Parts of our region have experienced significant thunderstorms today. Areas around the border of the Var and the Alpes Maritimes were particularly affected by storms beginning late this morning, with hailstones being reported in several places. Both departments are on a Meteo France yellow alert for storms until late this evening, with locally heavy rainfall and hail again being possible. A yellow warning is also in place for storms from around midday to at least 4pm tomorrow. Upper parts of the Var river are also on a yellow alert for flooding.
French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner has said that thirty investigations were opened last year into racist comments by police officers. He said that of those, twenty two were referred to the justice system. Echoing remarks he made yesterday, the minister said that he wanted there to be a systematic suspension of police officers in such cases. He added that there are 150,000 police officers and 100,000 gendarmes and that twenty two people is "ultimately very few but they are 22 people who wear the uniform of the Republic".
The Governor of the Banque de France has said that the economy should regain its pre-pandemic level of economic activity by mid-2022. In an interview this morning François Villeroy de Galhau said that the French economy is "recovering fairly quickly from the brutal plunge of March" but that "we are far from out of the woods". He added that an economic contraction of about 10 % was expected for 2020, followed by a rebound of 7% in 2021 and 4% in 2022. However, he cautioned that there are "very strong uncertainties" around those projections, including the progression of the virus and the extent to which people are prepared to spend their savings. The central bank also published unemployment projections today forecasting that a peak unemployment rate of 11.8% could be reached around the middle of next year.
A new date has been announced for one of the Riviera's top athletics events. The Ironman triathlon competition was originally due to take place on 14 June but organizers today announced a new date of 11 October. The new date has been arranged in coordination with the city of Nice.
Two vehicles were involved in a head-on collision in Montaroux this afternoon. The accident happened on the Route du Lac. Both drivers suffered injuries which are not thought to be serious.
French finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has reveled an increased state aid package for the aeronautical sector. Including previously announced support measures, the package amounts to some 15 billion euros. The Minister said that the government was "declaring a state of emergency" to save the aeronautical industry and that one third of jobs in the sector could be lost if the state didn't intervene immediately.
Meanwhile, airline Cathay Pacific has received a state bailout. The Hong Kong government is taking a 6% stake in the airline as part of a package worth 39 billion Hong Kong Dollars, which is about 5 billion US dollars. Executive level pay cuts will be implemeted and the company said that in the longer term, "all aspects of the Cathay Pacific Group's business model will be re-evaluated."
Figures released by the UK treasury show that about 8.9 million workers are now covered by the government's furlough scheme. The scheme allows employees to receive 80% of their monthly salary up to £2,500. A similar scheme for the self-employed has seen 2.6 million claims made.
Honda has said it is dealing with a cyber-attack that's impacting its operations around the world. The company released a statement this afternoon saying that the attack was affecting its ability to access its servers, use email and otherwise make use of its internal systems and said that there is also "an impact on production systems outside of Japan".
Football.... The French Council of State has rejected an appeal to resume the League 1 season. However, the highest administrative appeal court in France suspended the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse, who had been relegated to League 2.
In England, the League One and League Two seasons have both been ended early after a vote by clubs today. Both league tables will be settled on points per game. The League Two play-off final will be held at Wembley on 29 June but the dates for the League One play-offs have yet to be confirmed.
Liverpool player Adam Lallana has extended his deal with the club until the end of this season. He moved to Liverpool from Southampton in 2014 and his contract had been due to expire at the end of this month.
Brazil has withdrawn its bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup. It will now support Colombia's bid. Fifa is expected to make a decision on the host country for the tournament on 25 June. The other bids are from Japan and a joint application by Australia and New Zealand.
Cricket.... The West Indies team have arrived in Manchester to begin their Test tour. All 39 members of the touring party tested negative for Covid-19 before taking the flight from Antigua to Manchester. The series starts on 8 July behind closed doors. West Indies are the first international sports team to arrive in the UK since the lockdown started in the UK in March.