Evening Update Monday 20 July 2020

Three people have reportedly been taken into custody after gunshots were fired in the Moulins area of Nice this morning. A gang of ten men armend with guns was seen chasing an individual along the street at around 9am. Reports say that shots were fired into the air outside a supermarket. Police found gun cartridges on the ground but have so far not located anyone who has suffered injuries. However, one bystander was treated for shock by firefighters but did not need hospitalization.

An elderly woman has died in a fire in a laundromat in Nice this morning. A washing machine is believed to have caught fire at the premises on rue Bonaparte at about 8.00 this morning. When firefighters arrived the fire had already been extinguished but the woman's life couldn't be saved. An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the blaze.

About 15 people were fined for not wearing a face mask in Toulon station this morning. The national police were called after a group of young people entered the station without masks and refused to comply when asked. Wearing a mask is mandatory on all public transport and in railway stations and at bus stops. As from today, it's also mandatory in all enclosed public spaces.

A 66 year old woman has died after being hit by a vehicle in Frejus. The incident happened in the early hours of this morning on the Place Porte d'Hermès. The driver was taken into custody.

Sante Publique France has said late this morning that 97 coronavirus clusters are still under investigation in mainland France, as of 15 July. The number contradicts that given by French Health Minister Olivier Veran in an interview earlier this morning in which he said that there are now between 400 and 500 coronavirus clusters. The Minister has moved to calm fears about the spread of the virus and says that severe infections requiring hospital treatment are not at a high rate and that "we are very far" from a second wave.

French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire has said that the French state will take charge of the restoration of Nantes cathedral. The building was damaged by a fire on Saturday. The minister said that the cathedral is part of French culture and it's therefore an obligation of the state to take care of its restoration.

The black box recorder of a Ukrainian passenger plane which was shot down in Iran earlier this year has arrived in Paris for analysis. Iran had previously delayed releasing the black box amid disagreements with countries whose citizens died in the incident over where it should be decoded. Iran's deputy foreign minister said the black boxes were taken to Paris on Friday and would be accessed today to obtain the stored data.



EU talks aimed at reaching agreement on a 750 billion euro post-coronavirus recovery fund have been continuing today. The main division is between countries hardest hit by the virus , such as Italy and Spain, and several EU members  such as the Netherlands and Sweden seeking to limit the size of the fund and impose stricter controls on its use. President Emmanuel Macron reportedly banged his hand on the table and threatened to walk out of the discussions in the early hours of this morning but has since said that there is a "spirit of compromise" between the 27 EU nations. The talks are now in their fourth day, making it the longest EU summit since the one held in Nice 20 years ago.

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has announced the loss of 950 jobs. The roles include store management posts and jobs at the company's head office. The job losses are the latest announced by major UK high street retailers, with redundancies being announced by John Lewis, Boots, TM Lewin and Ted Baker, amongst others.

The UK government has signed deals for 90 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under develpoment. An agreement with BioNtech and Pfizer is for 30 million doses of a vaccine which injects part of the coronavirus's genetic code. A further agreement with Valneva is for 60 million doses of a vaccine which uses an inactive version of the coronavirus. The new deals are in addition to the 100 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. At this stage, it is still uncertain which, if any, of the experimental vaccines may ultimately prove effective.



Cricket... The men's T20 World Cup has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was due to take place between 18 October and 15 November in Australia but will now be held in October and November 2021 with another edition scheduled to take place in 2022.

Surrey chief executive Richard Gould has said that a safe way to bring supporters back into grounds must be found to avoid an 18 month period without fans. Surrey have a friendly against Middlesex scheduled for 26 July at which spectators will be allowed in order to gauge the suitability of crowds returning. Gould said that if county cricket had to go for a year and a half without spectators "that will have significant follow on issues for us".

Football.... Borussia Dortmund have signed teenager Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City. He'll leave the Championship club after their final game of the season on Wednesday.

The prestigious Ballon d'Or trophy will not be awarded this year for the first time in its history because of the reduced football calendar and the postponement of Euro 2020. The annual presentation, which began in 1956, is made by France Football magazine to the best football player worldwide. The current holder is Lionel Messi and the first in 1956 was English football legend Sir Stanley Matthews.

There are 3 games in the English Premier League tonight. Brighton play Newcastle, Sheffield United face Everton and Wolves play Crystal Palace.

Rugby Union... Saracens have signed Argentina international Juan Pablo Socino. The 32 year old has signed a one year deal to play for the club next season. He's previously played in the Premiership for Newcastle and Edinburgh and spent last season in Spain with Club de Rugby El Salvador.


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