French and Riviera News Tuesday 22nd February 2022

News

Shooting in Marseille - A 23-year-old man has been shot dead in the Bouches-du-Rhone, in what has been reported as a settlement of accounts. The shooting occurred in the early hours of Monday morning in Septème-les-Vallons, ten kilometres north of Marseille. According to police the young man was known to police for drug trafficking. It is the sixth drug related shooting this year in the region.

Windy weather – Firefighters have had to intervene on several occasions and parks along with public gardens were closed, following gusts of over 100km an hour in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var. In Nice several cars were damaged after a tree fell on a petrol station on the Avenue Auguste Verola. There were also diversions put in place due to obstacles on some of the region’s roads and a flight had to abort landing at Nice International airport, landing 40 minutes later than scheduled. At the Pablo Picasso college in Vallauris the roof of a sports facility collapsed. Nobody was injured in the incident.

The Alpes Maritimes and the Var had been placed on a yellow weather alert on Monday due to the high winds forecast and by late afternoon a gust of 142km an hour was recorded in Saint-Raphael in the Var.

Emmanuel Macron condemns Vladimir Putin’s decision - In a press release published on Monday evening the Élysée, has denounced "a unilateral violation of Russia's international commitments and an attack on the sovereignty of Ukraine". French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned Vladimir Putin's decision to recognize the independence of the pro-Russian separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and called for "targeted European sanctions" against Moscow. The French president has since called for "an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council".

Britain and France sign deal - Britain and France have signed a deal to jointly develop new cruise and anti-ship missiles. The news comes after months of cross-Channel defence tensions over a submarine deal with Australia. Both Britain’s Defence Equipment and Support and France’s DGA procurement agency confirmed the three-year contract, which MBDA said aimed to develop weapons “to be fielded at the end of the decade”.

Var region tops ranking - The Var region has topped a ranking of the favourite destination for Riviera residents. While the people of Nice are among inhabitants who have moved to the Var over the past two years, they have been outnumbered by those arriving in the region from Marseille. According to the survey 16.7% of people who have moved to the Var have come from the Bouches-du-Rhone with those from Nice following closely behind representing 10.3% of new arrivals. 

Business

Asian markets have fallen heavily this morning on fears that escalating tensions in Ukraine will hamper the economic recovery. Oil prices have risen and there are fresh concerns about supply chain disruptions after the Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised Ukraine’s breakaway rebel-held regions as independent states. The move effectively ends peace talks in the region and the United States has imposed sanctions banning US investment in or trade with the breakaway republics with additional measures set to be announced later today. There are also concerns that freight and shipping costs will rise again because of demand-supply reductions. Russian troops have already entered the two republics in what President Putin says is a “peacekeeping mission”. A full scale invasion of the rest of Ukraine remains a possibility with some 190,000 Russian troops mustered near the country’s border.

Oil prices have spiked again on concerns over supply as the Ukraine crisis escalates. Brent Crude rose by 2.2 percent a little earlier to 97 dollars 49 cents with West Texas Intermediate up 3.6 percent at 94 dollars 32. The question hanging over the market is whether Russian energy exports will be disrupted if Moscow goes ahead with a full invasion of Ukraine and Western governments impose sanctions against Russian financial institutions. US and European officials have condemned the latest escalation in the crisis but a broader sanctions package would only be imposed if Russia goes ahead with a full invasion of Ukraine.

European fuel prices have hit record highs again on the back of the unfolding situation in Ukraine with oil firms accused of profiteering from the crisis. The rising cost of fuel is hurting household budgets with consumer groups urging oil firms to cut profit margins. In France, a litre of unleaded 95 hit 2 euros in many areas on Monday up from 1 euro 65 on the 6th of January and diesel prices are also being affected owing to shortfall in refining capacity. As the price of crude approaches 100 dollars a barrel, petrol and diesel prices are likely to rise further if the situation in Ukraine worsens.

Sport

Football - There are two games in the European Champions League round of 16 tonight. Chelsea host Lille and Villareal play Juventus. The Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has backed out of form striker Romelu Lukaku who he says is suffering from a lack of “self confidence”. Lukaku only touched the ball 7 times during Chelsea’s narrow 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday, the lowest number of touches of any Premier League player since 2003. Tuchel says that he’ll protect the player and now is not the time to “laugh or make jokes about him”.

Formula 1 - The chief executive of Alpine says that the team “can challenge for the world title” in coming seasons. Laurent Rossi says that Alpine is moving in the right direction and wants to continue to climb up the field. The French team finished 5th in the constructors championship last season and recently appointed Otmar Szafnauer as their team principal after poaching him from Aston Martin. Rossi says that Alpine will aim to show consistent progress in 2022 and is confident that drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will get the best out of the new car.

Rugby Union - Wales have called Taulupe Faletau into their squad for the 6 Nations clash against England on Saturday. The Bath back rower played 80 minutes for his club last weekend in his second game back since recovering from injury. Wales revived their title defence against Scotland after losing in their opening game against Ireland. They travel to Twickenham on Saturday before hosting France and Italy.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has won his first match since his controversial departure from Australia amid a row over his vaccination status. Djokovic beat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championship and said that it was a “pleasant experience”.

Andy Murray also won his first round match against Christopher O’Connell and said afterwards that he can still compete at the “highest level”.

Golf - Rory McIlroy has said that the new controversial Saudi-backed Super League is “dead in the water” after both Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau distanced themselves from the competition. McIlroy has been heavily critical of the breakaway league and the decision by the two American stars is a major blow to the new competition which is fronted by Greg Norman. McIlroy said that he couldn’t understand why anyone would want to play in the rival league.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate north westerly winds across the Var. Top temperature 18 degrees. Overnight lows of 8-10 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine with highs of 14-16 degrees.

And Finally

According to a report in the UK, hedgehogs are increasingly making cities their home after years of decline in the countryside. The population in urban areas is stabilising around the 170,000 to 200,000 mark. Outside the city, between 30 to 75 per cent of hedgehogs are feared to have been lost in the last two decades, with the largest fall in eastern England. In cities, residents are advised to create ‘hedgehog highways’ by making holes in their fences so they can move from one garden to another.

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