A French government spokesperson has said that "sometimes significant" increases in the circulation of the coronavirus are being seen in two regions. Speaking after a Council of Ministers meeting this morning, Gabrial Attal said that increased levels are being observed in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region in the south-west and in Occitanie, which is in the central south of the country. He said that the progression of the virus in those regions serves as "an alert" and "we cannot lower our guard". He said that the reproduction rate in Nouvelle-Aquitaine has gone back above 1 and is particularly marked in the Pyrenees-Atlantique department and to a lesser extent in five other departments in the region. As regards vaccination, he said that the 50% level of people who have had their first vaccination will be crossed by this evening, but warned that a first vaccination does not give complete protection.
The trial of eight people accused of involvement in the 14 July 2016 attack in Nice has been set for September 5 to November 15 next year, according to reports in French media today. The trial will take place in Paris at the special assize court which is composed solely of professional magistrates.
An armed man has been shot dead by police in a small village near Gap this morning. The man had been barracaded in a house in the village of Saint-Etienne-le-Laus, which is about 20km southeast of Gap, since yesterday afternoon. Police said that he had used threatening behaviour and had pointed a gun in the direction of officers.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly are scheduled to be in Toulon this Friday. The Prime Minister and Minister will be visiting the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
A judicial investigation has been opened after a fire at a vaccination centre in Gap in the early hours of this morning. Firefighters fought the fire in a 400 square metre room used for Covid-19 vaccinations and which is the largest vacciantion centre in the Hautes-Alpes department.
In Monaco, the Public Buildings Maintenance Department is dismantling its last thermal installation using fossil fuels. The fuel oil boilers at the Administrative Centre on rue Louis Notari are being decommissioned as part of the Principality's energy transition. The new source of thermal energy for the Administrative Center will be thalassothermal energy where heat energy from the sea is recovered to heat and cool buildings, or to produce domestic hot water. There are already more than 80 seawater heat pumps throughout Monaco including at the Grimaldi Forum, the Oceanographic Museum and the Auditorium Rainier III.
The Plage des Ondes in Antibes has received a delivery of 300 tons of white sand. Many beaches in our region were severely affected by winter storms and the new sand is to replenish the beach in time for the summer season.
The UK has begun the process to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Signatories to the agreement are currently Australia, Japan and New Zealand as well as Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada and Brunei. However, the UK has already signed a trade deal with Japan and is expected to sign deals with Australa and New Zealand shortly, limiting the agreement's benefits for the UK, according to some analysts. International trade secretary Liz Truss said that the UK government will present plans to Parliament "in the coming weeks" before starting negotiations.
Independent publisher Bloomsbury has announced better than expected results for the year to the end of February. Sales were up 14% and profit before tax increased by 22% compared to the previous year. Chief executive Nigel Newton told the BBC that people had "rediscovered the joy of reading" during the pandemic and have "craved intellectual stimulus and comfort".
Tennis.... Harmony Tan is out of the French Open after being defeated by Czech player Marketa Vondrousova. Daria Kasatkina beat 10th seed Belinda Bencic 6-2 6-2. In the men's singles, Alexander Zverev, Casper Ruud and Fabio Fognini are all through to the next round.
Cricket.. The first Test between England and New Zealand has got underway at Lord’s today. New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat. Stokes, Buttler, Woakes and Archer are all absent from the England side for the Test.
Athletics... Scottish Olympic medallist Eilidh Doyle has announced her retirement from athletics at the age of 34. She won bronze in the 4x400 metres relay at Rio 2016 and was European 400m hurdles champion in 2014.