French and Riviera News Tuesday 25th February 2020

Local

Two people tested for coronavirus in Monaco - Two people, including an Italian, have been admitted to the Princess-Grace Hospital Center here in Monaco to undergo tests for the coronavirus. Tests were carried out following their admission on Monday and were later sent to Marseille. The results are expected today.

Meanwhile two suspected cases of the Coronavirus reported on Monday in the Alpes Maritimes have both tested negative for the virus. The two people, one from Beausoleil and the other from Cap d’Ail, had recently been to Lombardy in Italy, which is one of the areas affected by the virus. The Italian authorities have revealed that more than two hundred people had contracted the virus and announced the quarantine of more than 50,000 people, spread over eleven municipalities in north of the country, a few hundred kilometers from the French border.

The Prefecture and the Regional Health Authority on Monday presented their plan of action should there be confirmed cases of the virus on the Riviera. There will be no closure of the border with Italy however additional facilities will be made available at Nice University hospital to accommodate any coronavirus cases.

The Health Authority is also reminding people that if in doubt, you should not go to your doctor but dial 15.  A national coronavirus helpline has also been set up on 0800 130 000.

Tree pruner dies after suffering fall - An investigation has been opened after a tree pruner in Cannes died when he fell from his ladder. The accident occurred shortly after 9.30 on Monday morning while the 58-year-old victim was working in a private garden. Emergency services at the scene were unable to save the victim. Authorities are to determine the cause of the fall and to establish if safety regulations were respected.

Local elections - With the local elections fast approaching a survey carried out by Ifop-Fiducial and published this week has shown that in Nice the mayor, Christian Estrosi is favourite with 49% of voting intention. There are just three weeks to go before the first round of voting is held on March 15th.

Demonstrators gather in Nice to show support for Julian Assange - Demonstrators have gathered on Place Garibaldi in Nice to show their support for the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange. The rally was organized by the Human Rights League to coincide with his appearance in court in London on Monday. Those supporting the famous whistleblower are “requesting for asylum rights in France”.

Assange, who was arrested in London on April 11th, 2019, has appeared before the British courts, which must decide on the extradition request filed by the American authorities. The whistleblower is on 18 counts by the United States and could face sentences of up to 175 years in prison.

Police in the Var have launched a missing persons appeal after 17 year old Hilel Lamqadden, who hasn’t been seen since leaving his home in Luc-en-Provence on Saturday. Described as thin with short black hair he was last seen wearing a black jacket dark trousers and white trainers. Anyone with any information can contact the Le Luc brigade on 04 94 500 500.

Two drivers have been stopped on the A7 motorway in the Vaucluse department after doing over 200 km per hour. One of the drivers, who is from Cannes and was driving a Range Rover, was apparently clocked at 205 km per hour. A driver of a BMW 3 Series was pulled over in the same area after being flashed at 203km per hour. Both had their licenses immediately suspended.

Toulon-Hyères airport will be closed for 48 hours in early April to allow renovation work on the runways. The airport will be closed from just after the departure of Air France flight AF7501 on the 6th of April until the end of the day on the 8th of April.

Jazz à Juan - The lineup for the 60th edition of the Juan Les Pins Jazz festival has been announced. This year’s Jazz à Juan is expected to welcome some of the greats from Diana Ross, Lionel Richie to Herbie Hancock. The festival takes place at the Pinède in Juan Les Pins from July 9th to the 22nd.

The Alpes Maritimes has been placed on red alert for cypress pollen. The Var is also on red alert. The exceptionally mild winter has contributed to the high levels of cypress pollen, but some other types of pollen, such as ash and alder pollen, are still low.

National

EU - In a final draft of the EU’s negotiating position agreed by ambassadors on Monday, member states will demand the right to punish Britain if the government fails to shadow the Brussels rulebook in the future. The document ready for ministerial sign off today, establishes the bloc’s developing environmental, social and workers’ standards as the baseline for a trade deal.

The trial of former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope has been postponed because of industrial action by lawyers in Paris. The trial had begun on Monday morning, but reports say that it has now been delayed to Wednesday afternoon. The couple deny accusations of misusing more than €1m of state money to pay Madame Fillon for an allegedly non-existent role of parliamentary assistant.

Mona Lisa - A French street artist’s interpretation of the Mona Lisa made of 330 Rubik’s Cubes has sold for 480,200 euros at a modern art auction in Paris. The piece sold well above presale estimates of up to 150,000 euros.

The 2005 artwork by anonymous street artist Invader uses the plastic puzzles’ squares to create a mosaic of the Mona Lisa and her famous smile.

Business

Stock markets around the world have seen some of their sharpest falls in years after a rise in coronavirus cases raised fears about a global economic slowdown.

Markets from Asia to Wall Street all suffered steep losses as investors ditched equities and raced towards safe havens including the Yen and gold which hit its highest level in 7 years.

The stock market declines came as the coronavirus outbreak continued to spread beyond China with Iran ,South Korea and Italy all reporting a spike in cases.

Analysts say that there’s been complacency in recent weeks despite signals that China’s economy is facing a big hit  and that supply chains around the world are being affected.

The losses on Wall Street on Monday wiped out gains for the year so far with a number of firms with exposure to China including Walt Disney ,Nike and Apple among the hardest hits.

Travel firms and airlines have also been badly affected with shares in Easyjet down 16.7 percent on concerns that people will start to avoid travelling.

 

Oil prices have risen this morning as investors snapped up perceived bargains after benchmark crude prices dropped by more than 4 percent in the previous session.

Brent Crude rose by half a percent to 56 dollars 59 a little earlier this morning with West Texas Intermediate up 0.4 percent to 51 dollars 65.

However ,the rally was curtailed on growing concerns that the spread of the coronavirus could cause much greater economic damage than initially thought.

On Monday the World Health Organisation said that the virus could still be beaten and insisted that it was premature to declare it a pandemic even though it has the potential to reach that level.

Volatility on oil markets and in the wider financial world are set to continue.

 

And-European Union ministers will meet later to finalise the mandate for post-Brexit trade talks with the UK.

A document to be approved by the EU General Affairs Council this morning will be the basis for future negotiations.

It’s expected to state that a trade deal should be based on EU rules in “some areas” as a reference point.

In London ,UK Ministers will meet at 10 Downing Street to discuss the government’s opening stance for negotiations.

The early noises coming out of both London and Brussels are that both sides will be setting out a number of red line areas where they’re not prepared to compromise which could result in fraught negotiations and a possible no-deal scenario at the end of the transition period.

 

Sport

Athletics-Fresh questions have been raised about the relationship between Mo Farah and his disgraced former coach Alberto Salazar.

A BBC Panorama investigation has shown that the athlete repeatedly denied to US Anti-Doping authorities that he’d received injections of a controversial supplement L-carnitine before the 2014 London Marathon.

Later ,he changed his story and said that he’d forgotten.

The Panorama programme entitled “Mo Farah and the Salazar Scandal” was screened last night and contained further allegations against the coach.

Both men deny any wrongdoing  and Salazar is currently appealing against a four year ban for doping which was handed to him by panel of US arbitrators in October last year.

Football-Liverpool came from behind to beat West Ham 3-2 at Anfield last night and open up a 22 point lead at the top of the English Premier League.

The win means that Liverpool equal the English top flight record of 18 successive wins which was set by Manchester City in December 2017.

The defeat keeps West Ham in the relegation zone.

There are two first leg round of 16 ties in the European Champions League tonight.

Chelsea host Bayern Munich and Napoli play Barcelona.

Boxing-Tyson Fury’s promoter has said that he’ll make a fight against Anthony Joshua “happen”.

Frank Warren says that he’s been trying to make the fight for the past two years and that it will happen if the fans want it.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn  has also said that the big showdown for the unification of the heavyweight division will happen.

Deontay Wilder ,who was beaten by Fury in Las Vegas on Saturday night has the right to rematch in his contract but has to take up the option within 30 days.

He’s blamed his ring-walk costume for the defeat saying that it was “too heavy” and he “didn’t have the legs” for the fight as a result.

Rugby Union-England are set to be without prop Mako Vunipola for the 6 Nations game against Wales on March the 7th.

Vunipola missed the Ireland game after travelling to Tonga for family reasons and is unlikely to be back for the Wales match.

Anthony Watson could return if he comes through a fitness test.

Weather

Partially cloudy with a strong westerly wind developing across the Var.

Top temperature 16 degrees.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with clear skies and strong westerly winds.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine in coastal areas with continuing strong westerly winds and highs of 15 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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