Evening Update Thursday 10 March 2022

Changes in the UK visa application process for Ukranian refugees have been welcomed by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced this afternoon that Ukrainian refugees who have passports or ID cards will be able to apply for UK visas online from Tuesday. It will only apply to people applying under the scheme who can join family members already in the UK. Gerald Darmanin recently accused the UK government of "a lack of humanity" in helping Ukranian refugees who had arrived in Calais hoping to join their families across the channel. In a tweet the Interior Minister said that the change in the visa procedure announced this afternoon "is a step in the right direction" and that dialogue is continuing with his British counterpart.

The French government is expecting the arrival of 50,000 to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine in the comng weeks. The estimate was made by the coordinator of a new inter-ministerial crisis unit which met for the first time this morning. The unit, which was set up at the request of President Macron, has the objective of anticipating, coordinating and encouraging the reception of Ukranian refugees.

Locally, the Prefect of the Var, Evence Richard and the President of the Mayors of the Var, Hubert Falco, visited the volunteers of the Var Civil Protection this morning. Their regional storage centre in Toulon is receiving several tonnes of donations every day for Ukrainian refugees. The civil protection association sorts and packages donations collected by the municipalities of the Var and neighboring departments. You can make a donation online by going to https://don.protection-civile.org/soutenir

The hikers association Mission Trekkeurs has launched an appeal for backpacks to be donated to people in Ukraine. Pickups are being organized before next Tuesday at many locations across the Alpes-Maritimes. You can find more information on the Facebook page Mission Trekkeurs. Delivery will be carried out in partnership with the Secours Populaire Français of the Alpes-Maritimes.

A 16 year old student is in hosptal in Marseille after suffering serious head injuries during a demonstration in Ajaccio in support of Corsican seperatist Yvan Colonna. His family are alleging that the injuries were caused by police and are reportedly filing a complaint. He received initial treatment at a local hospital in Corsica before being transferred to Marseille.

The Var gendarmerie has launched a call for witnesses regarding a road accident on Tuesday March 8 at 3:10 p.m. at the Font Mourier roundabout in Cogolin. If you have any information, you are asked to call 04 98 12 68 80.

 

BUSINESS

The UK has announced sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs including Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. The UK government said that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced a full asset freeze and travel ban on seven of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with the Kremlin. The UK government said that Abramovich has had assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with UK individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions imposed.

The International Monetary Fund has approved 1.4 billion dollars in Emergency Financing Support to Ukraine. The IMF's Executive Board expressed its strong support for the Ukrainian people. It said that the Russian invasion will lead to a deep recession in Ukraine this year and that financing needs are large and urgent, and "could rise significantly as the war continues".

Sony and Nintendo have joined the growing list of international companies reducing their operations in Russia. Sony said that it has closed its PlayStation store in the country amongst other measures and Nintendo said it was suspending all shipments to Russia.

The European Central Bank has left is key interest rates unchanged. The ECB said that its forecast for GDP growth has been revised downwards for the near term, owing to the war in Ukraine. The projections foresee the Eurozone economy growing at 3.7 per cent in 2022, 2.8 per cent in 2023 and 1.6 per cent in 2024.

Inflation in the United States rose to 7.9% year on year in February. It's the highest rate recorded since 1982.

 

SPORT

Football... Restrictions on the activities of London club Chelsea have been imposed as a result of owner Roman Abramovich being sanctioned by the UK government. The Premier League club has been frozen as part of the action and its proposed sale halted for time being. The UK government has issued a special licence that will allow fixtures to be played, staff to be paid and existing ticket-holders to attend matches. Season-ticket holders can still attend games for which they have tickets but the club cannot now sell any more tickets. Chelsea will also be unable to buy or sell players while the sanctions are imposed on Abramovich. The club's merchandise shop will also be closed.

In other football news, round of 16 ties in the Europa League are being played tonight with Rangers at home to Red Star Belgrade, West Ham away at Sevilla and Monaco away at Sporting Braga.

There are four games in the English Premier League tonight. Norwich play Chelsea, Southampton play Newcastle, Wolves host Watford and Leeds play Aston Villa.

Rugby Union...Johnny Sexton has returned to Ireland's starting line-up as one of six changes for the Six Nations match against England. Sam Simmonds will start at number eight for England. Meanwhile, Scotland have recalled centre Sam Johnson and given a first Six Nations start to Kyle Steyn for the game against Italy in Rome

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