Francesco Totti to star in Fight AIDS Cup

The Fight AIDS Cup will return for a third edition next Monday with footballing legends Francesco Totti, Clarence Seedorf and Luca Toni all set to participate in the charitable football match. 

The event at the Stade Louis II, organised within the framework of the 45th International Circus Festival, will raise money for Princess Stéphanie’s charity, Fight AIDS Monaco.

As with previous editions, stars of football’s past and present will descend on the Principality for a match – organised by Barbagiuans’ president Louis Ducruet – between Prince Albert II’s Barbagiuans and Princess Stéphanie’s Cirque FC.

Claude Puel, who led AS Monaco to the French title in 2000, will be on a Barbagiuans’ side that has lost the previous two editions.

“Through this match, we are defending a beautiful cause and the stakes are not limited to the result. Despite this, the Barbagiuans really want to win, to reverse the trend, and experience the joy of being, for the first time, the holders of the title,” said 61-year-old Puel, who has also managed local rivals Nice, as well as Leicester City and Southampton in the Premier League.

Sébastien Frey will captain a Cirque FC side that also includes last year’s Man of the Match, Luca Toni, as well as Clarence Seedorf and Robert Pires. On the opposing team, Charles Leclerc will line up for the Barbaguians alongside former Chelsea player Ricardo Carvalho.

A charitable match in name and purpose, next Monday’s Fight AIDS Cup is expected to be once again a fierce contest of some of the former greats of the game, all while raising money for a good cause.

Tickets can be bought on AS Monaco’s online ticket office, or at the Stade Louis II.


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Photo by Monaco Life

World Economic Forum 2023: Ukraine, cost of living and climate on Davos agenda

The World Economic Forum kicked off in a big way on Monday, with a serious list of items of concern being tackled by everyone from heads of state to business leaders. Here’s what’s on the schedule.

Known simply as Davos after the Swiss municipality it is held in, the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 is running until 20th January with a laundry list of 2,700 invitees discussing and looking to find solutions to major issues facing the world today. In all, 50 heads of state, 200 cabinet ministers and 1,500 business people are set to attend live and in person for the first time since 2020.   

Under the theme of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, the week-long conference is touching on five key topics, the first being the war in Ukraine. The war-torn country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is set to speak via video link. For the second year running, Russia will not be attending the event, but a sizable Ukrainian representation will be there.  

The implications of the conflict in Ukraine are far reaching, disrupting global security, food and energy production, as well as forcing countries to look at their current defence policies.  

The cost-of-living crisis will arguably be the main subject of the week being taken on. Experts from the WEF are calling 2023 the “Year of the Polycrisis”, a rather alarming moniker for the entwined problems facing people all over the planet, which, as such, are more and more difficult to solve.  

Inflation and recession worldwide will be discussed, and leaders from both the banking world and governments will then have to decide whether to spend more on their people to limit the impact on societies or raise interest rates to stave off inflation, with the potential outcome being global recession. 

The climate also tops the programme, with activists already on-site decrying the private jet-flying elites who are attending for not taking this issue as seriously as is necessary. This issue has been a mainstay on the Davos agenda for a decade or more, and this year’s talks will centre on new technologies. Investment in hydrogen energy will be a hot topic, as will sustainable fuel sources. 

Food security also made the top list. Linked with climate in many ways, much of the world is facing food shortages due to unpredictable weather patterns and natural disasters that have played havoc on supplies. Warnings that there will be more people going hungry in 2023 than in previous years is prompting the questions on how to reverse this trend and stop the situation from spiralling even further.  

The “fourth industrial revolution” will also be widely talked about. This term is being used in conjunction with technology and innovation, and talks will go in-depth on interconnectivity, artificial intelligence usages, quantum computing, and how to best govern and regulate these issues.  


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Photo source: World Economic Forum/Flickr

Weather warnings for Southern France


It’s time to bid adieu to the mild weather of recent weeks and wrap up warm ahead of falling temperatures. 

Drizzle turned briefly to sleet and snow – la neige fondue – across some parts of the French Riviera on Tuesday morning as temperatures dipped close to freezing. The coast quickly warmed, but towards the interior of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, and the greater Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the mercury is likely to remain around 1°C and will do for the rest of the week.  

The cold is sweeping down from the Arctic and looks set the continue into the weekend and next week. Temperatures will hover around the averages for this time of year, but after comparatively warm climes since mid to late-December, this bout of chillier weather will be felt by all.  

The Var has been placed on orange alert for coastal flooding until Wednesday, although tidal surges may also be experienced along the bord de mer from Nice to Menton, according to France 3.  

Up in the mountains, it was a windy weekend, causing Météo France to set the avalanche warning to 3 out of 5 in the western parts of the south of France. Ski resorts and the mountains of the Mercantour, which include the popular ski resorts of Isola 2000 and Auron, have received less powerful conditions and decreased snowfall compared to the rest of the Alpes du Sud, thus lowering the risks of an avalanche. Nevertheless, many of the region’s high altitude resorts are running at almost full capacity, with further snow to come in the next 10 days. 


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Photo source: Fun Radio Côte d’Azur/Facebook

SBM’s Biamonti announces early departure

The Société des Bains de Mer has confirmed that outgoing Deputy Chairman Jean-Luc Biamonti will be stepping aside for his successor Stéphane Valéri earlier than expected.

In his traditional new year address to SBM staff on Monday 16th January, the long-running deputy chairman announced that he will be stepping down at the end of a Board of Directors meeting on 23rd and 24th January 2023. He was due to maintain his role until the board meeting of 31st March.

Biamonti has been director since 1985, chairman of the board of directors since 1995 and deputy chairman since 2013. On Tuesday, he congratulated his team on helping the company achieve excellent results. “With all my heart, I wish the best for this magnificent company and for all of you,” he said.

According to Biamonti, figures so far indicate that SBM is on track this financial year to break the 2007/2008 operating record.

Former National Council President Stéphane Valeri, who was due to step into his position on Monday 3rd April, will be officially appointed at the end of the Board of Directors in January.

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Photo: File photo by Monaco Life



Jean-Luc Biamonti: “I will leave SBM in good shape, and with a warm heart”

Covid cases plunge as new sub-variant makes its way to Europe

The Covid incidence rate has fallen to just 64 in Monaco, the lowest since October 2021. However, a new Omicron subvariant first identified in the US and believed to be more contagious, is expected to arrive in a matter of weeks.

According to the government’s weekly health figures, the Covid situation in Monaco is very encouraging. Just 25 residents tested positive for the virus in the week ending 15th January. The incidence rate has halved in a week, dropping from 115 to 64, matching levels not seen since the first week of October 2021. Meanwhile, 12 people, including eight from Monaco, are being treated for severe Covid in the Princess Grace Hospital Centre.

Although positive, it may not necessarily signal that the end of the epidemic is in sight. A new Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5, has been detected in the United States and should arrive in Europe within one or two months, according to the European Centre for Disease Control (EDCD). It has become the dominant strain in New York, and is more contagious and resistant to antibodies, say health authorities. However, the variant is not believed to cause more serious forms of the virus, nor is it certain that it would take hold as the dominant variant here. “The rapid growth in the US does not necessarily mean that the variant will become dominant in the EU/EEA, since major differences in variant circulation between North America and Europe have been observed several times during the pandemic,” said the ECDC in a statement on 9th January.

China is also facing an enormous epidemic wave, with its hospitals and funeral homes overwhelmed by the number of Covid-related deaths. Around 60,000 people have died in hospital since the lifting of health restrictions a month ago, according to authorities.

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Photo by Monaco Life