Evening Update Tuesday 6 April 2021

French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said that "computer attacks" have been made on educational websites today. Speaking to Franceinfo he said that there had been "computer attacks apparently coming from abroad to prevent servers from functioning" and added that technical work is underway to restore services. He also mentioned that an internet operator had been overwhelmed by the number of connections. There have been many reports of problems accessing French educational digital platforms and workspaces today as parents find themselves dealing with home schooling and online lessons following the closure of schools due to the health crisis.

The French Interior Ministry has said that almost 1,000 fines have been issued to customers of illegally opened restaurants in Paris since 30 October last year. It said that over 7,300 checks have been made on Paris restaurants since that date. The figures were released after controversy caused by a French TV report last Friday which showed luxury dining taking place in breach of health restrictions.

The municipality of Antibes Juan-les-Pins has released its weekly update on Covid-19 patients at the hospital in Antibes. For the period from March 29 to April 5, there were 31 hospitalized patients including 8 in intensive care. 35% of patients were from Antibes Juan-les-Pins, 65% from elsewhere. There were  2 deaths, of patients aged 81 and 89. The municipality also released data on the number of Covid-19 tests carried out at Fort Carré during the week. Out of 2,464 tests performed on symptomatic subjects and priority contacts, 6.1% were positive.

Sante Publique France and the Ministry of Solidarity and Health have launched an awareness campaign to encourage people to talk about their mental health. The campaign is aimed at the general public, particularly 18-24 year olds. The aim is to encourage people to talk to those around them, to a health professional and to use existing information, listening and psychological support systems. In a recent survey, 31% of those questioned had "anxious or depressive" states of health. A government toll-free telephone number is available to answer all questions related to COVID-19 and to direct people who express the need to listening and psychological support. The number is 0 800 130 000. Also, the Psycom.org website offers reliable, accessible and independent information on mental health.

In other news, the Prefect of the Var has reminded residents  that the current dry conditions combined with the Mistral winds represent a fire danger for the massifs of the Var.  Any use of fire is prohibited in the department when winds are above 40 km / h, in particular during brush clearing operations. This morning a fire broke out in a forest near the village of Cadière d'Azur near La Ciotat before being brought under control by firefighters. A blaze also broke out this afternoon in undergrowth near Bras.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has written to the President of the Republic of Indonesia following torrential rains from tropical cyclone Seroja which have affected the country recently. The Prince said that on behalf of the people of the Principality and his family, he wished to convey his deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the people of Indonesia for the loss of lives and the displacement of families. He said that our thoughts are also with the search and rescue teams as well as all the people helping the injured.

One of the most photographed landmarks of Nice has undergone a refurbishment. The “I Love Nice” sign had been removed for cleaning and repainting and was reinstalled in it's usual place next to the sea between the port and the Promenade des Anglais this morning.

 

BUSINESS

The International Monetary Fund has said that the global economy is finally emerging from the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, although with prospects "diverging starkly" across regions and nations. The United States received a big upgrade in its growth prospects in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released today, with the organization expecting growth of 6.4% this year and 3.5% next year. The UK also received an upward revision, with the IMF now expecting growth of 5.3% this year and 5.1% next year. Director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department at the IMF, Tobias Adrian, said that “extraordinary policy measures" have eased financial conditions and supported the economy, helping to contain financial stability risks. But he added that those rescue efforts "may have unintended consequences and sow the seeds of future financial market instability”.

The UK new car market recorded its first growth in March since August 2020, with 29,280 more units registered during March compared to the same month last year, according to figures published today by industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. However, compared with the 2010-2019 average for March, registrations were down 36.9%.

The New Zealand government has annnounced that Australia and New Zealand residents will be able to travel between the two countries without having to quarantine. The new arrangement comes into effect from 19 April. Travellers from New Zealand have been allowed to enter most Australian states without quarantine since last October, but until now this hasn't been reciprocal.


SPORT

Tennis... The French sports ministry has said that discussions have taken place with the organizers of the French Open regarding a possible delay of "a few days" in the start of the tournament. The event is currently scheduled to take place at Roland Garros from 23 May to 6 June, with qualifying the week before. Last year's tournament was postponed to the autumn because of the  pandemic.

Olympics... North Korea has announced that it won't be taking part in the Tokyo Olympics. It said that the decision had been made to protect its athletes from Covid-19. In 2018, North Korea and South Korea entered a joint team at the Winter Olympics which led to a series of historic summits and it had been hoped that this year's summer Olympics may have led to further talks between the two nations.

Football...There are two Champions League matches this evening. Manchester City play Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid face Liverpool.

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