French and Riviera News Tuesday 25th January 2022

News

France's foreign ministry advises against travel to Ukraine - France's foreign ministry has advised French nationals to avoid travelling to Ukraine unless they have an essential reason. The advice given on Monday January 24th, comes against reports of increasing Russian military activity. On Monday evening following a videoconference with US President Joe Biden and several European leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed "his deep concern" about the Ukraine conflict adding that he believed in "the need to work collectively for a rapid de-escalation." The Elysee has confirmed that Macron will soon meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to propose the path to be taken to accomplish this.

Police officer commits suicide - France's national police service is mourning the suicide of a 22-year-old officer stationed in Marseille. The policeman killed himself in the early hours of Monday morning with his service weapon. It's the ninth suicide in the police force in France since the beginning of the year. In 2021, 35 police officers killed themselves. It was back in 2019 that the Interior Ministry set up a dedicated helpline for those working in the force in an attempt to combat the ever-increasing problem of suicide within the force.

Public security report for Monaco - Meanwhile here in the Principality a recent report on public security published on Monday January 24th has shown that checks carried out on the public, in line with the current health restrictions, have represented 44,000 hours police work. In 2021, the police reprimanded a passer-by or a tourist 59,167 times, of which 9,127 resulted in a fine. In case of non-compliance with current health rules, the fine is 100 euros. Concerning controls on restaurants last year saw 29 administrative closures.

Monaco not to introduce vaccine pass - As France replaced the health pass with a vaccine pass on Monday January 24th, Monaco confirmed that it will not be following suit and that the current health pass required in the Principality will be maintained. However, the vaccination pass will be required for residents crossing the border. According to latest figures 70% of the population in Monaco have completed a full vaccination scheme.

Parents call for action concerning health protocol in schools - More than 400 parents have called on the national education authorities of the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region to answers their concerns over the health protocol in schools. Since the implementation of the health protocol in schools, teachers along with parents have deplored the protocol described as "chaotic".

SNCF launches simplified digital service - From today Tuesday 25th January the SNCF is launching its SNCF Connect online service, a new unique application for smartphones and on the web. The goal is simple: to put an end to the proliferation of online applications and services that leads to a lot of confusion amongst users. The service will replace the current Oui.SNCF.

Cycling Grand Prix of Marseille - While it must adapt to a strict health protocol the Cycling Grand Prix of Marseille is getting ready for its 44th edition taking place this Sunday the 30th January. The race will cover the exceptional landscapes of the Route des Crêtes including Sainte-Victoire and Cassis.

Wild boar spotted roaming the streets of Cimiez - A wild boar has been seen roaming the streets of Cimiez in Nice. The incident occurred last Wednesday evening and was caught on camera by a local resident on the Boulevard de Cimiez in front of the Regina. In recent years wild boars have been getting closer to buildings in the city. Back in 2017 a campaign was launched by the prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes after several sightings in the east of Nice.  

Business

The dual problems of rising inflation and tightening monetary policy were pushed to the side on Monday with investors increasingly alarmed about the unfolding situation in Ukraine with Russian troops massed on the border ready for a possible invasion and US President Joe Biden and NATO ordering the military to be on standby. Analysts say that the situation will continue to weigh on markets until there's some kind of resolution or more clarity as to what the outcome may be. Monday saw periods of frantic selling in New York with the Dow Jones Industrials down by 3 percent at one point in the session. The price of Bitcoin has also been falling and has halved in value since November. Oil prices are rising on fears over supply and the dollar has risen to a two week high against the Yen and a basket of other currencies.

The consumer goods giant Unilever is set to axe thousands of jobs worldwide a week after its bid to take over the consumer health division of GlaxoSmithKline for 50 million dollars failed. Reports say that the maker of Marmite and Dove soap will make job cuts in more than 100 countries with several thousand positions scrapped. Unilever is facing growing investor pressure to accelerate its growth. The UK based firm employs 149,000 people worldwide and will make the layoffs as part of greater restructuring. Last week, the firm sparked anger from some investors when it dropped a short-lived pursuit of GlaxoSmithKline's healthcare business.

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his social media empire is building what he claims is the world's fastest artificial intelligence supercomputer as part of plans to build a virtual "metaverse". In a blogpost published on Monday, the Facebook founder said that the metaverse, a concept that blends the physical and digital worlds through virtual and augmented reality will require enormous computer power. The new machine which is called the AI Research SuperCluster is already the 5th fastest in the world according to the company. The new RSC machine is being built using thousands of processors and is housed in an undisclosed location. The metaverse however is still years away from being a fully fledged concept.

Sport

Tennis - Madison Keys of the United States has reached her first grand slam semi final for four years with victory over Barboro Krejcikova in the quarter finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Keys came through 6-4 6-2 and will face either Ash Barty or Jessica Peluga in the last four.

In the men's event, the 4th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas came though a tough five setter against Taylor Fritz to reach the last 8. He'll now play Jannik Sinner.

Football - Watford have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after less than 4 months in charge with the club in the relegation zone of the English Premier League. Watford have only taken 7 points from 13 Premier League games under the Italian's management and the club said that it had regretfully been forced into making a change. The decision means that Watford are looking for their 15th manager in 10 years.

There was one game in the English Championship last night. Blackburn beat Middlesbrough 1-0 to leapfrog Bournemouth into second place in the table.

Rugby Union - George Ford has been recalled to the England squad as cover for Owen Farrell. The 28 year old fly-half has been in sparkling form for his club but was initially left out of the squad for the 6 Nations. Farrell will miss the first 6 Nations game with an ankle problem. Meanwhile, Jonny May has pulled out of the squad with a knee injury and Courtney Lawes is unable to train this week as he's undergoing head injury protocols.

England start their campaign with the Calcutta Cup match against Scotland at Murrayfield on February the 5th.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate westerly winds. Top temperatures 12-14 degrees. Overnight lows of 4-6 degrees on the coast and -1 degree inland with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine with highs of 11-13 degrees.

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