French and Riviera News Tuesday 18th January 2022

News 

France's Education Minister announced new last minute health protocol while on holiday in Ibiza - France's Education minister Jean Michel Blanquer has faced fresh criticism after it was reported that he was on holiday in Ibiza when he announced the new health protocol in schools. The news comes as teaching unions call for another day of national strike action this Thursday in protest against the government's handling of covid health protocols in schools. In reaction to the criticism the Minister of National Education's office said that "it's not because he was not there that he was not at work". On the eve of the start of the school year on January 2nd teachers say they were "left in doubt about procedures for the new term with a health protocol being implemented at the last minute".

Administrative closure of two establishments in the Var for failure to control health passes - The prefecture of the Var has ordered the administrative closure for seven days of two establishments in the Var for non-compliance with the control of the health pass. For the past week, the police and gendarmes have carried out 120 checks in the bars and restaurants of the department, more than a thousand customers have been asked for their health pass. 37 people were fined 135 euros. Fifteen formal notices were made, and two administrative closures were issued.

Passenger arrested - Police have arrested a passenger found to be armed and who was about to embark on the ferry for Corsica in the port of Nice. Police made the arrest at the weekend during a random check of vehicles embarking on the ferry bound for Corsica. Police discovered the man was armed with a handgun and a knife. The motorist said he was himself a security guard and was armed for his own protection. He was immediately arrested. An investigation is underway.

Fisherman arrested - Agents from the Office for Biodiversity and the Côte Bleu Marine Park in Marseille have arrested a fisherman found to be in possession of almost a thousand sea urchins, which were duly put back in the water. Fishing for sea urchins, is authorized in the Bouches-du-Rhône, from November 1 to April 15 and is limited to four dozen per fisherman per day.

Car catches fire - A motorist has had a lucky escape after his car caught fire. The incident occurred on Monday afternoon shortly after 2.30pm in Grimaud on the RD559 towards Saint-Tropez. The driver of the jeep pulled over after a strong smell of diesel was smelt coming from the engine. A few moments later the vehicle caught fire. Firefighters intervened and traffic was disrupted in the area no injuries were reported.

Menton Lemon Festival - The city of Menton has announced that the processions, which are part of the Lemon Festival, will go ahead. At the beginning of January, it had however been announced that the decorated floats would not be on show. In a press release published on Monday evening the mayor Yves Juhel explained that "having studied the situation closely it was possible to provide the public with stands accommodating 5,000 people in compliance with the health protocol" Adding that "five corsos will be able to parade through the city during the 88th edition of the Lemon Festival". The festival is on from 12th - 27th February. 

Agents to help with administrative procedures in Antibes - The Communal Centre for Social Action the CCAS in Antibes is offering help in administrative procedures. E-administration is a service to help with renewal of identity cards, passports and other administrative procedures which are often done online. Agents are available at the CCAS office located at 2 Avenue de la Liberation from Monday to Friday. It's necessary to make an appointment by calling 04.92.91.38.45 or you can email aide.numerique@ccas-antibes.fr

Petanque available to high school students - High school students in the Gulf of Saint Tropez in the Var are being given the option of taking up petanque. The sport which is becoming increasingly popular is available in several schools, colleges and high schools.

Choose UK - For the fifth edition of the "Choose France" programme the Elysée has announced that 21 new foreign investments have been made from healthcare, plastic recycling, IT to sustainable transport. The programme was created by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017. According to the Presidential Palace the new projects will create "more than 10,000 jobs".

Macron leading in polls for Presidential election - With less than three months to go before the first round of the Presidential elections in France the current Head of State Emmanuel Macron is still leading in the polls. According to the Elabe poll nearly one in two French people predict his victory in April.

Business

The Bank of Japan has upgraded its inflation forecasts adding that risks to the price outlook are evenly balanced. The Bank said that inflation is set to remain below its 2 percent target in the coming years and pledged to maintain ultra-loose monetary policy despite its global counterparts moving towards exiting from crisis-mode policies. The Japanese central bank also left its target for short-term interest rates unchanged at -0.1 percent and pledged to keep long-term rates at around 0 percent. The bank has revised up its inflation forecast in its latest quarterly report to 1.1 percent from a previous estimate of 0.9 percent. Inflation is creeping up towards the banks 2 percent target  because of external factors including a spike in wholesale prices and rising import costs as a result of a weaker yen.

The consumer goods giant Unilever has said that it will pursue a deal to buy the healthcare arm of GlaxoSmithKline despite having its latest offer of some 50 billion pounds rejected. Unilever says that acquisition of the unit would be a "strong strategic fit". GSK's health product business includes such brands as Sensodyne toothpaste, Panadol and Centrum vitamins. Unilever says that it wants a larger portion of the health and hygiene sectors and that the acquisition would create a growth platform for the combined portfolio of China, the US and India with further opportunities in emerging markets. The firm has not yet said whether it will increase its offer but reports suggest that its held talks with its banks about additional financing for an increased bid.

Oil prices have hit a 7 year high this morning on concerns about possible supply disruptions after Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked the UAE, escalating hostilities between the Iran backed group and the Saudi Arabian led coalition. Concerns about increasing tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine and recent unrest in Kazakhstan and Libya is also pushing prices higher. Brent crude has risen by 1.2 percent this morning to 87 dollars 48 with West Texas Intermediate up 1.6 percent to 85 dollars 14. The Houthi movement has warned that it target more facilities in the UAE after launcing drone and missile attacks on Monday which set off explosions in fuel trucks and killed three people.

Sport 

Tennis - It's day 2 of the Australian Open in Melbourne and the former world number one Andy Murray is on court for his first round match against Nikoloz Basilashvili. The 34-year-old took the first set 6-1 but he lost the second and the match is now into the 3rd set. The British qualifier Harriet Dart is out. She was beaten in straight sets by Iga Swiatek and there have been first round wins for Simona Halep and Elise Mertens. In the men's event Diego Schwartzman, Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov are all through to round 2.

Football - There was 1 game in the Scottish Premiership last night. Celtic beat Hibs 2-0.

There's one game in the English Premier League tonight. Brighton host Chelsea. The game between Burnley and Watford has been postponed.

Cricket - The England coach Chris Silverwood says that he wants to remain in the job despite the humiliating 4-0 Ashes series defeat. Silverwood has backed captain Joe Root to continue in the role and says that the English game has to "change". The coach's decisions have been coming in for criticism but he says that the English county game needs to be revamped and pay more attention to red ball cricket.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate variable winds. Top temperatures 12-14 degrees. Overnight lows of 6-7 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine with highs of 10-13 degrees.

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