Vaccination campaign in France - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that the vaccination campaign against Covid in France is now open to 16 and 17-year-olds suffering from certain serious illnesses and that from Monday 10th May it will be open to over 50s. In addition, from next Wednesday 12th May, nonpriority adults of all ages and over 18 will be able to take advantage of non-reserved slots in order to get vaccinated and use vaccines which would otherwise go to waste.
Meanwhile Professor Alain Fischer, who is responsible for the vaccine strategy in France, has suggested a hope of an almost return to normal "by the end of the summer" adding that the objective is to put an end to having to wear a mask by then”. Fischer has expressed his optimism on achieving this goal adding that "If everyone does their part it should be possible”. In the Alpes-Maritimes the measure has already been relaxed for wearing a mask in certain areas outdoors such as beaches and parks.
In other news
Clashes with police in Cannes - There have been violent clashes between local police and a group of youths in Cannes. Tensions rose after police seized part of a drug trafficking ring in the Frayère district of the city on Thursday afternoon. The situation escalated and by 9pm clashes were reported as bins were set alight and a police patrol car attacked. By midnight the national police were deployed to the area along with the intervention of the mayor of Cannes David Lisnard.
Citizens march – Meanwhile police unions have organised a tribute to the officer shot dead in Avignon. Officers have called for a “citizens march” to take place on Sunday May 9th in Paris as a tribute as well as to show support for the police. The investigation into the shooting continues as the perpetrator is still at large. And France’s Interior Ministry has ordered 30,000 body cameras to equip police forces. The cameras which will be available from July are part of a 15 million euros contract.
Fishing rights - French fishing boats have withdrawn from the British island of Jersey after a protest over post-Brexit fishing rights that led to a brief standoff between British navy and French coastal patrol boats. In the latest cross-Channel standoff, angry French fishermen protested as fears of a blockade prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to send two royal navy vessels to the area.
Mayor of Nice leaves the Republican party - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has announced his departure from the Republican party. Estrosi announced his decision during an interview on Thursday May 6th in which he criticized the intention of the party “to derail at a regional level, the alliance between the Republicans and the Republique en Marche”. The mayor of Nice also indicated that it was "time to create a large modern political party to bring together the right and the centre right around a real project".
Ever Monaco - An event dedicated to ecological vehicles and renewable energies has got underway in Monaco. Ever Monaco opened on Thursday at the Espace Fontvieille and continues today. There's an exhibition of vehicles and round table discussions are taking place. Some 20 green vehicles from different manufacturers can be tested throughout the event. Entrance is free and you can get more details at ever-monaco.com
Monapass app - Meanwhile the Monaco government has launched a new all-in-one mobility app. The Monapass app features maps, subscriptions and means of payment for bus, electric bicycles and parking on public roads. Real-time traffic information and route suggestions are also included. The development of the app is part of Monaco's digital transition initiative.
George Clooney and his wife buy estate in Brignoles - According to local media, American actor George Clooney has acquired the Canadel estate, located in Brignoles. The actor and his wife Amal are reported to be the new - happy - owners of this vast property of 170 hectares, located on the outskirts of the town. The sale is thought to have cost close to eight million euros.
Global stocks are heading for their first weekly gain in three amid a surge in commodity prices as investors wait for the latest US non-farm payroll numbers. Aluminium prices approached levels last seen in 2018 while copper flirted with ten year highs as investors bet on a rapid global recovery from the pandemic led by the United states. US shares rallied, led by financials and industrials after a report showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment fell below 500,000 last week for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The data suggests that the US labour market recovery is entering a new phase amid a booming economy. The focus now is on the non-farm payroll numbers with estimates ranging widely between 700,000 and more than 2 million jobs having been created in April.
The mining giant Rio Tinto has faced a shareholder revolt over a $10 million bonus for its outgoing boss. 61% of votes cast at the firm’s annual meeting opposed the executive remuneration package. The backlash comes after Rio Tinto destroyed sacred aboriginal rock-shelters in western Australia last May. Engineers blasted 46,000-year-old rock-shelters to expand an iron ore mine, sparking an outcry and leading to several resignations. The pay package covers $55 million in salary and bonuses for the company’s top 14 executives. Despite the shareholder rebellion, executives are still expected to receive their payouts as the vote was advisory only.
Prices for international travel are set to rise this year according to Booking.com. Despite huge demand, uncertainty is making it hard for airlines to plan bringing more planes back into service. The chief executive of Booking.com, Glenn Fog says that holiday prices are already going up. In an interview with the BBC, Mr Fogel said that “everybody wants to go travelling, but we all want to do it safely”. A lack of clarity about how governments will go about recognising the vaccine and testing statuses from other countries is also troubling the travel industry which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Football – Manchester United are through to the final of the Europa league despite losing 3–2 on the night at Roma in the second leg of the semi-final. United won the first leg 6–2 and take the tie 8–5 on aggregate. There was no luck for Arsenal though who drew 0–0 on the night at home to Villarreal and lost the tie 2–1 on aggregate. Manchester United will play Villarreal in the final in Gdansk on the 26th of May.
In the English Premier League this weekend, there’s one game tonight. Leicester play Newcastle. On Saturday Leeds play Spurs. Sheffield United host Crystal Palace. Manchester City play Chelsea and Liverpool play Southampton. On Sunday Wolves play Brighton. Aston Villa host Manchester United. West Ham play Everton and Arsenal play West Brom. Fulham play Burnley on Monday.
Motorsport – Formula E comes to Monaco this weekend with the cars racing on an adapted version of the Formula One circuit. The new route mirrors the one used for the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix staged in 1929. Nick de Vries of Mercedes EQ leads the drivers’ championship heading into the event with Stoffel Vandoorne in the other Mercedes in second place. It’s been a mixed season so far for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler but team principal Alllan McNish says he hopes that will change in Monaco.
Formula One – First practice for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona takes place at 11:30 this morning with Lewis Hamilton leading Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the weekend. Hamilton was in majestic form last weekend in Portugal and Red Bull will need to be firing on all cylinders if they don’t want the gap to increase. Second practice is at 3 o’clock this afternoon with qualifying at 3 o’clock on Saturday and the race at 3 o’clock on Sunday. Hamilton says that he and Mercedes can’t continue to rely on mistakes from Red Bull if they’re to win the title this season. He said Mercedes has a good package but there are weak areas which are being worked on.
Rugby Union – Courtney Lawes says that he feels lucky to have been included in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa. The 32-year-old England star has played just four times this season and has not featured at all since February. He last played for England in the Six Nations when he tore a pectoral muscle and needed surgery. Lawes says that he now feels fit again and is hoping he can use the final few games of the season to get back into the best possible shape ahead of the training camp in Jersey before the Lions head to South Africa.
Tennis – World number one Ashleigh Barty is through to the final of the Madrid open after beating Spanish wildcard Paula Badosa to record her 16th consecutive win on clay. Barty came through 6-4 6-3 and will play Arnya Sabalenka in the final.
Clear skies with moderate to strong south westerly winds. Top temperature 25 degrees. Overnight lows of 14-16 degrees with clear skies.
The weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 18-21 degrees.