Evening Update Friday 20 August 2021

Fire-fighters remain on high-alert with the fire which has ravaged the Var this week. With high temperatures forecast for the weekend, along with a possible Mistral wind, the potential remains for the fire to reignite.  Accordingly the Prefecture has classified the risk of fire in all forest areas as ‘very severe’.

The fire is being monitored by 1,100 fire-fighters, distributed in 43 groups across the hinterland of St Tropez. Assisting them are aircraft water bombers and 130 gendarmes who are controlling the road network.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing, with the most likely cause considered to be a discarded cigarette butt at a motorway rest area.

In Monaco, there are changes to health pass requirements which start next week. From Monday, a health pass will be required for all Monegasques, residents and employees of the Principality aged over 18 who wish to enter in to restaurants and bars. However, given the lower risk of contamination outdoors, the health pass is not required to sit on a fully open terrace of a restaurant or bar. Mask-wearing is still compulsory, as well as other barrier gestures such as social distancing.

While Santé France says circulation of Coronavirus has hit a mini-plateau, pressure is mounting on intensive care services in the Bouches-du-Rhône. For the first time since April, the department has begun transferring Covid patients to Reims in the Grand Est.  95% of patients admitted to intensive care there, were not vaccinated against Covid-19. 63% of the population of the Bouches-du-Rhone have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine compared to 75% in the Alpes-Maritimes. The incidence rate is also considerably higher at 699 per hundred thousand compared to 541 in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Following the tragic drowning of five young people  near St Raphael, the Marie in Roquebrune-sur-Argens have decided to cancel next week’s Youth Day as a mark of respect. It follows the cancelling of fireworks in St Raphael during the week. On Wednesday, the bodies of five people aged 19 to 21, were found in a car at the bottom of Lac Dramont near Saint-Raphaël.

Police have confirmed they have broken up a cocaine-home-delivery-service in Marseilles. Customers would place their order by phone or social media with motorcycle couriers making the deliveries. Police say the organiser and two of the couriers have been sentenced to two years in prison, three couriers received suspended sentences and prosecutions are in place again ten customers.

BUSINESS

Apple has announced it won’t resume office based work until January due to the spread of the Delta version of Coronavirus. When they do return, Apple has told employees they will increase their program of Covid tests and expect staff at the office three days a week. The company said they had no plans to shut their retail stores.

 China has passed a major data protection law today which sets out tougher rules on how companies collect and handle their users’ information. The rules, similar to Europe’s GDPR, could impact the way China’s technology giants operate. This is shaking investor confidence with tech stocks in China slumping to new lows today.

SPORT

Tennis - Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the remainder of this year’s season due to a foot injury. He’s already skipped this week’s Cincinnati Masters and will not appear at the US Open which starts Monday week. Defending champion Dominic Thiem and five-time winner Roger Federer have also pulled out of this year's US Open due to injuries.

Meanwhile, at the Cincinnati Masters, world number two Naomi Osaka suffered a surprise third-round defeat to Swiss wildcard Jil Teichmann. The Japanese star lost 3-6 6-3 6-3 to the world number 76. Elsewhere, top seeds Daniil Medvedev and Ashleigh Barty are among the big names through to the quarter-finals.

Football - France manager Didier Deschamps has accepted full responsibility for the teams early knockout from this summers Euro 2020 competition. In his first major interview since, he says some of the tactics he chose were not successful and for that he is solely responsible. He said the job requires that kind of responsibility and he takes it on.

We’ll have to wait just a little longer to see Lionel Messi make his debut at Paris St-Germain as the player has been left out for tonights Ligue 1 game at Brest. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner joined PSG on a free transfer last week after leaving Barcelona because of their financial difficulties.

Norway international Martin Odegaard has officially signed to Arsenal for £30m. He had been on loan to the club from Real Madrid for the second half of last season where he scored two goals in twenty appearances. Arsenal will also welcome new goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale who joins after completing a medical from Sheffield United.

Rugby - New Zealand have cancelled their Bledisloe Cup match in Australia, plus two home Tests against South Africa because of New Zealand Covid-19 lockdown. The All Blacks' game in Perth was scheduled for August 28th and they were due to host South Africa in late September.

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