Evening Update Thursday 15 August

President Emmanuel Macron has today been participating in a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the landings in Provence in the Second World War. The event has been taking place at a military cemetery in Saint-Raphael in the Var. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is also present at the ceremony at the cemetery which holds the remains of 464 soldiers who were killed during the invasion of Provence. This Saturday evening President Macron will also be attending a ceremony in Bormes-les-Mimosas, where he’s currently on holiday, to commemorate the liberation of the town.

Firefighters from the Alpes Maritmes have travelled to reinforce firefighting efforts in the Bouches-du-Rhone today. 17 appliances and more than 60 pompiers have made the journey at the request of the area operations centre. It comes after a major fire broke out in undergrowth near Salon-de-Provence last night. That fire has now been brought under control.

Police in Nice have appealed for witnesses following three assaults in the same area since the beginning of this week. Three people were assaulted in the Riquier district, near the Carrefour TNL shopping centre. On Wednesday an 86-year-old was assaulted by a man who took his gold chain. On Tuesday evening a woman suffered a similar attack as did another individual on Monday evening. Police say it’s too soon to say if the attacks were carried out by the same individual.

Lifeguards in Villeneuve Loubet have saved an Italian tourist after he drifted out to sea. The forty year old man had disappeared on Wednesday evening while swimming at the beach in Villeneuve Loubet. He was later found in front of the beaches at Cagnes sur mer and was taken to hospital by emergency services.

A reminder that the Prefect of the Var has issued an order regulating the use of fireworks by individuals. The order prohibits the use of fireworks and pyrotechnic items on the public highway or in the direction of public roads and in all places where large gatherings of people are held. The order is in force today, tomorrow and this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Vinci Autoroutes have warned motorists to expect heavy traffic and delays on the region’s motorways this weekend. It’s the third crossover weekend of the summer, when some people leave for their holidays and others return home. Traffic is expected to be heavy between Aix-en-Provence and the Italian border in both directions, from 10 am to 7pm tomorrow and also at similar times on Saturday, especially in the areas of Aix-en-Provence, Nice and Antibes. Heavy traffic is also expected at times on Sunday.


BUSINESS

The Hong Kong government has announced a $2.4bn economic support package for the local economy. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said it would include subsidies for businesses and the underprivileged as well as higher salary tax rebates. However, he stressed that the package was not in response to escalating political protests in the territory. Analysts have said that retail sales and tourism in Hong Kong have been badly affected by both the protests and the US-China trade war.

Danish brewer Carlsberg has announced that sales rose 6.5% to 32.9bn kroner for the first six months of the year. Pre-tax profit rose 21%.

Another North Sea oil field has come online. More than 300 million barrels of heavy crude oil are expected to be recovered from the Mariner field which is located about 95 miles east of the Shetland Isles. Norwegian operator Equinor said the field was a "cornerstone" in its expansion into UK waters.


SPORT

Cricket… The Second Ashes Test is underway at Lords after being washed out yesterday.

Rubgy Union…England have announced changes to their squad for the World Cup warm-up match against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday. Maro Itoje comes into the second row, while Courtney Lawes is at blindside flanker. Anthony Watson, Charlie Ewels and the injured Tom Curry are left out. Fly-half Owen Farrell is named on the bench. Ruaridh McConnochie will win his first England cap for the match.

Meanwhile, Owen Franks, Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane have been dropped by New Zealand in the wake of the All Blacks' 47-26 defeat by Australia. The trio fail to even make the bench for Saturday's return at Eden Park.

Athletics… Two British athletes have been disqualified from the World Triathlon Olympic qualification event in Tokyo after crossing the finish line hand-in-hand. Britain's Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were disqualified for breaking a race rule. A photo finish had initially given Learmonth victory.

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