Evening Update Thursday 3 September 2020

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced details of a 100 billion euro economic recovery plan. The Prime Minister said that the plan will cover three main areas - 35 billion euros to support businesses, 30 billion euros for "ecological transition", in other words "green" measures, and 35 billion euros to "strengthen social and territorial cohesion". He said that Covid-19 had produced "an extremely sudden and brutal recession" and that the plan is the largest of the biggest Europen countries in proportion to national wealth. He said that the money spent in the recovery plan will not be raised by way of increased taxes and that the plan also aimed to protect France against "a new crisis or new upheavals in the economy".

In an interview earlier today he said that an objective of the plan was to create 160,000 jobs in 2021 and to avoid layoffs as much as possible.

Several ministers were present with the Prime Minister when he made the announcement, including Barbara Pompili, the Minister of Ecological Transition. She said that 1.2 billion euros of the total amount of the plan would be devoted to public transport. Transport in total will benefit from 11 billion euros including such areas as freight and rail transport.

Traffic on the A8 motorway has been badly disrupted this afternoon by an accident involving four heavy goods vehicles. The accident occurred at about 2:40pm between Nice St Isidore and Nice Nord on the carriageway towards Italy. VINCI Autoroutes teams were mobilized to allow the emergency services to intervene. Traffic was still been able to pass through on two lanes of the motorway but the Nice St Isodore exit was closed for a time. The junction has now reopened and traffic has returned to normal.

A major athletics event is starting this evening in the arriere pays of Nice. The Ultra-Trail Côte d'Azur Mercantour will get underway in Levens this evening and about 1,600 runners are expected to take part in races over the next few days. Several other athletics events in our region ave been cancelled recently but the Ultr-Trail is going ahead with a strict health protocol in place. The race was originally scheduled to take place in June.

Meanwhile, the sports festival scheduled to take place in Carros this Saturday has been cancelled because of a positive coronavirus test in the local sports directorate.

A French resident has been fined 1,000 euros by a court in Sardinia for attempting to bring back sand from a beach on the island. Two kilograms of sand were found in a plastic bottle in his luggage. Sardinia has prevented the removal of sand from its beaches for several years.



Amazon has announced plans to create 7,000 new permanent jobs in the UK across more than 50 sites. The company also said that it will hire an additional 20,000 people to cover the festive period.

Two major pharmaceutical companies, the UK's GSK and Sanofi which is based in France, have announced the start of clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. 440 adults will be given the vaccine at 11 sites in the United States. The two companies said that they hope to have the first results of the trial by December.

The EU statistics agency Eurostat has released retail sales data for the Eurozone in July. Retail trade volumes decreased by 1.3% compared to the previous month. The month of June had seen a surge in sales as lockdown measures were lifted. The figures for July were 0.4% better than in July last year.


Motorsports... It's been announced that Sir Frank Williams and Claire Williams are stepping down from the Williams Formula 1 team after this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. Sir Frank Williams founded the team in 1977. It was sold to US investment group Dorilton Capital last month.

Cycling.. Alexey Lutsenko has won stage six of the Tour de France today. Adam Yates has retained the leader's yellow jersey.

Football... The English Premier League has said that it has terminated its agreements for Premier League coverage in China with its licensee in the country. The League said it wouldn't be commenting further on the matter at this stage. Reports say that the reasons for the termination are financial rather than political.

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out has said that reports of discrimination in English football rose 42% last season, despite some games being played behind closed doors. A poll commissioned by the charity also showed that 30% of fans had heard racist comments or chants at a match and 71% had seen racism directed towards footballers on social media.

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