a weekly update of the local news

 (with apologies for a recent absence, due to your newscaster needing a holiday)

Fire causes evacuation of campsites – Instead of enjoying the last few hours of their holidays or packing their cases, occupants of Les Peupliers, Le Bosquet and Le Brasilia campsites were evacuated at around midday on Saturday when a reed fire broke out between Canet & Saint Marie.  With the aid of 103 Sapeurs-Pompiers and two water drops by the Dash 8, the fire was brought under control within 600 metres of the campsites.
Still no trace of the missing mother and daughter – Investigations are continuing into the disappearance of Marie-José and Allison Bénitez.  Traces of blood have been found in a freezer and traces of DNA in a washing machine, both said to have been used by Francisco Benitez, the husband and father of the missing women who was recently found hanged.
Holiday-maker held in cells after sexual attack – Police were called to assist a young woman who had been thrown to the ground and sexually attacked as she left Le Marina nightclub in Le Barcares.  She was able to give a description of her assailant and a 22 year old man from Haut-Garonne who was on holiday in the region has been arrested.
Man spends night lost on Mount Canigou – a 55 year old man from Collioure set off with his sister to climb the Canigou for the first time in his life.  They reached the refuge de Cortalets where his sister decided not to continue but that she would wait for him.  By 10.30pm there was no trace of him and she could not telephone him as he had accidentally left his mobile in her handbag.  He was found exhausted and with mild hypothermia the following morning.
Vegetation fire near Thuir – A fire destroyed around 3000m² of vegetation around Mas de Montcalm between St. Feliu and Thuir.  4 caravans were also destroyed in the blaze which was exacerbated by explosions of the gas canisters in the caravans.
Holiday traffic delays – It is hoped that this Saturday was the last day for the interminable traffic jams witnessed on the Autoroute this summer as the last of the holiday-makers head home.  Despite the fact that the Perpignan stretch of the A9 has been increased from 2 to 3 lanes, works to the final part (Junction 42 Perpignan Sud to Le Boulou) are not anticipated to commence before 2016…..
Summer drowning continue – Sadly 5 people have died in the sea on the P-O coastline this summer.  Last week a 62-year old man drowned near the Lydia beach in Le Barcares, and an 18 year old man is said to be in a critical condition in hospital having been recovered unconscious from the sea in Argeles.
Fire Alert – With the continuing high temperatures and the disappearance of last week’s humid Marine wind which has been replaced by the Tramontane, Meteo France has classified certain areas of the P-O as under high risk from fire – namely; the Plaine du Roussillon and the massifs des Fenouilledes, Corbieres, Aspres and Alberes.
And finally ………
Russian Tourists – the Independent featured an article recently celebrating the fact that this summer we welcomed an unprecedented amount of Russian tourists to the area.  This was swiftly followed by an article complaining that many of them were visiting for the day on guided tours from Spain and that their guides were not registered with the local tourist office and were making unplanned visits to local tourist attractions such as the Palais des Rois de Majorque, whose official guides had no idea of their arrival.  The highlight of this reportage was when ‘Katia’ an official tour guide followed one of these unofficial tours and overheard the following comments:  “In this boucherie you can try one of the region’s local delicacies – Quiche Lorraine” and “You have to try Collioure’s traditional drink – the Monaco”!

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