French and Riviera News Wednesday 18th August 2021


Fire in the Var - 10,000 people, including many tourists have been evacuated following the wildfire which ravaged the Massif des Maures in the Var. A provisional assessment from the Var prefect, has suggested that three people were slightly injured and 19 intoxicated.

The fire broke out on Monday, shortly before 6pm at a motorway service area on the A57, about a hundred kilometers north-east of the coastal city of Toulon. The flames progressed rapidly, fanned by gusts of wind. On Tuesday evening, according to Var firefighters, the fire had covered 6,500 hectares and burned 3,500. Some 800 firemen and 120 gendarmes have been mobilized backed up by helicopters and water bombers.

After having visited the area and met with emergency services and firefighters French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday evening, that the wildfire was a “sign of the fragility of our lands and landscapes”. Speaking at Bormes-les-Mimosas (Var), during celebrations of the liberation of Bormes; Macron, claimed that “the worst has been avoided" praising national solidarity and the work of firefighters. 

Speaking in detail the Head of State said that 11 out of France’s 12 Canadair’s were mobilized to battle the blaze, which spread at incredible speed due to the dry conditions and strong mistral.

Dramatic for local biodiversity - Speaking to French media Concha Agero, deputy director of the French Office of Biodiversity said that “If the toll of the fire is still only provisional but is already dramatic for local biodiversity”. It was eighteen years ago in 2003 that more than 20,000 hectares went up in smoke during the summer season in the Var.

Maritime Prefecture calls for vigilance - The Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean zone has issued a call for vigilance to those navigating at sea after a yachtsman obstructed the maneuvers of a Canadair in the Gulf of Saint Tropez on Tuesday, closely avoiding a serious accident. The maritime authority warned that it is "forbidden and dangerous to approach Canadair water bomber aircrafts during the scooping phases, i.e. when flying low over the surface of the water to fill the bunkers".

Forest fires - Meanwhile another fire has ravaged 208 hectares of forest in Beaumes-de-Venise on Tuesday. Six firemen were slightly injured, and 130 people have been evacuated. The fire was still going at 5pm on Tuesday evening and the Vaucluse fire department has asked people to avoid the area for the time being in order to facilitate the passage of the emergency services. A third forest fire was also reported near Narbonne.

In other news

47-year-old hiker suffers fatal fall - A 47-year-old hiker has died after falling 20 metres at La Palud-sur-Verdon in the Alpes de Haute Provence. The fatal accident took place around 8.30 on Tuesday morning. The victim, a Spanish national, was with her husband at the time of the accident.

Mayors in France say they are ready to welcome Afghan refugees - The mayors of Marseille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand, Laval, Nancy and Rouen have said they are ready to welcome Afghan refugees. Socialist mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, believes that "the history of Marseille is intertwined with that of the persecuted, the hunted, the starving, who came here to survive and then live." Which is why he assures that people who come "from Kabul or elsewhere" will "always have a place" in the city.

French evacuees from Afghanistan - Meanwhile on Tuesday evening the first batch of French evacuees from Afghanistan arrived in Paris amid ongoing efforts to transport diplomats, humanitarians, journalists and others from a country now under Taliban control. The Airbus A310 arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, on board were 45 French nationals.

Government spokesman in Brignoles today - Government spokesman Gabriel Attal will be in Brignoles today Wednesday 18th August, to take stock of the vaccination campaign in the region and discuss with restaurant owners following the implementation of the health pass.

Cocaine hidden in bananas - French Customs in the north of the country have seized 416 kilos of cocaine hidden in a container carrying bananas. Customs officers in Dunkirk announced on Tuesday, August 17, to have seized 416 kilos of cocaine in a container from Colombia. Estimated at more than 31 million euros an investigation has been opened.


The central bank governor who fled Afghanistan this weekend has told the BBC he wished the country had been left with more time to plan for the withdrawal of US troops. He also rejected President Biden's assertion that the Afghan military had failed to fight for its country.

Mining giant BHP is set to leave the FTSE 100 index after unveiling plans to scrap the dual listing of its shares in London and Sydney. The company, part of the UK's blue chip index since 2001, will move its main listing to Australia as part of a huge shake up announcement on Tuesday. BHP regularly tops the list of the FTSE 100's biggest companies, depending on fluctuations in market values.

Nando's has been forced to temporarily close around 50 restaurants after suffering chicken shortages due to supply chain disruptions across England, Wales, and Scotland. The peri-peri chicken maker, which operates some 400 sites around the country, also said it would lend some of its staff to its suppliers to help "get things moving" again after its business was rocked by shortages.


Football - Cristiano Ronaldo has criticised media reports linking him with a move away from Juventus. In a post on social media he did not outright deny a move was possible or commit his future to the Italian side.

Meanwhile striker Tammy Abraham has completed a 40m euro (£34m) move to Italian side Roma from Chelsea.

And Harry Kane trained with his Tottenham team-mates for the first time this season on Tuesday morning, after completing his period of isolation. Kane had been staying at Spurs' training ground hotel, The Lodge, after coming back to the UK from his holiday in the Bahamas, via Florida.

Rugby Union - England's women will face World Cup holders New Zealand in back-to-back matches. England, ranked one in the world, will play the Black Ferns twice before matches against Canada and the US. The first meeting of the series is due to take place on the weekend of 29-31 October, with venues to be confirmed.

London Marathon - The 2022 London Marathon will take place on Sunday, 2 October as the event is moved from its traditional April date for a third successive year. Event director Hugh Brasher confirmed the race has been moved to allow for the "best chances" of a full-capacity event, including crowds.


Sunny with highs of 28-29 degrees in Monaco, Nice and Saint Tropez with a moderate breeze. This evening going down to 17 degrees in the Var and 22 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday – clear skies with plenty of sunshine and highs along the coast of between 28-31 degrees.

And Finally 

A new study has revealed that cuttlefish have such a powerful memory that they can recall what they had for last weeks dinner until they die of old age. 

Researchers from the University of Cambridge conducted an experiment on 24 common cuttlefish to test their memory.  Researchers suggest this is the first evidence of an animal whose memory of specific events does not deteriorate with age. They said that 'What's surprising is that they don't lose this ability with age, despite showing other signs of ageing like loss of muscle function and appetite.'

Humans gradually lose the ability to remember experiences that happened at particular times and places, like what they had for dinner last Tuesday, as they age. This is called episodic memory, and its decline is thought to be due to deterioration of a part of the brain called the hippocampus. However, the brain structure of a cuttlefish is dramatically different to a human's and they do not have a hippocampus.




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