News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Mijas launches process for legalising homes
Councillor says process will be 'a pilot experience' for Andalucía
By Oliver McIntyre
MIJAS town hall is set to launch work on a two-pronged process aimed at legalising homes in rural zones.
The town hall says it has reached an agreement with Junta de Andalucía officials for a revision of the local development plan (PGOU) regarding rural zones, along with the creation of a detailed inventory and description of the illegal homes in the town.
The process will be performed zone by zone and the first to be undertaken, Valtocado, will serve as "a pilot experience for the legalisation of homes throughout Andalucía," said the town planning councillor, Manuel Navarro, who last week met with opposition party leaders at the town hall to explain the agreements reached with the Junta.
The revision of the PGOU and the creation of the illegal home inventory will be performed in strict accordance with the decree that the Junta de Andalucía is drawing up on the legalisation of irregular homes, which is expected to be finalised in October, said the town hall.
The town hall is to contract out to private firms both the illegal homes inventory and the PGOU revision, a process it expects will take around eight months.
The entire process is to be carried out "hand-in-hand with the Junta," whose Public Works office in Málaga has agreed to make available a staff member designated specifically to handling the legalisation process of homes in Mijas, said Sr Navarro.
Weekend river cleanup in Nerja
Volunteers can join rubbish-collecting excursions planned for this Saturday
By Dave Jamieson
DOZENS of people are expected to participate in an exercise to clean the Chillar river and its environs in Nerja on Saturday. The town hall has arranged two separate excursions to accommodate differing physical abilities.
FThe idea came from the local Protección Civil unit which is involved in rescuing injured or lost walkers in the countryside north of the town. The volunteers say that many people do not take their rubbish home with them, and there are even plastic bags hanging from trees.
Both routes begin at 8.30am from the site of Nerja's Tuesday market by the Almijara II urbanisation. Everyone is urged to bring two pairs of walking boots or shoes and socks, because the routes involve walking in the river water and a dry pair is essential. Something to cover the head is also essential, as is water and something to eat.
The first group will take the more difficult route, which the town hall says is only for those who are fit and do not suffer from dizziness. They will be driven up to the starting point at Collado del Apretadero, between Nerja and Frigiliana, from where they will continue on foot.
The second group will take a route described as being of medium difficulty, starting and finishing at the market site. Members of this group can return whenever they wish.
Anyone wishing to join either group on Saturday should register at either the Foreigners' Department office or at the Atención al Ciudadano office in the town hall.
Málaga first to power cars from braking trains
Public works minister Jose Blanco says units will be installed by the end of the year
By Oliver McIntrye
MÁLAGA'S Maria Zambrana railway station will be the first in Spain to be equipped with recharging points for electric vehicles.
The public works minister José Blanco said last week that a deal had been done with ADIF, the state body charged with maintenance of Spain's railway network, and the units will be installed by the end of the year.
The system works by claiming back energy released when a train breaks and adding energy generated by solar panels. Each recharging point will be connected to the electricity substation which provides power to the railway's overhead cables and will have a system for storing energy which can then be made available to recharge vehicles.
In May, ADIF engineers succeeded in converting kinetic energy produced by a braking commuter train to charge an electric car. The procedure, known as regenerative braking, involves using an electric motor as a generator.
Ex-mayor and six others arrested in corruption swoop at Ronda town hall
By David Eade
TO THE Malaya, Ballena Blanca, Arcos and Astapa cases can now be added Acinipo - the Roman name for Ronda - and an apt choice by police leading the latest municipal corruption case that saw a wave of arrests on Tuesday including that of the former mayor of Ronda, Antonio Marín Lara.
Roads were sealed off on Tuesday as at least three police raids swept into operation at the town hall, municipal offices and the homes of those involved after more than a year's investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor Valentín Bueno.
As in Marbella and Estepona the case centres on town planning corruption. Apart from the ex-mayor, who was first a member of the Partido Andalucista before becoming a socialist, three other PSOE councillors were also arrested plus former associates of the previous administration.
Having their collars felt were Francisco Cañestro, the secretary of the local PSOE who is also a provincial deputy; María José Martin de Haro, the former town planning councillor; and Rafael Lara who was in charge of local contracts and security. According to judicial sources the others detained were a lawyer and businessmen associated with the Eroski commercial centre development to be built on the former football ground. A seventh person also involved in this project has been questioned by police. Two of these latter arrests were made outside the province.
At 9am Valentín Bueno, who was the mover behind the Astapa and Arcos cases, ordered in 20 National Police officers of the Udyco organised crime unit from the Costa del Sol and a dedicated group dealing with money laundering, accompanied by officials from Ronda's number 2 court.
The charge sheet against those involved is lengthy and includes corruption, bribery, embezzlement, falsifying documents, money laundering, traffic in influences and obstructing justice.
Costa killer served 18 years for murder in Germany
The suspect, who has confessed to the killing of two residents this summer, was carrying a false Irish passport
By Oliver McIntyre
A 44-YEAR-OLD man arrested in Mijas last week for allegedly killing two women on the Costa in a one-month period had previously been sentenced to 18 years in prison for killing a woman in Germany in 1988.
After his arrest on Friday the man, of mixed German and Moroccan parentage, confessed to the August 10 killing of a 45-year-old woman in the Calahonda zone of Mijas and the September 10 killing of a 47-year-old woman in San Pedro de Alcántara.
Both women were robbed and stabbed to death in their homes. The first, Susan M.R., a Spanish citizen of Argentinean origin, was found in her apartment in the Mansión Alhamar complex in Calahonda with 17 stab wounds. A month later Maryuri Alice P.G., also Spanish but originally from Ecuador, was discovered in her home on Calle Jaén in San Pedro with 13 stab wounds.
The suspect's mother and girlfriend have also been arrested for alleged reception of stolen property.
The bankcard of one of the victims was used to withdraw nearly 2,000 euros from cash machines using her PIN code, leading investigators to believe the man may have tortured her until she gave him the number.
Spain and Costa at risk from tornados
Study shows at least 700 such storms have been registered in the country
By David Eade
ACCORDING to one of the leading weather experts in Spain the country is not immune to extreme weather conditions such as tornados. Indeed Málaga along with other regions on the Med coast are at risk from such potentially devastating occurrences.
Miquel Gaya, who is now retired from the Balearic Islands meteorology agency, has been researching the subject. After 20 years consulting historic archives and weather records he has created a database that shows that over 1,700 tornados, water spouts or related rain downbursts have been detected in Spain, and of those 700 were tornados.
One of the most significant and recent incidents was on the Costa del Sol on Sunday, February 1, 2009. Dozens of people received light injuries when a tornado swept through the bus station in Málaga city. In the days that followed municipal workers collected 60 tonnes of debris from there as well as the San Andrés area, Avenida Juan XXIII and the Guadalhorce industrial estate. The same phenomenon was repeated in Estepona where five people were injured when a circus tent collapsed.
This is just one of the examples that Gaya has published in the scientific magazine Atmospheric Research. He analyses the zones most prone to tornados in Spain, which take in the Mediterranean arc from Murcia to Girona, the Balearic Islands and the southern Andalucía coast from Granada to Cádiz provinces. The Galicia coast on the Atlantic is also at risk but to a far lesser degree.
Over the last three decades on average there have been 11 tornados, 9 water spouts and four heavy cold water downpours a year. However there is not a perception amongst the population that these types of extreme weather are relatively frequent. Thankfully the majority are of light or moderate strength on the Fujita international scale of intensity.