Evening Update Monday 13 December 2021

A 41 year old Algerian national has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for an attack on French soldiers in a suburb of Paris in 2017. Hamou Benlatreche had driven a van into the group of soldiers who were preparing to go on duty as part of the "Operation Sentinel" security plan in force at the time. Six of the group were injured, three of them seriously.

Anti-health pass protestors have held a meeting at the Nice town hall this morning with Mayor Christian Estrosi's deputy chief of staff. It follows protests in Nice on Saturday. Meanwhile, Christian Estrosi has condemned the desecration of a monument in Paris by anti-health pass protestors. A large amount of graffiti was daubed on a wall of Fort Mont-Valérien which stands as a monument to French resistance fighters. The mayor said it was a sacred place in which the last Companion of the Liberation Hubert Germain was buried a month ago and said that he "wished for the greatest firmness against those who sully the heritage of France and General de Gaulle".

Police have intervened after a  child died in the Bouches-du-Rhone yesterday. Several members of the five year old's family have been taken into custody and inquiries are continuing into the circumstances of the death, including the possibility that the child may have ingested drugs.

Three teenagers have been taken into custody following the firing of pellet gunshots at pedestrians in Cannes on Friday evening. Reports say that about 30 people may have been targetted in an area around Boulevard Carnot. Nobody is believed to have been seriously injured.

President Macron is on a visit to Hungary today where he is meeting Hungarian President Viktor Orban and opposition party leaders. President Macron has been touring all the capitals of the European Union ahead of France taking up the rotating presidency of the EU council starting in January.

 

BUSINESS

The heads of several airlines operating in the UK have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about what they say is "the haphazard and disproportionate approach to travel restrictions" following the emergence of the Omicron variant. The letter was signed by representatives of businesses including Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2.com, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. In the letter they said that only the UK requires pre-departure and post-arrival PCR tests, irrespective of vaccination status and that all emergency testing for fully vaccinated passengers should be removed at the formal review expected on 20 December. They also called for a package of bespoke economic support measures to be provided immediately to bridge the sector through the crisis.

Wholesale prices in Germany in November rose by 16.6% compared with November 2020. Federal statistics office Destatis said that there has not been a higher annual rate of change since comparable records began in 1962. The monthly rise in prices in November was 1.3%.

New research by a UK think tank suggests that half of UK families have seen their disposable incomes fall in the last two years. The New Economics Foundation says that the poorest half of the UK population have seen their incomes fall by £110 since 2019. It said that incomes in regions such as London have risen six times faster than those in the north east.


SPORT

Football... The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League has taken place this afternoon. The first draw at lunchtime suffered from technical problems and was declared void by uefa. A second draw was held at 3pm. In the new draw Red Bull Salzburg play Bayern Munich, it's Sporting Lisbon against Manchester City, Benfica against Ajax, Chelsea take on Lille, Atletico Madrid play Manchester United, it's Villarreal against Juventus, Inter Milan against Liverpool and Paris Saint Germain play Real Madrid.

Rugby Union.... Worcester Warriors have parted company with former England player Chris Ashton. He has only made four appearances since joining in January and the club said that he has had calf and knee injuries and that the "daily commute from his home in Northampton had also proved challenging". The club have therefore agreed a release from his contract and said that he is leaving by mutual consent.

Former England player Danielle Waterman has launched a union for women who play in the Premier 15s. The Women's Rugby Association will provide legal, medical and welfare support.

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