Evening Update Wednesday 23 August 2023

A fire in the Hautes-Alpes has been extinguished after burning for the past four days. The blaze destroyed about 130 hectares. Several hundred firefighters from the department and nearby departments were involved in bringing it under control. Meanwhile, a new fire has broken out in the Hautes-Alpes today. Local reports say that at least 25 hectares have so far been consumed by the fire to the east of Gap and several houses have been destroyed.

Over a dozen French departments are still on a rare Meteo France red level alert for heat with many more on an orange alert, including the Var and the Alpes Maritimes which are on an orange alert until at least midnight tomorrow night. Temperatures are expected to be slightly lower on Saturday and significantly lower on Sunday when thunderstorms are expected to move through our area. A reminder that the French government's heatwave information service is still available on 0 800 06 66 66.

President Macron is bringing together several ministers today to discuss follow-up measures after the riots in June. Reports in French media say that Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will be present as will minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin.

Elizabeth Borne has said that "there is no question of increasing household taxes" and that on the contrary, the government wants to lower taxes. In a wide ranging interview on France Bleu this afternoon she also said that the peak of inflation has been passed and there should be a return "to more usual levels in the coming months".

Public transport on the Ligne d'Azur network in the Nice Cote d'Azur metropolis is free of charge today. President of the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolis Christian Estrosi announced the decision which was taken in an attempt to reduce vehicle pollution. The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var are on a Level 2 pollution alert today. He also renewed his call for the Saint-Isidore payage on the A8 motorway to be free of charge, saying that research has shown that it is a considerable source of pollutants.

The Maritime Prefecture has been carrying out a control operation on boats in the Hyeres and Poquerolles sectors. There were 129 checks for 26 offences and 11 fines for offences such as excessive speed and mooring in restricted areas.


BUSINESS

Monarch Airlines is planning to relaunch under new ownership.  The airline collapsed in 2017. It will once again operate out of London Luton Airport.

A widely watched survey of purchasing managers has signalled the first contraction in the UK private sector economy since January. The survey by S&P Global recorded lower levels of activity in both the manufacturing and service sectors. It ended a six month period of the data showing economic expansion. The equivalent survey in the Eurozone showed activity falling to a 33-month low.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union… Billy Vunipola will miss England's opening game of the World Cup against Argentina. He was shown a yellow card for a high challenge on Andrew Porter in the match against Ireland at the weekend which was upgraded to a red card. He has been banned for three games but the ban can be reduced to two games if he completes the World Rugby coaching programme on tackling.

Motorcycling… Ian Bainbridge has died after a crash during qualifying for the Manx Grand Prix. The 69-year-old was involved in a crash on the exit from Kirk Michael village.

 

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