News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week June 3rd to June 9th 2004.
ROYAL NAVY CLOAK AND DAGGER
Spain investigates clandestine mission of British Navy in Málaga
Costa del Sol Newsdesk
SPAIN'S NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE CENTRE (CNI) IS INVESTIGATING THE CASE OF TWO MEN IDENTIFIED AS ROYAL BRITISH NAVY SPECIAL FORCES WHO WERE STOPPED BY POLICE IN MÁLAGA IN THE EARLY HOURS.
The men were travelling in a Volkswagen van with Gibraltar number plates. Málaga local police officers were suspicious after observing the van near a city beach at around 02.00. Suspecting it might be involved in a drug-trafficking operation, the police followed the van as it made its way from a beach on the west side of town to the Peñon del Cuervo on the city's easternmost coast.
When the van was pulled over, the police found military supplies, including outboard motors, an inflatable Zodiac-type boat and locked boxes bearing the Royal Navy logo. The men identified themselves as being from the Royal British Navy and indicated they were on a mission to transport military equipment from England to Gibraltar.
In an attempt to confirm the men's statements, the police contacted the Guardia Civil and Spanish military bases, as well as the British consulate and the Gibraltar police. They were unable to satisfactorily verify the situation and finally got in contact with Chief Commander Coleman of the Royal British Navy base in Gibraltar. Initial reports confirmed that the men were from the Navy and were transporting materials to be used in tactical manoeuvres. Chief Commander Coleman added that normally the work would have been carried out either by boat or plane but that due to the majority of the forces being deployed to Iraq they had decided to bring the material by land.
NAVY MEN RELEASED
The Navy men were released by the police at about 06.00. Now the Spanish CNI is looking into the details of the situation and the exact nature of the mission they were carrying out. The nuclear submarine HMS Trenchant was docked for five days in Gibraltar just prior to the incident, but had already set sail on May 15.
Costa del Sol News contacted the British Embassy in Madrid for additional information or comment on the situation, but by press time the situation had still not been clarified.
Homeowners associations must declare income
By Oliver McIntyre
MANY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS HAVE NOT MET THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING AN INCOME DECLARATION TO HACIENDA FOR ANNUAL REVENUE OF OVER 3,000 EUROS GENERATED OUTSIDE OF HOMEOWNERS’ DUES.
The income typically comes from renting out commercial space or flats in the building or selling usage rights to roof space for the installation of mobile-telephone antennas. The official deadline for filing the declaration was March 30, but those that missed the deadline can still do it now.
According to Hacienda, the requirement is not new, but the filing process was formalised in recent legislation that went into effect just two months before the filing deadline.
‘MODELO 184’ TO BE USED
The new system requires the use of form ‘Modelo 184’, including the name and Fiscal Identification Number (NIF, which is equivalent to the NIE number for foreign residents) of each member of the homeowners association. It must also include the percentage of the association’s income and withholdings that corresponds to each member. The individual members then declare their part of the association income and withholdings when filing their personal tax returns, at which point it will be determined whether any tax payment or refund applies.
In the case of roof space rented out for phone antennas, the telephone companies typically withhold 15 per cent of the agreed rent and pay it directly to Hacienda, which would be reflected in homeowners associations declaration, as well as the individual members’ tax returns.
Nerja police investigate town violence
By Dave Jamieson
Nerja police have been investigating two incidents involving violence in the town centre. In the first, a 39-year-old Irishman was arrested on suspicion of threatening a number of people with a knife. He allegedly visited a number of establishments, brandishing the 40 centimetre weapon in front of their clients, several of whom contacted the Guardia Civil. The man was detained in a cafetería on the Balcón de Europa when he is reported to have attempted to hide the knife in his jacket.
In the second incident, five foreign men are reported to have been involved in a fight last weekend just off the Balcón. During the scuffle in a passageway behind St Salvador church, one is said to have drawn a knife and inflicted a hand injury on another. The early-evening incident was witnessed by several tourists and shop-keepers who contacted local police after the injured man was seen to bleeding severely, despite pleas from those involved not to call the authorities. Guardia Civil officers are now seeking the group, believed to include an Italian and a German, all of whom fled the scene shortly afterwards.
Young couple dead in Chiclana from gunshot wounds
Police believe it was a murder-suicide
By David Eade
THE BODIES OF A YOUNG WOMAN AND HER BOYFRIEND HAVE BEEN FOUND IN A HOUSE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AT CAMINO DEL PERAL ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF CHICLANA IN CÁDIZ.
Police believe that the 24-year-old man shot his 19-year-old girlfriend and then committed suicide by turning the gun on himself. However, the Guardia Civil stressed that the case was not closed and that they would be thoroughly investigating the background of the couple. Forensic tests showed that the double-barrel shot gun had been discharged three times, at three different locations in the house. The young woman's father returned to the house at around 14.30 on Sunday and found the bodies and shotgun in a room in the house. Neighbours have stated that shortly before he arrived they heard gunshots. The same neighbours described the girl as being very pleasant and said that this was the third tragedy to hit the family, as a brother had been killed in a traffic accident and a grandfather committed suicide. If the cause of the crime does prove to be the killing of the girl by her boyfriend, it will bring to 27 the total number of women killed so far this year by their partners. In 2003, 68 women in Spain lost their lives through domestic violence. ANOTHER ABUSE CASE In yet another domestic abuse case, the Guardia Civil in Los Barrios in the Campo de Gibraltar have arrested a Gibraltarian man who resides in the municipality for attacking his wife. The woman was taken to Los Barrios health centre, where she was treated for various injuries, the most serious being to her nose. The Guardia Civil arrested the 47-year-old Gibraltarian and brought him before the duty judge to make a declaration. The man attempted to resist arrest and assaulted the officers, but none were seriously hurt.
Hotel bed disgrace for Málaga
By Dave Jamieson
A new report says that Málaga is at the wrong end of a list of seven major Spanish cities classified by the number of available hotel beds. With a total of 4,389, the city has only 8.19 beds per thousand inhabitants, compared with 24.23 in top-rated Barcelona and 18.12 in Madrid. Bilbao has fewer beds than Málaga, but is a smaller city.
The statistics are amongst a raft of figures from the Ciedes Foundation and Unicaja, revealed in Málaga last week by Mayor Francisco de la Torre, who said that the notably low figures for the city showed there was room for further exploitation of tourism and culture in the area. The average number of days spent in the city was given as 1.94, beaten by Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia, but Sr de la Torre said that this would improve with the recent opening of the Picasso Museum.
The report notes, however, that Málaga is unique in one respect: the 17 kilometres of beaches in the municipality boast no fewer than 12 Blue Flags, issued by the EU to denote high-quality bathing. However, it goes on to say that the economic and social potential of the Málaga coastline needs the urgent adoption of methods to identify the sea and the city as two inseparable elements.
Málaga warns on dangers of sun worshipping
By Dave Jamieson and David Eade
AS THE LONG COLD SPRING ENDED AND EARLY SUMMER SUN TEMPTED HUNDREDS ONTO THE PROVINCE’S BEACHES, THERE CAME A WARNING THAT SKIN CANCER IS ON THE INCREASE IN MÁLAGA AS A RESULT OF POOR SUNBATHING HABITS.
The Official College of Pharmacists based in the capital has launched an awareness campaign to persuade sun worshippers to use an effective protective screen, following experience gained in the 70s and 80s which showed that excessive exposure to full sunlight can lead to skin problems. José María Laza, the college’s skin representative, said that a cream should be applied half an hour before going into the sun and reapplied every two hours, that sun-bathing should be avoided between 12 noon and 4.00 p.m., and that eyes should be protected with sun-glasses. Experts say that users should consult pharmacists to ensure that they use the protection appropriate to their skin colour, eyes and hair, freckles or moles, and place of exposure to the sun’s rays.
Sr María Laza added that children under three years should not be taken to the beach because they have very delicate skins, while local chemists agreed that adequate protection in the first 12 years of life reduces the incidence of adult cancer of 78 per cent. According to association spokesman José Mariá Laza, even if the toddlers “stay under an umbrella, they will receive ultraviolet rays because they reflect off the water and sand.” Last month, in association with the Spanish Dermatological Association, the College launched a campaign relating to melanomas in 40 schools throughout Málaga, targeting 15,000 students between 8 and 12 years to make them aware of the need to seek medical help for any suspicious moles.
ESTEPONA TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
The popular resort of Estepona has launched its own ‘Campaña de Protección solar Verano 2004’ to educate people to the need to protect themselves from the sun’s rays during the summer months.
The campaign has been divided in to two sections. The first part was last week when two conferences were held for pharmacists to inform them about sun protection and the latest products on the market. This was to ensure that member’s of the public in Estepona can now visit a pharmacist in the town and receive the correct products for their skin type.
A covered stand was also erected in the Calle Real where an expert in sun protection was on duty to advise the public on the correct sun protection product to use for their skin. Visitors were asked to complete a short questionnaire and then undergo a series of quick tests to establish their skin type and protection required.
The second part of the campaign runs between June 4 and 18 in the form of an educational programme aimed at schools. Experts in the prevention of sun burn and what protection to use will give classes to 2,950 pupils in the municipality’s eleven colleges and two institutes. They will be told of the dangers of exposing themselves to the sun without adequate protection.
Free breast cancer screening in Alhaurin
Town Hall hopes for a 70 per cent participation rate
By Oliver McIntyre
ALHAURÍN DE LA TORRE TOWN HALL, ALONG WITH THE JUNTA DE ANDALUCÍA’S HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND THE SPANISH CANCER ASSOCIATION, LAST WEEK ANNOUNCED A BREAST CANCER-PREVENTION CAMPAIGN THAT WILL KICK OFF IN THE TOWN ON JUNE 9.
Beginning that day, women aged 50 to 65 who are registered residents of the town will receive free mammography exams in a mobile unit parked in the De la Torre area, across from the Jardines de Alhaurín. It is the first time the Junta-sponsored free breast cancer-screening programme has made its way to Alhaurín.
OVER 3,000 BROCHURES SENT OUT
The local health centre has sent informational brochures to all 3,099 women in the town who qualify for the free testing, explaining the programme and the importance of breast cancer screening. The women will be sent a second card telling them the day and time of their appointment.
Eligible women who do not receive a card or who need to change their appointment time can do so by contacting the health centre or the Town Hall’s Centro de la Mujer. The Town Hall estimates that about 90 women a day will be tested during the roughly month-long campaign. It says a similar campaign carried out last year in other towns achieved a 67 per cent participation rate among eligible women.
Clooney and Damon head for Banús
News Staff Reporter
George Clooney and Matt Damon, who recently filmed 'Ocean's Eleven' together, are to be reunited in the new Warner Brothers movie 'Syriana'. The two movie superstars are heading for Marbella to shoot scenes in Puerto Banús.
'Syriana' is a thriller, which combines the fight against terrorism with the petroleum business. It is adapted from the novel 'See No Evil' by former CIA agent Robert Baer and is based on his espionage experiences.
The film is being directed by Stephen Gaghan and will be shot in Spain, Morocco, Switzerland and the USA. The scenes in Marbella will see Puerto Banús changed into a nest of spies - and the presence of Clooney and Damon is bound to draw huge crowds to the luxury yacht port.
Carratraca declared a protected historic zone
By Oliver McIntyre
THE SMALL NORTHERN GUADLAHORCE VALLEY VILLAGE OF CARRATRACA, FAMOUS FOR ITS NATURAL THERMAL BATHS, HAS BEEN DECLARED A PROTECTED HISTORIC ZONE BY THE JUNTA DE ANDALUCÍA.
The village essentially grew up around its storied ‘balneario’ baths, which in the 19th century attracted the interest of King Fernando VII. In 1830 he ordered the construction of what became known as the Hostal El Príncipe alongside the sulphuric spring, so that he and his court would have a place to stay when they came to soak in the curative waters. Though he did not live to see its completion, it went on to attract a wide array of spa-seeking tourists, many of them among the rich or famous of the day, including the likes of Lord Byron, Rilke and Alexandre Dumas.
The baths were expanded in 1855, and the prosperity they brought resulted in further development of the town, including the construction of numerous mansions and hotel accommodations, a bullring and even, at one point, three casinos. However, the popularity of the spa-town faded in the early 20th century and it soon became an all-but-forgotten backwater.
‘HEALTH AND SPA’ TOURISM MARKET
Nonetheless, the unique historic district created in the town’s heyday remains largely intact, including the Hostal El Príncipe and the baths themselves, which are currently undergoing restoration and, with the growing popularity of so-called ‘health and spa’ tourism, may soon relive some of their historic splendour.
Stiff opposition to Benalmádena 'skyscrapers' plan
NEWS Staff Reporter
The opposition parties at Benalmádena Town Hall have been quick to respond to Mayor Enrique Bolín’s recent announcement that he wants to build three 20-storey buildings in the centre of Arroyo de la Miel. Following the nearly immediate declaration by the opposition Izquierda Unida party that it would rally public protest against the plan and possibly seek Junta de Andalucía intervention, last week the socialist PSOE party announced plans to demand a public referendum on the issue. According to PSOE spokesman Juan Cañete, a referendum would ensure ‘that it is the citizens themselves who decide whether or not they want three skyscrapers in the centre of Arroyo’.
Manual Crespo, spokesman for the governing team, said his party has ‘no intention of entering into a war’, and will seek consensus through dialogue. Later in the week the association Foro de Benalmádena, which represents some 14 urbanisations or homeowners associations, weighed in with its own voice of dissent, calling on the Junta to block the project. It says construction of the buildings would mean a modification to the town-planning ordinance (PGOU), which requires – and in the Foro’s opinion should be denied – Junta approval.
International wine symposium comes to Marbella
By David Eade
This weekend the luxury Puente Romano hotel in Marbella will be hosting an international wine symposium. The organisers hope it will become an annual event that will bring together the most important national and international personalities of the world of wine.
The symposium is directed to wineries, sommeliers, distributors, critics, specialized shops, restaurants, hotels, and also to wine fans and enthusiasts. The conferences as well as the guided wine tasting sessions have been carefully designed in such a way that not only the professionals can benefit but also the general public with an interest in wine.
Amongst the important national and international experts that have
confirmed their participation as speakers is the popular and
prestigious British wine guru and writer Jancis Robinson (OBE), wine editor for the Financial Times, author of the Oxford Companion to Wine, and TV presenter for the BBC.
The presentations include conferences on the most varied and
interesting topics of the national and international wine scene, a round
table, guided wine tasting sessions of great wines and new brands conducted by their producers and the most renown national and international critics and sommeliers.