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Evening Update Fri 28 July 2017

Traffic - The Riviera is bracing itself for ‘Black Saturday’. It’s the busiest day of the year on local motorways as July holiday makers leave, and August holiday-makers arrive. There is an increased police presence on all roads this weekend, where they are using ‘new generation’ radar speed detectors, which can record speed and photograph car plates without using a flash. The units are operated by uniformed police in unmarked cars.

Bison Fute is warning the heavy build-up of traffic will start this afternoon and run throughout Saturday. Motorists are advised to stay off the roads tomorrow if at all possible and to travel on Sunday instead.

Fire - Police and fire officials are working to try and establish the causes of the devastating fires that have burned more than 4,500 hectares of forest land since Monday. The suspicion is that many are the work of arsonists. Others could be the result of cigarette butts thrown from car windows. A new survey today shows one-in-five French drivers think nothing of doing this, despite the consequences.

Firefighters continue to control the fires that have caused the most damage around Le Croix Valmer, Bormes-les-Mimosas and Carros. The strong winds have been hampering efforts to extinguish the fires completely, but authorities say they’re getting on top of the situation.

Meanwhile, access to forest areas is still strictly forbidden and the entire Cote d’Azur region remains on the highest alert. People living anywhere near woodland are warned to be ready to leave immediately in case they’re ordered to do so by police.

Monaco - In Monaco, from Monday there are a number of changes to traffic flow in the Pasteur area. Throughout August, the Avenue de Fontvieille will be closed in both directions, the footpath along Boulevard Charles III and the pergola that overlooks Avenue de Fontvieille will also be closed, as will the stairs between the two roads.

Cannes - Police are reporting a sharp increase in burglaries, particularly in the Cannes area, as many people are away on holidays. There have been several reported burglaries and their advice is to make sure everything is locked up before you leave, and valuable items either in a cellar or at a bank safety-deposit box. Lights activated by a timer, and leaving a radio on, are also recommended to dissuade unwanted visitors. You should also look out for chalk markings outside your front door or property, as that’s a sign left by thieves as coded signals.

BUSINESS

New figures from INSEE show the French economy expanded by half a percent in the second quarter of the year, despite a slowdown in growth in business investment. The quarter-on-quarter pace, matches the growth the French economy managed in the previous two quarters, confirming a modest recovery in the country’s economy. An 0.2% increase in the growth of consumer consumption, helped compensate for a slowdown in business investment following the expiration of tax incentives. Exports also helped boost growth, jumping by 3.1% after having contracted by 0.7% in the previous quarter.

In Spain, the economy there grew by 0.9% in the second quarter, suggesting the country's economy has grown back to the size it was before the credit crunch of 2008. The Spanish figures were among the strongest of a batch of European economic data released today.

Across the Atlantic, the US economy grew at an annualised pace of 2.6%. Earlier this week, the IMF revised down its US growth forecast for this year from 2.3% to 2.1%. President Trump has pledged to pursue policies to boost the US economy, including cutting corporate and individual taxes, but is meeting resistence in Washington.

SPORT

Formula 1 - Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo completed a clean sweep in todays practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Running an aerodynamic upgrade, he was the fastest in both sessions, heading Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 0.183 seconds in the afternoon. Lewis Hamilton, trailing Vettel by a point, at the top of the championship, was struggling for grip on the fastest super-soft tyres and down in fifth.

Football - Speculation linking Gareth Bale with a move away from Real Madrid is "ridiculous" and "stupid", according to the players agent. With Real linked with a 180m euros move for 18-year-old Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, there have been reports that they will look to move on either Bale, Ronaldo or Benzema.

Javier Hernandez has revealed he turned down offers from Spain and Italy to return to what he called the best league in the world. He has just completed a £16m move to West Ham, two years after leaving Manchester United for Bayer Leverkusen.

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