Evening Update Monday 27 July 2020

The French government has announced an end to heated outdoor cafe and restaurant terraces. The change won't be implemented before next spring. The announcement was made by the Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pomp-ili, who justified the measure by saying "you cannot heat a terrace at full capacity in the middle of winter for the simple pleasure of drinking your coffee while you are hot". It was one of a list of measures which will be implemented as part of the Citizen's Convention on the Climate. The Convention was established by President Macron as a result of the "Great National Debate" last year in the wake of the Yellow Vest Protests. The measures announced today also include a prohibition on the installation of oil and coal fired boilers in new homes and, from January 2022, such boilers which have broken down will have to be replaced with more ecologicaly friendly equipment. Also, tenants of certain premises which consume large amounts of energy will be able to demand that their landlord installs more efficient equipment. The Minister also confirmed the creation of two new national parks and a nature reserve.

New figures show a significant rise in unemployment in France in the second quarter of this year. Overall unemployment increased by 23.2% in the April to June period, bringing the number to just over 6.1 million people. The month of June showed a sharp fall in so-called "Category A" unemployment - in other words, people who had no employment activity at all. However, there was a rise in Categories B and C - those who had reduced employment activity.

The French government has advised businesses to build up their stocks of protective masks ahead of a potential second wave of the coronavirus. In a communication sent to businesses today, the govenment recommends that they "build up a preventative stock of protective masks for ten weeks" to be able to cope with any resurgence in the virus.

Many parts of France have experienced heatwave conditions today. Meteo France said that temperatures of 40 degrees were expected today in the Midi-Pyrénées, with 32 in Paris, 34 in Bordeaux and Strasbourg, 37 in Lyon and 39 in Toulouse. In the Southwest temperatures around the level of monthly July records were expected. A cool air mass is forecast to bring temperatures down tomorrow but the mercury is expected to rise again towards the end of the week with highs of 38-39 degrees in places.

Locally, traffic has been disrupted in the west of Nice after a car caught fire late this afternoon. Seven firefighters with two fire engines extinguished the blaze and nobody was injured. The incident took place on the route de Grenoble in an area between the Voie Mathis and the A8 access ramp, disrupting traffic as the rush hour got underway.

Thieves have stolen merchandise from a charity shop in Brignoles run by the Jules Bianchi Association. The association aims to raise funds for patients at L'Archet hospital. The Formula 1 driver died in 2015 at the age of 25 from injuries sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix and received treatment at the hospital in Nice. Bianchi's mother has warned about the stolen items possibly being resold online.

 

BUSINESS

Ryanair has reported a loss of €185m in the April to June period, compared with a profit of €243m a year earlier. The company said that it was the most challenging period in its history, with more than 99% of its fleet grounded because of the pandemic. Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said that further pay reductions and job losses couldn't be ruled out if the pandemic gets worse. Ryanair also said today that it will continue to fly to and from airports in Spain as normal, despite the 14-day quarantine period the UK government has imposed on arrivals from Spain. However, speaking to the BBC, Ryanair's chief financial officer Neil Sora-han said that the airline was keeping its entire operation "under consideration" as it brings back its route network post-lockdown. Meanwhile, EasyJet has said this afternoon that it's cancelling holidays to all Spanish destinations for the next few weeks, but flights will still go ahead.

A widely watched analysis of the UK economy has suggested that the economy may not return to pre-pandemic levels of activity until 2024. The EY Item Club forecast says that unemployment could rise to 9% and the UK economy may contract by 11.5% this year.

A survey of German businesses has suggested that optimism about future conditions is increasing. The Ifo Institute business expectations survey rose to 97.0 in July from 91.6 in June, which is the highest level since late 2018.

 

SPORT

Cricket.... Rain has prevented any play at Old Trafford today on day four of the third test. England will need to take eight wickets on the final day to win the Test and series. West Indies are 10-2, chasing  399 runs to win.

David Willey and Reece Topley have been named in the England squad for the three one-day internationals against Ireland. Willey last played for England over a year ago and Topley was last in the squad in February 2016. The series against Ireland begins this Thursday.

Football... Jan Verton-ghen has left Tottenham on a free transfer. He made 315 appearances for the club over the past eight years. The Belgian joined Tottenham from Ajax in 2012.

In the English Championship, tonight sees the second semi-final between Cardiff and Fulham.

Rugby Union.... Harlequins have signed Craig Trenier from Championship team Ealing Trailfinders. The 26-year-old former Richmond team member plays at tighthead prop and also played for Ireland Under-20's.

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