Evening Update Friday 26 July

Several hundred people were evacuated from a beach in Nice this afternoon after the discovery of what were initially thought to be two explosive devices. However, the objects, which were discovered late this afternoon at Carras beach, were eventually identified by authorities as being cylinders made of concrete and steel.  A security perimiter which had been established was raised at about 6pm and the beach was re-opened.

Meteo France have changed their alert level for the Alpes Maritimes. The department had been on Orange alert for heat but this has now been reduced to a Yellow alert which will be in operation from 4am to 3pm tomorrow. The Var is also on Yellow alert during the same period. The western half of France has experienced heavy thunderstorms today and the Eastern part of the country is experiencing storms as well, with some places in the east experiencing high winds and hail. The Riviera though is escaping the bad weather but storms are forecast for tomorrow, beginning in the early afternoon and lasting until the evening. Sunday is expected to see a return to more settled weather – mostly sunny with occasional light cloud. Temperatures will remain high this weekend though with highs of 31-32 on parts of the coast of the Var and Alpes Maritimes on both Saturday and Sunday. It’s also expected to be windy in the Var on Sunday.

Traffic was disrupted in the western part of Nice this afternoon after an accident involving three cars on the Boulevard du Mercantour.  The road was closed to allow a tow truck to take the vehicles away. Meanwhile, the A50 motorway was closed near Sanary this afternoon because of an accident involving two trucks. One vehicle ended up on its side in the middle of the carriageway and the other impacted the central reservation. 

The Prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes has issued a Level 1 ozone pollution alert for today. The air quality is expected to be average, locally poor, tomorrow and to be average on Sunday. The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has also placed the department on drought alert and asked residents to use water carefully. Bernard Gonzalez hasn’t yet introduced restrictions but has appealed to people to cut down on consumption.

29 people were evacuated by helicopter in the Hautes-Alpes yesterday evening after heavy rain caused a major landslide. The landslide also blocked several hundred vehicles which were gathered for the Tour de France in the La Grave area. 97 people were taken to Isere by bus and 44 others were given overnight accommodation locally.

Heavy traffic is forecast from this afternoon across Mediterranean coast areas and on routes north and south as one of the busiest weekends in the year for travel gets underway. Motorists are advised not to make long trips until around 9pm this evening and to avoid journeys by road tomorrow between 6am and 8pm. Sunday should be a little better but the traffic is still expected to be heavy especially in the Rhone Valley and across Mediterranean resort areas. Motorists are also warned to carry plenty of water and snacks in the event of being caught in a long traffic jam.

 

BUSINESS

Amazon has reported revenues for the latest quarter of $63.4bn, up about 20 per cent. Amazon's profits for the quarter, at $2.6bn, were below Wall Street's expectations and the firm said profits would slip slightly in the current quarter.

Google’s parent company Alphabet has reported revenues up by about 19 per cent compared to a year earlier at $38.9bn. After-tax profits tripled compared to a year ago to $9.9bn, beating analysts' expectations.

Meanwhile, Twitter reported second-quarter profit of $1.1bn compared with $100m a year earlier, helped by a tax benefit. Twitter's revenue rose 18% from a year earlier to $841m

Apple has moved ahead with ambitions to supply its own smartphone chips, paying $1bn to buy most of Intel's modem chip business. The deal will see 2,200 Intel employees join Apple, along with the transfer of intellectual property, leases and equipment to the company.

Vodafone has announced plans to create a separate unit to manage the towers which carry antennas for its mobile phone network. With 61,700 towers in ten markets, it will be the biggest business of its type in Europe. Vodafone chief executive Nick Read, said that the company believes there is a substantial opportunity to unlock value for shareholders while “capturing the significant industrial benefits of network sharing for the digital society.”

 

SPORT

Cricket... England have bowled Ireland out for 38 to win the four-day Test by 143 runs. Ireland were chasing 182 to win, only to be demolished by Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad. Woakes took 6 for 17 and Broad 4 for 19. At one stage, three wickets fell for no runs as Ireland registered the seventh lowest total in Test history.

Also in cricket news, Australia have recalled opening batsman Cameron Bancroft to their squad for the Ashes series against England. It’s the first time Bancroft has been named in an Australia squad since a ninth-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal. The first Test in the five-match series starts on 1 August at Edgbaston.

Tour de France… A bad hailstorm forced the race to be halted late this afternoon. The riders have stopped at Val d'Isère and are now heading to the finish by car.
French rider Thibaut Pinot abandoned the race earlier today because of a muscle tear. He was in fifth place at the time when he decided to exit the race, 84 km from the finish of today’s stage from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes. There’s just one more stage of the race in the mountains before the procession into Paris on Sunday.

Motorsports… In second practice for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari one-two. He was 0.124 seconds quicker than Sebastian Vettel and 0.146secs ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. Pierre Gasly lost control at the last corner and smashed into the barrier on the outside of the track, badly damaging his car but he was unhurt.
Sebastian Vettel was fastest, ahead of Charles Leclerc in first practice this morning. Qualifying is at 3pm tomorrow with the race at 3.10 on Sunday.

 

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