News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Week 16th November - 22nd November 2006
RAMSAY'S SOFTER SIDE
Celebrity chef goes from kitchen nightmare to Nerja animal sanctuary
By Dave Jamieson
VIEWERS OF BRITAIN’S CHANNEL 4 TELEVISION ON TUESDAY NIGHT SAW CELEBRITY CHEF GORDON RAMSAY GIVE HIS EXPERT ADVICE TO A RESTAURANT OWNER IN NERJA.
The first episode of a new series of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares marked the first time the Bafta-winning programme has visited an establishment outside the UK. Gordon, who celebrated his 40th birthday last week, gave La Parra de Burriana restaurant the benefit of his experience.
However, while the film crew was in Nerja recording during August, Ramsay took time out to visit the town’s Donkey Sanctuary, which has rescued and re-homed around 100 donkeys, mules and horses this year. It has also taken into care dozens of strays, as well as birds including eagles, seagulls, owls and buzzards.
GORDON AND THE KIDZ
The celebrity chef also taught members of the Sanctuary’s Kidz Club how to make breakfast for the four-legged residents and met some of the volunteers and visitors who undertake dog-walking and other duties. In addition, like many of the 50,000 people who have visited the animals this year, he adopted a donkey and received a certificate to prove it.
The Donkey Sanctuary is run entirely by volunteers and receives no grants or official financial aid, so relies entirely on donations. Unfortunately, the site is close to the town centre and it is understood that Nerja intends to build housing on the land, which means a new home must be found for the animals.
The volunteers are also upset that, while they respond to calls for help from the town hall’s local police force, they receive no remuneration for their efforts. Indeed, the only cash contact they have had with local municipal officials was being fined 4,320 euros after erecting temporary shelters for rescued animals and to store hay. The Sanctuary is open from 09.30 to 14.00 on weekdays and 10.00 to 13.00 at weekends, with the Kidz Club meeting on Saturday mornings from 10.00 until midday. More volunteers are always required and there are plenty dogs and cats seeking new homes. The Sanctuary is on the N-340, close to the Rapture of Europe archway at Nerja’s western entrance.
Harrison granted bail and fight could be on
Featherweight champ saw career on the ropes when jailed in Alhaurín
By Oliver McIntyre
WBO FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION SCOTT HARRISON HAS BEEN GRANTED BAIL BY A COÍN JUDGE AND COULD SEE HIS DECEMBER 9 CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT AGAINST NICKY COOK REINSTATED.
The Scottish boxer was jailed in Alhaurín de la Torre on October 6 after allegedly stealing a car in Alhaurin el Grande and assaulting its owner as well as a Guardia Civil officer.
After the judge initially denied bail for the two-time champ, promoter Frank Warren pulled the Harrison-Cook bout from the card of his big fight night at London’s ExCel Centre. But with the bail now granted, Mr Warren says he will ask the World Boxing Organisation to reinstate the fight.
However, the promoter said he will allow Harrison to defend his title on December 9 only if the boxer proves to be “mentally and physically fit to box.”
Harrison, who has a long history of problems outside the ring, saw his career against the ropes when the Cook fight was called off. A World Boxing Organisation representative said that if the bout does not occur, Harrison could be stripped of his title.
TRAINING IN PRISON
Harrison’s manager, Barry Hughes, says the boxer is ready to get into the ring to defend the championship against Cook. “He’s been training hard in the jail by running, punching the bag and doing his floor work and his weight is fine,” he said. “Scott’s a hard person and this experience will have strengthened him mentally and physically.”
Police say Briton's death was due to repeated fall
NEWS Staff Reporter
Police investigating the death of a 47-year-old British resident of Benalmádena have found no evidence of foul play and say that the man died as the result of multiple falls.
On the evening of October 28, a British couple found William Peter Francis – at the time unidentified – lying in the street in Benalmádena Pueblo. They called for help and an ambulance took him first to the Arroyo de la Miel health centre and then on to Málaga’s Hospital Clínico, where, according to the police report, he refused to be examined and appeared to be highly disoriented. He was transferred to the Carlos Haya hospital and treated for his injuries, but died the following day, before anyone could establish his identity.
Police inspected the spot where the man was found, in Camino de Villordo, which they describe as having a 20 per cent grade, no lighting and no pavement. On the evening he was found it was raining, and investigators believe he slipped and hit his head on the ground. Officers interviewed workers and customers at British businesses in Benalmádena Pueblo to establish the man’s home address and identity. They were told that he lived in the pueblo and had fallen on a number of occasions. The police also learned that he suffered from several serious diseases, which was confirmed in the autopsy.
Muñoz's ex-wife arrested in 'Malaya' case
Meanwhile, the ailing ex-mayor faces another jail term
By David Eade
ON TUESDAY POLICE ARRESTED MAYTE ZALDÍVAR, THE EX-WIFE OF FORMER MARBELLA MAYOR JULIÁN MUÑOZ, IN CONNECTION WITH THE ‘OPERATION MALAYA’ MARBELLA CORRUPTION CASE.
Sra Zaldívar, who divorced Sr Muñoz after he publicly left her for popular singer Isabel Pantoja, was arrested at her home in the Las Petunias urbanisation of San Pedro de Alcántara. Eight other people, including a brother of Sra Zaldívar’s, were also arrested in what was described as phase three of Operation Malaya.
Sra Zaldívar had previously claimed in television interviews that during her marriage to Sr Muñoz, who was arrested in an earlier phase of Operation Malaya, there were often rubbish bags filled with cash in their home.
MUÑOZ NOT WELL
Meanwhile, Sr Muñoz, who is currently being held in a Jaén jail and recently received his first prison visit from Isabel Pantoja, was rushed to the local hospital with medical problems last week.
It has been widely reported in the Spanish media that the former mayor is suffering from serious health problems. It is claimed that he has a circulation condition that, if it deteriorates further, could require the amputation of his right leg. Apart from Sr Muñoz’s implication in the Malaya case, the Málaga prosecutor is currently seeking two years in prison and a 10-year ban from holding public office for him and seven other former Marbella councillors. The case relates to commercial construction licences conceded in 2001 and 2003. If convicted and sentenced to jail, it will be yet another prison term to be served by Sr Muñoz, who has a number of other town-planning cases pending against him.
Signatures row in Ronda golf dispute
NEWS Staff Reporter
J.M. Legión Española, a company deeply involved in Ronda’s disputed Los Merinos golf development, is claiming that some members of the groups opposing the project have forged signatures on between 80 and 90 of the 570 official complaints made against it. The anti-golf groups roundly deny the charges.
According to the company, which is under severe pressure from all the protest groups, a number of people have contacted Ronda town hall demanding to know why they have been named as signatories of complaints against the golf course project. They claim they have made no official complaint at all, and some are not even local residents but live in the Canary Islands and Cádiz, says the company.
In its charges, the company has singled out the mayor of Cuevas del Becerro, Isabel Teresa Rosado, ecologists Alejandro Moreno and Juan Terroba, Juan García of the agricultural group COAG, and local resident Petra Wiegnink. It accuses them of falsifying documents in their efforts to prevent the golf course and 800 homes from going ahead, but all strongly deny the claims.For her part, Mayor Rosado claims that the Plataforma Cueveña en Defensa del Agua has copies of all the documents presented. In addition, ecologist Alejandro Moreno says the company has itself committed a legal offence by filing a false ‘denuncia’ against the groups.
English cemetery donation
NEWS Staff Reporter
Costa del Sol News’s editor, Suzan Davenport, was at St George’s Chapel in Málaga on Sunday to present British Consul Bruce McIntyre, president of the English Cemetery Málaga Foundation, with a donation from the newspaper to the cemetery, which adjoins the chapel.
“It gave me great pleasure to be able to donate 300 euros towards the cemetery’s upkeep,” said Mrs Davenport. “It’s the second donation the newspaper has made and I hope that there will be many more in the future – not just from ourselves but from other local expat businesses. The cemetery has a wonderfully interesting past and has played an important part in Málaga’s centuries-old relationship with expat residents. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t been there to take time out to wander through the green, shady grounds, to browse the small gift shop at the entrance and to read Majorie Grice-Hutchinson’s excellent booklet on the history of the place.”With regard to the paper’s decade-long tradition of supporting the local expat community here on the coast, Mrs Davenport said, “Over the years we have given continuous support to numerous charities and sporting events because we truly feel that a local newspaper is an integral part of the community it serves. It should relay news and keep readers up to date with events and also participate in supporting readers’ activities and concerns on the coast.”
Nadal to star at Málaga Master
NEWS Staff Reporter
The world’s number two tennis player, Rafael Nadal, is heading for Málaga when top-class tennis returns to the city next month. The three-day tournament will also be attended by five of Spain’s other top players. Agreements for the event were finally signed between Nadal and Málaga’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre, during last week’s World Travel Market in London.
The Málaga Master will open on December 1 at the city’s Martín Carpena sports stadium, with quarter-finals, semis and the final on consecutive days. The first day will feature David Ferrer, Feliciano López, Fernando Verdasco and Albert Costa, while the tournament’s two star players have a bye into the semi finals. On Saturday, December 2, 20-year-old Nadal will take to the court, as will Carlos Moyá, who is retiring from the circuit and to whom the event is dedicated. Play will begin each day at 18.00, except for the final, which starts at midday on December 3 and will be screened live on Antena 3. Tickets for the event went on sale last Saturday and cost from 30 euros to 120 euros.
The beetles are back, costa gardeners are warned
By Dave Jamieson
A RETURN OF THE PLAGUE OF BEETLES WHICH CAN KILL PALM TREES HAS BEEN DISCOVERED IN NERJA. MUNICIPAL GARDENERS HAVE REPORTED A RECENT INCREASE IN THE INCIDENCE OF THE INSECT WHICH FORCED THEM TO CUT DOWN 12 TREES LAST WEEK, WITH A FURTHER 10 UNDER THREAT.
Towns east of Málaga have been struggling with the pest for more than a decade, and in November 2004, the Junta de Andalucía said that the insect, rhynchophorus ferrigineus or red palm weevil, had been detected in eight Andalucian municipalities, including Nerja, Frigiliana, Torrox and Vélez-Málaga, as well as in Almuñécar, Salobreña, Motril and Molvízar in Granada. Around 1,400 plants were then receiving treatment, but a year later, a rapid westward spread brought the beetles to western towns including Estepona, Marbella and Fuengirola.
Originating in southern Asia and Melanesia, where it is a serious pest for coconut growers, the weevil has been advancing west since the first insects were recorded in the northern United Arab Emirates in 1985. In Spain, they first appeared in 1990 with the first victim recorded in Almuñécar. Damage to palms is produced mainly by the larvae feeding on the soft fibres and terminal bud tissues. They move towards the interior of the palm making tunnels and large cavities, and can be found in any place within the palm. Usually the damage is only visible long after infection and by the time the first symptoms of the attack appear, they are so serious that they generally result in the death of the tree.
Nerja has around 3,000 palm trees and since the beetle was first seen locally in 1998, around 60 plants have been infected. The head of the town hall’s horticultural department, Julio Jimena, has now called for a stepping-up of the fumigation treatment applied to infected trees in order to control the insects and stop them spreading further. Three applications of the insecticide per year is all that is required, he added.
Initially, he explained, the Junta was responsible for the periodic treatment of palm trees, but now the task has been handed to town halls. Sr Jimena called on everyone to play their part in helping to eradicate the beetle and to prevent further cases, such as the palm in a private garden in the Torrecilla area which had to be destroyed last week after 35 years of providing shade and pleasure to its owner.
In Benalmádena, which has also experienced recent outbreaks, officials have been treating affected trees for the last five months. They have been monitoring all public palm trees and earlier this year they made a survey of all the private palms in the town – counting some 4,200 in all – in order to advise owners of the beetle risk. The town hall has published an informational brochure, in English and Spanish, which is available at the town hall’s Environment Department. The councillor responsible, Enrique Moya, asks that anyone who knows of or suspects a palm beetle case please call the Environment Department on 95 256 91 00 or 607 937 466.
Mijas launches volunteer reforestation campaign
NEWS Staff Reporter
Mijas town hall has launched its annual volunteer tree-planting campaign in the local sierra. Last weekend the first group of volunteers – in this case members of the Bosques de España association – took to the mountains to begin the season’s work. Throughout the next three and a half months, thousands of volunteers, including local associations and students from the town’s primary and secondary schools, will lend their hands to the cause. Groups of 10 or more people interested in getting involved can contact either the Foreign Residents’ Department or the Environment Department at the town hall.
Meanwhile, thanks to the recent heavy rains that gave the soil a good soaking, the Junta de Andalucía is set to re-launch its large-scale reforestation project in the Mijas sierra, where it plans to plant around 200 hectares of pine forest. The work, which had been temporarily postponed due to the drought, comes in addition to planting carried out in previous years and is aimed at repairing the hundreds of hectares that burned in a major forest fire in 2001. The Junta’s work in the Mijas sierra comes as one of a number of reforestation projects it is now restarting throughout the province. In all, the projects will see 1,400 hectares planted with native or traditional species. Besides Mijas, the work will take in areas of Antequera, Humilladero, Cortes de la Frontera, the Sierra Tejeda-Almijara, Ojén, the Genal Valley and the Los Alcornoncales Nature Park, among others.
Volvo Masters attracts over 40,000 visitors
By David Eade
THE VOLVO MASTERS GOLF TOURNAMENT HELD AT VALDERRAMA IN SAN ROQUE OVER FOUR DAYS AT THE END OF OCTOBER ATTRACTED 44,797 PEOPLE TO THE EVENT.
That number is a rise of 30.2 per cent over 2005. According to the regional government’s Department of Tourism, Commerce and Sport it also resulted in a tourist spend of 9.5 million euros.
Of those who attended the Volvo Masters 33.5 per cent were Spaniards while the balance, of 66.5 per cent, were foreigners. Britons made up the largest number of this group with 40.7 per cent followed by 4.2 per cent from Germany, 3.4 from France, 0.5 from the USA and 19 per cent from the rest of the EU.
The department says that 44 per cent of visitors to the golf tournament stayed in their own homes while 24 per cent used hotels, 15.6 per cent stayed in the homes of friends or family and 15.3 per cent rented accommodation. The Volvo Masters will be held at Valderrama again next year but for the following year the venue is, as yet, undecided, although the Andalucian government hopes to keep it at Valderrama or within the region.
BRITISH TV FILMS IN SAN ROQUE
Staying in San Roque, a team from the British film company, Smugg TV, has spent several days in the town recording images of music and travel for a television documentary. Despite the rain the crew filmed in the Plaza de Armas as well as recorded local guitarist Lalo Maciás in action.The San Roque tourist office was closely involved in the filming project and arranged for the filming of local bars, restaurants and hotels. The councillor for tourism, Juan José Guillén, stated that thanks to this programme San Roque would be better known in the UK and especially the old quarter of the town where most of the filming took place.
Nerja Caves Foundation gives go-ahead to entrance
By Dave Jamieson
A 300,000-euro project to make improvements at Nerja’s famous complex of caves has been given the go-ahead. The work will mainly affect the entrance to the attraction with new lighting and sound systems being installed.
The committee of the Caves Foundation, which includes representatives from the government; the Junta de Andalucía; Málaga’s provincial government and the town hall awarded the contract to the firm Ingenia Qed, describing the upgrade as an “important modification which will give the zone a facelift.” However, Nerja’s mayor, José Alberto Armijo, expressed his concern that approval had been given before a definitive project had been agreed, mentioning that certain deficiencies had been identified by municipal engineers.
The Caves Museum project has also progressed with the committee giving their approval to a proposal that the company Bauen should be offered a contract for the start of its construction. Work is expected to begin before the end of the year, once the contract is signed and funds of more than a million euros become available. Mayor Armijo again expressed worries about the matter, given that its financing by Unicaja had not yet been confirmed.The meeting also approved grants from the foundation to more than 50 local social, cultural and sporting organisations in the area, totalling more than 200,000 euros, as well as approving a pensions plan and pay rises for the 32 workers at the caves which were recently named a Site of Cultural Interest by the Junta de Andalucía (CDSN, October 9-15).
Save money, save energy
Junta subsidises energy-efficient home appliances
By Dave Jamieson and Oliver Mcintyre
HOMEOWNERS LOOKING TO UPGRADE TO MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME APPLIANCES CAN NOW GET THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT TO HELP WITH THE COST.
The Junta de Andalucía last week officially launched its ‘Plan Renove’, which offers a subsidy of between 85 and 185 euros for people who replace their old home appliances with new ‘green’ machines. The scheme is in response to evidence that modern domestic devices can be up to four times more efficient than their predecessors. Energy consumption in the home accounts for 15 per cent of Andalucía’s total energy use, a figure described as “discouraging” by the region’s Department of Innovation, Science and Business, which has arranged the programme.
The energy-efficiency classification of home appliances ranges from the most efficient Class A++ to the most wasteful Class G. The subsidies are available from now until December 31 to residents of Andalucía who replace their old refrigerators, freezers, washing machines or dishwashers by purchasing Class A (or higher) models.
The Junta has set aside six million euros to finance the scheme throughout the region, with every household entitled to renew any number of different appliances, provided that they are of different types. For example, a fridge and a washing machine could be replaced, but not two fridges. Appliances used in the provision of services or businesses are, however, excluded.
HOW TO DO IT
To receive the subsidies consumers simply need to go to participating store (there are 1,090 retailers across the region). The reduction will be applied directly on completion of an application form.
Further information, including a list of participating stores, is available on 90 211 30 00 or on the Junta’s website (www.juntadeandalucia.es). The Junta hopes that around 60,000 electrical devices will be replaced, with a consequent reduction of power consumption and greenhouse emissions.
Tarifa and Zahara most expensive areas for property
But province still relatively cheap compared to others in Andalucía
By David Eade
THE PRICE OF NEW PROPERTY IN ZAHARA DE LOS ATUNES IS NOW 3,420 EUROS PER SQUARE METRE, MAKING IT THE SECOND MOST EXPENSIVE AREA IN CÁDIZ PROVINCE AFTER TARIFA, WHERE PRICES HAVE REACHED 3,479 EUROS PER SQUARE METRE.
The data is from the latest quarterly report from the Consultora Inmobiliaria Salvago, a real estate agent and consultancy.
Despite per-metre prices being higher in Tarifa, the price of the average property is highest in Zahara, due to properties being slightly larger there. A home of 158 square metres (145.40 square metres living area) would cost 541,387 euros.
In terms of average price for properties, Tarifa comes second (415,370 euros for a property of 119.4 square metres), followed by Jerez (329,732 euros for 144.1 square metres), La Línea (320,752 euros for 115 square metres), Chiclana (287,776 euros for 108.8 square metres), Los Barrios (263,370 euros for 121.7 square metres), Puerto Real (251,715 euros for 103.5 square metres), Cádiz capital (246,542 euros for 101.7 square metres), Sanlúcar (193,786 euros for 91.1 square metres), Algeciras (186,789 euros for 90.7 square metres), El Puerto (185,829 euros for 65 square metres), Arcos (162,901 euros for 110.4 square metres), San Fernando (158,223 euros for 77.8 square metres) and Chipiona (153,650 euros for 57 square metres).
ONLY HUELVA CHEAPER
However, compared with other Andalucía provinces, property prices in Cádiz are relatively cheap, as the average prices elsewhere include Málaga (258,588 euros), Granada (246,320 euros), Sevilla (281,869 euros), and only Huelva with an average of 210,662 euros is less expensive.
Cheap cigarettes targetted by new tax measure
NEWS Staff Reporter
The government has announced another measure in its battle to reduce the incidence of smoking. Vice-president, María Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, said she hoped that a new law - introduced last Friday to increase the minimum tax on tobacco from 55 euros to 70 euros per thousand cigarettes - would encourage many people to give up the habit. The change only affects the cheapest brands which has pleased manufacturers of more expensive cigarettes who have been losing sales to low-cost rivals after earlier increases.
The vice-president explained that two earlier rises in the tobacco tax this year had been absorbed by the manufacturers, rather than causing them to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes. This, she argued, means that a significant share of tobacco sales continue to be at prices which the Government considers to be “cheaper than desirable from a health perspective”. The increase places Spain ahead of Hungry and Greece where tobacco is taxed at 50 and 52 euros per thousand respectively, but the country still lags behind others in the EU such as France which charges manufacturers 128 euros and Denmark where companies must pay 163 euros per thousand.
The new legislation will affect the lowest-priced brands which cost less than 2.17 euros for 20. If the tobacco companies decide to pass on the 8.2 per cent tax increase to consumers, a pack of cigarettes currently costing 1.95 euros will rise in price to 2.11 euros. The Treasury will now receive 1.40 euros for every pack of 20 cigarettes sold, up from 1.10 euros per pack on some brands. Its is the fifth time in 14 months that the government has raised tobacco taxes but, if the cigarette companies continue lowering prices to counteract the increases, industry experts predict that it may not be the last.