Evening Update Thursday 24 March 2022

President Macron has warned of what he called "an unprecedented food crisis". Speaking after meetings of NATO members and G7 countries in Brussels, he proposed a plan to deal with a crisis which he said is affecting countries which are dependant on wheat and grain exports from Ukraine and Russia. He said that if the situation is difficult for some countries at the moment, the situation will be even more serious "in 12 to 18 months". He also outlined plans to strengthen France's military presence in Eastern Europe. But he said the aim of France is not to be "co-belligerent" by sending equipment such as planes and tanks to Ukraine but said that defensive weapons would continue to be sent.

 

French Presidential canadidate Valerie Pecresse has tested positive for Covid-19. In a Tweet she said she is continuing her campaign remotely and in compliance with health rules. 

Four French people from the same family have died in Switzerland after falling from a building this morning. Authorities said that five people from the same family fell from their balcony located on the 7th floor of an apartment in Montreux. Four of them died, another, a 15 month old baby, was hospitalized in a serious condition. The 40-year-old father of the family, his 41-year-old wife, her twin sister and the couple's 8-year-old daughter died. An investigation will be opened to establish the circumstances of the incident. 

It's been announced that Nice will host the Official Base Camp for the Scotland team during the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The tornament takes place at venues across France in September and October next year.

A fire broke out in undergrowth this morning a few kilometers on the French side of the border with Italy. A water bombing helicopter has been used to fight the fire in a wooded area near Valdeblore La Colmiane.

 

BUSINESS

Jobless claims in the United States have fallen to their lowest level since 1969. The US Labor Department said that claims had fallen by 28,000 to 187,000 in the week ending 19 March.

Retailer Next has warned it will need to increase prices later this year. It said that its prices for homeware items will go up by 13% and fashion prices will rise by 6.5% in the second half of the year. It had already warned of rising prices in January. It said that it still expects to make a profit of £850m this year.

A survey by the UK Confederation of British Industry has suggested that retail sales were poor for the time of year in March. It said that sales are expected to remain below seasonal norms, but to a lesser extent, next month.

The Chief Executive of P&O Ferries has admitted to MPs that a decision to sack 800 workers last week without consulting unions broke the law. Speaking before Pariamentary committes in London this afternoon Peter Hebblethwaite apologized for the distress caused by the sackings, but added they were necessary to save the business which is heavily loss-making. He also said workers would receive what he called "extremely generous" compensation.

 

SPORT

Motorsports... Sebastian Vettel could miss the Grand Prix in Saudia Arabia this weekend because of Covid-19. The Aston Martin team confirmed that he is yet to travel to Saudi Arabia for the race. He missed last week's Bahrain Grand Prix after testing positive.

Football... Jermain Defoe has announced his retirement from professional football. The former England player, who is 39 years old, played for West Ham, Tottenham and Rangers as well as Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Candian club Toronto during a career which spanned 22-years.

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