Evening Update Thursday 28 April

Eric Zemmour has said his party will not run a candidate in the Alpes-Maritimes against the sitting MP Eric Ciotti in the upcoming elections. He said the move was not part of any alliance but rather a move of national union. The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi reacted by saying that Eric Ciotti's old and discreet alliance with the far right is finally coming to light. Meanwhile, the president of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party is in Fréjus today where he will kick off the party's election campaign this evening. It’s expected he will present the candidates due to run in the department.

In Monaco, the Hôtel de Paris and the Hôtel Hermitage have both won star ratings from the influential Forbes Travel Guide, which lists the world’s most outstanding hotels and restaurants. Forbes incognito inspectors stay at each hotel for three days and two nights, posing as ordinary guests. During the stay, they test up to 900 rigorous standards. This year, the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo was awarded a five-star hotel status, while the Hôtel Hermitage was the Star Award Winner for 2022.

Two new variants of Coronvirus have been reported in France. Santé Publique says one confirmed case of BA.4 came from a person returning from South Africa, while two cases of BA.5 were also confirmed. However, the health service says the variants are not concerning as the Covid incidence rate in France has halved since the beginning of April.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook have signed an agreement in Monaco to reduce carbon emissions from their data centres and digital infrastructures. The iMason Climate Accord was formally unveiled at the Grimaldi Forum. In all, over 70 companies have agreed to take part.

Anchoring and navigation in an area of water between Cannes and the Lerin islands has been prohibited. It follows the looting of the wreck of a second-century vessel found on the seafloor in 2017. Well-preserved shipwrecks from this period are particularly rare and hold a treasure trove for archaeologists.

A 9-month-old baby has died and a 3-year-old child has been seriously injured in a road accident near Arles. Police are investigating the incident which happened last night on the road from Arles to Tarascon.

The police officer who killed two men on the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris on Sunday has been charged with intentional homicide against the driver of the vehicle. The 24-year-old officer is being held in police custody.

And finally, the French media watchdog has ordered YouPorn and RedTube to block access to children or have their services shut down. Exposure of pornographic photos and videos to minors is banned under French domestic violence law.

BUSINESS

The EU employment rate is back above 2019 levels as the labour market recovers from the Covid pandemic. Eurostat said the employment rate rose to 73.1% last year, from 71.7% the year before. In France, Pôle Emploi says unemployment has dropped almost 16%, below the symbolic level of 3 million people for the first time in ten years.

Inflation in Germany has risen slightly more than expected in April due to rising energy prices and supply chain interruptions. The German Federal Statistics Office said consumer prices were up 7.4% year-on-year after an inflation rate of 7.3% in March.

Shares in Meta are up significantly after the company reported better than expected profit in the first quarter of the year. Earnings per share were 2.72 compared to an expected 2.56.  Later today, Apple is scheduled to make their earning call after the bell in New York.

SPORT

Formula 1 - Both race directors have tested positive for Covid-19, which means if they don’t test negative in time, they won’t be able to travel to the US for the race. However, FIA does have backup plans which include directing the race from a remote-control operation in Geneva. The centre was set up this year to try to avoid a repeat of errors made at last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Miami race is due to be held Sunday week, the 8th of May.

Rugby Union - Emily Scarratt will captain England in the absence of the injured Sarah Hunter for Saturday's Women's Six Nations Grand Slam decider in France. The Red Roses have outscored France by 42 tries to 20 in the tournament so far, but Les Bleues do have a home ground advantage in front of a sell-out crowd in Bayonne. A tight and exciting game is expected as England has won their last three meetings by four points or fewer. The kick-off on Saturday is at 3.15.

Scotland will face New Zealand for the first time in five years, in their 2022 Autumn Nations Series, which opens against Australia. The four matches are to be held at Murrayfield on consecutive weekends from late October.

Cricket - Ben Stokes has been named England Test captain, taking over from Joe Root. All-rounder Stokes, who has scored 5,061 runs and taken 174 wickets in 79 Tests, has been vice-captain across two spells since 2017. Former captain Joe Root stepped down after five years in charge earlier this month having led England in a record 64 Tests.

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