French and Riviera News.Tuesday.18.07.2017

Forest fires-More than 120 hectares of forest land has been destroyed so far in a fire that’s still burning at Castagniers not far from the cemetery on the outskirts of Nice.

Late last night,firefighters said that although the fire was mainly under control,it was still burning in some places and that they hoped to be able to extinguish it completely sometime this morning.

450 firefighters have been tackling the blaze,aided by Canadair aerial water bombing planes and helicopters.There are reports of two injuries.

Some people have been moved out of their homes but most have been told to stay indoors and not to use their vehicles.

At one point the fire was reported to be moving at a speed of 800 metres per hour and approaching the village of Castagniers itself.

A car breakers yard has been destroyed in the flames.The cause of the fire has not yet been established.

It’s the biggest forest fire to affect the Alpes-Maritimes since 2003.

Meanwhile,authorities battling forest fires that have destroyed more than 800 hectares of trees in the Bouches-du-Rhone think that a discarded cigarette end might be responsible for starting the original blaze.

Hundreds of firemen have been battling the flames with the fires now reported to be under control but still with some pockets burning this morning.

The worst of the fires has affected woodland running parallel to the D18 road between Saint-Cannat and Eguilles which is why authorities think that a discarded cigarette end may have started the blaze.

The whole area remains on high alert today.

Toulon tunnel-The Toulon road tunnel on the A57 motorway will be closed nightly from 10pm until 6am for the rest of this week for security work.

Motorists are advised to join the motorway at the Fourches La Valette sud junction to get around the problem.

Cannabis bust-A man has been jailed for a year with 6 months suspended after being caught in possession of 250 grammes of cannabis resin and 3,000 euros in cash.

Marounane ‘H’ was caught by police with the drugs concealed in his underwear.He told officers that he was not a drug dealer but was simply doing a favour for ‘friends’.Police also found a note book with names of suspected customers and sums of money owing inside his apartment.

The drugs had been cut up into 17 different packages.The court in Aix-en-Provence didn’t believe his story and sent him to jail.

Prison protest-Calm has been restored to Grasse jail after a number of inmates refused to return to their cells following an exercise period.

Trouble started after a number of packages were thrown over the prison wall by someone on the outside.Some missed their target and an inmate scaled the fence in a bid to retrieve them,setting off an alarm in the process.

Police from Grasse were called in to aid officers restore order and calm returned after a standoff lasting an hour and a half.

In National news today.

Taxe d’Habitation-A number of mayors from major French cities and towns have expressed concerns over the government’s to exempt 80 percent of households from paying the taxe d’habitation residency charge.

During his election campaign,Emmanuel Macron stated his intention to scrap the tax for the majority of households but mayors along with some regional council presidents are concerned about the hole that such a plan would cause in revenues.

On Monday,a conference involving French senators and local officials was held in a bid to find a compromise.

The government has pledged to slash some three billion euros in taxes as part of its budget for 2018 while at the same time cutting public expenditure by 10 billion euros over the next 5 years.

On Monday it was announced that local authorities will be required to cut spending by 13 billion euros by 2022.


Buyer beware-More than 1 out of two French people say that they’re put off buying a holiday home because of property and housing taxes according to a new opinion poll.

59 percent of those questioned for the survey which was carried out by Opionway for Le Figaro  said that both taxe foncier and taxe d’habitation put them off investing in a second property although 55 percent said that they would definitely consider investing in a holiday home.

28 percent said that a second property would be the ideal place to retire while 21 percent viewed it as an investment opportunity.

A spokesman for the Orpi network of real estate agents said that the market in second properties needed to be stimulated through wide ranging tax reform.

The market has been showing signs of recovery in the past few months.


Shares in Netflix have risen strongly after the firm said that it now has around 104 million subscribers .

The company says that the gains,which were better than expected,are a sign that investment in new television shows and movies is paying off as online TV becomes more popular.

Netflix shares rose by more than 10 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement of its second quarter earnings.

The firm is behind major TV show successes including 13 Reasons Why,House of Cards and The Crown.

The company said that it had added around 5.2 million members during the quarter,mostly from outide the United States.

The US Federal Reserve has fined BNP Parisbas 246 million dollars in the latest punishment for a currency rigging scandal that’s let to billions of dollars in fines on financial firms on both sides of the Atlantic.

Authorities say that traders at different banks used online chat rooms to share information about currency bids without adequate oversight from management.

The Fed alone has issued more than 2 billion dollars in fines against 7 banks tied to the scandal.

In a statement issued last night,BNP Parisbas said that it “deeply regretted the past misconduct which was a clear breach of the high standards on which the group operates”.

And-Tesla has announced that its appointed two new directors to its board including the chief executive of 21st Century Fox,James Murdoch.

The other appointee is Linda Johnson Rice who’s the head of the Ebony Magazine publisher,Johnson Publishing.

Tesla has staked a huge amount on its new mass-market Model 3 electric car,the first deliveries of which are expected to start next week.

Earlier this month,the firm’s investors approved a series of measures including one that scrapped a move to make its directors stand for re-election each year.


Neway Tour de France report.

Chris Froome has said that he thought it was “game over” when he suffered a mechanical issue with his bike on stage 15 of the race and lost more than a minute in time after being forced to swap his rear wheel.

Froome had his team-mates to thank for helping back into the main group and said that he couldn’t have done it without them.

He still leads Fabio Aru by 18 seconds in the overall classification as he bid to win his third Tour de France in a row.Romain Bardet of France is in overall third 23 seconds behind the leader.

There are just 6 further stages to go before the Champs Elysees on Sunday starting with today’s 16th stage between Le Puy-en-Velay and Romans-sur-Isere.

It’s 165 kilometres and features two categorised climbs but will end with a sprint finish in the Rhone Valley.

Marcel Kittel is expected to be among the contenders for the win as he looks to secure the green jersey.

Cricket-England have been crushed by South Africa in the second Test at Trent Bridge after being bowled out for just 133 in their second innings.

The tourists won the match by a massive 340 runs to level the series and round off a poor batting display by England in both innings.

The third Test starts at The Oval a week on Thursday.

Rugby Union-The governing body of the Pro 12 is set to confirm that two South African teams will join the competition.

Celtic Rugby board members will meet in Dublin today to discuss the tournament’s immediate future and the inclusion of both the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.

The South African franchises would join the existing 12 teams from Wales,Italy,Ireland and Scotland from September.The revamp could see the league divided into two conferences of 7 teams.

Tennis-Andy Murray has retained his world number one ranking despite going out in the quarter finals of Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal is the new world number two and Roger Federer moves up to 3 with the Wimbledon winner saying that he’s got his eyes on the top spot again.

In the women’s game Karolina Pliskova replaces Angelique Kerber at number one.She slips to three with Simona Halep taking the second spot.

Great Britain’s Johanna Konta becomes world number 4 following her success at Wimbledon where she reached the semi-finals for the first time.

Golf-The defending champion  Henrik Stenson will partner the former world number one Jordan Spieth in the first two rounds of the Open Championship that starts at Royal Birkdale on Thursday.

Stenson and Spieth will be among the early starters on Thursday.

Another eye-catching match up puts Dustin Johnson in the same group as Rory McIlroy while the Masters champion Sergio Garcia will play with Jason Day and the 2015 champion Zach Johnson.


Clear skies with moderate easterly winds.

Top temperatures 28 degrees on the coast and 31 degrees inland.

Overnight lows of 21 degrees on the coast and 19 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine in coastal areas,some thunder in the mountains.Highs of 27-31 degrees.



Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner has gone to court to stop a critical blogger from mocking his name as the country goes to the polls.

Patilias Gamato won the order against blogger Martyn Namarong, who referred to him as "Tomato", and was accused of posting an image of the election chief with a tomato for a head. Mr Namarong denies ever posting the doctored image.

According to Australian broadcaster ABC, Mr Gamato said he resorted to court action when Mr Namorong began using the fruit-based insult, although he was not the first person to do so. "He made some defamatory statements and also called my surname 'tomato'," he told ABC.

"I don't look like a tomato, I'm a human being."

In response to the court case, Mr Namarong tweeted a picture of himself gagged and blindfolded.





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