News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Record figures for El Altet
Alicante airport set a record last year with 9,913,764 passengers passing through the new terminal.
News Staff Reporter
ALICANTE airport set a record last year with 9,913,764 passengers passing through the new terminal.
The figure was a 5.7% increase on 2010, according to the details released by AENA on Wednesday.
A total of 79.6% of travellers were international passengers and only two million passengers were on national flights.
AENA announced that on average Spanish airports had increased passenger numbers by 6%.
However, passenger rates at Murcia-San Javier airport fell by 6.4%. The airport, which closes to passenger traffic this year, registered a total of 1,262,541 passengers and 11,180 commercial flights.
More than 72% of the flights were international flights, mainly from the UK.
An AENA spokesman said that these figure were achieved despite the reduction of flights by Ryanair which claimed that passenger numbers in November had fallen drastically because no other airline had taken up the shortfall caused by its cancellations.
Joel's fight for life ends
RESIDENTS in Benissa are in shock this week following the death of six-year-old Joel Ortega Serra in Alicante General hospital.
By Tom Cain
Joel was just 18 months old when he contracted meningitis which left him with severe neurological damage.
Despite being severely handicapped by his condition, Joel clung to life and his parents decided to raise money to take him to a specialist clinic in Santiago de Compostela.
The money was need because under the conditions imposed by the clinic both parents had to move there for at least a year. The two-year-long waiting list to get into the clinic did not dent Joel's determination to live and with just one more year to go residents in Benissa rallied around and began a fund raising campaign for him and his parents in order to pay for the treatment he needed. The Manuel Bru school raised 2,700 euros and other donations were made by the Rotary Club of Benissa-Teulada and the Pare Melchor school.
A further 1,200 euros was donated by the Calp Amistades Belgas and more money was donated by private individuals which took the running total for the fund up to 5,000 euros. Unfortunately Joel picked up an infection and he was just not strong enough to fight it off and he passed away on Sunday.
Joel's plight succeeded in uniting the residents of Benissa in a common cause and hundreds turned out for his funeral on Monday at the Puríssima Xiqueta church.
No IBI tax hike for JÁvea - but double for DÉnia
Property tax in other towns, such as Benidorm will rise by up to 10 per cent
By Tom Cain and Samantha Kett
RESIDENTS in Dénia have been hit with a double whammy IBI tax hike after the council recently approved a five per cent rise and the government added a further 10% last week.
Socialist councillor Elena Tur has asked tax councillor, Vicente Chelet, to arrange an urgent meeting to discuss the financial impact the 15% increase will have on residents.
Sra Tur also wants to discuss the government's decision to cut its subsidy to the civil servants' pension fund which she claims is an added punishment to town hall staff along with the council's decision to cut its social services budget.
It was all smiles in Jávea, though, after local authorities stressed that Mariano Rajoy's plans to increase IBI across the board this year will not affect homeowners in Jávea.
The land and home values applied in the town between 2005 and 2007 will not be altered, say sources from the town hall.
This is because the Catastral review was carried out during the housing market boom and, between five and seven years later, Jávea council considers these figures to be higher than the true value of land and homes in the area.
"Jávea council wishes to reassure homeowners who have seen their IBI bills rise every year since the last catastral revision in 2005," says a spokeswoman from the town hall.
"We are conscious of the problems that many residents are having as a result of the recession when it comes to paying their taxes, which is why we reduced the percentage applicable from 0.657 to 0.617 back in October.
"This will allow some 24,600 property owners to pay lower IBI rates in 2012 than in 2011, and a further 12,500 who are still catching up with the previous rises will now see much lower increases," the council reveals.
Icy roads warning
News Staff Reporter
DRIVERS in Alicante Province have been warned that the severe drop in overnight temperatures is causing icy patches to form on roads and that they should drive with caution.
Drivers using secondary roads, especially in inland areas, should take extra care as these roads are more prone to icing over than main roads.
Temperature levels at night have been dropping steadily since last Sunday and places such as Onil have registered a minimum -1C.
One of the highest risk places is the access road to the Font Roja in Alcoy.
The road's dangerous curves combined with ice patches made it extremely difficult to negotiate on Monday, morning forcing officials to issue the warning.
As temperatures continue to drop the agricultural sector is bracing itself for crop losses.
As yet no significant damage has been done to seasonal crops but if things do begin to freeze over then substantial losses to crops are expected and this will force the price of some fruit and vegetables up.
That's my boy!
Benidorm, Elche, Alcoy and Lorca pick up 'El Niño' prize
By Tom Cain
NATIONAL lottery outlet nº 4 in Benidorm had the honour of selling a winning second prize ticket in last week's 'El Niño' draw which saw the lucky buyer of ticket number 92,225 take home 100,000 euros.
The owner of the outlet, José Ignacio Álvarez, said that the person who bought the winning ticket did so via the electronic terminal.
He added that he didn't know who it was but he was extremely pleased to have sold the ticket and he can now add it to his list of lucky numbers sold in the past for other draws.
In Elche, a lottery kiosk situated on Calle Pinto Sixto Marco, sold another winning 100,000-euro ticket. This particular kiosk, which is close to the Miguel Hernández University, also sold tickets worth 2.8 million euros in a 'La Primitiva' draw in 2009
It was smiles all around in Lorca as well as another lucky punter also claimed his 100,000 euros slice of the cake after getting hold of ticket number 92,225.
But the luck didn't stop there and in Alcoy the lucky buyer of ticket number 01457 picked up a New Year's bonus of 14,000 euros.
Petrol up - Grand Prix in doubt
Regional government seeks to balance the books with cuts and tax rises
By Alex Watkins
THE REGIONAL government has approved a host of measures with which it hopes to save 1,057 million euros.
Some of these will have an immediate impact on expats, such as a rise in the 'healthcare cent' tax applied to the price of fuel.
This will increase the price of diesel and petrol by 2.4 cents per litre.
This meant that in the Valencia Region this week fuel prices rose to 1.37 euros a litre for petrol and 1.34 euros a litre for diesel.
However, the agricultural and transport sectors will not be affected by the rise. Income tax collected by the regional government will also be amended with the introduction of two new brackets on the scale for those who earn above 120,000 and 175,000 euros per year.
An annual earnings limit to be eligible for regional tax deductions will be set at 24,000 euros for individuals and 38,000 euros for couples.
The regional deduction for buying a habitual residence using outside finance will be eliminated.
Stamp tax on acts formalised in legal documents will rise from 1% to 1.2%.
Together with a series of environmental taxes, these measures are expected to raise regional government income by 238 million euros per year.
Regional cuts to hit foreign residents and visitors
A new series of crisis-fighting cut-backs approved by the regional government in Valencia will have a noticeable impact on foreign residents and visitors to the region.
The cut-backs mainly affect the healthcare system, although budgets for large events (including the Formula One racing) and education have also been hit.
In addition, the regional government will be increasing certain taxes