French and Riviera News Friday 15th July 2022

News

Forest Fires in the Gironde - Firefighters continue to battle two fires in the Gironde department in south-western France. The two fires, one of which is the largest in the department for twenty years, are still not under control, mainly due to the wind and difficult access, being close to homes. Since Tuesday two forest fires have been raging near Landiras and La Teste-de-Buch. More than 5,300 hectares went up in smoke, despite the fierce struggle of the thousand firefighters mobilized. The situation is still very critical. During the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, 6,000 people had to be evacuated from five campsites and on Thursday afternoon, some 4,000 inhabitants of the village of Cazaux, including many holidaymakers housed in campsites, were ordered to evacuate urgently, faced with the uncontrolled advance of the flames. More than 1,000 firefighters are mobilized. The department was placed on Thursday on a red vigilance for "forest fires”.

Fire south of Avignon under control - Meanwhile in the early hours of this morning firefighters announced that the forest fire south of Avignon has been brought under control. Since Thursday afternoon, the flames have covered 1,000 hectares, of which at least 300 have been destroyed. The fire had been triggered by sparks from a passing freight train along the railway line between Tarascon and Graveson.

Heatwave - Eleven departments in France have been place on an orange heatwave alert including the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Ardèche and the Vaucluse. Peaks of 39 and 40 degrees are expected today from the South-West to Roussillon and Provence.

Meanwhile the Var department has been placed on a yellow heat wave alert until Sunday. The warning takes effect from this Friday noon and will be valid until Sunday July 17, 4pm. 36 and 40 degrees are expected inland with night time minimums of between 18 and 20 degrees.

The French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile has recommended “great caution” due to the heatwave situation and the high danger of fires which results from it, which it said is particularly marked for low vegetation such as agricultural fields, wasteland and roadside areas. The danger of fires will also be strong in the south of the country with the mistral which will affect the Rhône valley today then Saturday in areas suffering from severe drought.

Heatwave support line - The French government has reactivated its heatwave support telephone line. The heatwave Info service provides advice on how to protect yourself and those around you, especially the most vulnerable. It is 0 800 06 66 66, accessible from Monday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In other news

Two people killed during firework display - Two people, including a child have died and a third person has been seriously injured during a firework display on Thursday evening in western France. According to reports a seven-year-old boy and his 24-year-old sister were killed and a third person was seriously injured during the July 14th celebrations in Cholet in the Maine-et-Loire western France. The public prosecutor of Angers has evoked "an accident between 11:05pm and 11:10pm”. An investigation has been opened and 70 firefighters were still mobilized at 1:45am this morning.

Road accident - A 50-year-old man has been seriously injured in a road accident in Gassin in the Var. The collision involved at least three vehicles and two scooters and of the eight people involved one of them was seriously injured. The accident which occurred on Thursday evening on the departmental road 98, caused long delay, as many were heading into Saint-Tropez for the July 14th fireworks.

Surfing city - The city of Cannes has become the first town in the Mediterranean to obtain the "surfing city" label awarded by the French Surfing Federation. By adhering to this label, Cannes must “ensure the quality of the teaching and the services offered”. Even though for years surfers in the Mediterranean have been fighting the clichés conveyed by the film Brice de Nice, Cannes has just been labelled by the French Surfing Federation (FFS) as a "surfing city".  The city even claims to have “several remarkable sites sought after by surfers from the Alpes-Maritimes, neighbouring departments and even from all over France, including the Batéguier wave, west of Île Sainte-Marguerite. Also very well known, that of Pointe Croisette, towards Palm Beach or beach number 17, in front of the Thalès Alenia Space building.

Lottery player from the Alpes Maritimes wins 4 million euros - A lottery player from the Alpes-Maritimes has won nearly 4 million euros in the draw on Wednesday July 13th, 2022. Wednesday’s winning numbers were: 7.30.31.46.48 and the Chance number 3. The grid validated in a point of sale in the Alpes-Maritimes is the only one that found the winning combination in France. The winner now has 60 days to come forward.  While it’s a significant sum and has just made a new millionaire, it is not the largest Lottery win recorded in the department. In 2019, a lucky winner pocketed 9 million euros after validating his grid in Menton.

Business

China's economy contracted sharply in the second quarter of this year as widespread coronavirus lockdowns hit businesses and consumers. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.6% in the three months to the end of June from the previous quarter. Major cities across China, including the major financial and manufacturing centre Shanghai, were put into full or partial lockdowns during this period. This comes as the country continues to pursue its "zero-Covid" policy.

Emirates has rejected Heathrow Airport's demands for airlines to stop selling summer tickets, calling the move "unreasonable and unacceptable". The airline accused the airport of having a "blatant disregard" for customers after it capped passenger numbers to 100,000 per day over summer.

On Wednesday, the Crédit Mutuel network in France announced several initiatives to support its most vulnerable customers. The mutual banking network has thus announced the end of incident fees and the reduction of its account maintenance fees to 1 euro net per month (with two free bank cards). 50,000 of its customers will be affected from August 1st and in addition, an authorized overdraft of up to 225 euros may complete the offer. Until today, the offer was billed at 3 euros per month, with incident costs legally capped at 20 euros per month, and 200 euros per year.

Billionaire Bill Gates has pledged again to give his wealth away, adding that he will eventually "drop off" the world's rich list. It came as the Microsoft co-founder announced he would make a $20bn (£17bn) donation to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The world's fourth richest man said he had an "obligation" to return his resources to society. Mr Gates first pledged to give away his wealth in 2010 but his net worth has more than doubled since then. He is currently worth $118bn, according to Forbes magazine, but that will fall significantly after his donation in July to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable fund he set up with his ex-wife in 2000.

Sport

Football - France has beaten Belguim 2-1 to win group at the Women’s European Championship.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have ended their interest in signing Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tennis – 23-time grand slam singles champion Serena Williams will continue her comeback next month at the National Bank Open in Toronto, Canada. Williams played in her first singles tournament for a year at Wimbledon but did not commit on her future plans. However, the American has signed up to play at one of the US Open warm-up tournaments, beginning on 8 August. She has won the US Open six times but is currently unranked having not won a singles match for more than a year.

Tour de France - At 22, Britain's Tom Pidcock has become the youngest man to win a Tour stage on Alpe d'Huez. Pidcock won the stage by 48 seconds. His descending was breath-taking, but the final climb was sensational, through the crowds and through the heat. Meanwhile, four-time Tour de France winners Chris Froome achieved a third place finish.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 30-32 degrees in Nice, Cannes, Antibes and Saint Tropez with a moderate breeze. This evening going town to 21 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend fine and sunny with highs of 31-33 degrees.

Sea temperature:    22                        UV level: 9

Sunrise:    06.02hr                                 Sunset:     21.09hr

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