Evening Update Friday 21 April 2023

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that the energy tarriff shield will be maintained until 2025. He said that energy prices still remain very high. When the shield is eventually lifted it will be done gradually. The shield on electricity, which limits increases in prices, has been in place since October 2021. He added that electricity production by EDF is slightly below expected levels and this contributes to higher electricity prices.

President Macrons approval rating has fallen to 26% according to a new poll released today. The research by BVA for RTL puts the approval of prime minister Elisabeth Bourne at about the same level, 27%. Meanwhile, sporadic protests have continued against the pension reforms today. Activists occupied the Musee d'Orsay in Paris this morning.

Elisabeth Borne has said that she is aiming to reduce the waiting time for the isssue of identity documents. Waiting times have increased significantly over the past few years and now stand at an average of 66 days. The Prime Minister said that she wants to reduce this to thirty days by the summer and twenty days by the autumn.

Three people have been injured after a person opened fire in Aix-en-Provence last night. Local reports say that the shooting took place outside a bar in a suburb of the town but the injuries are not serious. Enquiries are continuing.

In 2022, a total of fifty pollution incidents were observed in the Mediterranean. The Maritime Prefect said that there was no significant damage to the environment and the coastline during the year.



Retail sales volumes in the UK fell between February and March with shops blaming wet weather for fewer shoppers. It was the sixth wettest March in the UK since 1836. Sales at food shops also fell following shortages of some products. The Office for National Statistics said that 26% of adults experienced shortages of "essential food items that were needed on a regular basis" for much of March.

The owner of Royal Mail has announced that it has reached agreement with the Communication Workers Union in a long running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. The deal will be put to union members in the coming weeks.

UK food retailer Pret A Manger has opened its first shop in the Indian market in the financial hub of Mumbai. Chief executive Pano Christou said its offering in the country will reflect the company's brand "while also adapting to local preferences and food habits".



Motorsports... James Allison has returned as Mercedes technical director in a major reorganisation of the Formula 1 team. He swaps roles with Mike Elliott who  assumes the position of chief technical officer.

Athletics... British runner Eilish McColgan has withdraw from the London Marathon because of a knee injury. It follows a successful season over 5,000m and 10,000m.

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