Evening Update Wednesday 21 October 2020

Ceremonies have been held across the Riviera today as part of a national day of tribute to Samuel Paty, the teacher murdered in a suburb of Paris last week. A minute's silence was held by elected officials and city employees in Nice at 11.00. A minute's silence was also observed in Cannes by Mayor David Lisnard and members of the municipal council. In the Var, a ceremony took place in Ramatuelle this morning and a ceremony is being held in Toulon at 7pm this evening on the Port Square in front of the town hall. The national tribute, led by President Macron, will be held at the Sorbonne in Paris starting at 7.30 this evening.

French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard held a press conference this afternoon at which he clarified several elements of the investigation into the attack on M. Paty. He confirmed that two students, aged 14 and 15 had been paid to identify the teacher. He said the amounts involved were "300 to 350 euros". The two have appeared before an anti-terrorism judge along with five other people accused of involvement in the murder.

A French government spokesperson said this afternoon that "a number" of departments will be moved into the "maximum alert" category" for the coronavirus tomorrow. French Prime Minister Jean Castex is scheduled to hold a press conference on the coronavirus situation at 5pm tomorrow at which the departments are expected to be announced. Several other government ministers, including Health Minister Olivier Veran, will also be present.

The Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Regional Health Agency has released data regarding the coronavirus situation for the week up to last Sunday. The positivity rate for those tested was 12.7%. 1,263 people were hospitalized, which is 350 more than the previous week. 247 people were in intensive care, which is up by 52. 70 people died from the virus in the week.

About 60,000 homes were still without power this afternoon as a result of damage caused by Storm Barbara. Reports say that most of those affected are in the Pyrenees-Landes and Pays-de-la-Loire areas. Almost one thousand workers from Enedis and other companies have been involved in restoring electricity supplies.

 

BUSINESS

Airline Cathay Pacific has announced a restructuring resulting in the loss of 8,500 jobs and the closure of its Cathay Dragon subsidiary. The company said it was focussing its efforts on the Cathay Pacific brand complemented by its low-cost leisure brand Hong Kong Express. The airline said it has cut costs by deferring aircraft deliveries, implementing special leave schemes and cutting executive pay. It also received a $5bn bailout from the Hong Kong government. The airline said that the restructuring will reduce costs by a further $64m a month in 2021.

Inflation has risen in the UK. The CPI measure of inflation rose to 0.5% in September, up from 0.2% in August. The Office for National Statistics said that second hand car prices rose as did the cost of restaurant meals after the end of the UK government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

UK government borrowing has risen to its largest level since 1960 when compared to the size of the economy. Public sector net borrowing was 36.1 billion pounds in September according to figures released today, which is the third highest monthly figure since comparable records began in 1993.

 

SPORT

Cycling... A change to the route of the Giro d'Italia has been announced to avoid passing through France on Saturday. The change, announced by race director Mauro Vegni this afternoon, is being made because of coronavirus measures. Australian rider Ben O'Connor won the 17th stage today but Joao Almeida is still the race leader.

Motorsports... Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll has revealed that he tested positive for the coronavirus around the time of the Eifel Grand Prix. The Racing Point driver didn't take part in the race after feeling unwell and received the positive test shortly afterwards. He took another test at the beginning of this week which was negative. He's expected to take part in this weekend's Portugese Grand Prix.

Rugby Union... The British and Irish Lions have announced a Test against Japan next June. The match will take place at Murrayfield as a warm-up for the team's tour of South Africa. Their first match in the tour is against The Stormers on 3 July.

The squad for Scotland's match against Georgia on Friday has been announced with South African player Duhan van der Merwe being included. Fraser Brown will captain Scotland for the first time.

Football... There are 8 more games in the group stage of the European Champions League tonight including Manchester City against Porto in Group C and Ajax against Liverpool in Group D.

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