French and Riviera News Wednesday 23rd March 2022

News

Ukrainian President to speak to the French Parliament this afternoon - The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will speak to the French Parliament this afternoon. Today marks the 28th day of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. On Tuesday the UN General Secretary said in a statement 'It's time to end this senseless war'. Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron has held another telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the war. According to the Elysée, there is currently no agreement between the two parties, but the French president says he remains convinced of the need to continue his efforts.

Aid - Today Wednesday 23rd March, 100 firefighters and rescuers will set off from France to transport donated vehicles and equipment to the border with Ukraine. There will be 11 fire engines, 16 personal rescue vehicles and 23 trucks carrying 49 tons of medical and rescue equipment such as protective equipment, ladders, fire hoses and medical equipment. 

In other news

Corsica - President Macron has called for calm in Corsica after the death of separatist Yvan Colonna. Marches took place across the island on Tuesday. Several high schools were blocked by students and there was a march on the Prefecture in Ajaccio. 

Pedestrian hit by lorry on Croisette - A pedestrian has died after being hit by a lorry on La Croisette in Cannes. The accident occurred at around 4.30pm on Tuesday afternoon when the vehicle was reversing near a pedestrian crossing. The elderly victim died as a result of his injuries. An investigation is underway to determine the exact circumstances.

Crime figures - Figures from the Ministry of the Interior have shown the crime rate in the Alpes Maritimes with the majority of incidents occurring in Nice, La Trinité, Saint-Laurent du Var, Cagnes sur mer, Vence and Villeneuve Loubet. The report shows that urban areas are the most affected.

Head of World Health Organisation says France lifted covid measures too soon - The head of the World Health Organization in Europe has named France as one of the countries which have lifted their Covid-19 measures too abruptly. Hans Kluge said that he was "optimistic but vigilant" about the progress of the pandemic in Europe. However, he said that France, along with the UK, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Germany, "are lifting restrictions brutally from too much to too few".

Presidential elections - Former French President François Hollande has announced his support for left wing candidate Anne Hidalgo expressing his determination for the "reconstruction" of France’s socialist party. Hollande was present at Hidalgo’s meeting in Limoges on Tuesday. The socialist presidential candidate is currently struggling in the polls as Hollande called for "the great movement called socialism to continue”.

Blue Bay Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel - The Blue Bay restaurant of the Monte-Carlo Bay hotel here in the Principality has been awarded two Michelin stars. The 2022 edition of the Michelin Guide, and its famous stars, were revealed on Tuesday.

Business

Asian markets have hit three week highs this morning as cash flowed back into equities from the battered bond market and oil and other commodities remain at elevated prices owing to the continuing carnage in Ukraine. Bond markets have retreated even further today with investors bracing for even tighter monetary policy from the US central bank with 10 year yields at their highest level since 2019. Investors continue to be impressed by US economic growth despite headwinds from war and inflation. Tech firms have benefited the most as investors bet on expanding revenue and the ability to control costs. On the currency markets the yen has continued to weaken as traders worry about the widening policy gap between Japan and the rest of the world and high energy prices taking a toll on the country’s trade balance. Oil has risen again by 0.5 percent with Brent crude at 116 dollars 13 cents and wheat and corn also up on fears of a supply shortage.

US Federal Reserve officials have called for bigger rate hikes to control inflation. Speaking to Bloomberg television last night, the St Louis Fed President Jimmy Bullard said that the central bank should raise its benchmark overnight rate to 3 percent  by the end of the year. His comments echo sentiments being expressed by other members of the Federal Open Markets Committee with some feeling that the recent 25 basis point hike is not enough. Mr Bullard said that “faster is better” and that the Fed needs to “move aggressively” to bring inflation under control. On Monday, the Fed chair Jerome Powell said that the central bank must move “expeditiously” to raise rates and hinted that there may be a 50 basis point hike at the next policy meeting on May the 3rd and 4th. However, the Fed is attempting a delicate balancing act with concerns that raising rates too quickly could blow a hole in the economy and provoke a recession.

The UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak will make his Spring Statement today amid rising prices and a big squeeze on household incomes. The Chancellor is facing a dilemma but is promising  a “stronger and more secure economy” to help people struggling with the cost of living. There have been calls for a cut in fuel duty to help motorists and a delay to the increase in National Insurance contributions which the government says are necessary to help fund social care. Mr Sunak will make his statement in the House of Commons at 1.30 French time this afternoon. He’ll address the conflict in Ukraine and its effect on prices and is also set to pledge to a faster growing economy, more resilient public finances and security for working families through help with the cost of living.

Sport

Tennis - The world number one Ashleigh Barty has made a shock announcement that she’s retiring from the game at the age of just 25. The Australian made the announcement on social media earlier this morning. She said that she was leaving tennis to “chase other dreams”. Barty won her first Grand Slam at the French Open in 2019 and since then has remained the world’s top ranked woman player. In January she became the first home player to win the Australian Open in 44 years.

Rafael Nadal is set to be out for up to 6 weeks after suffering a stress fracture of the rib. The 21 time Grand Slam winner suffered the injury in his semi-final match against Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells and went on to lose the final in straight sets to Taylor Fritz. He’s expected to miss next month’s clay tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and may not be fully fit by the time the French Open starts on May the 22nd.

Football - The Ricketts family have flown into London to pursue their bid to buy Chelsea amid criticism about anti-Muslim comments made by Joe Ricketts in 2019. The owners of the Chicago Cubs baseball team are waiting to find out whether they’ve made the shortlist of bidders for Chelsea and are intending to meet fans today in an attempt to assuage their concerns. Chelsea’s first ever black star Paul Canoville is among a number of opponents to the Ricketts bid because of perceived racism and what’s been described as “dubious political allegiances”. Several other bids have been tabled including one led by the billionaire Monaco resident Nick Candy who’s a lifelong Chelsea fan and another involving Lord Sebastian Coe, also a Chelsea supporter.

Cricket - It’s day 3 of the 3rd and final Test between Pakistan and Australia in Lahore. Australia were bowled out for 391 in their first innings. In reply, Pakistan had reached 109-1 midway through the first session of the day.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds. Top temperatures 15-17 degrees. Overnight lows of 6-9 degrees and 0-4 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday - Mainly fine with highs of 15-18 degrees.

And Finally

Researchers have revealed that people with 'mindful' faces are more likely to be considered attractive, competent, and rational. In contrast, people with 'non-mindful' faces are more likely to be seen as stressed, neurotic, and immoral. Mindfulness is a popular form of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment. The practice involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. It is described as a universal tool for boosting mental wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

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