News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Week March 09th to March 15th 2006.
BRITONS FREEZE TO DEATH
Three climbers die from hypothermia on the Sierra Nevada
BY DAVE JAMIESON
THREE BRITISH CLIMBERS WHO VENTURED OUT ON THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS IN SPITE OF BAD WEATHER FORECASTS HAVE DIED FROM HYPOTHERMIA.
A rescue team found their bodies on Monday on the south face of the Mulhacén, which at 3,478 metres is the highest peak on the Iberian peninsula. The men, all from Cleveland in the north-east of England, had been reported missing by another member of their team the previous day.
The UK's Foreign Office named the victims as Colin Riddiough from Brotton, his neighbour Paul Dick and John Plews from Redcar. The men, described as seasoned hill-walkers, are believed to have set out last Saturday, but the weather had become so treacherous the next day that they were unable to continue the climb.
The alarm was raised at 16.00 on Sunday after Steve Riddiough, the 30-year-old son of one of the victims, left the others sheltering in a snow hole and went for help. He eventually made it to Capiliera, south east of Granada, after battling blizzards and freezing conditions, where the owners of a local shop alerted the rescue services.
Bad weather hampered initial efforts by the Guardia Civil Mountain Rescue Service on Sunday night, but at 14.20 on Monday, a helicopter finally discovered three bodies in an area known as the Collado del Mulhacén. They were just two kilometres from the Poqueira mountain refuge, but one of the rescuers said that with visibility down to about 50 metres, they may not have found it, even if they had known it was there. At 3,000 metres up, the temperature was estimated by a Guardia Civil officer at -20 degrees centigrade, but with an 80-kilometre an hour wind, he added, it would feel twice as cold.
Reports say that they were not equipped with a mobile phone, although the Guardia Civil said that they did have adequate footwear and clothing.
WEATHER FORECASTS 'IGNORED'
However, the authorities branded them as 'reckless' for ignoring severe weather forecasts. The survivor from the expedition told authorities was the third time the group had gone climbing in the Sierra Nevada. They had spent Saturday night in old army bunker before trying to get off the mountain as conditions worsened. Eventually it was decided that, as the youngest and fittest member of the group, he should look for help.
Last month, two British tourists fell victims to hypothermia in the Picos de Europa, in northern Spain. Robert Rippengal of Cambridge, and Catherine Louisa Stokes from Southampton died after becoming lost in heavy snow. During 2005, the Sierra Nevada has claimed 12 lives.
Young Briton killed in Benalmádena stabbing
Victim was attacked by a group of Spanish youngsters
BY OLIVER MCINTYRE
A 22-YEAR-OLD BRITISH RESIDENT OF BENALMÁDENA HAS DIED FROM STAB WOUNDS RECEIVED WHEN HE AND A FRIEND WERE ATTACKED IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF LAST THURSDAY IN CALLE ERASA.
Gary David D. was rushed to Málaga's Hospital Clínico Universitario where he underwent six hours of emergency surgery for internal injuries that included damage to vital organs. He died Friday in hospital after about 24 hours in the ICU. The friend he was with at the time of the attack also suffered a minor stab wound.
The attack occurred at around 4.30 Thursday morning when the two men were approached by a group of at least four young individuals. The group assaulted the two victims, who reportedly attempted to defend themselves, and Gary David D. received several stab wounds in the torso and in one leg. His friend was cut on the leg.
At press time, police had arrested two minors, both Spanish, for their alleged involvement in the attack. Reports indicated that police also knew the identity of the young man who allegedly committed the actual stabbing, and that his arrest was imminent.
Investigators quickly ruled out robbery as a motive for the assault, as nothing was taken from the victims. They said there was no known prior relationship between the victims and the attackers, but that the young British men may have made comments to one or more members of the other group for riding their motorbikes on the pavement.
Gary David D., from Liverpool, had lived in Benalmádena along with his parents for the last four years.
San Pedro tunnel land appropriations cause trouble
By David Eade
The cost of appropriating the land required to build the San Pedro A-7 (old N-340) tunnel has been set by the Town Hall at 18 million euros. This led to a seven-hour meeting on Monday during which the PSOE proposal that the council approve the immediate payment of this money was defeated by the ruling cross-party group. Instead the Town Hall believes that the bill should be picked up by the ministry of public works and not the people of Marbella.
The land purchase dispute threatens to delay still further the scheme that has been on the planning board for the past 10 years. Deputy Mayor, Isabel García Marcos, who was formerly of the PSOE and now sits as a socialist independent, was particularly strong in her condemnation of the 'Marbella should pay' proposal. She said that the Town Hall's technicians had estimated a total bill of 18 million euros and said that no other municipality was asked to pay such a sum and called it a 'discrimination' against Marbella by central government.
Isabel García Marcos was also vociferous in her condemnation of central government's plans for the San Pedro tunnel project. She said the ministry had created the design for the 1 kilometre long tunnel without taking into account the land that needed to be appropriated.
The deputy mayor stated that there was in San Pedro a great discontentment with the "scalextric" design that had been imposed on the Ronda roundabout as well as the layout of the Las Petunias crossing that originally was intended as part of the underground design.
Málaga plans major transport interchange
Hub to link trains, metro, buses and taxis
By Dave Jamieson
THE MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT HAS GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT TO PLANS FOR A MAJOR TRANSPORT INTERCHANGE IN THE CITY OF MÁLAGA.
The new Renfe railway station is also to serve as a stop on the city's future metro subway system, permitting passengers to transfer easily from one to the other, as well as to local trains and buses, coaches and taxis. The new interchange will be sited in Calle Mendívil, between the Renfe station and the present bus station. Estimates suggest that 240,000 passengers will pass through the interchange daily.
Beneath the interchange will be an underground car park for 1,300 vehicles, and below that two levels of metro lines. The first will be used by Line 1 westbound and later by Line 2 eastbound, while the lower level will service Line 1 eastbound and eventually Line 2 westbound. The new plans have an estimated price tag of 4.5 million euros.
The revised plan will also see a re-routing of the metro to avoid the Los Tilos area, where construction plans had caused concern. Instead, Lines 1 and 2 will now join at Puente Juan Pablo II and continue to the new interchange, before proceeding via Plaza de la Solidaridad towards Alameda Principal.
Meanwhile, another transport milestone for the city was reached last week when work began on the tunnels which will carry high-speed railway traffic over the last stretch of track into their southern terminus. A 114 million-euro project will see two parallel tunnels of 2.3 kilometres constructed between Arroyo de las Cañas and Málaga's Renfe station. The first trains, which will travel at speeds of 155 kilometres per hour from Madrid and Sevilla, are expected in the city in October next year with passenger numbers totalling four million during the first 12 months.
Setback for new La Línea hospital
By David Eade
Relations between La Línea Town Hall and the regional government's provincial Health delegation appear to be growing increasingly tense while the town's badly needed new hospital gets no closer to being built.
The provincial authority says the Town Hall's offer of a 37,528-square-metre site for the hospital on the town's bypass is totally insufficient. In a letter to La Línea Mayor Juan Carlos Juárez, the provincial Health delegate, Hipólito García, stated that the regional government had been expecting 50,000 square metres. Even allowing for a redesign of the project, there is no way the hospital could be created on less than 41,000 square metres, he said. The initial project for the new hospital that was meant to be ready by May will now be held in abeyance, he added.
The collapse of the negotiations between the Health authority and La Línea has led to the intervention of the independent USR party in San Roque. Party leader José Antonio Ledesma, who is a member of the governing team in the municipality, has stated that if La Línea does not have the available land, San Roque could offer it.
Sr Ledesma plans to raise the matter at the next meeting of San Roque council. He says locating the hospital in his town would make it more centrally located for the population it will serve, which includes residents of Jimena, Castellar, La Línea and San Roque.
Nerja bus station plans revived
BY DAVE JAMIESON
THE PARTIDO ANDALUCISTA (PA) GROUP AT NERJA TOWN HALL HAVE ASKED FOR THE PROJECT TO CONSTRUCT A NEW BUS STATION TO BE RESURRECTED.
During the 1990s, the Town Hall spent 12,000 euros developing ideas to replace the existing bus station, which consists of two long lay-bys on the main N340 road through the town centre. However, their plans to develop the former municipal market as the new bus station were scuppered by the Junta de Andalucía in March 2004. The regional government said the site had "difficulties of space" and the cost of constructing a proposed new access road would be high.
TWO SITES CONSIDERED
The PA suggests two possible sites. The first is below the existing road level on the site of the former municipal slaughterhouse, while the other is close to the town's western entrance. However, the latter, says the PA, is the worse option because of its distance from the centre, and has previously been rejected by the Town Hall.
The present site of Nerja's bus station is far from ideal, given its existence at the edge of a busy main road. Last September, local residents complained about early morning noise with coach engines started at 6 a.m. and left to idle for long periods. The town's association of businesses, ASEN, says that an improved facility is very necessary, in part to provide adequate infrastructure for tourists, but also in the creation of new businesses and jobs which would spring up around it.
Alhaurín town centre undergoes major works
BY OLIVER MCINTYRE
THE HISTORIC DISTRICT OF ALHAURÍN EL GRANDE IS UNDERGOING MAJOR WORKS AS THE TOWN HALL CARRIES OUT THE SECOND PHASE OF ITS 'PLAN DE REVITALIZACIÓN DEL CASCO ANTIGUO'.
The three million-euro phase two works, "due to their location and scope, will be one of the projects that most affects the day-to-day life of residents," says the Town Hall. They include the modernisation of infrastructure as well as aesthetic improvements.
Some of the works – the conversion of Calle Real to a pedestrian-only promenade and improvements on Puerta de la Villa, Convento and Molinos de Arriba streets – are already underway. In June work will commence in Calle Cruz, in August a further stretch of Calle Convento (between el Palo and Candilejas streets) will be tackled, in September workers will hit Bajoncillo and Cruz de San Roque streets and in November work will get underway in Piedras and Callejoncillo streets. Finally, in January 2007, workers will arrive at Calle Calvario. The different streets have varying completion timelines, with the latest finish scheduled for May 2007, on Bajoncillo and Cruz de San Roque streets.
MAYOR COMMENTS ON WORKS
The town centre is the part of town that has "the oldest infrastructure as well as the buildings with the greatest sentimental, historic and heritage value," said Mayor Juan Martín, noting the importance of the work. It is also the commercial and cultural hub of the town. "Tearing up all these roads will cause nuisances, but it is necessary work that later we will be grateful for," said the Mayor, asking residents for their patience during the process.
New Ronda to San Pedro road link
By David Eade
Ronda is to be linked to the coast by a new road that will serve as an alternative route to that which currently runs to San Pedro de Alcántara. It will run through Alpandeire, Parauta, Igualeja and Pujerra, four of the major villages in the Serranía de Ronda zone. The new link has been included in the draft plans covering the Genal Valley where five different proposals have been made to create access roads by using former farming tracks.
The 15 mayors that make up the various municipalities of the Genal Valley have one month to study the draft plans and to make any suggestions. Around 9,000 people live in the villages in the zone and as has been reported in recent editions of the Costa del Sol News, many of them set up an action group to pressure the authorities to make improvements to local communications, health and education.
As also recently reported in the CDSN, the overall plans for the Valle del Genal include the construction of theatres in Benarrabá and Parauta plus an auditorium in Genalguacil. There are also new sports facilities planned for Algatocín, Benadalid and Cartajima.
Amongst other proposals Algatocín, Gaucín and Júzcar will be required to reserve land for medical centres whilst Alpandeire, Gaucín and Jubrique are also to have improved tourist facilities. In addition the villages of Carajima, Igualeja, Jubrique and Júzcar will have specialist information centres and Pujerra will have a centre for agricultural produce.
The Alhambra opens Washington Irving apartments
News Staff Reporter
An area of Granada's Alhambra Palace normally closed to the public is on view this month. The apartments once occupied by Washington Irving in the 19th century are not generally accessible for reasons of conservation but on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursday throughout this month, visitors will be able to enter the areas where the author of "Tales from The Alhambra" once stayed.
Already an established writer in his native New York, Irving spent 17 years in Europe, finally settling in Spain in 1826. For financial reasons, he took a job with the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and three years later found himself appointed a secretary to the American Legation under Martin Van Buren. During this time he wrote "Columbus", "Conquest of Granada" and "The Companions of Columbus", and, after returning to London, his famous "Tales". He is, however, perhaps best remembered for two earlier short stories, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". For three months during 1829, Irving lodged at the Alhambra Palace where his apartments are now marked with a large plaque.
The rooms look out over a walled garden, the Patio de Lindaraja, and were known earlier as the Emperor's Rooms. Their opening this month is part of an on-going programme at The Alhambra allowing access to different areas of the monument which are normally closed sometimes because the structure and characteristics do not accommodate a large number of visitors.
Estepona's 'chiringuitos' to be moved
Coastal authority orders removal of beach restaurants
By Oliver McIntyre
THE MAJORITY OF ESTEPONA'S 31 'CHIRINGUITO' BEACH RESTAURANTS ARE TO BE MOVED FROM THE SAND UP ONTO THE PASEO MARÍTIMO PROMENADE, ON THE ORDERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY'S COASTAL AUTHORITY.
However, the Town Hall is trying to negotiate a deal to allow the establishments on the town's central La Rada beach to remain on the sand, adjacent to the Paseo.
"They would completely cut pedestrian access along the Paseo," said Beaches councillor Antonio Gómez regarding the five La Rada chiringuitos that the Coastal Authority wants moved off of the sand. Each of the restaurants is roughly 150 square metres. The Coastal Authority has allowed the three other chirnguitos at La Rada to remain on the sand because there is simply no room for them off the beach.
Agreements have already been reached regarding the restaurants on the town's outlying beaches. Nineteen of them will be removed from the sand and located on municipal beachfront properties. Four others, located on very wide beaches, will be allowed to stay on the far northern edge of the sand.
NEW LOCATION, NEW LOOK
The chiringuitos are to be moved to their new locations by summer 2007. In addition to their new sites, they will have a new look, with cement and aluminium construction replacing the current wood designs. The operators of the establishments will be responsible for the estimated 240,000-euro cost of rebuilding the restaurants at their new locations, but will receive 15-year concession contracts rather than their current year-to-year arrangements.
Coín to turn Nacimiento into park
NEWS Staff Reporter
The zone surrounding Coín's Nacimiento natural spring is to become a 20,000-square-metre park for the enjoyment and recreation of the town's residents and visitors. The Town Council has approved a 514,000-euro project to beautify the site, known as Los Llanos del Nacimiento, and create a visitor information centre.
The Nacimiento site already has a small park area, including two ponds filled by the water as it flows from the natural spring. The improvement plan calls for the creation of waterfalls and other features, and the site will be replanted with trees like poplars and willows.
Coín residents will also soon have improved access to another of the town's outdoor-recreation offerings. The Town Council has earmarked 8,800 euros for the creation of trail signage in the open space between Albuqueria and Barranco Blanco, a popular hiking area that until now has lacked trail markers indicating the different walking routes.
Protest over US nuclear sub at Rota
USS Annapolis' visit angers environmentalists
By David Eade
IT IS NOT JUST THE PRESENCE OF NUCLEAR VESSELS IN GIBRALTAR THAT GENERATES PROTESTS FROM SPANISH ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS.
The latest to make their voices heard were the Cádiz branch of Los Verdes, (the Greens), that have made their objections known after the arrival of the USS Annapolis at the Rota base.
Los Verdes say that the presence of the USS Annapolis violates Spanish law and raised the country's 1986 referendum on NATO that specifically barred the acceptance of nuclear powered or armed vessels.
The environmentalists point out that the nuclear submarine is accompanied by a specialist repair vessel, which they argue represents a grave danger for the Rota area of Cádiz. Los Verdes say it is a scandal that this should be acceptable to Spain when it protests over HMS Tireless and other British nuclear submarines when they visit Gibraltar. The environmentalists said the rejection should be made on equal terms when nuclear vessels visit Spanish ports.
Spanish bid for British airports?
By Dave Jamieson
Flying from London to Málaga could soon be boosting the profits of Spanish businesses. Speculation is rife that a Spanish consortium is about to bid more than 14 billion euros to take over control of seven British airports.
The construction giant Ferrovial is said to be leading the invasion, headed by its chairman, Rafael del Pino. He is a multi-millionaire with backing understood to be coming from Banco Santander, which has already taken over the UK's Abbey National, from HSBC and from the Royal Bank of Scotland. On February 8, Ferrovial, the country's second-largest construction company, said it might make the bid, in the form of a cash offer supported by other investors. An Internet site, Capital Madrid, last week suggested the offer would be £9.20 (about 13.4 euros) per share, based on insider information.
Analysts in the sector say the aim is to break up the British Airports Authority (BAA) which owns London airports Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, plus Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Easyjet has commented that a break up of BAA could enhance competition, while the biggest user of London Heathrow, British Airways, is said to be happy, provided that any new owner continues investing in new terminals and a third runway.
Ferrovial already runs two UK airports, Bristol and Belfast, and is reported to be investing earnings from a building boom in this country. BAA, one of the biggest transport companies in the world, was established in 1966 and last year took over 75 per cent of Ferihegy, the largest airport in Hungary. It has management contracts or stakes in airports at Indianapolis, Naples, Seeb and Salalah in Oman, and six others in Australia, plus retail management contracts at Pittsburgh and Boston Logan in the US. BAA shares have risen by 36 per cent since last month's announcement by Ferrovial.
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