Regional News, week ending Friday 20th April
TIRELESS TESTS SUCCESSFUL
A series of tests took place on Monday on the cooling system of the nuclear submarine "Tireless" under repair in Gibraltar. The tests were attended by Spain´s Council for Nuclear Safety Minister, Antonio Munuera who later pronounced his satisfaction at a successful outcome. Meanwhile in the Campo de Gibraltar, the Citizen´s Anti-Nuclear Submarine Platform gave out brochures to tourists crossing into Gibraltar at the time of the tests to alert them to the possible risk of a nuclear accident in the next few days. Munuera later said that he felt no need to be present when the engines were finally started up, as this would present no risk. The Tireless is due to leave Gibraltar early in May.
An experiment to track the movements of lynxes throughout Spain has begun in Doñana national park. Lynxes, an endangered species. are present in the Sierra Morena, the Toledo mountains, Extremadura, some areas of Valencia, and Doñana. The plan is to film the lynxes by a network of 300 strategically placed, hair-trigger stills cameras. 30 high quality images have so far been obtained from the cameras in Doñana, which the programme Co-ordinator Nicolas Guzman says "are the best way of logging the population of lynxes". Early research shows that the estimated number of remaining lynxes in Spain, about 1500, is greatly exaggerated, with researchers now saying that 500 is more accurate.
VULTURE EGGS FAIL TO HATCH
Still with wildlife, the eggs of two bearded vultures being incubated Cazorla natural park in Jaen have failed to hatch, for the second year running. Efforts to reintroduce this threatened species into Andalucia are encountering difficulties, especially as hatching the birds in captivity has never been achieved in Spain.
Four people have been seriously injured in the annual bull-running festivals in Cadiz province. The bull-runs have been taking place in Arcos de la Frontera, Paterna, Los Barrios, Benamahoma, Vejer de la Frontera and la Linea. Thirty others have sustained lighter injuries.
FISHING CRISIS LATEST
The fishermen of Barbate are to meet today to decide a new agenda of industrial action to protest against the failure of talks over fishing agreements with Morocco. The fishermen are to vote on the proposal for a general strike in the area, which could come later this week. "the whole population is affected by the loss of fishing in Moroccan waters,"said a spokesman. The fishermen will also decide whether to continue blocking Moroccan products from coming into Algeciras.
MeanwhileAgriculture minister Arias Cañete has accused the Junta de Andalucia of shutting its eyes to the reality of the absolute block in negotiations between Spain and Morocco over fishing. President of the Junta, Manuel Chaves is to travel to Morocco on the 25th of this month if the EU gives the go-ahead for negotiations between the two sides to continue. But Cañete has said that such unilateral action is contrary to the interests of the rest of the national fleet.
STRAWBERRY SECTOR IN CRISIS
The huelva strawberry business is in crisis and demanding aid from the ministry of agriculture. Representatives from the sector are in Madrid today to meet Ariculture minister Arias Cañete. A spokesman said they wanted to get agreement from the Government for an aid package to help the industry through one of the worst phases in its history due to the winter´s heavy rains. Losses in the sector are estimated to be running at 25 thousand million pesetas.
IMMIGRANT PROTEST IN ALMERIA
Some 500 paperless immigrants, most of them Moroccan shut themselves into the offices of the association Almerica Acoge in the centre of Almeria on tuesday. They were demanding the documentation which would allow them to stay legally in this country. The Government sub-delegate for the province, Fernando Hermoso met five representatives from the immigrant groupovernight, and offered them the same so-called Barcelona agreement as had been reached with other protesting immigrants last month, but would not give in to demands for a written agreement, saying he was not going to revise procedures under pressure. The sit-in, involved newly arrived immigrants, and many who have been waiting for papers since 1999.
In an additional twist, the president of Almeria Acoge, an organisation which works on behalf of immigrants, said he feared for the safety of the building with som many people in it, pointing out that the 30 year old block had to be strengthened 10 years ago due to its lack of stability.
By Thursday however, the protest had been called off, after the 547 immigrants accepted proposals made to them by the Government sub-delegation, including the revision within 72 hours of the cases of about 150 immigrants who had previously been denied papers. President of Almeria Acoge, Antonio Puertas said that he was satisfied that thanks to intensive talks yesterday, the immigrants had been given as many concessions as possible, thus enabling them to end their protest.
STRONG ALCOHOLIC DRINKS BAN
The Andaluz parliament yesterday unanimously approved a modification to the Drugs law, by which the sale of strong alcoholic drinks will be banned from petrol stations and other public places. From now on they will only be on sale in bars and establishments with the relevant licenses after ten o clock at night. The modification affects drinks over 20 degrees proof.
MEDITERRANEAN MEALS COMPANY SETS UP IN CADIZ
A group of businesses in Cadiz are to invest 1,200 million pesetas in the creation of a new business to be called Quality Food. The company is to make pre-cooked Mediterranean style dishes for distribution around Spain, other European countries and LatinAMerica. The company will have around 200 employees, and is a completely new concept in Spain. It will offer a menu of around 140 different dishes to the hoteliers and wholesalers.
SOLDIERS INJURED IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
Seventeen soldiers were injured on Tuesday in a road traffic accident in Lucena, in Cordoba. The accident happened as a military lorry was overtaking the car in front of it and overturned. The lorry carrying infantry personnel was on its way to its base at Cerro Muriano, some 20 km north of Cordoba. The injured were taken to hopsital in Cabra and treated for various degrees of injury. Most were discharged within a short space of time, but five people were kept in hopsital under observation for head injuries. On eperson required surgery.
SPEND SPEND SPEND IN HOLY WEEK
The tourist sector is adding up the books after last week´s Holy Week holiday. Spending exceeded expectation, with a total of 41,000 million pesetas flying out of wallets across Andalucia. The average outlay per person per day reached almost 14 thousand pesetas, and hotel occupancy reached at 97% on Thursday and Friday. A spokesman for the sector said that predictions for the growth in tourism this summer were now standing at between 2.5 and 4.5%.
TRAIN STRIKE IN SEVILLE
RENFE workers have called a week-long strike in Seville to protest about their working conditions. Theyhave planned the industrial action for the week beginning April 27th, to coincide with the popular Seville feria.