Evening Update Monday 16 November 2020

French Minister of Health Olivier Veran has urged people not to relax their efforts in fighting the coronavirus. He said that even though there are "signs of improvement" the virus had not yet been conquered. The minister was speaking during a visit to a hopsital in Lyon this afternoon. The comments follow M. Veran saying yesterday that he believed the peak of the epedemic had been passed. In an interview on French television this morning the Minister for Industry, Agnes Panier-Runacher, commented on the negotiations between the European Union and vacceine manufacturers, saying that "four contracts have been negotiated at this stage, two are almost finalized". She said that the number of doses would be distributed by the EU in proportion to the populations of member states.

The municipality of Antibes Juans-les-Pins has extended its distribution of free masks for another week. Up to and including Saturday, masks will be available from three locations: the Salle du 8 mai, the Palais des Congrès and the Maison des Association. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The French Minister of Housing, Emmanuelle Wargon, has today launched an "Observatory of Unpaid Rent" to identify those who are having difficulties paying their rent because of the crisis. The minister said that almost 5,000 additional places had already been reopened in emergency accomodation centres.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi and Alpes Maritimes Deputy Eric Ciotti have been in the Vesubie valley this morning to review progress in the reconstruction of infrastructure after Storm Alex. The two were amongst local elected officials at the construction site of the RM6525, the main access road to the valley. The road was reopened last week after a temporary solution was put in place but a permanent surface is now being installed. The officials also visited Saint-Jean-la-Riviere to look at the restoration of a major water supply facility for the area which suffered damage estimated at 2 million euros in the storm. 150 employees of Regie Eau d'Azur have been mobilised to make supplies of drinking water available to virtually all homes affected by the storm.

The trial has opened in Paris today of four people accused of involvement in an attack on passangers travelling on a high-speed train. One of the defendants is accused of opening fire on board the train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris in August 2015. Two people were injured before he was overpowered by passengers. The train was brought to a halt at Arras in the Pas-de-Calais department and was boarded by police. The four passangers who overpowered the attacker subsequently received France's highest award, the Legion d'Honneur.

A campaign has been launched today with the aim of lowering the number of deaths on French roads. According to government statistics, in 2019 406  people were killed during work-related travel, or 12.5%  of road fatalities. Road accidents result in the loss of  4.1  million working days per year. French government agency Securite Routiere is launching a new call to employers to increase the safety of their employees on the road. Several major French employers such as Total, Airbus, SNCF and La Poste have already signed up to the campaign.

Alpes-Maritimes firefighters were called to an unusual incident in Vence over the weekend after a horse fell into a swimming pool. Supported by the Animal Rescue Group and the vets of the SDIS 06, firefighters managed to pull the animal out of the pool in an operation which took two hours to complete. The horse was unharmed in the incident.


Biotech company Moderna says that a new vaccine that protects against Covid-19 is 94.5% effective according to early data. The company said that it's a "great day". It plans to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the next few weeks. The data comes hot on the heels of similar results from Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week.

The Australian stock market has been closed for most of Monday due to a technical problem. The Australian Securities Exchange announced that trading had been halted mid-morning because of a software issue. ASX said that it "sincerely apologises and deeply regrets the disruption to the market"  and that the issue will be resolved overnight so that trading would reopen at the normal time on Tuesday.

Japan has announced economic growth of 5% in the third quarter of this year after three quarters of contraction. Growth was driven by household spending but business expenditure continued to fall. Even after the growth recorded in the third quarter, the Japanese economy was still almost 6% smaller than it was a year previously.

The German economy recovered strongly in the summer after the slump as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Bundesbank which issued its monthly report today. However, the central bank said that overall economic performance in the third quarter was still "a good 4 percent below the pre-crisis level" of the final quarter of 2019. It added that private consumption is likely to have increased very strongly in summer 2020. According to the report, the labor market in Germany has started to recover slightly at the beginning of summer. Unemployment fell slightly after peaking in June.



Rugby Union... Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw won't be playing in Ireland's Autumn Nations Cup game against England at Twickenham on Saturday because of injury. Both players sutained injuries during the game against Wales on Friday.

There are three games in the Guinness Pro 14 tonight. Zebre play Ulster, Cardiff Blues play Benetton and Leinster play Edinburgh.

Cricket... Several cricketers are self-isolating as the result of a coronavirus outbreak in South Australia. Authorities say the state is facing a "dangerous situation" after reporting 18 coronavirus cases. Players from Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia have been told to isolate after returning from Adelaide. Australia's Test captain Tim Paine is reportedly one of the players isolating.

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