French and Riviera News Wednesday 4th May 2022

News

Emmanuel Macron’s exchange with Vladimir Putin - During a telephone conversation on Tuesday lunchtime French President Emmanuel Macron called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "allow the continuation of the evacuations of the Azovstal factory" in Mariupol. During the exchange of more than two hours, Macron again "expressed his deep concern about Mariupol and the situation in Donbass". The telephone discussion was the first between the two leaders since March 29th and came following a telephone conversation that the French head of state had on Saturday with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, who had deemed it useful for him to discuss with the Russian president. Emmanuel Macron also emphasised “his continued availability to work on the conditions of a negotiated solution to allow peace and full respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine", renewing "its demand for a ceasefire". Reporting on the interview, the Kremlin said Vladimir Putin had said that "the West could help stop these atrocities by exerting appropriate influence on the Kyiv authorities, as well as by stopping the supply of arms to the 'Ukraine". During his exchange with Mr. Zelensky on Saturday, Emmanuel Macron announced that France would "reinforce" the sending of military equipment to Ukraine as well as its humanitarian aid, which so far amounts to "more than 615 tons of equipment”.

Two more villas seized on the Côte d’Azur - Meanwhile two more villas have been seized on the Côte d'Azur. French authorities extended the list of Russian assetss frozen in France with an asset located in Saint-Tropez belonging to businessman Mikhail Fridman, whose fortune was estimated in 2019 at more than 14 billion euros.

Maritime prefect raises the alarm - The maritime prefect has raised the alarm over the increasing number of accidents at sea calling for “responsibility”. On Tuesday May 4th, the “2022 nautical leisure safety campaign” was launched from the regional operational centre for surveillance and rescue of the Mediterranean based in La Garde, to raise awareness of the dangers as the number of incidents which continues to increase. Authorities denounce that “too many people do not have basic reflexes”. Figures show that there was a 25% increase in the number of interventions between 2020 and 2021. The Var department is one of the regions the most affected, with more than half of the interventions in the Mediterranean (including Corsica). The overwhelming majority of incidents occur just 50 metres from a beach.

Fugitive arrested in Saint-Raphael - Fugitive Antonio Cuozzo Nasti has been arrested in Saint-Raphael in the Var. With close connections to the Italian Mafia Cuozzo Nasti had been on the run from authorities rebuilding his life in Saint-Raphael where he was employed in a well-known restaurant. The 56-year-old was arrested on Tuesday morning at his home in Saint-Raphaël under a European arrest warrant issued by Italian justice. The arrest, which went smoothly, was carried out by the Toulon judicial police service.

Sanofi admits failures with covid vaccine - The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has recognised a "failure" in the development of its vaccine against covid. The groups president admitted on Tuesday that the company had “failed” saying it was clearly behind competitors such as the American Pfizer. At present, Sanofi has managed to develop only one vaccine against the disease, and it is still under review in the United States and the European Union.

Covid contaminations continue to decline - Meanwhile the number of covid contaminations continues to decline in hospitals in France. Over the last seven days, the daily average of new contaminations stood at 48,907, down from the previous day (52,318) and down from seven days ago (85,588). This decline is part of a general downward trend since a peak reached in early April at around 140,000.

Emmanuel Macron investiture - Finally, Emmanuel Macron will be formally declared president of France for a second time on Saturday following his victory over Marine Le Pen in the second-round run-off on 24 April. His investiture will take place at the Elysée Palace. According to an Elysée spokesperson "it will be a sober ceremony in the respect of republican principles”.

Business

Tesla boss Elon Musk has said that business and government users on Twitter may need to pay a "slight" fee to stay on the social media platform. The announcement comes after the board of Twitter agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from Mr Musk. However, Mr Musk said the site would always be free for "casual users". Musk is the world's richest person, with an estimated net worth of around $250bn, mostly due to his Tesla stake. He also has a controlling stake in the rocket company SpaceX, which is estimated to be worth $100bn.

The boss of the Aberdeenshire based beer maker Brewdog James Watt, has set out plans to give away nearly a fifth of his equity stake to the firm's staff. Mr Watt owns a quarter of the fast-growing company and brewery and pub workers have criticised him over his behaviour and pressure on them to grow the firm rapidly. In response, Mr Watt has set out an incentive plan which also means half of its pub profits will go to those who work on hourly rates in its 111 bars worldwide.

Customers of Amazon are no longer able to download e-books and any other digital content from its Android shopping app with the company asking them to instead buy books via its website or Kindle app. Since April, companies with an annual turnover above $1m (£800,000) must pay 30% commission on all in-app purchases to Android owner Google, which also handles all payment transactions.

Russia has managed to avoid defaulting on its government debts by making necessary payments in US dollars, shortly before the final deadline passed on 4 March. $650m (£520m) payments on international bonds were originally due on April 4th. The US Treasury blocked Russia from making the payments from reserves frozen by Western sanctions, raising the prospect of default. Russia offered to pay in roubles then changed its policy last week.

The eurozone unemployment rate has hit a historic low of 6.8% in March the lowest since the European statistics office started compiling figures in April 1998. Eurostat announced on Tuesday 3rd May that the labour market has benefited from the strong rebound in the European economy that began in the spring of 2021, after the historic recession linked to the covid pandemic. Among EU member countries, the highest unemployment rates in March were recorded in Spain (13.5%), Greece (12.9%) and Italy (8.3%). In France, 7.4% of the active population was unemployed, according to data from Eurostat. The Czech Republic (2.3%), Germany (2.9%), Malta (3%) and Poland (3%) had the lowest unemployment rates.

Sport

Formula One - One of the most defining Formula 1 drivers of the 1950s Tony Brooks, has died aged 90. The Briton won six grands prix and narrowly missed out on the world championship in 1959. Brooks is regarded alongside Stirling Moss as the best British driver never to win the F1 title. Moss, who died two years ago, also aged 90, said of his former team-mate and friend: "Brooks was a tremendous driver, the greatest - if he'll forgive me saying this - 'unknown' racing driver there's ever been. He was far better than several people who won the world championship."

Football - Liverpool advanced to the Champions League final on Tuesday night after coming from two goals down to beat Villareal 3-2. Liverpool went into the second leg with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg at Anfield on April 27th.

The Reds will now play either Manchester City or Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, 28 May. No English side has ever won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup all in the same season, with Liverpool aiming to create history.

Tonight, in the Champions League semi-final Real Madrid play Manchester City.

Tennis - Britain's Andy Murray will face old rival Novak Djokovic for the first time since 2017 after beating Canada's Denis Shapovalov at the Madrid Open. Murray, won 6-1 3-6 6-2.

Cricket – Speaking at his unveiling as skipper being named Joe Root’s successor last week 30-year-old Ben Stokes has said that the off-field issues that have occurred during his career will help him as England Test captain. In 2018 Stokes was found not guilty of affray after a fight outside a Bristol nightclub, while last year he took a break to protect his mental health.

Sainte Dévote Rugby tournament - The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation along with the Monégasque Rugby Federation is presenting the Sainte Dévote Rugby tournament this weekend on Saturday May 7th at the Stade Louis II. Back after a 2-year absence, this international U-12 rugby 7 tournament will see 16 teams from 14 countries compete against each other: For more details and times go to http://www.monaco-rugby.com/

Weather

Mainly fine with light winds. Highs of 20 degrees along the coast in the Alpes Maritimes. 22 degrees in the Var and reaching 23 degrees inland. A risk of showers and thunderstorms by late afternoon inland.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday rather unsettled with the risk of scattered showers heading into the weekend. Highs of 21-22. However according to some weather forecasts Monday May 9th will mark the beginning of summer with clear skies and highs of 24 degrees.  

And Finally

A new study has claimed that people with square shaped faces are seen as more aggressive than those with oval faces. Researchers from the University of New South Wales measured the facial-width-to-height ratio (FWHR) of 17,607 passport images of male and female faces, before asking people to rate them for aggression. The results revealed that faces with a high FWHR (square faces) were rated as more aggressive than people with low FWHR (oval faces) – particularly if they belonged to young men.

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