Evening Update Wednesday 23 December 2020

Three police officers have died and one has been injured after responding to a domestic violence incident in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in central France. A 48 year old man, who is suspected of shooting the officers  was later found dead. A woman had fled to the roof of a house in a remote village near Saint-Just in the early hours of this morning. The gunman killed one officer and wounded another. He then set fire to the house and killed two more officers who arrived at the scene. The woman was rescued. President Macron said that "the nation joins in the grief of the families. Our forces act at the risk of their lives to protect us, they are our heroes". Many local elected officials on the Cote d'Azur have also paid tribute to the victims, including Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi who extended his condolences to their families and co-workers.

France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, has issued a decision confirming the closure of cinemas and theatres because of the pandemic. In a case brought by artists, theatres and representatives of the entertainment and cinema sectors, the court said that the closures ordered by the government until at least 7 January were justified because of the health context and what it said was "the risk of an increase in the epedemic in the short term". However, it said that in a more favorable health context "their closure could not be maintained on the sole ground that there is a risk of transmission of the virus to spectators".

Nine people were evacuated from a yacht in the port of Antibes after a fire broke out in the early hours of this morning. The fire was quickly extinguished and firefighters prevented it from spreading to nearby boats. Nobody was injured in the incident. Port Vauban congratulated its employees and Alpes Maritimes firefighters for quickly containing and dealing with the fire.  

Four catering establishments in Monaco have been ordered to close for between 4 and 7 days from tomorrow because of repeated breaches of coronavirus measures. Monaco authorities carried out checks on various catering establishments in the Principality on Monday. In total, around sixty establishments spread over the districts of Monte-Carlo, Port Hercule and Fontvieille were visited. The objective was to ensure proper compliance with sanitary measures. In total, 21 tickets were issued for various offenses. The majority of them concerned the non-wearing of masks by members of staff and the failure to respect a distance of 1.5 meters between tables.

The City of Cannes is paying tribute to Sean Connery in its New Year celebrations. An image of the actor, who died on 31 October, is on the facade of the Palais des Festivals until the end of January along with the slogan “Cannes is eternal, best wishes 2021”. It features a photo taken in front of the Hotel Carlton in 1965 during the 18th Cannes Film Festival. The image covers an area of 275m2 and was taken by photographer Henri Traverso.


Lorry drivers are facing continuing delays at the port of Dover today despite France reopening its border with the UK. UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that mandatory coronavirus testing of drivers has begun but asked people to avoid Kent while the backlog is cleared. Army personnel have joined NHS staff to carry out rapid tests on thousands of stranded lorry drivers. However, UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it could take "a few days" to clear the backlog.

President Trump has said that he will refuse to sign an economic stimulus bill which has been passed by Congress. The bill provides for a 600 dollar payment to be sent to most Americans, a sum which the President said was "ridiculously low" and called for it to be increased to 2,000 dollars.

The US government has taken legal action against retailer Walmart, accusing it of of helping to fuel America's opioid crisis. The Department of Justice said that the retailer filled hundreds of thousands of questionable prescriptions and "knowingly" violating vetting rules. Walmart said the lawsuit is "riddled with factual inaccuracies".



Cricket... It's been confirmed that  England will be allowed to fly to Sri Lanka for next month's Tests. Sri Lanka suspended all direct flights from the UK yesterday because of the new variant of Covid-19. The team will be flying on a chartered plane, will take coronavirus tests and will then spend 10 days in a bio-secure bubble.

In Australia, David Warner has been excluded from Australia's biosecure bubble for the second Test against India. Warner would have missed the Test in any case because of injury. Sean Abbott is also out after he left the bubble for treatment of an injury. The second Test begins in Melbourne on 26 December.

Rugby Union... Exeter Chiefs' Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, has said that the club has "got on top" of their recent Covid-19 outbreak. Exeter had to forfeit their pool game with Toulouse and had a 28-0 loss registered against them.

Football... England and Atletico Madrid player Kieran Trippier has been given a 10-week worldwide football ban and fined £70,000 after a Football Association panel found he broke betting rules. He denied all the alleged breaches.

Cycling... The 2021 Para-cycling Track World Championships won't be taking place in Rio de Janeiro next March because of the pandemic. The sport's governing body, the UCI, said that the cancellation of the event in Rio follows "restrictions by the authorities" and a new host venue is being sought.

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