Evening Update Monday 24 August 2020

About 700 firefighters have been fighting a major fire in the Bouches-du-Rhone this afternoon. About 300 heactares are reported to have been destroyed in the area between Istres and Martigues by the fire which broke out at about 2pm. At least eight water bombing aircraft have been used to attempt to bring the blaze under control. A number of homes have been evacuated. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin is expected to arrive in the area shortly.

The fire comes as authorities have issued a warning of the danger of fire in the south of France in the current dry and windy conditions. The General Directorate of Civil Security and the Prefect of the South Defense and Security Zone say they recommend great caution today due to a very high danger of fires on the coast and the nearby interior of Languedoc-Roussillon and over a large part of Provence. They say that what they call a "very high meteorological fire danger" is linked to the tramontane and mistral winds and hot and dry conditions for vegetation in very severe drought conditions. The A7 motorway in the Bouches du Rhone was closed due to the outbreak of a serious forest fire yesterday afternoon, with several homes being destroyed.

French Minister of Labour, Elizabeth Bourne, has said that  a protocol for the wearing of masks in businesses will be announced at the latest by next Monday. She said that an opinion is awaited from the High Council on Public Health. The new protocol is expected to come into force next Tuesday, 1 September.

A man has handed himself in to police, saying that he had murdered four people. The 50 year old walked in to a police station near Perpignan, in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, saying that he had killed his parents and his in-laws. Police later found the bodies of four people at two nearby addresses. The motive for the attacks isn't yet known.

A mountaineer in his twenties has died whilst climbing in the Haut-Alpes at the weekend. The man, who was a soldier stationed in the Isere department, was climbing in the Ecrins massif with his two brothers. The mountain gendarmerie from Briancon intervened but the man's life couldn't be saved.

A crowd of about 200 people gathered outside a bookshop in Cannes this morning to welcome Nicolas Sarkozy. The former French president was at the shop to sign copies of his book Le Temps des Tempetes which details his first two years in office.

 

BUSINESS

The French subsidiary of Facebook has said that it's agreed a tax adjustment with the French state covering the years 2009-18. Under the agreement Facebook will pay 106 million euros in back taxes and penalties.

Online meetings service Zoom has been hit by service outages today. Early this evening, Zoom's Service Status page said that there were partial outages in several services including Zoom Meetings, Zoom Video Webinars and its Web Portal. The company said that it was continuing to work on a fix for the issue.

UK retailer Frasers Group, has bought certain assest of gym and fitness operator DW Group. Frasers owns high street brands such as Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles. DW Group, which owns 73 gyms and 75 stores, went into administration last month. Frasers said that it inends to use its Everlast brand for the newly acquired gym and fitness assets.

Abta, the UK travel agent's association, has written to the UK government requesting additional support for the travel sector. The association said that 39,000 employees had already lost their jobs, or had been told their jobs were at risk, and warned that many more jobs could be lost.


SPORT

Football... Ireland manger Stephen Kenny has named the squad which will play against Bulgaria and Finland early next month. Former Ireland Under 21 players Jayson Molumby and Adam Idah are included in the team for the first time. James McCarthy, Harry Arter, Shane Long and Darragh Lenihan are all named in the squad.

Cricket... It's the penultimate day of the Third test in Southampton. Bad weather is forecast for the final day tomorrow and England are looking for an innings victory over Pakistan. England were 583 for 8 declared in their innings, Pakistan are in to bat in their second innings this afternoon.

 

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