Travel warnings - The French government has issued advice on summer travel with a list of countries to avoid because of a resurgence in coronavirus due to the rapid spread of the delta variant. People are advised to avoid travel to the Iberian Peninsula and Catalonia and Portugal in particular where the delta variant is causing great concern. Other countries on the warning list are Tunisia which is very popular with French holidaymakers, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. While travel to the destinations on the list isn’t banned, people are being strongly discouraged to do so.
Cannes 2021 - The legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw are cruising off the Mediterranean coast but it’s not been confirmed that they will pay a visit to the Cannes Film Festival. The director, who’s 74, is the owner of the Seven Seas, one of the world’s most luxurious super yachts which he bought in 2010 for 200 million dollars. The couple enjoyed a discreet dinner at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes earlier this week and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they make an appearance on the red carpet.
There are two competition films today. “La Fracture” or “The Divide” from the French director Catherine Corsini, stars Pio Marmai and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi as a couple on the verge of a break up who find themselves in a hospital emergency department as a huge demonstration is taking place in Paris. Meanwhile, Paul Verhoeven’s biographical drama “Benedetta” stars Virginie Efira as a novice 17th century nun who joins an Italian convent and starts a love affair with another woman. Charlotte Rampling and Lambert Wilson also feature. Both films are in French with English subtitles.
Cyclists killed - Two cyclists have been killed after being hit by a car on the RD10, route des Arcs at Lorgues in the Var on Thursday. Authorities say that the two, both men aged 64 and 66 were in a group of 8 cyclists when a car coming from the opposite direction hit them head on. Emergency services were unable to save the two victims. The 30-year-old driver car driver has been treated for shock at Draguignan hospital and will be interviewed by police when fit. Both the men killed were local to the area.
Another accident - A 30-year-old woman and her 5-year-old child have had a miraculous escape after the car they were in hit the central reservation of the A8 motorway and turned on its roof. The accident happened near Le Luc on the eastbound carriageway of the road on Thursday afternoon and caused a lengthy traffic jam. Fortunately, the woman who was driving the car and the child managed to free themselves before emergency services arrived at the scene. Both have been taken to hospital with serious but not life threatening injuries.
Abandoned animals - The French animal welfare association SPA says that it fears it will no longer be able to accommodate the increasing number of abandoned pets that urgently need help. The SPA says that animal refuge centres are close to capacity with a particular shortage of places in catteries. At the start of May, there were 8,932 abandoned animals being housed in SPA shelters, an increase of 6 percent on figures from 2019. The figures have since increased by 14 percent and its not just cats and dogs that are being abandoned but all sorts of animals including reptiles. The SPA says that 2021 looks like it will be a record breaking year for animal abandonment and has criticised irresponsible internet sales as well as impetuous, thoughtless purchases. Some 100,000 pets are abandoned every year in France. The government is working on legislation to tighten regulations on animal sales, particularly on the internet.
Forza Italia - Bars and restaurants near the Italian frontier have been doing a roaring trade with the Italy football team progressing to the final of Euro 2020. Fans have been crowding into Menton in particular to watch the matches and wave the Italian flag around a bit (of course). Bars catering for mainly English clientele on the Côte d’Azur and in Monaco have also been doing welcome brisk business after what has been a nightmare 18 months for the hospitality industry. The tills should be ringing off their hinges on Sunday with Italy playing England in the final.
Award - The readers of the French magazine Propriétés Le Figaro have voted Saint-Raphael in the Var as the most attractive seaside town in the country. 22.51 percent said that they would like to buy property in Saint Raphael with Cap-Ferret on the other side of the Bay of Arcachon in second place with 22.22 percent. Le Lavandou was third most popular with 21.35 percent but Saint Tropez was down in 9th place overall.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment rose slightly last week in another indication that the labour market recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be choppy. Businesses have reopened rapidly, boosted by a rollback in restrictions now that more than 155 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the virus. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 373,000 for the week ending July 3rd according to the Labor Department. Economists had forecast 350,000 applications. Meanwhile, the number of people continuing to receive benefits after an initial week of aid fell by 145,000 to 3.339 million suggesting that long-term employment is picking up. Claims have dropped from a record 6.149 million in early April 2020 but remain above the range that is seen as consistent with a healthy labour market.
The European commission has fined the German carmakers Volkswagen and BMW a total of €875 million for colluding to curb the use of emissions cleaning technology. The case, which is separate to the Dieselgate scandal where software was designed to cheat on vehicle emissions tests, sets a precedent by extending the application of European competition law to technical level discussions between industry players. A decade ago the two firms held discussions centred on designs for Adblue, an additive used to clean nitrogen oxide from the exhaust gases produced by diesel cars. The European commission said that the two carmakers had possessed the technology to reduce harmful emissions more than required under EU law but avoided competing to do so. Volkswagen says that it’s considering legal action and that the penalty over technical talks about emissions technology sets a questionable precedent. BMW pointed out that it had been cleared of suspicion of using illegal ‘defeat devices’ to cheat emissions tests.
The co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak has issued an endorsement of the right to repair movement, despite the company’s opposition. The movement wants laws passed to guarantee users access to information and parts to repair their own devices. Mr Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in the 1970s said “we wouldn’t have had an Apple had I not grown up in a very open technology world". He added that it was time to recognise the right to repair more fully. Existing rights to repair rules in Europe and United States are limited to appliances and vehicles. Right to repair campaigners say that Apple is one of the fiercest opponents to expanding the legislation to cover consumer electronics. The firm allows repairs by its own authorised technicians only and does not generally provide spare parts or repair information. Anybody conducting third-party repairs to Apple devices loses their warranty.
Euro 2020 – England will play Italy at Wembley on Sunday night in the final of the European championship. It’s the first time that England have qualified for the final of a major tournament since the World Cup in 1966. The side has conceded only one goal in the tournament so far and is helping to give the country a boost after what’s been a difficult 18 months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Italy, managed by Roberto Mancini who knows all about England from his time as Manchester City boss are unbeaten in 33 games and have won their last 14. Kickoff at Wembley on Sunday is at 9 pm.
On a negative note, UEFA has charged England after a laser pointer was directed at the Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during Wednesday night’s semi-final. TV pictures showed a green light on Schmeichel’s face just before Harry Kane took an extra time penalty. England have also been charged with causing a “disturbance" during Denmark‘s national anthem and setting off fireworks. The case will be dealt with by UEFA’s disciplinary board.
Olympics – The organisers of the Tokyo Olympic games have announced that they will be held without spectators due rising cases of coronavirus. The Japanese Olympics Minister made the announcement following discussions with officials and organisers on Thursday evening. A state of emergency in Tokyo will run throughout the Games to combat the virus. Bars and restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcohol and must close by 8 pm. Coronavirus infections are rising in Tokyo as the 23rd of July opening ceremony gets closer.
Tennis - The women’s final at Wimbledon will be between Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova. Barty beat Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6 to reach her first Wimbledon final while Pliskova beat Aryna Sabalenka in three sets.
It’s the men’s semi finals day today. Novak Djokovic plays Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini faces Hubert Hurkacz.
Cycling - Nils Politt of Germany has won stage 12 of the Tour de France. Politt led home a sprint finish to Nimes as the riders took a breather on the mainly flat stage following Wednesday’s exertions on the Mont Ventoux. Tadej Pogacar still holds the leader’s yellow jersey by 5 minutes 18 seconds from Rigoberto Uran heading into stage 13 today which is 219.9 kilometres from Nimes to Carcassonne. Another bunched sprint finish is a strong possibility.
Cricket - England have beaten Pakistan in the first one day international in Cardiff. The new look England side skittled the tourists out for 141 in just 35.2 overs. In reply England got to the target in just 21.5 overs in a total of 142-1 to win by 9 wickets.
Rugby Union - There are several international matches tomorrow. New Zealand play Fiji. Wales host Argentina. England play Canada and Ireland play the USA.
Mainly fine with light variable or westerly winds. Top temperatures 26-30 degrees. Overnight lows of 19-21 degrees with clear skies.
The weekend - Clear skies with highs of 26-30 degrees.