France

Four school students held over beheading of French teacher

The other detainees include four family members of the killer, a father at the school and a known Islamist radical.

Police carried out some 40 raids on the homes of suspected radicals on Monday and more raids are expected.

The brutal killing has shocked France.

Tens of thousands of people took part in rallies across the country on Sunday to honour Mr Paty and defend freedom of speech. A ceremony paying tribute to Mr Paty, who was 47, will be held at the Sorbonne University in Paris on Wednesday.

Coronavirus: France reports more than 30,000 new infections

 A further 30,621 infections were confirmed on Thursday, up from 22,591 the day before.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that tough restrictions are "absolutely necessary" to save lives.

Millions in Europe have been told they must live under strict new measures as governments battle a second wave.

From Saturday, socialising indoors will be banned in London, as the UK capital and other areas of England will be put under a higher Covid alert.

France to impose night-time curfew to battle second wave

The measure - from 21:00 to 06:00 - will come into effect from Saturday and last for at least four weeks, Mr Macron said in a televised interview.

"We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus," he said.

A public health emergency has also been declared. A further 22,951 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on Wednesday.

Now was not the time for "conviviality", Mr Macron explained, saying that the virus is spreading at parties and "festive evenings".

Bars to shut in four more French cities with alert level raised

The cities of Lyon, Lille, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne will become zones of maximum alert from Saturday.

Bars and restaurants will have to close, as they did in Paris earlier this week and Marseille last month.

The measures were announced as France saw a near-record 18,129 new cases.

"The situation has deteriorated in several metropolises in recent days," French Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a news conference on Thursday. "Every day, more and more people are infected."

New Caledonia again rejects independence from France

Just over 53 percent of the electorate opted for the status quo in the second of three possible referendums under the Noumea Accord.

180,000 voters, who are on a roll restricted to indigenous Kanaks and long-term residents, were allowed to decide whether the territory should assume full sovereignty.

The results showed a sharp divide between the two camps, with some communes voting with more than 90 percent either for or against independence.

Floods and landslides hit France and Italy

Named Alex, the storm brought fierce winds and torrential rain.

A number of villages north of Nice in France suffered serious damage from floods and landslides, with roads, bridges and homes destroyed.

In north-western Italy, flooding was described as "historic". A section of a bridge over the Sesia river collapsed.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has deployed the army and released emergency funds to tackle the worst floods for decades in south-eastern France.

Up to 20 people are either missing or have not checked in with relatives.

France sets daily record with almost 10,000 new cases

Health authorities reported 9,843 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Thursday, surpassing the previous daily record by almost 900.

The figures were released on the eve of a key meeting of ministers and health experts about toughening measures.

France has the seventh-highest Covid-19 death toll in the world.

More than 30,800 people in the country have died of coronavirus.

Maurice the noisy French cockerel dies aged six

He gained international support - and became a symbol of campaigns to protect the sounds of the French countryside - after finding himself at the centre of a legal dispute over noise pollution.

But in 2019, a court ruled in Maurice's favour and lived out the rest of his days at home on the isle of Oléron.

The bird reportedly died in May but his owner waited to break the news.

Cameras to monitor masks and social distancing

The resort city of Cannes on the Côte d'Azur has trialled the monitoring software, installed at outdoor markets and on buses.

It is not clear how many other cities will adopt this digital surveillance.

French firm Datakalab says its software does not violate EU data privacy law.

"No image is stored or transmitted, ensuring that personal information is protected," Datakalab said, announcing its collaboration with Cannes city hall, ahead of the 11 May relaxation of France's tough lockdown.

France to increase Covid-19 testing to 700,000 a week in lockdown exit strategy

The government had set itself a goal of carrying out at least 700,000 tests per week, he said. Once a person tests positive, tracing would begin to identify, test and isolate all those who had been in close contact with the individual.

"When we end the lockdown, we will have the capacity to massively scale up testing," Philippe said in an address to parliament.

He said the lockdown had saved tens of thousands of lives but that the time had come to ease the unprecedented peacetime restrictions and rescue an economy in free-fall.