French and Riviera News Friday 8th July 2022

News

Forest fires - The Gard department has been hit by several forest fires. Firefighters intervened throughout the night on Thursday after a particularly violent one broke out in the north of the department, which borders with the department of the Bouches-du-Rhone. Some inhabitants were requested to remain in their homes in order to stay safe, while others were evacuated in certain areas.

Meanwhile in the neighbouring department of the Bouches-du-Rhône, firefighters had to deal with no less than 35 fire outbreaks during the day. In particular in Arles, around noon a fire driven by a strong Mistral spread up to the junction of the A54 motorway between Nîmes and Marseille resulting in it being cut it in both directions. Firefighters remain on site in both departments as six forest areas in the region remain closed to the public.

High temperatures forecast - Météo France has forecast highs of 40 degrees next week in France as a second summer heatwave is expected, with its duration uncertain. Highs of 35 degrees are expected across the country exceeding 38 degrees locally between July 11th and 13th. Nights are expected to be hot too not falling below 20 degrees. A yellow vigilance is expected from this weekend changing to orange during the course of next week.

Man shot dead by police in city centre of Grenoble - A man has been shot dead by police in the city centre of Grenoble. The man who was riding a scooter with an armed passenger was shot at late Thursday afternoon by the police in the centre of the city. According to a police source, the driver of the scooter, dressed in a bulletproof vest, was traveling in the company of a passenger armed with a "long weapon". The latter "started to point his weapon in the direction of the police" who fired twice. The area was then completely cordoned off. An investigation is underway.

Truck loses cargo on RD559 causing disruption to traffic - A cyclist has had an accident and traffic was heavily disrupted after a pickup trick lost barrels of used vegetable oil on the RD559 at Rayol-Canadel in the Var. The incident occurred in the middle of the day on Thursday when the van travelling on the coast road between Le Rayol-Canadel and Le Lavandou, lost its cargo for reasons still undetermined. The oil then spread on the roadway, making it extremely slippery.

Fuel allowance - The French government has announced that "the fuel allowance for low-income workers is set to be implemented from October”. The allowance for workers, is set to gradually replace the fuel discount of 18 cents per litre, extended for September and decreasing gradually thereafter. The new aid, which responds to the sharp rise in fuel prices since the beginning of the year, should target "low-income households who have to use their car to get to work", with compensation of 100 to 300 euros. The aid will be modulated according to the level of income and the composition of the household, with a "bonus" for people who live more than 30 kilometres from their place of work or travel more than 12,000 km per year in a professional context. According to the government more than 11 million households in France are concerned. The compensation can be claimed on the website General Directorate of Public Finance.

July 14th fireworks - Fireworks are to return to the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on July 13th. The annual display traditionally held on July 14th across France will be moved to the 13th in tribute to the victims of the Nice attack in which 86 people were killed and several hundred were injured. This year the fireworks will be fired from the sea, opposite the Quai des Etats-Unis at 10.30pm.

Morandi bridge trial - Four years after the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, the trial opened on Thursday aiming to establish who was responsible. A total of 43 people died in the tragedy. The first hearing, purely formal, was held in the city court with hearings resuming in September and the trial is expected to last two or three years. The trial involves 59 defendants.

High-speed rail line - Construction work on a new high-speed rail line linking Nice with Toulon and Marseille will begin in 2024. The Ligne Nouvelle is scheduled to be completed in 2040. It'll be 40% financed by the Paca region, 40% by the French state and the remaining 20% will come from EU funding. The current line between Marseille and Ventimiglia dates back to the 1860s and is used by 150 trains each day at different speeds. An initial plan for a high-speed line was abandoned in the 1990s.

Investigation - France's police watchdog is investigating claims that police officers on the Riviera accepted cash payments to work a second job as security guards at private events. According to Le Parisien newspaper, eight officers stationed in Antibes, Nice and Cagnes-sur-Mer topped up their earnings by working as security guards for a private firm at several high-profile events. It's reported they were paid up to €1,200 in cash for an evening's work. Among the events was a 2017 rally in Paris by then-presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, with 20,000 people in attendance, and a gala event near Saint-Tropez organised by Leonardo Di Caprio's charitable foundation, in the presence of celebrities including Kate Winslet and Lenny Kravitz.

Checks on electric scooters - Meanwhile, police on the Côte d'Azur are reinforcing their checks on electric scooters all summer long, after last week's tragic accident in Nice, in which a five-year-old boy was killed. Officers have been visibly carrying out more checks in recent days. The municipality of Cagnes-sur-Mer alone says it will have four police officers patrolling the seaside cycle paths every day this summer. Cycle paths on the coast are particularly busy at this time of year, with bikes, scooters and pedestrians all sharing a limited amount of space.

Busy on roads in France today - Heavy traffic is expected on major roads in France today and tomorrow as this weekend marks the start of the school holidays. Saturday is classified red and even black in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes. Bison Futé advises those leaving the Paris region and major cities to do so before noon today and also warns of the closure of the A20 motorway in both directions, near Limoges, for an indefinite period, due to an incident that occurred on the construction site of a bridge overhanging the motorway.

Restaurants with special label - 32 restaurants in the Nice area have been awarded a special label guaranteeing that they serve quality authentic local cuisine. If you're looking for a genuine pan bagnat or salade niçoise, the Cuisine Nissarde label aims to point diners to places that respect traditional recipes and techniques. Nice tourist office is behind the scheme and the winners for the 2022-23 season have just been confirmed, after a thorough judging procedure including spot checks. The friendliness of staff is another criterion to win the Cuisine Nissarde label, which can be withdrawn from one year to the next.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco inaugurates new exhibition - His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has officially inaugurated a new exhibition of classic cars from the palace's collection. After 30 years on display in Fontvieille, the collection of more than 100 cars has moved to new premises at Route de la Piscine on the port, spread across 3,500 square metres. Most of the vehicles were acquired by Prince Albert's father, Prince Rainier III, who was passionate about cars and began building up his collection in the 1950s and put them on public display in 1991. The collection will be open to the public daily from 10am today.

MMA Champion Conor McGregor spotted at Azur Park - MMA champion Conor McGregor has been spotted trying out the attractions at Azur Park. The Irish MMA champion continues his vacation on the French Riviera and enjoyed some family time at Azur Park, where he has become the new attraction.

Business

UK businesses have called for stability after Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as Conservative leader and the race to find a successor began. The Institute of Directors warned "what business hates most is uncertainty and instability". Mr Johnson has said he intends to stay on until autumn as a "caretaker" prime minister. But it is not clear whether that will happen. Some MPs and business leaders suggested he should go sooner rather than later to allow a new executive to try to tackle the sharpest rise in the cost of living for 40 years, which millions of UK households are struggling with.

Strike action by about 700 British Airways check-in staff at Heathrow has been suspended after unions said the airline had made a "vastly improved" pay offer. The Unite union said an agreement was reached after "extensive" talks. Last month, workers, who are mostly check-in staff, voted to go on strike over pay, with unions saying the action was due to a 10% pay cut imposed during the peak of the pandemic not being reinstated. 

The boss of Boeing has warned that there is a "risk" the plane maker may be forced to axe its 737 Max 10 jet over potential regulatory issues. The company faces a deadline at the end of this year to secure approval for the passenger jet from US authorities. The Max 10 is the latest and largest plane in the 737 family, which has been scrutinised after two fatal crashes. 

Sport

Tennis – Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his Wimbledon semi-final with an abdominal injury. The 36-year-old Spanish second seed received treatment during his quarter-final against Taylor Fritz on Wednesday but pushed through the pain to win in five sets.

Meanwhile, Britain's Cameron Norrie says facing six-time champion Novak Djokovic in Friday's Wimbledon semi-final is "one of the tougher tasks in tennis". The 26-year-old had never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam before this year's championships.

Football - Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is to miss the first part of Manchester United's pre-season tour to Thailand after being granted additional time off for family reasons. United are adamant they view Ronaldo as part of their squad and have no interest in selling him. However, they are giving no guarantees about his presence on the Australia leg of the trip and his absence will only fuel speculation over his future. The Portugal forward, 37, wants to leave the Premier League club this summer if they can find the right offer. The Old Trafford side play Liverpool in Thailand on Tuesday before flying to Australia.

Formula One - Lewis Hamilton says recent progress by Mercedes has reassured him that he will be able to win a race this year. The seven-time champion is the only driver in history to have won a grand prix every year of his F1 career.

Weather

Clear skies highs of 30 degrees in Nice and Monaco. 31 degrees in Cannes and Saint Raphael with a gentle breeze. This evening going down to 20 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend - Fine and sunny with highs of 28-31 degrees.

Sea temperature:    22 degrees       UV Level:    9

Sunrise:             05.56hr                       Sunset:     21.13hr

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