AND HERE IS THE NEWS….  a weekly update of the local news



Huge fire at Le Soler – Because of the high temperatures and strong winds yesterday, around 70 firemen (including the ‘water-helicopter’) responded to a call-out for a vegetation fire on the outskirts of Le Soler.  A lady who had been living there under ‘precarious conditions’ had to be evacuated just before her caravan and her wooden hut were burnt down.  The Mayor mentioned that she had been given an eviction notice three years ago.  A cigarette end is suspected to be the cause of the fire.
Restaurant attacked in Le Soler – The manageress of a snack bar in Le Soler had recognised two youths who she suspected of having robbed the premises.  They disappeared, only to return with some accomplices, and proceeded to destroy the terrace with iron bars and a machete.  The manageress and some diners were forced to hide inside and close the shutters.
Holiday traffic Hell – traditionally the last weekend in July and first weekend in August are among the busiest for the A9, and this weekend has proved to no exception.  Major delays between Narbonne and the border are expected to be experienced again next weekend so if you’re thinking of nipping over to Spain to do some shopping, don’t!
Red Flags on the Beaches – the strong winds and difficult currents have meant that the life-guards have been exceptionally busy over the last couple of days.  In St. Cyprien there were 10 interventions – mainly to assist swimmers having difficulty getting back to shore and one to assist a family struggling to control their Catamaran.  In Canet a 39-year old man was starting to drown 200 metres out to sea.  He was rescued by the life-guard jet-ski, resuscitated on the beach and helicoptered to hospital.
Body found at La Franqui – a body found by a walker at the foot of the cliff at La Franqui has been identified as that of Anita Mignot, the 50 year old woman who went missing from Pia several weeks ago.  She was said to have been in a depressed state of mind.
Death threats for Mayor of St. Esteve – Who has got a grudge against the Robert Vila, Mayor of Saint Esteve?  In March the wall outside his office window was ‘tagged’ with the words ‘Vila Voleur’ together with a picture of a pistol and bullets, and 4 months later his wife was woken by noises at 3am and looked out to see the mayor’s car had been set alight.  On that same evening, more ‘tagged’ writing was found on the Hotel de Ville, including death threats.  Security cameras are now being installed.
Head on Crash on D900 – For an as yet undetermined reason, two cars travelling on the D900 between Maureillas and Le Perthus were involved in a head on collision.  The driver of the first car, a 7 month pregnant young woman, had to cut out of her car and although uninjured was taken to hospital as a precaution.  The occupants of the second car, a Danish couple and their children aged 1 and 4 years old, were taken to Ceret hospital where they received treatment for chest injuries caused by their seat-belts, which undoubtedly saved them from more serious injuries.
Cleaner threatens to kill herself – The final straw for a woman employed as a cleaner by the Mairie de Perpignan was when, having been on sick leave for 8 months due to depression, she found that her salary had been paid into a ‘blocked’ account despite her having given new account details to the personnel department.  She turned up at Human Resources with a handful of pills and threatened to take them one by one until the problem was sorted out.  She received temporary funding and has an appointment with the relevant authorities.
Healthy snacks on the beach – No doubt we have all been tempted by the calls of the beach vendors pushing their carts along the sand offering ‘beignets and chouchous’, but now they have some healthy competition.  Veronique Rigoreau and her partner Jean-Yves have set up an enterprise comprising 6 patrolling vendors offering fresh fruit salads (2euros per basket) along the main beaches.
And finally…..
International Superstar in our midst – Viviane the Tibetan bear who recently escaped from the Sigean Animal Reserve has attracted a lot of media attention.  According to a spokesman from the Reserve, 31 year old Viviane (who was born at the Reserve) left ‘not because she didn’t like living there, but to escape the attentions of the male bears who were becoming too persistent’.  She was found safe and well in the local area but her disappearance has caused huge international media attention including 8,000 internet hits on the site, 26,000 youtube views, and hundreds of newspaper articles around the world

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