Evening Update Tuesday 8 March 2022

French Minister of Labour Elisabeth Borne has announced the end of the health protocol in companies. Speaking on French television this morning she said that from next Monday, 14 March, "we are going to resume normal rules in business". However, new guidelines will be introduced which will permit employees who wish to continue wearing a mask at work to do so.  The minister said that teleworking will be a matter for discussion between employers and employees. The French government has already announced the loosening of various Covid-19 restrictions from next Monday. The compulsory wearing of masks in almost all places where it is currently required will end but will still be required on public transport. The vaccination pass will also be suspended from that date.

President Macron spoke to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky this afternoon. The Elysees said that in the phone call, which lasted one and a half hours, the two discussed humanitarian issues, the security of nuclear power plants and the progress of negotiations with Russia in Belarus.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that the number of refugees from Ukraine arriving in France is increasing rapidly. Speaking at a reception centre in Paris this afternoon he said that French border police had counted 5,000 people since 25 February with some still being in transit.

The French government has launched a website to connect Ukranian refugees with French families who wish to offer them accomodation. The site provides information for people in France who wish to join supported projects housing refugees. It also allows associations to recruit volunteers to help them carry out their missions. The website address is https://parrainage.refugies.info/

French Minister of Housing Emmanuelle Wargon has visited a reception centre in Nice which is welcoming Ukranian refugees. The Municipality of Nice victims centre normally offers help, advice and local support to victims of criminal offences but is now welcoming refugees from the conflict in association with a local Ukranian association.

A refuse collector has died in Tourette-Levens this morning after the truck he was driving fell into a ravine. Reports say that his truck was in collision with another vehicle. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has expressed his sadness at the death of the Metrople Nice Cote d'Azur employee. The mayor said that "while waiting for light to be shed on the circumstances of this tragedy" he wanted to assure the man's loved ones and colleagues of his support.

 

BUSINESS

President Joe Biden has this evening announced a complete US ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports. He said that the ban had been introduced after "close consultation with our allies, especially in Europe".

Energy company Shell has announced that it will close its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia. As an immediate first step, the company will stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil. It announced plans to withdraw from its involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, gas and liquefied natural gas "in a phased manner". It also apologised for purchasing a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products such as petrol and diesel last week. It added that it will commit profits from the limited, remaining amounts of Russian oil it processes to a dedicated fund to alleviate  what it called "the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine".

In a further sign of rising commodity prices, the London Metals Exchange has suspended the trading of nickel. The exchange said that following further unprecedented overnight increases in the 3 month nickel price, it had made the decision to suspend trading for the remainder of today at a minimum. It said it had made the move "on orderly market grounds".

UK bakery chain Greggs has warned that its prices could go up as it faces surging costs. It said that higher prices for food, energy and staff, as well as tax changes mean the company's own costs will rise by between 6% and 7%.

 

SPORT

Cricket... Pakistan and Australia have drawn the First Test in Rawalpindi. Australia were 459 all out. Pakistan were 476-4 declared and 252-0. Imam ul-Haq scored a century in both innings.

Cycling... It's been announced that the Scottish city of Stirling will host the time trial in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. It is the seventh location to be announced for the event, which is taking place in Scotland from 3-13 August next year.

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