News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Killer turns gun on himself after standoff with policeMan, 39, killed two people including 13-year-old girl with whom he'd had a relationship
By Oliver McIntyre
AFTER a two-day manhunt and a standoff with Guardia Civil officers, a man who allegedly shot two people to death - one of them a 13-year-old girl - shot himself fatally in the head on Monday in a small town in Albacete.
Juan Carlos Alfaro, 39, phoned the Guardia Civil shortly before 7.30pm on Saturday reporting that he had shot 13-year-old Almudena, with whom he had had a "consensual romantic relationship that had caused several crossed accusations between him and the girl's family," said the Guardia Civil in a written statement.
He then allegedly went to his home and got another gun, then went back out and fatally shot Agustín Delicado, 40, an unemployed lorry driver who was standing outside his home smoking a cigarette.
As the gunman fled he came across the husband of his young girlfriend's grandmother and also shot at him, causing a non-fatal injury in the shoulder.
Witnesses said the shooter, an out-of-work car mechanic and avid gun enthusiast, was dress up like Rambo, with military fatigues and his face painted.
Alhaurín cuts IBI and construction taxesThe rate reduction is aimed at helping to offset the higher bills faced by homeowners due to increases in the appraised cadastral values
By Oliver McIntyre
ALHARÍN de la Torre town hall has announced cuts of nearly 10 per cent on the IBI property tax rate and nearly 18 per cent on the ICIO construction tax.
In the case of the IBI tax, the rate reduction is aimed at helping to offset the higher bills faced by homeowners due to increases in the appraised cadastral values. The new values came into effect four years ago but the town hall has until now provided a subsidy that essentially cancelled out the increase, a model it says that by law it can no longer follow.
As of next year the IBI rate will drop from 0.75 per cent to 0.68 per cent. Further, the town hall has established discounts totalling up to 10 per cent for registered residents and those who pay their IBI bill by standing order. These discounts are not automatic but must be requested by the taxpayer.
The ICIO construction tax is to be reduced from the current 3.65 per cent to three per cent. The town hall says the move is aimed at "stimulating one of the economic sectors most severely castigated by the crisis".
BROTHEL PUSHERSTwenty arrested in break-up of prostitute-drugs gang
By David Eade
THE National Police have broken up a gang that allegedly sexually exploited women as prostitutes and forced them to sell drugs in brothels and on the streets of the Costa and elsewhere in Spain.
The criminals trafficked in cocaine, hashish and marijuana in Málaga province, the Campo de Gibraltar, Madrid and Burgos. A total of 20 people of various nationalities have been arrested in raids on 13 brothels and other establishments, homes and warehouses.
The investigation started in February in La Linéa de la Concepción when a Rumanian victim of the criminal network reported she was being forced to work as a prostitute. She also said she was made to sell drugs in a club and on the streets on a small scale.
Officers established that the gang was using women of different nationalities for sexual exploitation and for the sale of drugs not only in the Campo de Gibraltar but also on the Costa del Sol.
Part of the gang made up of Rumanians was dedicated to the sale of hashish on the coast. They also sold the drugs to criminals in Bergamo in Italy. This was a sophisticated network which used cars to go in advance to warn of police checks and to advise of alternative routes.
Judge indicts shelter director for animal crueltyMore than 2,800 dogs and cats were put to sleep over a two-year period
By Oliver McIntyre
THE judge investigating alleged irregularities in a Torremolinos animal shelter's process of euthanizing animals has indicted the centre's director on charges of animal cruelty and administering lethal injections without the proper qualifications.
The shelter's manager, who allegedly assisted the director in euthanizing more than 2,800 dogs and cats over a two-year period, is indicted on the same charges.
The investigating judge found evidence that the director of the Parque Animal shelter, Carmen Marín, "performed massive euthanizing in the shelter, with the direct assistance of the employee F.B., and that both administered lethal medications to the animals in small doses, causing unnecessary and unjustified suffering until death".
Catalan comments bring Royal reproachKing Juan Carlos reacts to minister's call to ‘Hispanicise' Cataluña students
By Dave Jamieson
KING JUAN Carlos is reported to have taken objections to comments made by the education minister about school students in Cataluña. Last week José Ignacio Wert told Congress that the government wants to "Hispanicise" Catalan students so that "they feel as proud to be Spanish as they are to be Catalan".
The minister added that the region's children should have "a balanced existence between the two identities because both enrich them and strengthen them". Asked whether he thought the Catalan education system was responsible for pro-independence sentiment in the region, the minister said it had facilitated "a concealment or minimisation of common elements, in particular those historical elements that make up the history of Cataluña within Spain".
According to El País, the King exchanged a few words with the education minister when he arrived to attend Friday's military parade in Madrid to mark National Day, and later said to prime minister Mariano Rajoy that he had told Sr Wert the comments were "very bad". However, a spokesman for the Royal House later denied that King Juan Carlos had discussed Sr Wert with the prime minister.
The education minister's comments had already come under fire from Cataluña's education chief, Irene Rigau, who said they revealed a "pre-constitutional vision of Spain," in reference to Franco's policy of concentrating central government power, adding that they confirmed that "there is an offensive to change the state model". She denied his suggestion that the region's schools indoctrinated students in Catalan nationalism, saying, "We like it that Catalan students know the histories of Cataluña, Spain and the world," and claimed that central government only wants them to know the history of Spain.
27 arrested in child porn swoopsOfficers seize nearly a million data files of downloaded illicit material
By Oliver McIntyre
THE GUARDIA Civil have arrested 27 people in 16 provinces around the country in a wave of operations against online child pornography. An additional eight people have been named as suspects.
In three separate operations officers seized a total of nearly a million data files containing child pornography photographs and videos, reported the Interior Ministry on Monday.
The arrested individuals allegedly downloaded and shared images via online peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. They face charges for the possession, exchange and distribution of pornographic material involving minors.
Seventeen of the arrests came in Operation Astillas, launched by judicial police in Ciudad Real in April of last year after several complaints were filed by members of the public regarding child porn material on P2P sites. The investigation led to 19 house raids in the provinces of Cádiz, Cáceres, Ciudad Real, Madrid, Barcelona, Murcia, Vizcaya, Burgos, Girona, Navarra and in the Canary Islands. Police seized 116 computer hard-drives and other equipment containing more than 500,000 files of child pornography.