Evening Update Wednesday 23 March 2022

The President of Ukraine has been given a standing ovation by the French National Assembly as he began his address to deputies by video link this afternoon. In his speech Volodymyr Zelensky compared the Ukranian city of Mariupol to the ruins of Verdun in the First World War. He expressed his thanks to France, saying that President Macron "is showing real leadership". He said that he hoped that under the French Presidency, the EU would take a "unique and historic decision" to admit Ukraine. He also named several French companies he said must withdraw from the Russian market as "values are worth more than profits".

The first French lessons have started today for Ukranian refugees at the former Saint-Roch hospital in Nice. The lessons are a partnership between the municipality and the Francophonia association. Three groups, children, teenagers and adults, will follow 120 hours of lessons by teachers from Ukraine. Refugees will be able to acquire the basics of French to integrate more easily. More than 800 people have registered for the lessons so far.

A meeting is taking place today between the magistrate investigating the Nice Basilica attack and families of the victims. It's the first such meeting which has taken place. A 22 year old man is being held in custody in connection with the attack in October 2020 in which three people lost their lives.

Vaccination with the Nuvaxovid vaccine from NOVAVAX began yesterday in Monaco. The Monaco government is inviting people who wish to get this vaccine to contact the Covid-19 Call Centre on Monaco 92.05.55.00, which can be reached 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or online on the website: https: //vaccination-covid19.gouv.mc. The government says that the primary vaccination schedule for this vaccine requires the administration of 2 doses, spaced 3 weeks apart and that it's  currently authorized only in persons aged 18 and over who have not been vaccinated or who have received a single dose of any vaccine, with the exception of Janssen vaccine. It can't therefore be administered as an additional dose.

A third person has been arrested in connection with the death of rugby player Federico Martin Aramburu. The Argentinian international, who has also played for several French clubs, was shot dead in Paris early last Saturday morning.

An injured person has been airlifted from a vessel off Marseille. A helicopter from the naval base at Hyeres took the passanger who had  broken leg to hospital from the cruise liner which was 200km off the coast at the time.


BUSINESS

Nestle has said that its activities in Russia will focus on providing essential food, "not on making a profit". earlier this month it stopped shipments of non-essential products like Nespresso coffee capsules and San Pellegrino water and has now suspended sales of brands such as KitKat and Nesquik. However, it said it will continue to pay it's employees in Russia.

UK inflation has risen at its fatest pace in 30 years. The Consumer Prices Index rose by 6.2% in the 12 months to February, up from 5.5% in January. On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.8% in February. 


SPORT

Football.... The five UK and Republic of Ireland football associations have submitted a joint expression of interest to Uefa in hosting the European Championships in 2028. In a joint statement the associations said that submitting an expression of interest was "an important step". They had previously considered putting forward an application to stage the 2030 World Cup but decided not to proceed after a feasibility study.

Everton player Andros Townsend has been ruled out for the rest of the season because of injury. He suffered a knee injury in the FA cup match against Crystal Palace on Sunday. Everton said that he will undergo surgery next week.

Tennis...The tennis world is coming to terms with the shock announcement by world number one Ashleigh Barty that she will retire from professional tennis at the age of just 25. In a social media post she said that she was "absolutely spent" and "physically I have nothing more to give", adding that she was leaving to "chase other dreams".

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