French and Riviera News Friday 19th August 2022

Local News

Parents taking legal action - A group of parents on the Riviera are taking legal action so that all parents can be allowed to accompany their children inside school buildings again. The current rules require parents to drop off and pick up their children at the entrance - although an exception is made for young children on the first day of the new school year. It's one of the last remaining Covid-related measures still in place in schools. The Alpes-Maritimes federation of parents’ associations has filed an appeal with an administrative court to have the rule overturned. The federation's president says it's important that parents can have an informal chat with teachers - and that relationship has been eroded since the coronavirus restrictions came into force.

Watering gardens allowed again in 60 communes - Watering fruit trees, vegetable gardens and allotments is allowed again in 60 communes around the Alpes-Maritimes after the préfecture lifted some of its drought restrictions.

In the communes where water-use rules applied, fruit and veg gardens can now be watered again - but only between 7pm and 9am the following morning. It’s still banned to fill up swimming pools. Fines for non-compliance can go up to €1,500. The decision to relax the restrictions on vegetable gardens aims to encourage local food production during the cost of living crisis. But recent heavy rainfall is not enough to solve the long-term problem of water shortages in the department. The deficit in some areas is between 40% and 60%. Météo France forecasts that temperatures will be higher than usual until at least October. The basins of the Siagne, Loup and Cagne rivers have been placed on "alert" phase. They join the Esteron, Artuby, Brague, Paillon and Roya which were already on alert. The Var river is on heightened alert.

Ban on fireworks extended in the Bouches-du-Rhône - Meanwhile, the Bouches-du-Rhône has extended its ban on fireworks until 1st September because of the ongoing risk of forest fires. The ban applies to individuals setting off fireworks. Professional organised displays can still go ahead if they have approval from the préfecture.

Fire in the centre of Nice - A fire has completely destroyed a 50-square-metre apartment on Boulevard Gorbella in Nice. It broke out in a first-floor flat on Wednesday evening. The road had to be closed and trams suspended while firefighters intervened. The fire was brought under control within an hour and a half. Thirty residents of the seven-storey building were evacuated. A dog in the apartment died. The residents of the destroyed apartment, and two others above it, will be rehoused by the City of Nice.

Beaches closed in Antibes - In other local news, Antibes town hall has decided to close eight beaches until this afternoon due to the recent heavy rainfall - as they carry out checks on bacteria levels in the sea. 

Delays on the A8 motorway - There were delays on the A8 motorway yesterday afternoon in the direction of Italy after an accident 2km after the Antibes tolls. Eastbound traffic was reduced to one lane, leading to a 4km jam. Three vehicles were involved in the accident, with nine people on board in total - two of whom suffered minor injuries.

13-year-old boy arrested - A 13-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of stealing from several rooms at a hotel on the Croisette in Cannes. He reportedly gained access to the reception desk's key box and passed from one room to the next, making off with several thousand euros worth of items. CCTV footage helped police identify him and he was arrested in Mandelieu.

Man airlifted to hospital in Toulon - A 50-year-old man was airlifted to Sainte-Anne hospital in Toulon after falling ill while scuba-diving off Saint-Raphaël. He was with other members of a diving club, who helped him get back to shore to be treated by paramedics.

Frescoes restored in Monaco - Art restoration experts have been hard at work bringing 600 square metres of frescoes in Monaco's princely palace back to their former glory. The forgotten frescoes, dating from the 16th century, were discovered by chance during renovation works on the palace. They had been covered over by successive layers of paint - which had to be carefully scraped off, centimetre per centimetre.

Baby flamingo in Monaco - A baby pink flamingo is now on public view after being born at Monaco's animal garden on the port at Fontvieille this summer. Other recent births include five Lyle's flying foxes, five peacocks, four Scarlet ibises and three Nicobar pigeons - and more births are expected in the coming weeks. Monaco's animal garden has 400 animals from about 60 different species.

Business

The US has announced that they will begin formal trade negotiations with Taiwan, weeks after a controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The first round of talks are expected to begin in "early fall", said the Office of US Trade Representative. Their discussion will include talks on trade facilitation, digital trade and anti-corruption standards. Relations between the US and China have been increasingly tense following Ms Pelosi's visit.

The rapid decline in the use of cash during the pandemic has eased as consumers return to their preferred method of paying for things, a report suggests. Many people were forced into trying alternative ways of spending owing to Covid restrictions, banking trade body UK Finance said. But it added that their preferred method had not changed radically. Cash use is still forecast to drop, accounting for 6% of payments by 2031.

Japan's young adults are a sober bunch - something authorities are hoping to change with a new campaign. The younger generation drinks less alcohol than their than their parents - a move that has hit taxes from beverages like sake (rice wine). So the national tax agency has stepped in with a national competition to come up with ideas to reverse the trend. The "Sake Viva!" campaign hopes to come up with a plan to make drinking more attractive - and boost the industry. The contest asks 20 to 39-year-olds to share their business ideas to kick-start demand among their peers - whether it's for Japanese sake, shochu, whiskey, beer or wine. The group running the competition for the tax authority says new habits - partly formed during the Covid pandemic - and an ageing population have led to a decline in alcohol sales.

Sport

Football - British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to buy Manchester United. News of the 69-year-old's interest follows a Bloomberg report that the Glazer family are willing to sell a minority stake in the club. "If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer," Ratcliffe's spokesperson told The Times. "If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership." United, 20-time English champions, are bottom of the Premier League after losing both their opening games of the season under new manager Erik ten Hag. The woeful start has intensified criticism of the Glazers and their perceived lack of investment in the team.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have made an approach to sign Real Madrid's Brazil midfielder Casemiro in a deal that would be worth about £60m. The 30-year-old would become one of the club's top earners if he decided to join the side currently bottom of the Premier League after two matches. After talks to sign Juventus' Adrien Rabiot collapsed over the player's demands, United have turned their attention to Casemiro as they look to address weaknesses in Erik ten Hag's midfield. Casemiro has been with Real since 2013, winning three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues.

Golf - Patrick Reed has filed a $750m defamation lawsuit against American television network The Golf Channel and its commentator Brandel Chamblee. The filing says "calculated, malicious, false and reckless attacks" have caused 2018 Masters champion Reed major damages. The 32-year-old American suggests the comments have cost him several multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals.

Weather

The fine and sunny weather is back - some patchy cloud on the Alpes-Maritimes coast, and the chance of some light rain further inland in the Alpes-Maritimes. Light variable winds except in the west of the Var where there's a mistral blowing with gusts up to 55 kilometres per hour. Temperatures this afternoon up to 29 degrees celsius. Clear skies tonight, staying warm.

The outlook for the weekend: mostly fine and sunny, up to 32 degrees celsius, becoming a bit cloudy on Sunday afternoon.

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