News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Budget carriers to come clean on card charges
Office of Fair Trading forces airlines to show charges up front
By Dave Jamieson
BUDGET airlines including Ryanair and easyJet have agreed to include the cost of paying by debit card in the advertised price of tickets by December this year. The carriers will also have to explain up front any additional fee for paying by credit card to avoid surprise extra costs being added at the end of the booking process.
A dozen airlines, including Aer Lingus, Jet2, Thomas Cook and Thomson, are being forced to make the changes after an investigation into consumer law by the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT). It estimated that debit and credit card surcharging by budget carriers is costing passengers £300 million (€377 million) a year.
It said the biggest offender was Ryanair, which insisted passengers must pay using an obscure card, and later by its own branded pre-payment card, as the only way to avoid paying an additional charge of £6 per person.
The OFT confirmed last week that debit cards are the online equivalent of cash, and should therefore be able to be used without any extra charge.
Constructor in suicide bid at Marbella town hall
Man owed money from GIL era slashes wrist after rejection of his claimBy David Eade
A CONSTRUCTOR who says he is owed large amount of money dating back to the GIL era in Marbella attempted to commit suicide at the town hall offices last Tuesday, although the events only became known later in the week.
He slashed his wrist whilst in the office of the co-ordinator of taxes and personnel, Carlos Rubio. It is understood his motive was the perceived indifference on the part of the town hall staff who listen to the stream of queries and complaints from those businessmen who want to have their accounts settled.
The businessman is well known for his commercial work for the town hall during the GIL era, according to local sources.
He went to the town hall in the plaza de los Naranjos with his invoices and then waited his turn to see Sr Rubio.
He was demanding the administration pay up the money it owed him. However, it is understood that the debt he is claiming is not recorded in any of the .
The town hall recently paid more than 10 million euros of debts to some 400 companies through the government-approved loan scheme to help town halls pay off suppliers.
Town hall announces ‘zero tolerance' on firesCrackdown comes following 8,000-square-metre blaze in El Gamonal zone of Mijas
By Oliver McIntyre
MIJAS town hall last week announced the launch of a "zero tolerance" policy on practices that can pose a wildfire risk, particularly in the summer months.
The tough stance was taken after a fire that is suspected to have been caused by agricultural burning razed around 8,000 square metres of scrubland in the El Gamonal zone the previous Sunday.
The town hall has launched an investigation to determine the definite cause of the fire and identify the culprit or culprits, "who will be hit with the full force of the law and municipal ordinances," said the environment councillor, Carmen Márquez.
The aim of the town hall's toughened stance is to prevent similar fires, say officials.
Hundreds of swimmers stung and some beaches closed
By Dave Jamieson
COSTA beaches turned into a nightmare for swimmers this week as a massive invasion of jellyfish washed up on the shores.
Beaches in Rincón de la Victoria, Marbella and Estepona were closed to bathers. On others in the city of Málaga, as well as in Algarrobo and Torre del Mar, the yellow flag was flying to warn of the creatures' presence.
In Málaga city alone, 3,900 kilos of jellyfish were removed from el Dedo, Peñón del Cuervo, La Araña, El Palo and Pedregalejo beaches over four days including last weekend. Hundreds more kilos have been removed from beaches in other municipalities, as well as direct from the sea by operatives in cleaning boats.
The large numbers of jellyfish this summer are being blamed on a warm spring with little rainfall. Jellyfish usually live between 20 and 40 miles offshore, beyond a natural barrier created by cooler coastal water which normally has a lower salinity thanks to fresh rain water running off the land. The lack of precipitation this year has eliminated this barrier and experts say warm and highly saline seas have encouraged above-average reproduction. The jellyfish have formed into swarms, moved by unusual marine currents and unthreatened due to lower numbers of the jellyfish's natural predators, which include turtles and red tuna.
‘Costa serial killer' charged with third murder
German woman's body was found weeks before his arrest for two other killings
By Oliver McIntyre
THE so-called ‘Costa serial killer' who was arrested last September for the murder of two women in Mijas and Marbella is now facing charges for a third murder.
It was revealed last week that the investigating judge in the case has named Abdelkader K., of German-Moroccan origin, a formal suspect in killing of a Brigitte S.R., 49, a German woman whose body was found in an apartment in the Calahonda zone of Mijas on September 2, 2011.
The 44-year-old was arrested and taken into custody in late September of last year for the murders of Susana M.F., 45, who was found stabbed to death in her Calahonda apartment on August 11, and Maryuri Alice P.G., 47, who was discovered a month later in her home in San Pedro de Alcántara, also stabbed to death.