Evening Update Friday 28 July 2023

A fire in undergrowth near the village of Bairols in the arriere pays of Nice is still burning today, some three days after it started. However, firefighters have said that good progress in extinguishing the blaze is being made. The SDIS in the Alpes-Maritimes said that yesterday 160 drops were made on the fire by water bombing aircraft and that reinforcements had arrived from the Var and Bouches-du-Rhone as well as from Marine firefighters. The fire is in a difficult to access rural area and no homes have been affected.

The Var prefecture has published an update on the drought in the department. It said that the severe water deficit observed for 2 years in the south-east of France has resulted in an exceptional drought in the Var, both in terms of its duration and its extent. It added that the drought has worsened in recent months with a particularly dry winter in the department. To date, of the 153 municipalities in the Var, 2 municipalities are on alert, 85 are on heightened alert, 43 on drought alert and 23 on vigilance.

Seven municipalities in the Var have been recognized as a state of natural disaster for floods and mudslides in 2023. The decree was published in the Official Journal today, 28 July, and affected inhabitants have 30 days from today to make a declaration to their insurance companies. Full details are available from the prefecture.

Traffic on the A8 motorway has been severely disrupted following an accident involving a heavy goods vehicle this afternoon between the Brignoles and Le Cannet-des-Maures interchanges. A truck which was traveling towards Italy, overturned on the central reservation and its load spilled onto the carriageway. Disruption is expected to continue in the area throughout much of this evening.

A three year old girl has died in the Bouches-du-Rhone. The child went missing late last night from the village of Payrolles-en-Provence and her body was recovered by firefighters from a nearby lake several hours later.

Two people have died and several others have been seriously injured in a crash involving a bus in the Yvelines department. The bus had been chartered by the SNCF to replace rail services in the area. Local reports suggest that the bus may have swerved to avoid an oncoming car. The driver of the car has been taken into custody.

The French economy grew by a larger than expected 0.5% in the three months to the end of June. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire described it as "a remarkable performance" which he said shows the success of the economic policies undertaken by the government since 2017. Exports performed well in the quarter but household consumption declined.

 

BUSINESS

Airline group IAG has reported record half year operating profits of €1.3bn after a recovery in leisure travel. In the same period last year it posted a loss of €446m. The company said that the group was aiming to be back at pre-pandemic levels of demand by the end of the year. However, it said that it was "mindful of wider uncertainties" that could affect fuel prices and consumer confidence in the months ahead. IAG owns airlines including Iberia and British Airways.

The German economy stagnated in the second quarter, according to new data released today by federal statistics office Destatis. There was no growth from the previous quarter. In the two previous quarters, German economic output had declined compared to the previous quarter with a revised contraction of 0.1% in Q1 2023 and a fall of 0.4% in Q4 2022.

The number of company insolvencies in the UK has reached its highest level since 2009. The government's Insolvency Service said that the number of company insolvencies was up by 13% in the three months to the end of June compared to the same period last year.

 

SPORT

Cricket... It's the second day of the fifth Ashes Test today.

Football... In the women's World Cup England have beaten Denmark 1-0, China beat Haiti 1-0 and Argentina against South Africa drew two all.

Motorsports... First practice for the Belgian Grand Prix was affected by rain making conditions difficult. Carlos Sainz was fastest followed by Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc was fourth and Sergio Perez was in fifth place. The grid for the Belgian Grand Prix will be set in championship order if wet weather makes it impossible to run qualifying. Championship leader Max Verstappen is bidding for an eighth straight win this weekend. However, Verstappen will serve a five place grid penalty for Sunday's race for using too many gearbox parts.

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