French and Riviera News Thursday 17th February 2022


Health Minister to visit Nice today - France's Minister of Health Olivier Véran, is to visit Nice today Thursday 17th February. During his visit, the minister is to meet with staff at the Archet hospital and speak about the current health situation. Veran’s visit comes as on Wednesday, he mentioned the possible end to wearing a mask indoors including in work, school, or public transport in mid-March, should the health situation allow.

Strike action planned by A&E staff at Draguignan hospital - A&E staff at Draguignan hospital, have announced strike action for tomorrow Friday February 19th. The move comes in protest against the Regional Health Agency and its delay in taking any action following the closure of the night-time services of the hospital, which has lasted for more than three months. Staff are expected to gather in front of the hospital on Friday evening.

Meanwhile also in Draguignan prison guards are to demonstrate today, as part of a national movement in France in protest against wages and working conditions.

Weather alert - The Var region has been placed on a yellow weather alert with high winds forecast. The warning was issued on Wednesday with possible gusts of up to 110km an hour forecast. The windy weather is expected to last until tomorrow Friday 18th February.

Battle of flowers Villefranche-sur-Mer - It’s been confirmed the annual Battle of Flowers will resume this year in the bay at Villefranche-sur-Mer. The battle, which has been re-enacted for 118 years was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. It will take place, tomorrow lunchtime at the port in Villefranche, and while the event is free a current vaccination pass will be required to attend.

Operation Carlo - The Prince's Government has expressed its delight with the success of "Operation Carlo". As part of the various measures to support the economy, the Prince's Government notably repeated the Carlo operation at the end of 2021. This involved paying an exceptional bonus, directly converted into purchase vouchers, on the Carlo application, to around 10,000 civil servants, State and Municipal employees, retired civil servants and non-medical staff at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre.

Latest poll shows Macron in the lead for voting intentions - The latest poll on the Presidential elections in France has shown that Macron leads the voting intentions even if there has been a slight drop in the number of people supporting him. The poll carried out by the Elabe Institute, less than two months before the presidential election shows Macron in the lead followed by far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and Republican Valérie Pécresse.

February holidays see a return to normal - According to a recent study, the February holidays have seen a return to almost normal in France’s ski and coastal resorts with reservations for mountain stays up 8.2% compared to 2020 and 88.3% compared to 2021, a year marked by the closure of ski lifts throughout France.


Minutes from the last meeting of the US Federal Reserve have revealed that while the central bank is planning to raise interest rates to combat inflation, its decisions will be made on a “meeting to meeting basis”. The minutes show that while the Fed agrees that it will soon be “appropriate” to raise rates, the timeline for increases would be reassessed at each meeting. The news gave Wall Street a late boost as investors still concerned about the situation in Ukraine with analysts saying that the “less hawkish” comments from the Fed seems to have settled stocks “for the time being”. All three major US stock indexes spent most of the session deep in negative territory on Wednesday as investors shied away from risk appetite on continuing geopolitical tensions and further signs that the economy is heating up. A raft of economic data published on Tuesday showed a sharp rebound in retail sales, stronger than expected industrial output and core import prices reaching an all time high.

The British government is set to scrap visas offering foreign investors fast-track residency as pressure grows over UK links to Russia. On Wednesday, a government source confirmed that an announcement on Tier 1 investor visas which offer residency to those spending at least 2 million pounds would be made next week. The scheme was introduced by the Labour government in 2008 to encourage wealthy people from outside the EU to invest in the UK. The system has been under review for some time amid concerns that its being abused. The Home Office has issued 14,516 Tier 1 visas to Russian citizens since the scheme was introduced. The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee has been urging the government to change the system as part of a report into Russian influence in the UK.

Oil prices have fallen by 2 percent in Asian trade this morning after France and Iran said that an agreement to salvage the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with the West is moving closer. Brent Crude was down by 2 percent to 92 dollars 88 with West Texas Intermediate down 1.7 percent to 91 dollars 72. Analysts say that positive news on a deal is providing much needed relief to global oil prices as an agreement would introduce new supplies of crude and reduce the supply to demand deficit. On Wednesday, France said that a deal was just “days away” and that it was up to the Iranian government to make the “political choice”.


Winter Olympics - It’s day 13 of the Winter Games in Beijing with Norway still out in front in the medals table. Norway has 13 gold medals in a total of 28 with Germany still in second place with 10 gold medals in a total of 20 and the USA in third place with 8 gold medals in a total of 19.

There are 6 medal events today in women’s combined alpine skiing, women’s ski cross freestyle skiing, women’s figure skating, women’s ice hockey, team Nordic combined and women’s 1,000 meters speed skating.

Football - In the European Champions League last night Liverpool were 2-0 winners at Inter Milan in the round of 16 first leg while Red Bull Salzburg and Bayern Munich drew 1-1.

There are a stack of ties in the round of 32 of the Europa League and the round of 16 Europa Conference League. Rangers visit Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League while Celtic are at home to Bodo Glimt in the Europa Conference League and Leicester host Randers FC.

In the English Championship last night, Peterborough and Reading drew 0-0.

Cricket - New Zealand are already in a commanding position on day 1 of the 1st Test against South Africa in Christchurch. The tourists were skittled out for just 95 in their first innings with New Zealand on 91-2 midway through the final session of the day.

Formula 1 - The sport’s managing director Ross Brawn says that new technical rules will lead to closer racing and a more competitive field. Brawn says that he’s convinced that the cars will be closer in performance and is confident that the rules will lead to much better racing. The new regulations represent the biggest change to Formula 1 cars for 40 years as the sport responds to demands from fans for closer racing. There are changes to downforce generation away from the front wing putting more emphasis on the floor with the cars stiffened to maintain an aerodynamic platform. Drivers are reporting a decline in ride quality and greater sensitivity to bumps but the sport considers that the cars shouldn’t be too easy to drive and wants drivers to be able to make a difference.


Clear skies with a moderate to strong westerly wind across the Var. Top temperature 16 degrees in the Alpes-Maritimes and 21 degrees in the Var. Overnight lows of 7-8 degrees in the Alpes-Maritimes and 13 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Clear skies with highs of 16 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 19 degrees in the Var.

And Finally

Astronomers have spotted one of the largest structures in the known universe. The object, a gigantic stream of superhot material some 16 million light-years across, is 100 times wider than our Milky Way galaxy. It's what's called a "radio galaxy" which is long, bright jets of matter which erupt from the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies. They provide the building blocks from which stars and planets are eventually formed and are therefore vital to the galactic life cycle.

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