Evening Update Monday 20 September 2021

French defence minister Florence Parly has cancelled a meeting with her UK counterpart. The meeting with UK defence secretary Ben Wallace was due to take place in London later this week. The move comes after Australia announced it was joining a defence pact with the UK and the US and cancelling a contract to buy submarines from France.

The trial of six people accused of belonging to a far right group is set to open in Paris tomorrow. They are accused of planning to carry out terrorist attacks against a wide range of targets including immigrants, muslims and Bouches-du-Rhone National Assembly member Jean-Luc Melenchon.

President Macron has announced that the French government will introduce a law to give recognition to muslim fighters who fought alongside French troops in the Algerian war. Many of them suffered reprisals in Algeria after French troops left the country. The war, which resulted in Algerian independence, took place from 1954 to 1962.

A man sentenced to a 10,000 euro fine for displaying posters which characterised President Macron as Hitler has said he will appeal against the decision. Michele-Ange Flori was convicted of public insult by a court in Toulon on Friday.

Part of the Paris rail system was out of action for several hours earlier today. Services on the the RER B from the Gare du Nord to Aulnay-sous-Bois were cut at about 9.00 this morning after cables were damaged during construction work. Services have gradually returned during the afternoon with a limited service in operation during this evening's rush hour.

 

BUSINESS

Concerns regarding the financial health of one of China's largest real estate businesses have imapacted stock markets today. Heavily indebted Evergrande Real Estate currently owns more than 1,300 projects in over 280 cities across China. Concerns include whether the company will be able to make interests payments on some of its bonds which are due on Thursday and the possible impact of the company's alleged financial difficulties on the wider Chinese economy.

The UK government is reportedly considering offering emergency state-backed loans to energy companies as they are affected by surging gas prices. High demand for gas and reduced supply have resulted in a large rise in wholesale prices.

Meanwhile, in Germany the index of producer prices for industrial products jumped by 12.0% in August compared with August 2020, partly because of higher gas prices. Germany's Federal Statistical Office said it was the highest increase since December 1974 when prices rose strongly during the oil crisis in the early 70's.

 

SPORT

Football... Fifa has said that an online summit featuring all its member associations will be held on 30 September to discuss the international fixture calendar. It's expected that discussions will include the possibility of staging a World Cup every two years instead of four.

Golf... Graeme McDowell has said that he hasn't given up hope of playing in the Ryder Cup again. He'll be one of Europe's vice-captains at Whistling Straits when he tournament gets underway on Friday. He says that he's aiming to make the team for 2023 and has previously expressed an interest in captaining the side in 2027.

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