News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Torremolinos puts on its dancing shoes
Admission to watch the daytime qualifying heats is free of charge
By Oliver McIntyre
MORE than 1,500 couples from all around Europe are sashaying into Torremolinos as the town gets set to kick off its 23rd annual European Dance Championship.
From Monday February 27 to March 3, the town's Palacio San Miguel will be a flurry of twirls, dips and spins as participants compete for top honours in tango, salsa, Spanish dance, waltz, the cha-cha-cha, artistic dance and more. Dancers range in age from children to over-60s.
Admission to watch the daytime qualifying heats is free of charge, beginning each afternoon at 3pm and on the mornings of Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 10am. The finalists will compete in gala events each night beginning at 9pm, with tickets available for 5 euros. Wednesday night's gala is the 'Emperor's Ball', a black-tie affair at which audience members are expected to dress formally, with men in tuxedos or black suits and women in long white gowns.
Illegal homes decree takes effect on March 1stBy Dave Jamieson and Oliver McIntyre
The Junta de Andalucía expects to confirm status of all unregulated properties in three months
THE JUNTA de Andalucía hopes to have clarified the situation for all property on undeveloped land in the region within three months. Speaking in Málaga last week, the Junta's Secretary General for Planning, Gloria Vega, said that in that time it is hoped, at least, to have started all relevant proceedings.
Vega was in the city for a technical conference to advise local authorities about the decree, approved last month, to regulate an estimated quarter million properties, with the objective of applying the same criteria across all of Andalucía.
She said it was not the intention of the Junta to modify the law so that anyone could build where they want to, adding there are homes which can only be used in restricted conditions, because the decree cannot modify the legality of these constructions.
Vega would not be drawn on what might happen if there is a change of administration in Andalucía following the regional elections on March 25, but said that in the three months following the decree becoming law on March 1, all the 50,000 irregular homes in the province of Málaga could have their status confirmed. However, she did make it quite clear that the cost of any legal processes would be met by the property owners, and would in no case be paid for by any town hall.
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.
BACK ON TRACK
By Dave Jamieson
MALAGA will, after all, be a stop on a new high-speed rail line running along the entire coastline from Algeciras to Barcelona and on into France.
Revisions to the original plans for the so-called Mediterranean Corridor were announced last week by the Public Works Minister Ana Pastor.
Last October, the former socialist administration released plans for a line running inland to Bobadilla with a branch to Sevilla, then on to Antequera and Granada, and returning to the coast at Almería. This completely by-passed Málaga and the Costa del Sol, generating tremendous local anger and disappointment.
However, the new Partido Popular government has reversed the decision and the route will now stick to the coastline along almost its entire journey to the north-east. Ana Pastor explained that object was to enable the easy transport of container freight by rail across Europe and to encourage passenger travel between Algeciras and Almería via Málaga and Motril.
Cable thieves hit Mijas Muralla for fourth time
This latest theft will cost the town hall some 2,500 euros in repairs
By Oliver McIntyre
THIEVES on Friday stole 1,600 metres of electricity cable from the public lighting at the popular La Muralla gardens and viewpoint on the edge of Mijas Pueblo. It is the fourth time cable thieves have targeted the site, say town hall officials.
Just this latest theft will cost the town hall some 2,500 euros in repair and replacement costs, said the councillor for electrical utilities, José Francisco Ruiz Fontalba.
"The damage is not just to the municipal coffers but is an attack on the entire population of Mijas," he said.
The local police have launched an investigation. "We will not rest until the culprits of these robberies are tracked down," said the councillor.
Smoking rate rises despite tougher ban
Study conflicts with previous report that 600,000 smokers had quit last year
By Oliver McIntyre
DESPITE the implementation of a tougher new smoking ban at the start of last year, the smoking rate in Spain is on the increase, according to a study released last week.
The survey, performed by the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (Separ), indicates that 17.6 per cent of Spaniards smoke, up 0.5 per cent from the previous study, in 2007.
Further, the study shows an increase in the number of children aged 13 to 16 who start smoking.
The one positive impact of the smoking law - which bans lighting up in enclosed public places including bars and restaurants - has been a reduction in the number of people exposed to second-hand smoke, says the study. The figure has dropped from 38 per cent in 2007 to 21 per cent in the latest survey.
However, second-hand smoke among children remains a major concern, with more than 50 per cent of under-13s exposed to it in their homes, according to the study.