Evening Update Thursday 8 June 2023

Six people, including four children, one of whom is British, have been injured in a knife attack in a park in the French alpine town of Annecy. The attack happened in a playground in a park in the city at about 9.45 this morning. The man first attacked the children, before running from the scene and targeting an elderly man. The attacker was then shot in the legs by police and arrested.  Police have said that the attacker was a Syrian man in his thirties with refugee status in Sweden. President Macron has said "the nation is in shock", calling it an "act of absolute cowardice". UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said this afternoon that a British child was one of the four children injured. The local prosecutor has confirmed that another of the children is of Dutch nationality. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin have arrived in Annecy this afternoon. At a press conference, Elisabeth Borne said the entire community of Annecy has been shaken by the incident. She said that some of the children injured are in a "severe state" in intensive care. The local prosecutor said that there is no terrorist motivation for the attack. She said that the victims included one child who is 22 months old and one who is three years old. All witnesses and victims who were not injured are in a state of shock and are being cared for by a specialist medical team.

In other news, the French government has announced a plan to deal with heatwaves this summer. The government said that it is necessary to protect the elderly, children, workers and farmers. There are fifteen measures in total, including the establishment of cool islands and drinking fountains in towns, the sending of SMS messages with heatwave advice, messages of advice being announced on public transport and the promotion of steps to be taken by animal owners. Minister of Ecological transition Christophe Bechu also announced that young people who are on their universal national service will be mobilised to encourage vulnerable people to register with their municipalities.

An eight year old girl who was the subject of a kidnapping alert has been found safe and well with her father in Genoa. The alert had been put in place by authorities to try to locate the girl who was last seen in the town of Dunkerque near the border with Belgium. Her father was arrested. The Dunkerque prosecutor's office has said that her father is the main suspect in the death of his partner in Dunkerque.

The French Senate has approved controversial legislation which will allow authorities to remotely activate cameras and microphones on mobile phones in certain circumstances. Article 3 of the Justice Bill allows the activation of cameras and microphones in cases of suspected terrorism, delinquency and organised crime.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has been visiting the demolition work at the Acropolis. He said that there had been a major asbestos removal operation as the building housed three times more asbestos than the estimated forecasts. In a social media post he said that instead of the building, he wanted the people of Nice to enjoy an extended urban forest over an additional 8 hectares, "a place that will bring happiness to the people of Nice, more freshness and preserve biodiversity".


BUSINESS

The number of people filing initial claims for unemployment benefit in the United States has reached its highest level in over 18 months. Initial jobless claims reached 261,000 last week, up by 28,000 from the previous week.

The Eurozone has fallen into recession. The region's economy contracted by 0.1% in the first quarter of this year, following a contraction of 0.1% in the final quarter of last year. The usual definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction. The German economy, the largest in Europe, shrank by 0.3%

Sir Ivan Menezes, chief executive of the world's biggest spirits company Diageo, has died at the age of 63. He was set to retire at the end of the month. Earlier this week, the company said that he was in hospital for conditions including a stomach ulcer.


SPORT

Tennis...Czech player Karolina Muchova is through to the French Open women's final after defeating Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka.  Ranked 43rd in the world, Muchova won 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 7-5.

Football... Liverpool have completed a £35m deal to sign midfielder Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton on a five-year contract. The 24-year-old Argentinian scored 20 goals in 112 appearances for Brighton and and was part of the Argentina 2022 World Cup winning squad.

Paris Saint-Germain player Lionel Messi has announced that he'll be joining US major league soccer team Inter Miami. Speaking to Spanish media, he aded that the deal is "not yet 100% concluded but he "had decided to choose this path". His contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of this month.  

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