Three fires have broken out in undergrowth in the Alpes Maritimes today, fanned by strong winds. Early this morning a blaze broke out in Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey, north-west of Grasse. Reports say that over 125 pompiers fought the blaze, with reinforcements being brought in from Marseille and the Var. There were winds of up to 160km per hour in the area, but the fire was eventually brought under control by firefighters. Water bombing aircraft would have been used to fight the blaze but the planes were unable to take off because of the high winds. About 10 hectares were consumed by the fire. Meanwhile, a further fire broke out near the village of Saint-Pons, not far from Grèolieres. Late this afternoon, a fire was reported near Saint Auban. Firefighters are on the scene.
The recent strong winds have partially subsided on the Riviera this afternoon, but, as of early this evening, both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes remain on a Meteo France Yellow level alert for strong winds – the Var until 9pm and the Alpes Maritimes until midnight tonight. The Atlantic and Channel coasts of France have been under either yellow or orange alerts for high waves today. Corsica was badly affected by high winds this morning, with gusts of over 200 km per hour. The winds caused the diversion of flights and operations were suspended at several ports.
An investigation is underway after gendarmes in Barjols in the Var fatally wounded a man. Reports say that police attempted to arrest a man in connection with a domestic violence incident but he resisted arrest and opened fire on officers. The officers returned fire, injuring the man who later died in hospital. An injured police officer was treated in hospital for his injuries.
A teenager has spent the night in police custody after allegedly making death threats against police officers during a demonstration. The 15 year old was participating in a protest against the new baccalaureate exams at the Lycée Thiers in central Marseille. According to reports, he is expected to appear before a juvenile judge shortly.
Don’t worry if you hear the municipal sirens sounding in Toulon tomorrow. It’s just a test organized by the maritime prefecture to replace the normal first Wednesday of the month test which couldn’t be carried out this month. The sirens are expected to sound at about 12.15 tomorrow lunchtime.
Following a suggestion from two French MPs there could soon be a public service in France dedicated to helping people get rid of bed bugs. More than 130,000 sites across the country are estimated to be infested with bed bugs, according to authorities, including hotels, cinemas, and hospitals. The two MPs have suggested the creation of a public service that would offer financial aid to help people get rid of the pests,and stop their continued spread.
The UK government has given the go-ahead for the highly controversial HS2 rail project. The route, to be completed by 2040, will link London to Birmingham, and then Manchester and Leeds. Supporters say it will improve travel, create jobs and rebalance the UK's economy. Critics point to the project already being over budget, behind schedule and damaging to the environment
Nissan has suspended production at one of its factories in Japan because of a shortage of parts from China. The firm will halt production for two days at a plant which makes the Serena and X-Trail models. Many of the world's biggest car makers are dealing with falling supplies as factories across China remain closed because of the coronavirus. Hyundai suspended production at one of its factories in South Korea last week due to a shortage of Chinese parts. Meanwhile, Facebook and Intel have become the latest technology firms to announce they are withdrawing from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, citing concerns about the coronavirus.
The UK economy saw no growth in the final three months of 2019, as manufacturing contracted for the third quarter in a row and the service sector slowed. The Office for National Statistics also said that the economy grew by 1.4% in 2019 as a whole, marginally higher than the 1.3% rate in 2018.
Cricket… England have recalled Keaton Jennings and Ben Foakes for next month's tour of Sri Lanka. Neither has played for England in a Test since the tour of the West Indies at the start of 2019. James Anderson is left out of the squad because of a cracked rib sustained against South Africa. Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali will also miss the two-Test series, which starts on 19 March.
Tennis…. Great Britain will travel to Mexico in April for a Fed Cup play-off tie that they must win to avoid relegation. The team failed to reach this year's inaugural Fed Cup Finals by losing a qualifying tie to Slovakia last weekend. If they win in Mexico they will get the chance to qualify for the 2021 Finals. The tie will be played on 17-18 April.
Football… Jurgen Klinsmann has stepped down as Hertha Berlin's interim head coach after just 10 weeks in charge. He had been expected to stay until the end of this season, but the club have won just three of their nine matches whilst Klinsmann was in charge and are 14th in the Bundesliga.