French and Riviera News Tuesday 29th June 2021

News

Hospital pressure continues to decline despite Delta variant - The pressure on hospitals continues to drop in France, despite the Delta covid variant. According to official figures published on Monday June 28th 1,304 patients are currently in intensive care and less than 9,000 are hospitalized marking the lowest figures in the last eight months. The death toll in France has now reached 111,041 deaths since the start of the epidemic in early 2020.

In recent days, the French government and health authorities have insisted on the importance of being fully vaccinated to block the Delta variant, which is more transmissible than other strains.

City of Nîmes offers gifts to encourage young people to get vaccinated – However, as the pace of vaccination against Covid slows down in France, the city of Nîmes is trying to convince young people to get vaccinated by offering them gifts. Reserved for 18-25-year olds a range of gifts from, a year’s electric bike subscription to concert tickets, are being offered by the city council to encourage the young to get their first dose. A draw will designate 34 winners at the end of July. In France, only 12% of 18-24-year olds are fully vaccinated.

Head of State says there are no plans to replace Prime Minister following local election results - Following the results of the regional elections in France French President Emmanuel Macron, has excluded replacing current Prime Minister Jean Castex. On Monday June 28th the day after difficult regional and departmental elections for La Republique en Marche, the Head of State said that "the local elections do not call for national consequences,".

Second day of Brevet examination for college students in France - After French and mathematics on Monday June 28th, third grade college students in France will today sit the next part of their Brevet with history-geography this morning, followed by science and modern foreign languages this afternoon.

Some 800,000 candidates are registered to sit this year’s Brevet in France. During Monday’s French exam students worked on a dictation taken from the Mémoires d'outre-tombe de François-René de Chateaubriand, before facing a grammar test on an extract from Capitaine Fracasse de Théophile Gaultier and a photogram from the film Beauty and the Beast produced by Jean Cocteau in 1946.

Helpline for victims of domestic violence - The helpline for victims of domestic violence in France has extended it operating hours. The 3919 is now available 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday with the 24-hour extension planned for weekends by end of the summer. The service is anonymous and free. The 3919 remains reachable on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It is estimated that around 210,000 women experience domestic violence each year. In 2020, 90 women were killed by their partner or ex-partner, according to the latest official figures.

Strike action at Europe 1 against billionaire Vincent Bolloré - Employees at Europe 1 have organised a rally tomorrow, Wednesday June 30th, in their continued fight against Vincent Bolleré. After a five day strike last week the station's unions have called for action this Wednesday in front of its premises at 10am to denounce what they call "the growing hold" by billionaire Vincent Bolloré. Unions want "Europe 1 to remain a generalist radio station" and "not to become an opinion radio".

Unprecedented in its scale, strike action was launched to challenge the dismissal of a journalist, against a background of growing concerns about the future of the station and its increased ties to CNews, the Canal+ news channel a subsidiary of the Vivendi group controlled by Vincent Bolloré.

Fishing - Jersey has said that it has agreed to a three-month extension to post-Brexit transition arrangements to allow "certain French vessels" to carry on fishing in the Channel Island's waters while difficult negotiations over future licences continue. The request for the extension was made by France’s maritime minister on 12th May.

Business

Facebook shares have risen by more than 4% after a judge dismissed US federal and state anti-trust complaints against the firm which would have forced the social media giant to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. The ruling saw Facebook’s market capitalisation rise to more than $1 trillion for the first time. The dismissal by a judge at the US District Court for the District of Columbia is the first big blow to state and federal lawsuits against big tech firms. Judge James Boasberg said that the case was “legally insufficient”. The Federal Trade Commission alleges that Facebook has monopoly power in the social networking market and could file a new complaint by July 29th. The judge also dismissed a lawsuit by multiple US states, saying they had waited too long to challenge the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively. A Facebook spokesperson said that the firm was pleased with the decision. The FTC said that the agency was “closely reviewing the opinion and assessing the best option forward”.

The dollar is hovering just below two month highs against other major currencies this morning with traders taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude ahead of the closely watched US jobs reports which could tilt the timing of an exit from Federal Reserve stimulus. The dollar index which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major currencies was at 91.884 in Asian trading early this morning after coming down from as high as 92.408 on the 18th of June. The US Labor Department is expected to report a gain of 690,000 jobs in June compared with the 559,000 in May and an unemployment rate of 5.7% against 5.8% in the previous month. Investors are also looking at US consumer confidence data which is out today as well as the ISM manufacturing index on Thursday for clues as to where interest rates are going.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning to the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. The FCA has ruled that the firm cannot conduct any "regulated activity" in the UK. It also advised people to be wary of adverts promising high returns on crypto asset investments. Binance said that the FCA warning would have no direct impact on the services it provides from its website. The FCA does not regulate cryptocurrencies but requires exchanges to register with them. Binance has not registered and therefore is not allowed to operate an exchange in the UK. The FCA action comes amid a pushback from regulators around the world against cryptocurrency platforms.

Sport

Euro 2020 – The favourites France have been knocked out of the competition on penalties by Switzerland. France had looked like they were going through after leading 3-1 but two goals from the Swiss in the last 10 minutes of the match sent the game into extra time. With the scores tied at 3–3 at the end of extra time, the match was decided on a penalty shootout which Switzerland won 5-4.

The other round of 16 match on Monday also went to extra time with Spain eventually beating Croatia 5–3. Switzerland will now play Spain in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

The final round of 16 games are being played tonight. England face Germany at Wembley with kickoff at 6 pm and Sweden play Ukraine at nine.

Tennis – Andy Murray survived a wobble on his return to Wimbledon before coming through his first round match against Nikoloz Basilashvilli on Monday. Murray, playing his first singles match at SW19 since 2017 was two sets up but lost the third before coming back to win 6–4 6–3 5–7 6–3.

World number one Novak Djokovic came through his first round match in four sets against the British teenager Jack Draper but the shock of the round came as the world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas lost in straight sets to Frances Tiafoe of the United States.

In the women’s event Sloane Stephens produced a first round shock by beating two-time champion Petra Kvitova 6–3 6–4 while the fourth seed Arnya Sabalenka beat Monica Niculescu 6–1 6–4. Katie Boulter of Great Britain is also through after beating Danielle Lao of the US in three sets.

Cycling – Tim Merlier of Belgium won stage three of the Tour de France on Monday on another dramatic day of crashes. Geraint Thomas dislocated his shoulder in a fall early on in the stage and last year’s runner-up Primoz Roglić lost time after falling in the final 10 kilometres. Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan also tangled and fell as they were winding up for a sprint finish on the stage between Lorient and Pontivy.

Mathieu van der Poel of Belgium still holds the leader’s yellow jersey heading into stage 4 today which is 150.4 kilometres mainly on the flat between Redon and Fougeres.

Weather

Clear skies with moderate to strong westerly winds across the Var. Top temperatures 30-32 degrees. Overnight lows of 22-23 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Clear skies with highs of 28-31 degrees.

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