Evening Update Thursday 30 April 2020

Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti has sent a letter to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today asking for the start of the school year to be postponed to June 2. He said that a major health risk was posed by the return to school on 11 May because of lack of preapration and because there are "too many fears and questions to envisage a peaceful return to school" on that date. He noted that both Italy and Spain have postponed the return until the start of the next school year in September. Meanwhile, the mayor of Fréjus, David Rachline, has announced that schools will not re-open on May 11 in Frejus and will remain closed until the end of the school year. He said that a reception service would be set up for children whose parents have to return to work.

The French economy has entered recession, according to new figures published today. The economy contracted by 5.8% in the first quarter of this year according to data from French statistics body INSEE. French GDP fell by 0.1% in the final quarter of 2019. A recession is usually defined as two consecutive quarters of falling output.

An increased level of police controls is expected this weekend. Major roads, railway stations and city centres will be heavily monitored. Police reinforcements are being called in and drones and a plane will be used in the Alpes Maritimes to enforce compliance with the lockdown measures.

A distribution of masks is being organised by local authorities in Menton. Pre-registration is first required and you're able to do that from today until 5pm next Tuesday the 5th of May. You can register by going to the website menton.fr/masques and following the instructions there. Alternatively, you can call 04 92 10 50 00, which is open during town hall working hours. The aim is for each local resident to have at least one mask by the 11th of May and at least three masks by the end of the month.

Elsewhere on the Riviera, six drive-in mask distribution points have opened in Antibes today, including ones at Fort Carre and at the Palais des Congrès in Juan-les-Pins. Masks are being distributed in alphabeical order by surname over the next few days, beginning with A-F until 7pm this evening. You'll need to take appropriate ID and proof of address less than 6 months old. On Saturday it's surnames starting with the letters G to L, Tuesday May 5 for M to R and Wednesday May 6 for S to Z. The giveway of masks at the six drive-in points is in addition to the distribution of masks by post to everyone on the electoral register and also the distribution from other collection points around Antibes starting on May 11.

The town of Mandeliu-La-Napoule has made it mandatory to wear a mask in public places from 4 May. The town has also announced plans to hand out a "restart kit" to local merchants before store re-openings on the 11 May. The kit contains masks and gel and is being given out to traders at the town hall on several days next week.

Firefighters were called to the Semboules area of Antibes in the early hours of this morning to extinguish a blaze engulfing five cars. They brought the fire under control and there were no injuries. An investigation has been launched but it's currently thought one car may have been set on fire, which then spread to nearby vehicles.

The French government has launched a scheme to support cyclists. Under the €20 million plan, everyone will be eligible for bike repairs of up to €50 at registered mechanics. The funding will also help pay for cycle training and temporary parking spaces.

Residents of Nice are being invited to celebrate the 1st of May at their windows. The Ville de Nice are inviting everyone to sing the Nice anthem "Nissa la Bella" at 11.00 tomorrow morning. Each year, residents traditionally gather in the Jardin des Arènes in Cimiez on the occasion of the traditional May Festival. But due to the current health crisis preventing the holding of the event, the City of Nice has created a special May Day in confinement. If you're in Nice you can take part in the celebration of the event from your windows and also on the web, where there are lots of other Mayday events. You can get details, as from tomorrow morning, at fetedesmai.nice.fr


BUSINESS

The eurozone economy contracted at the fastest pace on record in the first quarter, according to new data compiled by the EU's statistics agency Eurostat. A first estimate of GDP between January and March showed a contraction of 3.8% from the previous quarter.

Royal Dutch Shell has announced a 46% fall in first-quarter net income to $2.9bn. The company also cut its dividend for the first time since the Second World War and suspended the next tranche of its share buyback programme.

Nissan has said that it is currently planning a gradual resumption in production at it's car plant in Sunderland in June. In a letter to employees it said it was grateful for the support of the UK government which had resulted in it being able furlogh most of its employees.

Twitter has reported a rise in revenues in the first quarter of 3%. However, it also recorded a quarterly net loss of 8.4 million dollars. It said that costs and expenses increased by 18% in the quarter.

 

SPORT

Football... The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has said that resuming the Premier League is a "non-starter", and he fears what he referred to as a "farcical" situation with fans congregating outside Anfield, even if Liverpool are playing at another venue. The Premier League's "Project Restart" envisages the season resuming behind closed doors, possibly on 8 June at "approved venues".

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has said that Harry Kane has recovered from his hamstring injury. Kane had surgery in early January.

Rugby... French rugby union’s top two divisions, the Top 14 and Pro D2, will be abandoned because of the coronavirus pandemic. League organisers and the presidents of clubs agreed to call off the season after recent discussions but it still needs to be confirmed by the national steering committee. Instead, the league will concentrate on the beginning of the next season, expected to start in September.

Athletics... The World Para-Athletics Championships planned for September 2021, have been rescheduled to 2022. The games, which were due to be held in Japan, will now take place from 26 August to 4 September 2022.

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