Evening Update Thursday 9 December 2021

France is to reform free movement in the Schengen area and tighten controls of EU borders, during its presidency of the European Council starting in January. In a speech today, President Macron said the migrant crisis on the EU's eastern flank showed the need for action.

Macron has faced criticism for not postponing France's EU presidency which could put him in a tricky position if he campaigns for re-election. The EU role could provide a platform for Macron's campaign but also complicate it, if the race is focused primarily on domestic issues such as the economy, security and immigration.

In his speech today, Macron said France’s motto for the EU presidency is “Recovery, power, belonging” - the last word meant to convey the idea of enhancing Europeans' sense of shared belonging to the bloc. This is the first time since 2008 that France will hold the EU presidency.

French movie director Luc Besson has had a charge of rape against him dropped by the Paris court. Reports say the prosecution considered the accusations were unfounded. The 62-year-old director has always denied the charge and asked today that his right to innocence be respected. His accuser, actress Sand Van Roy says she intends to appeal the decision.

Olivier Veran France's Minister of Health has announced that pharmacists, who wish to, can open every Sunday in December and January to vaccinate against Covid-19. Yesterday, more than 650,000 French people received a booster injection, as the latest fifth wave of contamination continues to grow. The Minister said he hoped it will reach a peak by the end of the month if the French limit gatherings and apply a strict respect of barrier gestures over Christmas.

IKEA have announced an official opening date their new store in Nice. Following a site inspection at Saint-Isidore this morning, they say doors at the 24,000 square metre facility will open on the 11th of May next year. And Megarama, one of Frances largest cinema chains, has announced it will open its brand new multiplex, just north of Riquier, this Saturday December 11th. Located on Avenue François Mitterrand the cinema will show the latest movies, including House of Gucci and Stephen Spielberg’s newly released version of West Side Story in French and ‘original version’ English.

Thirty people have been evacuated after a fire broke out this morning at a chemist in a shopping centre in Cannes. Fire-fighters were alerted at 6.30aam after thick black smoke was seen coming from the Leclerc shopping centre located between Cannes and La Bocca. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

Presidential candidates have been told to exercise basic security for journalists at campaign events.

It follows brawls at a campaign rally held by far right candidate Eric Zemmour, where supporters attacked a crew from the Quotidian TV show, forcing them to be evacuated by security, as a raucous crowd surrounded them chanting ‘Tous les Monde Deteste Quotidien’. There were other brawls at the rally where one man was filmed repeatedly punching a female protester, and another woman was led out with blood running down her face. Five protesters were injured in total.

Zemmour, who has been described as France’s Donald Trump, is standing on an anti-immigration, anti-Islam programme, and has announced he will stop benefits for non-Europeans and foreigners who remain unemployed in France for more than six months.


The Evergrande financial crisis in China worsened today, after ratings agency Finch declared the countries largest property developer to be in default.  Evergrande, who own over 1,300 building projects in 280 cities, are in debt to the tune of $300 billion. This week the company has failed to repay interest on about $1.2bn of international loans. If Evergrande default further, it could lead to a credit crunch in the world's second largest economy, with repercussions across the global market.

Germany's car watchdog has cleared Mercedes-Benz's semi-autonomous driving system, paving the way for its Drive Pilot System internationally. It will allow drivers to focus on other activities while the car is in heavy traffic or on congested auto-routes.

Italy's antitrust watchdog has fined Amazon €1.13 billion euro for forcing marketplace sellers to use Amazons delivery service to access a number of other benefits. Amazon say they will appeal the fine, one of the biggest imposed on an American company in Europe.

Lego has announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Vietnam to keep up with growing demand for its products in Asia. The toy making giant said it will invest more than €1bn in the project near Ho Chi Minh City.


Basketball - There’s a big game tomorrow night for Monaco’s Roca team as they take on Italy’s Milano Armani Exchange in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.  The expectation is a win for Monaco, who are riding high from their win against Lyon on Tuesday, and will surge against the Italians with the support of a home crowd. The game takes place at Salle Gaston Medecin Arena at Stade Louis II in Monaco tomorrow at 8pm, with tickets from just €14 available online from asmonaco.basketball

Football - Tonight’s Europa Conference League match between Rennes and Tottenham Hotspur has been cancelled. The cancellation comes after eight players and five members of staff of the London club tested positive for Covid-19. Their Premiere League match against Brighton on Sunday is believed to be under review. Spurs say they are in discussion with UEFA and will provide an update on the fixture in due course.

Barcelona have received very heavy criticism from the Spanish media for their 3-0 loss against Bayern Munich which knocked them out of the Champions League this week. It’s the first time in 21 years the team have been knocked out this early in the competition. A furious Spanish media have called it Barcelona’s resignation from the football elite, with another newspaper calling the team an ‘embarrassment’ and ‘a team trapped in a time-warp’.  Barcelona now drop into the Europa League knockout round play-off.

Tennis - Former Wimbledon and Australian Open winner Amélie Mauresmo has been announced as the new director of the French Open. The 42 year-old is the most successful French singles player since the start of the Open era in 1968. She’s won a total of 25 singles titles, including three Grand Slams, captained the France Fed and Davis Cup teams, and coached Scottish player Andy Murray. She is the first woman to take the role at Roland Garros and succeeds Guy Forget whose contract ends this year.

Formula 1 - Abu Dhabi will be the final race of the Formula 1 season for another ten years, after the country signed a new contract to host a grand prix. The track has developed a reputation for dull races, but this year, the circuit's layout has been extensively revised for the weekend’s championship showdown between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

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