French and Riviera News.Monday.24.07.2017


Local news

Severe fire risk - The Var has been placed under the maximum level of risk for forest fires today owing to the hot weather coupled with strong winds. The public is banned from entering forested areas and smoking or lighting fires anywhere near woodland is forbidden. Winds from  the west could reach speeds of 95 km/h later in the day raising the risk of fires. The south of France is extremely dry having had no significant rainfall for more than two months.

Plane turnaround - A Delta flight from New York to Nice has been forced to turn back one hour after takeoff. The plane, en route from JFK to Nice returned to New York after one hour in the air after the pilot reported a technical problem. The plane landed safely but the flight was cancelled a short time afterwards. Passengers waiting to return to New York from Nice on Sunday were also stranded.

Massive tailback - An 18 kilometer long jam formed on the A8 motorway on Sunday evening as a result of an accident on the eastbound side of the road near Saint-Laurent-du-Var. Two lanes of the road were closed as a result of the accident with the jam stretching back to Cannes-Mougins and motorists reporting that it had taken them more than an hour to drive between Antibes and Nice. Roads in the region are extremely busy because of the amount of holiday traffic.

Swimming accidents - Authorities are warning bathers to stay safe in the sea after two accidents in the Var over the weekend. Anne Dufourmantelle, a 53 year old woman from Paris woman died after being caught up in a strong current while swimming off Pampelone beach late on Friday. Lifeguards went to her aid immediately but were unable to save her despite carrying out CPR. Later on Friday a 60 year old man was rescued from the sea after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest. He was given first aid on the beach at Cavalaire and is now recovering in hospital. Both accidents happened while orange flags were being flown warning bathers of strong currents.

Bus fire - A double decker bus has caught fire on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Fortunately no-one was on board at the time and the driver managed to control the fire using the vehicles fire extinguisher before the fire service arrived and took control of the situation. The fire started in the engine compartment of the vehicle.Enquiries continue.

Parking fines - Local residents in the Madeleine area of Nice are up in arms after their cars were plastered with parking fines over the weekend. Parking fines were imposed on drivers who'd left their vehicles on the pavement overnight. Residents say that the practice had been going on for the past 40 years and that there had been an 'understanding' in place with local authorities. Nice city hall denies the claims.

Migrant hurt - An illegal migrant has been injured in a fall in the Roya Valley. Authorities say that the man had attempted to jump into the river near the railway line but ended up falling 8 meters onto the rocks. Three members from the mountain rescue service went to his aid and he's now receiving treatment at Pasteur hospital in Nice.

National News

More migrant centres - France must build more centres to house illegal migrants according to the head of an independent human rights watchdog. The former French Culture Minister Jacques Toubon has made the call after visiting a reception centre for asylum seekers in northern Paris over the weekend. Mr Toubon is the president of the independent Defenseur des Droits organisation. Earlier this month, more than 2,800 people were evacuated from a makeshift camp they had been set up in the centre of the capital.A new camp is already springing up and Mr Toubon says that migrants must have their "fundamental rights guaranteed". President Macron has vowed that the government will create places for 12,000 migrants in new reception centres by 2019.

Petain Grave - The grave of Phillipe Petain, who led France's collaborationist Vichy regime during the Nazi occupation has been vandalised on the 66th anniversary of his death. Police say that the cross on Petain's tomb was smashed on the Ile de Yeu in western France in the early hours of Sunday. Some words had also been daubed on the grave but it's not known if they had any significance. Marshal Petain was head of the French government that capitulated to the Germans and subsequently collaborated with their occupation of France during which tens of thousands of Jews were deported to death camps. The grave was previously vandalised in 2007 when the cross was smashed and rubbish dumped on it.

Wine production - French wine production will fall  to a record low  this year according to initial data from the Ministry of Agriculture. Projections suggest that 37.6 million hectolitres will be produced this year,a fall of 17 percent on 2016. The fall in production is mainly due to severe frosts in the south west of the country earlier this year which struck as vines were in the process of flowering. Bordeaux has been hard hit along with the Charente,Alsace and even parts of the Languedoc. The harvest is now expected to be lower than that of 1991 when production was also hit by severe frost.

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its growth forecasts for both the US and UK economies following weaker than expected activity in the first three months of the year. The IMF says that it now expects the US economy to grow by 2.1 percent this year as opposed to its forecast of 2.3 percent in April. The organisation also says that the UK economy will grow by an estimated 1.7 percent compared with its previous forecast of 2 percent. The IMF projects global growth of 3.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent for 2018 and says that the pick-up in growth that it anticipated in its previous survey in April remains on track.

Meanwhile the US and the UK are to hold their first talks in an attempt to arrange the details of a potential post-Brexit trade deal. The UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is in Washington for talks with his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer. EU rules mean that the UK can’t actually sign a trade deal until its left the bloc but it is allowed to hold talks. Dr Fox says that it’s too early to say exactly what will be covered in any potential deal but that there would be a focus on increasing “certainty,continuity and confidence for UK and US businesses as the UK leaves the EU”.

Oil prices have risen in Asian trading this morning buoyed by expectation that a producers meeting may address rising output in Nigeria and Libya. Ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC producers will be meeting in St Petersburg today to discuss the pact to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day until the end of March next year. A conditional cap may be recommended on both Nigerian and Libyan output although there is some scepticism that such a move would be made. Brent Crude futures were up by 24 cents to 48 dollars 30 earlier today with NYMEX crude up 17 cents to 45 dollars 94.


Golf - Jordan Spieth has won his 3rd major after holding off Matt Kuchar to win the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. The 23 year old American had a nervy final round and blew a three shot overnight lead at one point before recovering with a run of birdie,eagle,birdie,birdie to finish on 12 under par-3 shots clear of Kuchar. Spieth is the second player after Jack Nicklaus to win three of golf’s 4 majors before the age of 24 and he now has the chance to complete the career Grand Slam if he can win the US PGA next month.

Cycling - Chris Froome has won his 4th Tour de France title and his third in a row as the race ended on the Champs Elysee in Paris on Sunday. Froome ended 54 seconds ahead of Rigoberto Uran in second with Romain Bardet of France hanging on to overall third. Warren Barguil of France ended as King of the Mountains with Simon Yates of Great Britain taking the white jersey for the best young rider and Michael Matthews of Australia taking the sprinters Green Jersey. Froome is now second in the all time list of Tour de France winners  and said afterwards that he’d remember this year’s win as being the closest and most hard fought.

Cricket - England’s woman have won the World Cup in a packed final watched by a crowd of 26,500 at Lord’s. England beat India by 9 runs to win the tournamanent.They batted first and made a rather under par 228-7 from their 50 overs before bowling India out for 219 in 48.4 overs.Anya Shrubsole took 6-46.

Rugby Union - The top international referee Nigel Owens has said that his struggle with the eating disorder Bulimia Nervosa is an ongoing problem. Owens says that he’s had the condition since the age of 18 and that it had affected him during the 2015 World Cup. Bulimia affects people through overeating which is followed by fasting or self-induced vomiting or purging. Around 1.6 million people in the UK are thought to be affected by the illness including some 400,000 men.


Clear skies with a strong westerly wind developing with gusts of up to 95 km/h in the Var. Top temperatures 35 degrees in coastal areas of the Alpes-Maritimes,28-29 degrees in the Var. Overnight lows of 23 degrees on the coast and 18 degrees inland with clear skies. Tuesday and Wednesday-Clear skies with temperatures dropping a few degrees.

And finally

A school in northern China has been criticised for enforcing iPad learning as part of its new curriculum, it's reported. According to China Economic Daily, the Danfeng High School in Shaanxi province recently issued a notice saying that, "as part of a teaching requirement, students are required to bring their own iPad" when they start the new school year in September. Staff told the paper that using an iPad would "improve classroom efficiency", and that the school would manage an internet firewall, so that parents would not have to worry about students using the device for other means. However, China Economic Daily says that after criticism from parents, who felt that it would be an "unnecessary financial burden",the  headmaster said that having an iPad was no longer a mandatory requirement. He added that children who don't have a device could still enrol, but that he recommended students bring an iPad as part of a "process of promoting the digital classroom".

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