French and Riviera News Monday 28th August 2023

After last week’s heatwave, parts of the Côte d’Azur have been battered by storms and heavy rain overnight. Météo France issued an orange storm alert for the Alpes-Maritimes on Sunday and a yellow alert for the Var. The City of Nice closed all of its parks, gardens, cemeteries and coastal paths as a precautionary measure. The Bal des Fous outdoor party in Cannes on Sunday was also cancelled because of the weather warning.

About 200 people marched through the centre of Grasse this weekend in memory of three people who were killed in a fire in an apartment block earlier this month. Demonstrators wanted to show their support for the affected families - but are also calling for answers as to how such a tragedy happened, and how the building became in such a bad state of disrepair. The procession began on the Place aux Aires, where the fire broke out in a building in the early hours of 13 August, and ended on the Cours Honoré-Cresp. As well as the three deaths in the fire, three other people were seriously injured - one of whom remains in a coma in a specialist burns unit at Toulon hospital.

A family from Paris are planning legal action against the operators of a funfair in Antibes after their six-year-old boy fell from a ride. The family were on holiday on the Côte d'Azur and were visiting Antibes Land when the boy was violently ejected from the Rock Island merry-go-round and fell to the ground. The funfair's operators say all the necessary safety measures were respected. The boy was taken to Lenval children's hospital in Nice for observation, but was able to leave the following morning with just a few bruises. The family decided to cut their holiday short and return to Paris. They accuse the ride's operators of a lack of professionalism. The ride is temporarily closed.

A shrub fire near the Col de Vence over the weekend has destroyed about three hectares of vegetation. The fire broke out on Saturday and two water-bombing helicopters were deployed to stop the flames from spreading. The D2 departmental road was closed to traffic while the fire was brought under control. No homes or other buildings were affected.

A trader at Nice's wholesale food market, MIN, was attacked and robbed of the takings of several market stalls in the car park at Cap 3000 shopping centre. The market stallholder, who was accompanied by a security guard, was travelling to the shopping centre to pay money into a bank there. He was intercepted when he got out of his car and sprayed in the face with tear gas. The thieves grabbed a bag full of cash and fled the scene on scooters. The amount of cash that was stolen is not known. Police in Cagnes-sur-Mer are investigating.

A petrol station on the Moyenne Corniche in Cap d'Ail has been closed until further notice after it was damaged by rockfall. The Total service station, at the tunnel exit from Monaco, was damaged when a piece of rock fell from the cliff above, hitting the building and ricocheting on to a nearby car. Fortunately no one was injured. Works are being carried out to reinforce the rock face and possibly place netting to secure the petrol station site.

Fruit and veg farmers in the Alpes-Maritimes have been granted an exemption from the latest drought restrictions. Farmers had complained that they risked losing a large part of this coming winter's vegetable harvest because of the rules on watering. The Alpes-Maritimes préfecture has now agreed a special dispensation for them - meaning they can now water their vegetable plantations, but only after 7pm or before 9am.

Meanwhile, the rosé wine harvest in Ramatuelle in the Var has begun earlier than usual. Grapes are picked early in the morning, at sunrise, to avoid the hot temperatures later in the day. The vendange is set to run until mid-September.

And it's been a busy summer for zookeepers at the Rainier III animal garden in Monaco. 14 animals have been born there in recent weeks. They include three peacock chicks, a Nicobar pigeon and two scarlet ibises. The new-born whistling ducks will stay in the principality, while the other new arrivals will end up being transferred to other zoological parks and educational farms.

BUSINESS

The US Federal Reserve chairman has said the central bank will continue to raise interest rates "if appropriate" as inflation remains "too high". Jerome Powell told an annual gathering of central bankers that the pace of price rises had fallen from a peak. However, it remains above the Fed's 2% target. Powell said interest rates could rise further and stay higher for longer. US inflation hit 3.2% in the year to July while the key interest rate is 5.25% - the highest in 22 years - and comes after 11 consecutive rate rises since early 2022.

Heineken has finally sold off its Russian business for €1 - nearly a year and a half after first pledging to do so. The Dutch brewer said it will take a loss of €300m on the division, which is being offloaded to Russia's Arnest, which makes aerosol cans. Many Western firms jettisoned their Russian operations when the country invaded Ukraine last February. For €1, Arnest will buy seven breweries and take on 1,800 workers with guarantees to employ them for the next three years.

A fresh rescue bid for British high street retailer Wilko has emerged as efforts to save the retail chain continue. Private equity firm M2 Capital has confirmed it has made a £90m bid for the business, and has pledged to retain all employees' jobs for two years. The bid by M2, first reported by the Guardian, is one of several offers being considered by administrators. Wilko fell into administration earlier this month, putting 12,500 jobs and 400 stores at risk.

SPORT

Football - An internal investigation has been launched by Spain's football federation after its sexual violence protocol was activated. Federation president Luis Rubiales has been suspended by Fifa after kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain's Women's World Cup win. Hermoso has said the kiss after last Sunday's game was not consensual. Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona, the protocol's protection delegate, said the matter is now being investigated.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag hailed a captain's performance from Bruno Fernandes after the Portuguese kept his nerve to seal a 3-2 comeback win over Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford. Ten Hag backed Fernandes' leadership skills after an outstanding performance from his midfielder, as United fought back to win despite trailing by two goals inside four minutes.

Meanwhile, in local football, AS Monaco managed a 3-3 draw away at Nantes on Saturday.

Formula One - Red Bull's Max Verstappen survived losing the lead in early rain and a red flag for a late torrential downpour to win a chaotic Dutch Grand Prix. Verstappen equalled the all-time record of nine victories in a row and took his 11th win of the season to extend his championship lead to 138 points.

Boxing - Heavyweight Robert Helenius says he would "never cheat" after a voluntary drug test taken before his bout with Anthony Joshua returned an "adverse analytical finding". The 39-year-old Finn stepped in to face Joshua after initial opponent Dillian Whyte also returned an "adverse analytical finding" before the fight.

WEATHER

More rain and storms are forecast today in the Alpes-Maritimes, while in parts of the Var it should mostly stay dry and partly sunny. Temperatures on the coast reaching 24 degrees celsius this afternoon, 21 further inland. It'll be dry throughout the region by this evening, with some light cloud overnight. Tuesday looks set to be fine and sunny in the Var, but in the Alpes-Maritimes it looks likely to stay overcast, with more rain forecast, temperatures tomorrow reaching 25 degrees celsius.

BEACH WEATHER

On the beach in Nice this afternoon, there's rain forecast. The temperature will be 25 degrees celsius, with light winds - 15 kilometres per hour. The sea temperature is 27 degrees celsius and the UV index is 5.

In Saint-Tropez there's also some rain forecast, temperatures this afternoon reaching 23 degrees celsius, light variable winds. The water temperature is 26 degrees celsius and the UV index is also 5.

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