Tag Archives: France

Beirut explosions: President Macron seeks international probe

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French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday called for an international investigation into the blast at Beirut’s port that killed more than 130 people and ravaged entire neighbourhoods, costing the country billions.

“An international, open and transparent probe is needed to prevent things from remaining hidden and doubt from creeping in,” he told reporters at the end of a snap visit to the Lebanese capital.

In asking for an international enquiry, he joined calls widely supported in and outside Lebanon for an independent probe, and said French investigators were on their way to Beirut.

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Even as they counted their dead and cleared streets of debris, many Lebanese were boiling with anger over a blast they see as the most shocking expression yet of their leadership’s incompetence.

Lebanese authorities said the massive explosion was triggered by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at Beirut’s port.

But many questions have been raised as to how such a huge cargo of highly explosive material could have been left unsecured for years.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during a press conference in Beirut on August 6, 2020, two days after a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital. Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP

Macron said a French military aircraft carrier was hours away from landing in Beirut with “rescue teams and investigators to take the search and the probe forward”.

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Lebanon’s foreign minister had announced on French radio Thursday that an investigating committee had been given four days to determine responsibility for Tuesday’s devastating explosion.

Yet most of the members of this committee are high-ranking officials who command little trust from the people and many relatives of the blast’s victims have been calling for foreign investigators.

The cataclysmic explosion, which left an estimated 300,000 people temporarily homeless and injured around 5,000 people, struck when Lebanon was already battling rampant inflation and rising poverty.

The International Monetary Fund has offered help but Lebanon’s political leaders have balked at the measures the monetary institution is requesting for a rescue package to be approved.

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To help ease the crisis, an international aid conference for Lebanon would be held “in the coming days,” Macron said.

He stressed that the aid raised during the conference would be chanelled “directly to the people, the relief organisations and the teams that need it on the ground”.

The French president took a tough tone on the reforms he said were the only thing holding back a massive aid package that could put the ailing country back in the saddle.

Speaking of Lebanon’s political leaders, Macron said: “Their responsibility is huge, that of a revamped pact with the Lebanese people in the coming weeks, that of deep change.”


#Newsworthy…

Beirut explosions: President Macron of France heads to Lebanon

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French President Emmanuel Macron was expected in Lebanon Thursday, two days after a monster blast sowed unfathomable destruction in Beirut and brought Paris’s Middle East protege to its knees.

The highest-ranking foreign official to visit the country since Tuesday’s tragedy, Macron will visit the site of the blast that obliterated part of Beirut port and ripped through entire neighbourhoods of the city.

Two days on, Lebanon was still reeling from a blast so huge it was felt in neighbouring countries, its mushroom-shaped cloud drawing comparisons with Hiroshima and the devastation caused by its shockwave with the scene of an earthquake.

The provisional death toll stood at 137 but with dozens missing and 5,000 wounded, the number of victims was expected to rise as rescue workers continued to comb through the rubble.

According to several officials, the explosion was caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored in a portside warehouse.

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“Apocalypse”, “Armageddon” — Lebanese were lost for words to describe the impact of the blast, which dwarfed anything the country had ever experienced despite its violence-plagued history.

The Beirut governor estimated up to 300,000 people may have been made temporarily homeless by the destruction, which he said would cost the debt-ridden country in excess of three billion dollars.

French President Emmanuel Macron makes a statement as he arrives for a European Union Council in Brussels on July 17, 2020. (Photo by Francisco Seco / POOL / AFP)

International probe
Even as they counted their dead and cleaned up the streets, many Lebanese were boiling with anger over a blast they see as the most shocking expression yet of their leadership’s incompetence and corruption.

“We can’t bear more than this. This is it. The whole system has got to go,” said 30-year-old Mohammad Suyur as he picked up broken glass in Mar Mikhail, one of the most affected districts in Beirut.

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Many questions were being asked as to how such a huge cargo of highly explosive material could have been left unsecured in Beirut for years.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab and President Michel Aoun promised to put the culprits behind bars but trust in institutions is low and few on the streets of the Lebanese capital held out any hope of an impartial inquiry.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday supported mounting calls for an international probe as the only credible option.

“An independent investigation with international experts is the best guarantee that victims of the explosion will get the justice they deserve,” the watchdog said.

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In France, prosecutors on Wednesday opened a probe into the blast over injuries inflicted to 21 French citizens.

Paris spearheaded international mobilisation in support of Lebanon, which will mark its centenary next month but has looked like a country on its last legs since defaulting on its debt earlier this year.

Flights carrying medical aid, field hospitals, rescue experts and tracking dogs have been flying in since Wednesday to Beirut airport, which sustained no serious damage from the explosion.

Political backlash
Besides the international emergency effort, the aftermath of the terrible explosion yielded countless uplifting examples of spontaneous solidarity.

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Much of the cleanup was being handled by volunteers who improvised working groups, bringing their own equipment and making appeals for help on social media.

“We’re sending people into the damaged homes of the elderly and handicapped to help them find a home for tonight,” said Husam Abu Nasr, a 30-year-old volunteer.

“We don’t have a state to take these steps, so we took matters into our own hands,” he said.

Business owners swiftly took to social media, posting offers to repair doors, paint damaged walls or replace shattered windows for free.

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An unprecedented nationwide and cross-sectarian protest movement that erupted on October 17 last year had looked for a moment like it could topple what it considers a hereditary kleptocracy.

The euphoria faded as change failed to materialise and the combination of economic hardship and the coronavirus pandemic left the revolution in tatters.

The revulsion at Tuesday’s tragedy and its implications could rekindle the flame however and activists’ social media accounts were rife with calls for a new push to remove Lebanon’s widely reviled political leaders.

“Lebanon’s political class should be on guard in the weeks ahead,” Faysal Itani, a deputy director at the Center for Global Policy, wrote in an opinion piece for Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

“Shock will inevitably turn to anger.”


#Newsworthy…

Britain urges France to get tougher in move to stop migrants

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Britain on Saturday urged France to get tougher on stopping migrants using the Channel to reach the UK, with one minister saying the crossings were “unacceptably high”.

The call came after Border Force figures showed 96 migrants were intercepted by police on Friday.

Twenty four hours earlier, official figures showed at least 202 migrants managed to cross to Britain in 20 boats, a single-day record.

“The number of illegal small boat crossings we are seeing from France is unacceptably high,” said immigration compliance minister Chris Philp

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“And migrants continue to arrive in Calais to make the crossing. The French have to take tougher action.”

Earlier this month, the interior ministers of France and Britain signed an agreement to create a new joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers and reduce the number of illegal Channel crossings.

Reports claim that more than 3,400 people have made the crossing so far this year.

In 2019, 2,758 migrants were rescued by the French and British authorities while trying to make the crossing — four times more than in 2018, according to French officials.


#Newsworthy…

Nigerians stranded in European countries set to return – Abike Dabiri-Erewa

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, the Federal Government says more Nigerians stranded in France and other European countries are being evacuated to the country.

This was disclosed on Sunday by the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa via Twitter.

Dabiri-Erewa explained that the citizens, who departed Citizen Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, are expected back today and will land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

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The evacuation exercise was coordinated by the Nigerian Mission in France under Ambassador Modupe Irele and monitored by the commission.

FILE PHOTO: The stranded Nigerians at the Newark Airport, New Jersey were expected in the country on July 18, 2020. Credit: Geoffrey Onyeama

Upon arrival, the Nigerian returnees are expected to proceed on a 14-day self-isolation as mandated by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

This is the second evacuation from Europe since this month.
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Meanwhile, over 6,317 Nigerians have been evacuated from abroad, and that’s according to NIDCOM.

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The evacuation carried out in collaboration with the agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions around the world comes on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the globe.

Giving a breakdown of the figures, the NIDCOM boss said United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the highest evacuees with 1,405, followed closely by the United Kingdom with 831 and the United States with 806 Nigerians stranded Nigerians repatriated in three batches.

Another set of stranded Nigerians who departed Citizen Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris expected into the country on July 26, 2020. Credit: NIDCOM

Other countries where Nigerians have departed include Saudi Araba – 117, Egypt – 372, France – 70, India – 540, Turkey – 324, Sudan – 365, Uganda and Kenya – 172.

Also not left out are Senegal – 17, Pakistan – 56, Egypt – 102, China – 268, Malaysia and Thailand – 247, Lebanon – 147, Canada – 51, South Africa – 324 and Ghana – 205.

The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa

#Newsworthy…

Serge Aurier returns to France

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Tottenham star Serge Aurier has returned home to France to be by his mother’s side following the tragic death of his brother earlier this week.

Christopher Aurier, 26, was reportedly shot in the stomach outside Kin’s nightclub in Tolouse around 5am on Monday morning.

Aurier shared a heartfelt picture on Instagram on Friday of him embracing his mother, as the family continue to mourn Christopher’s death.

The Ivorian international revealed he learned of the news after being sent a tweet by a friend and had to break the news to his mother.

But despite the pain of the situation, Aurier insists he does not feel any ‘hatred’ towards the killer.

Speaking to French publication La Depeche, Aurier said: ‘It was 7am. I was in bed at home when a friend sent me the image of a tweet.

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‘I asked if he was with his girlfriend. But he had come home and gone out. I had to quickly tell my mother and anticipate it. I stayed in bed all day without moving. It has been a difficult day.’

‘I met one of the friends who was with him. It’s a girl story. He was talking to an ex from a long time ago. Her new boyfriend wanted him to stop.

‘Christopher did not answer. He ignored him. The guy went to buy food. He came back and shot him.

‘His friend is a brave man. It’s hard to be with someone and see them dead the next second. I told him not to be angry. It was his day.’

Aurier, who was praised by Jose Mourinho after deciding to take to the pitch for Spurs’ clash with Newcastle on Wednesday – just 48 hours after having learned of his brother’s death – opened up about his own feelings towards the murder, too.

‘It is good news that he surrendered. It’s very clever on his part,’ he said of the suspects decision to hand himself in.

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‘Today, we have to calm things down. I have no feeling of hatred or revenge. I work in a profession where you have to be calm. I’m calm.

‘I have faith in justice. I am saddened, I am in regret. I continue to mourn the death of my brother.’

Jose Mourinho is unsure whether Aurier will make a return for Spurs this season but insists he will welcome his return should he decide to do so.

When asked about a potential return, Mourinho said: ‘Let’s see, let’s wait. If he comes back tonight to train tomorrow morning he will be, I don’t know, he will be available. He did it in very difficult circumstances against Newcastle.

‘Now he goes to France, to see family, comes back. Let’s see. It’ll be always Serge’s decision, it’ll be him opening his heart and let us understanding his conditions.’

Must Read

Suspect of the murder of Aurier’s Brother hands over himself to the cops


#NobleSports

Annexation: Jordan, Egypt, Others issue warning to Israel

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The foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan on Tuesday urged Israel to abandon plans to begin annexing settlements in the West Bank, warning such action could have “consequences” for relations.

“We concur that any annexation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be a violation of international law and imperil the foundations of the peace process,” the ministers said in a statement after a joint video conference.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date when it could begin to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

The move was endorsed by a Middle East plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.

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Netanyahu’s office made no announcement on July 1 as expected, but said talks were continuing with US officials and Israeli security chiefs.

“We would not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders that are not agreed by both parties in the conflict,” the ministers warned in the statement issued by the German foreign ministry.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wears a protective mask as he opens the weekly cabinet meeting at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem on July 5, 2020. (Photo by GALI TIBBON / POOL / AFP)

“We also concur that such a step would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region, and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts aimed at achieving a comprehensive and just peace,” they said.

“It could also have consequences for the relationship with Israel,” they added, underlining their commitment to a two-state solution based on international law.

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The EU has in recent weeks mounted a diplomatic campaign against annexation, highlighted by a visit to Jerusalem by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to raise a concern about the prospective plans.

But the bloc cannot threaten Israel with formal sanctions without unanimous support among members.

After occupying the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel began establishing a network of settlements the following decade. Construction continues to this day.

Despite being viewed as illegal under international law, the settler population has jumped by 50 percent over the past decade.


#Newsworthy…

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France govt reverse killer chokehold ban – Police hails

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Under pressure from police, the French government has backed away from a ban on chokeholds during arrests.

France’s interior minister announced a week ago that the maneuver would be abandoned, in the face of growing French protests over police brutality and racial injustice unleashed by George Floyd’s death in the U.S.

But French police responded with five straight days of counterprotests, arguing that the ban deprived them of a key tool to subdue unruly suspects.

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On Monday, the national police director sent a letter to police, obtained by The Associated Press, saying chokeholds will no longer be taught in police schools but can continue to be used “with discernment” until alternatives are found.

Police unions hailed the reversal.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Schools in France reopen as lockdown eases.

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Thousands of schools reopened throughout France on Tuesday as the government eases its coronavirus lockdown rules despite some fears of a second waves of infections.

According to official figures there were 348 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the national total to 26,991.

Primary and nursery schools reopened however, with teachers wearing face masks and the children’s chairs separated to avoid spreading the disease.

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For Gregory Bouvier, headmaster of a nursery school in Rennes, northwest France, it was all a bit “surreal”.

“It’s not part of a nursery school’s DNA to have the children spaced apart from each other remaining at their desks and not able to share things,” he told AFP.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer hailed the reopening, which will be rolled out gradually throughout the country, including Paris schools on Thursday, before some secondary schools resume lessons next week.

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To ease the fears of parents concerned that the virus remains just a sneeze away, the government has given them the choice to allow their children to return to school or remain under lockdown at home.

Unions have criticised the decision to reopen the schools calling it “premature”.

Some scientists and parliamentary deputies have also questioned the decision.

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France began easing its two-month lockdown on Monday, with residents able venture outdoors without filling in a permit for the first time in nearly eight weeks and some shops reopening their doors.

But officials are keeping an anxious eye on events in Germany and South Korea which have reimposed some restrictions as virus cases rose after they eased lockdown measures.


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: Late Fela’s Drummer, Tony Allen is Dead

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Tony Allen who is the former drummer, composer and songwriter of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, has passed on.

Allen died in Paris, France, on Thursday, April 30.

He was born in Lagos in 1940 and was regarded as one of the founders of Afrobeat.

Fela once stated that, “Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat.” Allen has also been described by Brian Eno as “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived”


#Newsworthy. ..

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Cancellation of the Ligue 1 campaign ‘will see France’s top flight lose €200m’

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Ligue 1 will miss out on £175m at most following the announcement that the 2019-20 season will not be completed.

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The French prime minister Edouard Philippe annouced on Tuesday afternoon that no sportin events will be allowed to take place until September, effectively shelving the rest of the season in France.

The decision leaves the top flight bracing themselves for loss of funds through TV revenue, however the losses will not be as keenly felt as they would be in Europe’s other top divisions.

According to an article in Italian paper Calcio e Finanza last month, Ligue 1 were set to miss out on between £90m and £175m (€100m and €200m) in the event of the season coming to an abrupt end.

That is an easier loss to swallow than what the Premier League would be set to lose out on, according to the same report, which claims England’s top flight would be set to miss out on £750m (€860m).

Clubs, too, will have to do without some of the TV money they would have been entitled to.

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BeIN Sports had already frozen payments to France’s top flight after the suspension announcement, but clubs would not be missing out on the astronomical amounts that clubs in England do.

Champions Paris Saint-Germain earned just £49.7m in TV rights for the 2018-19 season.

In comparison, relegated Huddersfield, who finished bottom of the Premier League, received almost double that amount, raking in £96.6m


#NobleSports…..

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Suker: No doubt Benzema is one of the best players in the world

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Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema remains one of the world’s best players, according to Davor Suker.

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The France international has been with the Spanish giants since 2009 and has made over 500 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Benzema remains a mainstay in the first-team and has netted 19 goals in 36 matches this season to help lift Zinedine Zidane’s team to second place in La Liga.

Suker says the 32-year-old has cemented his place as a Madrid legend, adding that he is still an elite striker.

“I like him as a number nine. Today, he is in the history of Real Madrid,” Suker, who won La Liga and the Champions League during a three-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu before joining Arsenal in 1999, told Goal.

“I like the way that he plays and there is no doubt that he is one of the best players in the world.”

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Benzema’s path to the pinnacle of world football began when he joined Lyon’s youth system at the age of 10 before emerging as a star for the senior team, making almost 150 appearances before moving to the Spanish capital.

The attacker said earlier this month that he wants to return to his former side before his career comes to an end, but stressed he still has work to do at Madrid.

However, the capital club are said to be looking to replace him in the near future. They are constantly being linked with a big money move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while they have Luka Jovic in reserve following his arrival last summer.

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The pressure is on Benzema to prove he deserves to keep his place in the starting XI and he must keep the goals coming, Suker says.

“All I can say is that I wish all him all the best, and to score many, many goals because, in the end, the statistics are the gauge of strikers,” he added.

“You need to score many goals to remain at the top.”

Benzema has two years left on his contract with the Spanish club.


#NobleSports

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Juventus to rival Barca and Man City in pursuit of PSG’s ‘new Verratti’


Paris Saint-Germain made the first move, snatching two very talented guys in Xavi Simons and Kays Ruiz-Atil. Now, Barcelona are ready for revenge by signing Edouard Michut, already dubbed as the “new Verratti” in France. Slim physique and a great technical ability to play close to the defence.

The 17-year-old grew up in the academies of FC Le Chesnay and then FC Versailles, before being discovered by PSG observers at the age of 13. Michut is considered a very complete midfielder from a tactical point of view, being able to play in more than just one role.


Recently, as Calciomercato have learned, there have been scouts from Barcelona to observe the youngster, who is yet to sign a professional agreement with the French side and the current contract expires in 2021. As a result of this, he could leave for almost negligible economic compensation.

This is a situation that Manchester City, Valencia and Juventus are perfectly aware of, rivalling the Catalan side. The Bianconeri have excellent relations with PSG (not forgetting the recent talks for De Sciglio, Kurzawa, Meunier, Dybala and Pjanic) and Michut is on their wish list.


#NobleSports

COVID-19: France extend lockdown till May 11.


French President Emmanuel Macron has extended the anti-coronavirus lockdown in France until May 11, in a televised speech to the nation on Monday.

The strict rules on social contact – including instructions to only spend one hour outside per day and not further than 1 km from your home were also extended.


The rules had been in place since March 17.

This is coming as the number of people being treated in intensive care went down for the fifth day in a row on Monday


After May 11, Mr Macron said the fight against the virus would enter “a new stage.” After this date, there could be a gradual reopening of nurseries and educational institutions.

By then he said France should be able to test everyone who presents symptoms of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.


Mr Macron thanked those who have kept to the rules, and expressed sympathy for those who are having to exist in small apartments.

He acknowledged that France had not been adequately prepared for the rapid onslaught of the disease.

French authorities have talked about a “high plateau” when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak.

France has seen about 15,000 deaths so far. The number of people being treated in intensive care went down for the fifth day in a row on Monday.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Death toll in France over 14,000.


France has reported a drop in coronavirus deaths on the previous 24 hours, with the total toll from the coronavirus epidemic in the country now 14,393.

There were 315 deaths in hospital over the last day, compared with 345 the day earlier.


Italy’s Civil Protection Agency has reported the lowest number of coronavirus deaths since March 19, with 431 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, down from 619 the previous day.

In Spain, the number of fatalities rose by 619 on Sunday from a nearly three-week low of 510 on Saturday, breaking a three-day streak of daily declines and taking the country’s death toll to 16,972.

Globally, more than 109,000 people have died from the new coronavirus and confirmed infections topped 1.7 million.


#Newsworthy…

France moves into national recession.


France has entered into a recession as a result of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, the country’s national bank said on Wednesday.

The French economy shrank by six per cent in the first quarter of 2020, according to initial Banque de France estimates published on Wednesday.


GDP already shrank by 0.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2019 in the eurozone’s second largest economy, according to the nation’s statistics office.

Economists talk of a country entering into a recession when the economy shrinks for two quarters in a row.


Ahead of the outbreak of the current crisis, France’s economy had been forecast slight growth of 0.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2020.

However, in light of the pandemic, the French Government is now bracing itself for the nation’s worst recession since 1945.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le-Maire has said he expects the current crisis to exceed that of the 2009 financial crisis when the economy of the highly-indebted country shrank by 2.9 per cent, at the time of the most severe contraction since the end of World War II.

France has, for the past three weeks, imposed strict lockdown measures on its population, with many economic sectors facing severe limitations on their activities.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: France shut down.


France goes into a near-total shutdown Tuesday over the coronavirus, the latest country to impose draconian restrictions affecting the lives of tens of millions of people.

European leaders also plan to ban all non-essential travel into the continent on Tuesday in a bid to stem a pandemic that has upended society, battered markets and killed thousands around the world.

With French President Emmanuel Macron describing the battle against COVID-19 as a “war”, governments around the world are scrambling to keep the public safe with measures rarely seen in peacetime, slamming borders shut and forcing citizens to stay home.

The crisis is infecting every sector of the economy, and global stocks have been on a rollercoaster ride, with Wall Street on Monday sinking more than 12 percent in the worst session since the crash of 1987.

Investors are still in panic mode, despite emergency interventions by central banks and governments to shore up confidence.

After the initial outbreak in a Chinese city in December, Europe has emerged as the epicentre of the virus with more deaths now recorded outside China than inside.

COVID-19 has now killed more than 7,000 people worldwide, including over 2,100 in Italy, the worst-hit country outside China.

More than 180,000 cases have been recorded in 145 countries.

The head of the World Health Organization called Monday for every suspected coronavirus case to be tested, something which would send the known tally of the sick sky-rocketing.

“You cannot fight a fire while blindfolded,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “Test, test, test. Test every suspected case.”

In a sombre address to the nation, Macron ordered the French to stay at home for 15 days from midday Tuesday, banning all non-essential trips or social contacts.

Most shops, restaurants and tourist sites in the world’s most visited country are already shuttered.

About 100,000 police and gendarmes will be out on the streets to enforce the measures, after Macron warned violations would be punished.

“We are at war, a public health war certainly. We are fighting not against an army or another nation. But the enemy is there, invisible and elusive and on the move,” he said.

With European nations already closing their borders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would ask the leaders of the bloc’s Schengen visa-free border zone to stop all non-essential travel into the area.

“Concretely, all trips between non-European countries and EU countries will be suspended for 30 days,” Macron said.

This follows a ban on inbound travel to the United States, whose President Donald Trump steeled the nation for a fight against the virus that he warned could last months.

US health officials said the first human trial to evaluate a possible vaccine had begun, although it may be another year to 18 months before it becomes available.

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi and American drugmaker Regeneron also said they had started clinical trials for a new drug, Kevzara, an immuno-suppressor.

In another small glimmer of hope, China reported just one new domestic case on Tuesday — but found 20 imported from abroad.

– ‘Apocalyptic vibe’ –

Trump said he was asking Americans to restrict gatherings to groups of fewer than 10 people — as the streets of New York and the capital Washington stood largely deserted.

One customer at a French restaurant in Brooklyn said she felt the moves were unprecedented.

“I want strong leadership, but it’s scary. I’ve never experienced anything like this before and I don’t think my parents have, I don’t think anyone has,” Kelly McGee told AFP.

“There’s something about being in this apocalyptic vibe and being with other people and experiencing it together that I think I still crave.”

Trump acknowledged the United States “may be” heading into a recession due to the virus, as G7 leaders vowed to coordinate their response to the virus and “do whatever it takes, using all policy tools” — after a meeting held via videoconference.

Every sector from tourism to food to aviation is affected, as the global economy effectively goes into shutdown.German giant VW on Tuesday joined other European car makers in closing down plants and major world airlines have axed almost all flights temporarily, triggering pleas to help carriers survive.

Italy announced plans to renationalise national carrier Alitalia, while France said it was also ready to nationalise large companies if necessary.

There are growing doubts too over the European football championships set to take place in 12 countries this summer and the Olympics in Japan, as the virus shreds the sporting calendar.

Very few countries have been left untouched by the virus as it continues its relentless march across the globe, and a cascading number are taking increasingly drastic responses.

Britain called for an end to all “non-essential” contact and travel, while Switzerland declared a state of emergency.

Germany banned gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues and said playgrounds and non-essential shops would close.

Tens of millions of people in Southeast Asia were ordered into effective home quarantines, with Malaysia and the Philippines announcing unprecedented lockdowns.

In India, the world’s second-most populous country, where most schools and entertainment facilities have already shut down, the Taj Mahal was closed to visitors


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Non-essential places in France shut down.


The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surged past 5,000 on Saturday with the total number of cases rising to more than 140,000, as the infection continues to prompt countries to take unprecedented measures to help stave off a global health crisis.

France announced that it will shut most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from midnight on Saturday and urging people to stay home as much as possible.


Spanish media reported that the country’s government will be announcing a countrywide lockdown while declaring a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

The US announced that it was extending the travel restrictions imposed on the European nations to Britain and Ireland.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said Europe has now become the “epicentre” of the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.


#Newsworthy…

Burna Boy’s *On The Low* bags Gold in France.


Africa Giant, Burna Boy’s hit song “On The Low” Went Gold in France.

The Nigerian musician who is currently on a tour and recently covered GQ Magazine reveals the good news on his Instagram page.


The “Anybody” crooner posted the picture and captioned it ;

“On the low” went Gold in France 🇫🇷 without any radio push or promo.

“Love every single one of you that streamed it over 15m times, it’s still #FOOTONNECK2020 ”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: 300 million children out of school, 120 schools closed in France.


Almost 300 million pupils worldwide faced weeks at home on Thursday with Italy the latest country to shut schools over the deadly Coronavirus.

More than 95,000 people have been infected and over 3,200 have died worldwide from the virus, which has now reached some 80 countries and territories.


In California, United States, Governor Gavin Newsom declared an emergency following the state’s first Coronavirus fatality — raising the US death toll to 11 — and a cruise ship was kept offshore after passengers and crew members developed symptoms.

The vast majority of global deaths and infections are in China where the virus first emerged late last year, prompting the country to quarantine entire cities, temporarily shut factories and close schools indefinitely.


As the virus has spread, other countries have also implemented extraordinary measures, with UNESCO saying on Wednesday that 13 countries have closed schools, affecting 290.5 million children, while nine others have implemented localised closures.

While temporary school closures during crises are not new, UNESCO chief, Audrey Azoulay, said, “The global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and if prolonged, could threaten the right to education.”


Italy on Wednesday ordered schools and universities shut until March 15, ramping up its response as the national death toll rose to 107, the deadliest outbreak outside China.

South Korea — the country with the largest number of cases outside China with nearly 6,000 — has postponed the start of the next term until March 23.

In Japan, nearly all schools are closed after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for classes to be cancelled through March and spring break slated for late March through early April.

Some 120 schools closed in France this week.


#Newsworthy…

France fined Apple over slow software – iPhone users


France’s consumer watchdog said Friday that Apple had agreed to pay 25 million euros ($27.4 million) for failing to tell iPhone users that software updates could slow down older devices.

The scandal erupted in December 2017, when the US tech giant admitted that its most recent iOS software was slowing the performance of older telephones whose battery life was deteriorating.


Critics accused the firm of surreptitiously forcing users to buy phones sooner than necessary, and the outcry forced Apple to upgrade its software and offer steep discounts on battery replacements.

French prosecutors opened an inquiry in January 2018 at the request of the Halt Planned Obsolescence (HOP) association.


“IPhone owners were not informed that installing iOS updates (10.2.1 and 11.2) could slow down their devices,” the DGCCRF anti-fraud agency said in a statement.

“This is a historic victory against scandalous ready-to-rubbish practices, for consumers as well as the environment,” HOP co-founders Laetitia Vasseur and Samuel Sauvage said, adding that they will consider filing claims for additional damages for iPhone clients.

Apple said it welcomed the accord with the DGCCRF, which will allow it to avoid a potentially embarrassing public trial.

“Our goal has always been to create secure products appreciated by our clients, and making iPhones that last as long as possible is an important part of that.”


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: 200 French people stranded in China ..


The daughter of a Chinese tourist who is seriously ill in a Paris hospital has become the fifth person in France to be confirmed with the coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.

Her 80-year-old father was the fourth confirmed case in France of the new coronavirus that has killed more than 100 people since it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.


“A fifth case has been detected,” Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told a news briefing.

“It’s the daughter of the Chinese tourist who was hospitalised recently in intensive care in a serious condition,” Buzyn added.

The woman in her thirties, “whose condition has worsened, who needs oxygen,” has also been placed in intensive care, Buzyn said.

The minister said a first plane was due to fly Wednesday evening to Wuhan, the epicentre in China, to repatriate 200 French people stranded there.


#Newsworthy…