Costa del Sol News - 2nd September 2011

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

Local politicians join forces to push coastal train plan

Elias Bendodo says the Junta has not yet allocated a single cent for the project

By David Eade

THE leaders of the provincial Diputación council and the Western Costa del Sol association of town halls, both controlled by the Partido Popular, last week signed a joint proposal to reactivate the plan to take the Cercanías train line from Fuengirola along the coast to Marbella and beyond.

Both the president of the provincial authority, Elias Bendodo, and the president of the town halls association, Margarita Del Cid said that both institutions would pressurise the regional government to go ahead with the rail infrastructure extension in order to promote tourism, which is the major economic driving force in the coastal areas of the province and indeed accounts for over 14 per cent of the GDP of Andalucía.

Sr Bendodo stated that at present the Junta had not allocated "one céntimo" for the construction of the new coastal railway extension. However the regional government´s manifesto pledged the rail service would be extended to Manilva with stops in Mijas, Marbella and Estepona along the way.

Parents face up to €1,100 in back-to-school costs

Consumer groups recommend that clothes and materials are recycled whenever possible

By Oliver McIntyre

PARENTS on the Costa are facing between 420 and 1,100 euros in back-to-school spending, depending on whether their children are in public or private schools, says the consumer group Unión de Consumidores, noting that most school-related costs have maintained the same level or dropped compared to recent years.

Another consumer group, Al Andalús, estimates the average back-to-school cost for state-funded schools at 600 euros - or 700 for those that require uniforms - figures it says have dropped to 2006 levels thanks to lower prices for many items.

However, the price for some items has gone up this year, including supplementary workbooks, which are not covered by the Junta de Andalucía's programme providing free text books, and which have seen a hike of around 20 per cent, according to Unión de Consumidores. Some other scholastic materials are up 15 per cent.

She asked the name of the restaurant but the man would not tell her and said he would call her back. But he never did.


British resident received bogus call about ‘lost' card

By Oliver McIntyre

A LONG-TIME British resident of Fuengirola has alerted Costa del Sol News to a possible scam after she received a suspicious phone call from someone telling her she had left her credit card in a local restaurant, which she knew she had not.

The Los Boliches resident, who asked not to be named, received a call last Thursday from someone speaking Spanish - but who may not have actually been Spanish - and who hung up after she said she only spoke English.

A short while later a woman called, chiding her for not speaking Spanish and saying something about a credit card. No sooner had that woman hung up than another man called, speaking English and telling her that she had left her credit card at a Fuengirola restaurant and they wanted to come give it back to her.

She informed the man that she did not have a credit card - though she in fact does, but it is in her possession and she knows she hasn't left it anywhere, she told CDSN.

She asked the name of the restaurant but the man would not tell her and said he would call her back. But he never did.

"I think they just pulled my name out of the phone book," she said.

If that is the case, the fraudsters may be specifically targeting foreigners, as the woman has a recognisably Anglo surname.

Malaga man sought in attack on 13-year-old

The suspect, 28, met the girl on the social networking site Tuenti

By Oliver McIntyre

GUARDIA Civil investigators are searching for a 28-year-old Málaga man as the alleged culprit of a violent attack on a 13-year-old girl and her 75-year-old grandmother in the Sevilla town of Utrera on Sunday morning.

It is understood the suspect met the young girl on the popular Spanish social networking website Tuenti, and they had maintained online contact for some time and had then met in person.

However, the relationship had become strained and the man, with long black hair and a Goth-style aesthetic, had begun harassing the girl.

The night before the attack he was spotted outside the girl's building, banging on windows, crying on his knees and begging her to not leave him. The police came and told him to move along but did not arrest him because no complaint had been filed against him.

Midday blaze at San Roque's refinery

The incident at the Cepsa facility was San Roque's second fire last week

By David Eade

THE residents of San Roque received a nasty shock at midday on Friday when smoke was seen billowing from the Cepsa refinery in the town. According to the town hall's councillor for local security, the blaze was rated as a level 1 emergency and started in an internal boiler. By 2pm the flames had been extinguished and the smoke was no longer visible.

The mayor of San Roque, Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix, was kept informed throughout and thanked the fire brigade for their prompt and effective response.

Although there were no injuries, any fire at the refinery is of major concern and if it spread could cause a major disaster in the Campo de Gibraltar and Gibraltar itself. Indeed the progress of the fire was closely followed by the ESG environmental group on the Rock.

This was the second fire in San Roque last week. On Tuesday evening a blaze broke out on the side of the road leading to the casino and affected the Sierra de Arca and Albarracin. Around 10 hectares of land were burnt and two helicopters were brought in to tackle the blaze along with the fire brigade and Infoca teams.

Death knell sounded for provincial governments

Rubalcaba says scrapping Diputaciones would achieve billion-euro savings

By Dave Jones

DOING away with the country's provincial governments would save Spain 1 billion euros.

This was the message from Socialist party (PSOE) candidate for president in November's general election, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, as the debate over the future of the 'diputaciones' raged this week.

Sr Rubalcaba is proposing that the powers of the provincial governments be divided up between regional governments and a new body incorporating local mayors called 'consejos de alcaldes', or mayors' boards.

The mayors would do the job for free.

The proposal would affect 38 provincial governments, with exceptions made for those in the Basque Country and Navarra.

The PSOE frontman said these currently have an annual budget of 6 billion euros - with 30% spent on wages and expenses.

Al-Qaeda suspect planned to poison water

The man, from Morocco, was arrested in La Línea de la Concepción

By David Eade

A SUSPECTED member of a terrorist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda was arrested in La Línea de la Concepción last Wednesday. At the time of the arrest the Guardia Civil said he allegedly headed an internet site that spread propaganda and sought to recruit members to carry out terrorist attacks. However, now it has emerged in a Madrid court that he planned a massive poisoning of drinking water.

Named as Abdellatif Aoulad Chiba, 37, from Morocco, he had previously been expelled from Jordan for suspected terror-related activities. He was being linked with the group known as Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. Spain's Ministry of the Interior said the website also offered training for new members, encouraged terror actions and provided links to statements and media products from the leaders of Islamic terror groups.

Police searched his house at 53 Calle Pedreras in La Línea, which could lead to more detailed information emerging. According to his house cleaner, another man had also been staying at the property, leading to speculation that Chiba was not a lone wolf.

There was immediate speculation that he was in La Línea to plan an attack against the refinery in San Roque or installations in Gibraltar. The Royal Gibraltar Police say they were fully informed of the actions by the Guardia Civil but there were no known targets on the Rock.