Evening Update Wednesday 4 November 2020

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi is calling for confinement to be made more stringent. He said that this is essential for the "proper functioning and survival of our health system". The mayor said that we are in what he called a "semi-containment", with people continuing to walk in public spaces where he said the virus is circulating. He said that other seasonal COVIDs and the flu circulating in addition to covid-19 are "likely to make matters worse". The mayor said that if within eight days the incidence and occupancy rates of intensive care beds do not come down, he recommends stricter confinement in order to "give the economic recovery a chance" in December and for the holiday season.

A union has filed a notice to take industrial action tomorrow in schools and nurseries in Marseille. The Force Ouvriere union said that health rules are difficult to apply in the majority of schools in the city given the lack of staff and space.

The Regional Health Agency in Brittany has said that it has received 20 patients from the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur and Occitanie regions since 27 October. In the PACA region patients have been transferred from hospitals in Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. The agency said that the current availability of intensive care in Brittany makes it possible to provide the reception of patients within the framework of national solidarity between regions.

Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti has asked for the transfer of the man accused of carrying out the attack in Nice to another hospital in France in order to "guarantee the safety of the Pasteur hospital". He said that "tensions are palpable" and said that he had discussed the proposal with the medical officials of the CHU in Nice. M. Ciotti said that he had made the request to French Health Minister Olivier Veran.

Several minors have reportedly been taken into police custody in the Bouches-du-Rhone department for refusing to observe the minutes silence for Samuel Paty on Monday or for making comments in favour of the teacher's attacker. Reports say that arrests were made in Miramas and Saint-Remy-de-Provence as well as in Marseille.

A man has been arrested in the Essonne department suspected of threatening teachers at a school. Reports in French media say that the alleged incident took place on Monday and a 39 year old man was arrested early this morning.

Prosecutors in Marseille have announced that the town hall social landlord, known as "Marseille Habitat", is being charged with manslaughter in connection with the collapse of buildings in the old town of Marseille two years ago. The organization was the owner of one of the two buildings which collapsed on the rue d'Aubagne. A tribute will be held on the street tomorrow on the second anniversary of the collapse and is expected to include eight minutes silence, one minute for each of the eight people who lost their lives.

The Italian government has announced a curfew which will be in operation from 10pm to 5am as from tomorrow evening, November 5. Other measures include the closure of shopping centres at weekends and holidays and the closure of museums. Public transport will be limited to 50% of capacity and high schools will have to use remote learning. The measures are in force until 3 December.

A hotel is donating almost 500 pieces of furniture to the victims of Storm Alex. The hotel in Aix-les-Bains in the Savoie department is undergoing refurbishment and has donated the furniture to those affected by the storm in the Roya and Vesubie valleys.

 

BUSINESS

European stock markets have been volatile today faced with an uncertain outcome of the US presidential election. With millions of votes still to be counted, the two candidates are neck and neck in key swing states.

Marks & Spencer has announced a loss of £87.6m for the six months to 26 September, compared with a profit of £158.8m in the same period last year. It's Marks and Spencer's first loss in its 94 years as a publicly-listed company. Group sales for the period fell by 15.8% mostly because of lower clothing and home sales.

Retailer John Lewis has announced the loss of 1,500 jobs at its head office as part of an effort to reduce costs by 300 million pounds. In a mangement reshuffle, finance director Patrick Lewis, the only Lewis family member still to be employed at the business, will leave after 26 years.

The latest survey of purchasing managers in the UK has shown that growth in the services sector is slowing. The survey recorded a figure of 51.4 in October, down from 56.1 in September. A figure above 50 shows growth and below 50 contraction. The services sector in the Eurozone recorded a figure of 50.0 for the month.


SPORT

Rugby Union... South Africa have committed to the Rugby Championship until 2030 according to the championship organizing body Sanzaar. There had previously been speculation that South Africa may join the Six Nations.

Rugby League... Queensland have beaten New South Wales in the opening game of the State of Origin. The final score was 18-14.

Football.... Southampton player Danny Ings is out for four to six weeks after knee surgery. The striker sustained an injury during the match against Aston Villa at the weekend.

There are eight games in the European Champions League tonight including Chelsea against Rennes in Group E and Istanbul against Manchester United in Group H. Paris St Germain are away at RB Leipzig also in Group H.

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