Evening Update Friday 24 July 2020

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that travellers arriving at French airports from sixteen countries will be tested for the coronavirus. The Prime Minister made the announcement on a visit to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris this afternoon and said that the scheme should be fully operational by 1 August. Similar measures will be put into operation at French ports. According to reports, the countries are the United States, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Panama, South Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Serbia, Algeria, Turkey, Madagascar, India and Oman. The Prime Minister clarified that travellers from the sixteen countries will be required to have a test before boarding planes to come to France and if that has not happened then they will be tested upon arrival. If they are positive for the coronavirus they will then have to go into 14 day isolation.

The Prime Minister also said this afternoon that the government strongly recommends that the French avoid going to Catalonia in Spain "as long as the health situation does not improve".

A man has suffered stab wounds in the Moulins area of Nice. Police were called to the boulevard Paul-Montel in the early hours of this morning, not far from the Casino supermarket where shots were fired on Monday. The 28 year old man suffered stab wounds to the leg, which are not thought to be serious. He was taken to the Pasteur 2 hospital under police escort.

The League of Human Rights has filed a complaint against Nice mayor Christian Estrosi, accusing him of "public defamation of a racial nature". The allegations centre around remarks made about the Chechen community during a television interview given by the mayor on 16 June.

A free Covid-19 testing station has been in operation on the Place Massena in Nice today. No appointments are necessary and a PCR test by nasal swab is available to local residents and holidaymakers alike. An identity card is required and a form needs to be filled out. Results are available 48 hours after the test. The station will be on the Place Massena for the rest of the summer from 8am to 9pm every day except Sunday. It's planned that other mobile stations will be in operation throughout other areas of Nice.

A well known classical music singer from the Var has died from stab wounds. It's believed that 59 year old Monique Borelli was stabbed by her 18 year old son at the family home near Aix-en-Provence. She was a graduate of the Conservatoire de Marseille and was a medalist at the Conservatoire de Nice. A judicial investigation has been opened.

A search for a swimmer off the coast of the Var was called off last night and is believed to have been a possible false alarm. Emergency services received a call saying that a swimmer was in difficulty about 300 metres off the Plage des Bonnettes in La Pradet. The regional operations centre Cross-Med was alerted and firefighters searched for the swimmer but nobody was found and no person has been reported as missing.

The Plage des Ondes on the Cap d'Antibes has reopened to swimmers. The beach had been closed since yesterday because of water contamination, which is now believed to have been caused by a local resident emptying their swimming pool. The water quality has now been checked and found to be normal.

Two forest massifs in the Var have been put on red alert for the risk of fire for the first time this summer. During the summer the prefecture of Var regulates entry, traffic and parking on certain roads serving the 9 Var forest massifs and publishes a map of fire risks every day before 7 p.m. for the following day. The two massifs at the red "extreme" level today, Friday, are the Monts Toulonnais and the Corniche des Maures. A further four massifs are classified as at a "severe" risk.  You can find further details on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr

Heavy traffic is expected on the region’s roads today and tomorrow as the busy summer holiday season continues. Saturday has been declared ‘red’ by the French road monitor Bison Fute with roads to the Atlantic coast , Mediterranean resorts and the Rhone Valley forecast to be extremely busy. Motorists are advised to put journeys off until Sunday if possible.

 

BUSINESS

Goldman Sachs has reached a settlement with the Malaysian government regarding the nation's sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB. The Malaysian Ministry of Finance said in a statement today that Goldman Sachs has agreed to a total settlement of 3.9 billion US Dollars to resolve outstanding charges and claims related to three bond transactions that the company had structured and arranged for 1MDB. The Ministry said that with today's settlement amount and the monies that Malaysia has already received from the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 4.5 billion US dollars will be returned to the people of Malaysia.

In the UK, the volume of retail sales increased by 13.9% in June compared to May. The Office for National Statistics said that the two monthly increases in the volume of retail sales in May and June have brought total sales to a similar level as before the coronavirus pandemic.  However, it said that there is a mixed picture in different store types.

British Gas owner Centrica has announced the sale of its north American energy supply business Direct Energy. It will be acquired by US energy company NRG Energy in a deal worth 3.6 billion dollars.

Business activity in the Eurozone has risen for the first time since the pandemic began, according to a widely watched survey of purchasing managers. The survey recorded an initial figure of 54.8, up from 48.5 in June. A figure above 50 indicates expenasion, while one below 50 shows contraction.

 

SPORT

Motorsports..Formula 1 has called off the US, Canadian, Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix this year. Instead, three further races in Europe are to be added to the calendar - In Germany, Italy and Portugal.

Football... Jordan Henderson has won the Football Writers' Association Men's Footballer of the Year award. The Liverpool captain received more than one quarter of the votes. The other players in the top five were Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Kevin de Bruyne and Marcus Rashford.

The final day of the English Premier League season is being played on Sunday. Arsenal play Watford .Burnley host Brighton. Chelsea play Wolves. Crystal Palace host Spurs. Everton play Bournemouth. Leicester face Manchester United. Manchester City play Norwich. Newcastle host Liverpool. Southampton face Sheffield United  and West Ham play Aston Villa.

Cricket...The third and final Test between England and West Indies is underway at Old Trafford today with both sides still in with a chance of winning the series. West Indies won the first Test at Southampton with England winning the second Test. Jofra Archer is back for England after serving a one match suspension for breaking England’s bio-secure bubble before the second Test.

Tennis... Eleven further ATP and WTA tournaments have been cancelled after China announced that no sporting events will be held for the rest of this year. WTA chairman Steve Simon said that the organization was "extremely disappointed" but respected the decision that's been made.

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