French and Riviera News Thursday 31st March 2022

News

Elysée remains sceptical over Russian ceasefire - The Elysée has said it is “sceptical” following the announcement of a ceasefire in Mariupol, Ukraine. Today marks the 36th day of the Russian offensive against Ukraine as Moscow announced the ceasefire in order to organise the evacuation of civilians. On Wednesday the French government said that they “remain very cautious at this stage, as it is not the first time that Russia has made an announcement of this type" adding that on Tuesday during a telephone conversation the French Head of State Emmanuel Macron presented to the Russian leader the “requirements in order to evacuate” to which the Russian President said he would “get back to him” however, at this stage he has not yet done so according to the Elysée.

5,200 Ukrainian students attending school in France - Meanwhile France’s Education Ministry has announced that more than 5,200 Ukrainian students are currently attending school in France. The Ministry set up a "Ukrainian unit" at the beginning of March, which works every day to anticipate the reception of Ukrainian children in French classes, schools, colleges and high schools totalling more than 5,200 students to date. The education academies which have welcomed the most children are those of Nice, Versailles and Strasbourg.

In other news

Violent attack in Old Nice - An investigation is underway following a violent attack in Old Nice. The incident occurred on Monday when a 28-year-old man was attacked for his Rolex watch and iPhone. Images of the attack were caught on camera and have since gone viral on social media. The perpetrators fled the scene with his smartphone, an iPhone, and luxury watch. At this stage of the investigations, the perpetrators have not been identified. However, CCTV footage from the city council has since been made available.

Six people charged for trafficking fake health passes in the region - Six people have been handed sentences by the Nice Criminal Court for having participated in the trafficking of fake health passes in region. Nearly 200 QR codes were reportedly generated with the main ringleader of the organisation earning nearly 10,000 euros in revenue.

Two thirds of non-organic fruits, vegetables and cereals contain pesticide residues - According to the NGO Future Generations two thirds of non-organic fruits, vegetables and cereals consumed in France contain pesticide residues. The NGO has called for an "emergency plan to reduce the use of pesticides" and "increase support for organic farming".  According to the analysis 45.9% of all the samples, organic and non-organic, reveal pesticide residues above the limit of quantification.

Presidential 2022 – According to a recent survey French President Emmanuel Macron and leader of the National Rally Marine Le Pen are deemed the most credible for improving purchasing power in France. According to an Ipsos - Sopra Steria survey Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are seen as the candidates best placed to improve purchasing power, but they only convince 32% of French people. Jean-Luc Mélenchon leader of the far-left party (La France Insoumise) is in third position, with 28% while Valérie Pécresse leader of the Republican party gets 22%. Fabien Roussel leader of the French Communist Party and far right leader Éric Zemmour inspire confidence in 16% of French people, ecologists’ leader Yannick Jadot 15% and socialist leader Anne Hidalgo 12%.

Weather warning of snow and ice in northern France - Meteo France has placed the north and Pas-de-Calais regions on an orange weather alert from this evening and into tomorrow Friday 1st April, due to snow and ice. For the rest of France, poor weather should set in from this afternoon in the west, with stormy showers forecast.

Le Rétropézien takes place in Saint-Tropez this weekend - The 27th edition of “Le Rétropézien” is taking place this weekend in Saint-Tropez in the Var. The parade of vintage motorcycles will take to the region’s roads along the coast and in the hills of the Maures, gathering at the Place des Lices on Sunday.

Pétanque competition on Pampelonne beach - Meanwhile an official pétanque competition is to take place on Pampelonne beach on May 1st. Les Moulins area which surrounds Pampelonne beach will set the scene for the regional competition, a first on the beaches of Ramatuelle and Saint Tropez, which normally welcome horse riding, golf, boxing and volleyball competitions.

Business

Asian markets have fallen back this morning as Russia continues to bomb targets on the outskirts of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities while oil has fallen sharply as the United States considered releasing more crude from its reserves in a bid to rein in prices. Brent crude has fallen by nearly 5 dollars this morning to 108 dollars 50 with West Texas Intermediate also down 5 dollars at 101 dollars 76. On Wednesday, the United States said that it was considering the release of up to 180 million barrels of crude from its strategic reserves in a bid to lower fuel prices that have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine on February the 24th. Stocks have pulled back this morning following declines on Wall Street on Wednesday as investors gave more attention to the looming prospect of interest rate hikes. Bond markets continue to struggle with the yield on the 10 year US Treasury note at 2.3378 percent this morning after hitting a near 3 year high on Tuesday. The euro is holding steady with the yen continuing to be under pressure while gold has eased slightly to 1,930 dollars 74 cents.

Both Germany and Austria have triggered emergency plans to cope with possible gas supply disruption amid a payments stand-off with Russia. Russia has demanded that “unfriendly” countries pay for its gas in roubles from today but the EU, which pays mainly in euros has rejected the move. Although Moscow appeared to soften its stance on Wednesday after saying that rouble payments would be introduced “gradually”, both Germany and Austria who are both heavily reliant on Russian gas, have taken the first steps towards rationing. Germany has urged both consumers and businesses to reduce their gas consumption while Austria says that it’s tightening its monitoring of the market. Germany gets half of its gas and around a third of its oil from Russia and has warned that it could face a recession if supplies suddenly stopped. Austria is 80 percent reliant on Russian gas but says that rationing will only be introduced in an “immediate crisis”.

Activity in both China’s factory and services sectors turned negative in March according to an official survey which has been published this morning. The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 49.5 in March down from 50.2 in February while the non-manufacturing PMI fell back to 48.4 from 51.6. The last time that both PMI indexes were simultaneously below the 50 point mark that separates contraction from growth was in February 2020 when China was struggling with its initial coronavirus outbreak. The world’s second largest economy which powered ahead in the first two months of 2022 is now at risk of slowing sharply as Chinese authorities restrict production and implement new lockdowns in Shanghai and Shenzhen in a bid to stamp out another wave of Covid-19 infections. China has announced a lower growth target of 5.5 percent for 2022 which some analysts say appears to be ambitious.

Sport

Formula 1 - Las Vegas is to stage Grand Prix racing from 2023 after securing a deal with the sport’s management. The Las Vegas Grand Prix will have a 3.8 mile long track which will include a portion of the resort’s famous Strip. The new event will be a night race and held on Saturday instead of Sunday meaning that it will be shown early in the morning in Europe because of the 8 hour time difference. The deal increases the number of Grand Prix on American soil to three with Las Vegas joining Austin and the new Miami event which makes its debut in May this year. The owners of Formula 1 Liberty Media have made expanding the sport’s presence in North America a major priority since taking it over in 2017.

Rugby Union - The former England full-back Ben Foden has announced his retirement at the age of 36. Foden has been playing for Rugby New York since 2019. He won 34 England caps and was part of the 2011 Grand Slam winning side. He started his career at Sale and spent 10 years at Northampton where he helped Saints win their only Premiership title in 2014.

Cricket - Thousands of people have gathered at the Melbourne Cricket Club to attend a memorial service for Shane Warne. Warne died at the age of 52 earlier this month and was given a state funeral in Victoria. Among those to pay tribute were Elton John, Robbie Williams and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. The legendary bowler’s father, brother and three children also made moving speeches. Warne is regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time and claimed 705 Test wickets in 145 matches for Australia.

Weather

Partially cloudy with occasional light showers and moderate westerly winds. Top temperature 16 degrees. Overnight lows of 10-12 degrees with cloudy skies and occasional showers.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Partially cloudy with highs of 14-16 degrees.

And Finally

A motorist from the Hauts de France will soon cross the mythical barrier of one million kilometers with his Peugeot 307. Bought second-hand in 2007, the car currently displays just over 997,000 km. That's about 25 times around the Earth or three times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The 53-year-old motorist revealed the secret of the vehicles long life saying it’s down to maintenance. For example, in the winter, “I always leave the engine running ten minutes before setting off”. The owner and his family plan to travel to the Doubs in May 2022 in order to pass the fateful one million kilometer mark in front of the Peugeot factory where the car began its journey back in 2006. The owner then plans to entrust the vehicle to Peugeot to allow technicians to analyze it and understand the causes of this surprising conservation. In the meantime, the family has created the association "One million km in 307" in order to find sponsors and share their story.

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