Evening Update Tuesday 20 April 2021

The European Medicines Agency has said this afternoon that the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has possible links to rare blood clot incidents but reiterated that its benefits still outweighed the risks. The J&J shot, which only requires one dose, was initially green-lit in the European Union last month. It now remains to be seen how the different countries will interpret the latest guidance from the EMA. France has already indicated it will only use the vaccine on people aged above 55.

The government has announced a priority list of twenty jobs where workers will qualify for vaccination from this Saturday. They include almost half a million workers over 55 who are truck or bus drivers, supermarket cashiers, security guards and others who work in an enclosed environment. The candidates will have to reserve a time slot in a vaccination centre and bring a payslip proving that they are part of the list of a priority profession.

France’s Minister of Health Olivier Véran has said he is in favour confinement restrictions being lifted region by region. He said the health situation in each department must be closely looked at in the approach to lifting current restrictions in place.

In the Nice-Cote-d’Azur region, while virus numbers are dropping, the latest wastewater analysis results show there is still a high presence of the virus in the sewers but also a slight decline compared to previous samples.

Police, fire fighters and elected officials have been protesting outside Nice court this afternoon. They’re denouncing lenient sentences imposed on youths, accused of attempted murder, when they fire bombed police vehicles at Viry-Châtillon in 2016. Earlier this week sentences were handed down on five people, ranging from six to eighteen years, while eight were acquitted. According to protesting police offices, the penal code is good but the laws are not enforced.

A motorist has been stopped by police on the A8 driving at 226km an hour, in a Peugeot 208 which has a top speed of 230km per hour. The 21 year old driver, who was stopped at the Puget-Ville payage was found to be under the influence of drugs. His car was seized and he has been summoned to appear before the criminal court in Draguignan.

A new gender equality campaign is to launch in Monaco focusing on sectors such as construction or kindergarten. Posters include a woman on a worksite and a man working in a crèche with the slogan ‘everyone has their place’.  The campaign aims to deconstruct certain stereotypes by being the first country in the world to break traditional gender career coding from kindergarten.

French officials have issued an international arrest warrant following the abduction of an eight-year-old girl last week. The child and her mother were found in Switzerland on Sunday, days after she was taken from her grandmother's house. Four men have been detained over the kidnapping, which is believed to have been ordered by the girl's mother, who has also been arrested. The investigation has now turned to a 55-year-old man based in Malaysia who is believed to have organised the abduction.

The Cannes Film Festival has announced that the film Annette, starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, will open this year’s festival. Set in Los Angeles, it is French director Leos Carax’s first English-language movie. It will be screened on 6th July and open simultaneously across France.

BUSINESS NEWS

US stocks are falling for a second day today as strong corporate earnings have failed to boost the  market which is already near record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq also dipped 0.3%.

Oil is rising to its highest price in a month today, supported by disruption to Libyan exports and expectations of a drop in U.S. crude inventories. Prices have recovered from historic lows last year, helped by some demand recovery and huge output cuts by OPEC and allies.

SPORT NEWS

Football - AS Monaco’s coach has referred to the controversial new European ‘Super League’ as being like the Champions League.  He says it is simply a name but the name itself is evocative. AS Monaco travel to Lyon tomorrow for the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France. Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s club president has said the league was created to save football because as young people are losing interest in poor quality games.

FIFA’s boss says the twelve clubs taking part, will have to live with the consequences of their decision to join, and they were throwing a lot away for short-term financial gain. In the UK, 14 Premiereship clubs, not involved in the breakaway league, say they unanimously and vigorously' reject plans for the  competition.

The French President has also weighed in on the controversy by congratulating Paris St German for not joining the new super league. Monsieur Macron said he welcomed the position of French clubs to refuse to participate in a project that threatens the principle of solidarity and sporting merit.

Rugby - England head coach Eddie Jones retains the full support of the Rugby Football Union following its debrief into the recent Six Nations. Jones presided over a fifth-place finish for the second time, triggering a review into why the World Cup runners-up and defending champions had under-performed at Six Nations.

Formula One - It’s been confirmed the French Grand Prix will return to Le Castellet this year at the end of June. Last year’s race had been cancelled due to the pandemic.

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