News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Minutas lawsuit follows other Marbella corruption cases to trial
Sevilla FC president, lawyer Jose Maria del Nido says "I was not Gil's legal confidant"
By David Eade
IN RECENT months the Malaya, Ballena Blanca and Hidalgo corruption cases have hit the headlines as they come to trial. Slipping in by the back door this week is the Minutas case in which lawyer, and president of Sevilla FC, José María del Nido faces over 13 years in jail if convicted.
The anti-corruption prosecutor, Francisco Jiménez-Villarejo, interrogated Del Nido for 70 minutes on Monday when he took the stand. He is accused of alleged financial irregularities in the fees he charged for work he is said to have carried out for Marbella town hall and its municipal companies between 1999 and 2003.
In the dock with him are former mayor Julián Muñoz and the ex director of town planning in Marbella Juan Antonio Roca - both key figures in the Malaya trial.
Del Nido told the court that in 1999 he carried out some "social and football" work for the now deceased Jesús Gil. However he insists this had nothing to do with Marbella town hall.
Both Del Nido and Gil were in the court previously in the Camisetas case that saw Gil barred from office as mayor of Marbella, forcing him to hand over office to Julián Muñoz.
Rural road collapse leaves residents stranded
Yoga retreat in the zone has been unable to bring in clients for three months
By Oliver McIntyre
RESIDENTS in the rural Jorox district of Alozaina have been practically stranded for the last three months after heavy rains broke away a large portion of the track that leads to their homes.
There are around 40 houses in the zone - though not all are permanently occupied - as well as the Molina del Rey yoga retreat operated by Briton Anthony Arnold, who told Costa del Sol he has been unable to get clients or critical supplies such as heating oil into his facility.
The heavy January rains caused the river to burst its banks, flooding the road and tearing a large chunk of it down into the adjacent gorge. Residents say the situation was exacerbated by previous road and infrastructure work the town hall had performed and that contributed to the flooding of the road.
Mr Arnold told CDSN that not only is the collapsed road shut off to vehicle traffic, but a barrier put up by the town hall indicates walking is prohibited too. "It's their way of washing their hands in the event of any accident," he said. The only alternative vehicle route is a nearly six-kilometre rough track that is barely passable. "We're putting our lives in danger every time we use it," said Mr Arnold.
Power switch charge
Homeowners forced to pay for new obligatory power control trip switch
By Dave Jamieson
CONSUMER groups have condemned electricity companies for passing on the cost of an obligatory home upgrade to their customers. The modification ensures that no account holder can draw too much current from the grid.
A ruling from the Ministry of Industry has obliged power providers to control supplies to each client. This is achieved by means of an Interruptor de Control de Potencia (ICP) - a power control trip switch - which, for reasons of safety, cuts the supply if the consumer attempts to draw more than the contracted level of power.
The ICP, which is separate from a standard circuit breaker (diferencial), is located in a fuse box and is typically tripped by having too many electrical appliances switched on at the same time. To find out whether the device is already present, simply look for a section of the fuse box marked ICP.
Properties built in the last eight to ten years may have been fitted with an ICP at the time of construction but older buildings which have not been modernised will probably not have one.
Endesa is offering consumers, who do not already have an ICP, the choice of buying a unit from an authorised electrician at a cost of between 60-100 euros or renting one from Endesa at a cost of six cents per month for a single phase supply or 12 cents a month for a three-phase supply.
Whether buying or renting, however, consumers must pay Endesa 9.04 euros plus IVA to seal the ICP unit.
The provider has started sending letters to all its customers asking whether an ICP is installed at their properties and, if not, which option they wish to choose. Replies can also be sent online at Endesa's website: http://www.endesaonline.com/ES/subdominios/endesadistribucion/contacto.asp
British boy recovers after swimming pool plunge
The intervention of a doctor, who was on the scene, is said to have been crucial in stabilising the child
By Dave Jamieson
A BRITISH toddler was in intensive care last week after being pulled fully-clothed from a swimming pool.
The accident happened at a private apartment complex in a country area on the road between Rincón de la Victoria and Olías.
The Lagar Padre Avilés is a 17th century convent which has been renovated and now includes two holiday flats. The boy is a member of a family taking an Easter break there and disappeared while his parents were chatting with friends. After a frantic search, he was spotted lying at the deep end of one of the two swimming pools.
The complex's owner is reported to have dived in to pull the boy to the surface where a British doctor who was on the scene carried out resuscitation. His intervention is said to have been crucial in stabilising the child before an ambulance arrived.
Hollywood threatens Spain over piracy
Downloading is so rampant that studios could stop selling DVDs here
By Dave Jamieson
LEGAL DVDs of feature films may soon be unavailable in Spain. The Los Angeles Times last week reported that the movie industry is considering withdrawing from the Spanish market in the light of the high numbers of pirated copies being downloaded from the internet.
The US newspaper last week quoted the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, as saying, "Spain is on the brink of no longer being a viable home-entertainment market for us." It said the company's executives believe that it may soon no longer be worthwhile trying to sell DVDs in Spain, which would make it the second country after South Korea where the pirates have sunk all efforts to sell genuine discs.
Revenue in Spain's home-entertainment sector has contracted by around 30 per cent in the last five years while the number of movie hire outlets has dropped from 12,000 in 2003 to just 3,000 now. A research company, Media-Control GfK, says that between 2006 and 2008, illegal Spanish downloads of feature films rose from 132 million to 350 million each year, while income from DVD sales and rentals fell by almost a third. However, box-offices receipts rose slightly last year.
Downloading pirated movies from the internet is not illegal in Spain unless the copy is then used to make a profit. However, the government is presently working on a bill which would allow it to block websites which offer pirated films for downloading.
Brit arrested for sex attack during drunken festival
Victim, also British, says she was assaulted during Saloufest in Cataluña
By Dave Jamieson
A BRITISH university student has complained of being sexually assaulted during a festival near Tarragona. Saloufest was publicised as a five-day sports event but residents of the resort are reported to have been shocked by the drunken antics of more than 4,000 UK students who descended on their town last week.
The Mossos d'Esquadra, Cataluña's regional police force, said on Friday that three days earlier they had received the complaint of an attack on a female student by another British student known to her. The victim claimed to have woken up alone and half-naked on a beach following the alleged assault. The detained man, who said she had consented to sex when they met in a disco, appeared in court where he was freed with the charges against him outstanding and a restraining order forbidding him to be within 200 metres of his accuser.
Local people in Salou were reportedly stunned by the behaviour of the 18- to 23-year-olds, with pictures of dozens of young Britons in fancy-dress, underwear and even naked appearing in Spanish papers and television news programmes last week. Within 24 hours of the event starting, nine people had been treated for drunkenness with five requiring hospital treatment for alcoholic poisoning. One man had a leg broken when he was run over by a police car while another head-butted a police officer and spent the night in jail.