French Prime Minister to self-isolate - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has been declared a covid contact case and is to self-isolate for seven days, after his wife tested positive for covid. Castex had already twice before been a contact case back in September after the Tour de France, as well as in December when Emmanuel Macron contracted covid. In a statement from the Elysee on Wednesday evening it was confirmed that the Prime Minister, who has received his first injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine, had tested negative. The news comes a day after Castex had recently increased the number of public meetings ahead of the third stage of the end of lockdown being introduced on Wednesday June 9th.
National ethics committee questions vaccination of adolescents - Concerns about the rollout of the covid vaccine to children from June 15th in France have been raised by France’s national ethics committee. The committee questions putting the responsibility for France’s herd immunity being placed on the shoulders of adolescents.
In a report requested by the Health Ministry the committee questions whether it is “ethically correct to put the responsibility on children, due to the fact that a significant number of adults won’t get vaccinated”. The report comes after the government announced that young people, aged 12 to 18 years, will be eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of 15th June.
Finance minister insists that tax reform will apply to Amazon - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that France will insist that US online retail giant Amazon is included in a minimum global tax scheme endorsed by the world's G7 top economies. According to the plan, countries would be allowed to tax a share of the profits of the most profitable companies in the world at a rate of at least 15 percent, regardless of where they are based. This would apply, however, only to companies whose profit margins exceed 10 percent. Amazon's profit margin last year amounted to just 6.3 percent, placing it firmly below that threshold. But speaking to French media the minister said that the tax reform “must apply to Amazon”.
Tiger mosquitoes - The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region has been placed on high vigilance concerning the tiger mosquito with specialized services increasing their monitoring of the invasive and harmful species. The tiger mosquito has been identified in France since 2004 and as of May 1st last year, was present in 58 departments. It represents a danger in terms of its ability to transmit serious diseases.
Rolling Stones - An exhibition of the Rolling Stones opens today in Marseille. "The Rolling Stones Unzipped" is being held at the Stade Vélodrome and is on until September 5th. Visitors can see more than 400 objects from the rock legends career. Meanwhile in Nice, at the Galerie de l’Instant, a second exhibition – more modest but just as major – will allow fans and the curious to discover the Stones through the eyes of French photographer Dominique Tarlé. The photographer followed the Rolling Stones at a pivotal moment in their history in 1971 when the group settled in the South of France. When Mick Jagger married Bianca Jagger in Saint-Tropez and Keith Richards rented an enormous villa in Villefranche in which he received some of the biggest stars, Dominique Tarlé was there to immortalize this unique era of the Stones.
Feeling hot - Temperatures are set to exceed 30 degrees this weekend in the north of France and up to 35 degrees in the south west, with some departments being placed on an “orange heatwave warning”. While some showers are expected to break out in the south of the French Alps and Corsica, elsewhere the weather will remain hot with Meteo France predicting that the high temperatures are expected to last until the middle of next week.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry has said that top officials have spoken with US counterparts and agreed to promote healthy trade and cooperate over differences. A statement said that both sides recognised the importance of business exchanges and will keep lines of communication open. The statement went on to say that China and the United States would cooperate in a pragmatic way to handle their differences. The world’s two biggest economies are at loggerheads on a variety of issues with the US Senate this week approving a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology.
Wholesale prices in Japan have risen at their fastest annual rate in 13 years, reflecting higher commodity costs according to data published today. The news is a sign that global inflationary pressures are pinching firms already struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. The uptick in wholsale inflation is unlikely to provoke the Bank of Japan into withdrawing its massive stimulus any time soon. However, the corporate goods price index which measures the prices companies charge each other for goods rose by 4.9% in May from a year earlier which is certain to alarm the central bank.
The oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will reduce greenhouse gas emissions more quickly than planned following a legal ruling in the Netherlands. The firm’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said that Shell would have to respond to the court’s ruling without waiting for the outcome of an appeal and said it applied to the energy policy at the company’s worldwide business. However, he sought to reassure investors it would not disrupt Shell’s plans. He said that the ruling does not mean change, but rather an acceleration of strategy. The court ruling in the Netherlands ordered Shell to cut its CO2 emissions by 45% compared with 2019 levels by 2030. The firm’s lawyers argued that it was already taking serious steps to move away from fossil fuels.
Tennis – Novak Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the French open in Paris. The world number one beat Matteo Berrettini of Italy in four sets but a break in play was necessary as fans were cleared from the stadium to comply with the 11 pm curfew. Loud boos greeted the decision and the final stages of the match were played in silence. Earlier Nadal booked his place in the last four thanks to a four set victory over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
In the women's event, Maria Sikkari of Greece has beaten defending champion Iga Swiatek to reach her maiden Grand Slam semi-final. She’ll face the Czech Barbora Krejcikova who beat Coco Gauff 7-6 6-3.
Formula One – The Williams team principal Simon Roberts has left the company following an internal restructure. Chief executive officer Joost Capito who joined in February will now take over the responsibilities of team principal. Roberts joined Williams as managing director in June 2020 and was confirmed as team principal only last September. He was made acting team principal last September after the founders of the team Sir Frank Williams and his family stepped away from the business following its sale to new owners.
Football – Spurs have opened talks with the former Roma boss Paolo Fonseca about becoming a new manager. The Premier League club are seeking a successor to José Mourinho who was sacked in April. Fonseca impressed as Roma manager but lost his job after a seventh place finish. They were beaten in the Europa league semi-final by Manchester United.
Cricket – The second test between England and New Zealand starts at Edgbaston today with the home side under pressure because of off the field incidents. Captain Joe Root says that England have faced up to some ugly truths after a number of offences of historical tweets from squad players were revealed. Root says that there will be challenges moving forward but he believes the players are up to the challenge. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson will miss the match owing to a troublesome left elbow injury. Play starts at noon French time.
Rugby Union – The former Wales and British and Irish Lions star Shane Williams thinks that the current side will defeat world champions South Africa. Both sides have now named their squads and Williams says he thinks that the Lions are strong enough to win the series. The 37-man party flies out to South Africa for eight games including the Test series on the 27th of June. The Test series starts on the 24th of July and finishes on the 7th of August.
Mainly fine in coastal areas, some thunder inland later and light variable winds. Top temperature 27 degrees. Overnight lows of 20-22 degrees with clear skies.
Friday and the start of the weekend - Mainly fine in coastal areas, some thunder inland tomorrow. Highs of 24-27 degrees.