French and Riviera News Wednesday 25th August 2021

News 

Violent hail storm hits the Var region - A fireman has been injured, motorist were trapped in their vehicles and people were evacuated from their homes, following a violent thunder and hail storm in the Var. Up to 120mm of rain fell in a few hours in Pignans on Tuesday afternoon, a few miles from Gonfaron, an area recently hit by a devasting wildfire.

Vineyards in the region were not spared the bad weather with hailstones and rain causing considerable damage. 135 firefighters intervened, notably to bring to safety a dozen motorists trapped in their vehicles. Residents were also evacuated to the town hall of "Le Vieux Moulin".

There were several road closures in the afternoon which were slowly reopened at around 7.15pm. A fireman was slightly injured after his fire engine overturned into a ditch during an intervention and 207 homes were without electricity in Le Luc and Le Cannet-des-Maures. By around 7pm, the storm moved out to sea, with calmer weather returning by early evening.

Student pilot reported missing - A student pilot has been reported missing after the plane he was travelling in made an emergency landing on a beach of Biscarrosse in southwestern France. According to emergency services the plane landed at around 17:30 on Tuesday afternoon, on a beach located on a military site. The pilot was unharmed while the whereabouts of the student remains unknown. He had jumped from the aircraft ahead of its landing.

Effectiveness of vaccine drops to 66% - A recent study released by U.S Health Officials has shown that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine effectiveness drops to 66% against the Delta variant.  Between December 2020 and April 2021, the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing infection was 91%, according to data released by France’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors of the study have warned that the decline may not be solely due to the Delta variant, but also to eroding efficacy over time.

Another study released Tuesday by the CDC, conducted on patients in Los Angeles between early May and late July, shows that unvaccinated people were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people.

Campaign “Ça va? Ça Vax! - Meanwhile in an attempt to convince adolescents to get vaccinated, France’s Minister of Health is launching an operation called “Ça va? Ça Vax! The objective: is to continue and increase the vaccination of 12-17-year olds. To date 57% of this age group have received at least one injection since the vaccination was made available.

From September 13th to October 9th, a semi-trailer equipped with a vaccination platform - the "Vaxibus" - will travel through the cities of France and offer vaccination against Covid to those who wish, thanks to a dedicated medical team. The vehicle will also be equipped with a radio studio which will allow patients to record a dedication which may be broadcast on the radio.

Monaco, 15 new covid cases - In Monaco on Tuesday 15 new cases of covid were declared bringing the total number of residents affected to 3,156. Seventeen people are in hospital and 58 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Monegasque Red Cross donation - The Monegasque Red Cross has donated 50,000 euros to help Haiti following the earthquake. On August 14th, the island of Haiti was hit by a deadly earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2. Latest figures show that 2,207 deaths were recorded and 600,000 people are in need of emergency assistance.

Nursery school vandalised - A nursery school in Saint-Laurent-du-Var has been vandalized. Police were alerted on Tuesday morning by a member of staff, after noises were heard shortly before 8 o’clock, as they were entering the premises. Police have opened an investigation into the incident which has occurred just a few days ahead of the start of the school year.

Motorway charges to end from September - Charges are to be removed from the motorway linking France and Spain. From September 1st Spanish authorities will remove charges for motorists using the Ap-7. The move comes as Spanish authorities consider new ways to finance its motorways.

Oriental fruit fly - An oriental fruit fly has been found in Hyeres in the Var. It’s the first time that the insect has been found in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region. The species can be identified by its distinctive yellow and black markings and clear wings. It was first found in France in 2019 in Paris and Occitanie. It can cause serious damage to fruit and vegetable produce.

Business 

The World Bank has halted funding for projects in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country. It cited concerns over how the Taliban's takeover will impact "the country's development prospects, especially for women". The move comes just days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended payments to Afghanistan. The Biden administration has also frozen the assets of Afghanistan's central bank that are held in the US.

Meanwhile on Tuesday the US Congress approved a $3.5tn (£2.54tn) budget blueprint, setting the stage for Democrats to enact President Joe Biden's ambitious economic agenda. The move will allow Democrats to move ahead with key policy proposals. Mr Biden's party hopes to devote significant resources to family support, health and climate schemes.

The co-founder of AirBnB has said that there is still time for firms to "speak up and help" Afghans being displaced by the current humanitarian crisis. It comes after the accommodation platform promised to provide free temporary lodging for 20,000 refugees.

Amazon in the UK is offering new warehouse workers a £1,000 joining bonus in a bid to attract new recruits. The online retail giant is advertising for "urgently needed" warehouse pickers and packers in the UK to meet demand, amid a growing recruitment crisis.

Sport 

Tokyo Paralympics – The Tokyo Paralympics Games got under way with a powerful opening ceremony on Tuesday. "Paralympic athletes know that no matter which way the wind blows, its power can be harnessed to move forward. They know that by being brave and spreading their wings, they can reach extraordinary heights." Were the words of Tokyo 2020 organisers, as the Paralympic Games finally opened, 364 days later than planned and after a year of the utmost difficulties.

Cricket - India’s team captain Virat Kohli has said that his team were "provoked" by England in the second Test - and will "not take a backwards step" when they meet again at Emerald Headingley today. India won an often ill-tempered game at Lord's by 151 runs thanks to a remarkable fightback  on the final day.

Football - The US Department of Justice has announced that Fifa will receive $201m (£146m) in forfeited funds seized during a corruption investigation. More than 50 defendants have been criminally charged since the Department of Justice unveiled its corruption probe in 2015. Twenty-seven people and four corporate entities have pleaded guilty, with two people convicted at trial. The repayment will begin with an initial $32.3m (£23.5m).

And on the pitch Real Madrid have made an opening offer of £137m for Paris St-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, but the French club are likely to reject the bid for the 22-year-old, who has one year left on his contract. 

Weather

Clear skies, highs of 28 degrees in Cannes, Nice, Vence and Antibes. 30 degrees in Saint Tropez. Thundery showers forecast for inland by this afternoon. This evening going down to 20 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 17 degrees in the Var with clear skies.

Outlook for Thursday and Friday - Clear skies and highs of 28-30 degrees across the region.

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