French and Riviera News Tuesday 1st February 2022

News

Homes left without electricity in the Var due to high winds - Thousands of homes have been left without electricity in the Var region, following the strong winds which hit the region on Monday 31st January. The energy board reported in the afternoon that some 4,200 customers were without electricity as they carried out interventions, in particularly difficult conditions due to the weather, with gusts of more than 100 km an hour. By 9pm on Monday evening 1,000 homes were still without electricity as agents continued to intervene into the night.

Changes today 1st February - As with every first of the month in France changes are to come into force from today February 1st. They will include an increase on the interest rate of the "Livret A" from 0.5% to 1% and in addition, the rate of the popular saving account the LEP will increase from 1% to 2.2%.

Rise in electricity bills - There will also be a rise in electricity bills originally expected to rise by 35% due to soaring market prices it will be capped at 4% for most consumers thanks to the tariff shield decided by the French government.

Increase pay tolls on French motorways - As reported on Monday, pay tolls on French motorways are to increase from today from between 1.89% to 2.19%, depending on the network.

Rise in price of tobacco - There will also be a rise in the price of tobacco although it will not concern the best-selling brands.

"Baby box" for new-borns - From today parents of new-borns in France will receive a "baby box" distributed at maternity wards. These educational boxes are intended for young parents from working-class neighbourhoods.

Inflation premium for pensioners – There will also be an "inflation premium" for pensioners to cope with energy prices. The tax-free bonus of 100 euros was announced by the government and will be paid to pensioners who receive less than 2,000 euros net.

Teleworking and wearing a mask outdoors no longer mandatory in France - Finally in the changes and concerning measures in place due to the health crises; teleworking and wearing a mask outdoors in France is no longer mandatory from tomorrow 2nd February. But given the number of covid cases teleworking is still highly recommended. In addition, self-tests for covid will continue to be sold in supermarkets until February 15th instead of January 31st as initially decided.

Monaco extends teleworking - Meanwhile in Monaco the government has announced the extension of remote working for all jobs that allow it until March 4th. It said that the objective is to maintain the limitation of the spread of the virus, by reducing the flow of people in the Principality, as well as professional interactions, while maintaining economic activity. The government said that local and regional data indicate a worrying deterioration in the health situation. It said that the incidence rate in Monaco is also increasing sharply and the tension in the hospital has increased considerably in recent days with a sharp increase in the number of patients. It said that not since the start of the epidemic have such a number of Covid-positive patients been treated at the Princess Grace Hospital.

51 new cases of covid declared in Monaco on Monday - On Monday 51 new cases of covid were identified bringing the total number of residents affected to 8,359. Eighty-six people are currently in hospital and 263 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Train station closed due to suspected package - Saint Raphael train station in the Var finally reopened on Monday afternoon after being closed due to a suspect package. There was chaos for passengers unable to access the station as it closed at 1.30pm on Monday January 31st, following the incident. The station was reopened shortly after 4.30pm.

President of the PACA region wishes to ban smoking in high schools in the region - The president of the PACA region Renaud Muselier has expressed his wish to ban smoking in high schools in the region. Based on the model of a measure implemented in New Zealand, Muselier would like to see a similar ban which, would make smoking forbidden to all people born after 2008. The president of the region added that several mayors are ready to implement a ban in high schools particularly, in Draguignan in the Var and Theoule-sur-mer in the Alpes Maritimes.

Pink Ribbon Walk - Online registration is now open for the 10th edition of the Pink Ribbon Walk here in the Principality on February 13th. The 5km walk is a fun way to raise awareness on breast cancer. The event was launched in 2011 by Natasha Frost-Savio. There is a 30 euros registration fee with all proceeds going to support breast cancer awareness. This year's event is in partnership with SBM offshore and the Monegasque Athletics Federation. The walk starts at 10am at the Port Hercule.

Bring me sunshine - With more than 210 hours of sunshine Nice has beaten its own record of number of hours of sunshine which, dates back to 2005. January 2022 has proved to be a very sunny month marked by one day of rain. So much sunshine breaking the record which was recorded back in January 2005.

Nice ranks first in Alpes Maritimes of best cities for quality of life - Meanwhile the city of Nice has come first in a ranking of the best cities in the Alpes Maritimes region for "quality of life". The capital of the Riviera is ranked 7th nationally and comes ahead of Cannes (2nd) and Antibes (3rd). Meanwhile it's the village of Theoule sur mer which takes the lead for villages in the Alpes Maritimes, ahead of Falicon (2nd) and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat 3rd.

Hot Air Balloon project - Thanks to a private donor a project for several years, from the Aeronauts Club of Monaco, of a hot air balloon in the Monaco colours gracing the skies of the Côte d'Azur, looks set to soon see the light of day. Local media has reported that the balloon is now being designed in Spain and that the ecological balloon is planned to be delivered this summer. For years the club has been working on a planet-friendly approach in the practice of aeronautical activity. Thanks to the support of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the project to create a national ecological hot-air balloon is set to see the light of day this year. Speaking about the project the club's president said "the ecological balloon will convey a simple and applicable message in many areas of daily life: saving energy by insulating and thus limiting heat loss, a simple principle but so effective".

Generous donation to small town in the Var – An individual has made a generous donation to a small town in the Var. It was during the last local council of La Motte that local officials voted unanimously to accept a donation of 50,000 euros. The individual wishes to remain anonymous.

OGC Nice are through to the quarter finals of French football cup – Finally, unable to score a goal in 180 minutes, Paris Saint Germain have enabled OGC Nice to pursue their dream in the French Cup after a penalty shootout (6-5), on Monday night, at the Parc des Princes. Nice will now play the Olympique de Marseille at the Allianz Riviera stadium in the quarter final.

Business

Wall Street valuations for growth and technology stocks came under increasing scrutiny in January as markets had their worst start to a year since 2009. Investors are questioning sky high valuations at a time when the US Federal Reserve is set to start raising interest rates to combat inflation while at the same time withdrawing its pandemic stimulus measures. Analysts say that with costs rising such as wages there's likely to be increasing investor focus on sectors that can better handle inflationary pressures with less slack for firms that promise future growth but that currently have negative cash flow. Consumer discretionary stocks fared the worst in January slipping by 9.7 percent overall in January while energy was the only sector to end in positive territory, helped by oil prices hitting their highest level since October 2014. Geopolitical tensions have added to market uncertainty with the US and its allies threatening Russia with new sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a 37.6 percent slump in quarterly sales adding that it suffered a 9 million pound loss in the final three months of 2021. The UK based carmaker said that it only managed to produce 80,126 vehicles in the three months to the end of December amid a global shortage of computer chips. Manufacturers around the world have been hard hit as they struggle to secure supplies of semiconductors. The company has warned that it expects supplies to continue throughout this year but is expecting a gradual improvement. The firm's parent company Tata Motors of India made a loss of 150 million pounds for the fourth quarter.

UK business leaders are blaming French customs officials for causing huge delays for trucks on approach roads to the port of Dover. The British Chambers of Commerce says that a minor disagreement over signatures on customs paperwork between the UK and France is the reason for the delays. Reports say that French customs are requiring a "wet" signature on border documents for shipments of animal and plant products from the UK. Much of the documentation is produced digitally which is causing unexpected hold ups on deliveries from Dover to Calais. Critics say that the current problems are part of much wider faults with the EU-UK trade deal with confusion over interpretation, inconsistent application and glaring gaps in coverage.

Sport 

Football - 12 transfers on deadline day have taken spending by English Premier League clubs to the second highest total in the history of the competition. Clubs splashed out a total of 295 million pounds on the final day of the window with only the 430 million pounds spent on players in 2018 beating it. Spurs, Newcastle, Everton, Watford and Burnley have all strengthened their squads with Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Brighton also snapping up players. Brentford have signed the Denmark international Christian Eriksen on a free transfer as he is unable to play in Italy after being fitted with an implanted cardioverter-difibrillator after suffering a cardiac arrest during Euro 2020.

Formula 1 - Covid vaccination will be required for all personnel this year. The decision means that nobody will be able to work in the paddock without being fully vaccinated. The policy applies to all personnel working in the sport including drivers, teams, media, hospitality workers and any guests who attend races. It's understood that all of the drivers have already been fully vaccinated.

Rugby Union - Jamie Bhatti has withdrawn from Scotland's 6 Nations squad ahead of the opener against England on Saturday through injury. The Glasgow loosehead is replaced by Allan Dell of London Irish while Josh Bayliss is out of contention after coming off early during Bath's recent Champions Cup defeat by Leinster.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate north westerly winds. Top temperatures 14-15 degrees. Overnight lows of 4-8 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine, windy in the Var tomorrow. Highs of 17-19 degrees tomorrow and 12-14 degrees on Thursday.

And Finally

A “smart” yacht which can be controlled by your phone has been unveiled. The Horizon Yacht FD90 is the first in its series to have a system that can let you control interior functions from your phone. The new version of the FD series, first launched in 2017, certainly has a very futuristic feel. It includes four staterooms and a convertible beach club. The main living area has floor to ceiling windows, providing ultimate views. The most exciting feature is probably the 'Jung automation', which gives yacht owners much more control of their surroundings. Jung lets owners adjust blinds and shutters, temperature control systems, and lighting. It will also control entertainment systems. Features can also be added to the system at the owners’ wishes.

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