News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week February 6th to February 12th
OUTCRY FOLLOWS FATAL ACCIDENT
Death of two British pedestrians leads to petition for road safety
By Oliver McIntyre
A GROUP OF ESTEPONA RESIDENTS IS COLLECTING SIGNATURES ON A PETITION DEMANDING SAFETY INPROVEMENTS AFTER THE RECENT ACCIDENT ON THE N-340 AT EL SALADILLO.
The petition comes in response to the deaths of seven-year-old Ashleigh Harvey and her 76-year-old great grandmother Gladys Ford who, as Costa del Sol News reported two weeks ago, were killed while attempting to cross the roadway in order to reach the Mercadona supermarket on the other side.
'Ashleigh's Appeal', as the petition effort is known, calls for the installation of higher barriers along the road and, ultimately, a new walkway to be built near the place where the accident occurred. A spokesperson for the signature campaign confirmed that the nearest existing overpass is about 400 metres up the road, at Benavista.
Giles Brown, a friend of the victims' family helping with the signature drive, told Costa del Sol News that the group has 'posted the petition in every gas station from Estepona to Marbella'. Mr Brown expects the signature-gathering phase of the campaign to be complete by sometime in April, at which point the group will submit the petition to Estepona Town Hall. The goal, Mr Brown explained to CDSN, is to show the Town Hall that residents are concerned about safety along the N-340 roadway and would like to see specific steps taken to improve it. "We're not trying to collect money or throw big fund-raising galas," said Mr Brown, "we're just collecting signatures to make our point about safety concerns."
Ashleigh's mother Alicia says that she and her family have experienced 'an immense, heartfelt response from both the expatriate and Spanish community'. " Now," she says, "we can only hope that some good will come out of our terrible loss." Signatures are being collected in restaurants, bars, supermarkets and schools and may also be sent by fax on 952 80 63 83
ALGECIRAS TO BE CENTRE FOR OPERATION AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
By David Eade
SPAIN'S MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR, ÁNGEL ACEBES, RECENTLY PRESENTED 'OPERATION ULYSSES', THE FIRST PART OF A EUROPEAN UNION PLAN TO TRACK THE MOVEMENTS OF VESSELS USED IN ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.
'Operation Ulysses', to be based in the Campo de Gibraltar port of Algeciras, will be a joint venture between Spain, the UK, Italy, Portugal and France. Sr Acebes stated that the multi-national nature of this venture could constitute the germ for a future policing of frontiers by the European Union.
Participating in 'Operation Ulysses' will be two patrol boats of the Guardia Civil, the Río Guadiaro and Río Pisuerga. They will be joined by four other vessels one each from the UK, France, Portugal and Italy. The Río Pisuerga, which is based in Algeciras, will be operating in Italian waters. This pilot operation will be carried out in two phases. From February 8 they will be only monitoring the area of the Mediterranean. However, this will be later extended to include the Atlantic zone of the Sahara, which includes the maritime frontier of the Canary Islands.
Whilst only five European Union countries will be involved in 'Operation Ulysses' other nations will be sending observers. The observers will come from Greece, Norway, Holland, Germany, Poland and Austria, which could lead to their incorporation into a future multi-national plan.
SIX-MILE FILTER ZONE
According to the Ministry of the Interior, the European vessels participating in 'Operation Ulysses' will establish a rectangular filter zone of six miles wide. The different radars of the patrol boats in the zone will be used to identify and detect whether a legitimate ship or an illegal immigrant bearing 'patera' is passing through the imaginary maritime frontier. All vessels in the filter zone will have to be identified and inspected in accordance with international norms.
Stressing that 'Operation Ulysses' was aimed at stopping illegal immigration, Minister Acebes stated that: "Spain and Europe must be a territory of refuge, a space of liberty, of security and generous justice for legal immigration."
TORROX CAR CRASH TRAGEDY KILLS FOUR
Town practically shuts down as mark of respect
By Dave Jamieson
Four members of the same young family have died in a tragic road accident on the N-340 coast road at Mezquitilla, near Torrox. Their car collided with a van, killing the 35-year-old father, a builder, and his son of just five months at the scene, while the 29-year-old mother and their five-year-old daughter both died next day. The 53-year-old van driver was taken to hospital with light injuries, and was reported to be receiving psychiatric help for severe depression. Torrox declared three days of mourning for the loss of a well-known local family, with businesses closing and streets remaining empty. Police estimate around 7,000 people - more than half the town's population - turned out for the family's funeral, with residents gathering from early in the morning and following the coffins through the streets.
While investigations continued, Tráfico's first comments on the cause of the tragedy were that the van was travelling on the wrong side of the road when it collided head-on with the family's car.
TORREMOLINOS TEAR DOWN
Town Hall orders demolition of homes due to illegal construction
By Oliver McIntyre
TORREMOLINOS TOWN HALL, IN A RARE MOVE, HAS ORDERED THE DEMOLITION OF SEVERAL RESIDENTIAL UNITS IN THE TOWN BECAUSE THEY WERE BUILT ILLEGALLY
The units in question do not meet the guidelines of the municipality's urban grown plan (PGOU). The order calls for the demolition of a 70-square-metre penthouse unit built atop the Leo apartment building on Pizarro de Torremolinos, as well as several residential units converted from commercial spaces on Calle Carmen de la Carihuela.
According to the Town Hall, there is no way to legalise and bring within PGOU guidelines the residences in question, leaving the tear-down order as the only recourse. Urban councillor Ramón del Cid stated that there was no way around the fact that the buildings must be returned to their 'original state'.
The only recent precedent for such a tear-down order from Torremolinos Town Hall came in 2001, when it demanded the dismantling of a penthouse on top of a 21-unit apartment building. In that case, the demolition was ordered because the penthouse unit put the building above the maximum height allowed in the town's PGOU.
LOTTERY SCAM UNCOVERED IN MALAGA
Worldwide fraud originated in province's capital
By Dave Jamieson
Three Nigerian nationals have been detained in Málaga for a fraud involving the Primitiva lottery. The trio are accused of sending a huge number of letters by fax, post and email to businesses around the world stating they had been selected to participate in a club investing in Primitiva draws, ahead of an international promotion of the game. Later letters claimed millions had been won, that the cash had been banked but to active the account, victims should deposit some of their own money.
The group was arrested when trying to withdraw cash from an account which they opened using forged papers, and they are believed to have taken about 20,000 euros in the scam. Police said they were the fifth group of Nigerians specialising in such frauds which had been broken up in Málaga in recent years.
BRITISH VETS GIVE FREE CAT STERILISATIONS ON COSTA
Effort to control stray cat populations hit glitch in Benalmadena
By Oliver McIntyre
SAVE OUR STRAYS (SOS), AN NGO RUN BY BRITISH RESIDENTS IN MIJAS, IS WORKING TOGETHER WITH A GROUP IN ENGLAND TO PROVIDE FREE STERILISATION SURGERY TO STRAY CATS ON THE COSTA.
The organisation in England, known as Friends of the Ferals, raised the money necessary to bring a team of 10 volunteers to Málaga, including three veterinarians and two veterinary nurses. This week the team has been working with additional local volunteers to catch and sterilise stray cats in Benalmádena and Marbella.
LOCAL AUTHORITIES STEP IN
The volunteers ran into problems on Monday, when their operation in Benalmádena was shut down by local authorities. The group was using an apartment unit in the Benal Beach complex - donated by the Benal Beach Kingfisher Club - to perform the surgical procedures on the cats. The local police along with Benalmádena Public Health councillor Enrique Moya, arrived at the scene and notified the volunteers that the apartment was not a legal facility for performing animal surgery. Sr Moya, who is also a veterinarian, ordered that the group halt its activities in the apartment, but offered the use of his own veterinary clinic on the next day, when the group planned to treat strays from the Benalmádena Marina area.
Sr Moya told Costa del Sol News that he appreciated what the group was doing, but maintained that in the future the volunteer effort should be better co-ordinated with the local authorities, in order to ensure that all local regulations and requirements were met. "Their only mistake," said councillor Moya, "was that performing surgical operations in an apartment is not permitted. They should have notified the Town Hall and the Association of Veterinarians."
STERILISATION CAMPAIGN GOES AHEAD
Valerie Sinclair, head of the English group Friends of the Ferals, told CSDN that the volunteer team generally treats around 50 cats a day. On Sunday and Monday (prior to the operations in the apartment being shut down), the group treated over 70 cats from the Benal Beach area, performing sterilisation surgery and a general health check. From Benalmádena, the group moved on to Marbella, where they had previously arranged for the use of a clinic. According to Mrs Sinclair, "sterilisation is considered by the World Society for the Protection of Animals to be the most effective and humane method for controlling stray cat populations."
NERJA'S SAND, PASEO AND WATER PROBLEMS
PSOE deputy critical of investments and inaction
By Dave Jamieson
Nerja has been severely criticised by a socialist deputy. Miguel Angel Heredia also blamed central government, and particularly the Ministry of the Environment, for the state of the town's La Torrecilla beach, the closure of the pedestrian walkway from Burriana Beach, and the delay in construction of the new water purifying plant. In a press statement, Sr Heredia said he could not understand the investment of 1.2 million euros made to regenerate and stabilise La Torrecilla beach, which appears to have done no good at all with sea action washing away sand once again. Water damage also appears to have damaged the foundations of the recently completed promenade. According to Sr Heredia, the delay on the water project means that Nerja has failed to comply with a community directive on water treatment, finalised a year ago, and that a recent parliamentary question revealed that no date was yet fixed for work to begin.
ANDALUCIA SEEKS US MARKET FOR OLIVE OIL
Regional government launches two-year, two-million euro campaign
By Oliver McIntyre
ASK THE AVERAGE AMERICAN WHERE GOOD OLIVE OIL COMES FROM, AND YOU'LL HEAR ONE WORD: ITALY. ANDALUCÍA'S REGIONAL GOVERNMENT WANTS TO CHANGE THAT.
And to do so, it has just launched a two-year, two-million-euro campaign to promote Andalucían olive oil to the American consumer.
The campaign was officially introduced last week at New York's Museum of Natural History, where 500 VIPs where invited to enjoy some of Andalucía's finest cooking - focusing, of course, on one very important liquid ingredient. Chef's from some of the best restaurants in Andalucía (including Santiago Domínguez of Marbella's Restaurante Santiago, José Carlos García of Málaga's Café de París, and Daniel García of Trabagabuches in Ronda) worked their magic on a variety of olive oil-based dishes. Even the desserts were made using Andalucía's "liquid gold" as an important ingredient. As part of the promotional effort, regional government plans to provide free olive oil to a selection of New York's best restaurants for one year. The campaign will also include print, radio and television advertising, as well as point-of-sale promotions in stores, restaurants and hotels. After its official kick-off party last week in New York, the campaign is set to get underway in earnest this April, when its focus will shift to the state of Florida, which has been identified as a region of particularly high olive oil consumption. During the next two years, the effort will focus on several other target areas of the country with large Latin American populations, such as California and Texas.
PRODUCTION ON THE UP
Regional government's campaign to win over the American consumer comes in response to several factors in the market. One is the fact that olive oil production is currently increasing at a faster rate than consumption. Another is the surprising statistic that, despite Spain being the world's largest producer of olive oil, Italy commands nearly 73 per cent of U.S. importation. In fact, Italy, which is the destination of about a third of all olive oil exported from Spain, bottles much of that Spanish oil under Italian labels for exportation to the United States.