French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that he cannot be certain that bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen on 20 January. Speaking in an interview on French television today he said that he was planning to meet with representatives of the restaurant sector in the coming weeks to discuss when they can reopen and what support is needed because they are going through what he called "terrible times". Managers of from the hospitality sector from all over France are gathering in Paris to demonstrate today.
The Nice City Council has today voted in favour of the installation of new emergency call terminals linked to the Municipal Police. It's planned to install 175 of the terminals on the streets of the city. At it's meeting this morning, the council also voted in favour of the "green network" which involves no longer used bus lanes being transformed into green areas complete with two-way cycle paths. The bus lanes are no longer needed after the introduction of the tramway.
Three people are in hospital after being buried in an avalanche today. They were part of a group of six people skiing on a mountain in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Reports say that he three victims were pulled from the avalanche by their companions before an emergency services helicopter flew them to the hospital in Digne-les-Bains.
A mobile coronavirus testing bus will be visiting several locations in the Var this week. It's in Puget-sur-Argens on Tuesday, Le Luc on Wednesday, Roquebrune-sur-Argens on Thursday, Le Lavandou on Friday and Vidauban on Saturday. The tests are free of charge and you'll need to bring along your Carte Vitale and identity documents. You can get more details on www.var.gouv.fr or on the Var Prefect's Twitter feed.
The Monaco government has said that it strongly recommends that people travelling outside the Principlality take a coronavirus test on their return to Monaco. As of this Wednesday, December 16, all students and residents who return to Monaco for the end of the year celebrations will be able to benefit from free and non-prescription PCR medical screening at the Léo Ferré National Screening Center. From Monday December 21, residents and employees of the Principality returning from a holiday abroad, including in France, and who wish to be tested will also be able to take a test at the same location free of charge and without prescription. Tests can be arranged by contacting the COVID19 Call Center on Monaco 92 05 55 00.
A new temporary bridge is opening today to allow easier access to the village of Tende following damage caused by storm Alex. The previous bridge was washed away in the storm, meaning that the village has had to be accessed by a dirt road. The new bridge on the departmental road 6204 allows access in both directions with traffic alternating to use the single lane.
A new Deputy Director General of the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Regional Health Agency has started his duties today. Sebastien Debeaumont was peviously departmental delegate for the Var.
Google suffered an outage today, with users unable to access many of the company's services. Google said this afternoon that the problems should be resolved soon for all users. Users around the world reported problems with Gmail, Google Drive, the Android Play Store, Maps and other services. Google's search engine, however, apparently remained unaffected by the problems affecting its other services.
The UK government has started talks with French energy company EDF regarding the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Suffolk. The Sizewell C site could generate about 7% of the UK's energy needs. The cost of the project is estimated at £20bn but the UK government has said that any deal would be subject to approval on areas such as value for money and affordability.
US video games company Electronic Arts has made a bid of 945 million pounds for UK company Codemasters. Codemasters said it is now recommending the bid from Electronic Arts instead of a previous bid from New York based Take-Two Interactive.
Football.. The Champions League last-16 draw has been made with Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City, Lazio v Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid v Chelsea, RB Leipzig v Liverpool, Porto v Juventus, Barcelona v Paris St-Germain, Sevilla v Borussia Dortmund and Atalanta v Real Madrid. The first legs will be played in February and March.
Tributes have been paid to French football manager Gerard Houllier who has died at the age of 73. He managed Liverpool from 1998-2004 as well as Aston Villa more recently. In France, he managed Lens, Paris St-Germain and Lyon as well as the French national team.
Rugby Union... The draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup has taken place with New Zealand, France and Italy in the same pool, Pool A. In Pool B it's South Africa, Ireland and Scotland. Wales, Australia and Fiji are in Pool C and England, Japan and Argentina in Pool D. Various qualifying teams will be added into each pool. The full tournament fixture list will be announced at the end of February 2021.
South Africa player Aphiwe Dyantyi has been given a ban after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances. The winger said that he did not knowingly take a banned substance. The ban will run until August 2023 but he has the right to appeal the ruling.
Cricket... Two Brisbane Heat players had to distance from their team-mates during today's Big Bash game against Sydney Thunder following a possible bio-bubble breach. Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence reportedly posed for a photograph with a fan on Saturday. They used a separate changing room and designated seats in the dugout and didn't join any team huddles or celebrations. Cricket Australia have started an investigation. Sydney won the match with seven balls to spare.