Evening Update Thursday 14 September 2023

President Macron will be visiting Marseille during the Pope's visit to the city. The Elysees confirmed this afternoon that the President will be at a mass being held on 23 September at the Stade Velodrome. He will be accompanied by his wife Brigitte.

A date has been fixed for the trial of French Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti. He will be appearing in court on 6 to 17 November to face charges of illegal taking of interest. It's alleged that the minister used his position to act against magistrates with whom he had disagreements during his career as a lawyer. He denies the allegations.

An investigation has been opened after an antisemitic attack in Marseille. A man in his twenties was subjected to verbal abuse and had jewellery stolen by the attackers whilst on his way to a synagogue in the 13th arrondissement. The Mayor of Marseille, Benoit Peyran, condemned the attack and said it was "contrary to the values of our city".

A French national who had been held in Niger has been released. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Stephane Julien has been freed after being detained by government forces last Friday. He was working as an adviser to French nationals living abroad.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has welcomed Her Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa of Japan to Nice. She is on an official visit to France as part of the Rugby World Cup. The princess visited the exhibition “Flowers and Fruits” and other works at the Matisse museum, which will be exhibited in Japan next year.

The Monaco government has announced that the Principality will be taking part in European Waste Reduction Week in November for the fifth time. This year's campaign will centre around the theme of "packaging". European Waste Reduction Week is open to all public, private and even personal actions as long as they relate to waste reduction. If you would like to participate you can contact the Environment Department by sending an email to environnement@gouv.mc or by calling 98 98 83 41.

The Bol d'Or motorcycle race is taking place this weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castallet in the Var. The Bol d'or is an endurance motorcycling competition which takes place once a year in France. It's been held at the Paul Ricard circuit since 2015. The event started in 1922 and is the world's oldest 24 hour race.

 

BUSINESS

 

The European Central Bank has raised interest rates by a quarter of a per cent. It means that its main refinancing rate now stands at 4.5%, which is a record high. The ECB said that inflation continues to decline "but is still expected to remain too high for too long".

UK discount retailer The Range has agreed a deal to buy the Wilko brand after a rescue bid for the wider business fell through. The agreement means it will own Wilko's website. Administrators said 36 Wilko workers had transferred over to The Range and it expects the online operations to restart in early October. Administrators have been unable to find a buyer for the whole business.

Discount supermarket Lidl has revealed that its British business made a loss in the year to the end of February as a result of its expansion plans and rising costs. It reported a full-year pre-tax loss of £75.9m, after posting a profit of £41.1m the year before. Lidl said its sales rose by 18.8% to £9.3bn, but its losses were "attributed to the significant investments... alongside the challenging inflationary environment...”

 

SPORT

Motorsports… It’s been announced that Alfa Romeo Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu will be staying with the team for a third consecutive year in 2024. Fellow driver Valtteri Bottas was already under contract for next season but there had been some doubt about the future of Zhou.

Rugby Union.. It’s been confirmed that Johnny Sexton will be staying in the Ireland team for Saturday's World Cup game against Tonga. He returned to action last weekend after nearly six months out. Four personnel changes have been made from the match against Romania.

Football… Players in the top tier of women's football in Spain have ended a strike after reaching an agreement over pay. The minimum wage for Liga F players will increase from 16,000 euros to 21,000 euros a year. It will then increase to 23,500 euros by the 2025-26 season.

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