French and Riviera News - Wednesday 20th April 2022

Candidates Preparing For Tonight's Live Debate

President Macron and Marine Le Pen are preparing for tonight’s live TV debate that’s traditionally a key moment in French presidential elections, and could prove critical for winning over millions of voters, in particular on the left.

Supporters of the President are warning against complacency despite a solid poll lead, while Marine Le Pen is hoping to avoid any repeat of the fiasco five years ago when her ill-prepared performance contributed to her defeat.

The one-off live televised debate will start at 9pm this evening. It’s a political tradition in France since 1974 when Socialist Francois Mitterrand took on centrist Valery Giscard d’Estaing.

However, there’s some controversy around the choice of mediator for tonights debate, with both camps accused of vetoing a journalist known for her pugnacious interviews. Marine Le Pen has made clear her disapproval of Anne-Sophie Lapix with a spokesman saying the interviewer was unable to conceal her hostility towards her. Emmanuel Macron is known to have largely avoided France 2’s star presenter since a rocky interview in March 2020. The debate this evening will be hosted by Gilles Bouleau and Léa Salamé.

 

French Prime Minister To Resign

Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that he and his government would resign "in the days that follow" a possible re-election of Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.

Asked on France Inter whether he would remain prime minister until the legislative elections on 12th and 19th June, he replied that "everything depends on the fate of the ballot boxes on Sunday", but that he is "one of those who think that a new impetus after the re-election of the president must be found". Jean Castex also said that "nothing is played" in this election.

 

Embargo on Russian Oil Imports

The French Finance Minister has reaffirmed the position of the French government in favor of an embargo on Russian oil imports. Bruno Le Maire said on Europe 1 that he hopes to "convince" his most reluctant European partners. In 2021, Moscow supplied 30% of crude and 15% of petroleum products purchased by the European Union. It’s a dependence that is difficult to replace for importing countries, and which provides Russia with a colossal financial windfall, even though the EU economic sanctions aim to isolate it.

 

Deliveroo Bosses Fines

Two former bosses of Deliveroo France were each given a suspended one-year prison sentence and fined €30,000 by a French court today, for abusing the freelance status of riders working for the takeaway delivery platform. The company itself was also fined the maximum penalty of €375,000 euros and will have to publish the court decision on its home page for one month. Shares in Deliveroo, which have lost more than 70% of their value since they were listed in March last year, were trading down 6.5% today.

 

Automatic Receipts To Be Banned

Automatic receipts from shops and supermarkets are to be banned from January next year in France. The move is being opposed by consumer associations who say it will make it difficult for families to track the price of purchases or keep a proof of purchase essential to take advantage of warranties. They also say replacing receipts with e-mail versions could facilitate the creation of marketing databases by traders. They are calling for printed receipts to be systematically offered to those who want them.

 

IN LOCAL NEWS

Carlo Gift Voucher Initiative Extended

The Carlo Gift Voucher initiative in Monaco has been hailed a huge success by the Principality’s Government. Carlo is a payment app that rewards users with a 5% payment on local purchases. There have been over 110 000 transactions since December 1st, twice as many as the previous year. In total, the 30000 users spent €13 million via the app which generated €910000 in cash rewards. In turn these were reinjected into the local economy. The government reaffirmed its commitment to support the 415 partner shops and restaurants by extending the benefits until June 30th 2022.

 

Palace Nightclub To Close

The Palace Nightclub in the East of Nice is to close definitively just 2 years after it’s grand opening in February 2020. The unfortunate events since them meant that it has been closed for 482 days, although the management insist that the closure is voluntary so that they can dedicate themselves to other projects.

 

Cannes Director’s Fortnight Selection Announced

The selection has been unveiled for the Cannes Director’s fortnight during the CannesFilm Festival. The line-up includes Alex Garland’s Cannes debut Men, the Jessie Buckley-starring movie from the surreal sci-fi master. The film will play as a Special Screening in Cannes before a full release in June. Opening the selection will be Pietro Marcello’s Scarlet. Also on the list is the Paul Mescal and Emily Watson starring God’s Creatures, and Mark Jenkin’s follow-up to his indie UK breakout Bait, the 1970s-set horror Enys Men.

 

Charles Leclerc’s Watch Stolen

The Monagasque Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc has had his €300000 watch stolen in Italy. The driver, who’s currently leading the F1 championship had his watch snatched from him while in Viareggio in Italy just a few days before the Imola Grand Prix. His aggressor pretended to be a fan asking for a selfie before snatching the watch and running away. The watch is a RM 67-02 designed by Richard Mille in the Monagasque colours with a white face and red bracelet. It’s described by the designer on their website as flat, light, automatic, colorful, elegant and sporting which can adapt to different situations.

 

 

BUSINESS NEWS

Netflix

Netflix announced a loss of 200000 customers in the first quarter of this year. It’s the company’s first drop in subscribers for 10 years. The decline is due to pulling out of the Russian market and significant price rises in key markets like North America and increased competition from Apple and Amazon. The management is forecasting a further drop of 2 million subscribers over the next quarter. Netflix also announced plans to explore a lower-priced version of its service that has advertising marking a big change for the company. They also want to focus on getting revenues from customers who share accounts with family or friends. Netflix currently has 222 million customers globally, and they estimate that there are another 100 million viewing the service without paying for it.

 

L’Oreal

Cosmetics group L'Oreal reported better than expected first-quarter sales growth yesterday, citing strong demand in the U.S., Europe and mainland China as consumers brushed off concerns about inflation and snapped up high-end beauty products.

Sales for the first three months of 2022 rose 13.5% on a like-for-like basis to 9.06 billion euros with double-digit growth from Europe, North America and mainland China.Analysts had expected 10.6% sales growth, according to a consensus estimate cited by Credit Suisse.

The Active Cosmetics division, which includes Vichy and CeraVe labels, grew fastest, with sales up 18%, while the beauty giant's largest division, L'Oreal Luxe, which sells Giorgio Armani and Lancome products, clocked 17.5% growth.

 

Chinese Lockdowns

Oil and stock markets are under pressure on worries about the fallout from China's pandemic lockdowns, while the yen slightly extended its record losing streak as traders put Japan's ultra-easy monetary policy settings to the test.

 

The Chinese yuan hit its lowest since October after the central bank promised support for the services sector, but was volatile as China also surprised and disappointed equities investors by not cutting lending rates.

 

FOREIGN EXCHANGES

€1 = £0,83 $1,08 SF 1,03

£1 = €1,21 $1,30 SF1,24

$1 = €92 cents, £77 pence, 95 Swiss centimes

BITCOIN $41357

ETHEREUM  $3082

 

COMMODITIES

An ounce of gold is $1944,21

Barrel of Brent Crude oil is $108,44

 

MARKETS

FTSE 100 7601

DOW JONES 34911

NASDAQ 13619

NIKKEI 27140

 

 

SPORT

 

Football

Mo Salah scored twice as Liverpool outclassed Manchester United at Anfield to move to the top of the Premier League. The reds won 4-0 in a one-sided match that United manager Ralf Rangnick called humiliating.

 

There are 4 games tonight. Manchester City could move back to the top if they beat Brighton at the Ethihad. Stadium.

 

Fulham have been promoted back to the championship after beating Preston North End 3-0. Aleksandar Mitrovic's double took his season's tally to 40 goals. It’s Fulham’s 3rd promotion to the top flight in 5 years.

 

In Italy, Inter Milan beat city rivals AC Milan to reach the Coppa Italia final.  They will play either Juventus or Fiorentina who play today, with the Turin side 1-0 up in the tie.

 

PSG could be crowned French champions this evening if they win at Angers and Marseille lose to Nantes. It’s also the big local derby tonight with AS Monaco hosting Nice at the Stade Louis 2.

 

PSG Mauricio Pochettino says his desire to stay at the club is undiminished despite an underwhelming season fuelling fan discontent.PSG are 15 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and could clinch the title this week.

However the club's ultras are demanding changes after another Champions League campaign ended in last-16 failure. The Argentine, who was appointed in January 2021, took up the option of extending his contract until June 2023 in the autumn.

 

Snooker

Tournament favourite Neil Robertson looked in ominous form as he defeated debutant Ashley Hugill 10-5 in the first round of the World Championship.

Robertson, champion in 2010, trailed 3-1 but hit back in devastating fashion as a run of eight frames in a row helped him to a comfortable victory.

 

Tennis

 France's tennis federation (FFT) said it has pulled out of the bidding process to become a host for the group stage of this year's Davis Cup Finals due to "onerous financial and operational conditions". The ITF, the world governing body expressed surprise at the decision but hopes that the French will bid for future editions of the tournament.

 

WEATHER

Mostly cloudy with some rain (expected) this morning and a risk of more showers this afternoon.

Winds gusting up to 30km/ from the East, and temperatures will rise to 18° near Nice. 17° near St Tropez and 18° inland near Draguignan.

More rain expected overnight with fairly strong easterly winds and temperatures dropping to an overnight low of 11°C.

Tomorrow will be overcast with light rain

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