News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Seve remembered as PlayPoulter takes World Match crown
By David Eade
THERE WERE emotional scenes at the Finca Cortesín golf course in Casares on Sunday as Briton Ian Poulter took the World Match Play crown and in the process denied the number one spot to fellow Englishman Luke Donald.
However within minutes of him making his final putt it was Seve Ballesteros who the crowd called for as Poulter paid tribute to player who has won the title five times.
In his winner's speech Poulter said of Seve: "He was a very special person. I was delighted to follow him at Wentworth and I had the good fortune to play with him some times."
He added: "He has been a reference for me. I admired him and will remember him for ever."
Poulter sealed a 2&1 victory over Donald to become the first player to win both world match play titles on either side of the Atlantic. Poulter also beat world number one Lee Westwood and remarked: "To beat Lee and Luke was huge. I holed the putts at the right time in both matches."
The Englishman added this trophy to his 2010 triumph in the Accenture World Golf Championship with three decisive holes on the back nine.
Both players had nudged a hole in front at various stages but a stunning 45-foot birdie putt by Poulter on the 12th brought him back level.
Polling day protests around the country
Sit-ins in city plazas continue despite Supreme Court ban
By Dave Jamieson
THE peaceful protests around the country over the government's social policies continued into polling day last weekend, despite a court order banning them after midnight on Friday. Demonstrators in Madrid said they planned to remain until this Sunday while police said they would take no action unless there were public order offences or other incidents.
The demonstrations during the week before the elections grew rapidly from a small protest in Madrid's Puerta del Sol into gatherings of thousands of people in over 150 of Spain's towns and cities, as well abroad. The phenomenon dominated the news agenda in the final week of election campaigning and led to the national Electoral Board imposing a ban on the protests on Saturday and Sunday for fear that they could disrupt the voting process.
The Supreme Court turned down a last minute appeal against the ruling by Izquierda Unida, but despite the ban the crowds failed to disperse. Instead, they appeared to grow. The numbers in the Puerta del Sol were estimated at 24,000 early on Saturday, the day of reflection intended to allow voters to consider their options, when electioneering is prohibited by law. The Ministry of the Interior said that 58,000 people had taken to the streets across the country.
Flash floods affect Costa
Several families were evacuated from their homes in the Estepona area
By David Eade and Dave Jamieson
THE MAJOR storms that hit the Costa del Sol in the early hours of last Thursday morning led to the evacuation of several families in the Estepona area. An estimated 50 litres of water is said to have fallen in a 12-hour period.
Houses and garages were flooded, walls collapsed, streams overflowed but the most spectacular wave of water was in Estepona where 70 cars were swept away. Here the El Taraje river burst its banks and the majority of the vehicles affected were parked at Costalita near the beach.
The damage is said to be extensive and a family were rescued from their Estepona home after it was at risk from the Castor river. The local authority says the problems started when the Cancelada dam collapsed sending 10,000 litres of water towards the Flamingos Club and families on the Nicola road were evacuated for a short period.
The heavy rains were not just confined to Estepona. In Marbella the town hall has advised people to take photos of the damage to help with compensation claims. Marbella recorded 150 litres of rain within a 24 hour period, a third falling in the same period as in Estepona.
Substantial damage in the Axarquía
The severe weather caused substantial damage in the Axarquía too. The municipalities of Riogordo and Benamargosa were worst hit when more than 100 litres per square metre of rain fell in just three hours overnight.
Drains in Riogordo were unable to cope with the sheer volume of water and four houses were flooded, while in Calle Aguardientería the water was a metre deep, inundating garages.
PP LANDSLIDE VICTORY
Socialists suffer worst defeat ever in municipal and regional elections
By David Eade, Dave Jamieson and Oliver McIntyre
THE Partido Popular surged ahead of the PSOE in the municipal and, in some parts of the country, regional elections held on Sunday as voters punished the party of Prime Minster Zapatero for its handling of the economic crisis.
The landside results - the PSOE's worst defeat ever in municipal and regional elections - marked a dramatic sea change in the country's political panorama ahead of next year's general election.
Nationwide, the centre-right PP outscored the socialist PSOE by 10 points in the municipal elections, with the PP taking 38 per cent of the vote (nearly two points more than at the 2007 municipal elections) compared to the PSOE's 28 per cent (down seven points from 2007). In many cases the PP took control of town halls where it had never before celebrated a victory at the polls. In Andalucía, it won all seven capital cities - in several cases stripping them from the hands of the PSOE - and for the first time ever won more overall votes than the socialists in municipal elections throughout the region. Of the 52 provincial capitals nationwide, the PSOE was the top-voted party in just five.
The PP also whipped the socialists in regional elections where they were held (Andalucía does not have its regional election until next year), wresting control from the PSOE in Castilla-La Mancha as well as in the Balearic Islands and Cantabria.
The PSOE may hold on to only Extramadura and Aragón, and in both cases it received fewer votes than the PP and will have to form a coalition to rule.
The other big story of the elections was Bildu, the new Basque party that was just barely allowed to field candidates following efforts to have it banned due to alleged connections with Batasuna, the old political wing of the terrorist group ETA. Bildu not only fielded candidates, but became the second most-voted party in the region behind the Partido Nacionalista Vasco.
The Costa was no exception to the PP landslide, with the party sweeping into power in some historic PSOE strongholds in Málaga province while consolidating its hold on town halls where it was already in power.
Mijas is one of the most glaring examples, with the PP winning an absolute majority in a town hall that has been ruled by the PSOE since the launch of democracy in Spain following Franco's death. This, along with some other key wins, also gives the PP control of the provincial government, the Diputación de Málaga.
One of Britain's most wanted seized in Benahavís
Dempsey is the third Briton arrested on Costa in joint effort by Spanish police and SOCA
By David Eade
ONE of the 10 most wanted UK criminals was arrested in Benahavís last Tuesday afternoon. Thirty-three-year-old Jamie Dempsey was seized in a joint Guardia Civil and National Police operation and the news of his capture was released to the media on Thursday.
Dempsey had been hiding out on an urbanisation in Benahavís after his picture appeared on a UK TV programme. He is wanted on an international find, capture and deport warrant for his part in a 299-kilo cocaine trafficking operation - the drugs are said to have a street value of in excess of 80 million pounds.
The Interior Ministry says this is the third arrest on the Costa del Sol of a most-wanted criminal from the UK following the implementation of a collaboration accord between the ministry and the UK's SOCA serious crime agency.
Essex-born Dempsey fled from the UK in 2009 when a police operation rounded up other members of a drug trafficking gang.
After his picture appeared on a British TV programme he went to great lengths to change his appearance to avoid capture.
According to Guardia Civil and National Police officers when he was arrested in Benahavís he was also in possession of fake identity documents.
British woman beheaded in random island attack
Mentally disturbed man attacked victim at a Tenerife supermarket
By Dave Jamieson
A 28-YEAR-OLD Bulgarian national was charged on Sunday with the murder of a 60-year-old retired British woman on Tenerife three days earlier.
It was claimed at the weekend that Jennifer Mills-Westley had earlier reported the disturbed vagrant for threatening behaviour. She was stabbed at least 14 times and then decapitated with a large knife.
The man, who has a history of mental illness, was taken to a psychiatric unit while questions began to be asked about how someone with a recent history of mental health problems and violence was allowed to be on the streets.
The horrific scene unfolded inside a Chinese supermarket in Arona, 10 kilometres inland from the popular resort of Los Cristianos in the south-west of the island, where Mrs Mills-Westley was shopping when she was attacked. Earlier, she is reported to have alerted a security guard in the neighbouring social security office that she had been threatened by a vagrant. He let her shelter in the office until the man left the immediate area.
A security camera recording from inside the shop showed the same man picking up the knife from one of the supermarket shelves as he approached her. After the attack, he ran into the street, carrying her severed head which he then dropped as he was chased by members of the public and security officers. He was finally floored by an Italian motorcyclist who struck him with his safety helmet. The emergency services were quickly on the scene and police arrested the attacker.
The Bulgarian man has lived in the area for some time and has a police record. He is reported to have been released in February from psychiatric treatment for his violent behaviour, and had since then been living rough. He is well known locally for claiming loudly that he believes he is a "Prophet of God," while witnesses to the attack say that he shouted, "God is on Earth," as he tried to flee.