Evening Update 05 Aug

There is particularly heavy traffic congestion in Villeneuve-Loubet this afternoon after the McDonalds Restaurant on the main strip was completely destroyed by fire. The blaze is believed to have started, when workmen used torches to re-felt the roof, and the tar ignited. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Fire is once again becoming an increasing danger in the summer heat. Last night over 2,700 people were evacuated from a forest fire west of Marseille in scenes reminiscent of the Australia fires at Christmas. Camping holiday-makers and residents at Martigues and Sausset-les-Pins were blocked from making a escape by road, and had to rescued by boat to avoid advancing flames. Despite the massive operation involving 1,800 emergency workers there were no serious casualties.

Meanwhile, a young mother and her eight year-old child are fighting for their lives this afternoon after a violent blaze broke out at their first floor apartment east of Nice early this morning. Two other children remain critical at Pasteur Hospital.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert has written to the President of the Lebanon, expressing grief and offering support, after the explosion in Beirut last night which killed over 100 people and injured thousands more. Meanwhile in Marseilles the first of three military planes has departed to Lebanon carrying equipment, humanitarian aid and several emergency doctors who are capable of treating up to 500 wounded. French President Emmanuel Macron will also visit the area tomorrow.

The Plaza office block beside Nice Airport has been closed after four cases of Covid-19 were discovered following a test of workers by Health Authorities. Across the PACA region, almost a thousand new cases have been diagnosed across the last week, however there has been no increase in severe cases.

BUSINESS

Gold is trading at an all-time high, tipping over $2,000 an ounce for the first time today. The 30% jump since January is due to investor concerns with the uncertain global situation and rising tensions between the US and China. Prices for Silver are also shooting up with a similar increase of 30%.

BMW still expects to have an operating profit for the full year even though the second-quarter showed an operating loss as deliveries fell 25%. The luxury carmaker said it swung to a €666m loss in Q2, down from a 2.2 billion euros profit from the same period last year.

Retail sales in the EU have rebounded to pre-lockdown levels. Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, said spending on clothing and car fuel drove the gains with overall shopping volume in June, 1.3% higher than last year.

SPORT

Football - UEFA has warned international matches will be at risk if its coronavirus protocols for the return of the Champions League and Europa League are not observed. Both tournaments resume this week after a five-month delay and conclude with the final eight games behind closed doors in Portugal and Germany. The Champions League final will be held in Lisbon on 23 August, two days after the Europa League final in Cologne.

Manchester City’s new winger Ferran Torres says one of the reasons he left Valencia for the UK club is because they would not make him captain and one of their highest-paid players. The 20 year-old said he was excited and happy to join City after completing his £21m move from the La Liga side.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal has announced he will not defend his title at the US Open as the pandemic is "not under control" in New York. However the Madrid Open which Nadal was due to play at, has been cancelled by organisers for the same reason as the coronavirus situation deteriorates in Madrid.

Grigor Dimitrov has been speaking from his home in Monte-Carlo about his recovery from Covid-19 after he contracted the virus at the Adria Tour in June. He said during his recovery he lost up to seven pounds, but it was the mental isolation which he found the hardest part. He has since returned to the court, competing at the UTS Ultimate Tennis Showdown in France but the former world No 3 does admit he is unsure what long-term damage the virus do to his body.

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