News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Emergency service defends actions in no-show case
A Mijas Pueblo resident claims wife died waiting for ambulance that never arrived
By Oliver McIntyre
THE 061 emergency service has issued a statement defending its actions in the case of a woman whose husband has filed a lawsuit alleging that she died while waiting for an ambulance that never arrived.
Mijas Pueblo resident Cristóbal González claims in his complaint that he called 061 twice on February 19 after his wife, who had suffered Alzheimer's for around 10 years, began to have difficulty breathing and talking. However, the ambulance never arrived and by the time a doctor was beckoned from the local health centre nearly two hours after the first call had been made to 061 sometime after 3pm, the woman was dead.
Sr González accuses the 061 service - which is operated by the Junta de Andalucía's public company EPES - of failing its duty to provide medical assistance to someone in need.
However, the 061 service has issued a statement asserting that it "received a call at 3.38pm" in which the man "indicated that his wife had died".
"According to the recording [of the call], the call centre confirmed with him that the patient was not breathing, and also that the situation that had occurred was expected"
MÁlaga marks strike with scuffles and smoke
Demonstrations took place all over the country as part of last Thursday's industrial action to protest against the Government's labour market reform
By Dave Jamieson and David Eade
ALONG with all major towns and cities in Spain, last Thursday's general strike was marked by demonstrations in Málaga. Protests began on the stroke of midnight when a group marched from Plaza de la Marina chanting slogans opposing the government's planned employment reforms, carrying flags and throwing fire crackers.
Their intention was to close bars and nightclubs in the city centre but when they met resistance from the business's owners, there were moments of tension. As the protestors arrived in the Plaza de la Merced, one threw a smoke canister into the interior of a nightclub forcing customers to leave because of breathing difficulties. Local police were called and by 1am, fighting was reported in Calle Alcazabilla.
Tables and chairs from bar terraces were thrown to the ground, crowds were milling around and there were clashes with police officers. One person was arrested for assaulting an officer and was led away to jeers, despite the intervention of a trade union official who tried to defuse the situation.
The marchers' attention then turned to Mercamálaga, the wholesale fish market, where they prepared to block the arrival of lorries arriving to collect the day's deliveries. However, in advance of the strike, the market had received no fresh fish the previous day, fearing that it would be not distributed. Nonetheless, the demonstrators lit fires outside the building and continued to chant slogans including, "Not one step back, strike."
in the province of Cádiz varied from one area to another. Major companies closed completely in the Bay of Cádiz and the Campo de Gibraltar and there was very little activity in the ports of Algeciras and Cádiz or in the markets. Many large shopping centres opened, although they were not as busy as usual. Some small businesses closed all day, others closed after being pressured by pickets, and for others it was a normal working day.
The unions declared the strike a total success, but there were few signs of it in many parts of the province and there was only one incident which ended in the arrest of five people, when a bag was set alight and thrown into the interior of a restaurant in Cádiz city. Anti-disturbance police were much in evidence during the day, but their intervention was not required.
Works at health centre pose 'danger' to patients
People accessing the building have to walk in the busy roadBy Oliver McIntyre
COÍN town hall says that delayed construction work on the outside of the local health centre is posing a "serious danger" to users of the centre, who are forced to walk in the street.
"Our concern is for the safety of pedestrians in the zone because they have to go out into the street to skirt the work zone, and it is a road used by a lot of cars," said the mayor, Fernando Fernández, following a visit to the site last week.
Local officials say that during a visit last October the Junta's health delegate in Málaga, María Antigua Escalera, said the 395,000-euro project was to be finished by the end of 2011.
"Three months have passed, work has been halted and we can't get any information from the Junta de Andalucía's Health Department," said the mayor.
Nerja man still 'serious' in ICU after drive-by shootingFirst indications suggest that the attack was a settling of accounts between rival gangs
By Dave Jamieson
A man in his 30s was in a serious condition in the intensive care unit of Málaga's Carlos Haya hospital after suffering a firearms injury to his neck early last week. He was one of three people gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Nerja.
The men were sitting on a bench in the Los Poetas district of the town at about 5.30pm when, according to witnesses, a vehicle carrying four individuals approached them and a discussion ensued. Suddenly, shots rang out from inside the car which then was driven off at speed.
The most seriously injured man was hit in the neck and rushed to Málaga while a 25-year-old from Nerja, who was hit in the stomach, required surgery at Vélez-Málaga hospital. A 32-year-old from Torrox received an injury to an ankle and was also admitted to Vélez hospital. Both are reported to be out of danger.
Police immediately cordoned off the area of the shooting and opened an enquiry into the incident. However, first indications suggest that it had been a settling of accounts between rival gangs.
Government slashes €27bn in spending; consumers hit with price hikes on electricity and gas
By Dave Jamieson
INTERNATIONAL cooperation and development are the biggest losers in the latest batch of austerity measures announced by the government last week. All departments will see swingeing cuts to their budgets, while gas and power prices rose last Sunday. However, a rise in the rate of IVA has been ruled out.
Friday's Cabinet meeting approved a programme of spending cuts in an effort to save a further 27.3 billion euros by the end of this year. Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro said the country's finances are at a "critical" level and insisted that the government is still aiming to reduce the deficit from its current 8.51 per cent of GDP to the 5.3 per cent target agreed with the EC. "Spain will keep its good faith by ending the year with a solid deficit figure," he promised.
The Cabinet agreed that central government spending will be reduced by 17.8 billion euros with severe cuts averaging 16.9 per cent in every Ministry, almost two points more than Prime Minister Rajoy had suggested days earlier. The Foreign Ministry has had its budget halved while both the Industry, Energy and Tourism Ministry and the Public Works Ministry have lost around a third. However, international aid will lose a massive 594 million euros making it the worst casualty of the budget.
Taxes on business will be raised with ministers hoping to generate over 12 million euros by removing corporate tax deductions as well as a controversial tax break introduced to aid Spanish companies to expand abroad. Court and other legal fees are also likely to be a target for increases.
Ash cloud compensation: the saga continues
European Court of Justice to hold hearing on customer claims case
By Dave Jamieson
PASSENGERS who were stranded in Europe by the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland in April two years ago may yet be able to claim compensation from their airlines.
Ryanair argued that the eruption which grounded their aircraft was so extraordinary that normal rules should not apply. However, the airline suffered a setback last week in a case brought by an Irish woman who was stranded in Faro for seven days, after judges at the European Court of Justice received advice from their Advocate General. Yves Bot said that the law does not make a distinction between "extraordinary" and "particularly extraordinary" events.
A full hearing will now consider the matter, although the advice of an Advocate General is generally followed by the court.
Denise McDonagh sued Ryanair in the Dublin Metropolitan District Court after spending 1,130 euros on accommodation, food, and transport during her seven-day wait for a flight from Faro to Dublin. The Irish court asked the European Court for an interpretation of the regulation which states that airlines are obliged to help passengers under extraordinary circumstances.
Ryanair complains that there is no upper limit on claims for accommodation and food, adding that while it is expected to reimburse the expenses of thousands of passengers, insurance companies say they have no responsibility for "acts of God". The Advocate General has countered that a limitation of the obligation to provide care would mean that, after a few days, the passengers would be "abandoned to their fate".