French and Riviera News Wednesday 16th March 2022


French Minister of Interior visits Corsica - France’s Minister of the Interior has begun a two-day visit to Corsica today Wednesday 16th March, after two weeks of tension and clashes with police following the aggression in a French prison of the independence activist Yvan Colonna. Ahead of his trip Gérald Darmanin in an interview with local media recognised the State’s “responsibility” and expressed a willingness to open discussions on the “possible autonomy of the island” adding that this institutional question "will logically be engaged during the second term" of President Macron, if he were to be re-elected.

Scientific Council warns that 5th wave is not completely over – In other news, France’s Scientific Council has warned that the 5th wave of covid is not completely over. In their assessment published on Tuesday experts warn of an epidemic rebound in France in the coming weeks. The council predicts that the number of daily cases could exceed 100,000 as early as March.

Booster jab – Meanwhile the Prefect of the Var has reminded residents who are aged over 80 that the covid booster dose is now available to those whose last dose was more than three months ago.

Road accident - A young man has been seriously injured in a collision in Draguignan in the Var. The accident involving a vehicle and a motorcyclist occurred on Tuesday afternoon on the Avenue de Grasse. Traffic in the area was disrupted as emergency services intervened. An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

Men arrested for stealing fuel - Three men, suspected of having stolen more than 150,000 euros worth of fuel have been arrested in the Pas-de-Calais region. According to police the men stole supply cards from trucking companies to obtain the fuel. All three are already known to the police.

Fishermen in Marseille call for support plan to expand aid - Meanwhile fishermen in Marseille who have been hard hit by the rise in fuel prices have said that they are “not going to get up at 3am to work at a loss calling for a support plan to expand aid". French Prime Minister Jean Castex is to give details today Wednesday March 16th of the government’s resilience plan to deal with the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine.

INSEE - According to the latest figures published by INSEE on Tuesday 2020 and 2021 saw a surge in the number of deaths in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region largely due to the covid pandemic. 58,200 inhabitants died in 2021 and 55,600 in 2020 representing 13% more than in 2019 which saw 51,500 deaths. The report also shows that the number of deaths during this period outnumbered the number of births which has been steadily declining over the last 10 years. With a population of 5.1 million inhabitants the PACA region accounts for nearly 8% of the population of mainland France.


Reports this morning say that Russia is on the brink of its first international debt default since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

The economic cost of the invasion and assault on Ukraine is now being spelled out in financial terms with Moscow due to pay 117 million dollars in interest on two sovereign bonds that it sold in 2013 but unlikely to make the payment.

Analysts say that today’s debt repayment will be the most closely watched financial transaction since Greece defaulted at the height of the eurozone debt crisis.

However ,Russia has a 30 day grace period to pay and that may drag the saga out.

A Russian debt default was unthinkable before the invasion of Ukraine.The country had 650 billion dollars of currency reserves and was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars daily from sales of its oil and gas.

The invasion of Ukraine has left Russia as a virtual pariah state ,crippled by sanctions and watching hundreds of Western firms leave the country after deciding that their presence is no longer feasible.

Oil prices have risen this morning as the invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate volatile trading and traders looking to peace talks for signs as to which direction the market will take.

Brent crude was up by 0.8 percent a little earlier to 100 dollars 74 with West Texas Intermediate up 0.6 percent at 97 dollars 02 cents.

On Wednesday ,the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that ceasefire talks with Russia were becoming “more realistic” but that more time was needed.

Analysts say that traders are waiting for more clues from the ceasefire talks after a two day sell off in the oil markets but that crude may continue to be under pressure as high inflation drags on economic growth and weakens demand.

And-The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates today for the first time in three years.

The Fed looks set to raise rates by 25 basis points at the conclusion of its policy meeting in Washington.

Before the Ukraine crisis the US central bank had hinted at a 50 basis point increase but recent developments have led to a more c