Evening Update Tuesday 7 December 2021

A 30 year-old man has died, after a three story building in Sanary-sur-Mer in the Var, exploded in the middle of the night.  Over 70 emergency service workers attended the scene at 4am this morning and spent two hours rescuing a woman and a baby from the rubble. Both are recovering in hospital but two other people remain missing. Today, investigators are following a line of enquiry that the explosion may be caused by a gas leak.

The increasing Covid incidence rate, has triggered the Level Two Emergency Plan at hospitals across the PACA region.  The plan means non-urgent procedures may be cancelled and a call is being made for assistance from voluntary health professionals.

The Heath Service says the vaccination program is working well and the majority of patients being treated in intensive care are those without the vaccine. As the first local case of the Omicron variant was detected in Marseilles today, they are appealing for people to take the vaccine or boost their existing inoculation.

France’s vaccination campaign is accelerating in the run up to Christmas. From today, over 65’s have access to a booster jab without any appointment required, nightclubs are to be closed and teleworking should be in place at least two or three days a week.

In schools, the health protocol has been raised to level three, meaning masks are mandatory and certain school sporting activities will be suspended. It’s also looking likely that France will follow Italy, Spain and Greece in the vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years of age from next week.

After recently rebranding to Oui SNCF, the train service is to once again change its website name to SNCF-Connect.com   The company says the name will streamline its information app and ticket booking service used by 11 million people each year.

BUSINESS

Oil prices are back up today as concerns over the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on global fuel demand eased. Oil prices dropped significantly last week over concerns vaccines might be less effective, and fears governments could impose fresh restrictions, which would hit global growth and oil demand.

Shares in American Airlines are up 3% after they announced Robert Isom will take over as CEO in March. The current CEO Doug Parker, whose time with the airline was bookended by 9/11 and the pandemic, will continue as chairman of the airline's board.

The United Arab Emirates have announced they will move weekends to Saturday and Sunday. The shift is significant, as Friday is a sacred day for worshippers of Islam, where the weekend in most countries is Friday to Saturday. However, starting in January, the UAE will have a four-½-day working week, with the weekend starting on Friday afternoon and lasting until Sunday. The move was widely expected and is in line with the country’s plan to go global.

SPORT

Football - Tottenham's preparations for their pre-Christmas fixtures have been disrupted by a coronavirus outbreak with a number of players and club staff. More PCR testing is due to take place over the next 24 hours. Spurs are due to face Rennes in a crucial Europa Conference League group game in London on Thursday, before a Premier League trip to Brighton on Sunday.

England & Borussia Dortmond midfielder Jude Bellingham has been fined €40,000 by the German Football Association. It follows comments he made about the referee at Saturday’s match, in which Dortmond were beaten 3-2 by Bayern Munich.  After the match Bellingham said the referee was a known match-fixer and questioned a key penalty he gave in the closing stages of the match. Dortmund has said they will not appeal the €40,000 fine.

Rugby - England’s Simon Middleton has become the first women's team coach to win World Rugby Coach of the Year. Middleton helped England win a third successive Six Nations title in April, after which, the team claimed four more victories including two against world champions New Zealand.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has been named in Serbia's team for the ATP Cup in Sydney, Australia. It comes as a surprise as the player has consistently refused to say if he has been vaccinated for Covid 19. Without a vaccination, he will not be able to get a visa to play in Australia.  Last week, Djokovic's father has said his son was unlikely to play unless rules were relaxed.

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