Evening Update Thursday 20 August 2020

The wearing of a mask has become compulsory throughout Nice as from today. At the request of the Mayor, the Prefect amended the previous area in the centre of Nice where wearing a mask was compulsory to encompass the entire city. Anyone now not wearing a mask in public in Nice is liable to a fine of 135 euros.

A massive distribution of masks to people in precarious situations is underway by La Poste. The initiative, announced by the Minister of Solidarity and Health, Olivier Veran, will see 50 million washable masks distributed by post to 8.2 million people across France. Over 122,000 people in the Var will receive masks under the scheme in the coming days.

Wearing a mask has become compulsory for all officers of the National Police in France whilst they are performing their duties. In particular, the wearing of masks is required in closed and shared workspaces, in vehicles where more than one person is present and in duties where physical contact with the public is likely.

The A8 motorway was closed this lunchtime afer a serious accident at the Le Muy junction in the direction towards Aix en Provence. A car and a motorcycle were in a collision and one of the drivers involved was airlifted to hospital by helicopter. The motoway was reopened shortly afterwards and traffic has now returned to normal in the area.

Two people were injured in a fight involving the use of knives in central Nice last night. One person was arrested after the altercation between two people near the main railway station.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting President Macron at his holiday home in the Var today. Discussions are expected to include international issues, in particular the crisis between Greece and Turkey, events in Lebanon, Brexit, border controls and the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Four people have tested positive for coronavirus at the Baumettes prison in Marseille so far this week. Two prison staff and two inmates tested positive. One of the inmates has been transferred to hospital.

There have been reports of fake raffle tickets being sold in Draguignan. The tickets, which look authentic, claim to be for a raffle by the Sporting Club Draguignan. However, the club says that no raffle has been organised.

 

BUSINESS

New data from the US Labor Department shows that the number of unemployment benefit claims rose to 1.1 million last week. The number was more than the expected 925,000. The number of people claiming jobless benefits had fallen in the previous two weeks.

Australian airline Qantas has reported an annual loss of almost 2 billion Australian Dollars. Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said trading conditions are the worst in the airline's 100-year history. He said that  "recovery will take time and it will be choppy".

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has recorded growth in revenue of 34% in its June Quarter compared to the same period last year. The comany said that it was "a strong start" to its fiscal year and that its domestic core commerce business has "fully recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels across the board".

There were widespread outages affecting some Google services around the world this morning. Service disruptions were experienced by users of Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs amongst other services. This afternoon the company's G Suite Status Dashboard indicated that all services had returned to normal.

Polish airline Enter Air has placed an order for up to four Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The order is the first for 737 Max planes since regulators grounded the aircraft in March last year following two fatal crashes. Boeing has said that it hopes to receive approval for the plane to fly again early next year.

The UK Office for National statistics has released its latest survey on the impact of the coronavirus on businesses. 10% of the businesses surveyed said that their risk of insolvency was "moderate" and 1% said it was "severe". The survey also suggested that advertised job vacancies had decreased in the second week of August from the previous week, which had seen a large increase in vacancies.


SPORT

Football... Next season's Premier League fixtures have been announced. Newly promoted Leeds will be facing Champions Liverpool in one of the first games of the season. The opening matches will be on the weekend of the 12 September. Fulham will host Arsenal, while West Bromwich Albion are at home to Leicester City. Manchester City will play Aston Villa and Burnley play Manchester United but both those matches are delayed until a later date to allow a sufficient period after the Manchester teams games in the Champions League and Europa league.

Meanwhile, Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear has said that head coach Marcelo Bielsa is "very, very close" to signing a new contract with the club. The Argentinian led Leeds to the Championship title last season.

Cricket... Flexible start times have been agreed for the England against Pakistan Third Test which gets underway on Friday. If time is lost during a day, officials will have the option of starting play 30 minutes earlier the following morning. That means play could begin at 11.30am our time instead of the usual midday start time.

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