Costa del Sol News - 6th July 2012

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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Brits behaving even worse

Number of UK citizens arrested in Spain jumped by 9% last year

By Dave Jamieson

MORE British tourists are getting into trouble overseas, according to new figures from the UK's Foreign office in London. It says there was a six per cent rise in arrests around the world last year, with Spain accounting for almost a third of the total.

The number of British detentions in Spain in the 12 months to last March was up nine per cent on 2010 at 1,909 and the Foreign Office attributes the increases to authorities developing a zero tolerance approach to drunkenness and drugs. The UK consulates on Ibiza and Mallorca alone reported a total of 513 people detained, an increase of 37 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Last week, two Britons were jailed on Mallorca on charges of extortion and drugs-trafficking. They are amongst a group of six British subjects who were arrested after police learned of threats being made to employees in the nightlife area of Magaluf.

Those detained are alleged to have threatened those bar employees who stand outside trying to persuade holiday makers to come in and buy a drink or hand out flyers for night clubs. The gang is said to have attempted to get them to become intermediaries in the distribution of drugs, and are alleged to have used threats with knives and physical violence to persuade them to agree.

Guardia Civil officers found the six Britons to be carrying 34 ecstasy tablets, 1.5 grams of cocaine and 340 euros in small denomination bank notes. They were also in possession of two knives. A later search of the hotel where all the suspects were staying produced 1,000 euros in cash, three baseball bats, a machete and a mask.

Giant jellyfish found on Torremolinos beach

Rare species also spotted along coasts of Granada, Almería and Murcia

By Dave Jamieson

A GIANT jellyfish appeared on El Bajondillo beach in Torremolinos on Saturday morning. The creature, which was half a metre in diameter and weighed five kilos, attracted considerable local interest as it was the largest anyone could recall seeing in the area. It was accompanied by a second, smaller jellyfish, although this, too, was larger than those normally found on Málaga beaches.

A large hole was dug and both were safely buried to avoid bathers and walkers being stung by their tentacles. Experts said that others of a similar size were likely to appear on other beaches in the coming days.

The creatures' appearance came the day after the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO) warned that, since June 18, it had received over 50 reports of the appearance of Rhizostoma luteum, a little known species of jellyfish, along the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain. Since its discovery in 1827, the creature has only generated half a dozen scientific papers, prompting some investigators to even doubt its existence. In the past fortnight, however, examples have turned up on beaches in Murcia, Almería and Granada, as well as Málaga.

Arsonist arrested over seven recent fires

Worst was blaze in Torreguadiaro that saw 150 families evacuated

By David Eade and Dave Jamieson

THE WAVE of fires in recent weeks that have engulfed the Campo de Gibraltar and the nearby Casares enclave of Secadero were all believed to have been started deliberately, and now officials say they have arrested the alleged arsonist.

A judge has ordered the man to be held in prison after the Guardia Civil arrested him on suspicion of starting seven fires in a 15-day period. The largest inferno completely surrounded the beachside hamlet of Torreguadiaro. The flames destroyed a large swath of scrubland and damaged trees on urbanisation streets and some gardens whilst 150 families had to be evacuated.

The first and last of the fires were in Secadero. The first on June 7 scorched half of a high hill looking down on the village. The last was on June 20 when the other half of the hill went up, just a day after the Torreguadiaro blaze.

Arson suspected in Vélez

Meanwhile to the east of Málaga, a fire in Vélez-Málaga on Saturday afternoon was the fourth in the same area in less than a month. The alarm was raised at 4.30pm when flames were seen on ground close to the municipal football stadium in Torre del Mar, and not far from El Ingenio commercial centre and the Aquavelis water park. No-one was injured but an avocado plantation was razed along with two palm trees and an area of wasteland.


Outrage over new increases on electricity and gas

By Dave Jones


FROM July 1 the price of electricity went up by 3.9%, natural gas by 2.3% and butane gas bottles by 5.7%.

This follows the government-approved hikes in April of 7% for electricity, 5% for natural gas and 5.7% for butane bottles.

Both unions and opposition politicians have labelled the measure "a blow to householders' pockets," with the combined increases meaning that in just three months electricity has gone up by 10.9%, natural gas by 7.3% and bottled gas by 8.6%.

Socialist party (PSOE) spokesman for sustainability Hugo Morán lamented that the Partido Popular government had approved such large increases when just one year ago it said that any rise "would be against the interests of the country and would seriously hit the economy".

"We believe that the government can do something to stop these utilities price increases and that they have a duty to do so," he said.

Man shot to death on Torremolinos street

Police found 15 bullet shells on the ground at the scene


By Oliver McIntyre

POLICE have launched an investigation after a young man was gunned down in a hail of bullets on a Torremolinos street last week.

The assailant or assailants fired at least 15 shots, based on the number of shells officers found at the scene in Calle Bachiller Palma, in the northern section of the El Pinillo neighbourhood. At least five of the bullets found their target.

The victim's body was found on the ground near a Peugeot 308 car with several of its doors open, leading investigators to believe he may have been accompanied by other individuals who fled during the attack.

The victim was identified as an Argentinean man aged around 20.

Operation Bank Aid gets underway

Spain formalises request for banks bailout cash, though amount remains unclear

By Dave Jamieson

THE government confirmed on Monday that the economy minister, Luis de Guindos, has written to the Eurogroup formalising the country's request for financial aid to stabilise the country's banking sector. The letter does not specify how much cash will be required, or make any reference to the terms of the loan.

The four-paragraph letter, addressed to Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the Eurogroup, begins, "I have the honour to write to you on behalf of the Government of Spain, formally to request financial assistance for the recapitalization of those Spanish financial institutions which require it." It goes on to confirm that, at least initially, it will be the Fund for the Orderly Restructuring of the Banks (FROB) which will receive the cash.

The move follows the publication last Friday of first results from two independent audits of the state of Spain's banks which indicate that a bailout of up to 62 billion euros is needed to recapitalize the banking sector.

The two audits disagreed on the exact amount needed. One suggested 51.8 billion euros while the other put the total at between 51 and 62 billion. However, both estimates are well below the 100 billion euros presently on offer from the Eurozone's finance ministers.

A second, more detailed study is to be carried out examining the valuation of banking assets. A global figure is due for release on July 31 with a full breakdown expected in September.

Crisis swamps Spain's climb up EU prosperity ladder

Spanish consumers drop below EU purchasing power average for first time in a decade

By Oliver McIntyre

FOUR years of economic crisis have hit Spanish consumers in the pocketbook, according to a new Eurostat report last week showing that, for the first time in a decade, Spain has dipped below the EU average on consumer purchasing power.

In 2011 Spain dropped to 99 per cent of the EU average for purchasing power as based on GDP per capita. This was down one percentage point from 2010, when Spain equalled the EU average, and six points off its historic high of 105 per cent in 2006 and 2007, which it achieved after first reaching parity with the EU average (100 per cent) in 2002.

Spain is way below average among the 17 eurozone countries, which as a group were at 108 per cent of the EU average for 2011.

Among all 27 EU member states the GDP per capita ranged from 45 per cent of the average (Bulgaria) to 274 per cent (Luxembourg).