Evening Update Friday 20 November 2020

President Macron is expected to address the nation at 8pm next Tuesday evening. It's believed that he will comment on possible deconfinement measures and the re-opening of non-essential shops.

Meanwhile, the Black Friday sales event scheduled for 27 November will be postponed by one week if non-essential shops have reopened at that point. In a statement released this afternoon the French Ministry of Finance said that large retailers had agreed to the postponement of Black Friday until 4 December "subject to a reopening of shops by then".

Earlier today French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that "we are on the right track" to consider the reopening of non-essential shops "around 1 December". The Prime Minister made the remarks to a shopkeeper during a visit to Brittany today. He reiterated that the two criterea for reopening are an improvement in health indicators and adapted protocols. He said that if efforts continue in that regard he hoped reopening could occurr "around December 1, that's to say as soon as possible". The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire is meeting representatives of traders today. The Finance Ministry is informing traders of a new health protocol which will be put in place on reopening, subject to being agreed by the High Council for Public Health. Reports say that the new protocol may require all stores to reduce the number of people inside a shop at any one time.

The Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebarri has said that he can't guarantee that people will be free to travel by train for leisure reasons at Christmas. However, he still encouraged people to buy tickets if they wished, saying that tickets would be refundable free of charge.

Mobile operator SFR has inaugurated its first 5G service in France in Nice today. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi was present at the launch event this morning. The operator said that as of now over 50% of the population of Nice is covered by 5G. The mayor said that its use will "revolutionize the digital world and open up new avenues in research and everyday life". Regarding possible health concerns, the mayor said that the health and safety of the people of Nice are his priority. He said that the deployment of 5G is the subject of the signing of a charter of recommendations by all telephone operators and if he had "the slightest doubt" he "would never have signed up". SFR said that the next areas to receive 5G services will be Montpellier, Bordeaux, Nantes, Marseille and Paris Ile-de-France.

One person has been arrested after a stabbing in the Carras gardens in the west of Nice. The municipal police said that it took just 32 minutes to arrest the alleged perpetrator thanks to video surveillance systems.

The Maritime Prefecture has revealed that a major operation involving the inspection of a ship took place this week. A cattle transport ship flying the Comorian flag was boarded in order to carry out a check of crew members and cargo. A French navy frigate and helicopter, a maritime gendarmerie speedboat and a customs boat were involved in the operation. The prefect said that checks on board the ship confirmed discrepancies in the ship's official declarations to the French authorities, including the presence of additional people on board. As a result the ship was denied access to port facilities in addition to being banned from French territorial waters.

Monaco is taking part in a Europe-wide environmental initiative this coming week. The European Week for Waste Reduction is taking place from tomorrow until 29 November. The theme of the 2020 edition is “invisible waste” such as waste which is generated to design, produce, package and deliver products to stores and is therefore invisible to consumers. The week will also raise awareness of the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The Agglomeration Cannes Lerins is asking people to donate second hand toys. A collection is taking place at several venues in the area from tomorrow until December 13. The toys collected are are entrusted to the Emmaüs  Alpes-Maritimes association, which then sells them in the association's shop to raise funds or offers them to families of modest means. You can find more information at https://cannespaysdelerins.fr/index.php/agenda/



UK government borrowing hit £22.3bn in October which is the highest figure for October since comparable records began in 1993. Revealing the figures today, the Office for National Statistics said that the pandemic is having a "substantial effect" on public finances.

Retail sales in the UK have risen for the sixth consecutive month. Sales rose by 1.2% last month, partly because of early Christmas shopping and discounting by retailers.

Marks & Spencer has said that it will keep 400 of its stores open until midnight in the run up to Christmas. The retailer said that the hours for about two-thirds of its stores would be in operation for three evenings from 21 December. The move comes as many retailers adopt measures to try to recoup revenue lost during lockdown.



Tennis.... Novak Djokovic is through to the last four of the ATP Finals after defeating Alexander Zverev in straight sets this afternoon. The final score was 6-3  7-6.

Rugby Union.. Scotland's Autumn Nations Cup match against Fiji on 28 November has been cancelled due to 29 cases of Covid-19 in Fiji's touring party. Fiji's matches against France and Italy have already been called off.

One of the highlights of the Autumn Nations Cup is coming up tomorrow with England against Ireland in Group A. The match kicks off at 4pm our time with Wales hosting Georgia at 6.15. On Sunday Scotland play rapidly improving France in Group B.

There are two games in the Gallagher Premiership in England tonight.Harlequins play Exeter and Sale play Northampton.

Football....In the English Premier League this weekend on Saturday Newcastle play Chelsea, Aston Villa play Brighton, Spurs host Manchester City and Manchester United host West Brom. On Sunday Fulham play Everton, Sheffield United play West Ham, Leeds host Arsenal and Liverpool play Leicester. On Monday Burnley play Crystal Palace and Wolves host Southampton.

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