News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Films in English return to Coín cinema
By Oliver McIntyre
FOR THE first time in a year expat residents of the Guadalhorce valley can go and see a movie in English at a local cinema.
Films in English were first launched at the La Trocha commercial centre's Al Andalus multiplex in Coín some two and a half years ago thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers. But the cinema stopped the screenings in September 2010 due to the costs involved and other factors.
But lobbying by an expat group - and the support of cinema manager Viki Sandoval, who kept the pressure on her head office - has succeeded in bringing English-soundtrack movies back to La Trocha.
The current feature is Cowboys and Aliens, starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde, which showed on Monday evening and will be screened again tonight, September 15, at 8.05pm.
Organisers say the relaunch of movies in English is a "use it or lose it" proposition; if the expat community supports the movies and attendance is good, "hopefully we will have regular movies inland once again," said Ricky Leach of the Coín Life website, who has helped spearhead the effort to bring back the English film nights.
More animals abandoned and fewer adopted
The Paraíso pound has so far taken in 3,400 abandoned animals this year
By Oliver McIntyre
THE economic crisis is proving to be a grim time not only for people but for pets too.
More animals are being abandoned even as fewer are being adopted, according to figures from the Paraíso pound in Alhaurín de la Torre, which operates animal control services for Alhaurín as well 88 other towns in the province.
So far this year the centre has captured around 3,400 abandoned animals - mostly dogs and cats - a 10 per cent jump in compared to the same period last year, said Juan Jesús Bernal, the Junta de Andalucía's environment delegate in Málaga, during a visit to the pound last week. At the same time, the number of adoptions has dropped by 22 per cent, from 744 up to August of last year to 587 this year.
In Alhaurín alone around a 1,000 abandoned animals are collected each year, said the town's health and environment councillor, Salvador Herrera, who toured the facility along with the Junta delegate.
Hundreds of homes evacuated as wildfire scorches Mijas, Marbella and Ojén
By Oliver McIntyre
MORE than 300 homes were evacuated on Sunday night as flames engulfed nearly 700 hectares of countryside in Mijas, Marbella and Ojén in one of the Costa's worst wildfires in recent years.
More than a dozen homes were affected, including five that were severely burned or completely destroyed, two of them wooden houses.
"There were no injuries reported.
The fire broke out at around 8:30pm on Sunday in the Entrerríos zone of Mijas and the flames were quickly fanned into a violent blaze by warm winds gusting up to 40 kilometres per hour.
"Firefighters working on the ground battled the flames overnight but could not bring the fire under control until aircraft were deployed at daylight on Monday morning. A total of 22 helicopters and planes managed to control the blaze by around midday, though it was not considered completely extinguished until Tuesday.
The fire, which threatened numerous homes in Entrerríos, Calahonda and the La Mairena zone of Marbella, was tackled by nearly 400 firefighters from the regional Infoca wildfire brigade, the provincial firefighting consortium and the local fire departments of Mijas, Marbella, Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Torremolinos.
At around 10pm on Sunday authorities designated the fire a Level 1 emergency due to the imminent threat to homes and populated areas. Firefighters established a safety perimeter of around 1,000 hectares and evacuated the areas considered at greatest risk. At one point on Monday morning the AP7 toll motorway was shut down for around 15 minutes due to intense smoke.
OAP murder was over a money dispute
The alleged killer had previously stabbed another man over the same debt
NEWS Staff Reporter
THE shooting death of a 79-year-old man in Torremolinos last week was over a supposed 12,000-euro debt that the alleged killer, also 79, believed he was owed by the victim, according to initial investigations.
The shooting occurred shortly before 7pm on Wednesday as the victim, Pedro L.M.N., was sitting on a bench in the central Plaza Costa del Sol when the gunman approached him from behind and blasted him in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun.
The alleged shooter tried to leave the scene but was chased down and caught by a local police officer assisted by a member of the public.
It is understood the suspect, Francisco T.P., had for years been demanding payment of 12,000 euros he felt he was owed as a fee for finding a buyer for an apartment sold by the victim; he was imprisoned in 2006 after stabbing the buyer in a confrontation over the debt, but was released in 2009.
Environmentalists slam virgin coast resort
Officials argue the project will create jobs and boost tourism
By Dave Jones
ENVIRONMENTALISTS have hit out at plans to build a golf and tourist resort at Portmán bay in Murcia.
"The beach in front of the village was soiled with millions of tonnes of mining waste decades ago. The 80 million-euro project to "renovate" the area - which begins in October - will take approximately four years, says La Union mayor Francisco Bernabé.
A harbour with 700 moorings, along with "several luxury hotels and a golf course" will be built at the village between Cartagena and La Manga resort which stands on virgin coast close to Calblanque regional park. A nearby mine is being proofed so it can take the polluted waste extracted from the bay.
Ecologistas en Acción has criticised the 'model' of tourism which is being promoted by the Murcia regional government for Portmán. Spokeswoman Natalia Martín said: "It was a badly-kept secret that many politicians saw Portmán as opportunity for unsustainable development.
"We have been calling for the area to be regenerated for 30 years and now that public money has been made available, it has been hijacked by the regional government to return to their policy of building and creating more golf courses."
Banks hike fees by 15 per cent
Consumer groups say customers are paying for banks' lower profits
By Oliver McIntyre
BANKS in Spain have jacked up their fees and charges, including a 15 per cent hike in account maintenance fees since the beginning of this year, according to the latest figures from the Bank of Spain.
In August account maintenance fees averaged 25.80 euros for a current account and 25.16 euros for a savings account.
The average fee for money transfers has jumped from 0.30 per cent of the amount transferred to 0.34 per cent - an increase of 13.3 per cent - but the minimum fee per transfer has jumped even more, from 3.14 euros to 4.26 euros, an increase of 36 per cent.
Annual maintenance fees for debit and credit cards have jumped by 15 per cent and seven per cent, respectively, while the fee for withdrawing money from the cash machine of a bank other than your own has jumped by as much as 23 per cent.
The fee charged for reviewing a non-mortgage application has jumped from 0.85 per cent of the loan amount to 0.95 per cent, while the loan establishment fee is 3.19 per cent, up from 3.02 per cent. On mortgage loans these fees have seen similar increases and are now at 0.89 per cent for the review process and 2.76 per cent for loan establishment (making the average loan establishment fee 663 euros, according to the Bank of Spain data).
The Consumers and Users Organisation (OCU) accuses the banks of attempting to "compensate for their drop in profits by increasing the fees they charge customers".
Health impacts of alcohol cost Spain €2.8 billion
Consumption has declined in recent years but is still above European average
By Oliver McIntyre
THE health consequences of alcohol consumption in Spain cost some 2.8 billion euros a year, according to a new study.
The report, published in the latest issue of the journal Revista Española de Salud Pública, notes that while alcohol consumption in Spain has declined notably over the last few decades, it continues to be above the European average. Also, the pattern of alcohol use in Spain is moving closer to that seen elsewhere in Europe as people drink less wine and more beer.
The study, conducted by scientists at Barcelona's Public Health Agency, put the direct health cost of alcohol use - as measured by hospitalisations due to conditions fully or partially attributable to alcohol - at 352.4 million euros (based on 2007 figures).
In addition, these illnesses resulted in 1,876,129 missed days of work, at a total cost of 99.3 million euros.
Finally, the study looked at lost wages due to premature death from alcohol-related causes. The total years of potential life lost (YPPL) was calculated at 124,515 years, representing 2.3 billion euros in lost wages (based on 2004 figures).