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Week July 29th to August 4th 2004.
'RED' HEAT ALERT
New grading system to warn people of high risk temperatures
BY DAVID EADE
THE PROVINCES OF CÁDIZ, SEVILLA AND HUELVA HAVE BEEN PLACED ON ‘RED ALERT’ BY THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT AS TEMPERATURES SOAR IN THE THREE MOST WESTERN PROVINCES OF ANDALUCÍA.
The grading system is part of a new plan introduced by the Andalucía health service (SAS) to warn the population of dangerously high temperatures in attempt to prevent the deaths that have occurred in previous summers.
‘GREEN’ FOR MÁLAGA
The provinces of Córboda and Jaén have been placed on ‘yellow alert’, the second highest grading, whilst Almería, Málaga and Granada have been given ‘green’ status as no excessively high temperatures have been recorded there in recent days.
A spokesperson for the SAS said that a ‘red alert’ was issued when the temperatures for the three previous days or more reached record levels in any specific province. It warned the medical authorities to keep a close watch on those most at risk; the elderly, young children as well as the chronically sick.
CARING FOR THE VULNERABLE
The ministry of health has recommended the precautionary system for members of the population deemed to be at a high risk. Leaflets have been distributed giving the consequences of excessive heat on the body, especially warning the most vulnerable.
The ministry has compiled a list of 45,000 elderly and vulnerable patients so that checks can be made on their state of health during high risk periods.
JEREZ HITS 43ºC
Last weekend temperatures in Jerez in the province of Cádiz reached 43 degrees centigrade. This was the highest level recorded on the ministry of the environment’s website where local temperatures can be checked by going to www.inm.es
FINAL AGREEMENT ON MÁLAGA RAIL LINK
BY DAVE JAMIESON
AN HISTORIC ACCORD LAST WEEK ENDED THREE YEARS OF ARGUMENT, DEBATE, NEGOTIATION, DISCUSSION AND POLEMIC IN MÁLAGA.
The Minister for Development, the President of Andalucía and the city’s Mayor finally managed to agree on how the new high-speed rail services will cover the final kilometres of their journey into Málaga station – and how it will all be paid for. The event is being described in political circles as one of the most important in Málaga’s history.
The signatures of Magdalena Álvaraz, Manuel Chaves and Francisco de la Torre, plus those of the president of Renfe and of the Manager of Rail Infrastructure, have opened the way for the project to be developed, with the intention of putting the work out to tender in a few months for construction to start next year. The plan, which will see AVE rail services in Málaga by 2007, has already been welcomed by residents’ associations in the capital who say they will be pleased to see the disappearance of the “scar” made by the railway on the city map. The Town Hall did, however, have to answer some critics who complained of a lack of co-ordination between the project and the work planned to construct the first two lines of the city’s new metro system, which will take four years to complete.
115 MILLION EUROS PROJECT
In the AVE project costing 115 million euros, Málaga will see railway lines go underground for 2.3 kilometres, from the point at which they pass under the ring road to the new station, which is now under construction immediately next to the existing terminus. The ground surface presently used by the existing lines will then be transformed into ten-lane, 1600 metre boulevard which is expected substantially to alleviate traffic congestion in the west of the city centre.
An artist’s impression of the finished project shows a tree-lined avenue with fountains on its central roundabouts, bringing traffic from the ring road, via a new exit slipway, as far as Avenida Juan XXIII, with a number of new local roads joining it.
RAIL TUNNEL TO BE BUILT IN TWO PARTS
The rail tunnel will be built in two parts, with train services continuing normally throughout the construction period of up to two years. About 20 metres to the north of existing lines, excavations will dig down between 7 and 12 metres, establish a foundation base of concrete, put on a roof structure and lay the track. An identical operation to build the other half of the route will then be carried out to the south of existing lines. Once the new lines are completed and in service, a second phase of the project will see existing rails and sleepers torn up and work commencing on the boulevard and its surrounding green zones.
65 per cent of the cost of the tunnel is to be met jointly by Renfe, who will pay 73.5 million euros, with the remainder shared equally between the Junta de Andalucía and the city of Málaga, while the city will provide a further 20.7 million euros for developing the boulevard at ground level. A third phase, to link the new high-speed rail services to the airport, is still under consideration by the Ministry of Development.
Safety-vest and baby-seat laws now in effect
NEWS Staff Reporter
On Saturday the new law went into effect that requires all vehicles to carry a reflective safety-vest and defines the regulations concerning child-safety seats. The vest and child-seat laws come as part of the comprehensive Traffic Law that was passed last November.
The vests can be either yellow or orange, as long as they are officially certified reflective safety vests, available at automotive shops and other stores. The Traffic Authority says officially certified ones usually cost around seven euros, and to be wary of the two-euro special you might find at the local street market; having a non-approved vest could land drivers with a 60-euro fine. Drivers are required to wear the vest any time they have to stop on the shoulder of the road and get out of their vehicle. It should be kept in the passenger cabin of the vehicle – not the boot – so that it can be put on prior to the occupant of the car getting out and stepping onto the road.
Child-safety seats must be used for all children under three years old. Children between three and 12 years old and anybody less than 1.5 metres tall must either use a special booster seat or, if the car is not equipped with one, use the regular adult safety belt in the back seat of the car.
Summer frauds continue on the coast
BY DAVE JAMIESON
THE SUMMER OF SCAMS (CDSN LAST WEEK) IS CONTINUING WITH ARRESTS IN RINCÓN AND MÁLAGA, PLUS A NEW RASH OF COMPLAINTS FROM MARO.
Two people have been arrested in Rincón de la Victoria accused of defrauding the public by offering non-existent erotic services. A 37-year-old man is alleged to have placed advertisements in magazines inviting male escorts to call a 902 phone number where, in exchange for a sum of money, they would be given contacts via an e-mail address. He was detained by Guardia Civil officers after one of his alleged victims complained that he had paid out 2,000 euros and received no contacts. After his detention and an exhaustive search of his house, which police say confirmed his implication in the fraud, a 37-year-old woman was also arrested in connection with the same investigation. The Guardia Civil say the case remains open and estimated that the scheme generated around 15,000 euros for its perpetrators.
PARCEL PHONE FRAUD IN MARO
Meanwhile in Maro, the Municipal Consumers’ Office has received complaints that the “parcel phone fraud” has now spread there, too. Several reports have been received of telephone calls advising that a parcel is awaiting delivery, with the victim being asked to call another number to confirm their address. The number given is that of one of the premium-rate lines where an operator keeps the client talking for as long as possible, with a consequent massive charge on their phone bill. Naturally, no parcel is ever delivered.
‘NIGERIAN LOTTERY’ SCAM
Police in Málaga have detained 10 people believed to have been running a series of frauds with falsified documents. Investigations led to the arrests of five more Nigerians suspected of fraud, while two others were detained believed to have entered Spain illegally. Police think that the gang were involved in defrauding foreigners in the so-called “Nigerian Lottery”, a scam in which individuals receive notification of a big win in Nigeria accompanied by apparently official documents, but first are asked to pay out cash to cover Spanish state taxes. Naturally, no prize money ever arrives.
Brit couple arrested for abandoning baby
By Oliver McIntyre
A British couple was arrested in Benlamádena last week for allegedly abandoning their one-and-a-half-month-old baby on the roof-access landing of the eighth floor of their apartment building while the couple, both highly intoxicated according to police, maintained a heated argument in their second-floor apartment.
The baby was found at about 03.00 Thursday morning by a holidaymaker from the northern Spanish region of Asturias who was staying in a fifth-floor apartment in the building, Edificio 1 of the Corinto complex in Calle Piscis in Arroyo de la Miel. When the man arrived at his apartment door, he later reported to police, he heard a baby’s cries – or what he at first thought might be a cat’s whining – coming from a higher floor. He went to investigate and found the infant all alone on the landing of the building’s top floor.
The man immediately contacted the National Police and officers arrived to take the baby to the Arroyo health centre, where doctors confirmed it was in fine health before transferring it to Málaga’s Hospital Materno Infantil to await Social Services intervention. Meanwhile, investigators quickly tracked down and detained the parents of the baby.
The 33-year-old husband, N.J.B., reportedly told police that he and his wife, N.D.W. (24), got into a severe argument and he decided to remove the baby from the apartment during the heated discussion. When he returned and was back inside the apartment, his wife locked the front door with the key, preventing him from going out again, according to police reports. The heavily inebriated couple continued their argument, leaving the baby alone on the eighth floor.
One million people affected in Cádiz blackout
By David Eade
Endesa Sevillana had guaranteed that the recent massive power cuts in Sevilla would not be repeated in the region. Yet less than a month after that promise was made the entire province of Cádiz was blacked out at around 14.00 on Monday for at least two hours. The area is an important national tourism zone hence more than one million people were affected when power supplies collapsed in Cádiz city and 44 municipalities. Traffic ground to a standstill as traffic lights went out; both fixed and mobile phones were inoperable.
The cause of the blackout, according to Endesa Sevillana, was a drop in power from the group II power station based in the Bay of Algeciras. This produced inferior tensions in the high-tension power network.
Thousands of people throughout Cádiz Province found they could not use their domestic appliances. Owners of restaurants, ice cream parlours and frozen food shops literally saw their food products go in to melt down in the searing heat. Hotels lost their air conditioning systems at a time when in Sanlucar temperatures were hitting 40 degrees centigrade. The regional government has ordered a full enquiry.
Ronda also hit
Two hours before the Cádiz blackout the Málaga inland town of Ronda was also hit by a two-hour cut in power. The local business association (Apymer) has called for an urgent meeting with Endesa Sevillana to find a solution to the repeated power failures.
Not only was the Ronda town centre hit but also the Dehesa zone and the industrial estate. The University of Málaga which is holding summer courses in the town had to re-arrange its sessions because of the lack of power and excessive heat.
Axarquía launches new fire cover service
Scheme includes main base with second-level bases spread throughout the Axarquía
BY DAVE JAMIESON
A NEW FIRE-SERVICE CENTRE FOR THE AXARQUÍA HAS BEEN INAUGURATED IN VÉLEZ-MÁLAGA.
Its opening is the result of an upgrading of the emergency service following the deaths a year ago of two young brothers in a house fire at Periana, a town which does not have a fire station. Fire fighters took 20 minutes to travel the 30 kilometres from Vélez-Málaga but by the time they arrived, part of the house had been destroyed. Two days after the tragedy, the president of the Málaga’s provincial committee, Salvador Pendón, announced plans for revisions to arrangements with an October implementation date, but an administrative error delayed the process.
NEW MAIN BASE IN VÉLEZ
Finally, 12 months and nine days after Periana’s blackest day, Sr Pendón attended the official opening of the new base in Vélez-Málaga. The scheme involves the 31 communities which make up the Axarquía with second-level bases at Rincón de la Victoria, Nerja, Colmenar and Periana, and three further units at Alfarnate, Canillas de Aceituno and Cómpeta. The project has cost 1.4 million euros, funded by the Junta de Andalucía, the provincial government of Málaga and by the participating municipalities. Out of the 887 applicants for jobs at the new base, 40 fire-fighters have been appointed, including four women, in an establishment totalling 64 staff, ten of these to be stationed at Rincón where facilities will open shortly.
NERJA SECOND –LEVEL BASE FOR END OF 2004
Nerja Town Hall has provided premises for their base which is expected to be in operation by the end of this year. The team will be responsible for fire cover over an area of 920 square kilometres with a permanent population of 165,000 which rises to a quarter of a million at peak holiday times. When fully operational, the main base at Vélez will also run training course for new recruits to the fire service in the Axarquía.
Security cameras for Marbella
By David Eade
The current tri-party government team at Marbella Town Hall has reactivated a security plan drawn up by the previous Mayor Julián Muñoz. It will see the installation of security cameras to monitor public activity in busy zones such as the paseo marítimo and the town centres of Marbella and San Pedro. Urbanisations considered to be ‘black spots’ and problematic will also be included in the scheme.
The move, which has the backing of tourism officials and local businesses, was announced by the Mayoress of Marbella, Marisol Yagüe, at a recent meeting of the local security committee. Attending the meeting was the government’s sub-delegate in Málaga province, Hilario López. The central government is being asked to approve the scheme now that certain technical problems have been ironed out.
Amongst plans for the future is a new comisaría for the National Police. Included in the new town planning ordinance will be the creation of a security park that will house the National Police, the local police as well a new head quarters for the Guardia Civil. There is also a possibility that San Pedro will be given its own National Police station.
Guardia Civil to enforce jet ski ban for under 18s
BY DAVID EADE
AS THE PEAK HOLIDAY MONTH OF AUGUST APPROACHES THE GUARDIA CIVIL HAS URGED THOSE PEOPLE USING JET SKIS AND OTHER RECREATIONAL BOATS TO TAKE CARE.
They should only sail in the designated areas marked by buoys and never in bathing zones. If there is no zone marked with buoys then boats and jet skis must not approach within 200 metres of the shoreline.
The Guardia Civil is responsible for controlling the use of all recreational boats on the coast and also in ensuring that the necessary regulations are complied with. It has pointed out that jet ski users must be aged 18 years or over. Those aged between 16 and 18 years-of-age can use jet skis but only if accompanied by their parents or tutors.
Those using jet skis with a power of between 55 and 110 horsepower have to be in possession of a relevant nautical qualification depending on the power of the vessel. However no licence is required by those renting a jet ski by the hour or fraction of an hour as long as the vessel is not more than 54.5 horsepower and remains in a specified buoyed area.
Jet skis are not allowed to tow or drag other objects along and may only carry the number of people laid down by the manufacturer in the instructions of use. In addition all jet skis must have attached to their bodywork, in a highly visible place, a plastic plaque giving the basic instructions on how it works. It must also show where the jet ski is licensed, registered and details of its civil liability insurance policy.
Civil war grenade found in Sotogrande
News Staff Reporter
A bomb disposal squad attached to the Guardia Civil in Algeciras raced to Sotogrande to explode a semi-buried mortar grenade. The lethal object had been uncovered in a garden on the luxury urbanisation by workers.
The mortar grenade dated from the period of the Spanish Civil War and was manufactured by Valero, which supplied both the nationalists and republicans in the conflict. Around 400,000 of the type 81 mortar grenades were made between 1937 and 1938 at the factory in Zafra in Zaragoza, which today is dedicated to diesel engines.
Bomb disposal officers took extreme care in digging up the mortar grenade. The munition, weighing 73 kilos and 2.2 metres in length, was then taken under tight security to a nearby plot of empty ground where it was destroyed in a controlled explosion.
Nerja Post Office complaints mount
BY DAVE JAMIESON
NERJA’S POST OFFICE CAN’T COPE. THAT’S THE VIEW OF MANY LOCAL PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE LONG QUEUES FOR SERVICE AND MIS-DIRECTED MAIL, AND WHICH HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE TOWN’S ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENTS’ GROUPS.
Alfonse Mettel said last week that following a meeting with Correos’ provincial boss, María José Ródena in 2002, the service improved somewhat, but not enough. At that time, two additional postmen were promised, as well as an updating of the street directory to digital format, with the aim of reducing incorrect deliveries. It is not unusual for the queue to stretch out of the post office and into the street, resulting in a long wait for customers, often between 20 and 30 minutes on a busy morning.
BAD SERVICE IN CAPISTRANO
Sr Mettel added that not enough attention is paid to directing incoming mail to its correct destination, with the Capistrano area, which includes four distinct urbanisations, particularly badly serviced and frequently confused. He repeated a suggestion made to Correos some years ago that the zone to the north-east of the town centre needs a sub post office, particularly in summer when the local population rises to around 5,000, which would substantially reduce pressure on the main office.
Other residents complain that just six staff in the post office is too few, especially during periods when one or other of them is on holiday and no substitute employee is provided.
BEST IN SPAIN NO JOKE
Eighteen months ago, foreign residents dismissed as a “joke” the announcement that Nerja’s post office had been officially named as the best in Spain. Evaluation teams were reported to have visited the Nerja office, sometimes unannounced, and assessed the public service offered, based on nine criteria including staff courtesy, efficiency, and ability to meet financial and environmental targets. Their results placed Nerja 150 points ahead of its nearest rival.
At the time, the local manager, José Antonio Carmona, was reported as saying that constructive criticism was always welcome and he would be studying the suggestions for further improvement made by the evaluation team. However, the demands for quicker service and the long-standing suggestion for a new sub office from the Association of Urbanisation Presidents appear to have gone unheeded.
Portillo boost bus services
By David Eade
The Portillo CTSA bus company has increased bus services and added new routes to cope with the huge influx of visitors to the western Costa del Sol for the peak summer months.
The company has created three new services. Bus 54V will serve the beaches of Marbella from San Pedro to Calahonda; the 306 will bring the people of Ronda down to the coast with two buses running in the morning and three returning in the afternoon between the town of the Tajo and San Pedro. A third new bus service, the 60 will link Benalmádena Costa with Fuengirola and Mijas.
Other routes see a boost in the daily number of services. Line 19 between Marbella and Fuengirola currently has 92 trips but that will now rise to 96. Line 27 between Estepona and Marbella will rise from 84 to 96 departures; the route 54 between San Pedro and the Costa del Sol hospital will jump from 63 to 73 whilst the 25 bus from Marbella to Nueva Andalucía will double its services from 22 to 44.
To help cope better with the summer demand Portillo has also acquired three new buses for the line 17 between Torremolinos and Fuengirola, the 25 service between Marbella and Nueva Andalucía as well as the route serving the beaches. In addition an extra bus is also being added to line 54, which runs direct from Marbella bus station to Málaga Airport.