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French and Riviera News Tuesday 21st August 2018

Local

Weather warning - Météo France has placed the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var on a yellow weather alert with thunderstorms and high temperatures forecast. The warning issued at 4pm on Monday is in place until 4pm today with storms expected inland and temperatures of 35 degrees expected along the coast.

Speed – Meanwhile Marseilles and the Bouche du Rhone have become the latest area to introduce speed limits to battle increasing pollution caused by the summer heat. Like in the Var, speed on motorways will be reduced to 90km/h and 70km/h on all other roads.

Anthrax worries French farmers - According to officials more than 50 cows, sheep and horses have died in France's most serious outbreak of anthrax in at least a decade, with officials warning of a vaccine shortage. Authorities in the mountainous Hautes-Alpes region of south-eastern France said the infection, which can spread to humans and is deadly in its rarest forms, has spread to 28 farms since June. The first case in the current outbreak was detected in the village of Montgardin on 28 June, killing six cows. It has since spread to 12 other rural towns. The last serious French outbreak was in 2008 when anthrax spread to 23 farms, most of them in the eastern Doubs area.

Drowning - In just three years, the number of deaths from drowning has doubled across France. This summer, along the Provence Alpes Côte d’azur region alone, 373 drownings were reported  in June and July.

Car catches fire on A8 motorway - The A8 motorway was closed to motorists on Monday evening after a car caught fire. The incident occurred shortly after 8.30 between Nice-Est and La Turbie eastbound. The Monaco exit was also closed as firefighters attended the scene.

National

Total officially quits US sanctions-hit Iran - The French energy giant Total has officially quit its multi-billion-dollar gas project in Iran, following the introduction of the first phase of US sanctions. The pullout came as Iran on Monday said Europe should accelerate its efforts to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the other powers that signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Champagne - Champagne's grape harvest kicked off on Monday, about two weeks earlier than usual, with the industry predicting a "very good" vintage of the bubbly thanks to ideal weather conditions. Around 120,000 seasonal workers have got to work in several villages of the region's southern Cote des Bar area. The ideal weather conditions of the spring and summer promise an "excellent 2018 vintage”.

Business

US President Donald Trump has accused China of manipulating its currency to combat US tariffs. The accusation, is similar to claims Mr Trump made during his 2016 campaign but had avoided more recently. It comes as the two countries prepare to meet in Washington this week to discuss the ongoing trade fight.

PepsiCo has announced it is buying Sodastream for $3.2bn (£2.5bn). Israel-based Sodastream makes a machine and refillable cylinders allowing users to make their own carbonated drinks. The deal gives Pepsi a new way of reaching customers in their homes at a time when its signature sugary drinks are becoming less popular.

Tesla shares remained volatile on Monday amid doubts about Elon Musk's ability to take the company private. Shares in the electric car maker started trade down more than 4%, but recovered to close in positive territory. The shares have dropped by about a fifth since Mr Musk revealed his proposal in a tweet on 7 August.

Sport

Football - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was "not interested in sending a statement" to his side's title rivals after victory over Crystal Palace gave them a second successive Premier League win on Monday. Beating Palace 2-0.

Formula One - French driver Pierre Gasly will replace the departing Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull next season. The 22-year-old, who drives for Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso, will line up alongside Max Verstappen. Australian Ricciardo will leave for Renault at the end of this season.

Meanwhile British teenager Lando Norris will make his Friday practice debut for McLaren at this week's Belgium Grand Prix. The 18-year-old will deputise for Fernando Alonso after the double world champion announced he would retire from Formula One at the end of the season. Norris, from Glastonbury in Somerset, is the reserve driver for McLaren.

Rugby Union - England fly-half Danny Cipriani has been fined £2,000 by his club after a nightclub incident in Jersey last week. The 30-year-old had already been fined £2,000 by magistrates after pleading guilty to assault and resisting arrest. Cipriani has also been told by his club to do 10 hours of community service.

Tennis - British number one Johanna Konta continued her US Open preparation with a first-round win over Germany's Laura Siegemund at the Connecticut Open.

Weather

Mainly cloudy with some sunny intervals. There is a weather warning in place with thunderstorms and high temperatures forecast until 4pm this afternoon. Highs of 35 degrees, this evening going down to 24 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 21 degrees in the Var.  

The outlook for Wednesday and Thursday mainly fine along the coast with showers inland and highs of 33 degrees.

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