Evening Update Monday 4th July 2022

Water-use restrictions have been announced for 40 communes around the Alpes-Maritimes as the risk of drought intensifies. Among the affected communes are Antibes and Biot, towns along the Paillon valley including Peille, Drap and Cantaron, and the Artuby, Brague and Esteron basins. In these areas, it's forbidden to water your garden, wash your car, clean outdoors or play water games until 31st July. You can still have your car washed by an authorised professional. Factories in the affected zone are required to reduce their water use by 60%. Most of the rest of the department is on what's called an "enhanced alert". It's strongly recommended to limit your water use where possible. Gardens should only be watered after 7pm or before 9am. Water levels in some parts of the Alpes-Maritimes are at their second-lowest level since 1959. And while some heavy rain last week temporarily improved water levels, it wasn't enough to reverse the underlying trend. The drought alert could remain in place until autumn.

A second beach in Menton has been officially classified as smoking-free. After the Plage du Fossan, it's the Plage des Sablettes near the Old Port that now gets the official label from the National League Against Cancer. The ban had technically been in place since last year but hasn't been very strictly enforced. From this summer, Menton is promising a zero-tolerance policy with fines of 68 euros. During a recent clean-up, 9,500 cigarette butts were picked up from the beaches of Menton. Smoking remains allowed on the town's other beaches, but it is forbidden everywhere to leave cigarette butts in the sand.

Meanwhile, swimming has again been allowed off the coast of Cros-de-Cagnes. On Friday afternoon, the town hall banned bathing after raw sewage overflowed into the seawater. The ban was lifted on Saturday after analysis of the water found it was again safe.

In Corsica, three major tourist sites have introduced visitor quotas this summer to try to protect them from the expected influx of holidaymakers. They're the Lavezzi islands, the Restonica Valley and the Bavella Needles. The visitor limits will be in place all season.

The coronavirus incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes continues to rise, breaking through the mark of 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants last week. This is the seventh wave of Covid-19. It started at the end of May, when the incidence rate was just 200 cases per 100,000. The absolute record set in mid-January this year was 4,300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. On Friday alone, 125,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded nationwide. Just a week earlier the figure was 80,000.

In the Bouches-du-Rhône, more than 2,000 people joined a vigil on Saturday in memory of a teenage boy who was killed in a drive-by shooting. 15-year-old Marwane was shot dead from a passing car in the city of Arles, in a neighbourhood with a history of drug trafficking and gang warfare. Police in Marseille are in charge of the investigation. Since the beginning of this year, 16 people have been shot dead in the Bouches-du-Rhône in neighbourhoods where drug trafficking is rife.

A 20-year-old man is in a serious condition in hospital after a seven-metre fall from Saint-Tropez citadel during a music festival on Friday night. The festivalgoer was taken by helicopter to Sainte-Anne military hospital in Toulon. He's now out of a coma, but suffering severe head injuries. An investigation into what happened is under way.

Elsewhere in France, several hundred protesters joined a march in Paris against the US Supreme Court's ruling that allows individual states to ban abortion. Demonstrators marched towards the Eiffel Tower, with placards reading "My body, my choice" and "Solidarity with women all over the world". In France, activists and some lawmakers are now trying to enshrine the right to abortion in the French constitution. Abortion was legalised in France in 1975, pushed by President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's health minister Simone Veil.

In politics, French president Emmanuel Macron has undergone a government reshuffle today, replacing a cabinet minister who's at the centre of a rape investigation. Disabilities minister Damien Abad has been shown the door. The reshuffle comes after Macron lost his parliamentary majority in recent elections. Several other high-profile roles have changed in today's reshuffle.  The president of Samu-Urgences, François Braun, will replace Brigitte Bourguignon as health minister. Christophe Bechu is Macron's new environment minister. Prime minister Elisabeth Borne is due to announce the government's priorities for the coming months this Wednesday.

And it's something of a July 4th tradition. Saint-Aygulf, near Fréjus in the Var, celebrated American Independence Day in style a couple of days early with a big procession of several hundred American cars and bikes. The owners of Harleys, Jeeps and Mustangs weren't put off by soaring fuel prices to take part in this year's parade, which was accompanied by music from an Elvis tribute act.


EasyJet's chief operating officer has resigned after a series of flight cancellations and disruption at the airline in recent weeks. The airline said Peter Bellew had resigned "to pursue other business opportunities". EasyJet said in a statement that it remained focused on delivering a reliable operation this summer. The aviation sector shed thousands of jobs during Covid pandemic, but is now struggling to meet the rebound in demand for travel.

Sri Lanka's energy minister has issued a stark warning over the country's fuel stocks as it faces its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. He said the nation only had enough petrol left for less than a day under regular demand. He also said its next petrol shipment was not due for more than two weeks. Last week, Sri Lanka suspended sales of petrol and diesel for non-essential vehicles as it struggles to pay for imports like fuel, food and medicines. Experts believe it is the first country to take the drastic step of halting sales of petrol to ordinary people since the 1970s oil crisis, when fuel was rationed in the US and Europe.

Prices in Turkey are rising at their fastest rate in 24 years, according to the latest official figures. The annual rate of inflation hit 78.62% in June, which was slightly higher than expectations. Transport costs and housing saw some of the sharpest price rises, worsened by the Ukraine war. Inflation has surged since last year, when the Turkish president cut interest rates to try to boost the economy. Last year's cut in interest rates from 19% to 14% has led to a fall in the value of the Turkish lira, which means it costs more for the country to import goods from abroad.

And hotel group Accor has announced an ambitious plan to bring back the legendary Orient Express by 2024. The company wants to restore 17 original carriages from the Orient Express, dating back to the 1920s and 30s. Accor jointly owns the Orient Express brand, alongside the SNCF, but it's been licensed out to various operators over the years. No details have been released yet about timetables or fares.


Football - and it's transfer time in the English Premier League. Manchester City have signed Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips for £45m. The 26-year-old England international has signed a six-year deal with the Premier League champions. It's Manchester City's third summer signing. Phillips, who made 235 appearances over eight seasons at Elland Road, still had two years left on his Leeds deal.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have signed Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City for £45m on a six-year deal. He leaves City after five-and-a-half years. Christian Eriksen has agreed in principle to join Manchester United on a free transfer. United will now finalise a three-year contract for the 30-year-old, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Brentford. And Sporting midfielder Joao Palhinha has joined Fulham on a five-year-deal for around £17m.

Cricket - it's day four of the fifth test, England vs India, at Edgbaston. India were dismissed for 245 all-out in their second innings, which means England need 378 runs to win the game and draw the series.

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