Evening Update Monday 6 December 2021

A meeting of the French Health Council is underway in Paris right now to assess what measures will be taken before Christmas to combat the rise in the Delta and Omicron variants of Coronavirus. No major new measures or restrictions are expected, as the government plans to concentrate on the vaccination campaign for the 3rd booster jab, as well as the possible vaccination of 5 to 11-year-olds. The French Prime Minister Jean Castex will give a press briefing after the meeting at 7pm this evening.

In the Alpes-Maritimes, 40 people are in intensive care this week as a result of Coronavirus. That’s twice as many as in November but about half of the peak of the fourth wave during the summer.

The death has been announced of the former mayor of Mouans-Sartoux André Aschieri who passed away at the age of 84 yesterday evening. His political career spanned more than 40 years, from when he was first elected in 1974, until 2015 when he retired for health reasons. He was succeeded in a landslide vote by his son Pierre. Glowing tributes have been paid all day today by senior local politicians including David Lisnard the Mayor of Cannes, and the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi. In addition to serving as Mayor in Mouans Sartoux, Monsieur Aschieri also served as vice-president of the Regional Council of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

A 36-year-old man who injured two police officers with a sabre at Cherbourg last Thursday has been indicted for attempted murder. While the two injured officers have left hospital, the investigation continues into the incident and damage to the victims.

The Republican Party started their presidential election campaign in the Alpes-Maritimes today. Their official nominee Valérie Pécresse has lunch with local MP Eric Ciotti who she beat to become the Republican Party nominee. Afterwards, Monsieur Ciotti said he remained committed to the party campaign and that his goal is to beat Emmanuel Macron. For her part Madame Pécresse said Ciotti will have a very special place in her campaign as he has a very unique voice to be heard across the country.

Two associations for the victims of the Nice July 14th attack have put up a Christmas tree on the Promenade in front of the Palais de la Méditerranée. Considered as the "tree of angels" the installation is a reminder of those who lost their lives in the attack and is placed, where a more permanent memorial will be eventually installed.

In Monaco, Prince Albert with children Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, have opened the new Christmas village on Port Herclule. Sheltered by a forest of 800 natural firs, the village will offer visitors the chance to meet one of Canada’s most adorable sea birds, the puffin. The village also features many familiar sites, such as the merry-go-round, and new additions including a caribou ride carousel and a toboggan slide. The market features 17 chalet-style kiosks, 20 food stands and the world-famous ice-skating rink. All visitors over 16 will be required to present a valid pass sanitaire, mask-wearing is compulsory and all eating must be at a seated table. 

BUSINESS NEWS

Speculation that the European Commission is set to propose stricter labour rules to regulate the gig economy have sent shares of companies in the sector sharply lower again today, increasing losses from last week. Investors fear the business models of the companies might be jeopardized should the EU require them to directly employ drivers and riders.

Chinese construction giant, the Evergrande Group, has set up a risk management committee, as the property developer tries to restructure $300 billion dollars of liabilities or risk becoming China's biggest-ever default. In a statement over the weekend, Evergrande said it could not guarantee to perform its financial obligations. Today, shares in the company plunged up to 20% setting a new record low.

Worries about Omicron have sent the price of Bitcoin tumbling over the weekend, as traditional markets move away from riskier assets. Bitcoin saw a massive surge in value last month, touching €60,000 in early November. This morning it dropped to a low of €39,500, recovering this afternoon to €43,500.

SPORTS NEWS

Football - In the Coupe de France the unprecedented match between local team Le Cannet and OM Marseilles is in trouble, as they can’t find anywhere to play the game. Club Director Christian Lopez said Le Cannet’s home pitch does not have the required facilities surrounding it to allow for a weekend game, while requests to host the game at Cannes, Nice or Monaco have not had a positive response. The game is due to be played the weekend before Christmas.

German police are investigating England and Borussia Dortmond midfielder Jude Bellingham over comments he made about the referee of Saturday’s match in which his team were beaten 3-2 by Bayern Munich.

The player says the loss was down to a key penalty awarded to the Munich team. He then brought up the referee’s involvement in a match-fixing scandal in 2005 where he received a six-month ban. Speaking to an interviewer, Bellingham said quote, “You give a referee, that has match fixed before, the biggest game in Germany. What do you expect?"

The German Football Association have written to Bellingham and asked him to comment on his statements before deciding what action to take. Meanwhile, Dortman’s Sports Director has said the team is 100% behind Bellingham.

Rugby - Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford says he remains 100% committed to the club, despite agreeing a deal to join Sale Sharks next season. He said “The club's bigger than any one player - it's bigger than me”. The Tigers lead the Premiership with nine wins from nine, to which Ford has contributed an impressive 118 points.

Basketball - AS Monaco have ended a four-game losing streak by beating Reims 90-83 at the Salle Gaston Médecin. The win consolidates AS Monaco’s second place in the Betclic Elite division, having won seven matches this season. They also carry a game in hand, which could allow them to close the gap on top spot even further.

Formula One - Max Verstappen has been found at fault and penalised by stewards for the bizarre crash with Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. They say he caused a collision with erratic braking. Verstappen was handed a 10-second time penalty, which means the two drivers are level on points heading into next weekend's season finale.

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