News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week 15th November - 21st November 2007
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY AT ST GEORGE'S
By David Eade
SAN ROQUE held its first Jornada Micológica, or Mushroom Fest last weekend at Finca La Alcaidesa. Around 80 people took part in the event during which they were introduced to the world of mushrooms and fungi and were instructed on which were edible or poisonous. The day ended with a tasting of the edible mushrooms they had gathered that were cooked especially for the occasion.
BIRD HUNTERS ATTACK
Marbella woman is allegedly assaulted while photographing trappers
By David Eade
A DUTCH mother living close to beach at Las Chapas in Marbella says she was assaulted by bird trappers as she photographed them in action.
She was accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter when one of the men rubbed a bocadillo roll he was eating into her t-shirt and threatened to smash her camera.
Sandra, who does not want to reveal her full name, told the Costa del Sol News: “We have some sand dunes close to our urbanisation and there are some very disturbing practises going on there. Groups of hunters are catching birds and migratory birds that are resting before they fly over the sea. Many people from my neighbour-hood are very upset by these actions and they have already called the police and Guardia Civil, but they say that it is legal because the hunting season has started.”
However matters came to a head last Thursday when Sandra decided to have a look for herself and to take some photographs. She described the scene: “I could see them placing big nets. Around the nets are small cages with singing birds to attract the wild birds. They even have birds stuck on sticks trying to fly away also to attract wild birds.”
“I have seen them putting many colourful birds, which they had caught, together in a very small cage, which was then covered and put away so that nobody could see. They also had a bigger cage for other kind of birds.”
It was at this point that the alleged assault took place. Sandra explained: “This is just behind my house, close to the beach, so I took some pictures.
When one of the men saw me taking pictures he wanted to break my camera on my head and all this while my nine-year-old daughter was standing next to me. He wanted to punch me in the face, but this would have given me proof for the police, so instead he spat on me.”
Sandra says the man’s actions are not important but what matters is the illegal hunting of the small birds. She points out the area is not a hunting zone but a public beach with sand dunes. She added: “I have written to several bird groups in Holland, the country I come from, to ask them for advice. Because how can it be possible that in Holland, Germany, Belgium and other Northern European countries people are paying money to bird protection organisations, but then when migrating season begins these same «protected» birds are slaughtered by the hundreds, thousands here in Spain. It doesn’t make any sense! ”Costa del Sol News contacted Ecologistas en Acción who looked at the photographs Sandra had taken and told us that unfortunately this trapping of small birds is legal under present legislation as long as it is carried out during the day under certain conditions. The ecologists have been campaigning to have it banned and are filing information on this practice with the regional government.
Teen stabbed to death in Benalmádena nightlife zon
Officials acknowledge that local party hotspot is getting out of control
By Oliver McIntyre
A 17-YEAR-OLD Málaga boy was stabbed to death in the early hours of Sunday morning in a brawl at the Kiu discotheque in Benalmádena’s Plaza Solymar nightlife zone. Two young men, aged 18 and 20, both from Mijas, were arrested shortly following incident after they crashed their car while speeding away from the scene.
Police were alerted of the stabbing at around 6.30am by a phone call from a girl who was at the scene of the fight. It is understood that she later identified the two arrested men as the knife attackers.
The fight broke out inside the disco and continued outside on the street. The victim, who was stabbed in the buttock and the chest, collapsed onto the pavement on Avenida de Mijas about 100 metres from the disco. Ambulance medics were unable to revive him.
Benalmádena’s mayor, Javier Carnero, expressed his regret over the tragic incident and called on the National Police to increase officer presence in the Solymar and Puerto Marina nightlife zone, which he acknowledged is getting out of hand. The local police have already increased patrolling and will do so further, he said, but they do not have sufficient resources on their own.
‘A downright jungle’
The Spanish Confederation of Police (CEP) also decried what it considers an insufficient number of officers in the area, saying the nightlife zone has “become a downright jungle.” Last weekend’s death came on the heals of a recent string of fights and violent episodes, including a Halloween-night brawl in which one young man had part of his ear bitten off.
Electrician falls to death at Dunnes Stores
Trade union says subcontractor did not observe required safety measures
By David Eade
THE WORKER who fell from the roof of Hiper Andalucía Dunnes Stores in Mijas while connecting Christmas lights has died from his injuries. The accident happened at the supermarket last Thursday at noon and the 25-year-old passed away in the intensive care unit at the Carlos Haya Hospital in Málaga in the early hours of Friday morning.
He was rushed to the hospital by air ambulance having suffered serious injuries to his thorax and head in the seven-metre fall. His death brought to a total of 13 those killed in Málaga province so far this year in work accidents, the majority on construction sites.
The UGT union denounced the lack of security employed at the Mijas site stressing that he had not observed the required safety measures and was not wearing a safety harness. The secretary of the Federation of Metal, Construction and Allied trades, José Rivas, complained that yet another death had been suffered by a sub-contracted worker. The victim worked for a company based in Alcalá de los Gazules in Cádiz. It was sub-contracted to carry out the project by a lighting firm that specialises in installing festive lights at commercial centres.
Hunt for UK's most wanted
British police appeal to trace suspect murderer
By Tom Cain
POLICE in England are appealing to expats and holidaymakers in Spain to help trace a man wanted for murder.
Northumbria police are trying to trace Allan James Foster, 31, who sometimes uses the name Sean Wilkinson.
Originally from South Shields, Mr Foster is known to have spent time in Majorca and the Canary Islands. It is believed he may now be living somewhere on the Costas.
Foster is 5’8” tall and has a mole on the left side of his face.
He is wanted in connection with the murder of ‘Noddy’ Rice, 42 who was shot several times in a car park in South Tyneside at around 16.00 on May 24, 2006.
Police say father of seven, Rice was lured by his killers to the car park on the pretext of a meeting about money owed over a drugs debt. He was shot several times by two masked men at close range and died a short time later in hospital.
The crime was witnessed by a number of passers-by.
After the killing a Ford Mondeo was driven to a nearby lane where it was set on fire, the killers were then driven away from South Shields in a Ford Transit van.
One man has already been convicted and jailed for the murder along with a number of others convicted for their role in the attack.
Allan James Foster is featured on the Spanish Crimestoppers website and police are urging anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts to get in touch.
Detective Superintendent Barbara Franklin, who is leading the investigation, said; “This inquiry will not stop until all those involved in Mr Rice’s death are arrested and stand trial for what was a callous and cold-blooded assassination of a father in broad daylight.”
Anyone with any information about Allan James Foster’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crimestoppers on 0044 800 555 111.
Enquiry into lung cancer deaths demanded
Ministry of Health puts the cancer death rate in Alhaurin de la Torre at 150 per cent of the national average
By Dave Jamieson
A HEALTH action body in Alhaurín de la Torre has asked for a study into the high incidence of lung cancer in the area. The Health Defence Group says a study by the Ministry of Health puts the cancer death rate in the town at 150 per cent of the national average. Torremolinos and Benalmádena are reported to have similarly high levels.
The group’s president, Lina Arlandis, has suggested the Alhaurín de la Torre quarries as a possible explanation and recalled that an analysis conducted in the immediate vicinity of quarries recorded airborne dust levels up to 400 per cent higher than permitted. “Scientific studies show that the inhalation of dust in suspension is directly related to lung cancer,” she said. Sra Arlandis also accused the Junta de Andalucía of “misleading” residents with a letter written in 2001 which stated that there were no abnormal respiratory illnesses in the municipality.
New quarry rejected
Meanwhile, a proposal to open a new quarry in Alhaurín de la Torre has been unanimously rejected by the town council. According to the province’s official bulletin, the quarry would have covered a 19-hectare site at the foot of the Sierra de Cártama and would have supplied materials required for the building of Málaga airport’s second runway. It was estimated that more than 2.6 million tons of material would have been extracted annually, with 450 lorry journeys a day needed to haul it away.Ahead of last Thursday’s meeting, three of the political groups at the town hall agreed on a motion to reject the proposal on the grounds that Alhaurín has an existing policy prohibiting the opening of any new quarries. They added that there would be environmental problems, visual impacts and consequences from so many lorries passing through the El Romeral area. In the end, all councillors approved the motion to throw out the project.
Axarquía water prices set to rise by 50 per cent
NEWS Staff Reporter
WATER from the Lake Viñuela reservoir could rise in price by 50 per cent. The supply company Axaragua is proposing to increase its charge for a cubic metre from 19 cents to 29 cents.
The man-made reservoir, located 151 metres above sea level 15 kilometres west of Vélez-Málaga, is the principal water source for many communities in the Axarquía. Its capacity of 170 million cubic metres is the greatest of any reservoir in the province of Málaga.Axaragua says the pending increase is due to a surcharge being levied by the Cuenca Mediterránea Andaluza (CMA) for the use of water taken from Viñuela, which has previously never been included in Axaragua’s charges to the municipalities it supplies. According to the president of the Association of Costa del Sol and Axarquía Communities, José Jesús Domínguez, the new cost of 19 cents comprises 13 cents for the water charged by CMA, six cents for the new levy and 10 cents for Axaragua to distribute to consumers.
MÁlaga taxi drivers set higher tariffs for 2008
Passengers to and from airport to be charged 45 cents for each piece of luggage
By Dave Jamieson
THE COST of an airport taxi is set to rise next year after Málaga taxi drivers reached an agreement on their tariffs for 2008. Last Wednesday the city’s town hall agreed with the association of self-employed cab owners on a proposed pricing structure to operate from January 1. In addition to increases in the new minimum fare charged for journeys beginning or ending at the airport, drivers will charge 45 cents for every piece of baggage more than 60 centimetres long, excluding hand luggage. Málaga taxi prices are presently broken down into four different rate bands, but this will be reduced to two next year with the introduction of a new fixed-rate overnight supplement.
Tariff One will apply from 7am to 10pm on working days, during which the minimum charge for a journey to or from the airport will rise from 14 euros to 14.50 euros, and for other journeys from 3.20 euros to 3.32 euros. The per-kilometre charge will increase from 75 cents to 80 cents. Waiting time will cost 17.61 euros per hour.
Tariff Two will operate from 10pm to 7am on working days and all day at weekends, holidays, and during the city’s August fair and Easter Week celebrations. The minimum charge for an airport journey will rise from 17 euros to 18.12 euros and for other journeys from four euros to 4.14 euros. The kilometre rate will rise from 90 cents to 98 cents and waiting time from 21 euros to 22 euros.
The current third tariff, which operates between 2am and 6am on Saturdays, holidays and during the fair, will be abandoned to be replaced by a flat two-euro surcharge on any journey taken between midnight and 7am and will apply every night. This means that the minimum charge for using a Málaga taxi during the early hours will be 6.14 euros.
A final proposal suggested by Aumat would see a surcharge on long journeys from Málaga which involve a return trip to the city with an empty vehicle. The proposed tariffs have to be approved formally by the town council at the end of the month.
Costa reservoirs lower than same time last year
By Oliver McIntyre
FOLLOWING a dry October and early November, the reservoirs of Málaga province are entering the winter season even worse off than they did last year. The province’s reservoirs ended last week at 22.6 per cent capacity, holding a total of 138.9 cubic hectometres of water, 48.3 cubic hectometres less than at the same time last year, when they were at 30.5 per cent capacity.
The reservoir holding the greatest amount of water is La Viñuela, with 45.8 cubic hectometres (26.9 per cent capacity), followed by La Concepción, with 33 cubic hectometres (58.9 per cent); Conde, with 21.2 cubic hectometres (30.3 per cent); Guadalteba, with 18.7 cubic hectometres (12 per cent); Guadalhorce, with 15.3 cubic hectometres (12.2 per cent); Limonero, with 2.7 cubic hectometres (10.7 per cent); and Casasola, with 2.2 cubic hectometres (20 per cent).
Andalucía-wide the situation is not much better, with the region’s reservoirs currently at a combined 34.5 per cent capacity. And nationwide Spain entered the hydraulic year (Oct. 1 – Sept. 30) with the driest October in the last five years and the sixth driest in the last two decades. The country received an average of 48.9mm of rainfall, compared to 85.3mm in October of last year. Normally soggy Galicia in northwest Spain has been hardest hit, receiving almost no rain since the beginning October, when normally it would have received some 200mm to 250mm by now.
Apolo, a rare baby giraffe, born in Selwo
The birth is part of an endangered species breeding programme
By David Eade
SELWO Aventura has a new kid on the block. Welcome Apolo who is already two metres high and is the latest addition to the giraffe enclose at the reserve de los Lagos. The birth of Apolo was monitored as part of the endangered species breeding programme being undertaken by European zoos.
Apolo’s proud parents are Carmina and Zeus who are all members of theGirafa Camelopardalis Angolensis sub-family that is found in Angola. They are the only examples of this breed in Spain and three of very few in captivity in Europe.
Apolo made his appearance during the Semana de la Ciencia that is being held throughout November in Spain. He is a key example of what is being done at Selwo Aventura and other zoos to help endangered species.
Apolo is around two weeks old, weights 80 kilos and is just under half his adult height but in the not too distant future he will become one of the largest animals at Selwo Aventura exceeding five metres in height and weighing around 800 kilos.
Apolo will live in the special giraffe enclosure at the zoo with his parents Carmina and Zeus as well as another giraffe called Mamen. This zone has been specially created to meet all the needs of the tallest animals in the world.
Fines not issued because town hall cannot afford p
NEWS Staff Reporter
A RATHER amazing situation seems to have arisen in Estepona. Over the last 18 months fines have been imposed by the local police for driving over the alcohol limit, speeding, using a motorbike without a crash helmet, operating a mobile phone while at the wheel and so on.
However while the tickets have been issued by the police many of the fines have not been sent out because the town hall says it cannot afford the postage costs. Unless the person receives the notification by post then the fine cannot be collected although the CSI-CSIF union says that some people have paid voluntarily.
While the town hall may claim lack of funds for its inaction the union says it has lost almost 400,000 euros in income from the fines. The local police force issues around 1,000 fines a month and the minimum amount levied is 21 euros.
The union says it is contemplating taking the town hall to court over the alleged uncollected fines.
Looking for Derek Cross
Briton went missing 11 years ago after a night out with friends
By Suzan Davenport
BRITISH POLICE are hoping holidaymakers and expats living in Spain may be able to help with information about a man who went missing in Benidorm 11 years ago.
Derek John Cross of Leicester, England was 26 when he travelled over to the resort of Benidorm in the Autumn of 1996. He had gone to Spain with three friends who joined 14 others on a trip organised by their local pub, the Sportsman on Western Park, Leicester.
On November 15, 1996 the day before Derek and his friends were due to fly home, they went to the Café Benidorm, a local nightclub. The last confirmed sighting of Derek is in the club at around 2am.
When Derek had not appeared by late morning on November 15 his friends began looking for him. Later that day they reported him missing to the Spanish police and on November 16, when he still had not appeared, they returned home without him.
Derek was reported missing to Leicestershire Police and an investigation into his disappearance was launched. Officers worked closely with the Spanish police, Interpol and the British Consulate and several lines of enquiry were followed up - all to no avail.
Subsequent reports of sightings have been followed up over the years but there is no evidence that any of them were Derek.
Derek's family, particularly his mother and his son (now 14) - are desperate for news of him.
Police officers in Leicester have been working closely with British charity 'Missing People' to help raise awareness of Derek's case. As part of that work, an expert from the charity has created an age-progression image of what Derek could look like now.
Detective Inspector Phil Brighouse of Leicestershire Police said: ''Despite the time that has passed without word from Derek we cannot rule out the possibility that he is still alive and living somewhere in Spain. The age-progression photograph shows what he may look like now.
''We are keen for holidaymakers and people living in Spain to take a close look at this image. If you know of a man there who looks like this we would like to hear from you.
''I also want to appeal directly to Derek to get in touch and let someone know he is safe and well.''
Teri Blythe, Head of Missing People's Identification department, who created the new image, said: ''Producing any age progression is a combination of art and science and requires photos of the missing person and reference photos of the family.
''As Derek would now be 37 his appearance may have altered significantly since he disappeared, but he would still retain his unique likeness.''
Detective Inspector Brighouse added: ''We want to get answers for Derek's family who have lived so long without knowing what happened to him.
''I urge anyone with information to get in touch. It is not too late. We never close the file on a case like this.''
Anyone with information is asked to contact Spanish Crimestoppers on 0900 555 111
High hopes for British tourism arrivals
UK visitors are crucial to Andalucia’s tourism industry
By Oliver McIntyre
SPAIN, and in particular Andalucía, has high hopes for the recent rebound in British tourist arrivals to continue into next year, and officials are planning to invest millions of euros to help ensure it happens.
At London’s recent World Tourism Fair and surrounding events, political and tourism chiefs cited past figures, current strategies and projections for next year. Manuel Chaves, the regional president of Andalucía, along with his tourism chief Sergio Moreno, cited growth in the number of British tourists to the region in recent months and said they expected a four per cent increase in 2008.
The Brits are a crucial factor to Andalucía’s tourism, making up 30 per cent of all foreign visitors to the region. Nineteen per cent of all Britons who travel to Spain visit Andalucía, which received 3.12 million UK visitors last year.
To sustain the recent growth trend and achieve the visitation targets for next year, the Junta de Andalucía is putting its money where its mouth is. The promotional budget in the UK is to be boosted by a third, jumping to eight million euros from this year’s six million euros.
Highest per capita spending
Spain as a whole is the most popular travel destination for Britons but excellent growth seen between the years 2000 and 2003 largely stagnated for the three following years. In 2000, 13.2 million Britons visited the country, jumping to around 16.1 million by 2003. Since then, the figure has failed to break the 16.2 million mark, according to data from the Spanish Tourism Office in London.
Officials say British tourists are a juicy market given that the UK is one of the countries with the highest per capita spending on travel, at 1,037 euros a year, according to the World Tourism Organisation. And they tend to travel in Europe – nearly 80 per cent of British travellers choose destinations on the Continent while around seven per cent go to North America and 13 per cent travel elsewhere in the world, according to the Spanish Tourism Office.
Inflation hits highest rate since August 2006
NEWS Staff Reporter
SPAIN’S consumer price index jumped 1.3 per cent in October, the highest level of inflation since August 2006, resulting in a year-on-year inflation rate of 3.6 per cent. The minister of economy, Pedro Solbes, said he expected the high inflation rate – caused in large part by sky-high oil prices and sharp increases in the cost of basic food items like bread, chicken, milk and other dairy products – to continue through year end. However, he said he was “more optimistic” that rates will come down to more normal levels next year.
Core inflation – which excludes energy and non-prepared food prices – ticked up 0.5 per cent in October, resulting in a year-on-year increase of 3.1 per cent.
Food prices as a whole went up 1.9 per cent in October, but certain basic items saw much bigger leaps. Milk shot up 12.1 per cent, other dairy products 5.5 per cent, bread 4.7 per cent, and chicken three per cent. Meanwhile, the onset of the winter season brought a nine per cent increase in the price of clothing and shoes in October.
Monarch pulls out of Jerez
Airline says Manchester route is just not profitable
By David Eade
THE BRITISH low-cost airline Monarch has announced at the World Travel Market in London that it is withdrawing its service between Manchester and Jerez. The airline says the reason is lack of profitability as it has only been flying with 68.6 per cent passenger loads and this insufficient for a budget airline.
Monarch will continue with its flights from the UK to Málaga and Granada but the loss of the Manchester route will be a big blow to the province as it was an important link to the north of England.
Route could return to Gibraltar
Monarch had withdrawn this service from Gibraltar and switched to Jerez blaming the high landing fees on the Rock for its decision. With the Gibraltar government taking over responsibility for landing charges there was speculation that the Monarch Manchester route could return to the Rock when the charges was lowered. Monarch also flies from London Luton to Gibraltar.