Advertisement

French and Riviera News.Friday.28.07.2017

Fire investigation-Gendarmes and fire service 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 size and number of the fires have raised questions about their origins with some local officials stating that many are the work of arsonists.

Authorities,working in difficult conditions have been studying areas where the fires are thought to have started to see if they can find any evidence of criminal or negligent acts.

Recently,the Prefecture of the Var said that four out of 10 fires in the department were probably caused by discarded cigarette ends.

 

Meanwhile two 16 year old boys have been arrested in connection with a fire that ravaged 100 hectares of land at Martigues near Marseilles on Wednesday.

The two were arrested near the scene of the fire and are being questioned by police in Marseilles.

 

The fight continues-Meanwhile,firefighters continue to battle to control three major blazes that have caused the most damage to areas around Le Croix Valmer,Artigues and at Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Strong winds have been hampering efforts to put the fires out completely but authorities say that they think they are now getting on top of the situation.

The wind could still cause problems today and the entire Cote d’Azur region remains on the highest alert and members of the public living anywhere near woodland are warned to be ready to leave immediately in case they’re ordered to do so by the police or fire service.

Access to forest areas is still strictly forbidden.

The 3 major fires are now reported to be under control.More than 1,100 firefighters have taken part in the operations since Monday.

 

Hygiene kits-The local authority in Bormes-les-Mimosas is asking for donations of personal hygiene kits to help the 12,000 people who were forced to leave their homes,hotels and campsites because of the fires.

Items such as toothbrushes,toothpaste,soap,shampoo,flannels,disposable razors,shaving cream and sanitary products should be placed in a clean bag and taken to  the Frederic Mistral College in the village or the local Salle des Fetes.

 

Traffic-The French road monitor Bison Fute is warning of extremely heavy traffic on the region’s roads as one of the busiest weekends of the year for travel looms.

The traditional July to August changeover of holidaymakers will see thousands of extra cars on the roads with a heavy build-up of traffic from this afternoon at 5pm.

Motorists are advised to stay off the roads tomorrow if at all possible and to travel on Sunday instead.

 

Cannes burglaries-Police in Cannes are reporting a sharp increase in burglaries in the Cannes area as many people are absent on their summer holidays.

There have been several reported burglaries around the town over the past week and police warn residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Authorities also advise people to make sure that everything is safe and locked up before they leave on holiday and to place valuable items such as jewellery and electronic 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.

Residents should also look out for chalk markings outside the front doors of apartments which are often left by thieves as coded signals to other burglars.

 

In national news.

 

It’s a family affair-The French National Assembly has voted to ban parliamentarians  from employing members of their own family for official government business.

Several scandals have emerged over the past few months including accusations that the former Presidential candidate Francois Fillon employed his wife Penelope as an assistant,paying her tens of thousands of euros for a series of jobs that are now the subject of an investigation.

The change is part of the government’s new working practice code that aims to restore public confidence in elected officials.

 

Holidays,holidays-Statistics released by tourism officials suggest that 36 million French people are taking their annual long summer break either in July or August-an increase of 2.3 million from last year.

Reasons given for needing a holiday include forgetting the stress of work,economic pessimism, and the threat of terrorism.

The most popular area for domestic tourists is the south west of the country with Carcassonne and Toulouse drawing large numbers of visitors as well as the Atlantic coast in the north west around La Rochelle.

The Basque country,Arcachon Basin,Brittany  and the Cote d’Azur are also very popular with French tourists.

Globally,tourism has increased by 6.5 percent this year compared to the same period in 2016 when many people were put off visiting France because of the perceived threat of terrorism.

 

Business.

 

Amazon sales rose in the second quarter but profits plunged, as the e-commerce giant spent heavily in a bid to become the go-to shop globally for everything from food to television.

The Seattle firm earned 197 million dollars  in profit in the three months to the end of June, down 77%.

The fall came as the company pursues expansion overseas and invests in new products and services, including video.

Expenses increased to 37.3 billion dollars, up 28% year-on-year.

The firm in recent months has announced plans to hire thousands of workers, bringing on engineers, sales teams and workers, while opening new warehouses, data centres and bricks-and-mortar book stores.

 

Starbucks is to take full ownership of all its China outlets, after agreeing to buying out its joint venture partner for 1.3 billion dollars.

The deal will see it acquire the 50% stake it does not already hold in 1,300 stores.

Starbucks already fully owns the other 1,500 outlets in China - its fastest-growing market outside of the US.

The coffee giant said the buyout was its biggest ever acquisition.

The announcement came as the firm announced net income fell 8.3% to 691.6 million dollars for the three months to July - only just matching market expectations.

 

And-Germany's transport minister has announced a recall of 22,000 Porsche cars to remove what he says is illegal emissions-controlling software.

The minister said that Porsche would bear the cost of the recalls of the affected 3-litre Cayenne models.

The news comes as Porsche's sister firm Volkswagen says it will refit almost a million more diesel cars in Germany.

VW admitted in 2015 that some of its diesel cars were fitted with a "defeat device" to cheat on emissions tests.

Allegations about Porsche first emerged in German magazine Der Spiegel last month.

 

Sport.

 

Cricket-Alistair Cook made a battling 82 not out as England closed day 1 of the 3rd Test against South Africa at Lords on 171-4.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat.England lost the wickets of Jennings for a duck,Westley for 25 and skipper Joe Root for 29.

Cook faced some hostile bowling but stood his ground and ended the day unbeaten as rain forced an early close.

Play resumes at noon French time.

 

Formula 1-First practice for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix takes place at 10am this morning as Sebastien Vettel attempts to preserve his slender lead over Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship.

The Ferrari star has only a 1 point advantage over Hamilton who won the British Grand Prix in style two weeks ago to put him right back in the hunt.

Second practice is at 2pm this afternoon with qualifying at 2pm tomorrow and the race at 2pm on Sunday.

 

Rugby Union-The Australia captain Stephen Moore has announced he’s to retire from international rugby at the end of the year.

The 34 year old is also stepping down from the captaincy with immediate effect and will altogether next year.

Moore has been capped 120 times for the Wallabies.Michael Hooper is set to be named as the new captain.

 

Weather

 

Clear skies but with a moderate to  strong westerly wind persisting across the Var with gusts of up to 70 km/h.

Top temperatures 28-34 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 22 degrees on the coast and 20 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Clear skies with the wind dropping.Highs of 27-32 degrees.

 

Finally.

 

A  row is brewing in New Zealand, where it has emerged that thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money has been spent importing mud from South Korea for a music festival.

The organisers of Rotorua's forthcoming Mudtopia festival have spent NZ$90,000  on five tonnes of mud powder from Boryeong in South Korea  and, according to the council in the North Island town, it represents good value for money.

Local officials explain that the five tonnes of mud will be enough for the next five Mudtopia events, where mud and music will come together in an unlikely and messy fusion this December, saying that the money has come from a central government grant that will eventually be covered by ticket sales.

 

 

Last local news

Evening Update 21 Aug 2017

A van attack in Marseilles, mini-skirt uproar in St Laurent du Var and the next solar eclipse due on the Riviera. All in your evening update.... Evening Update 21 Aug 2017 Read More

21/08/2017

Breaking News

One person killed, one hurt and driver arrested after car crashes into two bus stops in Marseille. Breaking News Read More

21/08/2017

Breaking News

Terror Attack - Catalan officials say that the hunt for the driver who killed 13 people in last week's attack in Barcelona has been extended across Eu... Breaking News Read More

21/08/2017

French and Riviera News Monday 21st August 2017

Terror Attack - Spanish police hunting for a suspect after the Barcelona van attack that killed 13 people said on Sunday they could not rule out that ... French and Riviera News Monday 21st August 2017 Read More

21/08/2017

Evening Update 18 Aug 2017

Reaction from local leaders on the Barcelona attacks, Sir Bruce Forsyth passes away and a €125m offer has been made for Liverpool player Philippe Cout... Evening Update  18 Aug 2017 Read More

18/08/2017