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Flamboyant entrepreneur Xavier Niel – often described as France’s most influential person – is close to finalising a deal to take a majority holding in Eir, Ireland’s biggest telecoms company.
Neil, who in 2014 bought the majority stake in Monaco Telecom previously owned by Cable & Wireless Communications, is expected to take a stake of 90 percent currently held by US funds Anchorage Capital and Davidson Kempner and Singapore’s GIC.
The deal would value the former state-owned company at €1.5 billion. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. The sale would be the sixth change of ownership since 1999.
Niel, 50, is the man behind Iliad, the internet service provider and owner of France’s Free mobile service. In addition to his holding in Monaco Telecom, he is also co-owner of the French newspaper Le Monde. He is said to be close to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church has started making online videos of their weekly sermons in English, so parishioners don’t have to miss out during the lockdown.
The National Council says it wants to keep the Condamine and Monte-Carlo markets open, despite the closure of all food markets this week across France.
The government has added psychologists to the team at Monaco’s Covid-19 call centre as a growing number of people seek advice on how to cope with isolation and fear.
The National Council is calling on the Prince’s government to create a makeshift hospital in preparation for a surge in coronavirus cases in the Principality.
The city of Nice has joined other local authorities in suspending the anti-burkini ordinance introduced on August 19. The move followed a ruling of France’s Council of State invalidating a similar ordinance introduced by Villeneuve-Loubet. Menton withdrew its own ordinance on Wednesday night.
The moves mark an important victory for the Committee Against Islamophobia in France and the League for Human Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights declared the local rulings as discriminatory. Under Article 9 of the European Convention, freedom of religion includes the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the freedom to exercise religion or belief publicly or privately, alone or with others. Advocates of repealing the local burkini bans have argued that beach dress is a matter of choice.
Internationally, the burkini bans have been met with incredulity, as police officers patrolled French beaches ordering women to take off more clothes.