Survey says French business impacted by attacks

2015-11-23 09:32:51 GMT2015-11-23 17:32:51(Beijing Time)  Agencies

The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris and the heightened security in Europe (All times local):

10:20 p.m.

A closely watched survey has found that the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people are having an immediate negative effect on French businesses.

Financial information company Markit says some service providers have reported that the attacks had "negatively impacted on activity."

As a result, Markit says its purchasing managers' index for France — a broad gauge of business activity — fell to a 3-month low in November of 51.3 from 52.6 the previous month. The drop takes the French economy nearer the 50 threshold separating expansion and contraction.

Jack Kennedy, senior economist at Markit, says the longer-term economic impact of the attacks remains "uncertain."

The French performance contrasts with that of the 19-country eurozone, which according to Markit is expanding at the highest rate in four and a half years.

10:05 a.m.

The Belgian capital Brussels has entered its third day of lockdown, with schools and underground transport shut and more than 1,000 security personnel deployed across the country.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Monday that "investigations will continue until we've fixed this problem."

He told Belgium's RTL broadcaster that Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam "must have a lot of support on our territory. That's why all these searches being conducted at the moment are important."

Security was extra tight in the European quarter of Brussels, especially around the EU institutions where ministerial meetings were going ahead as planned.

Brussels remains at maximum alert over information about an "imminent threat," possibly a series of coordinated attacks at different locations similar to those in Paris on Nov. 13.

10:00 a.m.

Streets of central Brussels were mostly deserted Monday morning, save for a few random buses and cars — and some army trucks unloading soldiers. Commuters said they understood Belgian authorities' decision to keep the terror alert at its highest level for a third day running, but said the results gave the capital city an uneasy feeling.

"It feels a bit like a dead city," said Cedric Verschooten, a government worker who lives in Flanders and was in Brussels for meetings. Verschooten stopped to take a selfie in the empty streets, which he said would normally be teeming with traffic.

Brussels resident Ligea Salazar said she was very afraid there could be a Paris-style attack on Brussels. Despite the increased police and military presence, she wasn't reassured.

"I don't think they really know what's going on," she said. "They released too many people after arresting them." Salazar said she had to walk to work today because the subways weren't running — and was late as a result. "I like to walk but it is nice to have the choice to take the Metro."

9:55 a.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says he will seek parliamentary approval this week for Britain to join U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Syria.

Cameron also offered the use of a British air base in Cyprus for anti-IS actions in Syria.

Speaking in Paris on Monday after meeting French President Francois Hollande, Cameron said the two leaders agreed to increase counterterrorism cooperation after the attacks. He called for greater European Union-wide efforts to share intelligence to stop extremists.

9:20 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron have visited the Bataclan concert venue in central Paris, which saw the worst carnage of the attacks that killed 130 people.

Hollande and Cameron were meeting Monday in Paris as the French leader presses for a stronger international coalition against Islamic State. He is headed to Washington and Moscow later in the week.

The decision to head to the Bataclan was not announced in advance and came amid tight security in both Paris and Brussels, home to many of the men identified as suspects in the Nov. 13 attack.

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