French and Riviera News Thursday 26th August 2021

News 

A8 motorway - Police have opened an investigation following an incident on the A8 motorway on Wednesday. In a video posted on social media, a truck driver is seen colliding with several vehicles between exit 49, Saint Laurent du Var and exit 50 Nice West, before stopping and fleeing the scene on foot while being chased by fellow motorists. 

The bizarre scene was posted on social networks. The truck appears to zigzag hitting other vehicles and forcing motorists to stop. According to police sources, no one was injured.

Family hit by wildfire call for help - A family of winegrowers in the Var have appealed for help following the destruction caused by the recent forest fire in the region. For a week firefighters fought the fire which covered more than 7,000 hectares in the Var. The fire swept through, amongst others the vineyard of the Domaine de Théolier, which is now calling for help to replant and buy the necessary equipment.

The chamber of agriculture counts 1,000 hectares destroyed by the fires and three or four wine estates lost equipment.

Member of staff suspended and next match to be held behind closed doors - Following the incidents which occurred between Nice and Marseille, a staff member of the Olympique de Marseille has been suspended and next match at Allianz Riviera in Nice will be held behind closed doors. The Disciplinary Committee of the French Professional Football League announced the decision on Wednesday. Nice's next home match, against Bordeaux is to be held on Saturday, August 28th. The LFP will meet again on September 8th to study the behavior of fans and announce any further decisions.

Running out of time in search for origins of covid - Experts from the World Health Organisation have said that the search into the origins of covid "are at a standstill". Experts and authors of a report on the subject published in March, warn that “"the window of opportunity to conduct this crucial investigation, is rapidly closing". The experts were part of a team of 17 international experts mandated by the WHO and 17 Chinese experts, whose report had been published on March 29th.

Without giving a clear-cut answer, the report listed four more or less probable scenarios. The most likely scenario was the transmission of the virus to humans through an animal infected by a bat. Their report had been criticized for underplaying China's responsibility. At the time scientists said that "the Chinese team was and still is reluctant to share data", especially on the first 174 cases identified in December 2019. On August 13, China rejected the WHO's call for a new on-site investigation, deeming the first one sufficient.

Opening of schools delayed in French Caribbean - France has decided to delay the start of the school year in several overseas territories as Covid cases rise and hospitals are overwhelmed, with few people vaccinated. Speaking after a health defense council meeting on Wednesday August 25th, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that the Covid crisis in the French Caribbean departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, as well as in several other overseas territories, is “very serious”.

Health measures extended in Martinique – It was on Wednesday that it was announced that health measures were to be extended in the Martinique. The lockdown and curfew in force since July 30th on the island have been extended for three more weeks, until September 19th inclusive. The prefect explains that "the current health situation does not allow the lifting of current measures".

Monaco - Seven news cases of covid have been declared in Monaco bringing the total number of residents affected to 3,163. 16 people are in hospital and 56 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Presidential elections 2022 - According to a poll carried out by Harris Interactive, National Rally leader Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are still favourites for the first round of the 2022 Presidential elections. A few months before the 2022 presidential election the poll showed the head of State ahead of the National Rally in the second round.

Business

South Korea has become the first major Asian economy to raise interest rates since the coronavirus pandemic began. The Bank of Korea increased its base rate of interest from a record low of 0.5% to 0.75%. It is the first time the Bank of Korea has raised its main interest rate for almost three years. Central banks around the world are trying to balance the impact of ongoing Covid-19 infections against economic risks such as high inflation.

America's third largest airline, Delta, is to impose a $200 (£145) monthly surcharge on employees who are not vaccinated against Covid-19. It will also only pay sick pay to Covid sufferers who have been double-jabbed but still get infected. Boss Ed Bastian said the average hospital stay for Covid-19 now cost Delta $50,000 per person which was untenable.

According to industry figures UK car production has fallen to its lowest July level in 65 years due to the global chip shortage and the "pingdemic”. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) just 53,438 vehicles rolled off production lines in Britain, down by 37.6% on last year.

Sport 

Tokyo Paralympics – Cyclist Sarah Storey has put in another world record-breaking performance on her way to claiming her 15th Paralympic title, as Great Britain claimed six medals on the first day of Tokyo 2020. The 43-year-old smashed her world best by more than four seconds.

Storey, who was born without a fully functioning left hand, started her career as a swimmer at Barcelona in 1992 and competed at four Games, winning 15 Paralympic medals, including five golds, before switching to cycling in 2005.

Cricket - England have produced a stunning all-round display to take complete control of the third Test against India on the first day at Headingley on Wednesday showing a complete turnaround from their miserable defeat in the second Test at Lords.

Tennis - Venus Williams joined sister Serena in withdrawing from the US Open as the final Grand Slam of the year lost another two high-profile players. Serena, 39, wrote in a social media post on Tuesday that she needed time to allow her body to "heal completely" from a torn hamstring. The 41-year-old Venus then withdrew hours later with a leg injury. It will be the first time since 2003 that neither Williams sister has appeared at Flushing Meadows.

Weather 

Clear skies and highs of 28 degrees along the coast from Monaco to Saint Tropez. Gusty winds are forecast for the Var region with lows of 18 degrees this evening and clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and the start of the weekend – Remaining fine tomorrow, feeling a little cooler with highs of 26 degrees. Scattered showers are forecast for Saturday afternoon along the coast.

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