Evening Update Thursday 30 September 2021

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been found guilty of the illegal financing of his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign. The criminal court in Paris said that he had spent tens of millions of euros more on his campaign than was permitted under the law. The court said that he can serve his one year prison sentence at home wearing an electronic bracelet. The former president has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer said that he will appeal against the ruling. Thirteen other people were also found guilty of various offences in connection with the  financing of the election campaign and all received prison sentences to be carried out with an electronic bracelet.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex is this evening expected to announce measures to help people with rising energy bills. He will be interviewed on TF1 television at 8pm.

An accident involving a light vehicle led to major disruption to this morning's rush hour traffic on the A8 motorway. The accident occurrred just after 6.30am on the carriageway towards Italy between the Saint-Laurent-du-Var and Nice-Ouest exits. Although the vehicle was removed, because the accident was in a very busy area with dense traffic, the disruption continued leading to a jam at one point of over 18km between the western sector of Cannes and Nice Ouest.

Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard is calling for the installation of anti-noise radars in the city. The town hall said that faced with noise pollution due to unapproved motorbikes and the excessive speeds of powerful cars in urban areas, the mayor is asking central government to install anti-noise radars in the most affected areas of the municipality.

Departures from airports in Paris were briefly suspended this morning after a computer problem. Flights from Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports were disrupted for about half an hour following a failure of the flight plan processing system. The airports said around midday that departures were gradually getting back to normal. Arrivals were not affected.

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi took part in the Transition Forum in Nice this morning. The two day ecological transition event is being held at the Palais de la Mediterranee. The mayor said that the environment is at the heart of global concerns and we have a duty to take up this essential subject for future generations.

 

BUSINESS

The UK's furlough scheme closes today, having helped pay the salaries of 11.6 million workers since it was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic in the UK in March last year. The Office for National Statitics estimates that there are still about one million workers on the scheme. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that now was the right time to close it, despite calls for further support from some businesses.

Economic growth in the UK following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the spring was stronger than initially thought, according to data from the ONS. UK GDP is estimated to have increased by 5.5% in the second quarter, revised up from a first estimate of 4.8%. However, it said that the level of GDP is still 3.3% below where it was pre-pandemic in the final quarter of 2019.


SPORT

Football..England manager Gareth Southgate has announced that Fikayo Tomori, Ollie Watkins and Aaron Ramsdale are included in the squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against Andorra and Hungary. Phil Foden is also in the squad but injured players Harry Maguire and Trent-Alexander Arnold are left out.

Motorsports... Qatar will be included in the Formula 1 calendar after signing a 10-year deal to host a Grand Prix from 2023. It will also stage a Grand Prix in November this year.

Rugby Union... Six Argentina players and two members of team staff have been expelled from the Rugby Championship for taking an unauthorised trip. The tournament has been held under strict biosecurity protocols with restricted travel because of Covid-19 cases in Queensland but the group crossed into New South Wales to visit Byron Bay.

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