Evening Update Thursday 4 November 2021

The French government has confirmed that the mandatory wearing of a mask in elementary schools will be reinstated from the start of the school year on Monday November 8 in 39 metropolitan departments whose incidence rate has been above 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for several days, as well as in Reunion Island. The affected departments will go back from level 1 to level 2 of the national education health protocol. The Var is one of the departments which will move to level 2. 

In addition to re-establishing the wearing of masks indoors for elementary school students from Monday, level 2 of the protocol provides for reinforced protection measures, in particular the limitation of mixing by level, an increase in the frequency of disinfection and the respect of physical distancing adapted for physical and sporting activities. As from Monday, in mainland France 57 departments will therefore be applying level 2 of the health protocol and 39 departments will apply level 1. 

UK Brexit Minister Lord Frost has been in Paris today for a meeting aimed at resolving the dispute between the UK and France over fishing rights. He held a meeting with Europe minister Clement Beaune. After the meeting, the British government said that both sides have put forward their positions and concerns and meetings would continue early next week. Lord Frost will now go to Brussels for a meeting with the European Commission scheduled for tomorrow.

The French government is sending a team of specialists to Nepal to help in the search for three French climbers who have been missing for several days after being swept away by an avalanche. The team consist of search experts, gendarmes and a search dog.

An exercise has been taking place in the Bouches-du-Rhone today to prepare for the possibility of a tsunami in the Mediterranean. A warning signal of 1 minute 41 seconds was sounded this morning by the sirens in Fos-sur-Mer, Martigues, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône and Port-de-Bouc. Normally this would indicate to the population that they needed to take shelter. The Prefecture stated that as this was an exercise, no action was expected. As part of the tsunami exercise, Florence Leverino, chief of staff of the Prefect, directed operations and activated the departmental operational center at the prefecture.

French actress Brigitte Bardot has been fined 20,000 euros for "racial insults" by a court in Paris. The conviction stems from a letter she sent to the Prefect of Reunion regarding the alleged treatment of animals on the island in which she stated "the natives have kept their genes of savages". The actress has since apologized.


The Bank of England has voted to keep interest rates at their record low level of 0.1%. The Monetary Policy Committee voted 7-2 in favor of no change. The decision came as a surprise to many analysts who had expected a rise in rates. The Bank has previously said that it will raise interest rates in the "coming months" because of rises in prices as the UK economy rebounds from pandemic lows. It said today that it expects the CPI measure of inflation to peak at 5% next April before falling back.

UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority has instructed retailer JD Sports to sell Footasylum after its in-depth investigation identified competition concerns. JD Sports' deal to buy Footasylum was first announced in April 2019. The CMA found that the takeover of Footasylum could lead to a substantial reduction in competition and a worse deal for Footasylum's customers. However, JD Sports criticized the move, calling the decision "inexplicable" and "beyond logic".

New car registrations in the UK have fallen for the fourth consecutive month, with a decline of 24.6% in October compared to October last year, according to new figures from trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Battery electric vehicles equalled their September market share of 15.2%, while plug-in hybrid vehicles grew to 7.9%. Plug-in vehicles now account for 16.6% of all cars registered so far in 2021.



Rugby Union ... A member of England's support staff has tested positive for Covid-19. The RFU said that "everyone" has had lateral flow tests, with no further positive cases and the results of PCR tests are awaited. England play Tonga at Twickenham on Saturday in their Autumn Nations Series opening match. Manu Tuilagi will make his first England appearance since March 2020 on Saturday with captain Owen Farrell starting at fly-half.

Meanwhile, Ireland captain Johnny Sexton is set to win his 100th cap after being named in the starting side for Saturday's Autumn Nations Series game against Japan.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has said that he doesn't think Alun Wyn Jones will be available for the 2022 Six Nations. He has a shoulder injury sustained during last weeknd's match against New Zealand. However, Pivac said that he believes Jones could still play at the 2023 World Cup.


Cricket .... Australia have beaten Bangladesh by eight wickets at the T20 World Cup in Dubai. Bangladesh were bowled out for just 73 runs and Australia only needed 6.2 overs to secure victory. Adam Zampa took a career-best of 5 for 19.

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