Evening Update Friday 20 May 2022

The list of ministers in the new French government has been released this evening. Amongst the most prominent appointments, Gerald Darmanin has been appointed as Minister of the Interior, Bruno Le Maire continues as Minister of the Economy and Eric Dupond-Moretti remains as Minister of Justice. Former French Ambassador to the UK, Catherine Colonna, has been appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Amelie de Montchalin has been appointed to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. Sebastien Lecornu is Minister of the Armed Forces. Rima Abdul Malak is the new Culture Minister, Brigitte Bourgignon becomes Minister of Health and Olivier Dusopt is Labour Minister. The first meeting of the new council of ministers will be held on Monday.

The French Interior Ministry has released figures regarding its attempt to curb so-called "urban rodeos" in which vehicles are driven recklessly and often at high speed on public roads. The Ministry said that last weekend there were 1,066 police operations involving 150 arrests and 3,425 fines. 130 vehicles were also seized.

Two parents and one of their children have died after being swept out to sea by waves in the Finistere department in north-west France. The Maritme Prefecture of the Atlantic said that several rescue boats and helicopters had been dispatched to attempt to rescue the three. However, their lives couldn't be saved. Three other family members, aged 13 to 15 witnessed the tragedy.

A man in his fifties has been taken into custody after allegedly attacking a security guard with a knife at a vaccination centre in Marseille. The guard was seriously injured but his life is not in danger.

Traffic was disrupted in the centre of Nice this morning after a heavy goods vehicle got stuck under a bridge on the avenue de Bellet. There were no injuries and the truck was disloged from the bridge this afternoon.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has visited the Eglise Sainte Marie Madeleine to inspect construction and renovation work at the church. Works include the repair of the frescoes, replacing the furniture and renovation of the electrical systems, heating and sound system. The works, which are costing almost 640,000 euros, started last month and should be fully completed around October.

An iconic work of art has been re-installed at Larvotto in Monaco. The cascading fountain by Guy Lartigue has been a fixture at Larvotto since 1970 but has been absent for the past three years because of construction work. The period was used to clean and repair the fountain. An inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II, Minister of State HE Pierre Dartout and members of the government as well as the artist's son.

 

BUSINESS

Consumer confidence in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1974, according to a new survey. Research company GfK's UK Consumer Confidence Barometer saw its headline Index fall in May to its lowest ever score of minus 40. That's one point lower than the previous record set in July 2008 when the headline score plunged to minus 39, meaning that UK consumer confidence is now weaker than during the global banking crisis, the impact of Brexit on the economy and the pandemic.

The Bank of England's Chief Economist has said that the Bank is facing its toughest challenge since it was given the freedom to set interest rates back in 1997. UK consumer price inflation stands at 9.0% and the Bank of England forecasts that it will rise to double digits in the fourth quarter of this year. In a speech delivered in Cardiff this morning Huw Pill said that "for a monetary policy maker charged with achieving an inflation target of 2%, this is obviously a very uncomfortable situation". He suggested that further interest rate rises would be needed to quell inflationary pressures.

 

SPORT

Motorsports... In second practice for the Spanish Grand Prix this afternoon, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fastest, followed by Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in second and third places. Charles Leclerc was fastest in first practice. Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz was second, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third. Lewis Hamilton was sixth quickest.

Football.... It's a busy weekend of Premier League action. On Sunday Arsenal play Everton, Brentford are at home to Leeds, Brighton play West Ham, Burnley play Newcastle, Chelsea play Watford, Crystal Palace play Manchester United, Leicester play Southampton, Liverpool play Wolverhampton, Manchester City play Aston Villa and Norwich play Tottenham.

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