Evening Update Tuesday 31 August 2021

Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that France is "on the right path" for a return to "normal life". Speaking on a visit to a vaccination centre in Strasbourg this morning he said that the fourth wave is "under control" but added that he was speaking "with caution". He said that there is still work to be done as there are people who are unvaccinated. Meanwhile, the head of the Vaccine Strategy Orientation Council has said that France is "not very far from returning to a life close to normal". Speaking on French television this morning Professor Alain Fischer said that he could not say precisely when we will be able to resume life as it was before the pandemic and called for people to remain vigilant.

A court in the Hautes-de-Seine department in northern France has partially suspended the implementation of the health pass. The administrative court ruled that a health pass was not necessary to access shopping centres in the department because such a restriction would prevent people from accessing goods and basic services. However, the health pass is still required in other places in the Hautes-de-Seine such as restaurants, bars and long distance trains. A similar suspension has also been introduced in several other departments in the Paris region.

President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced that 70% of adults in EU are fully vaccinated. However, she added that it is necessary for more Europeans to get vaccinated. She said that the EU is also helping the rest of the world to get vaccinated. Since December 2020, the EU has exported 700 million vaccine doses to 130 countries worldwide and exports about half of vaccines produced in Europe.

President Macron is expected in Marseille tomorrow for a three day visit. He will announce details of a "grand plan" for the city which will cover areas such as housing, schools and transport. Measures to address the security situation are also expected to be revealed after an escalation in drugs related violence in Marseille over the summer.



Inflation in the eurozone has hit a ten year high according to preliminary figures from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat. It said that Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 3.0% in August, up from 2.2% in July. Energy is expected to have the highest annual rate in August at 15.4%, compared with 14.3% in July.

The Chief Executive of Ryanair has said that the airline is expecting a "very strong recovery" in European short-haul flights. It expects to fly 10.5 million passengers a month over the next three months. However, Michael O'Leary said that the company doesn't expect pricing to go back to pre-Covid levels until the summer of 2022.

Google has announced plans to invest one billion euros in Germany by 2030. The company said that it will expand its cloud computing facilities in the country as well as investing in renewable energy installations.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment in Germany fell sharply by 91,000 in July. Germany's  Federal Labour Office said that the situation in the labour market continues to improve with unemployment and under-employment continuing to fall strongly and employment growth continuing. However, 2,590,000 people are still unemployed.



Football.. West Ham have signed Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow. He's signed a five-year contract that includes the option for an extra year. Vlasic plays for Croatia at international level.

Ronaldo has dedicated his return to Manchester United to Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson was United manager during Ronaldo's first spell at Old Trafford, when he scored 118 goals in 292 appearances.

Cricket... South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn has announced his retirement from cricket at the age of 38. He made his Test debut back in 2004 against England.

Paralympics...Swimmer Reece Dunn has set a new world record to win his third gold of the Games. He won the men's SM14 200m individual medley in a time of 2 minutes 8.02 seconds. Sarah Storey and Ben Watson won cycling gold medals. Bethany Firth and Louise Fiddes won silver and bronze respectively in the women's SM14 individual swimming medley.

Rugby Union.. South African Alan-Basson Zondagh has joined the Scotland coaching team, focusing on attack coaching. He replaces Mike Blair, who became Edinburgh head coach last month.

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