French and Riviera News Thursday 29th December 2022

News

Ukrainian President thanks France - The Ukrainian President has welcomed an announcement made by France’s Minister for the Armed Forces on Wednesday in which he declared that France wanted to “work to meet kyiv's military needs in the coming weeks”. Traveling to the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday, the French Minister for the Armed Forces promised to further help Ukraine. An announcement welcomed by the Ukrainian president who in his daily address confirmed discussions on the “reconstruction of Ukraine and a new stage in strengthening its air defence" ending with saying "Thank you France!"

Ukrainian oligarch and regular on the Côte d’Azur arrested in Courchevel – Meanwhile locally a Ukrainian oligarch member of the “Monaco Battalion” and a regular on the Côte d'Azur has been arrested in the French ski resort of Courchevel. Kostyantin Zhevago was wanted by his country in a corruption case. The youngest billionaire in Europe and among the five richest Ukrainians in the country, he was part of the famous "Monaco Battalion", named after Ukrainian oligarchs, VIP refugees on the Côte d'Azur, fleeing the war against Russia. Arrested by the French authorities he will now be extradited to Ukraine suspected of an embezzlement case of 113 million dollars and money laundering.

Zhevago spent summers on the Côte d’Azur and winters in the Alps and his yacht called “Z” often sailed between the Principality, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Antibes. Zhevago is one of the owners of iron ore manufacturer Ferrexpo and controls the largest Ukrainian financial and industrial group “Finances et credit”. His fortune is estimated at $1.4 billion.

France to consider protective measures following China’s abrupt end of “zero covid” policy - French President Emmanuel Macron has asked the government to think about appropriate measures to protect the French following China’s abrupt end of the “zero covid” policy. Beijing's announcement of the end of the "zero Covid" policy on January 8th was met with great concern from several countries, including France, as China faces the largest wave of contamination in the world. Macron "for the moment asks to look and prepare proposals over the next few days". Italy has already announced that it will impose mandatory tests on all travellers from China, while the United States is considering similar measures. "

Beijing's sudden reversal in health policy has ended nearly three years of mass testing, lockdowns and prolonged quarantines which have seriously disrupted the country's supply chains as well as the world’s second largest economy. All travellers arriving in China had to observe a mandatory quarantine since March 2020.

Chinese authorities have acknowledged that the extent of the epidemic wave is now "impossible" to measure and have reduced the number of criteria for attributing a death from Covid. The Chinese Centre for Disease Prevention and Control listed on Wednesday 5,231 new contaminations and three deaths from the coronavirus nationwide, figures which are probably underestimated because the sick no longer need to declare themselves.

Flu epidemic - The Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Region is one of the regions of the country worst affected by the influenza epidemic, according to Sante Publique France. It said that nationally there has been a continued increase in influenza indicators in all age groups in the past week with very high levels of activity in community medicine and hospitals, particularly among 15–64-year-olds. The organization said that to limit the impact of what it called "this very active epidemic", people at risk should get vaccinated urgently and barrier gestures should be respected by everyone, especially during the end of year celebrations.

Fall in covid incidence rate in Monaco - There's been another significant fall in the Covid-19 incidence rate in Monaco. In the week to Christmas Day the incidence rate per 100,000 people was 171, down from 258 the previous week. 67 new positive cases of Covid-19 were detected in the week. As of Sunday December 25, 25 people, including 13 residents, were hospitalized at the Princess Grace Hospital. There were no patients in intensive care. As at Sunday evening, 33 people were being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Archbishop of Monaco dies - The former Archbishop of Monaco Monsignor Bernard Barsi has died at the L’Archet hospital in Nice. It has been reported on Tuesday that 80-year-old Monsignor Barsi had been hospitalised after suffering from a cardiac arrest on Christmas Eve after holding a mass for the prisoners of Nice prison. Sadly, after being put on an artificial coma Monsignor passed away shortly before 5pm on Wednesday surrounded by his family. Monsignor Barsi retired in 2020 in Nice, after twenty years at the head of the Church of Monaco.

Academy of the Sea - The Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Region has said that it will support the Academy of the Sea. The academy is an initiative of the Monaco government and is intended to enable the teaching of areas such as the law of the sea, the geopolitics of the seas and oceans, as well as environmental issues. A meeting has been held between His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Renaud Muselier, President of the Provence Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, in which they discussed matters relating to relations between France, Monaco and the South Region. At the meeting, Renaud Muselier undertook to bring the assistance of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region to the Academy of the Sea project. He added that he intends to be in Monaco next March, during Oceans Week, in order to present the outline of this commitment.

Statue vandalised - The statue of Jacques Chirac in Nice old town has been vandalized. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi condemned the attack and praised the work of the municipal police who arrested two people in connection with the incident by using CCTV cameras.

Traffic - Vinci Autoroutes have said that traffic is expected to be heavy from this week until 2nd January in most regions served by its network. The motorway operator said that on the A8, traffic is expected to become dense around large cities on Friday and then on New Year's Day in the late afternoon and early evening. It also said that in winter weather conditions can change quickly and advised motorists to be well informed before setting off.

Alpes Maritimes weather – Finally, this year has seen record temperatures as well as an increasingly long drought in the Alpes Maritimes, weather conditions which according to Météo France could soon become the norm for the region. From the beaches to the tops of our mountains, it has been abnormally hot everywhere this year. The average annual temperature of the department smashed the previous record rising to 1.7°degrees Celsius above the seasonal norm. In Nice, the average annual temperature reached 17.8°C, ie 1.4°C higher than the usual and it was on July 20th that you probably slept badly as it was the second hottest night recorded in Nice since the beginning of the measurements in 1947. Nice also experienced a series of 50 days without rain during the summer, from June 29th to August 17th.

Business

US energy giant ExxonMobil is suing the EU in a bid to force the bloc to scrap its new windfall tax on oil firms. A windfall tax is imposed on firms that benefitted from something they were not responsible for. Energy firms are getting much more money for their oil and gas, partly due to supply concerns as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But Exxon accuses Brussels of exceeding its legal authority, calling the measure "counter-productive".

The operator of Domino's Pizza in Russia is considering selling its business 10 months after the Kremlin launched the war in Ukraine. The London-listed firm said it is "evaluating its presence in Russia". "The company is considering various options which may include a divestment of its Russian operations." There are 171 Domino's Pizza shops in Russia. A number of Western fast-food companies in Russia exited their operations when war broke out.

And - Access to the social network Twitter was disrupted overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. Many users were unable to log into their own account or consult certain accounts. The Downdetector site identified up to around 10,000 reports of Internet users struggling to use Twitter, with a peak at around 1.35am.  The extent of the outage was not immediately known, but AFP journalists in the United States and Asia reported having difficulty accessing their accounts. This technical hitch comes at a sensitive time for Twitter, in turmoil since its acquisition by Elon Musk for 44 billion dollars at the end of October. Musk notably laid off many employees, including members of the team dealing with the technical maintenance of the platform. In a reply to one user on Wednesday who asked Musk on if Twitter was “broken”? Elon Musk replied: "it works for me".

Sport

Football - Manchester City beat a stubborn Leeds 3-1 in last nights Premier League match reducing Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table to five points.

Chelsea defender Reece James is set to miss three to four weeks with a knee injury suffered during Tuesday's 2-0 Premier League win over Bournemouth. England international James, who missed the World Cup with an injury to the same knee, had to come off in the 53rd minute. It was his first game since his return from that injury.

Meanwhile in the French league Kylian Mbappe rescued victory for Paris St-Germain as his late penalty snatched a 2-1 win over Strasbourg in his first game since losing the World Cup final with France. The result sees PSG remain top of the table.

Cricket – Bangladesh have found themselves without a coach just nine weeks ahead of hosting England, after Russell Domingo resigned. In December, Domingo, 48, oversaw a 2-1 one-day international series victory over India, but they lost both Tests.

Weather

Light cloud. Highs of 15 degrees in Nice, Menton and Saint Tropez, 14 degrees in Monaco and 16 degrees in Cannes with a gentle breeze. This evening going down to 9 degrees along the coast, 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and New Year’s Eve - Cloudy with some sunny intervals in Nice. Highs of 15-16 degrees.

Sunrise       08.03hr

Sunset        17.01hr

 

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