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France will likely see its deepest economic downturn due to COVID-19 this year since the end of World War Two. Pixabay

France will likely see its deepest economic downturn this year since the end of World War Two, far surpassing the slump seen after the global financial crisis, its finance minister said on Monday.

Bruno Le Maire told a Senate hearing by teleconference that eurozone’s second-biggest economy would likely contract more than it did in 2009.


“That shows the magnitude of the economic shock we are facing,” he said.


A policewoman wears a mask to protect herself against the spread of the new coronavirus, left, patrols at the garden of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. VOA

The government estimated last month in an emergency budget update that the economy would contract 1% this year, but has since indicated that it would have to revise that figure.

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With the French economy currently running at two-thirds of normal levels, each month of government-imposed confinement could knock 3 percentage points off of growth, the INSEE official stats agency estimated last month.

Also Read- Physical Abuse During Childhood May Lead To Heavy Cigarette Use: Study

Some 5 million French workers — one out of four in the private sector — have been put on furloughs subsidized by the state to avoid mass permanent layoffs, the Labour Ministry said on Monday. (VOA)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)