Lunchtime News Thursday 15th April 2021

President Emmanuel Macron is to meet with minsters at 6pm this evening to study the possibility of reopening the country from mid-May. Before that, the President will speak with fifteen mayors from the most badly affected areas to take stock of the health crisis. Meanwhile, as France approaches nearly 100,000 Covid deaths, the government has promised a national tribute to the victims. The move has already been discussed at the Council of Ministers but no date has been set.

The Nice-Cote d’Azur region is to benefit from forty infrastructure projects which will launch this year. The projects are part of a massive recovery agreement being signed today between the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and the French Prime Minister Jean Castex who are meeting at Matignon this afternoon.

A man was shot and wounded in the Moulin district of Nice last night around 8pm. The man had recently been released from police custody in connection with a case of violence with a weapon. Also last night, in Marseilles, police shot dead a man they say was trying to force through a roadblock. Two other suspects in the car at the time are in police custody. 

The Cannes Film Festival, which is set to go ahead in July, has announced a virtual event for the end of June to allow international sellers to conduct sales meetings. Any pre-screenings will remain reserved for accredited buyers.

The National Assembly is to vote today on the final version of a security bill that sparked heated opposition, over a proposal to limit online publication of images of police officers. Lawmakers have revised the proposal but critics still want it to be scrapped.

Business

The US government is set to issue sanctions on Russia, in retaliation for cyber-attacks aimed at the US, including alleged interference in last years presidential elections. The sanctions, expected as soon as today, target more than 30 Russian entities and include the expulsion of at least 10 individuals from the United States.

Coinbase has hit a market value of nearly $100bn on its initial stock market listing. The firm, known for trading Bitcoin and other digital currencies, debuted on the Nasdaq at $381 a share, dropping to $330 later in the day. Meanwhile, Bitcoin continues to trend upward as it gains more acceptance with institutional investors. Today its trading at E 52,416 a coin.

The disgraced Wall Street financier Bernie Madoff has died in prison at the age of 82. Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence after admitting to one of the biggest frauds in US financial history.

Sport

Tennis - The Monte Carlo Masters continues in Monaco today with Stefanos Tsitsipas on Court Rainier right now against Chilian Cristian Garín. Later today, British number one Dan Evans will face Novak Djokovic in the third round, while all eyes will on Grigor Dimitrov when he tackles Rafael Nadal. Victoria Azarenka has announced she is pulling out of next week's Stuttgart Open, as the two-time Australian Open champion is scheduled for her COVID-19 vaccination.

Football - In last night’s Champion’s League Manchester City came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to advance to a Champions League semi-final clash against Paris Saint-Germain. Meanwhile Liverpool's bid for a seventh Champions League title came to an end as Real Madrid set up a semi-final meeting with Chelsea, following a goalless draw at Anfield.

Rugby Union - Saturday's Women's Six Nations fixture between Ireland and France in Dublin will go ahead as scheduled. There were concerns over the game after it was announced that France would be added to Ireland's mandatory hotel quarantine list.

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