News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Action on marina enlargement projects
Caleta plan being drafted up and Benalmádena moves to expedite its project
By Dave Jamieson and Oliver McIntyre
THE regional government has asked for a documentation to be drafted for the extension of the port at Caleta de Vélez.
Government delegate Marta Rueda said the project would take into account the findings of an earlier environmental impact study which highlighted threatened species including undersea grass meadows. She said the draft, observing the conditions noted in November last year, would be prepared quickly so that the project could be put out to tender as soon as possible.
The 50 million-euro venture will see the number of moorings at Caleta increased from the present 277 to a total of 986, including 709 for recreational craft. It will also double to 112,000 square metres the areas dedicated to fishing and sport, and will create a new technical area of over 26,000 square metres.
Meanwhile, Benalmádena's mayor, Paloma García Gálvez, travelled to Madrid last week to meet with officials in an attempt to expedite progress on launching the long-awaited expansion of her town's marina.
The marina enlargement, with an estimated budget of 70 million euros, will nearly double the number of moorages to 1,700, and also includes the creation of 30,000 square metres of additional commercial space. The town hall estimates that the project could create more than 1,500 jobs.
Thousands to take to streets today against austerity measures
By Dave Jamieson
MASSIVE nationwide protests are expected today in the wake of the latest package of austerity cuts announced by the government last week.
Friday's Cabinet meeting, attended by King Juan Carlos, confirmed the measures which include a rise in value added tax in Spain (IVA) from 18 to 21 per cent on September 1.
The changes cover a huge range of activity including social security, town hall reforms and public spending cuts, but the changes to IVA will have the most widespread effect. The lower eight per cent rate will rise to 10 per cent, while the lowest rate of four per cent on basic fresh foodstuffs, including milk, fruit and vegetables, as well as books and magazines, remains unchanged.
However, many goods and service which presently are taxed at the eight per cent rate are to be moved into the top band.
Madrid and other cities have seen impromptu demonstrations following the announcement of the proposals by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in parliament. Posters and banners described the cuts as ‘robbery' and called on Sr Rajoy to resign as traffic was halted and riot police moved in.
The trade unions which called today's protests in 80 towns and cities say that the measures are likely to push unemployment to over six million by the end of this year and have promised a general strike in September. They also accused the government of "using" the King by having him chair the Cabinet debate on the issues.
Examination of the small print of the measures revealed even more bad news for consumers: a large number of goods and services will be moved from the present eight per cent rate to the new 21 per cent rate, a tax increase of more than 160 per cent. Amongst others, the list includes hairdressing and beauty treatments, doctors' and dentists' fees, personal hygiene products including sanitary towels and nappies, clothing and footwear, alcohol and tobacco, flowers and plants, funeral and cremation services, cleaning services and rubbish collection.
The Spanish Cinema Federation has predicted half the screens in the country will close after the IVA on tickets for cinemas, theatres, concerts and bullfights, as well as libraries, museums and zoological parks, rises from eight to 21 per cent.
Hunger-strike residents win water supply battle
Junta agrees to launch immediate work on water connections to their homesBy Oliver McIntyre
RESIDENTS of Valle de Abdalajís who launched a sit-in and hunger strike at the town hall last week called off their action just days later after Junta de Andalucía officials capitulated and promised immediate action on the long-delayed work to bring running water to the residents' rural homes.
The group launched the sit-in on Tuesday, with five of them also embarking on a hunger strike. Officials from the Junta's Environment Delegation had previously told them no funding was available for the work, which had been promised three years ago following a 32-day sit-in and four-day hunger strike. But on Thursday the Junta officials the called an urgent meeting with the residents and told them it had found the funding, and work to bring water to the roughly 40 homes in the zone would start the very next day.
Parents jailed for death of three-month-old sonTwin brother also suffered injuries from repeated abuse
By Dave Jamieson
A MÁLAGA court has sentenced a Ukranian couple to over 20 years each in prison after they were found guilty of causing the death of one of their three-month-old twins. A post-mortem found that the infant suffered broken bones and serious internal injuries.
The couple, now 26 and 23, met in the summer of 2008, and became parents of twins in August 2009. They lived with the children in an apartment in Benalmádena but did not have residency papers.
One Saturday night in October that year, they took both babies to Hospital Materno in Málaga where one was described as being in an "extremely serious" condition with multiple bruising, especially to the head. He was rushed to the intensive care unit, but slipped into a coma and died two days later. A post-mortem revealed that he had five broken ribs, severe neurological damage, a head injury and significant internal bleeding.
His brother was initially thought to have less serious injuries but a more detailed examination revealed that the child displayed fractured bones in both legs and at least one arm fracture.
Luxury homes housed marijuana growing operation
Police seize 6,000 marijuana plants at two Estepona houses
By David Eade
NATIONAL Police raiding two luxury homes in the outlying zone of Estepona found that the owners had converted the majority of the bedrooms into greenhouses for marihuana plants.
The only rooms not used to grow the plants were the kitchens, which had been given over to preparing the drugs for sale. Police reported that around 6,000 marihuana plants in all were being grown in the houses.
Officers had previously detained four people who are said to be part of an organised gang, and other arrests have not been ruled out. The detained men are aged between 20 and 40
No firearms or stolen goods were found inside the houses. The occupants are said to have been discreet and did not drive luxury cars. The only precaution seems to have been keeping the windows closed so the plants could not be seen from outside.
Priceless medieval document recovered in Galicia
12th-century Codex Calixtinus religious text had been stolen a year ago
By Dave Jamieson
ONE of the world's rarest books has been recovered from a garage near Santiago de Compostela. The Codex Calixtinus was stolen from the city's cathedral on July 5 last year and found last Wednesday afternoon. It was reported to be in "perfect condition".
An electrician who worked at the cathedral in the past was arrested in dawn raids last Tuesday, along with his wife, his son and his son's girlfriend. He was ordered to be held in custody without bail after confessing to the theft two days later. His wife and son were also held without bail, but the girlfriend was released.
The priceless 12th-century document was found hidden in a rubbish bag in the suspect's lock-up garage. Police are reported to have confiscated €1.8 million and $300,000 in cash, as well as eight copies of the Codex and other books stolen from the cathedral, along with documents related to senior church figures and keys to various cathedral outbuildings. The cathedral's Book of Hours, dating from the Middle Ages, was also recovered in the haul of goods which are believed to have been taken from the cathedral over a period of 10 years.