Evening Update Tuesday 15 February 2022

Police are continuing to investigate arson as the possible cause behind yesterday’s house explosion near Perpignan.  The blast killed several people including a newborn baby and a two-year-old. An eighth body was recovered today, believed to be the remains of a 66-year-old woman, the last person fire-fighters were searching for. Investigators are focussing their concerns on a number of gas cylinders, which were in a grocery shop on the ground floor of the building at the time of the explosion.

Following a meeting of the Council of Ministers today, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal has confirmed nightclubs will reopen tomorrow, along with the consumption of food & drink being allowed in cinema’s, at the bar in restaurants, and on public transport. M Attal also confirmed a move to allow people with a fake Pass Sanitaire to go to a vaccination centre to regularize their situation, without risk of prosecution.

Today, a change to the vaccination pass has come into force across France, with those who have not received a booster jab running the risk of losing their right to the pass. In order to keep your pass current, you now need to have a booster jab within four months of your second vaccination shot.

In the presidential election, Marine le Pen said today she intends to defend the French language by banning the use of foreign languages ​​in advertising and communication. M le Pen is campaigning to receive the 500 official signatures required to run for the Élysée. So far, only four candidates have exceeded that requirement, Valérie Pécresse, Emmanuel Macron, Anne Hidalgo and today Nathalie Arthaud, a secondary school economics teacher running as the Workers' Struggle nominee.

Weather statistics from Monaco show that the temperature did not drop below zero degrees for a single day in 2021. The average temperature across the year was 17d, and while the total hours of sunshine were down very slightly, so was rainfall with five days fewer than normal.

Nice Cote d’Azur Airport has announced a new service today, with Air France subsidiary Transavia flying twice weekly to Monastir in Tunisia. The move is seen by customers as welcome competition for Tunisair and Nouvelair who both serve the route already.

BUSINESS

The rouble has risen over 2% against the dollar after Russia announced some troops near Ukraine were returning to base after military exercises. European exchanges have on the news with the CAC, DAX and FTSE 100 all showing positive gain.

Shares in Virgin Galactic are up 10% today as the company announced it will open ticket sales to the public.  Three options are offered including seats for couples or opportunities to buy entire flights.  A single seat will cost $450,000 and require a $150,000 deposit.

SPORT

Winter Olympics - Monaco's Rudy Rinaldi and Boris Vain have narrowly missed a place in the two man bob-sleighing final  this afternoon. The pair comfortably made the Top 10 on each of their runs with a time of 60.05 and 59.62 seconds on their qualifying runs.

As expected Kamila Valieva has qualified for the free skate, after a superb qualification which ended in emotional tears this afternoon. One extra skater is to go through to the next stage, in case there are any developments in the Valieva story, which means she is removed later.

Soccer - The European Champions League ‘last 16’ gets underway tonight with Paris St-Germain set to play Real Madrid at Parc des Princes. It will be an interesting match for Kyllian Mbappe, as his ambition is to play for the Spanish team one day. Real have already made multiple offers to PSG for the striker last summer and it’s expected Mbappe will jump when he is out of contract later the year. Tonights other big match is Sporting Lisbon hosting Manchester City, then tomorrow RB Salzburg face Bayern Munich, while Liverpool take on Inter Milan. All games kick off at 9pm.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has said he would rather miss out on future tennis trophies than be forced to get a Covid vaccine. Speaking with the BBC he said he was not anti-vaccination but supported an individual's right to choose. Asked if he was willing to sacrifice Grand Slams like Wimbledon and the French Open, Djokovic said - Yes, that is the price that he is willing to pay.

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