The centrist president is expected to set out his first steps toward the “economic, green and social” recovery that he promised after the coronavirus epidemic.
The event comes a day after France’s opposition Greens made major gains in local elections, in several cases at the expense of centrist and centre-right pro-Macron candidates.
Green candidates allied with the left captured city halls in Lyon, Bordeaux, Besancon, Annecy and Tours from the centre and centre-right, while Greens also took Strasbourg from the opposition Socialists.
Macron’s centrist La Republique en Marche (LREM), failed to win any major cities. In Paris, where it at first had high hopes, it flopped after a disastrous campaign.
Macron’s centre-right ally, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, did win in the port city of Le Havre.
French media is rife with speculation that the president is planning a major reshuffle that could include ditching Philippe, who has gained popularity during the virus crisis.
Proposals from the citizens’ convention, made up of randomly selected members of the public, include reducing the motorway speed limit from 130 to 110 kilometres per hour, banning genetically modified seeds/creating a criminal offence, ecocide.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
France arrests globally wanted darknet child porn suspect
French police have arrested a man wanted internationally for managing child porn sites on the darknet, Bordeaux Prosecutor Frederique Porterie said on Monday.
The 40-year-old French citizen was “one of 10 global priority targets,” and had enabled thousands of people to access child pornography, Porterie alleged.
The man had admitted the alleged offences when held for questioning after his arrest last week, she said. French police had been cooperating with EU policing agency EUROPOL on the case.
He was placed under formal investigation on charges of distributing and possessing child pornography, incestuous rape, and incestuous sexual assault on a child aged less than 15, and remanded in custody.
France promises €7.6 bn to boost hospital staff pay
The “historic” deal would involve an extra 7.6 billion euros (8.6 billion dollars) yearly, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.
Some 1.5 million workers would get net raises of 183 euros monthly, and pay scales for some groups, such as nurses and nursing aides, would also be revised, Veran said.
President Emmanuel Macron promised in March to come up with “a massive plan” to invest in hospitals and better reward health professionals once the epidemic was over.
The president got a heated reception from staff on several visits to hospitals during the crisis.
Many emergency departments had been on strike for months, complaining of poor facilities, low pay for some staff and lack of funding.
The group behind the strike at emergency departments has already rejected the latest deal as inadequate and is calling for a protest in Paris on Tuesday, France’s national holiday.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Brother of Tottenham’s Aurier shot dead in France
The brother, Christopher Aurier, was shot at a nightclub in the early hours of Monday morning in the southern French city of Toulouse, according to La Depeche, a French media outlet.
The suspected gunman fled the scene and is being sought by police, according to a French police source.
Serge Aurier, who is 27, joined Spurs in 2017 from French club Paris St-Germain (PSG).
In a message posted on Twitter, Tottenham said: “Everybody at the club sends their sincerest condolences to Serge and his family. Our thoughts are with them all.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
France estimates that 6.7% of population had coronavirus
The figure was estimated on the basis of a campaign of antibody testing, Sante Publique France (Public Health France)said in its weekly epidemiological update.
France was one of the European countries hardest hit by Covid-19, with 29,979 deaths recorded as of Thursday. A strict lockdown was in place from mid-March to mid-May.
Sante Publique France warned that the number of confirmed cases was now rising again in mainland France, but remained at a low level.
Surveys showed that compliance with several preventive measures, including avoiding handshakes and keeping at least 1 metre from other people, was declining, although mask wearing was stable.
The body warned that the epidemic has continued to spread in the South American territory of French Guiana.
Unlike in mainland France, the disease was circulating in the community there and rates of hospitalisation and admissions to intensive care were on the rise, Sante Publique France said.
France’s new Prime Minister Jean Castex, is due to visit the territory on Sunday along with Health Minister Olivier Veran.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
United States not yet decided how it will retaliate France digital tax- Official
Washington, July 9, 2020 (Reuters/NAN) The United States has not yet finalised a decision on how it will respond to France’s digital tax, United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview on Thursday.
“Ambassador Lighthizer and I have discussed it and we’ll be reviewing it with the president. No decision has been made yet,” Mnuchin said.
Washington had been in talks with the European Union over the taxes on digital giants like Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Facebook, but Mnuchin called for a break in the negotiations in June. (Reuters/NAN)
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Mexico surpasses France in coronavirus death toll
The health ministry also reported 6,914 new infections and a total of 252,165 confirmed cases.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo Gatell reiterated that the actual number of infected was probably significantly higher.
“Neither Mexico nor any other country in the world aims to make an exhaustive count.”
Citing unpublished figures from the civil registry, broadcaster Milenio said that by June 19 almost twice as many people had died from the virus as reported by Gatell.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the information.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
France reports recovery in car sales in June
After a sharp drop in previous months, sales of new vehicles in France gained momentum in June after gradual lifting of anti-coronavirus restrictions and a return to normalcy had encouraged consumers to make their purchases, official data showed Wednesday.
In May, auto makers posted a decline of 50.34 percent to 96,310 vehicles, compared with the same period in 2019. April’s figures stood at minus 88.8 percent.
The plan focuses on the production of environmentally-friendly vehicles and the relocation of value-added production in France. (1 euro = 1.12 United States dollars)
French gov’t confirms massive job cuts at Air France due to COVID-19 pandemic
French Minister of State for Transport Jean-Batiste Djebbari on Wednesday confirmed that Air France would cut nearly 7,600 posts, calling on the country’s flagship airline to make as few compulsory redundancies as possible.
In detail, Air France planned 6,560 layoffs, including 430 pilots, 1,560 flight attendants and more than 4,500 ground staff. It would also cut 1,025 jobs at its domestic carrier Hop!.
“Indeed, these figures were presented yesterday in an extraordinary company meeting. These figures depend a lot on the enterprises’ devices and the traffic’s resumption,” Djebbari told BFMTV news television.
The French state, which owns 14.3 percent of the French-Dutch venture Air France-KLM group, called on the airline’s executive officials to reduce forced redundancies as much as possible by favoring voluntary departures.
“It is not seven billion, as I have heard, to pay for redundancy plans, it is seven billion to be able to survive, to be able to pay wages at the end of the month,” the minister said, noting that “Air France is losing hundreds of millions of euros every month.”
In its last published traffic data, Air France posted a 52.5-percent drop in revenues after it had carried 58.8 percent fewer passengers in March than the same month in 2019. (1 euro = 1.13 United States dollars)
France holds delayed municipal elections, Macron’s party faces challenge
Of France’s 35,000 cities, towns and villages, about 30,000 had already elected their mayors in the first round held on March 15.
TURNOUT IS MAIN UNKNOWN
TURNOUT IS MAIN UNKNOWN
Sunday’s voting is taking place in 4,827 municipalities, as well as in the districts of Paris, Lyon and Marseille, where the councils were not elected in the first round.
For the voting, the French Interior Ministry recommended voters should keep a safe distance from each other, wear a mask at polling stations and bring their own pens to sign off their vote.
At a polling station in Paris’ northern suburb of Parmain, staff workers are wearing face masks. Stickers on the ground mark out where people should stand while waiting for their turn, and hand gel is provided upon entry.
“I am going to carry out my civic duty. This time, the context is different owing to the epidemic but it does not prevent me from doing what must be done. Certainly, we should adapt to this situation but we keep on living,” Mathilde, a 67-year-old pensioner, told Xinhua.
Another voter, who gave her name as Nathalie, abstained in the first round due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the second round, things are improving, and the situation is better even if the virus still circulates. But I’m not afraid. With my gloves, mask and pen, I think I can vote in security,” she said.
Since early March, 29,778 people in France had succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of Friday, 8,886 COVID-19 patients were still hospitalized, of whom 634 were in intensive care units.
Since May 11, France has eased restriction measures step by step after a months-long nationwide lockdown.
“The turnout is the main unknown of this election. It is difficult to know what will happen. The campaign, the longest in the 5th Republic (of France), had low intensity and struggled to gain momentum due to economic concerns and renewed health concerns,” said Frederic Dabi, director of the IFOP opinion institute.
“What is certain is that we will not be at the same level of 2014,” he added, estimating Sunday’s turnout to be at 42 percent.
In the first round elections, only 44.3 percent of voters came to polling stations due to the risk of contamination, as against 63.5 percent in 2014.
CHALLENGE FOR MACRON’S PARTY
CHALLENGE FOR MACRON’S PARTY
CHALLENGE FOR MACRON’S PARTY
Facing his first domestic mid-term vote challenge, President Emmanuel Macron had bet on his La Republique en Marche (LREM) party — which he created in 2016 — to win control of major cities to anchor power at local levels, and offset losses in the rural zone where his party faces criticism of “doing little” for the working class, local media reported.
“Efforts by LREM to build grassroots support have fallen short, with most of its candidates failing to make it past the first round of voting on March 15,” said state-owned international news television network France 24.
The good news was that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe finished first in the port city of Le Havre, winning 43.6 percent of the vote and consolidating his chance to win the runoff.
“Philippe, whose popularity has soared over his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, also faces a close fight to regain his mayor’s seat in the port of Le Havre. A loss by Philippe would almost certainly force Macron into a broad reshuffle of his cabinet,” France 24 said.
Opinion polls projected that the ruling party’s candidates would fail to re-conquer any big city, which would be a blow to Macron’s plan to build a local power base he needs to extend his stay at the Elysee Palace for another five-year term.
With 44 percent of vote intentions, the incumbent Socialist Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, had been viewed to be comfortably ahead of conservative rival Rachida Dati’s 35 percent. Macron’s official candidate and former health minister Agnes Buzyn was deemed to be in third place with 18 percent, a recent Elabe survey showed.
Candidates from the European Ecologists and the Greens (EELV) are expected to gain control of key cities, such as Lyon and Bordeaux, after a surge in the support they reported in the first round.
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