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French and Riviera News.Wednesday.26.07.2017

Local news 

Fires - Hundreds of firefighters are still mobilised this morning in a bid to control a series of devastating forest fires that have been affecting the region since Monday. 
Several thousand hectares of forest land have been destroyed in the fires which have affected a large part of the south east of the country and on Corsica. 
A huge fire is burning at Bormes-les-Mimosas where 12,000 people have been evacuated and 800 hectares of forest land destroyed. 
Fires in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, most notably at Artigues but also at Ramatuelle, Frejus and Six-Fours are continuing to burn, with the fire service reporting that its run out of flame retardant and has had the number of Canadair water-bombing planes and helicopters available to fight the blazes restricted because of a greater need elsewhere. 8 firefighters have been injured battling the flames, one seriously. 15 police officers have also required medical treatment for smoke inhalation. Many residents and tourists have been forced to leave their homes and campsites and the entire region is still under the highest alert today. The wind continues to be a problem in the Var this morning with gusts from the west in excess of 60 km/h.

In the Alpes-Maritimes, hundreds of firefighters are still on the ground as blazes near Carros and at Saint-Vallier continue to smoulder. There were several smaller outbreaks around the department on Tuesday but fortunately they were brought under control before they could cause too much damage.

The Nice Matin newspaper has launched an appeal to raise funds for firefighters.Details are on their website www.nicematin.com

Meanwhile, France has asked for help from its European neighbours in tackling the fires. Italy has responded to the request immediately and is sending two water-bombing planes. The Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has said that France will add six more Canadair aircraft to its fleet to help tackle the fires. The minister was speaking during a visit to Corsica where a huge fire has devastated the hills near Biguglia on the north of the Island.

Sea Warning - The French Mediterranean Maritime Prefecture has issued a warning about conditions to boat owners. Strong winds off the coast,gusting at up to 100 km/h have seen a number of rescues take place over the past 48 hours and coupled with an important swell the advice, particularly for people with small sailing or motor yachts is to avoid putting to sea until the end of the week. 

Allianz Riviera - Tight security will be in place for tonight’s football match between Nice and Ajax Amsterdam at the Stade Allianz Riviera. The two sides are meeting in the qualifying round for next season’s European Champions League. The match  kicks off at 8.45 tonight and is sold out.

Knife attacks - A 20 year old man from French Guyana has been remanded in custody pending full trial following a knife attack in the old town of Nice last Thursday. The Nice criminal court heard that the defendant already has 6 previous convictions for violent assault, all of them committed since he moved to the city four years ago. In the latest incident, a young woman required hospital treatment after being attacked in the early hours of last Thursday. She suffered a perforated lung and is still not well enough to give evidence.

National news

Celebs at the Elysee - French President Emmanuel Macron is to meet with Bono from U2 and the singer Rihanna at the Elysee Palace later today. Bono will meet with Mr Macron to discuss support for his organisation ‘One’ which fights against poverty and disease, particularly in Africa while Rihanna will seek to secure the French leader’s commitment to the Global Partnership for Education,for which she’s the ambassador.

Hommage to priest - Today’s meeting of the French Cabinet has been put back until Friday to allow President Macron to attend a ceremony to pay tribute to Father Jacques Hamel who was murdered in a terrorist attack at his church at Saint-Etienne-de-Rouvray near Rouen a year ago. Father Hamel was stabbed to death exactly a year ago by two members of the so called Islamic State as he was saying mass in his small church in the presence of worshippers. Mr Macron will be accompanied by the Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe and the Interior Minister Gerard Collomb.

Business 

Shares in Caterpillar have risen by 6 percent after the company announced a 9.6 percent increase in quarterly sales. The stock,which is seen as a bellweather suggests that the wider economy is gaining in strength. The firm makes heavy farming and construction  machinery and has endured several tough quarters over the past few years. The rebound suggests that other businesses are also picking up with Caterpillar telling investors that it expects sales for the rest of the year to be higher than expected owing to increasing demand for its products in China and North America.

The fast food giant McDonald’s has announced the highest sales at its established stores for 5 years as it focuses on a range of high-end hamburgers and one dollar drinks. McDonald’s shares rose by 3.4 percent as it announced a 28 percent increase in year-on-year profits. Total revenues remained lower than at the same period last year,down 3 percent to 6 billion dollars but the firm said that it was “building momemtum”. The company has been making changes to its real estate portfolio as well as cutting costs. It’s also started to use cage free eggs and fresh beef rather than frozen for its quarter pounders in the US and has also scrapped ingredients with high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives.

The luxury shoe maker Jimmy Choo has been bought by Michael Kors Holdings in a deal which values the firm at 896 million pounds. The British firm was put up for sale in April and has attracted interest from a number of firms. Michael Kors says that the acquisition is expected to deliver a number of benefits,including the opportunity to grow sales to “a billion dollars” as well as a more balanced portfolio with greater product diversification.

Sport

Football - The chairman of Spurs has said that spending by English Premier League clubs is unsustainable and has defended his lack of spending so far this summer. Premier League clubs have so far spent around 870 million pounds on players with the figure expected to rise to well over a billion before the transfer window closes. Daniel Levy says that he has a duty to manage Tottenham appropriately  and that some of the transfer action happening at the moment is clearly unsustainable.

Swimming - Adam Peaty of Great Britain has broken the 50 meters breastroke world record twice as he reached the final at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. The 22 year old defending champion won the semi final in 25.95 seconds,eclipsing the world record 26.10 seconds that he’d done in the heats. He said that it was all down to hard work in the gym.

Athletics - The reigning long jump champion Greg Rutherford has pulled out of next week’s World Championships in London with an ankle injury. Rutherford won the Olympic gold medal in 2012 and claimed the world title two years ago. He’s got ankle ligament damage but hopes to be back in training in a few weeks.

Formula 1 - The managing director of Renault has said that its “critical” that Jolyon Palmer scores points in Hungary this weekend. Palmer has failed to score a point so far this season and his seat is under pressure. Robert Kubica will test for Renault in Hungary after the Grand Prix this weekend. Palmer has been rather unlucky on several occasions this season with the car letting him down.

Weather

Clear skies but with a strong westerly wind persisting across the Var with gusts of up to 65 km/h. Top temperatures 28-31 degrees Celsius. Overnight lows of 21 degrees on the coast and 18 degrees inland with clear skies. Thursday and Friday-Clear skies but remaining windy in the Var tomorrow.Fine on Friday with the wind slackening off.Highs of 27-31 degrees.

And finally

A French mayor promised in spring that he would eat a rat if Paris Saint-Germain failed to qualify over Barcelona in the Champions League. Following PSG's 6-1 defeat in the second leg of the knockout rounds, the politician has held up his side of the bargain. Back in spring, when the Paris football team won against Barca 4-0, Charles Dayot said: "If Barca qualifies, I'll eat a rat and I'll vote for Jean-Luc Melenchon." Dayot, who was elected mayor of Mont-de-Marsan in south-west France earlier in July, admitted he hadn't carried out the second promise, but followed through on his vow to eat a rodent, according to a French radio station.  The meal took place on Saturday, during the Fetes de la Madeleine, a local festival. Dayot tucked into a coypu, a large semiaquatic rodent cooked up by local chefs - and the table was decorated with a Barca football shirt, while he used his Paris shirt as a napkin.

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