News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Independence clamour after CataluÑa fiscal pact rejectedRegion set to call early elections and pass resolution for self-determination
By Oliver McIntyre
A SWELLING separatist sentiment and the rejection of Cataluña's proposed fiscal independence pact with the Spanish government has resulted in the calling of early elections in the region by Catalán president Artur Mas less than a week after his failed meeting with prime minister Mariano Rajoy last Thursday.
Further, he has announced that a resolution allowing the Catalan people to decide their own future is to be put before the regional parliament, with the vote scheduled for today, September 27.
Cataluña was seeking a fiscal arrangement that would give it control over taxation and tax revenues in the region, similar to the current arrangements in País Vasco and Navarra. Cataluña has long complained that it provides more tax revenues to the national government than any other region while receiving less in return.
However, the Partido Popular prime minister roundly rejected Sr Mas's proposed fiscal pact on constitutional grounds, while promising to work together to improve the taxation and funding arrangements for the country's regional governments.
Marbella to study pedestrian only town centreThe idea is to create an area similar to Málaga city's Calle Larios
By David Eade
MARBELLA wants to close off 600 metres of Avenida Ricardo Soriano and Ramón y Cajal and create a pedestrian only zone on the lines of the Calle Larios in Málaga city. The objective would be to create a traffic free central tourist and commercial area.
The project would seek to solve the problem of traffic circulation in the town centre and a study of its viability is to be put out to public tender. The council's public works department along with the tourism and traffic are behind the "ambitious" scheme.
In all 20,000 square metres of surface area would be involved. It is proposed this could extend into the calles San Juan Bosco, Sierra Blanca and Avenida Puerta del Mar. The 50,000-euro study would look at the best ways of achieving this pedestrian zone.
Experts would also look at traffic flows which have been a constant problem in Marbella both in summer and winter. Vehicles would be redirected and also parking areas would have to be created.
Botch-job painting restorer now wants ‘royalties'Church has begun charging public to view the famously ruined 19th-century Jesus painting
By Oliver McIntyre
THE 81-year-old woman who gained uncomfortable fame last month for her horribly bungled restoration job on a church fresco in the Zaragoza town of Borja now wants to get paid for her efforts.
The move comes after octogenarian Cecilia Giménez and her family learned that an admission fee is now being charged to members of the public who have flocked to see her famously botched restoration of the 19th-century painting of Jesus known as ‘Ecce Hombre'.
The Santuario de Misericordia, where the painting is displayed, decided to impose a one-euro viewing fee after a donation box failed to attract the desired support from the thousands of curiosity-seekers who have streamed through after story went viral and gained worldwide attention last month.
Towns urge Junta not to cut local ambulance servicesSimilar cuts have already happened in Benalmádena and Mijas, and in some towns, and Málaga city, health centres have been closed on Saturdays
By Oliver McIntyre
COÍN and Alhaurín de la Torre last week launhced battles to maintain their ambulance service levels in the face of planned cuts as part of a reorganisation of resources in the Guadalhorce valley health district. In the case of Coín, the effort appears to have been successful.
The Coín council had unanimously approved an "urgent" motion calling on the Junta de Andalucía not to slash by half the town's ambulance service, after local officials learned the health centre could lose one of its two ambulances.
Mayor Fernando Ferández noted that similar cuts had already been undertaken in Benalmádena and Mijas, and in some towns and much of Málaga city health centres have been closed on Saturdays as part of cost-saving measures by the Junta.
On Tuesday the town hall announced that it had been informed by the health service that the town's ambulance service is not to be cut.