Lockdown replaced by curfew – The six-week national lockdown in France is to be lifted on December 15th and replaced by a curfew from 8pm to 6am including New Year’s Eve. The move announced by French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday will allow families to travel to celebrate Christmas, but museums, theatres and cinemas will remain closed.
During the press conference Castex said that while the health situation had “considerably improved with the number of new infections falling from nearly 50,000 a day in late October to around 10,000, it is still too early to “let down our guard”. Thursday saw 14,000 new cases of Covid-19 identified compared to 12,000 a week earlier. The total death toll in France since the beginning of the pandemic stands at over 55,000.
Mayor of Nice comes first for action towards health crisis, and climate action - According to an Ifop poll, the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi comes first for his dealing with the health crisis, economic recovery, public security and action towards climate change. The poll ranked the action of elected officials throughout France. The mayor of Nice was placed ahead of the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Martine Aubry the mayor of Lille.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Christian Estrosi called for a carbon tax on international transport. Speaking at the Zero Carbon Forum he said that the problem of heavy goods vehicles "is major" and that "we cannot allow cars to be reduced" and at the same time continue with the situation regarding heavy goods vehicles. He said that Nice wishes to be more autonomous in terms of energy.
Google – France has fined Google 100 million euros for breaking the country's rules on online advertising trackers known as cookies. It is the largest fine ever issued by the French data privacy watchdog CNIL. US retail giant Amazon was also fined 35 million euros for breaking the rules. The tech giants have been given three months to change the information banners displayed on their websites. If they do not comply, they will be fined a further 100,000 euros per day until the changes are made.
Truffle season - France’s truffle season is set to begin officially this Saturday December 12th. Markets are allowed to open with health precautions in place. Truffles have come through particularly early this year, due to high levels of humidity following the drought and heat over the summer. The season will last from Saturday 12th December until March 7th, 2021,
Survey on safety of shower gels, creams and make-up - The magazine “60 Millions de consommateurs” has published a survey today which evaluated 160 cosmetic products with regard to their impact on health. The survey showed that only about fifty have proven to be satisfactory. All others contain potentially dangerous substances. The consumer defense association advises customers to scrutinize the list of ingredients, whether the product is organic or not. Particularly for lipsticks which may contain aluminum.
The 50 products rated healthy and safe by the magazine are in all price ranges, which means safe and affordable cosmetics can be produced. The consumer magazine therefore calls on manufacturers to put more effort into the composition of their products.
The British Prime Minister has said that there’s a “strong possibility” that the UK will fail to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. Speaking on Thursday as talks continued in Brussels, Boris Johnson said that “now is the time” for firms and people to prepare for a no-deal outcome. He said that British negotiators would go “the extra mile” to reach a deal but stressed that the government found it unacceptable that the EU was trying to keep the UK “locked” into its legal system. Mr Johnson said that the EU’s proposals meant that despite leaving the bloc, the UK would be forced to remain a “twin” of the 27-member organisation. He concluded that Britain should prepare for an “Australia style deal”, his way of describing an exit using WTO rules, rather than the Canada style deal that he had been seeking. UK ports have been at gridlock over the past few days with firms attempting massive imports of goods before Brexit happens on the 1st of January. Talks in Brussels in a bid to reach a deal will continue between the two sides until Sunday when the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen says that a conclusion will have to be reached.
Shares in the holiday rental platform Airbnb have surged on their first day of trading giving the firm a valuation of more than 100 billion dollars. The listing, the biggest in the US this year raised some 3.5 billion dollars for Airbnb. The firm says that it will use the money to help it survive the coronavirus pandemic which has seen a dramatic fall in international travel. Demand for the shares was so strong that prices in opening trade more than doubled from the 68 dollars asked for ahead of the listing. Airbnb bookings slumped in the spring forcing it to cut staff numbers by 25 percent and raise 2 billion dollars in emergency funds. The firm has warned that renewed lockdowns in many places will hamper its recovery.
Walt Disney has unveiled plans for a major expansion of its Star Wars and Marvel franchises on its Disney+ subscription streaming service. The firm also said that its forthcoming movies Peter Pan and Wendy and Pinocchio will be launched on the streaming service instead of being released in cinemas. Disney is the latest major studio to divert its focus from cinema to streaming. Last week, Warner Brothers said that all of its 2021 releases would go direct to its HBO Max platform instead of being released in cinemas. Disney says that it plans to offer 10 new TV series in its Marvel and Star Wars franchises over the next few years.
Football - Spurs have finished top of their Europa League group thanks to a 2-0 win over Royal Antwerp last night. Arsenal were 4-2 winners at Dundalk as they ended the group phase with a 100 percent record while Leicester sealed top spot in their group thanks to a 2-0 win over AEK Athens. Rangers secured a seeded place in Monday’s draw after beating Lech Poznan 2-0. Celtic who were already out beat Lille 3-2 and Nice who were also out lost 1-0 at Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
In the English Premiership, Leeds United play West Ham tonight. On Saturday, Wolves play Aston Villa. Newcastle face West Brom. Manchester United play Manchester City and Everton host Chelsea. On Sunday, Southampton play Sheffield United. Crystal Palace host Spurs. Fulham play Liverpool. Arsenal host Burnley and Leicester play Brighton.
Formula 1 - Lewis Hamilton will compete in the season finale in Abu Dhabi this weekend after testing negative for Covid-19. The 7-time world champion has been self-isolating in Bahrain and missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after contracting the virus. The 35-year-old arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday and will play a full part in the weekend. First practice is at 10am this morning with second practice at 2pm. Qualifying is at 2pm tomorrow with the race at 2.10 on Sunday.
Cricket - It’s day 1 of the second Test between New Zealand and West Indies in Wellington. West Indies won the toss and decided to field again. The home side had reached 285-5 after 80 overs.
Rugby Union - The revamped European Champions Cup gets underway this weekend with two pools of 12 but not every team will play each other. Teams have been placed in tiers based on their domestic league position last season and the pool stage fixture list is made up of four matches, home and away against two other teams. Tonight Northampton play Bordeaux Begles in Pool 1 and Ulster host Toulouse in Pool 2. There are 10 more games over the weekend.
Boxing - Anthony Joshua says that he’s not giving any thoughts to Tyson Fury as he prepares to defend his world heavyweight belts against Kubrat Pulev in London tomorrow night. The boxing world is abuzz with the mouthwatering prospect of a heavyweight unification fight next year but Joshua says that he has to get past Pulev first. Around 1,000 fans will be allowed to attend the fight at Wembley Arena with radio commentary available from the BBC, but television coverage on pay-per-view only.
Overcast with rain for much of the day and light variable winds. Top temperature 11 degrees. Overnight lows of 7 degrees on the coast and 5 degrees inland with cloudy skies.
The weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 12-13 degrees.