News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week October 2nd to October 8th 2003.
Over 78 countries agree on a common database to combat terrorism
By Eve Gallagher and David Eade
POLICE FROM OVER 78 COUNTRIES ARE TO WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE A WORLDWIDE DATABASE THAT WILL BRING TOGETHER POLICE RECORDS FROM 181 COUNTRIES IN A RENEWED EFFORT TO HALT TERRORISM AND CRIME.
A database with the details of 250,000 stolen passports has been
created to enable police from 78 countries to find terrorists who
may be hiding under false names. The latest move against crime by
Interpol was announced at the organisation's 72nd Annual Conference
held in Benidorm, Alicante on Monday.
Jesús Espigares, president of Interpol, stated that world-wide co-ordination between police forces is essential in order to rout out terrorist groups. He went on to point out that closer co-operation between police from different countries should help clear up crimes that may otherwise go unresolved. However Sr Espigares declined to comment on the Costa del Sol murder cases when asked if there could have been a lack of co-ordination between Scotland Yard and the Spanish police.
LACK OF CO-ORDINATION IN THE 'KING CASE'
With regard to the Costa serial killer case, it has emerged that
in the investigation of both the Wanninkhof and Carabantes cases
there was a clear lack of co-ordination between the National Police
and the Guardia Civil. This has led to calls from the PSOE party
that the two independent police forces should merge, a proposal
which the Government, for the moment, declines to consider.
In the King case, the Guardia Civil claims that it has not had access to National Police data on sexual aggression since 1999. It has also now come to light that the two police forces do not share their case records and no register exists in the province of Málaga of people who are suspected of acts of violence.
Following these revelations, Spanish Minister of Interior Ángel Acebes has come under fierce criticism in both chambers of the national parliament. Members of the Congress and the Chamber of Deputies are also angry at the lack of information on the case, complaining that the Government has said little, leaving them reliant on press reports.
FULL INVESTIGATION PROMISED
In response, Sr Acebes has promised a full investigation into the
case looking at both the content of information passed from police
in the UK and also at the investigations by the Guardia Civil into
the Rocío Wanninkhof's murder. He has assured both parliament
chambers that he will give an official and definitive report in
the near future.
NATO INCREASES SECURITY IN THE STRAITS
By David Eade
THE SPANISH COASTLINE OF THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR AND VERY SPECIALLY THE ZONE OF CÁDIZ IS THE SUBJECT OF INTENSE ANTI-TERRORIST ACTIVITY UNDER THE NATO OPERATION CODENAMED 'ESFUERZO ACTIVO'.
This fact was made public by the Naval Chief of Allied Forces
in Central Europe (AFSOUTH), the Italian Vice Admiral Ferdinando
Sanfelice di Monteforte. He was speaking at the Split naval base
in Croatia during international naval exercises in the Adriatic.
Admiral Sanfelice stated that the latest phase of 'Esfuerzo Activo' had been operating for the past eight months in the waters off the provinces of Málaga and Cádiz. He claimed that the exercise had been a model of political and military co-operation between the countries of the NATO alliance.
He said that over 300 missions had been carried out in the Straits of Gibraltar by warships, aircraft and helicopters drawn from Spain, the USA, Denmark and Norway. He classified the naval-air operations in the Straits as one of the most important on-going anti-terrorist operations.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CURTAILED
In addition to the war against terrorism NATO forces were now getting
involved in the prevention of the exploitation of illegal immigrants
as they attempt to cross from the south to the north of the Straits.
Sanfelice added that NATO would be developing its responsibilities
in this area.
Currently there are eight naval vessels patrolling the Straits of Gibraltar under NATO command compared with six guarding the access to the Suez Canal. The present fleet includes patrol boats, frigates and destroyers from the USA, the UK, France, Italy and Spain operating in the international waters of the Mar de Alborán and the Golfo de León.
Sources at the SHAPE command have stated that the numbers of aircraft and helicopters involved in operation 'Esfuerzo Activo' would be greatly increased in the coming weeks. At present three squadrons of helicopters from the Spanish Navy and EP-3 Orion spy planes from the US Fleet, all based at Rota, are patrolling the zone.
GREEN LIGHT FOR FUENGIROLA TO ALGECIRAS RAIL LINK
News Staff Reporter
The coastline train that will run 115 kilometres connecting Fuengirola
with Algeciras has been given government approval. Central government
has ordered a million-euro study to be carried out by engineering
experts which is due to be finished in 16 months time at the start
of 2005. This is the second such study to be undertaken, as regional
government has commissioned a 550,000-euro project on extending
the line to Manilva.
The project to extend the line from Fuengirola to Cádiz Province was reactivated in 2000, some 20 years after the idea was first proposed. Once central government study has been received in 2005 it will be put out to tender. Officials at the ministry of public works in Madrid have stated that work could start in 2008 and the rail link would be in service by 2011 at a projected cost of 750 million euros.
It is believed that the route of the rail connection will run close to the new A-7 toll motorway, which at present passes through a largely unpopulated zone. The imminent liberalisation of the railway sector opens up the possibility of private participation in the construction of the Fuengirola to Algeciras line as well as an extension to Nerja, which is also under consideration by regional government.
FUENGIROLA LOOKS FORWARD TO ITS FERIA
By David Eade
Over 7,000 people took part on Sunday in the annual 'romería'
to the Loma de Fuengirola. The procession in honour of the town's
patron, the Virgen del Rosario, dates back over decades and is full
of local traditions. The new councillor for fiestas, Ángela
Belmonte, said more 'romeros' accompanied the virgin this year and
the town was looking forward to a very successful feria.
The 'romería' is the annual prelude to Fuengirola's feria which will take place this year between October 6 - 12. The traditional 'pregón' opening the celebrations will be delivered on October 6 by 6-year-old María Moreno Lopéz who will be accompanied by a group of children who recently performed in the musical 'Annie'.
Horses have always been featured strongly in the Fuengirola feria and this year is no exception. There will be equiestrian events on October 9 and 10 including the national carriage championships. Rocío Jorado will perform in concert on October 7 followed by Chambao on the 10th.
AXARQUÍA BENEFITS FROM HEALTH CENTRE SHAKE-UP
News of developments spreads across the region
By Dave Jamieson
AN ACCORD BETWEEN THE JUNTA DE ANDALUCÍA AND MÁLAGA DIPUTACIÓN MEANS THAT 1.25 MILLION EUROS WILL BE SPENT OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS ON EIGHT FACILITIES IN THE AXARQUÍA AND ONE IN RONDA.
Health delegate José Luis Marcos explained that some medical centres were over 15 years old and now need upgrading and expansion. In the Axarquía, Benamocarra will be home to a major health centre which will also serve Almáchar, El Borge and Iznate, whose residents will no longer have to make the journey to the Vélez North health centre in Vélez-Málaga. Other towns in the region to benefit will be Árchez, Canillas de Albaida, Comares, Cútar, Periana, Salares and Sedella, plus, in Ronda, Montejaque. In addition, the project has earmarked 230,00 euros for new consulting rooms at Almogía and Pizarra. The agreement follows one three years ago which saw over one million euros invested in construction or improving health facilities at 10 centres across the region.
NEW HEALTH CENTRE AT RINCÓN
Meanwhile, the Town Hall at Rincón de la Victoria says it wants to acquire land at La Cala del Moral for its new health centre. Discussions have started with the regional health authority to develop a plan for the centre which Mayor José Dominguez Palma says is required as the town continues to grow. However, one of the problems he faces is the situation of the site, which is south of the motorway. To finance the project, the Town Hall is proposing to auction building land for 176 houses at Parque Victoria.
....AND AT TORROX AND NERJA
Elsewhere, Torrox Town Hall has asked the Junta for the construction
of a new health centre, while the classification of the site of
Nerja's new health centre is to be changed. Nerja Town Hall has
announced that it will redefine the 7,500 square metre site, at
present a green zone, as an urban zone to permit construction. The
2,750,000 euro project, which will serve Maro and Frigiliana as
well as Nerja, is being funded equally by Nerja Town Hall and regional
PICASSO MUSEUM TO OPEN SHORTLY
By David Eade
More than 1,000 people recently gathered at the Mijas racetrack
to hear the president of regional government, Manuel Chaves, launch
the new Picasso Museum to the travel trade. Before he spoke delegates
saw a picture of Picasso displayed on a giant screen followed by
images of his work as they evolved through his various periods.
Once the opening ceremony was over he took the opportunity to impress
on the professionals of the Costa del Sol tourist sector the importance
of the art gallery that would open its doors to the world in Málaga
on October 27.
Sr Chaves admitted that many Spaniards were not aware of the fact that Picasso was a 'Malagueño'. He added that 66 million euros had been invested in establishing the museum in Málaga, the city of Picasso's birth. The impressive collection would feature more than 300 of his works as well as a complete programme of other activities. Sr Chaves stressed to the travel trade delegates that the new museum would greatly enrich the tourist offerings of Málaga City whilst enhancing the traditional tourist attractions of the Costa del Sol - the sun and beach.
FUTURE SUPPORT PROMISED FOR MÁLAGA
Mariano Rajoy assures city of maintained momentum
By Dave Jamieson
MARIANO RAJOY, THE MAN WHO MAY BECOME SPAIN'S NEXT PRESIDENT, HAS PROMISED FULL SUPPORT FOR PRESTIGIOUS PROJECTS IN THE CITY OF MÁLAGA.
Mariano Rajoy, presently secretary general of the Partido Popular, last week attended meetings in both Sevilla and Málaga, during his first visit to Andalucía since being named as José María Aznar's choice for the country's next leader. Speaking in the coastal capital, Sr Rajoy said he regarded Málaga as one of Spain's most important cities, whose success resulted from the "brilliant" management of former mayor Celia Villalobos, and the present mayor Francisco de la Torre. At a meeting of over 200 regional party delegates, he promised support for the city's principle current projects and problems, citing the airport, the second ring road, the arrival of AVE high speed trains, local rail services, the redevelopment of the port, and the Plan Guadalmedina. He singled out the new metro public transportation system for particular mention, promising to support it and to encourage the momentum of its development.
THINGS TO BE DONE
However, Sr Rajoy's upbeat comments came as the provincial delegate
for sport and tourism was calling for improvements in the capital,
ahead of the opening of the new Picasso museum later this month.
Carlos Bautista said he believed the museum would be a potent force
in attracting visitors to Málaga, but said that certain aspects
of the city needed attention. He alleged that the port redevelopment
had not yet been finalised and that the metro project was progressing
very slowly, adding that the AVE trains had not yet arrived.
Sr Bautista also drew attention to problems on the roads, citing 'the traffic jams which occur daily on Málaga's roads', and to the urgent need for a second runway at the airport. He concluded that the city was 'not prepared' for the great demand on its infrastructure which will result from the museum's opening.
On the other hand, an opinion poll indicates that visitors consider the city has already improved. Researchers interviewed 2,608 people in the departure lounge of Málaga Airport during May and June, and their findings suggest a perceived improvement in car hire, health assistance, public transport, security and taxis. Parking and provision of information were seen as inadequate, while a lack of value for money was criticised most by German tourists.
BRITISH CHILD IN KIDNAP SCARE
By David Eade
The local police in Benalmádena have arrested a 40-year-old
Italian-Argentinean man who is accused of a failed kidnapping attempt
of a British child. It is alleged that the man held the young boy
in his car, which was parked in the garage of a residential development,
for a period of between 5 and 10 minutes.
The police responded quickly once the alarm was raised by neighbours who heard the screams of the child's mother. According to eyewitness accounts the British mother was preparing to take her two sons to school when the detained man surprised them. The man, who was wearing a mask covering his face and waiving what resulted to be an imitation pistol, seized her six-year-old son and pushed him into his car.
Shortly after the police arrived and the man was arrested. He is being held by the police at the disposition of the Torremolinos No.3 Ccourt. It has been stated that he attempted a similar kidnap the previous week.
NERJA CAVES REVEAL MORE TREASURES
New galleries open to limited public access
News Staff Reporter
Nerja Caves Foundation has launched what it calls 'speleo-tourism'.
Some of the caverns not normally open to the public can now be accessed
privately by parties of 10 people at a cost of 90 euros. Guides
will lead visitors to the 'High Galleries' through three small chambers
into four larger caverns to see the Columns of Hercules, where some
important paintings can also be examined. The tour continues through
the Sala de Inmensidad and then the Sala de Lanza, named after a
huge stalactite which reaches from ceiling to floor. The final cavern,
the Sala de La Montaña, is the largest, with a volume of
250,000 square metres, and is also the highest point of the caves
complex, where the sediment left by an ancient subterranean river
can be seen. The visits, which will continue until May, must be
booked in advance.
The Caves Foundation has also launched a programme aimed at schools across Andalucía. Called 'Live Prehistory', it consists of a two-hour visit by up to 40 students at a time, during which all aspects of the public caverns and their surroundings are explained by guides. The project continues throughout the school year until next June.
For whom the bells toll
FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL
News Staff Reporter
Residents who live near the new church of the Virgen del Carmen
in the Avenida de Gamonal in Arroyo de la Miel are complaining about
the frequency of the bell tolling.
Antonio Sánchez, president of the property owner's association in the Edificio Iris stated: "We are not against the church, all we want is that they limit the use of the bells to calling people for mass."
Both residents and workers in the area are unhappy about the continuous tolling of the bells, which ring out four times an hour. Sr Sánchez added that apart from the frequency of the tolling, the bells rang out louder than is usual.
Residents in the area have visited the local parish priest but to no avail. Now they've signed a petition calling on the Town Hall to intercede and also intend to write to the bishop of Málaga.
However as far as parish priest Antonio Martín is concerned their protests are falling on deaf ears. He added that people should respect traditions and not be so difficult to please.