News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Footballer's mum kicks off radio show
Briton Ann Mizon hosts a new English-language programme called The News
By Oliver McIntyre
A BRITISH woman has become the English-language voice of Pizarra's municipal radio station thanks in large part to her son being a player on the town's football team.
Ann Mizon, originally from Sheffield, England, has been living in Spain for 24 years, and her 20-year-old son John plays on the Pizarra football club, for which she has become a member of the board of directors. She also works as a receptionist at a local clinic, where many foreign-resident patients told her they would love to follow the local football club but, not speaking Spanish, had little access to information on game times, results and other news about the team, she told Costa del Sol News.
Always eager to promote the team, Mrs Mizon began putting up posters with basic game information, but she was soon presented with an opportunity to take the team's news to the local airwaves. It came during a meeting with the town's councillor for sports, José Antonio García Jiménez, in Mrs Mizon's role as a board member of the football club. When she told him of the demand for information among English-speaking residents, he suggested she host a programme on the municipal radio station, Radio Pizarra (107.9 FM).
The idea soon grew beyond providing just football information, to include news on other local activities, events and town hall issues. Mrs Mizon's programme, The News, was launched a number of weeks ago and is now airing on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 11.45 am.
Groceries cheaper but petrol prices soar
A fill-up at local service stations costs 12 euros more than a year ago
By Oliver McIntyre
BUDGET-CONSCIOUS shoppers on the Costa have found some relief at the supermarket, with grocery prices down seven per cent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, but drivers are suffering at the pump as petrol prices have rocketed up 25 per cent in the last year.
The latest grocery prices report from the Ministry of Industry shows that in the last 12 months all categories of food items have dropped in price except for seafood, which climbed 1.3 per cent. The biggest reduction has been on fruits and vegetables, with prices down by a hefty 18.9 per cent, making Málaga the 11th cheapest province in the country for produce.
However, Málaga's overall price drop of seven per cent was modest compared to the declines seen in some other parts of the country, such as Valencia and Huelva, which posted drops of 12 and 14 per cent, respectively.
While the cost of filling the shopping cart has dipped, filling up the petrol tank has skyrocketed at Costa service stations. According to the EU Oil Bulletin, the average cost of 95-octane petrol was 1.177 euros a litre last week, up 24 per cent from the same time last year. Diesel has experienced a similar ascent, with last week's price of 1.077 up 25 per cent from April 2009. In both cases, it means that filling a tank with 55 litres is now around 12 euros more expensive than it was a year ago.
Penal reform is to establish jail time for petty thieves
By Oliver McIntyre
PETTY thieves who are repeat offenders are to face jail sentences under a penal code reform approved in a congressional commission last week.
The stiffened sentencing for petty criminals was added to the reforms by the Catalán parliamentary group Convergéncia i Unió (CiU) to plug a loophole that allows small-time crooks who steal cash or goods valued at less than 400 euros to get off with only a fine, no matter how many times they are caught.
CiU spokesperson Josep Antoni Durán i Lleida said that the reform will establish sentences of up to six months for repeat offenders, and up to a year in the case of organised pickpocket gangs. However, they will serve their jail time only on weekends and holidays in order to avoid "overloading" the prisons, he said.
In addition, the measure calls for the creation of a petty-criminal register, within a year, so that judges will be able to easily check to see if a defendant found guilty is a repeat offender.
The commission approved the reform package - which includes a total of some 150 modifications to the penal code - with the votes of the ruling PSOE and the CiU. The Partido Popular, which had previously indicated it would back the package, withheld its support, calling the reforms "insufficient" and "incomplete." The PP wanted the inclusion of life sentences for serious violent crimes and, in general, stiffer sentencing and stricter rules on criminals serving their entire sentence.
Hundreds march for slain teenager
Protesters want stiffer penalties for minors who commit serious crimes
By David Eade
AN EMOTIONAL march made its way through the streets of Fuengirola on Saturday afternoon. It was organised by the parents of 17-year-old Salvador Cortés, who was stabbed to death at a park in Los Boliches on February 22. They are calling for a reform to the ‘Ley del Minor' so that minors who commit murder and other violent crime are held to account.
The protest gathered at the town hall at 5pm and the parents of Salvador, along with those of other juveniles who have been murdered, were joined by the mayor, Esperanza Oña. Behind a giant banner bearing Salvador's photo and a call for the law to be changed for the dignity of the victims, they marched through the streets to the fairground.
Some 500 people joined the protests to cries that included, "They are not minors, they are killers." Before they set off, three bouquets were laid in memory of Salvador and a manifesto was read out on behalf of all parents who had seen their children murdered by minors, calling for the law to be toughened.
Police seek two suspects in murder of Briton
The victim was stabbed to death after a heated argument with the attackers
By Oliver McIntyre
POLICE continue their manhunt for two suspects in the stabbing death of a Briton in his Benalmádena apartment last week.
Initial investigations indicate that the two men arrived at the victim's home at around 11am last Wednesday and got into a heated argument which quickly turned violent. The victim, identified as P.F., 32, from London, was stabbed at least twice with a kitchen knife from the apartment. He also reportedly had an earlobe cut off and a gash on the upper part of his nose, and showed signs of having been beaten.
The victim's girlfriend was in the apartment at the time of the incident and called the 061 emergency service immediately after the assailants fled the scene, but medics could do nothing to save the man's life.
Website finds drivers' unknown tickets
The free service searches official bulletins for traffic notifications
By Oliver McIntyre
A WEBSITE launched in January of this year has discovered more than 18,000 traffic tickets that were unknown to the ticketed drivers.
The website, buscamultas.com, is a free service operated by the company Dvuelta, which also offers paid services to people wishing to fight a traffic ticket.
The company says the website, on which the user enters his or her ID number and car licence plate number, has handled more than a million enquiries since its launch. The system searches official bulletins where tickets are published to see if the driver is listed on any of them.
The company estimates that in as many as 30 per cent of cases authorities directly publish ticket notices in an official bulletin rather than attempting to notify the driver as they are required to do by law. The official bulletins are also used in cases when attempts to notify the driver fail.
Dvuelto says that drivers pay the price when they are unaware of a ticket because, when they finally become learn of it due to a forced-payment embargo, it is too late to fight the ticket or to be eligible for an early-payment discount on the fine.
However, the company says that if authorities directly publish a ticket in an official bulletin without first making the required two attempts to notify the driver, there are legal grounds to have the ticket declared null and void.