Evening Update Wednesday 17 June 2020

The French National Assembly is debating a bill today bringing about the end of the state of health emergency on July 10. If the bill becomes law, a transitional period would follow until 30 October which would allow the government to continue to make certain restrictions, including on the movement of people and regulating the public entering establishments. In an amendment to the bill, the government is requesting that the state of emergency is extended until 30 October in two French overseas departments. Guyana and Mayotte are the only two departments which are currently not in a green zone.

The French parliamentary commission of inquiry into the coronavirus crisis is continuing to hear from those involved in the government's response to the crisis. The president of Public Health France, Geneviève Chêne, is appearing early this evening.

The French government has denounced what it called an "extremely agressive" maneuver by a Turkish Navy vessel. The frigate Le Courbet was on a NATO mission when the Turkish vessel illuminated it with it's fire control radar three times. The procedure is usually used immediately before a missile is fired. Tensions between the French and Turkish governments have risen in recent days, with the French Foreign Ministry condemning Turkey's support of the Government of National Unity in Libya.

Holiday tour operator TUI is planning to cut up to two thirds of its workforce in France, amounting to about 583 employees. The company said that it is entering into an "information-consultation process" with the Social and Economic Committee of its workforce. The CEO of TUI France said that the company had made "difficult decisions" which are necessary "to ensure a good future" for the business.

Two children have tested positive for the coronavirus in two seperate schools in Marseille. One of the schools, in the 14th arrondissement, has been closed and is being disinfected. The other school, in the 3rd arrondissement has been able to reopen. School staff and children in the same class as the infected children are observing a 14 day quarantine period.

A clearing up operation has been taking place today after thirty firefighters tackled a blaze in an apartment block in Nice last night. Smoke from the fire on the eighth floor of the building on the route de Turin could be seen over a wide area. The fire was brought under control quickly and no injuries were reported.

Police had to intervene to restore order outside a Lidl store in the Yvelines department this morning. A store promotion on a PS4 games console had gone viral resulting in five hundred people gathering in front of the shop. Tear gas was used after a bottle was thrown at police. Lidl said that the store has been closed and the promotion cancelled.

 

BUSINESS

According to new data from an automotive industry body, new car sales in France fell by just over half in the month of May from a year earlier. Across the EU, new registrations were down by 52.3%.

Scottish energy company SSE has announced plans to spend over 7 billion pounds over five years to power "a green economic recovery" It aims to start work on the UK's largest onshore wind farm project by the end of the summer. The 103 turbine project in the Shetland Isles is costing 580 million pounds. The plans are subject to energy regulator Ofgem giving the go ahead for an undersea cable to connect Shetland to the UK mainland.

The EU's statistics agency Eurostat has said that inflation in the eurozone fell from 0.3% in April to 0.1% in May. A year earlier the rate was 1.2%. Inflation in France was 0.4%.

Meanwhile, inflation has fallen in the UK according to figures released today. The Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation was 0.7% in May, down from 0.9% in April. Falling prices for motor fuels and a variety of recreational and cultural goods were mostly responsible for the fall. However, food and non-alcoholic drinks prices rose. The Consumer Prices Index rate was 0.5% in May, down from 0.8% in April.

Menzies aviation which provides passenger, ramp and cargo handling services at airports is set to make over 300 employees redundant in Scotland. The Unite trade union said Menzies Aviation has started a 45-day consultation with staff about redundancies at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports. Menzies said that it had taken the decision with "great sadness" due to the unprecedented decline in air travel.


SPORT

Motorsports... Formula E has announced plans to conclude the season with six races in Germany. They will be held at the Berlin Tempelhof circuit in August. Races will be held behind closed doors and no more than 1,000 people will be on site in order to comply with government guidelines.

Football... The English Premier League returns to action behind closed doors tonight with two games outstanding from the previous round that couldn’t be completed in March. Aston Villa play Sheffield United at 7pm our time and Manchester City host Arsenal at 9.15pm.

Athletics... The World 100m champion Christian Coleman has been provisionally suspended after missing a third doping test. Coleman disputes the third failure, saying that he was "five minutes away" from home and the tester made no effort to contact him. Coleman said he has never and will never use performance enhancing supplements or drugs.

Snooker... One of the stars of snooker over many years, Willie Thorn, has died at the age of 66. He became a TV commentator after retiring from snooker in 2001. Thorn had been diagnosed with leukaemia in March.

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