Evening Update Thursday 03 August

Over 850 people were evacuated from a campsite at dawn this morning as wildfires raged in high winds just east of Montpellier. Emergency services in the Gard say 15 mobile homes and several cars were burned but there were no injuries.

The city of Nice is using high tech cameras and artificial intelligence to protect its hinterland from forest fires. New long-range sensors at the top of Mont Chauve, just north of the city, use classic and thermal cameras to spot even the smallest fire within a 70km radius. Meanwhile, the Bouches-du-Rhône, Hérault, Vaucluse and Var regions are currently on a “very high” fire risk until tomorrow Friday. Météo-France has issued a #4 ‘highest-level’ alert, due to strong winds and dry vegetation. As a result, access to several massifs is prohibited.

A landside yesterday lunchtime, which closed the road to Vésubie at the Saint-Jean tunnel, has been cleared in record time. Authorities say the road has reopened since 4pm this afternoon, in time for the evening rush hour.

The Mayor of Frejus has reinstated a summer ban on swimming in a burkini on the town’s beaches. The mairie says this is to avoid any complications in a rescue operation in the event of a drowning. The ban, which does not prohibit the wearing of a burkini on a beach, is in effect until September 17th.

A warning has been issued against a dangerous new tanning hack which has gone viral on TikTok called ‘beer tanning’. Hundreds of videos show people pouring beer over their skin, instead of suntan lotion, claiming it offers the best tan ever while being affordable. Proponents claim the hops in beer can help activate melanin, a substance in your skin which gives pigmentation and could facilitate a darker, more even tan. Dermatologists across the world have expressed horror at this totally unfounded theory which is extremely damaging to heath. They also point out it can also leave people smelling unpleasantly like a keg or the floor of a bar.

Business

French bank Societe Generale returned to profit in the second quarter of this year but broader global banking challenges have dragged down its performance. Revenues overall in retail banking in France have dropped by almost 14% from a year ago, off the back of lower net interest margins.

As expected, the Bank of England has raised its key interest rate once more to 5.25%, the highest level since April 2008. Unlike the US Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank, the Bank of England gave little suggestion that rate hikes were about to end as it continues to battle high inflation in the UK.

Holiday travel will continue to boom according to Lufthansa. They say their advance bookings for winter and next year were already a double-digit percentage above last year. Other airlines are more cautious. Ryanair said demand looked robust for the rest of the summer but cautioned that higher borrowing costs may curb customer spending, particularly as air fares also continue to rise.

Sport

Football - Germany are out of the Womens World Cup.  It’s the first time they have failed to make the last 16. The European Championship finalists had gone into the group stage as favourites. Morocco, the team Germany beat 6-0 in their opening game, also progress after beating Columbia 1-0. Morocco will face France in the coming days as the last ‘last 16’ round gets underway on Saturday.

The Kyllian Mbappé drama continues with the Paris St-Germain player saying he would consider a move to Chelsea but only for a maximum of one year so he could move to Real Madrid next summer. If that were to happen, it means Paris St-Germain’s star striker, who they have invested half a billion euro into, could walk out the door for free. The club are desperately trying to get back some of their investment, offering Mbappé for €250m for the year, but no-one is biting. There are rumours Real Madrid could have some form of closed deal with Mbappé, avoiding astronomical fees with a free transfer next season.

UEFA has issued a ban on Marsellies supporters travelling to Greece for next weeks Champions League game against Athens. The same decision will apply to Greek supporters, who are banned from the return match at the Vélodrome in Marseilles on August 15.

Rugby - The international governing body for Rugby League has confirmed their next World Cup will take place in the southern hemisphere in 2026. The exact location will be announced before the end of the year. The tournament had been due to take place in France in 2025 but the country pulled out in May citing a failure to achieve financial guarantees.  France will continue to host the Rugby Union World Cup next month with four games to be played in Nice.

Golf - The Princess of Monaco Cup will return to the principality for the first time in two years, sponsored by Monaco Asset Management. Games will be played at the Monte-Carlo Golf Club with a symbolic 19th hole in front of the Monte-Carlo Casino. All proceeds from the competition will go to the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

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