French and Riviera News Wednesday 30th August 2023

The month of August is proving to be a particularly deadly one on the Riviera's roads. In the first three weeks of August, 13 people have died in road accidents in the Alpes-Maritimes. That compares to two people the same time last year. The number of people injured in road accidents has also doubled compared to August last year at 53, of whom 23 needed hospital treatment. The week starting on 14 August was particularly bad, with nine road deaths in the Alpes-Maritimes and another 10 injuries. Authorities are describing the figures as exceptionally high, with motorcyclists appearing to be particularly affected. Since the beginning of this year, 34 people have lost their lives in road accidents in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Drivers and bus passengers leaving Monaco had a difficult journey home last night after the Basse-Corniche was closed due to rockfall. A rock fell on to the road in Cap d'Ail, between the town centre roundabout and Saint-Laurent d'Eze, near the Deux Tunnels. Cars and public transport were diverted via the Moyenne Corniche. No one was injured and no damage to cars or properties was reported. But the road closure caused huge traffic jams leaving the principality throughout the evening rush hour.  The rockfall comes just a few days after a similar incident on the Moyenne Corniche, which damaged a Total petrol station and a nearby parked car.

Electricity supplier Eni has been ordered to pay back €50 million in overpayments to 100,000 of its customers in France. France's minister for energy transition summoned the company to a meeting last week, after a wide-scale overbilling problem emerged. The firm has acknowledged sending out erroneous bills, with incorrect rates, to customers who renewed their contracts in the second half of 2022. The reimbursements are due to be made in the coming weeks.

A man has been seriously injured after a 40-tonne truck crashed into a rockface on the D3 in Gourdon yesterday. The truck's driver appeared to have lost control of the vehicle. He suffered minor injuries. His passenger, however, had his leg trapped and had to be cut free by firefighters. The incident happened around noon yesterday, cutting off the road in both directions. About 20 firefighters attended the scene.

15 young migrants have been found in the back of a truck in a car park in Carros. Eleven of them are understood to be unaccompanied minors. Three of the migrants were taken to hospital for treatment. The truck's driver is being questioned by gendarmes.

Early figures from France's tourism industry suggest the summer season this year has been slightly better than 2022 - despite rising inflation. Tightened budgets and some unpredictable weather pushed many French tourists this year to holiday closer to home - and for shorter periods. According to tourism body Atout France, based on figures from 11 regional tourism organisations around the country, July and August were generally stable compared to last year. It estimates that seven out of 10 French people went on holiday this summer - and that the vast majority of them stayed in the country. Countryside and mountain stays appear to have seen growth this summer, while the seaside lost some of its popularity. A final assessment of the summer tourist season will be drawn up at the end of September.


The UK government has said that the air traffic control issue that led to widespread disruption to UK air travel was not caused by a cyber-attack. More than a quarter of all UK flights were cancelled on Monday after a fault with National Air Traffic Services. Delays and cancellations are likely to continue for several days, as passengers scramble to get on flights. The prime minister's spokesperson said the incident will now be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority. Heathrow Airport - the world's busiest two-runway airport - said its schedule remained "significantly disrupted".

Rival tech billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will both attend a US Senate summit on AI regulation next month. The SpaceX and Meta bosses, who spent weeks suggesting they were going to fight each other in a cage match, have been called to speak about how politicians could approach the fast-growing technology. Governments around the world are having to contend with balancing the potential benefits of AI with the risks. It comes amid dire warnings from many experts in the field. Musk is among those to have advised caution, but he's also launched his own start-up to invest in artificial intelligence. Mark Zuckerberg's Meta already has its own chatbot technology.


Tennis - Novak Djokovic has replaced young rival Carlos Alcaraz as the men's world number one after a win on his US Open return. Djokovic, who lost the Wimbledon final to Alcaraz, won 6-0 6-2 6-3 against France's Alexandre Muller in New York. Djokovic was not allowed to play in the United States last year because he was not vaccinated against Covid-19. If he wins the US Open, it'll be his 24th major - equalling a record set by Australian Margaret Court.

Cycling - Four people have been arrested for an alleged attempt to sabotage a stage of the Vuelta a Espana cycle race in Spain. Police said they were planning to spill hundreds of litres of a liquid similar to motor oil on the road during Monday's third stage. They were arrested on Saturday and are thought to be part of a group that is seeking the independence of Catalonia. The four individuals were released on Tuesday pending further investigation. They have been ordered to stay at least 500 metres away from the race. The race finishes in Madrid on 17 September.

Football - Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is set to join Roma on a season-long loan. The deal includes an £8m loan fee and Roma will cover the 30-year-old Belgium international's wages. Inter Milan had hoped Lukaku would return to the club where he spent last season on loan. Juventus were also keen to sign Lukaku but were unable to make the changes required to their squad.


Another fine and sunny day on the Côte d'Azur, just some light cloud in the Alpes-Maritimes after lunch and the chance of some occasional light rain further inland in the Alpes-Maritimes this afternoon. Temperatures reaching 28 degrees celsius in the Var and 26 on the Alpes-Maritimes coast. Clear skies tonight, temperatures going down to 18 on the coast and 15 further inland. The outlook for Thursday: some light cloud in the morning will soon make way for another fine and sunny day, up to 28 degrees celsius.


On the beach in Nice this afternoon there'll be sunny spells, light winds - 15 kilometres per hour - and temperatures reaching 25 degrees celsius. The water temperature is 24 degrees and the UV index is 6. In Saint Tropez, it'll be fine and sunny, 27 degrees, again with light winds. The sea temperature is 23 degrees celsius and the UV index is 7.

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