French and Riviera News Thursday 17th March 2022

News

Demonstrations - Demonstrations are planned across France today Thursday 17th March to demand an increase in wages and pensions. According to unions more than 150 gathering points are planned in cities across the country. Few disruptions are expected on transport, except in the east of France where only one out of two TGVs will be running. The last mobilisation on January 27th saw as least 89,000 demonstrators take to the streets.

Emmanuel Macron to present his political programme this afternoon - The day of demonstrations will coincide with French President and candidate for the elections Emmanuel Macron, unveiling his political programme this afternoon in the Paris region. Following the press conference, the content of the programme will be presented in a twenty-page booklet sent to the French in the coming days.

Resilience plan unveiled by French Prime Minister - Meanwhile the French government presented on Wednesday its "resilience plan" to deal with the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which is leading to soaring energy and raw material prices. Prime Minister Jean Castex detailed several measures to limit "in the short term" the impact on businesses and households. The discount of 15 cents on a litre of fuel will finally be extended to natural gas and LPG. These two fuels were initially excluded from the aid, which will come into effect on April 1st for four months. The government has also decided on specific aid for fishermen with an aid equivalent to 35 cents per litre of fishing diesel available from this Thursday, so that "all boats can go back to sea as quickly as possible". The State will also help energy-intensive companies to offset the additional costs generated by the surge in prices since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. This aid will benefit companies whose gas and electricity expenses represent "at least 3% of their turnover, and which could make losses in 2022" because of the rise in prices and there will also be a “transitional aid for a period of four months” for French farmers hit by the soaring animal feed costs.

Corsica - French President Emmanuel Macron and France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin have come under fire from opposition leaders after recognising the “responsibility of the State” following the violent attack on independence activist Yvan Colonna and also suggesting that France was in the future, prepared to grant “some form of autonomy to Corsica”. Far right leaders Marine Le Penn and Eric Zemmour accuse the government of “giving into violence” and using the promise of autonomy ahead of the elections. Corsica is indeed the only island in Europe which does not hold a status of autonomy.

Little risk of pregnant women transmitting covid to new-born - A study published on Wednesday has shown that there is very little risk of a pregnant woman with covid transmitting the disease to her baby, especially when the expecting mother has mild symptoms. The study showed that when the mother is covid positive only about 2% of babies go on to test positive within days of birth.

Mayor of Nice presents new real estate programmes at MIPIM - Present at MIPIM in Cannes on Wednesday, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has presented two new real estate programmes in Nice Méridia. L'Oasis and Le Plus were presented on the stand of the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis.

Monaco Sante - HSH Prince Albert of Monaco has attended a presentation of the new features of the “Monaco Santé” the e-health platform for the Principality. The project launched in 2020 intends to simplify steps in health care for both residents and visitors and is available 24/7 in five languages. To hear more about the “Monaco Santé” stay tuned in to Riviera Radio and don’t miss next week’s Monaco Update with special guest Frederic Genta, Chief Digital Officer for Monaco.

Business

Asian markets have rallied strongly this morning following gains on Wall Street on Wednesday investors factored in rate hikes and China pledged more stimulus in response to a spike in coronavirus cases. Although oil prices, inflation and the war in Ukraine are still at the forefront of concerns, investors have been encouraged by peace talks between Russia and Ukraine that appear to be making slow progress as well as the prospect of more Iranian crude coming onto the market and the US Federal Reserve’s rate hike programme to tackle inflation. Treasury yields have eased a little this morning after spiking overnight, the dollar has weakened a little and oil appears to have settled lower well short of the multi-year highs reached last week. Comments by Chinese officials on support for the markets in light of a recent surge in Covid-19 cases have also improved sentiment.

The US Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 in a bid to bring inflation under control. The Fed raised rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday and signalled further increases in the coming months. The move comes as the US economy faces fresh uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine and a spike in coronavirus cases in China. The Fed hopes that increasing rates will cool demand for goods and services and help to ease consumer price inflation which hit a 40 year high of 7.9 percent last month. The policy is a delicate balancing act for the central bank. If it moves too slowly on rates then inflation could become entrenched resulting in a drop in living standards but if it moves too fast then it could damage growth in the US as well as overseas.

The Bank of England is set to raise interest rates again today as it battles to stop soaring inflation. The Bank is expected to raise rates to three quarters of one percent, back to its pre-pandemic level with inflation set to peak at 7.25 percent in April, almost four times the 2 percent target. Investors will be watching for how the Bank intends to deal with the dual pressures of rising inflation and slowing economic growth which could tip the economy into recession. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank which is behind the Fed and the Bank of England in reversing its pandemic stimulus has said that it will stop pumping money into the markets by the summer, paving the way for possible rate increases later in the year.

Sport

Football - Liverpool have closed the gap on the English Premier League leaders Manchester City to one point after beating Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates last night. The victory has reignited the title race with the top two set to play each other on the 10th of April. In last night’s other Premier League game Brighton lost 2-0 at home to Spurs.

Chelsea are through to the last 8 of the European Champions League after beating Lille 2-1 away on the night to go through 4-1 on aggregate. The other tie ended Juventus 0 Villarreal 3 meaning that the Spanish side go through 4-1 on aggregate.

There’s one game in the English Premier League tonight. Everton play Newcastle.

In the English Championship last night Blackpool and Sheffield United drew 0-0, Cardiff beat Stoke 2-1, Coventry lost 2-0 at home to Hull, Luton beat Preston 4-0, Millwall beat Huddersfield 2-0, Nottingham Forest beat QPR 3-1 and Swansea were 3-2 winners at Peterborough.

Round of 16 second leg ties are being played in the Europa League tonight. Rangers visit Red Star Belgrade leading 3-0 from the first leg. Monaco host Sporting Braga trailing 2-0 and West Ham host Sevilla after losing the first leg 1-0.

Cricket - England are on top heading into day 2 of the second Test against West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados. England won the toss and decided to bat with captain Joe Root making 119 not out as the tourists reached 244-3 at the close.

The 2nd Test between Pakistan and Australia ended in a draw after the home side put up magnificent resistance with the bat on the final day in Karachi. Captain Babar Azam made 196 as Pakistan ended the match on 443-7 in their second innings.

Formula 1 - The world champion Max Verstappen has said that the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ is “faking rivalries” in the sport and he has chosen not to take part. The Dutchman said that he watched two episodes of the hit show but was not very impressed. He added that the series “did not reflect” accurately what takes place inside the circuit but conceded that it had helped to boost audiences.

Rugby Union - The England lock Charlie Ewels has been banned for three games after being sent off early in the 6 Nations match against Ireland last weekend. He was sent off for a dangerous tackle on James Ryan during which the players clashed heads and will miss the match against France in Paris on Saturday and two games for his club. He will be given the opportunity to have the ban reduced if he attends a training course.

Weather

Cloudy with some bright spells and moderate north easterly winds. Top temperature 15-17 degrees. Overnight lows of 11-13  degrees with cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Partially cloudy with highs of 15-18 degrees.

And Finally

63-year-old Paul Bishop in the UK recently received a package from Spain. Sent by the Spanish authorities the package contained dentures! And not just any. It was the very ones that the British sixty-something, residing in the north-west of England, had lost in Benidorm, 11 years ago. During a vacation in the popular seaside resort, Bishop had “misplaced his dentures during a party after vomiting due to having drunk too much cider”.

Mr Bishop told the BBC "when we walked to the next bar, my friend turned to me and asked where my teeth were”. A search proved futile. But eleven years later they turned up and were sent to his home in Stalybridge, near Manchester after being found in a Spanish dump. Bishop explained that “they found my DNA and my address from UK files, and put them in the post”.

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