Evening Update Wednesday 16 March 2022

Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced the French government's so-called "resilience plan" to help with the economic consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. A wide range of measures were outlined by the Prime Minister this evening. They included help for businesses involved in exports and for fishermen, who will receive 35 cents per litre of diesel used in fishing vessels. Several oil depots were blockaded by road haulage businesses, farmers and fishermen in north-west France yesterday to protest at rising fuel prices. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire also announced subsidies to help businesses rely less on raw materials from Russia. Companies whose gas and electricity costs exceed 3% of their turnover will receive financial assistance from the government. 

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that he expects the number of Covid-19 cases to rise until the end of this month. Speaking on Franceinfo this morning, he said that modelling from the Institut Pasteur shows that there is a risk of reaching 120,000 or 150,000 cases per day, after which a decrease is expected. He added that hospitals were not at risk of saturation and the government had made the right decision in removing many restrictions earlier this week. Regarding long covid, the minister said that there were "several tens of thousands, perhaps 60 to 70,000" cases in France.

The number of people hospitalized in the Var with Covid-19 has risen significantly according to data from the PACA Regional Health Agency. In its latest weekly update published yesterday, the number of people in conventional hospitalisation was 188, which was up by 39 on the previous week. However, the number of people in intensive care fell by 10, to stand at 34. In the Alpes-Maritimes, 220 people were in conventional hospitalization, which is up 7 on the previous week and 35 were in intensive care, which is up by two.

Presidential candidate Valerie Pecresse has been sprayed with pink powder after giving a speech this morning. The Republican candidate had just finished giving an address at a meeting of the Confederaton of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises when the incident occurred. Reports say that the powder was thrown by two people who claimed to be members of a militant left wing collective.

Two people have been arrested in Nice after a knife attack late last night. The attack took place at the junction of boulevard Gambetta and rue Comba. The victim was reportedly a trans-gender person who suffered knife wounds to the shoulder, arms, hand and face.

Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has been visiting the MIPIM real estate event in Cannes today. Nice Mayor and President of the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropole, Christian Estrosi welcomed M. Philippe to the Nice Cote d'Azur stand at the exhibition. Christian Estrosi also signed a cooperation agreement with the city of Madrid. The agreement concerns the exchange of good practices on local policies that promote economic, social and cultural development.


BUSINESS

The International Energy Agency has said that the prospect of large-scale disruptions to Russian oil production is threatening to create a global oil supply shock. The organization estimates that from April, 3 million barrels per day of Russian oil output "could be shut in" as sanctions take hold and buyers shun exports. It said that the OPEC+ group of states is, for now, sticking to its agreement to increase supply by modest monthly amounts. Only Saudi Arabia and the UAE hold substantial spare capacity that could immediately help to offset a Russian shortfall. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently on a visit to Saudi Arabia aimed at persuading the country to raise its oil production.

Inflation in Canada has risen to its highest level since 1991. According to Statistics Canada, inflation last month stood at 5.7%, up from 5.1% in January. It said that consumers paid higher prices for gasoline and groceries and shelter costs continued to trend higher, rising at the fastest year-on-year pace since August 1983.

 

SPORT

Tennis... Administrative body the Grand Slam Board has said that a new scoring system will be tried out at all four Grand Slam events, starting with the French Open. The move will see a tie-break commence if the score reaches six games all in the final set. The winner will be the first player to win 10 points with an advantage of two or more points.

Cricket... In the Women's World Cup, England have beaten India by four wickets to keep their hopes alive. England move up to sixth place in the table, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. They face hosts New Zealand in Auckland at the weekend.

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