News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week November 28th to December 4th
COSTA CLAMPDOWN ON BEGGING
Courts move to block exploitation of minors
By Danny Collins
IN A MOVE TO BLOCK THE USE OF MINORS BY ROMANIAN BEGGARS IN SPAIN'S TOURIST AREAS, COURTS WILL NOW HAND DOWN PRISON SENTENCES TO THE ADULT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHILD'S WELFARE.
Wednesday saw the first of many trials, when two Romanian immigrants faced charges in a Costa Criminal Court of inducing minors to beg in the streets. If found guilty, each will be sentenced to a minimum six months in prison.
Meanwhile, local police in major coastal cities and towns have identified hundredsof adult immigrants who regularly use children to accost passers-by, feigning hunger and preying on public sympathy to earn up to 300 euros a day - money which is then passed to their 'keepers' hovering nearby.
A police spokesman told Costa del Sol News: "It has been a vicious circle; up to now the adults arrested have been passed to the courts and the children placed in the care of regional government - but the adults were released on bail and the children escaped and were back begging on the streets within a few hours."
'THROUGHOUT THE COSTA'
Although centred in the main tourist areas, the plague of street begging is prevalent throughout the Costas, with aggressive begging now becoming a cause of major concern. Police have received many complaints of violent gangs attacking cars at traffic lights upon refusal and of squirting detergent in the faces of motorists. They also warn that many immigrant women begging with children in arms are adept pickpockets, working in groups of eight or more who surround their distracted victim.
A major Spanish NGO which works with immigrants has admitted that the Romanians have 'no desire to integrate'. A spokesman reported: "These people readily accept any material aid we offer them, but refuse to compromise by sending their children to school. The minors are obviously more useful begging in the streets."
The beggar invasion of the Costas has provided ammunition for anti-immigrant groups, who claim unfettered admission without stringent police background checks is directly responsible for the massive rise in burglaries and street crime. On one occasion, police reported that the unauthorised arrival on private land of a Romanian caravan convoy, which has now been moved on by police, coincided with 10 car break-ins in one night in an adjoining municipality.
SUPERTANKERS THREAT TO THE COSTA
Málaga delegate warns of oil dangers to southern Mediterranean
By David Eade
IN THE WAKE OF THE GALICIAN DISASTER SURROUNDING THE STRICKEN OIL TANKER PRESTIGE, REGIONAL GOVERNMENT DELEGATE IN MÁLAGA, IGNACIO TRILLO, HAS VOICED HIS CONCERNS ON THE THREAT TO THE COSTA DEL SOL AND COSTA DE LA LUZ.
Sr Trillo warns that an average total of 90 supertankers pass through the Straits of Gibraltar each day. These bring with them the risk of an environmental tragedy to the Straits itself, the Mar de Alborán off Málaga's coastline and to the Mediterranean and Atlantic in general.
The Málaga delegate stated that 90 per cent of the world's crude oil production sailed close to the Andalucían coast. He called upon central government in Madrid to exercise "better control and more vigilance" so as to avoid a similar catastrophe to that which has occurred in Galicia. Official statistics reveal that since August 2000 a total of 40 oil spillages have been detected in the Straits of Gibraltar, all of them in the Mediterranean area. Sr Trillo criticised the Ministry of Public Works for "avoiding its responsibility" in facing the possibility of an ecological disaster occurring in the region again, as it did in Cádiz and Málaga in 2000 when central government refused economic aid.
He went on to accuse central government of discriminating against autonomous regions that are not ruled by the PP, and pointed to the contrast between Cádiz and Málaga in 2000 and Galicia today. The Galician region was immediately declared a disaster area and received more than 27 million euros in initial aid.
MYSTERY OF COÍN COMMERCIAL CENTRE STANDSTILL
NEWS Staff Reporter
The work on the new La Trocha commercial centre in Coín has come to a standstill. According to representatives of the socialist group at the local town hall the building work has come to a halt because of a dispute between the centre's owners and the construction company.
The spokesman for the socialists, Gabriel Clavijo, attacked the town hall for the lack of information about the current situation. He also stated that as far as he was aware no licence had been issued for the project, neither for preparing the site or the eventual construction. Clavijo added that the road's authority had issued a sanction against the construction works as the site had included an area previously allocated for a road development. He said: "it is clear that 25 metres of the zone reserved for the road has disappeared."
Clavijo accused the Town Hall of playing with a project that is very important to the future of Coín. For his part, local Mayor Juan José Rodríguez, stated: "We are working to find a solution and to make sure that the commercial centre goes ahead."
BRIT CASH FOR GIBRALTAR'S MILITARY INSTALLATIONS
Rock named as 'major part of UK global defences'
By David Eade
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED THAT OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS IT WILL INCREASE ITS INVESTMENT IN THE MILITARY BASES ON GIBRALTAR AFTER BRITAIN'S MILITARY FORCES MINISTER, ADAM INGRAM, STRESSED THAT THE ROCK WAS AN IMPORTANT LOGISTICAL CENTRE FOR THE UK.
On a recent familiarisation visit to Gibraltar, Mr Ingram said Gibraltar was a major part of Britain's global defences. The military facilities on the Rock were of vital importance in the fight against global terrorism and the other threats currently faced by the world.
The Minister refused to be drawn on whether security at the various bases on the Rock would be improved in the light of the discovery of planned al-Qa'ida attacks on NATO shipping in the Straits of Gibraltar. He declined to discuss such security issues but said investment would be made in other areas.
NO TO BENALMÁDENA'S BIG IDEA
NEWS Staff Reporter
The political battle over 'Edificio Singular', a large building of at least 15 floors to be built in Arroyo de la Miel, continues. This week work is due to start on the underground carpark beneath the building. However, the PSOE spokesman, Juan Cañete, has demanded that regional government take action to stop the project.
Sr Cañete has denounced the works as illegal and insists that regional government undertakes a town planning inspection of the building works. He claims that there is no record of the development having been approved by the provincial town planning commission and it should therefore be halted.
MÁLAGA'S NEW CITY PARK
Completion of Guadalhorce improvements leads to leisure
By Dave Jamieson
THE BANKS OF THE GUADALHORCE RIVER ARE SET TO BECOME THE BIGGEST CITY PARK IN MÁLAGA, WITH THE RIVER'S FINAL SIX KILOMETRES FROM CAMPANILLAS TO THE ESTUARY TRANSFORMED INTO A GREEN LEISURE ZONE FOR THE CAPITAL.
An agreement, between the Town Hall and Confederación Hidrográfica del Sur to develop the area in a 3.6 million euro project will see both sides of the river become "zones which break the monotony of the concrete" according to Málaga's Mayor, Francisco de la Torre. The floods of 1989 prompted the water authorities to launch a major programme to improve the flow of the Guadalhorce, removing the threat to the city presented by heavy rainfall. Now that 12 years of work has been completed at a cost of more than 42 million euros, the new project will be a restoration exercise, planting 68,000 shrubs and trees over 170 hectares. The transformation will be made throughout next year, creating the most extensive green space in the city of Málaga, which, last week, continued its policy of parks development with the opening of the 1.3 million euro Parque Los Angeles in the Palma-Palmilla area.
WHO DARES, SIGNS
By Marie Iddon
Chris Ryan, the Ex-SAS member and best selling author of military action and suspense novels was recently in Fuengirola signing copies of his latest book, Land Of Fire. Ryan was awarded the Military Medal in 1991 after his return to safety following an epic escape and evasion from Iraq after the 'Bravo Two Zero' mission was compromised.
He is pictured with one of his biggest fans, Alex Thomson, the Director of Bars, Restaurants and Entertainment at Club Marbella, Sitio Calahonda, who has bought all his novels and was thrilled to meet his hero and get some copies signed.