News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Arenal revamp put off until October
Planned seafront overhaul in Jávea postponed to avoid summer season
By Samantha Kett
A PLANNED overhaul of the Arenal seafront in Jávea has now been put off until at least the autumn, ostensibly because of delays which would have meant roadworks during the summer holidays.
Mayor José Chulvi says the red tape is taking far longer than envisaged, and the works would not have started until April as a result.
Given that the revamp of the Arenal would take four months to complete, this would mean the whole of Jávea's beach season would be marred by roadworks.
To avoid this and so as not to have a negative impact on tourism, Chulvi announced that the work would not start now until October, meaning it should be finished by around this time next year.
Polar front hits the Costa Blanca
News Staff Reporter
SNOW appeared on the Costa peaks such as the Puig Campana (photo) yesterday (Thursday) as a polar front that has swept across Europe hit Spain.
Temperatures plummeted by at least 6C in all areas, with the inland towns reporting temperatures as low as -7C.
Health authorities have warned that keeping warm over the coming days is a priority for the elderly and small children in order to prevent cases of hypothermia.
Weathermen say such fronts sweep across every eight years, but this will be the coldest one since 1950.
Medication list snipped
By Tom Cain
FEARS of serious cuts to the list of subsidised medication obtained via public health service prescriptions were heightened this week after it was revealed that doctors have been ordered not to prescribe remedies for common colds and laxatives.
Following last week's announcement by regional health councillor, Luis Rosado, that his list of 300 items he wants to cut from the health service was not set in concrete, it has been revealed that a memo has been sent to all doctors telling them that as from February 1, they are not to issue prescriptions for medicines to treat common colds or laxatives to treat people with constipation.
The only exception to this order will be for patients who have chronic symptoms.
Chemists have said that cold and flu remedies as well as laxatives are not expensive so there should be no problem with people paying the full price, which in the case of over-the-counter cold and flu remedies is between 2.06 and 3.12 euros and for laxatives between 3.30 and 4.93 euros.
The UGT union representing hospital staff said this measure proves Sr Rosado was lying last week about the implementation of his health cuts. They added that although what he has done so far has been very subtle he will continue to introduce cost cutting measures to the detriment of the health service so he can meet a 440-million-euro target of reductions by the end of the year.
UGT has called on the public to organise demonstrations in defence of the health service in the same way as they are doing for education.
Blue zone stitch-up
Drivers fined for parking in blue-zone area on part-time pedestrian street
By Tom Cain
IT IS common knowledge that Benidorm council's purse strings have been pulled extremely tight and that its debt mountain is getting higher by the day, but unsuspecting motorists who park in the blue zone area on Calle Gerona are being targeted by the council in what appears to be deliberate entrapment.
TCosta Blanca News was made aware of the situation after a member of staff recently parked in a blue zone parking area on Calle Gerona only to return and find that her car had been towed away and that she had been fined 80 euros for parking in a restricted area.
In order to get her car back she had to pay 60 euros and coupled with the taxi bill to get to the municipal car pound the total came to over 140 euros.
Incensed by the treatment, she took photos of Calle Gerona and they clearly show the functioning blue zone parking area on one side of the street and the loading and offloading bay on the other side.
Stolen baby grave exhumedBy Alex Watkins
BONES exhumed from a mass grave in Alicante cemetery on Tuesday will confirm whether a baby girl really died - as her family were told - or was sold for adoption.
It is the first exhumation in the Valencia Region and the twelfth to be carried out nationwide, according to the association for those affected by irregular adoptions (ANADIR).
The disinterment, under the supervision of provincial prosecutor for minors Carlos Ferreirós, was from a mass grave where documents record another 26 infants were buried.
Also present were the father, Antonio Picó, and his other daughter - the baby's twin sister María José.
The search was carried out by volunteer archaeologist and United Left (IU) party regional deputy, Esther López; and a forensic scientist.
It began at 09.25 and took some three and a half hours, forcing plans to exhume another four graves that day to be deferred over the next few weeks.
They found over 100 infants' bones, mixed with some removed from adults during surgery, but these will not all be identified due to the high costs of the test, said Sr Ferreirós.
Fragments of skull, ribs, limbs, a pelvis and jaws will be analysed at the national toxicology institute in Barcelona to compare the DNA with that of the family.
Raising cancer awareness on the Costa Blanca
By Pamela Dawson Tasker, president of the local committee of the Asociación Española contra el Cáncer (AECC)
I HAVE been working with AECC since 2001 and as a branch president since 2002. Hardly a day goes by, let alone a week, without hearing the news of yet another person diagnosed with cancer.
It is easy to think sometimes that this grim affliction is on the increase but maybe that is because there are simply more people in the world and also because in the past many deaths from cancer were attributed to some other cause and apart from that many people did not like to talk about the subject.
The very good news is that in research centres world-wide scientists and medical researchers are searching for a cure, researching causes, developing treatments and drugs and fighting a continuous battle against cancer.
World Cancer Day serves to acknowledge this.
Rock face Gives way leaving homes in precarious position
By Tom Cain
PEOPLE living in homes that border the rocky outcrop atop which sits about one third of the homes in Finestrat's old town were given the fright of their lives recently when around 150 tonnes of rock fell away from the rock face.
The rock fall blocked the CV-761 into the town and it took council workmen more than three hours to clear the road and ensure it was safe for traffic.
In 2009, a study by Alicante University warned that the likelihood of such an incident was very high and action should be taken to divert rain water away from the rock face.
Although the exact cause of the rock fall has not been determined a council source said that it was probably due to water getting into cracks on the rock face coupled with the porous nature of the rock.
Spanair goes belly up leaving thousands of passengers stranded
By Dave Jones
THE COLLAPSE of Barcelona-based airline Spanair left hundreds of passengers stranded around the region this week.
The low cost operator grounded its planes last Friday, citing 'strangling debts' for bringing down the company.
Airline bosses said they will apply to the courts to go into suspension of payments, with the jobs of more than 2,000 employees on the line.
Of those 2,000 employees, 44 are based in Alicante and their spokesman, Vicente López, said on Monday that demonstrations are being organised in defence of those that will lose their jobs demanding they be given another job or at least a dignified end to their employment.
Some of the employees have been with Spanair for more than 18 years.
On Monday state airport operator AENA said that eight Spanair flights from Alicante airport would be hit that day following a weekend of cancellations.
Six of these were to Barcelona and two to Madrid. Flights from Alicante to Orán and Algiers were also halted.
Spanair workers had kept the El Altet office open in order to attend to customers who wanted to make officials complaints.
A spokesman for AENA said that many passengers going to Madrid and Barcelona had been able to rebook with Iberia, Ryanair, Air Nostrum and Vueling.
However, around 50 clients were still waiting in the airport on Monday morning after their weekend flights were cancelled.
The Red Cross set up temporary beds at El Altet terminal for those affected.