French and Riviera News Friday 28th February 2020

Local

Coronavirus - France’s health Minister Olivier Véran has announced that twenty new cases of coronavirus have been identified in France, bringing the total number to 38. Among them, 12 patients are cured, two died and 24 are hospitalized, two of whom are in serious condition.

12 cases were diagnosed in the Oise where a 60-year-old teacher died on Tuesday night after being admitted to hospital in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron visited the hospital on Thursday morning and called for “calm and reason adding we need to deal the best we can with an epidemic that is coming ".

France’s general director of Health Jérome Salomon also pointed out the at this stage "very few cases remain without explanation", and the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe who is to meet with France’s labor Minister today to discuss measures to be taken by businesses said "The epidemic is likely" but "there is no reason to be afraid or to be negligent".

Meanwhile here in the region in a hospital worker in Grasse has tested negative for the coronavirus on Thursday. The employee felt unwell after recently returning from Italy and was taken to the Pasteur hospital in Nice while awaiting test results.

And a number of restaurant and hotel managers in Menton have not hidden their annoyance  describing a “scene of psychosis” following the cancellation of the Lemon Festival adding that “some don’t understand as to why the festival was cancelled yet the Champions League match between Lyon and Juventus was maintained on Wednesday evening”.

Cocaine - More than three tonnes of cocaine from South America have been seized in Italy. The cargo was to arrive in France through the Mediterranean port of Marseille, where three men were arrested.

The bags had been hidden in a stock of banana puree. The drug shipment could have brought in 230 million euros .

After the cancellation of the Nice Carnival because of Coronavirus concerns, a group of florists in Nice have been hard at work making use of the thousands of flowers which now can’t be used in the Carnival. About 50,000 flowers were due to be used to decorate the carnival procession on Saturday. These are now about to be distributed to local hospitals, nursing homes and town halls. Flowers will also be placed at the memorial for the victims of the July 14th 2016 attack.

Household refuse collection employees have been on strike  in Toulon and La Seyne. Picket lines were put in place outside collection depots and an incinerator plant from about 4am on Thursday  morning. The workers are protesting against management and what they claim are instances of violence during their work.

National

Lubrizol France prosecuted - Lubrizol France is facing prosecution following the environmental damage caused by the fire at its site in Rouen which occurred in September 2019.

The company has been placed under judicial control with the obligation to pay a bond of 375,000 euros and the obligation to provide security in the amount of 4,000,000 euros.

Pilot crashes stolen plane - A pilot has died after his light aircraft crashed landed in a field near Perpignan. The Piper PA-44 had been stolen from an aeronautical training center, located near Perpignan airport and had flown at low altitude over Perpignan on Tuesday evening surprising many inhabitants. 

The identity of the victim remains unknown. An investigation has been launched. Police say that all they know so far is that the plane took off on Tuesday at around 11 p.m., without having communicated a flight route to air traffic control, and crashed on Wednesday, at 3 a.m. The aircraft did not catch fire, which suggests to investigators that it may have run out of fuel. One certainty is that the pilot was experienced, to take off in the middle of the night, to fly for 4 hours with gusts of wind exceeding 100 km / h.

Roman Polanski - Filmmaker Roman Polanski has announced he will not be attending this evening’s awards ceremony for the Césars, France's equivalent of the Oscars, saying he will not submit himself to a "public lynching" over rape accusations he denies.

Women's rights activists have vowed to disrupt the awards ceremony in Paris, furious that Polanski’s latest film received a majority of nominations.

Business

World stock markets continue to be in freefall today with investors dumping stocks and racing to safe havens on fears that the coronavirus will hobble the global economy and result in recession in many countries.

US markets plunged on Thursday and in Europe the string of declines has pushed markets down by more than 10 percent from their recent highs ,sending them into correction territory.

Markets have become increasingly alarmed about the spread of Covid-19 which started in China and is now showing up in more than 50 countries ,restricting travel ,disrupting global supply chains and restricting consumer spending.

Investors are rushing into government bonds and other safe haven assets including gold and the yen.

Dozens of large firms including Microsoft and the mining giant Rio Tinto have warned that they will not meet sales targets and economists have suggested that many countries including the US could be tipped into recession by the outbreak unless it’s contained quickly.

 

Oil prices have fallen for a 6th straight session this morning as the spread of the coronavirus outside China sparked fears of slowing global demand.

Crude is on track for a 12 percent weekly fall-its biggest slump in more than 4 years.

Brent Crude was down by 1.7 percent a little earlier this morning at 50 dollars 83 with West Texas Intermediate down 1.6 percent to 46 dollars 36.

Markets are particularly concerned about the potential spread of Covid-19 in the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of crude.

On Thursday ,US health authorities warned Americans to start preparing for the spread of the virus.

 

And-Britain has warned the European Union that it will walk away from trade talks in June unless there’s the broad outline of a deal.

UK government minister Michael Gove told Parliament on Thursday that the country wants to strike “a comprehensive free trade agreement” in 10 months.

He said that the government would not accept any alignment with EU laws and that Britain would not “trade away its sovereignty”.

Particular obstacles to a deal appear to be centred on fishing and financial services.

The EU has already set out its priorities ahead of the start of trade talks on Monday and wants the UK to stay aligned with changes in EU law covering state subsidies for industry ,environmental standards and workers’ rights.

Sport

Football-Arsenal are out of Europe after suffering a last minute defeat at the hands of Olympiakos in the last 32 of the Europa League last night.

The Greek side won the match at the Emirates 2-1 to make the score 2-2 on aggregate and go through on the away goals rule.

Wolves are through to the last 17 despite losing 3-2 at Espanyol last night but they take the tie 6-3 on aggregate while Manchester United thrashed Bruges 5-0 to take the tie 6-1 on aggregate.

Celtic are out after losing 3-1 at home to FC Copenhagen to lose the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

In the English Premier League this weekend Norwich play Leicester tonight.

On Saturday Brighton play Crystal Palace.Bournemouth host Chelsea.Newcastle face Burnley.West Ham play Southampton and Watford play Liverpool.

On Sunday Everton play Manchester United and Spurs host Wolves.

It’s the League Cup Final in England on Sunday.Aston Villa play Manchester City.

Formula 1-Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari was quickest in testing in Spain on Thursday while the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton broke down.

Hamilton’s car suffered what the team described as “an oil-pressure anomaly” which made the engine shut down as a precaution.He’d completed only 14 laps when the problem occurred.

Max Verstappen in the Red Bull had an eventful day losing control twice.

Rugby Union-There’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership tonight.Gloucester play Sale and in the Guinness Pro 14 Edinburgh play Cardiff Blues and Leinister play Glasgow Warriors.

Boxing-Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says that talks about a heavyweight showdown fight against Tyson Fury are taking place and that it “must happen”.

Hearn says that everyone involved is desperate to see the fight happen as soon as possible but that staging the event in the UK could be a problem.

If it does go ahead then the fight would probably be in the winter of this year.

Money is likely to decide where its staged with the highest bidder in line to secure what is being billed as the richest fight in the history of boxing.

Weather

Clear skies with light variable winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 6 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Overcast with afternoon rain tomorrow.Partially cloudy on Sunday.Highs of 13-15 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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