Evening Update Wednesday 18 November 2020

A French government spokesperson has said that France is "far from" deconfinement.  Speaking after the Defence Council meeting today, Gabriel Attal spoke of what he called an "adaptation of confinement" on December 1 if permitted by the health situation. He said that we are still "very far from having won the war" against the virus and called for solidarity and committment. President Macron is due to address the nation during the course of next week. Reports say that the government is planning to change health protocols for shops and that details may be revealed this Friday. Government sources are also quoted as saying that there will be a lifting of the ban on religious services.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has asked retailers planning so-called "Black Friday" promotional events to postpone them. Addressing the National Assembly this afternoon he said "Is next Friday really the right date to organise Black Friday? My answer is no." He said that the promotional event "does not make sense in the current circumstances".

Security forces have removed the occupants from three squats in Nice. First Deputy Mayor of Nice Anthony Borre said that the action had been taken against the squats in rue Miron in the centre of Nice not far from the railway station.

A union has called for industrial action on the public transport network in Marseille this Friday. The CGT union is protesting at coronavirus health protocols. Initial reports suggest that bus and tram services in Marseille will be disrupted but all metro services are expected to operate.

Navy divers have been at work off the coast of Corsica to neutralize 30 ammunition shells. The munitions were discovered by members of a local diving club off Pointe Campomoro in the southern part of the island. The Maritime Prefecture said that the shells were accessible by divers at a medium depth and activities at sea in the area around the site are being regulated during the operation.

Eleven communities in the Var have been labelled as Small Towns of Tomorrow by the Interministerial Committee for Rural Affairs. The areas, which all have  a population of less than 20,000 people will benefit from emergency support, particularly for trade. The communities include Cogolin, Le Cannet des Maures, Les Arcs, Le Muy and Roquebrune-sur-Argens.

VINCI Autoroutes are setting up "solidarity food trucks" which allow truck drivers to benefit from hot meals offered every Thursday evening in about ten areas of the VINCI Autoroutes network. In the Provence and Côte d'Azur region, two food trucks are being put in place from this Thursday evening from 6 to 8pm providing hot meals exclusively for truckers in rest areas on the A8 at Les Arc in the direction of Nice and at Reyran also in the direction of Nice.



The UK government has confirmed that sales of cars and vans powered by petrol or deisel will be banned from 2030. However some hybrid powered vehicles will still be allowed. The government has announced that 4 billion pounds has been allocated to introduce the measures, an amount critics say is too small. The proposals are part of a ten point plan to bring in what the government calls a "green industrial revolution".

The US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing's 737 Max plane to fly again after two fatal crashes. The FAA said the clearance would not allow the plane to "return immediately" to the skies. Existing aircraft will need to be modified and pilots will need training. The FAA said that the design changes it had required "have eliminated what caused these particular accidents".

Inflation in the UK rose more than expected during October. Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show that the CPI measure of inflation stood at 0.7%, up from 0.5% in September. The price of clothing, food, second-hand cars and computer games rose but the cost of energy and holidays fell.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that UK average house prices increased by 4.7% over the year to September 2020, up from 3.0% in August, to stand at a record high of £245,000. London's average house prices hit a record high of £496,000 in September.

Insurance company RSA has agreed to a takeover worth 7.2 billion pounds. The business will be broken up under the acquisition by Intact Financial Corporation from Canada and Nordic insurer Tryg.



Football... Mohamed Salah has once again tested positive for the coronavirus while on international duty with Egypt. The Liverpool forward initially tested positive last week and the Egyptian Football Association said today that Salah had been tested again and that the result was positive.

Cricket... The ECB has confirmed that England will play two Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan next autumn. The Pakistan Cricket Board had invited England to tour in early 2021 but that's now been rearranged to October next year. It will be the first time in 16 years that England will have visited Pakistan.

Rugby Union... Ireland have made four changes for the Autumn Nations Cup game against England this weekend. Bundee Aki, Keith Earls, Ross Byrne and CJ Stander are all included in the starting line-up. The match takes place at Twickenham on Saturday with kick off at 4pm our time.

Rugby League... Queensland have beaten New South Wales in the State of Origin tournament in a deciding match out of three games. It was played in front of a stadium crowd of 52,000 fans in Brisbane. The final score was 20-14 to Queensland.

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