththe time to receive a booster dose and keep the health pass will be reduced from seven to four months adding that a "case of infection will remain the equivalent to an injection". Veran made the announcement on Sunday January 2nd adding that the fifth wave of covid should reach its peak by mid-January.

SNCF calls for cooperation amid new restrictions - The SNCF has called for passengers "cooperation" in the face of new restrictions with exceptions being made for small children and the elderly. From today eating and drinking on trains is forbidden. Catering services on board the TGV and Intercités, will be closed until January 23rd and wearing a mask will be compulsory for all travellers from the age of 6 both in stations and on trains.

Travel rules tightened for the US - Travel rules are tightening for the United States. Due to the progression of the pandemic France placed the United States on the red list on Saturday 1st January, according to a published decree in the Official Journal. Previously placed on the orange list, the United States is now categorized among countries with "active circulation of the virus". As a result, unvaccinated travellers from the United States will now have to undergo a 10-day quarantine controlled by law enforcement. No change, however, for people vaccinated

And Matignon has announced that the French Prime Minister Jean Castex will bring together ten ministers today to "take stock" of the Omicron covid variant in France. Castex will meet ten of his ministers at 4pm this afternoon "to take stock of the impact of the Omicron variant and the continuity of essential public services".

European Union flag - A giant European Union flag displayed at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to mark France taking on the bloc's presidency has been removed after it was criticised by right-wing politicians.

The far-right leader of the National Rally Marine Le Pen had announced that she will seize the State Council due to the temporary disappearance of the French flag under the Arc de Triomphe. The candidate of the National Rally for the presidential election announced in a press release that she would file in the coming days an appeal before the State Council to contest the decision to fly the European flag under the Arc de Triomphe saying she was "outraged" by the "provocation". Republican candidate Valérie Pécresse, also reacted tweeting "Presiding over Europe, yes, but erasing French identity, no!". To celebrate the French presidency of the European Union, which began on January 1st, the Elysee had temporarily installed the European flag.

French spent an average of 51 euros in restaurants on New Year's Eve – A study has shown that the French spent an average of 51 euros in restaurants for New Year's Eve. That's less than Spain at 59 euros. A sign that this New Year's Eve is not quite like the others, this French bill is much higher than the usual 27 euros spent in restaurants, per person. Tips have even doubled compared to the average for December, with up to on average 6 euros in the Paris region. People spent the most in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) region with an average of 82 euros per person, followed by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes with 74 euros.

Maison Gainsbourg - More than 30 years after the death of the iconic French singer Serge Gainsbourg, his Parisian house will open its doors to fans under the name "Maison Gainsbourg". Consisting of a museum, a bookstore and a piano bar nicknamed the Gainsbarre, 5 bis rue de Verneuil plans to open to the public from in the spring.

Business

Investors have much to chew on as 2022 gets into full swing with stock market bulls still firmly in charge but as surging energy and food prices continue to turbocharge inflation and China suffering with trillion dollar wipeouts in its tech and property sectors.

Cryptocurrencies have continued to make waves with Turkey suffering a currency crisis and  while  green industry has gone maintstream ,its still been overshadowed by oil and gas which were up by 50 percent and 48 percent respectively at the end of 2021.

European banks had their best year in over a decade notching up a 34 percent gain but emerging markets lost 5 percent led down by a 30 percent plunge in Hong Kong as Beijing sought to limit its influence.

Analysts say that valuations are expensive ,especially in New York but other markets are also considered to be overvalued.

Commodities had a record breaking year in 2021 as resource-hungry economies tried to get back to normal following the devastating effects of the pandemic.

Shares in the crisis-hit Chinese real estate giant Evergrande have been suspended on the Hong Kong stock market today as investors wait for news on its restructuring plan.

No reason has been given for the suspension  but Evergrande has more than 300 billion dollars of debts and has been scrambling to raise cash by selling assets and shares to repay suppliers and creditors.

Last week ,the firm scaled back promises to pay back investors in its wealth and management products.

Evergrande's 19 billion dollars in international bonds were deemed to be in default by ratings agencies last month after it failed to make a payment deadline last month.

Today's suspension suggests an even deeper squeeze on Evergrande's finances than it had previously announced.

And-The US banking giant Goldman Sachs is asking its employees to work from home until the 18th of January.

Goldman's offices will remain open with coronavirus protocols with measures for returning staff including a booster shot ,mandatory masks and a bi-weekly testing regime.

Financial firms have been struggling to work out when they can get back to business as usual and how to communicate with employees and retain workers amid the uncertainty.

A number of other banks have also asked staff to work remotely due to the latest surge in cases of the omicron variant.

Sport 

Football-There were four games in the English Premier League on Sunday with Chelsea and Liverpool sharing a thrilling 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

In the other games Brentford beat Aston Villa 2-1.Everton lost 3-2 at home to Brighton and Leeds beat Burnley 3-1.

The match between Southampton and Newcastle was postponed. Manchester United play Wolves tonight.

In the English Championship on Sunday Bristol City beat Millwall 3-2.Birmingham lost 2-1 at home to QPR. Blackburn and Huddersfield drew 0-0 and West Brom and Cardiff drew 1-1.

Rugby Union-There were 3 games in the Gallagher Premiership on Sunday with the leaders Leicester keeping up their 100 percent record following a 31-0 win over Newcastle.

Harlequins were 20-17 winners at Gloucester and Saracens were 30-6 winners at Northampton.

Cricket-Ben Stokes has said that he has no aspirations to replace Joe Root as England captain.

England have been under the cosh in Australia and have already lost the 5 match Ashes series although Root has led from the front with the bat. Stokes, who's 30 says that he has never had any ambition to be England captain and that he's happy to play under Root.

The fourth Test between Australia and England starts in Sydney on Wednesday with the home side looking to move towards completing a series whitewash.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light to moderate westerly or variable winds.

Top temperature 14 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 17 degrees in the Var.

Overnight lows of 7-9 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Partially cloudy with highs of 14-16 degrees.

And Finally

In a humorous video, the city council of Châlons-en-Champagne in France has decided to catch dog owners who fail to pick up the poop of their pets by baiting them with fake banknotes left on the ground.

The town hall had the idea of making the video to catch the owners with city officials placing fake 10 euro notes on the ground of several parks to force dog owners to bend down to pick them up. Except that on the back of the fake notes the following message was written "If you are able to bend down to pick up this (fake) note, then you are able to bend down to pick up your dog's poop too". In one week, the video has already been shared over a million times on social networks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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