French and Riviera News Monday 15th August 2022

Firefighters in the Alpes-Maritimes were called out to two cases of swimmers getting into difficulty at sea on Saturday - within a few minutes of each other. Lifeguards rescued an unconscious 80-year-old woman from the water at Bijou Plage on the Croisette in Cannes shortly before 11.30am. They managed to resuscitate her while waiting for firefighters and paramedics to arrive. A few minutes later, nine firefighters and four vehicles were called to the Bouches du Loup beach in Villeneuve-Loubet, where a man in his 60s was drowning about 50 metres out at sea. Lifeguards pulled him from the water but he could not be revived.

A young motorcyclist is in a serious condition in hospital after a collision with a car in a tunnel in Nice. The man, in his 20s, was taken to Pasteur hospital just before 6am on Sunday. The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, is unharmed. The Liautaud tunnel, in the Saint-Roch district of Nice, had to be closed for an hour. National police are investigating what happened.

Fifty people joined a remembrance ceremony in Fréjus to mark the first anniversary of the tragic death of a seven-year-old boy, who was mowed down by a car while on holiday. Amine was crossing a road with his mother and older brother when they were hit by the speeding driver. His brother Naïm, who's nine, had to have a leg amputated. Their mother has to use crutches to walk. It was the family's last day on holiday in the Var and they were going to buy souvenirs on the seafront when the accident happened. Balloons were released and a poem was read at the memorial service on Friday. The driver is due to appear in court in November and faces up to seven years in prison.

Saint-Raphaël in the Var has become the latest Riviera town to place restrictions on electric scooters. The mayor has signed a municipal decree expressly banning electric scooters from pavements and pedestrian areas. Bicycles are also covered by the order. It comes after two recent accidents. Eight municipal police officers are patrolling the town's streets to issue fines. Nice, Saint-Tropez and Cagnes-sur-Mer have all recently introduced similar measures.

The Bouches-du-Rhône department has issued a decree banning the use of fireworks. It's due to the ongoing drought and the heightened risk of forest fires. The ban applies to organised displays and people letting off their own fireworks, including on private land. The measure came into force on Saturday and runs until the end of tomorrow. The Vaucluse department took a similar measure around the French national day on 14th July.

Meanwhile, faced with the ongoing water shortage, several seaside towns along the Côte d'Azur have taken the decision to switch off the showers on their beaches. Cagnes-sur-Mer made the decision late last week. Hyères in the Var has done the same, as have Menton and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Cagnes has 30 showers on its beaches and, when running, they consume about 10 litres of water per minute.

Residents in the Alpes-Maritimes village of Tende have been told they can drink their tap water again. The mains supply had been declared unfit for consumption last Wednesday due to the presence of bacteria. Homes were handed bottled water. Regular analyses were carried out, and since Saturday the situation is back to normal.

French president Emmanuel Macron will attend a ceremony in the Var this Wednesday to mark the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Bormes-les-Mimosas. The president has been on holiday at Fort Brégançon in the Var since the end of July - but this will be his first public engagement. His wife Brigitte will also attend the ceremony.

And if you're wondering why a huge bottle of ketchup is adorning the gardens of Monte Carlo casino - it's art. The 18-metre-tall inflatable bottle of Daddies Ketchup is part of a retrospective dedicated to the American artist Paul McCarthy. The rest of the works can be found a few hundred metres away at the nearby Hauser and Wirth gallery.

BUSINESS

Saudi oil giant Aramco has broken its own record with a $48.4bn profit for the second quarter of 2022. It is a 90% year-on-year increase and marks the biggest earnings for the world's largest energy exporter since its public listing three years ago. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has seen oil and gas prices skyrocket. Russia is one of the world's biggest exporters but Western nations have pledged to curb their dependence on the country for their energy needs.

Peloton has announced plans to cut jobs, shut stores and raise prices on its exercise equipment including treadmills and top-end bikes as it undertakes a company-wide revamp to shore up its revenue and improve cash flow. The company outlined a plan to aggressively reduce its retail presence in the United States and eliminate a number of jobs in warehouses and customer support teams. This latest round of job cuts affects 800 people. The company has been wrestling with falling sales, as demand for its tech-connected exercise equipment drops. Peloton axed roughly 3,000 jobs in February, as a new chief executive pledged a sweeping turnaround. It scrapped plans for a US factory and last month said it would no longer make its own equipment. The tech sector generally is under pressure from investors to rein in costs as the boom in online activity triggered by the pandemic fades. Many companies in the tech and housing industries, which boomed during the pandemic recovery, have already started to scale back their operations. More than 500 start-ups have laid off staff this year, a sharp change from last year's environment.

Passengers in the UK have been disrupted as rail services are hit by more strikes, with some firms running no trains at all.
Some 6,500 train drivers at nine rail companies, who are members of the Aslef union, staged their latest 24-hour walkout over the weekend in a dispute over pay.
There have been several rail strikes in the UK this summer, with unions calling for pay increases more in line with the rising cost of living.

SPORT

Football - Brentford produced a stunning first-half performance as they scored four goals in the first 35 minutes to condemn Manchester United to a humiliating 4-0 defeat. The defeat is United's seventh in a row on the road - their worst run since 1936 - while it is the seventh time they have conceded at least four goals in a league game since the start of last season. While Brentford can bask in a historic win, United boss Erik ten Hag faces the unenviable task of lifting his players in time for the visit of Liverpool to Old Trafford later today.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Brighton were frustrated by Newcastle at the Amex Stadium in a goalless draw that means both teams are unbeaten after two games at the start of the new Premier League season. Aston Villa beat Everton 2-1, it was Arsenal 4 - Leicester 2. Southampton and Leeds drew 2-2 and Wolves-Fulham ended in a goalless draw.

Rugby Union - New Zealand ended a three-match losing streak with a 35-23 win over South Africa in the second round of the Rugby Championship. A last-minute try by lock Scott Barrett sealed victory for the All Blacks in a thrilling encounter. The win may have saved the job of embattled coach Ian Foster. New Zealand had lost five of their previous six matches before the Johannesburg showdown with the Boks, including a 16-point defeat by the Springboks last weekend. Also this weekend, Argentina recorded their record win over Australia in a thumping 48-17 victory. 

WEATHER

A mix of sunny spells and light rain this afternoon - the chance of thunderstorms further inland in the Alpes-Maritimes. Light variable winds, temperatures reaching 29 on the coast in the Alpes-Maritimes, 31 on the Var coast. Staying warm overnight, with temperatures around 22-24 degrees. Tomorrow: generally fine and sunny, 29 on the coast and 32 inland in the Var.

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