Evening Update Tuesday 25 August 2020

The French government has said that France will be able to manufacture 100 million protective masks per week by December. The Minister for Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher said that France would then no longer be dependent on masks imported from China and could rely on domestic and european production. She said that at the moment, 50 million masks per week are being produced in France.

President Macron presided over a meeting of the Defence Council in Paris this morning to consider the progress of coronavirus measures. Sixteen ministers were present for the 3 hour meeting, either in person or by video link, as well as Prime Minsiter Jean Castex and the Director General of Health Jerome Salamon.

Football team Olympique de Marseille have said today that three of their workforce have tested positive for the coronavirus. Five players have already tested positive, leading to the postponement of their opening match of the season last Friday.

Several hundred firefighters were still at the scene of the large fire in the Bouches -du-Rhone department early this afternoon. The fire, which broke out yesterday afternoon, covered about 500 hectares and destroyed 300 hectares. Yesterday evening 1,300 firefighters supported by 11 aircraft were fighting the fire, which was brought under control overnight. Eight people were slightly injured, including six firefighters.

Meanwhile, a teenager suspected of starting a fire in south-west France is being held in custody. Authorities suspect that the 16 year old deliberately started a fire in Anglet in the Pyrenees-Atlantique department which destroyed 165 hectares of forest and thirty houses.

Over 50 people have been stranded at a refuge in the mountains close to the Italian border. Reports say that 54 people are stranded at La Madone de Fenestre, about 13 km from Saint-Martin-Vesubie, after several landlsides cut off access last night. Firefighters were able to get to the refuge on foot and are hoping to be able to reopen the road sometime this evening.

An eldery woman has been rescued from a serious house fire in Menton this morning. Fire broke out at the house on the chemin des Mulets at about 8am. The woman was saved by the prompt action of an off duty firefighter who happened to be nearby. About 40 firefighters tacked the blaze. The fire gutted the entire building which is now in danger of collapse. The woman was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke but isn't thought to be in a serious condition.

In Paris, 15 people are appearing in court today charged in connection with violence and theft after the defeat of Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League on Sunday. Seven other people are also due to appear in court at a later date. 158 people were arrested in Paris after the match, which took place in Marseille. 105 are still in custody.


Trade talks between the United States and China have resumed. The talks had been due to start again ten days ago but were postponed by President Trump. The US Trade Representative said that both sides saw progress and are committed to reaching agreement.

Ant Group, the financial technology division of Chinese retail and technology giant Alibaba, has filed for an initial public offering. Analysts say the IPO could be one of the largest ever held. The company said that it intends to list on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

In the UK, the Co-operative bank has announced the loss of 350 jobs. It also said that it will close 18 of its branches. The bank said that the "historically low" base rate had affected its income and there was a "prolonged period of economic uncertainty ahead". It also said it had seen fewer transactions being conducted in branches as more and more customers choose to bank online.

Online music service Napster has been acquired by a London based Virtual Reality company. MelodyVR, which streams live music events, has paid 70 million dollars for Napster, which began as an illegal music download service but now has 90 million licenced tracks.



Cricket.. Play has finally got underway on the final day of the England against Pakistan test in Southampton.  The start of play had been delayed by bad weather for most of the day and only started at 5.20 our time this evening. England require eight wickets to secure victory.  Pakistan started this evening on 100-2, 210 runs behind England.

Football... England have announced their squad for next month's Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark. Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood and Kalvin Phillips are included for the first time along with Danny Ings and goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Harry Maguire has also been included. Maguire was one of three people arrested on Thursday after an alleged altercation with police on the Greek island of Mykonos. Their trial began today. All three deny all the charges.

The OGC Nice match against Strasbourg scheduled for this Sunday evening has been brought forward. Kick off will now be at 9pm on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Paris Saint Germain match against Lens has been rescheduled to 10 September to allow PSG to have more recovery time after their Champions League defeat last Sunday.

Motorsports... Formula 1 has announced the final four races of the season. The Turkish Grand Prix will be held on 15 November, Bahrain will host two races, on 29 November and 6 December and the final race is in Abu Dhabi on 13 December.

Rugby Union... South African Pro14 team Southern Kings have decided to play no further domestic matches this year. The club's chairman said "hard, financial realities" meant their season could not continue. He said there was no contractual requirement for the Kings to resume short-term participation in the Guinness Pro14 competition, because of air travel restrictions, and to continue in domestic competitions until the end of the year would have required loans or investment of 6.5 million rand.



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