News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week October 23rd to October 29th 2003.
PICASSO RETURNS TO MÁLAGA
Picasso Museum opening marks the event of the year
By Dave Jamieson
WITH JUST FOUR DAYS TO GO, THE SCENE IS SET FOR MÁLAGA'S MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE YEAR - THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE PICASSO MUSEUM.
Workmen have been working frantically in the 10 streets around the renovated building, decorating façades, repairing street lighting and preparing the area for its Royal visit on Monday. The exhibits which will form a permanent collection of Picasso's work had all arrived safely by last Friday, and span his entire life - from a painting created in A Coruña when Picasso was 14 or 15 years old to his final works, dating from 1972, the year of his death at 91.
Speaking to journalists last week, Culture Delegate, Carmen Calvo, said that although 30 years had passed since his death, Picasso is 'more alive than ever in the emotions of the Andalucían people'. She stressed the accessibility of the new collection, which should have a wide public spanning all ages and conditions, adding that everything was ready for Monday's ceremony, to be attended by the King and Queen, the President of Andalucía, Manuel Chaves, and members of the Picasso family, as well as dozens of other invited guests.
'A DREAM COME TRUE'
The following day, Sra Calvo continued her hectic promotional round in Antequera where she addressed 400 representatives of inland tourism, assuring them that the museum's opening in the city of Málaga would create a tourism boom in the province's interior. Describing the opening as 'a dream come true', she said it would trigger an economic boost and create employment away from the coast. Studies indicate that the museum will generate a direct economic benefit to the province of around 30 million euros.
CELEBRATIONS SPAN FOUR DAYS
Celebrations begin tomorrow night with a huge open-air party in the city centre to which all Málaga residents have been invited, with a special moment at midnight to mark the 122nd anniversary of Picasso's birth on October 25, 1881. On Saturday, the artist's daughter-in-law, Christine Picasso, who, with her son, has donated many of the museum's exhibits, will meet the press, while the evening will see a special "corrida" at the city's bullring.
The centre point of celebrations will come at midday on Monday, when the King and Queen perform the museum's opening ceremony and tour the display of Picasso's works, before attending a reception in the Alcazaba. In the evening, the Granada singer Enrique Morente will sing at a grand dinner being arranged to mark Málaga's event of the year.
The museum will be open to the public from Tuesday and the demand for tickets is expected to be fierce, probably exceeding the limit of 700,000 admissions per year, imposed for reasons of security and conservation. Tickets cost 8 euros for admission to the entire complex, 6 euros to visit only the permanent collection of Picasso works, and 4.50 euros to see only the temporary exhibitions.
The over 65s, groups of more than 20 visitors, students and 10 to 14 year olds will enjoy a 50 per cent discount, while under 10s will get in free. The museum will be open from 10:00 until 20:00 from Tuesdays to Thursdays and on Sundays, and until 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. It will close all day on Mondays.
BRIT PAEDOPHILE BUSTED IN TORREMOLINOS
The man, posing as a talent agent, lured an 11-year-old girl to Madrid where she was sexually abused
By Oliver McIntyre
NATIONAL POLICE OFFICERS IN TORREMOLINOS HAVE ARRESTED A BRITISH MAN FOR ALLEGEDLY SEXUALLY ABUSING AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL, ALSO BRITISH, WHOM HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO HELP BREAK INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
The man, Frederick Wood (55), has a long police record in the UK, including five arrests for sexual offences against girls under the age of 14, and had two outstanding warrants for his arrest in Great Britain.
According to the police report, Wood approached the 11-year-old girl's parents in a karaoke bar, claiming to be famous British talent agent Simon Fuller of the 19 Management agency, discoverer of the Spice Girls and representative of Victoria Beckham (formerly Posh Spice). The man offered to take the young girl to Madrid to try out for a group being put together by a music promotion company there. He gave the parents 2,000 euros as an advance on future earnings.
Wood took the girl to Madrid on October 5 and returned her to her parents on October 8. Suspicious of the girl's behaviour and demeanour both during telephone calls from Madrid and upon her return home, the parents took her to be examined by a doctor, who identified signs of sexual abuse.
EVIDENCE FOUND AT COSTA HOMES
A subsequent search of the suspect's three Costa homes, in Mijas and Fuengirola, produced photographs of the girl asleep or drugged and undressed, being touched by an adult whose face is not shown. The police also found a video camera, a bottle of Noctomid (a sleeping-inducing medicine), sexual accessories, and fake contracts written for other 'clients'.
NEW LAW TO STIFFEN PENALTIES FOR DRUNK DRIVING
NEWS Staff Reporter
People driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will face stiffer penalties beginning next year, according to a set of measures passed last week by Spain's Council of Ministers. The measures are to be included in the National Road Safety Plan, expected to be passed into law by the end of this year by Parliament.
Under the new measures, driving drunk or while on drugs will carry potential jail terms of three to six months, as well as suspension of the driver's licence for anywhere between one and four years, and between 31 and 90 days of community service. Police officers will be able to confiscate the driver's license directly at the time of the arrest.
The changes regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol are just part of a list of 19 traffic-related measures approved by the council. Other items address things like driver education, driving without a licence or insurance, repeat offences, and other aspects of road safety and the enforcement of traffic laws. One measure aims to make motorbike owners pass ITV inspections in order to weed out those with illegal alterations made to the engines.
NERJA MAY YET GET RAIL LINK TO MÁLAGA
The possibility of a rail link between Málaga and Nerja has been raised once again. As part of a study by the Junta de Andalucía into the region's communications infrastructure, the director general of Planning for Public Works and Transport says that the project should not be forgotten. Carlos Miró said last week he was confident that the Ministry of Development will progress studies into the possibility of an eastern coastal railway as an extension of the existing line from Algeciras to Málaga. He said the idea was in the investigation stage at the Junta, but it was essential that central Government should be kept advised to ease the project's passage in the future.
Axarquía warned to prepare for demographic change
The Axarquía Town Halls which would benefit from the construction of a new coastal railway have also been told to prepare for an expected increase in population by developing a subregional urbanisation plan. A meeting of town mayors heard last week from the Junta's Public Works councillor, Concepción Gutiérrez, that Andalucía is anticipating two million new residents by the year 2015, radically altering its demographic profile. She explained existing projects to improve the infrastructure, and promised financial help from the regional government to the 18 municipalities of fewer than 20,000 residents in the Axarquía which do not have appropriate plans already in place.
'SETTLING OF ACCOUNTS' BLAMED FOR SWEDE'S DEATH
By David Eade
Officers of the Drugs and Organised Crime Unit (Udyco) of the National Police believe the reason for the murder of Swedish citizen, Carl Johan Philip Strömnes, was a 'settling of accounts'. Body parts of the 34-year-old were found at the waste processing plant in Casares as well as in a rubbish container in Marbella.
The information was given by the government's sub-delegate in Málaga province, Carlos Rubio. He said Strömnes had been a resident in Marbella, had been killed with a motor saw and had previous convictions in Spain for trafficking drugs and arms. Rubio added that Udyco believed that a 'settling of accounts' was a possible motive for the crime given his line of work. However as Strömnes had been implicated in the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 2000 a 'crime passionnel' could not be ruled out.
Sources close to the investigation of Strömnes death said they were able to make the first identification when they recovered his disfigured head. Police scientists were able to match it with photographs held on file at which point they realised the victim was a habitual offender well known to the force in Marbella.
Marbella police had detained Strömnes in 2000 in connection with the murder of his ex-girlfriend who had been shot in the head. However he was eventually released due to lack of evidence and the case was finally closed as being a suicide. The year previous Strömnes had also attracted the interest of the police as he shared with four others the ownership of Marina Marbella. One of their number, A.F, was being investigated over the murder of Mafioso Jan Nylander.
The first of the body parts were discovered at the Casares waste processing plant by workers who spotted them as they fell from an open rubbish bag. The other parts were found in a rubbish container at an urbanisation in Nueva Andalucía. Investigators found no personal objects on the body, which was naked and had been washed to remove fingerprints. A post mortem is now being carried out to ensure all the body parts belong to the same person.
GIBRALTAR HOPES FOR A ROYAL VISIT
By David Eade
THE GIBRALTAR GOVERNMENT HAS MADE NO SECRET OF THE FACT THAT IT HOPES FOR A ROYAL VISIT IN 2004, BUT THE CONTROVERSIAL ROLE OF THE ROCK IN SPANISH-BRITISH RELATIONS MAY MAKE SUCH A VISIT DIFFICULT.
Next year is the 300th anniversary of Britain's occupation of Gibraltar and there will be yearlong celebrations to commemorate the event. The vast majority of Gibraltarians are hoping that the Queen or another senior royal will mark the anniversary with an official visit.
At a recent press conference, Gibraltar's Minister for Tourism, Joe Holliday, declined to state whether a royal visit is a certainty. He confirmed that an official invitation had been extended to HM Queen Elizabeth II, and that a reply will be sent to the Gibraltar Government via normal protocol.
The Queen has only visited Gibraltar once, shortly after her Coronation, as part of a world tour of the Commonwealth. Prince Charles and Princess Diana sailed from Gibraltar on their honeymoon, an act that caused the King Juan Carlos of Spain to boycott their wedding. Prince Edward made a short stopover in his role as head of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, whilst The Duke of York has passed through Gibraltar airport on his way to play golf in Sotogrande.
QUEEN VISIT UNLIKELY
If the Queen did decide to visit Gibraltar to celebrate its 300th anniversary it could cause widespread protests in Spain. Given the current close friendship between Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his Spanish counterpart, José María Aznar, many doubt the Government would approval such a visit. As the Queen would likely not agree to a visit without her Prime Minister's approval, the best Gibraltar can probably hope for is a visit from a younger member of the House of Windsor.
The yearlong schedule of 300th anniversary events on the Rock will highlight the British identity in Gibraltar society. They will start on New Year's Eve with the now traditional party in Casemates Square.
DEFENCE SEEKS UK POLICE RECORD DEAD BABY'S FATHER
By Oliver McIntyre
The defence lawyer for the Finnish woman in Archidona whose baby died under suspicious circumstances in April has requested that the court solicit information regarding any possible police record the baby's British father may have in the UK. When the baby died, it was at first believed to be a case of sudden infant death syndrome, but an autopsy revealed two small baby-wipe towels lodged in the baby's throat.
Both parents were arrested, although the mother was released on bail while the father has been held in jail pending trial. In their initial statements to the court, the man and woman each blamed each other for the baby's death. The 28-year-old mother, A.M.K., accused the father, P.D.L. (37), of threatening her and questioning the paternity of the three-and-a-half-month-old boy. She also said that, in the course of an argument shortly before the infant's death, he had made a detailed calculation of how much the baby would cost the couple over a twenty-year period.
MAYALL HEADS FOUR DAYS OF MÁLAGA JAZZ
Line up for city music festival unveiled
By Dave Jamieson
ONE OF THE GREAT BLUES MUSICIANS OF THE PRESENT DAY, JOHN MAYALL, IS TO BE AMONGST THE STAR ATTRACTIONS IN AN ECLECTIC LINE UP FOR NEXT MONTH'S MÁLAGA JAZZ FESTIVAL.
The 18th annual celebration of jazz and blues opens on November 5, but undoubtedly the appearance two days later of John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers will be the highlight for many. Mayall, a father of six and grandfather of six who will be 70 on November 29, has been performing publicly since the 50s and his visit to the Theatre Cervantes is part of a month-long tour of Spain, Portugal, Austria and Italy. The Málaga event opens with a mixture of hip-hop, rap and jazz from Roy Hargrove, also at the Teatro Cervantes, and the modern jazz piano of Jason Moran at the Sala Romero Esteo. Next day, November 6, the Chick Corea trio play at the Cervantes while the Catalan saxophonist Alfons Carrascosa and Madrid guitarist Joaquín Chacón are at the Romero Esteo.
MAYALL ON NOVEMBER 7
John Mayall's appearance on the 7th is supported by The Missing Stompers, playing New Orleans jazz, and the Granada clarinettist Arturo Cid. The final concert on Saturday November 8 at the Cervantes brings together the Danish Radio Big Band and the legendary harmonica player Jimmy "Toots" Thielmans.
Launching the programme last week, the festival's director, Javier Domínguez, described the event as, 'four days, eight concerts, 59 musicians filled with spontaneity, improvisation, imagination and applause'.
FUENGIROLA'S MOTORISTS ASKED TO BE PATIENT
News Staff Reporter
Fuengirola's councillor responsible for traffic flow, Justina Martín, has stated that now is the time for residents to be public spirited and exercise commonsense as serious road jams hit the town. Both these qualities will be in great demand as motorists confront the traffic chaos in Fuengirola and Las Lagunas which could continue to March 2004.
Traffic seldom flows freely in Fuengirola but the situation has been made worse with the new project to build a bridge across the river to the town's castle plus new access roads. This has caused the closure of the roundabouts at Myramar and Residencia which daily handle 24,000 vehicles forcing traffic to gain access to the N-340 via the roundabouts on the old Camino de Coín and McDonalds intersections.
These two roundabouts and the access roads are having to carry 76,000 vehicles a day hence the widespread traffic chaos. The congestion is at its worst between 12.30 and 15.30 then from 17.30 to 20.30. Police will now be on duty at the various black spots to ease traffic flow and motorists coming from Málaga and Marbella are urged to use the paseo marítimo, which up till now has seen no delays.
BENAGALBÓN GIVES UP ITS ROMAN SECRETS
By Dave Jamieson
DETAILS OF MORE ANCIENT REMAINS EAST OF MÁLAGA HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED.
An important Roman villa was found three months ago at Benagalbón, near Rincón de la Victoria, during the construction of a block of 63 apartments. Rincón Town Hall imposed a halt to the building work in the immediate area so that archaeologists could study the find which is said to be very well preserved, with walls of over 1.3 metres in height and a total of eight stunning mosaics, along with a marble statue, thought to represent the god Bacchus.
Details now released date the building to the second half of the third century while experts have described it as 'spectacular' and as one of the most important discoveries in the province of Málaga. The authorities are meeting the site's owner to discuss how the remains could be incorporated into the building due to be constructed there.
CONCERN FOR NEW ARAB REMAINS FOUND IN NERJA
Meanwhile, concern has been expressed that recently discovered Arab remains in Nerja have been left unprotected. The 2,000 square metre area where graves were unearthed during excavation work for the autovía extension near Maro (CDSN October 16-22) is reported to have been left only with a thin tape security barrier. Experts fear that a rainstorm plus numerous uncontrolled visitors over the recent holiday weekend may have caused damage to the site.
ARROYO DE LA MIEL BAR OWNERS WANT FOUNTAIN BACK
By Oliver McIntyre
THE OWNERS OF THE 'FOUNTAIN BAR' IN ARROYO DE LA MIEL'S PLAZA DE ESPAÑA ARE SEEKING TO BRING BACK THE DECORATIVE FOUNTAIN AFTER WHICH THE BAR TOOK ITS NAME.
The fountain, a large, round cement-and-brick monument, was removed as part of a restoration project in the plaza and the surrounding area, according to Benalmádena Mayor Enrique Bolín. But what replaced the old fountain in the plaza is a far cry from the original running-water feature - what's there now is essentially a large drinking fountain.
The Friends of the Fountain, as bar owner Joe Calvert and his supporters are calling themselves, began a signature-gathering campaign three weeks ago in support of re-creating the old fountain. They have gathered around a thousand signatures on their petition, which they planned to present at Town Hall earlier this week, one year after the original fountain was removed. Their goal is to try to convince the local politicians to re-build the plaza's central feature, which they believe was a unique attraction that provided character and reflected the area's history.
The removal of the fountain hasn't hurt business, Mr Calvert told CDSN, emphasising that 'that's definitely not the reason' behind the effort to have it replaced. Nor is he worried about the name of the bar no longer being relevant to the plaza's decor.
Although he and his partners have only been operating the bar for 18 months, Mr Calvert noted that some of the customers of his and another bar in the plaza have been going there for over 20 years. "The character has been destroyed" for those people, Mr Calvert said. "We haven't got the feature that was here."
According to Mr Calvert, the petition is being supported not just by bar customers, but also by nearly all of the residents in the plaza and many in the surrounding area. He estimated that about 60 per cent of the signatures are from foreign residents and visitors, and around 40 per cent from Spanish residents.
Although he had not yet seen the actual petition, Mayor Bolín commented last week that the changes in the plaza were intended as improvements to the area. He also indicated that there were no protests or opposition to the plans when the project was being designed and implemented.