French and Riviera News Wednesday 16th February 2022

News

Gusts of up to 130km/h registered in the Var region - Winds of up to 130km an hour have been recorded in the Var region on Tuesday February 15th. Meteo France also registered gusts of 104km an hour in Toulon and 90km an hour in Frejus and Le Rayol Canadel. According to forecasts the high winds will have fallen by this morning before picking up again later this afternoon and are expected to last until Friday.

Covid cases and deaths in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes - As the number of covid cases in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes continues to drop, the regional health agency for the Var has recorded 59 deaths in hospitals in the region in the past week and 40 in the Alpes Maritimes. Latest figures for the Var show that 271 people are still hospitalized with covid and 67 are in intensive care. In the Alpes Maritimes the figure is higher with 315 people hospitalized and 72 patients are in intensive care. Since the beginning of the pandemic 2,662 people have died from covid in the Var and 2,671 lives have been lost to covid in the Alpes Maritimes.

Monaco - In Monaco 32 new cases were detected on Tuesday bringing the total number of residents affected to 9,085. Twenty-seven people are currently in hospital and there are no patients in intensive care. 108 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Easing of covid restrictions - Today Wednesday 16th February, marks a new stage in the easing of health restrictions as nightclubs reopen in France and the consumption of food and drink is once again allowed at the bar of a restaurant, in cinemas and stadiums, as well as public transport. As nightclubs reopen their doors, after ten weeks of closure, the vaccination pass remains compulsory in order to access a club. However, as the requirement to have had a booster jab came into play on Tuesday 15th February for a pass to remain valid, the French government has since announced an extension of one week before the new regulations come into force.

Supermarket introduces “silent hour” for customers with autism - The Carrefour Lingostière hypermarket in Nice has announced on its Facebook page, that the store is to introduce a "silent hour" every day from 4pm to 5pm. The move aims to facilitate access to the supermarket for people with autism. During the dedicated hour lighting and noise will be reduced to accommodate customers with autism who prefer calmer surroundings.

New app to find lost items in Antibes - A new application called “Troov” can help find lost items in Antibes. The app which is associated with the city council will increase the chances of finding lost objects in the city. The service is free and available via an application or simply via the website troov.com.

Historic result for Monaco at the Winter Olympics - It was a historic result for the Monegasque bobsleigh team at the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday as Rudy Rinaldi and Boris put on a fine performance in the last two rounds of the competition finishing in 6th place. Monaco’s best ranking at the Winter and Summer Olympics.

French Cup semi-final to be played in Nice – Meanwhile, in football following the home win against the Olympique de Marseille, the semi-final of the French Cup between Versailles and OGC Nice is to be played at the Allianz Riviera on Tuesday March 1st at 9 p.m. The match is to be played in Nice as the club from the Paris region does not have an approved stadium and has not found a suitable stadium to host the meeting. Originally scheduled for Sunday February 27th, at 1 p.m., Strasbourg-Nice is now scheduled for Saturday February 26th at 5pm, while Monaco-Reims is rescheduled for Sunday February 27 at 1pm.

Business

Global stock markets have rallied on hopes that military tensions over Ukraine could ease after Russia said that it was recalling some of its troops from the country’s border. Although NATO and Western powers said that it was too early to say whether the crisis has receded, markets across the world reacted positively on comments by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference in Moscow with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Scholz said that both sides had agreed that they wanted to ensure peaceful development in Europe and that there would be no military invasion of Ukraine. He warned however that if there was an invasion, it would have “far reaching consequences”. Later on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said that the reported troop withdrawals from the Ukrainian border “would be good” but warned that a Russian attack was “still very much a possibility”. Oil prices fell back on the day’s developments and were down by as much as 4 percent on Tuesday.

Disney has appointed an executive who will focus exclusively on the entertainment giant’s plans for the metaverse. Mike White, who’s been with the corporation for 10 years will lead a team focusing on “Next Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences”. Disney’s chief executive Bob Chapek said that he had been “blown away” by what he’d seen of the new technology adding that the metaverse would be the “perfect place to pursue our strategic pillars of storytelling excellence, innovation and audience focus”. Tech giants including Facebook and Microsoft are pouring billions of dollars into the metaverse, an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment using VR headsets. Some say that it’s the key development in the next generation of the internet with Facebook leading the charge and changing its name to Meta Platforms.

Airbnb says that travellers are starting to return to cities after staying away since the start of the pandemic. The property booking website said that globally, the number of nights booked in cities in the final quarter of 2021 nearly matched 2019 pre-pandemic levels. The firm said that in the United States, urban bookings have fully rebounded as it reported a record 55 million dollar profit for the period between October and the end of December. Airbnb also said that it expected total bookings in the first three months of 2022 to exceed pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

Sport

Winter Olympics - It’s day 12 of the Winter Games in Beijing with Norway still out in front in the medals table. Norway now has 12 gold medals in a total of 26 with Germany hanging on to second place with 9 gold medals in a total of 18 and the USA in third place with 8 golds in a total of 19.

There are 7 medal events today in men’s slalom downhill skiing, women’s biathlon relay, women’s and men’s team sprint cross country skiing, men’s aerials freestyle skiing and women’s and men’s short track speed skating.

Football - There were two round of 16 first leg ties in the European Champions League last night. Manchester City thrashed Sporting Lisbon 5-0 away from home while PSG beat Real Madrid 1-0. There are two more ties tonight. Red Bull Salzburg play Bayern Munich and Inter Milan play Liverpool.

In the English Premier League last night Manchester United beat Brighton 2-0.

There were 3 games in the English Championship last night. Cardiff beat Coventry 2-0, Millwall beat QPR 2-0 and Sheffield United and Hull drew 0-0.

In the Scottish Premiership Aberdeen and St Johnstone drew 1-1.

Cricket - Australia have beaten Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the third T20 international in Canberra to wrap up the series. Sri Lanka made 121-6 from their 20 overs with the home side getting to the target in 16.5 overs in a total of 124-4. Australia have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 5 match series.

Rugby Union - Manu Tuilagi is back in the England squad for the 6 Nations game against Wales after recovering from injury. Prop Joe Marler has been left out while Courtney Lawes continues to recover from concussion but Sam Simmonds is unable to train because of a hip problem.

Formula 1 - The Williams team principal Jost Capito has said that it will be several years before the outfit can return to challenging at the top of the field. Williams unveiled their new car on Tuesday after finishing 8th last season. Capito says that they are still a long way from where they want to be and that the problems can’t be fixed in “a year”. Alexander Albon returns to the grid this season replacing George Russell who’s moved to Mercedes while Nicolas Latifi continues in the other Williams car.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate to strong westerly wind across the Var. Top temperature 16 degrees. Overnight lows of 6-8 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday - Mainly fine with highs of 16 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 20 degrees in the Var.

And Finally

A recent study has suggested that beauty may not be only skin deep as it seems good-looking people appear to have a better immune system. According to a study of blood tests traits traditionally linked to attractiveness, such as a symmetrical face and bright eyes, may be signs the body is better at fighting infection. Researchers believe we may be drawn to such looks because our brains are hardwired to seek out healthy partners.

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