News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Gala dance event for COmpeta
Small Axarquía town attracts big talent from London's West End and beyond
By Dave Jamieson
CÓMPETA is preparing for two gala nights of dance over the first weekend in December. An exceptional line-up of artists has been confirmed for the event which will include everything from ballet to flamenco and tap.
The mayor of Cómpeta has agreed that the new gymnasium in the secondary school can be the venue, plus the use of the stage from El Noche del Vino. Ray Rowden, director and founder of the organisers, Reach4Dance, said it was a perfect location with great sight-lines for the audience, on top of which there is a separate space for a bar and tapas service.
Amongst those appearing will be Matthew Powell, who is presently dancing in the hugely successful production of The Phantom of the Opera in London's West End. He will be teamed with ballerina Julianne Rice-Oxley to perform a Strauss waltz, a pas de deux from Coppelia and the stunning routine from Le Corsaire popularised by Fonteyn and Nureyev.
Also appearing will be four of the top graduates from Elmhurst Ballet School including Yamato Mashiko (pictured) who was born in Japan and has been dancing since age 10. He studied at the Royal Ballet Summer School in 2006 and entered Elmhurst two years later. This year, he was a semi-finalist in the Prix De Lausanne and performed in the Lausanne Gala in Tokyo.
Local talent will also be included, with flamenco dancer Juan Luis El Borde, singers Lisa Edelman and Tom Sobel, and talented tap dancer Lee Payne who will demonstrate the origins of the dance form. In contrast, Hannah Jones, a contemporary dancer, will be showcasing two pieces, one of which has been choreographed especially for the gala.
Nerja police chief suspended and fined
Court found him guilty of bullying an officer
By Dave Jamieson
NERJA'S police chief has been suspended for 20 days without pay and fined six euros per day after a court in Torrox found him guilty of bullying one of his officers. Antonio Navas Cañedo had been the subject of an official complaint by Andalucía's Independent Police Union (SIP-AN) who accused him of "abuse of a subordinate."
The court was told that on February 25 this year, the officer was summoned to a meeting with his chief on a disciplinary matter, despite that fact that he had been on duty overnight so had had no sleep and that the meeting could have been postponed. It heard how "without reason" the chief pursued the officer through the police station in an arrogant manner demanding that he come to his office. He refused to allow the officer to bring a witness to the meeting and then threatened him, before the two finally met behind closed doors.
The union said that when the officer came out of the chief's office, he was "very nervous, agitated and reduced to tears after the humiliating treatment by Navas." Subsequently, the officer was on sick leave for 10 days suffering from stress.
The SIP-AN said that the sentence handed down on Sr Navas highlighted the "stifling atmosphere" amongst Nerja's local police. A press release from the union on Monday claimed that a number of previous complaints had been "covered up" by mayor José Alberto Armijo who, "far from trying to solve the problems through dialogue, covered for a chief who, for the second time, has been condemned for abusive treatment." This referred to a previous occasion when the chief was reprimanded for calling a Torre de Mar councillor "a pimp."
Antonio Navas Cañedo has been Nerja's local police chief since May 1985. He was born in Nerja and had served as a local officer for 13 years before being promoted to head the force.
Junta gives green light for Marbella marina expansion
Funding still sought for the project, which will triple the number of moorings
By David Eade
ON Tuesday the regional government authorised the Andalucía port authority to give the green light to the enlargement of Marbella's Marina and La Bajadilla port. It can now issue tenders for the scheme which will require a total investment of 77 million euros.
This will be the first time the authority has approved a joint public - private venture, which will allow the tripling of the number of moorings at the port. Eventually there will be 670 moorings and the construction is expected to create over 500 jobs.
Perhaps key to boosting Marbella's tourism image will be the creation of an extended quay where cruise ships can tie up. Currently many cruisers stop off the jet-set resort so that passengers can view the town but they have not been able to land.
There had been concerns that the proposed quay would not be large enough for sizeable cruise ships, but businesses in the centre of town have been backing the town hall in seeking to have the quay extended, and this is expected to be included in the tender conditions, which should be ready by the end of the year.
Five arrested as police raid expat bars seeking wanted fugitives
By Dave Jamieson and Oliver McIntyre
POLICE have arrested five people in a fugitive dragnet carried out at more than a dozen Costa expat bars it was revealed last week. The detentions came as National Police prepared a public appeal to track down international criminals.
The raids on 14 bars in Mijas, Marbella, Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Benalmádena were carried out by the National Police in collaboration with UK police in a push to track down wanted criminals hiding out on the Costa. Officers checked the IDs of 101 bar customers in all.
The police say the bars involved in the searches were specifically targeted, not selected at random. "We can't divulge the exact criteria that were used, but nothing was done randomly," a National Police spokesperson confirmed to Costa del Sol News. "The UK police were actively involved," she said.
The dragnet, code-named operation Cardhu, was carried out over four days from October 24 to 27, but the information was not made public until last week. The first inspections, at several bars in the Calahonda zone of Mijas, netted the arrest of a British suspect wanted in the UK on drug charges.
The next day officers swooped on four bars in La Cala de Mijas and made two arrests. One of those detained was wanted by the UK on a European warrant related to drug trafficking while the other was wanted by a Spanish court.
Police checks at five bars in Marbella and Fuengirola on October 26 turned up no suspects. The following day officers hit another five bars in Torremolinos and Benalmádena, where no wanted fugitives were identified but at one of the bars police arrested the owner and a bartender for allegedly dealing drugs in the establishment. The bar was temporarily closed down and a police request filed for its permanent closure.
Meanwhile, the National Police this week launched an appeal to help find seven men wanted by Spain and other countries who are suspected of a range of criminal activities including murder, drugs trafficking and paedophilia. Most wanted by the Spanish authorities is Rafael Bueno Latorre, who is implicated in four deaths and eight robberies with violence.
Two Britons believed to be living in Spain are listed: Daren Michael Elarmo, who previously lived in California and is suspected of kidnapping and sexually abusing minors, and Christopher Guest More from Manchester, who is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder in Cheshire in 2003.
Images and details of all the most-wanted fugitives from justice can be found at www.youtube.com/policia, while anyone with information is asked to call 915 822 510, email [email protected] or contact any police station.
Facebook investigation launched - MySpace next up
New allegations of privacy breaches as user data shared with advertisers
By Oliver McIntyre
SPAIN'S data protection agency (AEPD) has launched an investigation into alleged privacy breaches by Facebook, and now MySpace is facing similar allegations.
The AEPD opened the inquiry into Facebook after consumer watchdog Facua highlighted a report in the Wall Street Journal revealing that 10 of the most popular games and applications on the social networking site were providing users' data to advertising or data-collection firms (CDSN last week).
Now Facua cites another WSJ report uncovering similar privacy breaches on MySpace, another social networking site.
The consumer group states that MySpace has acknowledged it shared user IDs with advertisers including Google and Quantcast Corp. User IDs can provide access to account holders' personal profile on MySpace.
"The information was primarily sent by MySpace when users clicked on ads," said the WSJ report. However, the advertising companies that received the data "said they didn't use the information," states the article.
The report also says some independent applications on MySpace were transmitting user IDs, including TagMe, which has 8.3 users, RockYou Pets (6.1 million users) and the virtual gardening game GreenSport (1.8 million users).
Facua says that MySpace has 2.5 million users in Spain according to Nielsen's Net Ratings. The consumer group has called on Spain's protection data agency to open an investigation to "clarify the dimensions of the situation and the number of Spanish users affected."
It says that if an infraction of data protection laws is detected, the companies involved should face fines "proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the number of users affected."
The Pope arrives in Spain this weekend
Two-day visit includes Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela
By Dave Jamieson
POPE BENEDICT XVI arrives in Spain on Saturday for a two-day visit. He will visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia and the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.
On the first day, the Pope will first go to the historic pilgrim destination of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where St James's tomb is located, to mark this year's jubilee celebration. The special event, referred to as the Jacobean or Compostelan Year, occurs each year that the Feast of St James on July 25 is celebrated on a Sunday. It is a special year for pilgrims because it is the only time when it is permitted to enter the Church using the puerta santa or holy door.
The Pope will also complete the rite of the pilgrim by entering through the puerta santa and embracing a statue of St James. Later, he will preside over Mass, which is expected to attract around 8,000 pilgrims.
On Saturday evening, he will fly to Barcelona where on Sunday, he will begin the day by meeting privately with the King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in the Museum Hall of the church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). He will celebrate Mass in the recently completed central nave of the otherwise unfinished structure, dedicating it as a basilica and consecrating the altar.
Many are expected to follow the Mass outside the church where it will be shown on large television screens. At the conclusion of the celebration, the Pope will address those gathered outside the basilica.
However, gay activists have threatened to disrupt the morning by staging a demonstration against the Pope's uncompromising position on homosexuality. They have called on gay men and women to kiss one another in front of him as he leaves the church. Pope Benedict has described homosexuality as a "tendency" towards an "intrinsic moral evil," and said that same-sex marriage and abortion were among the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good."
Prostitution group seeks legal status for sex workers
One in three Spanish men has used a prostitute, according to government figures
By Dave Jamieson
PROSTITUTION is a fact of life in Spain and should be legalised and made a legitimate profession, says a sex workers' rights group.
A third of Spanish men have admitted using the services of a prostitute, according to the National Health Survey 2009, published ahead of a major conference on prostitution last weekend.
Details of the respected annual survey into Spain's sexual health were announced on Friday by the conference organisers, Hetaira, an organisation that works for the rights of sex workers. It revealed that 32 per cent of Spanish men have used the services of a prostitute at least once in their lives which, Hetaira says, strengthens the case for having the rights of prostitutes recognised. The group says that these women perform, "an economic activity in our country that is not illegal, but is basically lawless. All we ask for is its regularisation."
Hetaira wants the law changed to recognise prostitution as a profession, so permitting prostitutes to declare themselves self-employed and start paying Social Security contributions.