Costa del Sol News - 27th July 2006

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

Week 27th July - 2nd August 2006

DYING OF HEAT

Heatwave claims eight lives

By David Eade and Oliver Mcintyre

THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT HEALTH DEPARTMENT REVEALED LATEST DEATHS IN ALMERÍA AND SEVILLA HAVE BROUGHT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF VICTIMS OF THE HEATWAVE TO EIGHT THIS SUMMER.

A 37-year-old man, who was working a greenhouse in Las Norias in Almería, suffered heat stroke and was taken to hospital but later died.

The second victim was a 53-year-old man who had reportedly been taking strong physical exercise during the mid-day hours in Sevilla.

One of the other heat-related deaths in Spain occurred when a 53-year-old died in a traffic accident in Murcia when he was overcome by the heat.

MÁLAGA, HOTTEST CITY
On Saturday, Málaga, at 42 degrees Celsius, was the hottest city in all Spain, said the National Meteorology Institute.

It was city's hottest day so far this year and was one of the rare occasions when the coastal capital saw higher temperatures than inland hotspots like Sevilla, Córdoba and Jaén. However, it fell short of Málaga's historic high of 44 degrees, recorded in July of 2001.

HOW CAN WE COPE?
As various regions of Spain are put on heatwave alert the civil defence is urging people to stay out of the sun as much as possible and, apart from drinking lots of water, to eat light foods rich in minerals, such as fruit and vegetables. In addition, people should wear light-coloured clothes, cover their body - especially the head - and never leave old or young people in closed cars.

Sarah Ashley, mother of two young children, feels it is really important to keep children out of the sun during the hottest hours: "The idea of the Spanish siesta is really important in this climate and makes you realise that it is really a very practical solution for these long summer days. Instead of being out on the beach at lunchtime I have had to readjust my days with the kids to keep them indoors as much as possible between 12 and 6. Fun games, watching a film or just having a nap is essential to pass away those hours which would normally be spent outdoors in the UK. You just have to adapt to a different lifestyle and go to the beach in the evening instead. We also drink plenty of water, and wear sensible clothing if we are out in the morning, like t-shirts and shorts to avoid those fierce rays from scorching the skin."

Veterinarians and animal welfare groups also urge people to take special precautions with their pets, especially dogs, during the extremely hot weather. Veterinarian Mabel Cortés Olmero of Clínca Veterinaria Pet's in Arroyo de la Miel told Costa del Sol News: "First and foremost, never take the dog in the car when you go shopping. People are in the habit and figure it'll just be five minutes, but in five minutes the dog can suffer heat stroke." Other tips include walking the dog only in the early morning and late evening hours, making sure the dog always has clean water available and, if outside, that it has access to shaded areas. Dogs and other pets may also eat better in the late evening hours when temperatures cool off, said Sra Cortés Olmero.

HEAT RELATED DEATHS
Last summer a total of nine people died in Spain from the heat, but in the previous heat wave of 2004 the death toll was 26. Thirty people have reportedly died from the heat this summer in France and the agriculture sector has suffered badly in Germany and Italy.

 


Regional Government approves "POT"

Investment of 4,800 million euros promised

By Dave Jamieson

IT HAS CAUSED CONCERN, DISMAY AND ANGER. IT HAS GENERATED CRITICISM FROM RESIDENTS, ECOLOGISTS AND POLITICIANS. IT HAS PROMPTED POLEMIC, PROTESTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS. IT IS THE 'PLAN DE ORDENACIÓN DEL TERRITORIO', THE 'POT', AND IN ITS FINAL FORM, IT NOW DEFINES DEVELOPMENT OF THE COAST FOR THE NEXT DECADE.

The revised and amended wording of the POT has now been given its stamp of approval by the region's government, the Junta de Andalucía, which is promising an investment of around 4,800 million euros. It is described as having the objective of, 'encouraging the balanced development and territorial cohesion', in an area which is home to around 400,000 people. There are in fact two POTs, one covering the western Costa del Sol and the other covering the Axarquía. The lion's share of the cash, 4,260 million euros, will go to the former area and will affect more than 260,000 inhabitants in nine municipalities, while the eastern zone will get just 527 million euros for its 133,000 residents in 29 municipalities.

In the west, five action areas have been defined, including water recycling and the environment, while investment in the infrastructure features the local rail line from Málaga to San Pedro Alcántara, and later to Estepona, as its star project with a budget allocated of 2,300 million euros. There are six action areas listed for the Axarquía, including tourism and recreation as well as agricultural resources, while a study for the creation of a metropolitan transport system is promised.

NOT ALL HAPPY
However, despite the Junta's final acceptance of the POT, some groups are determined to continue challenging its content. The Nerja collective formed to fight certain of the POT's proposals is now adopting a supervisory role which also will take in the implications of the municipality's local development plan (PGOU). Residents in the Río de la Miel area feel particularly aggrieved, claiming that their demands have been used as a "bargaining chip" and have been sacrificed so that Nerja could get its golf course. Nerja's mayor, José Alberto Armijo, is also on record with criticism of the imbalance in funding which he perceives between the west and east coasts of Málaga.

 


LONDONER SHOT DEAD IN MARBELLA STREET

By David Eade

A Londoner has been shot dead by five bullets in a late night slaying close to The Point cafeteria in the Avenida del Prado in Nueva Andalucía, Marbella. According to police sources the 43-year-old had a police record in Spain. Officers are investigating his death and are keeping an open mind on the motive and who carried out the slaying.

The Briton, named as William Moy, is said to have been accompanied by a group of three people before his death. The emergency services received a 091 call to say a man had been hurt in a shooting but when medical teams arrived he was already dead.

The Point is in the Aloha urbanisation and the area was soon sealed off by police scientific officers. The investigations are being carried out by the National Police drug and organised crime squad, the Greco unit against organised crime plus the specialised and violent crime detachment.

 


VÉLEZ TRANVÍA DELAYED BY ENGINEERING GLITCH

By Dave Jamieson

Vélez-Málaga's new light transport system will not be in operation until after the summer. Some engineering problems remain to be resolved before the tranvía tramway between Vélez and Torre del Mar can go into public service. Making the announcement last week, Vélez' mayor, Antonio Souvirón, explained the problem was in levelling the tracks along part of the four kilometre route between Vélez and Torre del Mar. He said the system was now likely to open in September.

A firm date for the tranvía opening has been eagerly awaited since the first of the tram units arrived in Vélez during the spring. Technical tests were reported to be going well and in May, transport councillor Sara Sánchez stated that summer, 'with its great increase in tourists and cars' would not be 'the best time' for the light transport system to begin commercial operations, although Mayor Souvirón said it might start in late June. The pposition Partido Popular, however, claimed that the intention of Sr Souvirón was to delay the inauguration as long as possible in order to gain maximum kudos from it in next May's local elections.

Mayor listens to residents' concerns
The mayor has also been talking with residents in calle Magallanes who fear that the tranvía extension, on which construction work recently started, is dangerous and will cause damage to their properties. They claim that the tracks are being built too close to buildings and that damage has already been caused to windows and frontages. Sr Souvirón told them that Ferrocarriles Andaluces have agreed to undertake a second study on the likelihood of structural damage and that their technicians would visit the site shortly to discuss residents' concerns with them. A previous report, published last month, described the substructure of the 1.3 kilometres extension route as "suitable" for the tranvía's construction, while Mayor Souvirón assured residents and businesses that, while he understood their worries, there 'exists no danger'.

 


ANTEQUERA'S WATER SUPPLY GUARANTEE

News Staff Reporter

A 42 million euro deal has been signed to guarantee water supplies around Antequera. Months of negotiations have finally come to fruition with last week's agreement between 12 municipalities in the northern part of the province of Málaga.

The short and medium term investment plans will see infrastructure improved in the area in order adequately to supply good quality drinking water to each of the towns. Eleven treatment plants and a network of pipes will link the communities in the priority phase of the project which will cost of 11.8 million euros. A later phase will see the distribution networks in several of the municipalities upgraded at a cost of 1.8 million euros. The Junta de Andalucía is to pay 60 per cent of the total while Town Halls will foot the rest of the bill.

85,000 residents will benefit from the accord in Almeda, Antequera, Archidona, Cuevas Bajas, Cuevas de San Marcos, Fuente de Piedra, Humilladero, Mollina, Villanueva de Algaidas, Villanueca de Tapia, Villaneuva de Tosario and Villaneuva del Trabuco.

 


CÁRTAMA PEDALS BENEFITS FOR BIKING

BY Oliver Mcintyre

THE CÁRTAMA TOWN COUNCIL HAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED THE TOWN HALL'S SIGNING ON TO THE ANDALUCÍAN BICYCLE PACT, A PRO-BIKE MANIFESTO PROMOTED BY THE CYCLING ACTIVIST GROUPS IN THE REGION.

"The town of Cártama miraculously still has great potential for greenbelts to be created along the banks of the Río Guadalhorce," said José Bedoya and Antonio Madueño of the Cartima Neighbourhood Association in written statement applauding the Town Hall's decision to sign on to the pact. "The Town Hall needs to be brave and promote sustainable transport between the municipality's urban hubs and from them to the train station, by way of bicycle and pedestrian paths."

The Bicycle Pact, which has more than 2,000 signatories including institutions like the University of Málaga, the provincial government and the Andalucía Parliament, is essentially a declaration of commitment to promoting the use of bicycles through political policy and other means. "We declare and defend the public utility of the bicycle, both for the global environment and for personal health," begins the main body of the document. "We commit, each of us within our area of interest and jurisdiction, to developing all types of activities aimed at promoting the bicycle in our community."

In Cártama, the next step will be "to expand on this declaration, creating a General Bicycle Plan to be included in the town's local development plan (PGOU) so that this means of transport gets the regulatory support it deserves," said Alonso González of the Ruedas Redondas Association, a cycling activist group.

 


JULIÁN MUÑOZ SEEKS RELEASE FROM JAIL

The ousted mayor in isolation from other 'Malaya' prisoners

By David Eade

JOSÉ MARÍA DEL NIDO, THE LAWYER ACTING FOR THE FORMER MAYOR OF MARBELLA, JULIÁN MUÑOZ, HAS BROUGHT A PETITION BEFORE THE COURT TO SEEK HIS RELEASE FROM JAIL.

Sr Muñoz was imprisoned unconditionally last week along with two directors of the Aifos development company and a former Partido Andalucista councillor. All were arrested as part of the second phase of the Operation Malaya case against alleged corruption at Marbella Town Hall.

Sr Muñoz launched his freedom bid on the same day the court went in his favour in a separate trial. The case, in which he and six former councillors were charged with granting a licence in 1996 for the construction of chalets in a green zone, was dismissed by the judge. Nonetheless, Sr Muñoz has already been convicted twice of town planning offences, is appealing against a prison sentence, and has many other cases yet to be heard.

Meanwhile, Sr Muñoz is said to be confined to a cell on his own and not in contact with other prisoners, including those linked to the Malaya case. Whilst many of those jailed in the case were former members of the same GIL party as Sr Muñoz, the majority of them were responsible for ousting him from power in the infamous censure motion that installed Marisol Yagüe as mayor.

Amongst the charges against him is that he received 150,000 euros from the former town planning strongman Juan Antonio Roca, the alleged mastermind behind the 'Malaya' scam. It is claimed that this money was paid to Sr Muñoz in 2002 and 2003 from a company owned by Sr Roca.

HOTEL TROUBLES
Sr Muñoz is also closely linked with two Marbella hotels, the Guadalpín Marbella and the Guadalpín Banús, that have town-planning-related legal problems. Both are owned by Aifos, which has also seen some of its directors held in the Malaya investigation. Marbella Town Hall's interim management commission has stated that the Guadalpín Marbella's licences might be revised and part of the hotel alleged to be illegally built could be demolished. The Guadalpín Banús will also have its licences examined as it is built on land designated largely for homes.

 


JACK DEE FOR MARBELLA FILM FEST

By David Eade

One of Britain's best known stand-up comedians, Jack Dee, will be attending this year's Marbella International Film Festival. He will also appear in one of the films, 'The Quiet Assassin' that is described as "a most entertaining piece of work" and is producer by Griffin Parry and written and directed by respected BBC film maker, Alex Hardcastle.

The Marbella film fest, which is the first to be organised, takes place in the town between September 8 and 10. Jack Dee will be in Marbella as a guest following a successful Australian tour and he will be joined by Alex Hardcastle at the premier of the film.

 


BENALMÁDENA BUTTERFLY AVIARY TO TAKE FLIGHT

BY Oliver Mcintyre

BENALMÁDENA'S LATEST PLANNED TOURIST ATTRACTION, A GIANT BUTTERFLY AVIARY TO BE LOCATED NEAR THE BUDDHIST STUPA WEST OF THE PUEBLO, IS SET TO TAKE FLIGHT.

The Town Hall has approved the project presented by the company Imago Dracaena SL, awarding it the contract to build the centre on a municipal property and operate it for 50 years, paying an annual concession fee of 10,100 euros. Construction is expected to begin at the end of summer with a completion timeline of 18 months.

The butterfly aviary, or 'mariposario' as it is called in Spanish, is to house "a permanent population of 1,000 to 1,500 butterflies representing around 50 different species from tropical zones all around the world," said Imago's Jose Antonio Plaza. "Among them are some of the most beautiful and interesting in the world for their colour, size and rarity," he said.

To provide the proper habitat for the butterflies, the centre will re-create their natural climate with temperatures, humidity and vegetation similar to a tropical forest, much like at the company's existing mariposario in Tenerife.

The centre will also have an educational element. "It will have a laboratory where visitors can observe the breeding process, the birth of new specimens and all the phases of their complex biological cycle," said the project's veterinary director Asunción Gómez Alfonso. There will also be a 'nature classroom' for school-group workshops.

Under its agreement with the Town Hall, the company will provide free admission to local nursery, primary and secondary school groups as well as groups from local youth shelters and associations for the disabled. Seniors (over 65) will receive a 50 per cent discount.

RETAMAR AREA UPGRADE
The new butterfly centre is part of a larger metamorphosis taking place in the Retamar area, which, in addition to a municipal day nursery, is also getting a new natural-turf hockey field, several tennis courts and a new sports centre, turning it into "an area of great tourism appeal," according to Mayor Enrique Bolín.

 


TAPAS FAIR IN SOHAIL CASTLE

By David Eade

The second edition of Fuengirola's 'Feria de la Tapa' will be held in the surrounds of the town's Sohail castle between August 3 and 6. During that period the public will be able to find within the Moorish fortress more than 250 gastronomic specialities as well as music from top Andalucía and ethnic musicians.

The event was announced by the councillor responsible for youth, José Domínguez. He stated that the tapas fair would not only offer local dishes but the best international cuisine as well. The event will be open each day from 19.00 to 02.00 and the organisers are predicting larger attendances than the 20,000 people who went last year.

Every night there will be a different theme of music on offer with tango, flamenco song and dance, Celtic and jazz all on offer. On the Friday there will also be performances by the Kayra ballet company with a magic spectacle.

 


CÁDIZ REGATTA IN UNDERWAY

'Tall Ships Race' 50th anniversary celebrated

By David Eade

THE CITY OF CÁDIZ HAS A GREAT MARITIME HISTORY SO SURELY THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE IN WHICH TO CELEBRATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TALL SHIPS RACE.

Between Wednesday and this Saturday July 29 the city's regatta will celebrate this event in style. In the port and sailing in the bay will be around 60 yachts of which 15 are the class 'A' type, better known to one and all as the tall ships. Place of honour amongst these goes to the Spanish naval training vessel, Juan Sebastián de Elcano, which will be in Cádiz for the duration of the celebrations.

Cádiz will be the fourth port of call for all the yachts in the regatta that started on July 10 in Sant Malo in France. So far the vessels have visited Torbay in England and Lisbon in Portugal and after leaving Cádiz they will sail to La Coruña in northern Spain before finishing in Antwerp in Belgium.

Over the period of the regatta visitors are expected to spend around 20 million euros in the Cádiz area and over a million people will visit the city creating up to 350 direct jobs. A special 'theme park' has been created in the port zone that will allow the public not only to view and visit the various yachts but also has a viewing tower, fun fair, children's area, shops, exhibitions, catering, toilets plus much, much more.

Apart from the Juan Sebastián de Elcano the other tall ships expected are the Alexander Von Humboldt (Germany), Sagres (Portugal), Christian Radich (Norway), Amerigo Vespucci (Italy), Stavros S Niarchos (UK), Mir (Russia), Eendracht (Holland), Europa (Holland), Kaliakra (Bulgaria), Lord Nelson (UK), Capitan Miranda (Uruguay), Pogoria (Poland), Dar Milodziey (Poland), Falken (Sweden), Asgard II (Ireland) and Zenobe Gramme (Belgium).

Programme of the Cádiz Regatta

Thursday July 27
11.00 Opening of the theme park, yacht visits, rapid picture competition.
18.30 Parade of the crews.
19.30 Prize Giving (Plaza de San Juan de Dios).
20.00 Display by the Dancing Horses of Jerez.
20.30 Concert by Band of Music (Plaza San Juan de Dios).
21.00 Crews reception (crew zone)
22.00 Homage to Spanish Pop Rock with Danza Invisible, La Guardia and Modestia Aparte (Muelle Ciudad).

Friday July 28
11.00 Opening of the theme park, yacht visits.
12.00 Vintage car exhibition 1920-1940 (Muelle Ciudad).
20.00 Carnival choirs between Muelle and Plaza de la Catedral.
20.00 Display by Dancing Horses of Jerez.
21.00 Reception for yacht officials (Yacht Christian Radich).
22.00 Rosario (flamenco-pop) in concert (Muelle Ciudad).
24.00 Firework display.

Saturday July 29
09.00 Opening of theme park - leaving of the fleet.
13.00 Naval Parade.
17.00 Closing of the theme park.

There are numerous exhibitions being staged in Cádiz at various locations in the city. Also between July 28 and 29 the international blues festival is being held at the José María Pemán theatre plus a 'tapas route' throughout the city.

 


SPANISH PM TO FOLLOW BLAIR'S ADVICE

By David Eade

THE PRESIDENT OF THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT, JOSÉ LUÍS RODRÍGUEZ ZAPATERO, HAS STATED THAT HE WILL FOLLOW "WITH DISCIPLINE" THE TWO PIECES OF ADVICE GIVEN HIM BY TONY BLAIR FOR HIS NEGOTIATIONS WITH ETA.

Speaking during an interview with the London Times Sr. Zapatero stated that he would approach these talks with "much caution and discretion". The Spanish political leader also stated his belief that this was "the best opportunity" to end the terrorism of ETA.

The Times labelled Sr. Zapatero as being the country's premier "almost by accident" after the country swung behind the PSOE party at the general election held just three days after the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004. However it said he had become a powerful leader in the past two years and compared him with Tony Blair in his willingness to tackle some of the historic conflicts of his country.

The British national daily placed Sr. Zapatero amongst those European leaders who had been inspired by the election successes of Tony Blair despite the differences between them, especially in foreign affairs.

In Spain Sr. Zapatero was said to be the head of a national government that promoted the devolution of the Spanish regions against the cries of the opposition that it risked a fracture of the nation. However he told The Times that there was no such risk and it would lead to better government of the people.

 


JOURNALISTS WORSE THAN LAWYERS?

By Oliver McIntyre

While the number of 'lawyer' jokes surely must outstrip the number of 'journalist' jokes the world over, a new survey indicates that the Spanish actually hold journalists in lower esteem than they do solicitors.

According to the survey by the Sociological Research Centre (CIS), the least-valued profession is that of soldier, with a score of 5.89 out of 10, followed by journalist (6.16) and lawyer (6.49). The most highly regarded is doctor, with a score of 8.29, followed by nurse (7.8) and teacher (7.74). In the middle of the ranking are architect (7.4), computer specialist (7.35), construction worker (7.21) plumber (6.99), police officer (6.86), writer (6.75), businessman (6.65) and judge (6.49).

The survey asked respondents a series of questions about a variety of different professions. In addition to how highly they regarded each profession, they were asked their perception of the earning capacity in each field, whether they would recommend it to friend or family members and the level of prestige they believe the profession enjoys now compared to 10 years ago.

The fact that someone holds a low personal opinion of a particular profession does not necessarily mean he wouldn't recommend it to his children or friends. While lawyer was the third-least-regarded profession, it was the fifth-most-recommended, with 19.4 per cent of respondents saying they would recommend it. That might have something to do with the field's perceived earning potential, given that 53.8 per cent of respondents considered it the best-paid profession on the list.

But the highly regarded position of doctor, despite being viewed as well-paid by only 36.9 per cent of respondents, is also the most recommended profession, selected by 46.5 per cent of those surveyed. The second-most-recommended is architect (21.9 per cent), followed by computer specialist (20.3 per cent) and teacher (20 per cent). The least recommended are soldier (2.0 per cent), writer (2.1) and police officer or construction worker (3.8 per cent each).

Just over 40 per cent of respondents said vocation, or calling, was the strongest factor in whether they would recommend a particular profession, while 30.5 per cent said earning capacity was the top consideration. Just 1.5 per cent felt family tradition was the strongest factor.

The professions of computer specialist, architect, doctor and construction worker are more prestigious now than they were 10 years ago, according to those surveyed, while judge and lawyer have both lost prestige.

 


TOURISM NUMBERS UP

By Dave Jamieson

Andalucía has seen a 2.6 per cent increase in tourist numbers during the first half of the year. Exceltur says that the region welcomed 3.7 million visitors, up on the same period last year, making it the fourth most important destination in Spain. British arrivals led the way with the total of 1.4 million representing a rise of 0.6 per cent.

Between January and June, 25.5 million foreign tourists entered Spain, six per cent more than last year, while June alone saw an increase of 5.5 per cent. The United Kingdom, as usual, provided more holiday makers than any other country with its total of 7.3 million showing a two per cent increase on 2005. German tourists increased by 4.3 per cent to a total of 4.6 million while an 8.8 per cent increase in arrivals from France brought their numbers to 3.8 million. The Netherlands and the Nordic countries also recorded increases, while Italian visitor numbers rose by 17.8 per cent. Last month alone, however, showed a huge increase in British arrivals to a total of 1.7 million, 31 per cent more than in June 2005.

The most popular destination nationally continues to be Cataluña which saw its arrivals rise by 10.8 per cent, compared with last year. There, however, the principal market was France with numbers up by 13.1 per cent. The Canary Islands remained in second place with an increase of 3.2 per cent.

Other statistics from the study show that three quarters of Spanish arrivals are by air, while the those who stayed in accommodation other than hotels rose by around ten per cent. Andalucía will once again try to win the hearts of British travel agents when it hosts the annual symposium of their trade association later this year. 1,800 delegates to the ABTA conference are due to meet in Marbella from November 27 to 29.

 


VOLUNTEERS HELP CREATE 'FOREST' IN CAMPILLOS

OLIVER MCINTYRE

AROUND 30 VOLUNTEERS AGED BETWEEN 18 AND 26 ARE CURRENTLY CONTRIBUTING TO THE CREATION OF A 3.5-HECTARE MEDITERRANEAN FOREST AT PARQUE GUADALTEBA IN CAMPILLOS.

The project has been underway for a number of years, with students of local occupation-training programmes usually responsible for carrying out the work. But the group currently working at the site is part of a summer work camp put on by the Andalucía Youth Institute.

The young volunteers are preparing a recreation area at the site, planting trees, restoring pathways and trails and installing litter bins, benches and tables. The zone they are working on will serve as the main arrival and reception area of the forest-park. Over the last several years, students of occupational-training programmes have collected seeds and plants to be distributed throughout the site. THREATENED SPECIES
A wide array of plants and trees, many of them threatened species, are to be planted in zones representing different sub-types of the forest. A 1.3-kilometre trail will lead visitors through the various zones and to the Sierra de Peñarrubia bird observatory and the nearby Roman ruins.

One zone includes medicinal plants and trees, herbs, olive trees and other commercially grown species. The site already counts 106 distinct varieties of olive tree. Project organisers say that within two years about 45 per cent of the manmade forest will be accessible to visitors.

 



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