French and Riviera News Thursday 10th March 2022

News

EU summit in Versailles - Today and tomorrow Friday 11th March, French President Emmanuel Macron is to host an EU leader meeting in Versailles. The summit had originally been organised prior to the war in Ukraine to discuss the “next world” for Europe following the health crisis however, due to the current situation the meeting will now be dedicated to the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

Clashes in Corsica in support of national activist - Clashes have broken out in Corsica after hundreds of people took to the streets on Wednesday evening in support of nationalist activist Yvan Colonna and several people have been injured. A week after the attack in prison on Yvan Colonna by a fellow prisoner, hundreds of people gathered in Ajaccio, Calvi and Bastia to show their support.

Meanwhile French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the status of Yvan Colonna, who is serving a life sentence for the assassination of the Prefect of Southern Corsica Claude Erignac in 1998, has been changed. This means that he is now able to be transferred to a prison on the island, a move for which many Corsican nationalists have been campaigning. Colonna is currently in a critical condition in hospital in Arles following the attack.

Trial of the Nice attack - Lawyers have announced a non-interactive broadcast of the trial of the Nice attack which killed 86 people in July 2016. The decision was announced on Wednesday in a press conference. The principle of a retransmission in Nice is for the victims who cannot be in Paris the public and the media. Wednesday’s press conference was also an opportunity to encourage the victims of the attack to become civil parties, which is still possible until the start of the hearing. 865 victims have done so, so far, and about 2,500 victims have been compensated by the guarantee fund.

On July 14th, 2016, the driver of a 19-tonne truck killed 86 people and injured 450 others when he hit some of the 30,000 people who came to watch the fireworks display on the promenade in Nice.

Macron tells the French they need to “work longer” - French President Emmanuel Macron has warned the French that they will have to “work longer”. In his letter announcing his candidacy for a second term Macron is considering changing the age of retirement in France from 62 to 65 between 2023 and 2032. The change would save more than 14 billion euros.

Presidential elections - Meanwhile in the latest Opinion 2022 poll carried out by the Elabe the voting intentions of the French in favour of Emmanuel Macron jumped by 8.5 points with the current President claiming 33.5% of the voting intention in the first round. An unprecedented increase which leaves his rivals far behind with Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen claiming just 15% of voting intentions.

New ambassadors to Monaco - Four new ambassadors to Monaco have been accredited at a ceremony yesterday. They represent Australia, Hungary, Egypt and Ukraine. The new ambassadors presented their letters of credence to HSH Prince Albert II. A lunch also took place at which the conflict in Ukraine was discussed. The Monegasque authorities reiterated their support for the Ukrainian people.

Stolen motorbike - Police have arrested a man who was caught riding a stolen motorbike on the boulevard du Mercantour in Nice. The individual attempted to flee police on foot on the A8 motorway before being arrested.

Speeding - Meanwhile, a motorist who has been caught speeding at 207km/hour on a motorway in the Paris region was eventually stopped by a national police plane. The incident occurred on March 4th, when the driver managed to escape a police speed check. It was only when officers messaged the plane which was in the area at the time, that the pilots were able to identify the car and the driver was arrested and placed in police custody.

Drought - The Prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes has issued a drought warning for the region. On Wednesday authorities said that residents should remain “vigilant” recommending inhabitants to “avoid watering their garden more than is needed”. The warning comes due to the fact that reserves are starting to run dry. Between September and March there was very little rain for this period which is when supplies recharge.

Business

Asian markets have made strong gains this morning, tracking Wall Street as planned diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine boosted sentiment. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived in Turkey ahead of planned talks today with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kubela in what will be the first high-level talks between the two sides since the invasion two weeks ago. However, analysts have urged caution with no clear sign that Russia is ready to cease hostilities as the world awaits nervously for the latest developments. Meanwhile US inflation data out today is expected to show that consumer prices are rising at an annualised rate of 7.9 percent. High inflation is set to lead to further upward pressure on prices and result in a supply side shock. On the currency markets the euro surged by 1.6 percent against the dollar on hopes that diplomatic efforts to end the fighting may bear fruit.

Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday after the United Arab Emirates said that Opec nations are ready to boost production to increase supply. Brent crude was down by 17 percent on Wednesday but prices have recovered a little this morning. Rising oil prices are putting the squeeze on business and households. Officials from the United States have been in talks with Opec members in a bid to get them to boost production and while the UAE has said that it’s ready to act, there’s been no word from Saudi Arabia with reports that the country’s rulers are angry with the Biden administration over accusations of the state’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Oil prices have surged by 30 percent since the 24th of February and touched 139 dollars a barrel last week.

The International Monetary Fund has approved 1.4 billion dollars in emergency funding for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion. More than 2 million people have left the country since the war started two weeks ago and earlier this week the World Bank approved a 732 million dollar financial package and is planning more economic assistance in the coming months. The funds will be disbursed under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument and will come largely without conditions that are usually placed on borrower countries. The government of Ukraine has also taken measures to support its war-torn economy and raised 270 million dollars last week through the sale of war-bonds.

Sport

Football - Manchester City are through to the quarter finals of the European Champions League but Paris St Germain are out. City drew 0-0 on the night against Sporting Lisbon but go through 5-0 on aggregate while Real Madrid beat PSG 3-1 to take the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

In the Scottish Premiership last night Dundee lost 1-0 at home to St Mirren.

Round of 16 ties in the Europa League are being played tonight with Rangers at home to Red Star Belgrade, West Ham away at Sevilla and Monaco away at Sporting Braga.

There are four games in the English Premier League tonight. Norwich play Chelsea, Southampton play Newcastle, Wolves host Watford and Leeds play Aston Villa.

Cricket - It’s honour’s even heading into day 3 of the first Test between West Indies and England in Antigua. England were bowled out for 311 in their first innings on day 2 with Jonny Bairstow making 140. At stumps, West Indies had reached 202-4 in reply.

Formula 1 - Final pre-season testing is getting underway in Bahrain as teams make the final tweaks to cars ahead of the first Grand Prix later this month. Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen is returning to the sport to drive for Haas after Nikita Mazepin had his contract cancelled because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Russian driver and his father Dmitry have also both been sanctioned by the EU over the invasion. Mazepin senior, a chemicals billionaire has been described by the EU as being “a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin” and his business has been accused of providing “substantial revenue” to the Russian government.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the first two Masters Series events of the year because of US coronavirus regulations. Djokovic can’t enter the country unless he’s fully vaccinated and therefore will not be able to play at Indian Wells or the Miami Open.

Paralympics - China still leads the medals table on day 6 of the games in Beijing. China has 10 gold medals in a total of 31 with Canada in second place with 7 gold medals in a total of 16 and Ukraine in third with 6 gold medals in a total of 19. There are three medal events today all in men’s alpine skiing.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light to moderate south westerly winds. Top temperature 13-15 degrees. Overnight lows of 7 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Partially cloudy with highs of 12-14 degrees.

And Finally

A recent study has claimed that women are still doing 70 minutes more household chores a day than men. Women in the UK spend an average of two hours and 49 minutes cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry. But men spend only an hour and 39 minutes on similar jobs, according to research. In South Korea men did an average of only half an hour of housework a day, while men in France did almost two hours. However there is hope for men, as they appear to get better at doing chores as they get older.

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