French and Riviera News.Wednesday July 29th 2020

Toulon crisis-Police in Toulon are investigating another murder in the troubled Sainte-Musse district in the east of the city.

An enquiry is underway after the body of an 18 year old youth was found at the foot of a tower block in the early hours of Tuesday.He ‘d been shot 5 times in the back and several times in the head.

Authorities say that the murder is almost certainly drug related and that the victim had previously been involved in several drug-related crimes.

There have been several murders in the area since March with rival gangs fighting a turf war for control of the drugs trade.

Last week a well known dealer who’d only just been released from jail was shot dead as he was being driven into a car park by his partner. The murder was witnessed by three children who were in the back of the vehicle.

 

Care home back in lockdown-A care home in Mougins where 38 residents died from Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic has gone back into lockdown after another elderly person tested positive.

The woman tested positive for the virus while receiving treatment for an unrelated illness at the Simone Veil hospital in Cannes and the Riviera care home  has now been placed back into lockdown as a precaution.

Management at the home stress that neither any member of staff or resident has the virus at the moment and that regular tests are being carried out.

Results from the latest series of tests will be available today and if all are negative then the lockdown will be lifted.

 

IKEA construction strike- Workers at the construction site of the new IKEA store at Nice St Isidore have downed tools and started indefinite strike action amid reports of job cuts.

Unions say that the building firm Les Travaux du Midi which is owned by Vinci Construction is planning to make 180 workers redundant but only after the new store is completed.

Reports say that the firm is to offer voluntary redundancies to around half of the workforce but will sack staff anyway if they refuse.

The company has refused to comment and says enquiries should be addressed to Vinci Construction.

The new IKEA store which will cover 24,000 square meters had been due to open in November 2021 but the opening has now been delayed until early 2022 owning to a number of factors including lockdown.

Vinci Construction says that no redundancies will take place before consultations with unions.

 

Bad water-Swimming has once again been authorised off the Flots Bleu in Saint Laurent du Var after bathing was banned on Monday afternoon.

Regular testing of the water on Monday found abnormally high levels of harmful bacteria but levels have now returned to normal.

Sea water off the coast at St Laurent has been found to contain potentially harmful levels of bacteria on a number of occasions this year and bathing off the Landsberg beach has been banned for the entire summer while thorough investigations are carried out.

 

Road behaviour-A young woman has told police that she “feared for her life” following an incident on the A51 motorway between Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence.

The woman was on her way to work and was attempting to overtake another vehicle when she noticed a red car coming up in the outside lane at “an excessive speed”.

She says that she pulled back in ,let the car pass and then sounded her horn to alert the driver that he was driving far too fast.

The 27 year old says that the driver of the red car then slowed down ,pulled alongside her and started to hurl insults at her. He then pulled in front of her and slammed his brakes on in an attempt to make her crash into the back of him.

She says that she was forced to stop in the middle lane of the motorway and that two young men aged around 20 got out of the red car ,came up to her vehicle and started shouting at her while attempting to open the car doors which were fortunately locked.They then got back in their car and drove off at high speed.

The victim says that the incident left her shocked and extremely shaken up and that she had thought that she was going to die.

Initially she was afraid to make a complaint as she thought that the two men would find her and “do her in”.

 

Meteor showers-Stargazers are in for a treat tonight with meteor showers of ‘Southern Delta Aquarids’ clearly visible in the sky.

If you’re in an area without too much light pollution ,the meteor showers should be visible between the top of the sky and the horizon by looking towards the constellation of Aquarius.

The meteors are expected to be particularly bright tonight but patience will be required as it may take 15 minutes to half an hour for the eyes to pick them up.

Once the eyes have adjusted ,around 25 meteors per hour should be on display.

 

Fancy a bite ?-A man who bought an apple tart from a Carrefour Market store in Bandol was shocked to find a human tooth inside after he’d taken a bite.

The man ,who’d recently got married has bought the tart as a celebration treat to share with his wife and father.

He says that he was already a little cross as he couldn’t get the cake out of its plastic wrapping but was more than a little peeved when he found the tooth inside.

To add insult to injury ,he says that when he returned the tart to the store in Bandol he was only offered a refund or a replacement.

The victim ,who says that he could have easily swallowed the tooth has now hired a lawyer and is demanding compensation.

Carrefour has apologised but says that the offending tart was manufactured by an outside source and came to its store already wrapped. It says that an internal investigation has been started into the incident by the supplier.

 

In National News.

 

Gironde Fire-Firefighters in the south west of the country say that a forest fire that’s destroyed some 250 hectares of trees in the Gironde department around 60 kilometers south of Bordeaux is now under control but they remain alert.

The fire started on Monday afternoon and has taken 160 firefighters aided by 4 water bombers more than 30 hours to bring under control.

A fire truck was destroyed by the flames during the battle to contain the fire.

Many parts of France including the Alpes Maritimes and the Var are on high alert for fires with temperatures expected to climb over the next two days.

 

Fusion-The assembly phase of the world’s largest nuclear fusion project is underway in the south of France.

The 20 billion euro Iter Project which has been dogged by complex technical problems will aim to demonstrate that fusion power can be generated on a commercial scale.

Millions of components will be used to assemble the giant reactor which will weigh 23,000 tonnes and is the most complex engineering project ever conceived.

The director-General of Iter , Bernard Bigot says that “constructing the machine piece-by-piece will be like assembling a three-dimensional puzzle on an intricate timescale and with the precision of a Swiss watch”.

If correctly harnessed , nuclear fusion releases vast amounts of energy by fusing heavy hydrogen atoms together at a temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius-that’s 10 times hotter than the core of the sun.

The project which is centred near the Cadarache power plant in the Bouches du Rhône is expected to deliver the first ultra-hot plasma sometime in 2025 and is backed by the EU and France along with several other nations including the UK , the United States , Russia , Japan and China.

 

Spaceman-The French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will become the first European to fly  on board the new SpaceX Dragon 2 which is due to blast off from Cape Canaveral for the International Space Station in the spring of 2021.

The 42 year old has already spent 6 months on the ISS between the end of 2016 and June 2017 and says that he couldn’t be “more excited” to be returning to Space.

Pesquet will be among a group of 7 astronauts who’ll be taking part in a new NASA mission which will  be carrying out experiments ranging from the effect of space travel on the human body to growing plants.

The mission is in preparation for an eventual manned flight to Mars which the Frenchman says he feels certain will happen “within his lifetime”.

 

Business.

 

US Democrats and some Republicans remain opposed to Senate plans for a new 1 trillion dollar stimulus package aimed at curbing the worst economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with discussions described as “very difficult”.

A majority of Senate Republicans are in favour of the new plan but a minority remain opposed along with Democrats in the upper house of Congress.

The wrangling comes just three days before millions of Americans are due to lose unemployment benefits and Democrats say that the fresh proposals will result in workers being 30 percent worse off with payments cut from 600 to 200 dollars a week.

As the United States experiences it’s worst economic downturn in decades ,the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday that it would extend several of its lending facilities until at least the end of the year as the impact of Covid-19 proves to be more prolonged than previously expected.

The US central bank is set to reiterate its accommodative position when it concludes its two day policy meeting later today.

 

US consumer confidence has fallen back in July amid a rapid increase in Covid-19 infections which have resulted in businesses shutting down again and shoppers staying away from stores.

The US Conference Board said on Tuesday that it’s consumer confidence index dropped to a reading of 92.6 in July down from 98.3 in June worse than economists forecasts.

The reopening of businesses across America had boosted economic activity in recent months but has resulted in a surge of coronavirus cases forcing several states into reverse.

The flare-up is threatening to derail the recovery from the unprecedented recession caused by the pandemic.

 

And -A study by the London School of Economics has found that a Brexit hit is looming for sectors of the UK economy that have emerged relatively unscathed from the coronavirus pandemic.

The LSE report says that Brexit will deliver a “double shock” to the UK economy with business conditions worsening for sectors that have survived the impact of coronavirus and lockdown measures.

The LSE says that the economy will be damaged “whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson secures a deal with the EU or not”.

The report ,which is published today and has already been seen by a number of newspapers includes information from a monthly survey of Confederation of British Industry members CBI.

It concludes that a “simultaneous impact” from Brexit and coronavirus will be felt across the business spectrum from the autumn when Chancellor RIshi Sunak’s pandemic policies aimed at supporting the unemployed end and the new trading environment for the UK outside the EU starts to bite.

 

Sport.

 

Cricket-Stuart Broad has become only the second English bowler in history to take 500 Test wickets as his side wrapped up the series win against West Indies at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Broad ,who’s 34 removed Kraigg Brathwaite to join team-mate James Anderson in the 500 club.

West Indies were bowled out for 129 in their second innings on a showery day in Manchester to hand England a 269 run victory and a 2-1 series win.

England are now up to third place in the World Test Championship behind India and Australia.

 

Formula 1-The chairman of Ferrari has said that the team can’t expect to be competitive until 2022.

John Elkann says that he has total trust in team principal Mattia Binotto and that Ferrari are laying the foundations for being competitive and winning when the rules change in 2022.

The chairman said that “a long path” is ahead but he was convinced that Binotto is the right man for the job.

 

Football-It’s the second leg of the first English Championship playoff semi-final tonight.

Brentford host Swansea trailing 1-0 from the first leg.

The second semi final between Fulham and Cardiff is being played tomorrow night with the Londoner’s leading 2-0 from the first leg.

 

Racing-Stradivarius with Frankie Dettori on board has won the Goodwood Cup for a fourth time.

The 6 year old John Gosden trained star had conceded weight to some rivals and looked short of room approaching the final furlong.

Dettori stayed calm on the 4-7 favourite and powered clear of Nayef Road and Santiago to win the race.

 

Weather.

Fine in coastal areas-some  showers developing inland this afternoon.

Light variable winds and highs of 28-29 degrees on the coast and up to 33 degrees inland in the Var.

Overnight lows of 22 degrees with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Fine in coastal areas, showers inland and getting hotter with highs of 29- 34 degrees tomorrow and 30-37 degrees on Friday.

Much of the rest of France is on a heatwave alert for the rest of the week.

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