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French and Riviera News.Thursday.27.07.2017

Fires-More than 4,000 hectares of forest land has been destroyed across the south east of France in a series of wildfires that have been burning since Monday.

The most serious blaze so far has been in Bormes-les-Mimosas where 12,000 people had to be evacuated and 1,450 hectares of trees have been destroyed.

The local mayor has slammed motorists who he says have been discarding cigarette ends from their car windows.

 

Three fires are still burning this morning at Bormes-les-Mimosas,La Croix Valmer and at Artigues where 1,850 hectares of forest land has been destroyed so far.

 

The entire south of France is extremely crowded in the middle of the busy summer holiday season and 6 emergency centres have been opened to care for those forced to leave their homes,hotels and campsites.

 

Firefighters are using 19 Canadair water-bombing planes and a number of helicopters as they battle to control the flames.Italy has sent an extra 2 planes to help and a number of other European countries have offered assistance.

The fires have been fanned by a strong Mistral wind which has been blowing across the region since Monday.The wind is still strong today and is expected to continue to be strong until Saturday when it should die down.

 

At least 12 firemen have been injured while fighting the fires,two seriously.A number of police officers have also been treated for smoke inhalation.

 

All forest areas are closed to members of the public and people living near to woodland anywhere in the region are advised to be ready to move immediately if instructed to do so by the authorities.

 

It’s advised to have an emergency bag at the ready containing legal documents such as ID and driving licenses as well as one to two bottles of water per person,some warm clothing,a torch,radio and batteries and a first aid kit.

 

An appeal fund for firemen and their families has been set up by the Nice Matin newspaper at www.nicematin.com

 

Meanwhile,the French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe has visited Bormes-les-Mimosas where he described the fight against the fires as “very difficult”.

The President of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region Renaud Muselier said that in his mind a number of the fires had been started deliberately.

There’s a maximum jail term of 30 years and a fine of 750,000 euros for anyone convicted of starting a wildfire,intentionally or not.

 

In other news today.

 

Prison protest-Prison officers from Nice jail have staged a walkout after two members of staff were attacked by inmates.

One of the officers sustained a serious wound to the face in the attack resulting in guards walking out in protest for more than an hour.

The union representing prison officers says that Nice jail is dangerously overcrowded and wants extra staff to be employed.

 

Road death-A 70 year old man has died after suffering a suspected heart attack while behind the wheel of his car near Grimaud.

Emergency services were called to an accident on the D559 near the pont de la Giscle on Wednesday but were unable to save the man who had lost control of his vehicle.

An enquiry is underway.

 

Burst water main-Several thousand residents in the Grasse area have been without running water after a pipe  supplying households from the Foulon canal ruptured.

The Suez water company which operates the system has been working around the clock to repair the pipe and hopes to restore supplies to all households today.

On Wednesday,some 1,400 households were still reported to be without running water.

Bottled supplies have been delivered to those affected by the town hall.

 

In National news.

 

Shortened holidays ?-The French Education Minister has suggested that school holidays might be shortened to improve children’s opportunities in the classroom.

Jean-Michel Blanqeur says that no firm decision has been taken but he’s holding discussions with relevant parties about shortening some half-term holidays including at the end of October and during the Christmas period.

The French public appears to be divided on the issue and tourism industry officials are opposed to the idea.

 

Climate Change-Le Monde newspaper has suggested that a series of wildfires that have affected Portugal,Spain,Italy,Croatia and south-eastern France this summer are a direct result of climate change.

The paper says  that higher temperatures over longer periods,strong winds related to the movement of air masses  and intense drought conditions have all contributed to the fires and are all directly related to global warming.

 

Business.

 

The US Federal Reserve has left interest rates on hold but has said that it could be ready to start unwinding its stimulus programme sooner than previously expected.

At the end of its two day policy meeting in Washington,the Fed said that it would start cutting back its 4.5 trillion dollar balance sheet “relatively soon”.

In June the central bank said that it would start unwinding stimulus “this year”.

Analysts say that they expect balance sheet reduction to be announced in September meaning that another hike in interest rates is unlikely before December.

 

Facebook has announced a 71 percent increase in second quarter profits to 3.9 billion dollars and a 45 percent increase in revenues to 9.3 billion dollars.

The social media giant says that it now has more than 2 billion active members-more than a quarter of the world’s population and that more people were joining up every month.

The company has been adding advertisers as well as consumers as it seeks to monetise its other social networking platforms Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook said that Instagram was making an increasing contribution to growth but that the news feed at the heart of its parent site remained the biggest driver.

 

And-The English Premier League has been awarded a High Court order for the coming football season which will help it to combat the illegal streaming of games.

A new blocking order will require UK Internet Service Providers to prevent people from illegally accessing streams of its matches.

The order will allow the Premier League to combat the illicit sale and use of devices such as pre-loaded IPTV and Kodi boxes.

At the end of last season,5,000  server IP addresses were blocked that had been streaming Premier League content.

The English Premier League is currently undertaking its biggest ever copyright protection  programme and is also working with overseas governments in a bid to crack down on people watching matches illegally outside the UK.

 

Sport.

 

Football-Nice were held to a 1-1 draw at the Stade Allianz Riviera by Ajax last night in the first leg of their Champions League 3rd qualifying round.

Balotelli opened the scoring for Nice on 32 minutes only for Van de Beek to equalise for the Dutch visitors early in the second half.

The return leg is in Amsterdam next week.

Also last night Celtic were held to a 0-0 draw in the home leg of their third qualifying round game by Rosenborg.

 

Cricket-The 3rd Test between England and South Africa starts at the Oval today with the series tied at 1-1.

England won the first Test comfortably but were thrashed by the tourists in the second Test so it’s all to play for.

The home side give a Test debut to the Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones  while Tom Westley comes in at number three as a replacement for the injured Gary Ballance.

Play starts at noon French time.

 

Tennis-Novak Djokovic won’t play again this year as he attempts to recover from an elbow injury.

The Serb has dropped to number 4 in the world rankings and will miss the US Open.He’ll be outside the top 10 if and when he makes his return but says that he just needs to rest.

 

Swimming-Mark Peaty of Great Britain has defended his world 50 meters breaststroke title with victory at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest,

Peaty finished in a time of 25.99 seconds-just outside the world record 25.95 seconds that he set in the semi-finals.

It’s his second world title of the week after he won the 100 meters breaststroke on Monday.

 

 

Weather

 

Clear skies but with a moderate to  strong westerly wind persisting across the Var with gusts of up to 65 km/h.

Top temperatures 28-33 degrees Celsius.

Overnight lows of 22 degrees on the coast and 19 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Clear skies but remaining windy in the Var tomorrow.Fine on Saturday  with the wind slackening off.Highs of 27-34 degrees.

 

Finally.

 

An on-the run piglet making a bid for freedom was halted in his tracks by police and taken back to its owner in a traffic cone.

The animal was spotted by officers on the loose running amok on a road in Hunstanton, Norfolk.

Once rounded up they had to find a way to transport the piglet, so chose to put it in a handy traffic cone, which proved to be a perfect fit.

Norfolk Police said the piglet was safely reunited with its owner.

 

 

 

 

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