French Prime Minister Jean Castex and health minister Olivier Véran on Thursday presented the planned gradual lifting of current public restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19, with mass gatherings allowed from early February, when staff home-working where practical will no longer be required, and the reopening of night clubs after the middle of the month.
For the first time in the history of the French republic, a serving minister of justice has been placed under formal investigation by examining magistrates. On Friday July 16th Éric Dupond-Moretti was told he faces a judicial probe by the Cour de Justice de la République (CJR) – which handles allegations relating to a minister's official functions - over claims of an unlawful conflict of interest between his position as justice minister under President Emmanuel Macron and his previous role as a high-profile lawyer. In particular Dupond-Moretti is suspected of using his ministerial post to settle scores with prosecutors and a judge with whom he clashed when working as a lawyer. Lawyers acting for Dupond-Moretti, who denies any wrongdoing, say he intends to stay in his position despite the judicial investigation. Fabrice Arfi reports.
As France tentatively moves towards lifting restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, including the re-opening of restaurants, cinemas and museums and a shorter overnight curfew, Prime Minister Jean Castex claimed the country was 'coming out of this health crisis', above all through vaccinations.
An investigation by Mediapart has revealed a pattern of anti-Roma insults, sexist behaviour and prejudice towards residents of a high-immigration area among certain staff at an organisation helping to deliver the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. After Mediapart raised the issue with management three employees at SOLIDEO – the body overseeing construction of the Games infrastructure - have been suspended and an internal inquiry has been established. Previous attempts to raise the issue internally, including the referral of complaints to the office of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, apparently had little effect. Jade Lindgaard and Antton Rouget report.
Mayada Boulos, communications advisor to French Prime Minister Jean Castex, was in charge of a PR campaign to promote Saudi Arabian interests during her previous job with advertising and public relations group Havas. The campaign was on behalf of a foundation created and chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom who a US intelligence report released last week said had approved the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Antton Rouget reports.
The city authorities in Paris, led by mayor Anne Hidalgo, have suggested that the French capital and surrounding region be put under a new lockdown to tackle the worsening Covid-19 virus situation there. This has piled pressure on President Emmanuel Macron who has been described by some as the country's “epidemiologist-in-chief” and who has so far resisted growing calls for a lockdown not just in the capital but across France. As Ellen Salvi reports, the Paris authorities are effectively asking a question that the head of state's supporters are refusing to countenance: what if the French president has got it wrong?
PM Jean Castex said a new nationwide lockdown was not on the agenda, but said French citizens needed to be in a state of heightened alert to make sure they contain the spread of the virus while vaccines are rolled out.