Evening Update Thursday 24 September 2020

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has said that he's aiming to change the 10pm closing time for restaurants in Nice announced by central government last night. Health Minister Olivier Veran announced that Nice is being classified as an "enhanced alert zone" meaning that various additional restrictions are being introduced. The mayor has said that he is proposing to the Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes that a health protocol be introduced to prevent the closure of sports halls, bars and restaurants as envisaged by central government. The mayor held a meeting this morning with a group of owners of local bars and restaurants who are against the imposition of a 10pm closing time.

Meanwhile, the acting Mayor of Marseille has reacted with anger to new restrictions affecting the city announced by the Health Minister. As a result of the Aix-Marseille metropolis being place in the "maximum alert" category, amongst other measures bars and restaurants will be forced to close for two weeks from this Saturday. At a press conference today acting Mayor Benoit Payan  said the measures had been imposed without consultation and called for a delay of ten days in their implementation. He called for "respect for the second city of France". However, the Health Minister has responded this afternoon by saying that extensive local consultation has taken place over the past few weeks, including a visit he had made to Marseille on 27 of August when he met with many local officials.

The management of hospitals in Paris have said that they will have to start cancelling some planned operations from this weekend in order to accomodate a new influx of covid-19 patients. The hospitals said that they had 50 patients in intensive care with the virus at the beginning of this month but were expecting the number to rise to 200 by the end of the month.

A court in Paris has reportedly rejected various appeals by Nicolas Sarkozy in a case regarding alleged Libyan financing of his 2007 presidential campaign. The appeals by the former president and several of his former ministers had contested the validity of the investigation which now continues.

A group of illegal immigrants has been discovered in a truck in the Var. Reports say that the driver heard voices in the rear compartment of the vehicle while at a rest area on the A8 motorway. He immediately informed police. Some of the immigrants are applying for political asylum whilst others are required to leave France.  

Meteo France have a yellow alert for the Alpes Maritimes for storms until 2am tomorrow morning and for heavy rain and flooding until about midnight tonight. As far as the Var is concerned, they have a yellow warning for storms until about 2am tonight. There is also a yellow warning for high winds in the Var from 3pm tomorrow.

Beaches in Antibes Juan les Pins are fully open again today. Recent bad weather led to the closure of  beaches because of contamination. The municipality says that numerous analyzes of sea water have been carried out. The results show that the quality of the bathing water complies with the health standards meaning the beaches can be reopened.


BUSINESS

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a series of measures to support the UK economy. A new scheme known as the Jobs Support Scheme will replace the furlough scheme when it ends. Under the new measures, workers in certain businesses who have not been able to return to the workplace full time due to the pandemic will get a total of up to 77% of their normal salary for six months. The amount will be made up of contributions by the employer and the government. To qualify for the scheme workers will need to be working at least one third of their normal hours. The Jobs Retention furlough scheme is due to finish at the end of October. The Chancellor also announced that a reduction in VAT for hospitality and tourism businesses will be extended.

In Australia, Westpac bank has agreed to pay 1.3 billion Australian Dollars for the breach of money laundering laws. Last year Australian regulator Austrac said the bank had failed to adequately report over 19 million international transactions. The amount still needs court approval but if approved it will be the largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history.

Cinema operator Cineworld has reported a loss of $1.6bn for the six months to June. Group revenue fell to $712.4m in the period compared with $2.15bn last year. All sites across the group closed in mid-March because of the pandemic and started to re-open in June. Cineworld is the second largest cinema business in the world by number of screens and operates in the UK, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel and the United States.


SPORT

Football... Chelsea have signed goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Mendy plays at international level for Senegal and is joining Chelsea on a five year contract from French Ligue 1 side Rennes.

English National League club Wrexham have said that two Hollywood actors have expressed an interest in investing in the club. Wrexham's members have voted in favour of going ahead with talks with Ryan Reynolds and Rob Mc Elhenney. The club has been owned by its supporters since 2011 and is the oldest football club in Wales, having been established in 1864.

Rugby Union... The schedule for the Rugby Championship has been criticised by New Zealand Rugby. The All Blacks are playing Australia on 12 December in Sydney and will need to quarantine for 14 days afterwards, meaning they would still be isolating at Christmas. The Chief Executive of New Zealand Rugby Mark Robinson said that they hadn't agreed to the schedule and had been working on the basis that the All Blacks' last match would be on 5 December.

Cricket... Former Australia batsman Dean Jones has died at the age of 59.  He played in 52 Tests from 1984 to 1992 including in a match between Australia and India in 1986 in which he had an innings of 210 runs.

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