French and Riviera News Thursday 3rd February 2022

News

France's health minister claims that the peak of the covid epidemic has passed - France's health minister Olivier Véran has spoken about the health situation in France, saying that the "peak of the epidemic now seems to have passed". Speaking on French television on Wednesday evening Véran made several relatively optimistic announcements estimating that the "the worst was behind us". The Minister of Health also suggested that the vaccine pass could be removed earlier that the legal date of July 31st. Olivier Véran said that at least "one in two French people has contracted a form of Covid since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020".

3 to 5 million French people to lose vaccination pass - Meanwhile during his weekly report on Wednesday government spokesman Gabriel Attal has warned that "between 3 and 5 million French people will lose their vaccination pass, for lack of a booster dose". From February 15th, the rules will change for people over 18 years of age: the booster dose must be carried out from 3 months after the end of its initial vaccination scheme and within a maximum of 4 months. Attal also indicated that "54 million French people have received at least one dose and 35 million have received a booster dose". The government spokesman called on the French who have not yet had the vaccine booster, to do so.

Strike ends in Marseille - Following discussions an agreement has been reached ending strike action from bin collectors in Marseille, which has lasted 15 days. Following a last meeting held on Wednesday, Marseille bin collectors obtained a salary increase of 40 euros brut per month. The negotiations also led to the consideration of the health situation in their working conditions with the application of the "Covid clause" which allows agents during the pandemic to have time to change at home. The aim is to limit contact between bin collectors to prevent the spread of covid.

Marine Le Pen to visit Toulon - The National Rally presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will visit Toulon in the Var tomorrow to unveil her defence program. Two weeks after her visit to Fréjus, the candidate (National Rally) in the presidential election is expected to give a press conference on a boat that will sail in the harbour of Toulon.

French President cancels visit to Marseille – Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron has cancelled his trip to Marseille. The Head of State was due to attend the "Forum of the Mediterranean Worlds" on Monday and Tuesday of next week at the Parc Chanot and was also expected to announce his candidacy for the presidential election. Macron visited the city last September announcing the "Marseille en grand" project, followed by a second visit in October evaluating the progress in the city on urgent matters such as housing, schooling, security and transport. According to reports Macron will now attend the forum by videoconference.

Antibes offering 300 seasonal positions for students - The city council of Antibes is inviting students to apply for jobs for this summer season, from beach maintenance, tourist guide to security assistant, applicants have until March 31st to come forward. The city is looking for 300 seasonal workers from May 1 to September 30 (depending on the activity). You must fill out the appropriate form which can be found on the City's website https://www.antibes-juanlespins.com/toute-l-actu/saison-2022-a-vos-cv. Send it by email recrutement.saisonniers@ville-antibes.fr or by mail:
Human Resources Department,
Employment service,
Seasonal apprenticeships and DIE unit,
21 boulevard Chancel,
06600 Antibes

Residents to choose when bell rings in Valbonne - Meanwhile the town council of Valbonne is asking residents to vote to choose when the bell of the "Bell Tower" can ring. Since October, the bell has been muted due to repairs being carried out.

Largest bookstore in France - The largest bookstore in France is to open its doors tomorrow Friday 4th February and it's located in Saint Laurent du Var. Dedicated solely to books, with 38,000 references, the store is just in front of the main entrance to Cap 3000.

Flowers are blooming a month earlier in the UK - A recent study has warned that climate change is causing plants to bloom a month earlier in the United Kingdom. According to the authors of the study, if this trend continues, it will have repercussions on birds, insects and the entire ecosystems. The researchers examined 420,000 recorded dates of first flowering for more than 400 species, since the eighteenth century. The average date of the first blooms was about May 12th until 1986, but since then this date has been brought forward to April 16th. In 2019, spring arrived 42 days earlier than the pre-1986 average. According to the researchers, this early flowering is strongly correlated with the rise in global temperatures since the 1980s.

Business

Nominees for the board of the US Federal Reserve have issued a stark warning about inflation saying that rising prices pose a major risk to economic growth. Ahead of Senate confirmation hearings, the nominees who have been proposed by President Biden said that the most important task ahead is taming inflation. One of the nominees, Lisa Cook, who's an economics professor at Michigan State University said that the Fed "must ensure that inflation declines to levels consistent with its goals" while former Fed governor Sarah Bloom Raskin said that reducing inflation would be a "top priority". Cook and Bloom Raskin along with the third nominee Philip Jefferson have been widely seen as being dovish with suggestions that they might tolerate inflation for the sake of a stronger labour market. However, written statements from the three ahead of Senate confirmation hearings today show the complete opposite. The Fed has signalled that it will start to raise interest rates next month as it scrambles to limit price rises which are starting to become a major political problem for President Biden.

Shares in Meta, the owner of Facebook, have plunged by 20 percent in after hours trading after the firm warned of slowing growth. Meta reported that sales growth could be just 3 percent in the first three months of this year as people flock to competitors such as TikTok and businesses cut advertising budgets. The sell-off spread to similar firms including Snap, which also saw its shares plunge. Analysts had been expecting Meta to report strong numbers after better than forecast earnings at Alphabet which were released on Tuesday. Daily users of Facebook declined from the previous quarter for the first time from 1.930 billion to 1.929 billion.

Shares in Spotify have fallen by 18 percent after it failed to meet Wall Street expectations amid the fallout from the controversy surrounding the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Executives have sought to reassure investors that subscriber numbers have not flatlined but conceded that it didn't expect a material difference in net additions for either users or subscribers in 2022. Total monthly active users rose by 18 percent to a record 406 million while paid subscribers for its premium service increased by 16 percent. However, Spotify has forecast current quarter subscribers of 183 million, below expectations of 184 million. Revenue is expected to meet estimates of 2.6 billion euros.

Sport

Football - Celtic have gone top of the Scottish Premiership after beating Rangers 3-0 in the Old Firm derby at Parkhead. The victory ends Rangers' unbeaten streak of 13 games and could prove to be decisive in the race for the title as the season gets towards its business end. Celtic now lead Rangers by a point at the top of the table with both sides having played 24 games.

In the English Championship last night, Cardiff were 1-0 winners at Barnsley and Huddersfield beat Derby 2-0.

Cricket - The England director of Cricket Ashley Giles has been sacked following the disastrous tour of Australia. Sir Andrew Strauss will take temporary charge of England affairs and will make arrangements for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies. Giles was appointed in 2018 and was in charge when the one day side won the World Cup in 2019. However, Test match cricket has seen the England side slide and they were thoroughly outclassed in the last Ashes tour. The future of coach Chris Silverwood is still unclear.

Golf - Phil Mickelson has said that most of the world's top 100 players have been asked to join a Saudi Arabian funded Super League. On Wednesday, Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson revealed that they had signed Non Disclosure Agreements which prevent them from talking about the issue and Mickelson said that "pretty much all of the world's top players have been contacted". Players who join the Super League could be banned from competing in the PGA Tour as well as Europe's DP World Tour and future Ryder Cups.

Winter Olympics - Great Britain's mixed curling pair have won their opening doubles game ahead of the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Bruce Mouat and Jen Dodds beat the Swedish pair 9-5. Teams ranked in the top four once all ten competing nations have played each other will progress to the semi-finals.

Weather

Mainly fine with moderate easterly winds. Top temperature 16 degrees. Overnight lows of 7-10 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 13-15 degrees.

And Finally

A recent study has found that contrary to popular belief, Britons did not drink more alcohol during the first year of the pandemic. Researchers looked at data from 300,000 adults to see how our drinking habits changed during lockdowns. They found that the total number of alcohol units consumed each week did not change when restrictions were imposed in March 2020.

However, there was a shift to at-home drinking in the late evening during lockdown, as well as an increase in solitary drinking. Researchers at the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield found that, on average, people in England and Scotland started drinking 35 minutes later than usual. For Scots in lockdown, the average time to start drinking was 6.25pm, for people in England it was 6.04pm.

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