WEEKLY DIGEST – 1 SEPTEMBER 2014

WEEKLY DIGEST - 1 SEPTEMBER 2014

LAND AHOY

The Cartagena based yacht ‘Carmen’ skippered by Joseph Coello claimed victory on handicap in the 50th edition of the Cruise from Torrevieja to Cabo Roig in which twenty boats took part last Tuesday morning. The Murcia boat ‘Malice’ out of San Pedro was the first to cross the finish line taking one hour and twenty-seven minutes to complete the 10.5 nautical miles. ‘Carmen’ finished 2nd while in 3rd place was the Norwegian yacht ‘Apex’ sailed by Ole-jan Midttun.

COLOURFUL BIRTHDAY

‘Petita’, the most famous elephant in Terra Natura Benidorm, celebrated his 42nd birthday on Saturday with a colorful Hindu battle. The elephant sprang to fame when he was disowned by his herd as he was considered to be “ugly”. According to Terra Natura, Saturday’s party was the only ‘Holi’ festival in Valencia to commemorate the birthday of an elephant.

COURTEOUS BRITS

A recent survey by holiday site Tavelzoo shows that BRITISH tourists are thought of as the heaviest drinkers while on holiday. The Spanish are said to be the most likeable travellers, with the French ranked as the least popular. Almost half of Spanish respondents claimed UK travellers are the least generous when abroad, but the Germans think they are humorous, courteous and helpful.

DRUG CLEANUP

The authorities in Ecuador seized 7.8 tons of liquid drugs, assumed to form the ingredients of cocaine, disguised as disinfectant and heading to Spain. The company responsible for the cargo declared 7,000 litres of the fake disinfectant, bound for Valencia.

NO FLYBE

Airline Flybe will not be extending its routes from Exeter to Spain and Portugal in the winter, with the last flights to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma scheduled for the 30th of September, 2014.

LIPSTICK BEAUTY

Beauty Queen Patricia Yurena Rodríguez, crowned Miss Spain in both 2008 and 2013, has been praised for opening up about her sexuality, by posting an intimate picture of herself with her girlfriend, singer and DJ Vanesa Cortes, on Instagram. Now the only known openly gay beauty queen, both gay and women’s groups have praised her actions.

IRISH TEENAGER HELD

An Irish teenager is in custody on an attempted murder charge after a street fight on the Costa del Sol. The 17-year-old was part of a group of Irish holidaymakers who got into a row over a girl during a night out in Puerto Banus. His brother allegedly punched a friend unconscious before the teenager kicked him in the head as he lay on the ground

BACK IN RING

MATTHEW MACKLIN, the Marbella based boxer, whose proposed fight against Argentine fighter, Jorge Sebastien Heiland in a WBC eliminator on August 30 was postponed after his trainer, Jamie Moore, was shot in Marbella, is set to return to the ring on September 27, on the Felix Sturm – Paul Smith WBA middleweight ‘Super’ title fight undercard in Kiel, Germany. His opponent is as yet unnamed.

COUNTRY PURSUITS

POLICE have uncovered a marihuana plantation in a private bullring in the Almogía area of Malaga! The ‘plaza de toros’ is located within the grounds of a country estate in Los Pilones. It had effectively been converted into an enormous greenhouse housing hundreds of marihuana plants, with plastic sheeting covering the arena.

NO LOGO

A second protest has been organised against fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, who is using a sacred Islamic symbol in his products. The demonstration will take place on the 8th of September, with the hashtag #TakeOffJustLogo being used on social network sites to highlight the complaints of the members and supporters of the Islamic community.

STUPID IS

A 51 year old Belgian resident of the Girona town of Empuriabrava was seriously injured this week, when he stood under the path of a fire fighting plane, which dropped 1,500 litres of water onto him. Police believe that the man was attempting an extreme version of a stunt known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, which was being filmed by another person. The aircraft was dropping its load prior to landing, having been involved in fire fighting duties.

TURTLE RISK

The body of a two-metre long turtle was found near the beach in Huelva this week, showing signs of decomposition. One of the largest breeds of turtles, the species faces an increased threat of extinction, a state which has been declared as “imminent”. Eating the daily equivalent of their own weight, overfishing poses a risk to their food supplies, as does the increasing threat of pollution from engine oil and vessel strikes. They are also prone to digesting waste products in the sea, such as plastic bags which they mistake for jellyfish, being caught in fishing nets and face an increase problem in finding safe places to lay their eggs.

GARDENS AT RISK

Residents of Alicante have complained to the city council about the neglect currently being experienced by the centre’s parks and gardens. They say that the shrubs and trees in La Rambla haven’t been pruned for 3 months while a lack of irrigation is putting the plants at risk in the green spaces of el jardín del Portal de Elche and la plaza de Gabriel Miró.

TUNNEL VISION

National Police Officers in Elche discovered a tunnel last week, 150 feet long, eight feet deep and two by two meters wide, running from a house in la calle Calderón de la Barca to the vicinity of the Banco Popular in an adjoining street. Although no arrests have yet been made they are currently scrutinizing tapes from the security cameras of a nearby bar where the alleged tunnellers regularly ate.

AGE CONCERN

Age Concern re-opens today after the summer break and they are in need of more volunteers. for the day Centre in La Siesta and their shops in Los Montesinos and Torrevieja. Additionally, they need volunteers to join the Residential Home Visiting Team and to act as Be-Frienders to elderly and lonely people in the Playa Flamenca, Quesada and Torrevieja areas. Call 96 678 6887 for information.

NO NO

Both Spain and Belgium would block an independent Scotland’s application to join the European Union, a former president of the EU’s finance council has predicted. Ruairi Quinn, an Irish politician, said the secessionist movements in both countries meant it was “highly probable” their parliaments would vote against Scotland joining.

COSTA GOURMET

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens in Spain ate snails around 30,000 years ago, 10,000 years before the French, whose escargot dish is now celebrated. Excavation at the Cova de la Barriada, Benidorm, say that the shells were found near human constructs believed to have been used for cooking, evidence that they were a part of human diet during the period.

GANG BANG

Police in Mallorca have dismantled a Bulgarian prostitution network operating on the island. A total of 12 people, eleven Bulgarians one Spaniard, were detained on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean, after an eight-month investigation. Bulgarian women gave their clients drugs in order to rob them, Spanish Terra Network’s online news service reports.

BOARD NOW

The planning department of Torrevieja town hall has issued notice of around 120 illegal advertising billboards which it aims to demolish. Warnings were issued in both Torrevieja and Orihuela that these boards, most of which are on public land and lack authority and insurance, would be removed.

WORLD HERITAGE SITE

El castillo de Almirra, 50km inland from Benidorm, is to become the first site declared to be a World Heritage site of special historical significance by even though it is currently being rebuilt. The castle was the site where the crucial pact was made between Aragon and Castile which drew the boundaries between the two realms. It was also the location where, in 1244, an agreement between King James I and the then Prince Alfonso of Castile, gave birth to the former Kingdom of Valencia.

A POLITICAL LOT

After enjoying a two-month holiday, deputies sitting in Les Corts resume their parliamentary duties on 16 September, with the general policy debate, one of the most important events of the new session, almost two weeks after Valencia’s schoolchildren returned to their duties.

ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE

The courts in Torrevieja are investigating ex-councillor José Manuel Pizana, who may face charges of forgery, in relation with a case which was shelved in which the Partido Popular held an election rally in an unauthorized building. The politician testified that he was not at the meeting where the arrangements for the rally were made, but the certified minutes state that he attended.

INCOME TWEETS

Twitter´s Spanish subsidiary is coming under fire for being the latest multinational company to shift taxable operations to Ireland, thus avoiding paying into Spain´s economy. Having earned around a million euro, the profit declared by Twitter in Spain is just over 26,000 euro. Globally, the company is expected to earn the equivalent of a billion euro this year.

PILOT OVER HERE

The pilot of a Spanish fire fighting plane, a 43 year old Chilean national, which dropped 1,500 litres of water onto a 51 year old Belgian national as part of a prank has been charged by the police with gross negligence injury. The main hypothesis is that the pilot and the victim had agreed to carry out the dangerous move, in order to film the event and post the video on YouTube as an extreme Ice Bucket Challenge.

NEW AECC CENTRE

The Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer , AECC, will open a new centre on the Orihuela Costa on the 5th of September, with the provincial president, Pablo Enríquez Valens, attending the opening. The centre will deal with both Spanish and foreign residents, and will work closely with the centre in Torrevieja, just a short distance away.

GOOD CAR-MA

Car make General Motors has begun assembling their the Opel Mokka sub-compact SUV in their Spanish plant at Figueruelas this week, a model that had previously been manufactured exclusively in South Korea.

FADING AWAY

Although the summer temperatures in Spain may have exceeded many previous records, there is an apparent and unexpected benefit to some visitors to the country as cyclists taking part in the Vuelta a España, the tour of Spain competition, are said to be losing 10 pounds in weight each day, despite having to drink 12 bottles of water each day.

GENEROUS VISITORS

In the first 7 months of the year, foreign tourists spent 34.497 billion euro in Spain, a 7% increase over last year, with British tourists leading the way having handed over 6.812 billion euro, a rise of 7.1%. The average daily spend per tourist stood at 109 euro, increasing by 0.4% year-on-year, with the overall spend being 950 euro, around the same as last year.

FEELING DEFLATED

Deflation in Spain deepened more than expected in August, with consumer prices falling by 0.5%, compared to 0.3% in July. Analysts had anticipated a 0.2% drop in August, sparking fears over deflationary pressure in the euro zone’s fourth largest economy.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44750/

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“ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE”

On Wednesday the 3rd of September, Councillor Jeff Wiszniewski and Samantha Hull, from the Office for the Urbanisations, San Fulgencio, will be doing the “Ice Bucket Challenge” at the mini fiesta organised by the Final Whistle and Aloha Bar…

CUTTING OF LA MATA GRAPE CROP

Last Wednesday morning, the mayor of Torrevieja, Eduardo Dolon, accompanied by the Valencian Minister of the Environment, Salome Pradas, the mayor of Guardamar, Carmen Verdú, Curator of the Natural Park of the Lagoons La Mata and Torrevieja, Con…

NEW GUIDE TO SPAIN IN ENGLISH

A new guide with legal information about holidaying, residing and working in Spain has now been published by the Diputacion Alicante.
Packed with a multitude of subjects, a lot of which is especially aimed at foreign citizens, there is information on …

CARRASCO MISSED PENALTY PROVES COSTLY

CD UTIEL – 0 CD TORREVIEJA – 0
Following on from their superb opening day div 3 win over Saguntino, Torry head coach Galiana took all his 23 man squad up to the picturesque setting of Utiel, where nothing but a victory was on his agenda.
He elec…

NEW GENERATION FOR HORADADA

On his election Lancharro said that

Local Campaigners ‘New Generations’ selected their new Executive Committee last week appointing Rufino Lancharro as president.

Based in Pilar de la Horadada, the group attempts to find solutions to the problems faced by the townsfolk such as unemployment, health and education. They also investigate allegations of local corruption wherever it might be.

On his election Lancharro said that “during the past three years, the Popular Party has planted the seed of hope in our people, and if I have learned anything in a town like ours, where agriculture is synonymous with prosperity, is that with perseverance and work eventually get their just reward.”

Also in attendance at the election was the mayor of the municipality, José Fidel Ros, who expressed his confidence in the ability of New Generations to bring about a major change to local society. He reminded the new president that there are two things that a good politician should bear in mind above all “he should be humble and work hard”, “something which I trust I will also demonstrate,” said Lancharro.

Rufino Lancharro is 23 years of age and is studying Industrial Engineering. Hehas been a member of the party for five years.

José Ramón Alcaraz, who had been president of the NNGG for the past 7 years said that “I have always argued that politics is a cycle in which you have to continually make room,” adding “I am delighted to still be involved in politics as part of this new executive and the new president will have my 100% support. “

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44733/

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BENIDORM CONTINUES TO DRAW BRITS

Benidorm has once again come out tops as the fastest growing destination among British holidaymakers wanting to get away for their summer break.
This is reflected in a study by the Spain Tourist Board of all major booking portals. In figures released …

NEW HOMES INCREASINGLY DESERTED AND ABANDONED

Front page

As thousands of abandoned homes lie empty and deserted across the Vega Baja region thieves are stripping them bare, returning to the sites time and time again, taking everything of value they can possibly carry and rarely, if ever, being challenged by security or police.

Properties that were being marketed only a few weeks ago for sums in excess of 100,000 euro now lie derelict.

Moisés Cruz, a member of the Anti Corruption Group, Plataforma Anticorrupción Defensa de la Huerta, a group that raises awareness about the effects of speculation and unrestricted construction in the Vega Baja says “They are taking everything……aluminium, copper, doors, window frames, iron, tiles, air conditioners, even bricks.

They leave behind nothing but abandoned plots, empty buildings, crumbling walls and roofs. Everything is susceptible to thieves.”

One such abandoned edifice is a former four star spa hotel, the Villa De Catral Hotel Spa, which shut down in 2010, now just a shell of its former extravagance.
Members of the group have spent the last year creating a photographic archive, documenting hundreds of derelict building that were put up during the good times and now left in ruins following the property crash.

Cruz says “They were frenzied years, and now everybody is paying the price. I have details showing entire blocks of homes, apartments, town houses, luxury villas. But what are they now. It makes me cry.

We could be walking through the streets of Syria or Iraq, many are little more than bomb zones. And all the time we see more and more evictions, families being thrown out onto the streets for little or no reason. We live in a very unjust world.”

Cruz highlights one such development in Almoradi where some of the abandoned shells are now being squatted in by drug addicts and tramps. Another is in Callosa de Segura where the duplex properties were selling for between 100,000 and 200,000 euros. They now lie completely abandoned, just empty shells.

Rather more locally is the once planned luxury development along the Calle Clavo just off Ctra de Villamartin on the Orihuela Costa. This promotion, of over 30 top of the range 3 storey town houses, were to be priced at 250,000 euro plus but, as the site neared completion the constructor predictably went bust and the site was abandoned for the scavengers and thieves to move in. Immediately behind it is an abandoned block of flats that was also partially built at about the same time.

There is another similar development nearby in Benferri where the wind blows over the roofs of the deserted buildings. The list just goes on and on, and unfortunately it also continues to grow. And of course with the developers falling into bankruptcy the developments are increasingly owned by banks which seem to be of little concern.

“In some cases, with just a minimal investment, many could be used as social housing for the homeless or for those who cannot currently afford their own home,” said Cruz.

Indeed, also in Villamartin, three completed blocks of apartments that were originally built by the Orihuela Council to fulfil that purpose also lie abandoned, but rather than offer the properties as social housing the Ayuntamiento prefer to pay for the services of a full time team of security officers to stop the scavengers from moving in, something they have been doing for over 4 years.

When we asked them what the future of the apartments might be, and why they chose not to release them to those in need, they declined to answer.

Yet despite all these abandoned buildings the Orihuela government continues to issue licenses on plots adjacent to these developments, with at least 5 new apartment blocks currently under construction within a distance of a thousand metres.

Unlike the Orihuela planners however, it would seem that those in authority in a few of the neighbouring localities, the planners, the bankers and the builders are occasionally blessed with common sense. One such example was in Almoradi (population 20,000) early this year when the council refused permission to construct 11,000 new homes to accommodate more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Another such decision was recently taken by the High Court which quashed a San Miguel de Salinas (population 7,000) plan because of the lack of an adequate environmental assessment. Developers there were hoping to build up to 40,000 new homes which would increase the population of the town by about 100,000 people.

With an economic recovery seemingly just around the corner let’s hope that the increasing pattern of new housing developments doesn’t once again turn the coast into a wall of cement as a new breed of greedy developers look to making quick fortunes at the expense of the credulous public.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44725/

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