Evening Update Tuesday 15 June 2021

The French government has said that it is planning to reduce the time between first and second injections of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In a Twitter post this afternoon Health Minister Olivier Veran said that the government is modifying the appointment systems to allow the second dose to be scheduled between 21 and 49 days after the first injection. The intention is to give more flexibility to those going on holiday and to vaccinate the population more speedily.

The Delta coronavirus variant first identified in India now accounts for 50 to 150 coronavirus cases per day in France according to Olivier Veran.  He said that betwen 2 and 4 per cent of tests are positive for the variant and called for people to exercise caution. Speaking during a visit to a vaccination centre in Paris today, he said that the number of such cases appears small but that "was the situation in England a few weeks ago" but the variant has since "become the majority" there.

The Monaco government has called for "the greatest caution" after a rise in the Covid-19 incidence rate. The government said yesterday that the number of people testing positive per 100,000 people over the past 7 days stood at 44.33 compared to 10.43 the previous week. In one week, the incidence rate in the Principality has therefore quadrupled. It added that it appears 14 of the cases recorded last week have the same origin. The government said that these figures show that it is necessary to maintain the greatest caution and scrupulously respect barrier gestures in Monaco or when traveling abroad.

Furniture retailer Ikea France has been fined one million euros by the Versaille criminal court for illegal surveillance of its staff. The company was found to have used private detectives and police officers to collect private data on employees. Former CEO Jean-Louis Baillot, received a suspended prison sentence and a fine of 50,000 euros. His lawyer has said that an appeal is being considered.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkosy has been in court in Paris this afternoon. He was facing questions regarding the alleged illegal financing of his electoral campaign in 2012.

Bomb disposal personnel were called to a suspicious package on the Place du Palais in Nice this morning. The area was cordened off but was reopened a short time later after the package was declared to be harmless.

Meteo France have a Yellow weather warning for storms in the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes until 9pm this evening. The storms should be well inland.

A new solar panel sytem has been put in place on a public building in Monaco. The installation on the roof of the Atelier des Ballets de Monte-Carlo covers an area of ​​403 m² and will provide the workshop with energy autonomy of up to 30%. It will also provide a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 7.7 tonnes of Co2 per year. The Public Buildings Maintenance Service is planning to carry out other solar panel installations in the near future including at the Scientific Center of Monaco, which has the largest roof area and production capacity of any public building in the Principality.

An oil slick some 16km long and almost 3km wide is affecting an area off the coast of Brittany. The slick was cause by 100 litres of oil being accidentally discharged from a ship working on the construction of a wind farm in the area. The oil is biodegradable, according to the company involved in the construction of the wind farm. The slick follows a separate incident at the end of last week in which a ship discharged petrochemicals into the sea off Corsica.



The UK and Australia have agreed a new post-Brexit trade deal. The agreement means British products such as cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics will be cheaper to sell into Australia. The UK government, which has faced criticism from British farmers during negotiations, said that farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years. Also under the agreement British citizens under the age of 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia more freely.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority has launched a study into the mobile ecosystems of Apple and Google. The CMA said that it is "taking a closer look at whether the firms’ effective duopoly over the supply of operating systems, app stores and web browsers could be resulting in consumers losing out across a wide range of areas".

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that the UK jobs market is showing signs of recovery. The number of payrolled employees was up for the sixth consecutive month in May to 28.5 million. However, it's still 553,000 below levels seen before the pandemic. Since February 2020, the largest falls in payrolled employment have been in the accommodation and food services sector, people aged under 25, and people living in London.


Euro 2020...There are two games this evening. France play Germany in their eagerly awaited group F match at 9 pm and Hungary play Portugal at 6 pm. England have announced that goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has been called up to their Euro 2020 squad to replace Dean Henderson who has a hip problem.

Rugby Union... It's been announced that the Pro14 will rebrand as the United Rugby Championship when South Africa's four teams join the competition in the 2021-22 season. Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls will join the 12 existing sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The South African sides will also be eligible to qualify for European competitions from 2022-23.

Athletics... American runner Shelby Houlihan has been handed a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The body said that the anabolic steroid nandrolone had been found in a doping sample. However, the runner said that she has never taken any performance enhancing substances and suggested that it could have been a false positive caused by natural ingredients in food she had eaten shortly before the test. She is set to miss both the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games because of the ruling.

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