Evening Update Wednesday 18 August 2021

The bodies of five young people, all in their early twenties, have been discovered in a car at the bottom of Lac Dramont near St Raphael. Police investigating say the five have been missing from the town since Monday. The medical examiner is on the scene today to help officially identify the bodies.

The massive forest fire in the St Tropez hinterland is still burning this afternoon. Fire-fighters are concerned that a change in the direction or the strength of wind could help the blaze to travel again. The fire is still burning while 1,200 fire-fighters secure and water the perimeter. More reinforcements are expected to join them later today.

A second death was confirmed late this afternoon with a second body discovered near the site of the first. Both bodies are being sent to Nice for autopsy and identification.

The focus is now on a search for a 32 year-old woman who was on a summer break in the area near Grimaud. She was last heard from when she called friends on Monday night to say her holiday cottage was surrounded by flames. Her body was not found at the burnt-out building and the search continues.

As fire fighters deal with the aftermath of the fire, the prefecture has closed the A57 autoroute between Junctions 10 and 13, and on the A8 there is a 70km/h speed restriction in the area. The prefecture has also asked residents not to travel by car between Bormes-les-Mimosas and the Gulf of Saint-Tropez in both directions. Also people who have been evacuated from their homes must not return.

A drought alert has been put in effect in the majority of communes along the Côte d'Azur. The prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes introduced the water restrictions yesterday which will remain in place until August 31st. Watering your garden during the day between 9am and 7pm, filling your pool or  washing your car is now forbidden. The towns concerned are;

  • Bar-sur-loup
  • Cagnes-sur-mer
  • Caussols
  • Châteauneuf-de-Grasse
  • Cipières
  • La Colle-sur-loup
  • Courmes
  • Gourdon
  • Gréolières
  • Opio
  • Roquefort-les-Pins
  • Le Rouret
  • Saint-Jeannet
  • Saint-Paul-de-Vence
  • Tourrettes-sur-loup
  • Valbonne
  • Vence
  • Villeneuve-Loubet

The French government may miss vaccination targets it set to have 50 million first-time vaccinations done by the end of August. Vaccinations have seen a slow-down in the past few weeks but the government say they expect numbers to rebound as we approach rentrée and the return to school. Currently 69% of the population have had at least one injection with 58% fully vaccinated.

BUSINESS

Mitch Lowe, one of the co-founders of Netflix, was in Monaco last night to announce that he is to join the UseCrypt investment fund.  UseCrypt is an all-in-one communications service, combining video, messaging and file-sharing services, with total user privacy through eight levels of crypto-graphic technology. The application will be available with a monthly subscription.

Australian flag carrier Qantas has told its staff to choose between ‘jab or job’. The airline has given pilots, cabin crew and airport staff until mid-November to be fully vaccinated. CEO Alan Joyce said Qantas provide an essential service and this policy will guard against disruptions that could be caused by just one positive COVID-case shutting down a freight facility or airport terminal. Qantas said 89% of its 22,000 staff had already been vaccinated or were planning to be.


Tencent Holdings, the Chinese gaming and social media giant, posted a 29% rise in second-quarter profit this year. However, this is slower than expected growth, after a boom in online gaming last year thanks to virus lockdowns. The slowing growth rate comes on top of investor concerns that Tencent will be hit by more regulatory actions which the Chinese authorities have unleashed on the tech industry.

SPORT

Formula 1 - The Japanese Grand Prix in October has been cancelled by the government due to the rise in Covid cases in the country. Formuala 1 say they are working on the details of the revised calendar which they will announce in the coming weeks. Otherwise, the season will continue as planned with the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August. In the driver standings, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton holds a narrow eight-point lead over Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Football - Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli has arrived at Juventus for a medical to confirm his move to the Serie A club.  Locatelli was part of the Italy squad that won last month’s Euro 2020 scoring twice in five games. It’s reported his move to Juventus is ‘on loan’ before a permanent move for €35m next summer.

Arsenal are in advanced talks with Real Madrid to permanently sign attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard. The Norway international made 14 appearances for Arsenal last season and a permanent move is expected to cost up to €40m.

Tennis - British duo Johanna Konta and Cameron Norrie suffered early exits from the Cincinnati Masters last night. Konta suffered a rain-interrupted 3-6 7-6 6-2 loss to Karolina Mu-chova in the first round, despite winning the opening set in style. Norrie, who had a chance of becoming the new men's ‘British No 1’ with a run to the quarter-finals, will have to wait a little longer after being beaten by American John Isner.

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