The obligation to wear a mask outdoors has been lifted from today - From today Thursday 17th June, wearing a mask outdoors will no longer be an obligation in France. Following an unexpected press conference on Wednesday lunchtime, French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who had just resumed his duties after a seven day isolation period due to being declared a covid contact case, made the announcement adding that the end of the curfew in France will also come into effect ten days earlier than scheduled on Sunday June 20th.
The surprise announcement came a day after a lively evening in the streets of many French cities, as supporters of France’s national football team celebrated the victory of their team against Germany at the Euro 2020.
Wearing a mask outdoors will no longer be compulsory, except under "certain exceptions", remaining in force for gatherings, crowded places, queues and markets. In addition, after considering maintaining the wearing of masks for pupils over 6 years old in school playgrounds, the government changed its mind on Wednesday evening lifting the obligation.
Curfew - Meanwhile however, the lifting of the curfew will not mean the end of sanitary protocols for public places and the Fete de la Musique on June 21st as well as other events.
Good luck! - Good luck to more than 500,000 students who will today sit part of their baccalaureate exam. At the end of a year disrupted by covid, more than 500,000 candidates will this morning sit their written philosophy exam, the only test maintained along with the grand oral. At least 82% of the final mark for this year baccalaureate will be based on continuous assessment with the written test in philosophy and that of the grand oral corresponding to the remaining 18%.
Weather warning - 12 departments of the South-West of France have been placed on an orange weather alert today with storms forecast. In addition, the Rhône region has been placed on an orange heat wave alert with temperatures expected to reach 35 degrees.
French government in favour of banning advertising on boats - The French government has announced plans to ban advertising on boats. Following a ban on planes pulling advertising banners, which is to come into force next year, the government said on Tuesday that it also wanted to ban boats which circulate near beaches to carry advertising messages. France’s Minister of the Environment defended the amendment adding that they wished to go towards a "global preservation of beaches" against this type of advertising adding that it doesn’t make sense to “ban advertising by plane on the beaches so that it comes back by boat”. The ban would only affect commercial advertisements and not for example sporting or nautical events.
Monegasque seahorses - The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute has released the first conclusions of an unprecedented study carried out on seahorse populations in Monegasque waters. In the Mediterranean, seahorse species are considered by IUCN to be "near threatened", which means that natural populations are declining and could go as far as disappearing if no corrective action improves the situation.
The study aims to: Strengthen knowledge about Monaco seahorses and their habitats. Determine the best options for seahorse protection and engage in the most relevant conservation actions.
The US central bank has pledged to continue to support the economy even as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic ease. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold at near zero on Wednesday and said that rising inflation was “largely reflecting transitory factors". A statement by the Fed following its two day policy meeting in Washington said that while employment had strengthened “risks to the economic outlook remain". However, it warned that the path of the economy would depend significantly on the course of the virus. US inflation continued to surge in May with consumer prices jumping by 5% in the past year, the biggest year on year increase since August 2008. Most members of the Federal Open Markets Committee have brought forward predictions for the first post Covid interest rate hike to 2023.
Ryanair and the owner of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airport have launched a legal challenge against the British government over the travel traffic light system. They are calling for more transparency about how the government decides which countries qualify for the green list of safe places to visit during the pandemic. Reports say that the legal action has the backing of other major airlines. Ministers say the system “cautiously manages the risk of new variants”. The UK traffic light system rates countries green, amber or red based on their Covid risk. The legal challenge has been put together after huge frustration within the travel industry at the inclusion of Portugal on the green list in mid May and then it’s sudden removal a few weeks later.
The number of EU citizens seeking work in the UK has fallen by more than a third since Brexit according to a new study. Figures from the jobs website Indeed shows that searches by EU based jobseekers for work in the UK were down by 36% in May from average levels in 2019. Low paid jobs in hospitality, the care sector and warehouses recorded the biggest declines at 41%. The report suggests that tougher post-Brexit immigration rules are having a deep impact on UK employment which is not being replicated in other countries. This snapshot comes as UK businesses struggle to find enough staff to fill growing numbers of vacancies after hospitality venues and retail outlets were allowed to reopen.
Football – Wales beat Turkey 2–0 in group A at Euro 2020 on Wednesday to keep them on course to qualify for the last 16. Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Roberts in second-half stoppage time gave Wales the points. Gareth Bale even had the luxury of missing a penalty. The other group A game ended Italy three Switzerland nil meaning the Italians are already through to the knockout phase. In group B on Wednesday Russia beat Finland 1–0. There are three games today. Denmark play Belgium in group B. In group C Ukraine play North Macedonia and the Netherlands play Austria.
Formula One – Roman Grosjean’s one off return to the sport has been postponed because of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. The 35-year-old Frenchman had been scheduled to test for Mercedes at the Paul Ricard circuit but it will now have to be re-planned. Grosjean, who suffered serious burns to his hands in a crash at Bahrain last year had been due to do a demonstration run at his home Grand Prix but that will not now be possible.
Golf – The US Open at Torrey Pines, California starts today. Once again big hitting Bryson DeChambeau is among the favourites while Phil Mickelson will be attempting to repeat his success at the USPGA.
Rory McIlroy will be looking to end a seven year winning drought at the Majors and has been tinkering with his swing.
Tennis – Roger Federer has lost at the Halle Open in Germany as his Wimbledon preparations came to a premature end. The 39-year-old lost in three sets to Felix Auger-Aliassime and said afterwards that he did not have the right attitude.
Partially cloudy with moderate easterly winds. Top temperatures 27-28 degrees on the coast and up to 30-31 degrees inland. Overnight lows of 21-23 degrees with clear skies.
Friday and the start of the weekend - Partially cloudy with highs of 27-31 degrees.