Evening Update Wednesday 22 July 2020

Train services between Nice and Ventimiglia have now returned to normal after services were brought to a halt this morning by a power cut on the line.  The SNCF said that a rockslide early today ruptured a power line. Engineers restored power late this morning and after a few residual delays services have now returned to normal.

A building in Frejus has been evacuated after a fire this morning. The blaze is believed to have started in a shop on the ground floor of a five storey apartment block in the port area. About forty firefighters were involved in bringing the fire under control.

Traffic has been disrupted on the A8 motorway around Nice this afternoon after a heavy goods vehicle caught fire. The incident happened between junctions 54 and 55 on the westbound carriageway. Trafic managed to get by on one lane whilst firefighters brought the fire under control.

Bison Fute have predicted heavy traffic on French roads on Friday and especially on Saturday. The organization says that Sunday will be the best day to travel over this weekend. Conditions are expected to be particularly difficult on major routes in the whole area between the Italian border and Spain.

Authorities have moved in to clear an illegal travellers' camp in Nice this morning. The camp had been in place for the past year on municipal land in the Plaine du Var in the west of Nice. According to the Prefecture, about 50 people were present in the camp and an assessment of the situation of families and individuals has been carried out, so that rehousing can be considered.

A man has been taken into custody after allegedly kidnapping his own son at gunpoint in Marseille. Reports say the man was apprehended at a service area on the A7 motorway after taking his four year old son from his mother in Marseille, intending to take him to Paris. The child has now been returned to the custody of his mother.

A hiker is recovering after falling 15 metres near the village of Gourdon yesterday evening. Emergency services summoned the Dragon 06 helicopter and he was airlifted to medical facilities in Cagnes-sur-Mer. His life isn't thought to be in danger.

A  60 year old woman has drowned at a beach in Mandelieu La Napoule. It's believed that she had suffered cardiac arrest and couldn't be revived by rescuers. It follows several similar incidents on the Riviera's beaches in recent weeks.

 

BUSINESS

DIY store owner Kingfisher has said that it's seen "strong demand" in all the markets in which it operates. The company owns over 1,360 stores in nine countries across Europe and operates brands including B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt, Screwfix and Tradepoint. It said that Group sales in the quarter to 18 July are up by 21.6%. The Company anticipates half year adjusted pre-tax profits to be ahead of the same period last year.

The US government has entered into a deal to secure 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and the doses will be provided to the US government after FDA authorization or approval has been obtained. Under the agreement, it will also be possible for the US government to acquire an additional 500 million doses. The U.S. government will pay the companies $1.95 billion on receipt of the first 100 million doses.

Several airlines have sent a joint letter to the US and European governments requesting the setting up of a joint coronavirus testing programme. The letter from carriers including BA, Iberea and Aer Lingus owner IAG, American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa said trans-Atlantic air travel is important to the global economy and they believe it's critical to find a way to re-open air services between the US and Europe.

The UK government has provided a 500 million pound loan guarantee to vehicle manufacturer Ford. The government guarantee was made alongside a commercial banking loan of 625 million pounds to the company.

 

SPORT

Cycling.... According to reports, Team Ineos have applied to the world governing body for sports cycling, the UCI, to change their name to The Ineos Grenadiers. The new name would reflect the name of the off-road vehicle being introduced by Ineos Automotive. It's expected that the team will also change its colours. This year's Tour starts on 29 August in Nice.

Football... AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has extended his contract with the club for two years until June 2022. The former Lazio and Inter Milan manager was appointed to the post last October and his initial deal expired at the end of this season.

It’s the final round of games in the English Championship tonight ahead of the playoffs. Leeds United have already been promoted with the second automatic place being contested between West Brom and Brentford. West Brom are at home to QPR and Brentford host Barnsley. Fulham are through to the playoffs with the remaining places being contested between Nottingham Forest ,Cardiff and Swansea.

There are 2 games in the English Premier League tonight. Manchester United play West Ham and the champions Liverpool host Chelsea.

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