Evening Update Thursday 2 September 2021

President Macron has unveiled his "grand plan" for the city of Marseille, including funds for a high speed Marseille - Nice railway line. Speaking at the Palais du Pharo in the city this evening he outlined a wide range of measures to improve law and order, poverty, education and transport in the city.

1.4 billion euros will be made available for a new Marseille - Nice railway line. One billion euros will also be made available by the state for the creation of four tram lines, five bus lines and the automation of the Marseille Metro network.

He said he wanted to step up the fight against drugs trafficking and announced that 200 additional police officers will arrive in Marseille in 2022. The two aditional CRS units which have been in the city since March will be made permanent. The government will fund the installation of 500 security cameras. Eight million euros will be spent on equipping police officers and a new police station will be contructed.

New funds will be allocated to the mother and child centre and the Maison des Femmes as well as the renovation of La Timone hospital and the hospital in the north of the city.

President Macron said that 174 schools are in a state of disrepair but "if I leave Marseille to fend for itself" the schools will not be renovated quickly enough, saying that a new body will be set up to renovate schools. 30 new teachers and 30 additional mediators will be employed in the most difficult areas. Ten "micro-schools" and ten "micro-colleges" will be created in the worst affected areas for students who have dropped out of education.

Three hubs will be set up dedicated to entrepreneurial activities to develop entrepreneurship in local neighbourhoods. A centre for training in the cinema and digital industries will also be established.

One hundred places in the French military could also be made available on a voluntary basis to young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

As regards the health crisis, President Macron said earlier today that he doesn't rule out an extension to the health pass beyond it's current end date of 15 November. He said that it's too early to say if an extension will be required but "if the epedemic is still present in the coming weeks" it will be necessary to leave the possibility open "for the territories which are most affected". He added that it's because of the health pass that it's no longer necessary to close restaurants, cafes, theatres, cinemas and sports activities.

In a statement issued today on the return to school, the FCPE federation of parents of pupils in France said it was  "exasperated to note" that the health protocol still has many flaws, and that so few of the solutions put forward by the organization and the unions since the start of the pandemic have been retained. It said that it still wants to see sufficient and free tests to avoid discrimination between vaccinated and unvaccinated students, a massive recruitment of teachers and educational staff to help organize small classes and to better manage physical distancing and support for students as well as Covid-19 leave for parents.

Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that more than 500 additional caregivers left Paris yesterday for the Antilles and French Polynesia. They join more than 900 caregivers who have already travelled from mainland France recently to help with Covid-19 cases in the French overseas territories.

Meteo France have a yellow warning for storms in the Alpes Maritimes from 2pm to at least 4pm tomorrow, Friday. There's also a yellow storm warning for the Var from 10pm this evening right through until at least 4pm tomorrow.


The data regulator in Ireland has fined WhatsApp 225 million euros. The fine from the Data Protection Commission was for breaches including not notifying WhatsApp users that their information was being shared with other Facebook companies. In addition to the fine, the DPC also imposed a reprimand along with an order for WhatsApp to bring its processing into compliance by taking a range of remedial actions.

Budget airline Ryanair has said that it operated over 71,000 flights in August with an 82% load factor. It carried 11.1 million passengers in the month, up from 9.3 million in July.

New data shows that Switzerland's domestic economy is recovering after the easing of coronavirus measures. State economy body SECO said that Swiss GDP grew by 1.8 % in the second quarter after contracting by 0.4 % in the first quarter as private consumption recovered strongly. Numerous public health restrictions in Switzerland were relaxed or lifted during the second quarter and the largest growth appeared in sectors that had been most affected by those measures.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has said that it still has concerns regarding JD Sports proposed takeover of fellow UK sports retailer Footasylum. JD Sports had appealed against the CMA's decision last year to block the merger. The body said today that having gathered extensive additional evidence it has reached the provisional view that the merger could result in a worse deal for Footasylum shoppers throughout the UK. JD Sports said it is "perplexed and disappointed" by the decision.


Paralympics... Sarah Storey has become Great Britain's most successful Paralympian of all time after winning a 17th Paralympic gold. The 43-year-old won the women's C4-5 road race title which put her one gold medal ahead of the previous record holder, Mike Kenny. Team GB's Ben Watson also won gold today in the men's C1-3 race. Bethany Firth won her third consecutive S14 100m backstroke Paralympic title for her sixth gold overall and a fourth medal of these Games. Local French swimmer Florent Marais from Antibes won a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke.

Football... Uefa has said that 328 million people worldwide tuned in to watch the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy. It also said that there were 7.5 billion interactions across social media platforms during the tournament and Uefa's official accounts posted two billion views.

There are more World Cup qualifying games tonight with England away in Hungary, Northern Ireland visiting Lithuania and Germany away in Liechtenstein. Italy are at home to Bulgaria.

Rugby Union... Former Wales player Jake Ball has signed to play in Japan for NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu when it's Rugby League One starts in January. He won 50 caps for Wales.

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