French and Riviera News Tuesday 29th March 2022

News

Drought alert - Residents are reminded that the Alpes-Maritimes department is currently on a drought alert with eight municipalities having implemented restrictions on water consumption. Among the measures: there is a ban on washing your car, filling your swimming pool or watering your lawn. Rain is expected from tomorrow Wednesday March 30th.

Forest fires brought under control - Meanwhile the forest fires which broke out in the Alpes-Maritimes over the past few days have now all been brought under control. The fires in Valdeblore, Gorbio, Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey and near Utelle were brought under control by the use of water bombing aircraft and large deployments of firefighters and firefighting equipment. Local authorities had warned of the danger of fires last week because of the recent dry and windy conditions.

Petrol prices in France - The price of petrol in French service stations has started to rise again with the litre of diesel and Super SP 95 going back above 2 euros. Faced with the high price of fuel, the French government has announced a discount of 15 to 18 centimes per litre from Friday April 1st for a period of 4 months. This measure affects individuals as well as dependent professionals whose activity depends on fuel. The cost is estimated at 3 billion euros.

Deadline for High school students wishing to apply for higher education - High school students across France have until this evening to submit their wishes for orientation in higher education. The demand is through Parcoursup, the post-baccalaureate admission platform created in 2018 and similar to that of UCAS in the UK. Candidates can indicate up to ten wishes, with the possibility of sub-wishes depending on the choices. They can also make ten additional wishes for apprenticeship training. For those who may have any questions, the platform indicates that it is possible to contact the messaging service, directly on Parcoursup, or to call the toll-free number 0800 400 070. The next step will be April 7th, which is the last day to confirm each of the wishes and finalize the file with the elements requested by the establishment concerned. It will be necessary in particular to include a letter of motivation to explain in a few lines what motivates the candidate for the course or training. Note that after the results of the baccalaureate, on July 5th, and as soon as a course is definitively accepted, it will then be imperative to carry out the administrative registration before going on vacation, which is the last stage before the start of the school year.

Amnesty International claims France is “very far” from being exemplary in freedom and human rights - In a report published today by Amnesty International France falls far behind in its policy of welcoming migrants. The 2021 annual report also considers that France "is one" of the 67 countries in the world which "adopted laws in 2021 that restrict freedom of expression and association". Amnesty International also stigmatizes the "degrading treatment" suffered by migrants, particularly in Calais denouncing that "the police and local authorities have limited their access to humanitarian aid and subjected them to harassment”.

Recruitment in the catering industry - Due to the lack of staff in the catering industry the hotel school of Provence (EHP) has extended its recruitment period by one week. The catering industry has lost many of its employees since the health crisis as the sector struggles to recruit candidates to train for the summer season. According to figures from the Ministry of Employment more than 237,000 employees have left the sector. To date, for the entire PACA region, Pôle Emploi has 10,739 job offers available in the hotel sector.

Biggest pan-bagnat in the world – Finally, the federation of bakers of the Alpes-Maritimes has created what could be the largest pan-bagnat in the world. The world record breaker was presented on Monday at the trade fair for hotels and restaurants which is on in Nice until tomorrow Wednesday 30th March. Measuring more than one metre in diameter it is hoping to make it into the Guinness Book of Records. The pan-bagnat is a speciality of Nice and consists of a sandwich of the classic salade niçois. It has historically been prepared as a use for day-old bread.

Business

President Biden has proposed a new tax on America’s richest households as part of fresh budget plans. The Biden administration wants to impose a 20 percent minimum tax on households worth more than 100 million dollars to raise more than 360 billion dollars over the next decade. Mr Biden said that the plan would make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate “lower than teachers and firefighters”. The plan which is called the “billionaire minimum income tax” is the administration’s most aggressive move yet to tax the wealthiest people in America. Mr Biden has proposed a 5.8 trillion dollar budget for 2023 which also sets aside billions of dollars for the police and military and would also provide funds for affordable housing, US supply chain issues and tackling gun crime. The wealth of billionaires grew considerably during the pandemic helped by soaring share prices and a tax regime that charges investors less on their gains than those taxed on their income.

Tesla has announced that it will seek shareholder approval to increase its number of shares to enable a stock split. The proposal which is due to be voted on at the electric car maker’s next AGM would have to be approved by the board of directors and would be the firm’s second stock split since 2020. Companies typically split stocks to make their shares appear to be less expensive and more attractive to investors. Tesla stock surged by 8 percent on the news giving Wall Street a boost and adding over 100 billion dollars to its market valuation. Since joining the S&P 500 in December 2020, Tesla has been one of its most valuable stocks and currently accounts for more than 2 percent of the index. The firm has gained around 300 percent since announcing its first stock split in August 2020.

Oil prices have fallen this morning as Russia and Ukraine prepared for another round of peace talks and on fears of a fall in demand in China after Shanghai went into lockdown. Brent crude was down by 1 percent a little earlier to 111 dollars 41 with West Texas Intermediate down 0.8 percent at 105 dollars 17. Both benchmarks lost around 7 percent on Monday. Delegates from Russia and Ukraine will meet in Istanbul today for their first peace talks in over two weeks. China’s two stage lockdown in Shanghai over 9 days is expected to hit fuel demand in the world’s largest oil importer with the country’s financial hub accounting for around 4 percent of its total oil consumption. The market is also waiting to hear the outcome of a meeting of Opec+ nations on Thursday.

Sport

Football - More teams from Europe will qualify for the World Cup finals tonight with the playoff finals taking place. Portugal face North Macedonia who knocked Italy out last week while Poland play Sweden. Wales were due to play the winners of the match between Scotland and Ukraine but that match has been postponed because of the war.

There are also a stack of international friendly games tonight including England against Ivory Coast, the Netherlands against Germany, The Republic of Ireland against Lithuania, Wales against the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland against Hungary and France against South Africa.

Cricket - The former England captain Michael Vaughan has said that he would advise Joe Root to step down from the role following the series defeat against West Indies. Root, who’s been Test captain since 2017 is under pressure with England without a win in 9 games and having lost their last four Test Match series. Vaughan says that Root has taken it “as far as he possibly can” and if he wanted to talk about it then he’d tell him to step down and concentrate on his batting.

Cycling - The Giro d’Italia champion Egan Bernal is back in the saddle just two months after suffering a life threatening crash. The Colombian hit a bus at high speed in January while cycling in his home country and underwent two spinal surgeries. He later said that he “nearly died” from his injuries and also suffered serious problems with his leg, knee and chest. In a post on Instragram, Bernal said that after suffering 20 broken bones “he was back” and looking forward to the challenge of returning to full fitness.

Weather

Hazy sunshine with light variable winds. Top temperature 17-18 degrees. Overnight lows of 11-13 degrees with rain spreading across the region.

Wednesday and Thursday - Sunshine and showers with highs of 15-17 degrees.

And Finally

You might think business jargon can help you stay ahead of the game but according to a recent survey most office workers in the UK believe it shows you do not know what you are doing. According to the survey ‘blue-sky thinking’, meaning trying to find completely new ideas, is the most annoying workplace phrase of all. It topped the list at 27 per cent, while 26 per cent of respondents said ‘think outside the box’ is the most grating. Other annoying jargon included ‘low-hanging fruit’, something that is easily attained or dealt with and ‘touch base’, meaning briefly make contact. 90 per cent of respondents feel some people use jargon to try to cover up their shortcomings. 46 per cent said colleagues who deploy these phrases come across as trying really hard to impress, while 43 per cent just find them irritating. 44 per cent said if they had a pound for every time their boss used office jargon, then they would be rich by now. But almost two-thirds (64 per cent) confess they find themselves sometimes using the dreaded jargon themselves.

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