Costa del Sol News - 21th January 2013

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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Torremolinos gets ready to rock & roll

The annual Rockin' Race Jamboree is on from February 7 to 10

By Oliver McIntyre

TORREMOLINOS is gearing up for its 19th annual Rockin' Race Jamboree, a smorgasbord of 50s-style rock & roll and rockabilly music that has become the main music festival of its kind in Spain and a destination event in Europe and beyond.

This year's event, from February 7 to 10 at the town's Palacio de Congresos and Disco Apartamentos Buensol, features 20 acts, headlined by four original US artists from the '50s and early '60s: Jack Scott, The Trashmen, Ray Campi and Lee Dresser.

Also from the US is guitar virtuoso Deke Dickerson, who will play with his bands Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics and the Dave & Deke Combo.

Several acts hail from the UK including Carlos & the Bandidos, The Frantix, The Bonneville Barons, and the British/Norwegian combo Janey & the Ravemen.

Alhaurín makes it easier for business start-ups

Town hall offers discounted rent at municipal 'start-up incubator'

By Oliver McIntyre

ENTREPRENEURS and start-up businesses have an opportunity for cheaper office or warehouse space at Alhaurín de la Torre's Business Initiatives Centre (CIE) after the town hall this week announced that the application period for use of the facilities is open until January 29, and prices have been reduced.

The CIE, located in the industrial estate, is described by the town hall as a "start-up incubator," aimed at "people with business projects who need to low-cost rental space to develop their activity during a four-year period, with the possibility of an extension for another four years".

For the current round of applications, the contract conditions have been made more flexible and prices reduced, say officials. Tenants will receive a 75 per cent discount on rent during the first year, 50 per cent for the second year and 25 per cent in the third year. The per-square-metre rental price ranges from 0.77 euros during the first year to 2.31 euros the fourth year.

Tenants are responsible for outfitting and equipping the facilities to meet their needs, obtaining the required permits and covering utilities and operating costs.

Case against MacAnthony is filed

The 50 or so people claiming fraud are all British or Irish

By David Eade

A Marbella court has filed the case brought against the MacAnthony property company.

The news was released by the Marbella law firm Lawbird which has represented the majority of those bringing the case in Spain.

The court took the decision on the basis it did not have jurisdiction in the matter. Lawbird said it was surprised by the ruling and found it difficult to explain.

The basis of the court's ruling revolves around the fact that those who brought the case against MacAnthony claiming fraud were foreigners and the alleged fraud itself had taken place outside of Spain even though the MacAnthony company had a base in Marbella.

The 50 or so people affected are all British or Irish and they claim they lost between 10,000 and 15,000 euros in purchasing furniture for the properties they acquired through MacAnthony in Turkey, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde and Italy.

Lord Sugar in possible Byblos hotel relaunch

In its heyday the five-star hotel hosted illustrious guests including Lady Diana, the Rolling Stones and Julio Iglesias

By Oliver McIntyre

BRITISH businessman Sir Alan Sugar has been in contact with Mijas town hall regarding requirements for a municipal licence to perform clean-up and improvement works at the Byblos hotel, which has been closed for several years and was purchased at auction by Lord Sugar in 2009.

The storied five-star hotel - which in its heyday hosted illustrious guests including Lady Diana, the Rolling Stones and Julio Iglesias - was auctioned off on court order when its then owner, Aifos, hit difficulties following its involvement in the Malaya corruption case in Marbella and eventually went into administration.

Lord Sugar initially purchased two of the three auction lots, which included the hotel's spa and tennis courts, and later closed on the third lot, which includes the hotel itself, though Aifos challenged the purchase with a series of appeals, keeping the magnate from taking possession of the property.

His bids on the initial two lots totalled 1.5 million euros, with an additional 1.5 million euros for the hotel itself. Aifos had purchased the property in 2006 for 23.1 million euros.

Mijas town hall understands that Lord Sugar's company now has possession of the entire property and local officials are hopeful that the luxury hotel will be relaunched "as soon as possible," said councillor Mario Bravo last week.


Expat homeowners facing demolition take Spain to European Court of Human Rights

NEWS Staff Reporter

A RETIRED British couple from the Almería town of Albox are taking their case to the European court of human rights after exhausting legal moves to prevent the demolition of their home in the Spanish courts, the AUAN property rights association has said. The move is backed by the AUAN and SOHA, two organisations representing hundreds of homeowners in similar circumstances in Spain.

The case echoes that of Len and Helen Prior, whose home in Vera, Almería, was demolished five years ago following a planning dispute between the local council and the regional government. In both cases the properties had full building licences

AUAN president Maura Hillen said: "We feel there is no other option. In the case of Helen and Len Prior the Spanish Constitutional Court, the highest court in Spain, deliberated for two years over whether or not their property should be demolished, by which time the house had already been flattened.

"Even if compensation is actually awarded by the Spanish courts, it can take up to 15 years to receive any money. There must be no more demolitions without prior compensation."

Illegal weight loss tablets seized

Two people in Marbella were arrested for importing and selling the products

By Dave Jamieson

THE GUARDIA Civil in Málaga has arrested two people alleged to have sold an illegal treatment for obesity. They are reported to have imported the product from China and offered it for sale over the Internet, without it having undergone any health checks in this country. Those arrested include a French national and a Spaniard of Colombian origin.

Officers seized 8,500 capsules during the operation, of which 6,500 were supposedly to promote weight loss. It was found that the product has previously been withdrawn from the market by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.

The products are described by their supplier as being 100 per cent natural, manufactured in China from herbs and fruits, and have no side effects.

Spanish firm to build Abu Dhabi Louvre

Builders score half-billion euro contract for museum complex

By Oliver McIntyre

A SPANISH construction firm has won the half-billion-euro contract to build the long-planned Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi along with two Arab companies.

With the construction sector at a near halt in Spain, the country's big builders have increasingly been betting on projects abroad, and Constructora San José has hit the jackpot with the French-Arab museum project. The company won the 508 million-euro contract in a joint venture with its local partners Arabtect and Oger Abu Dhabi.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi say they want construction to begin immediately, with plans to open the museum in 2015.

France and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement in 2007 for the creation of the Louvre Abu Dabi, billed as the "first universal museum in the Arab world," which will "place Abu Dhabi among the great cultural nations".

King Juan Carlos at 75

In a TV interview ahead of his birthday, King assesses his 35-year reign

By Dave Jamieson

IN a rare television interview, King Juan Carlos has spoken of the "hurt" he feels at the number of young people forced to leave Spain to look for work. The programme was broadcast on Friday, ahead of the monarch's 75th birthday on Saturday, and the day after a poll in El Mundo suggested his popularity had fallen dramatically in the last year.

The King said that one of things which "pained" him was the lack of employment which leads millions to be unable to live with dignity and forces young people to leave Spain. "It hurts me a lot," he added.

The King also looked back over the transition to democracy in the 70s and his 35-year reign. "I would like to be remembered as the King who has united the Spanish people," he said, "under whom democracy and the monarchy have been recovered." He added that "liberty" was a word for which he hoped he might be remembered.

King Juan Carlos also said he was "in good shape" and ready for the future. "I have the energy to move forward to meet the challenges and to achieve greater consensus among Spanish people." But he also spoke about the importance of unity at a time when there are growing calls in Cataluña for independence. "Those who hold extreme views lead us to separatist politics which are not good for us," he said. "At this time, it is better for Spain to be united, all of us together."

The interview did not touch on the King's controversial hunting trips to Botswana, for which he later made a public apology. Nor did it mention his son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, who is under investigations on charges of embezzlement.

Zara boss bumps Buffet as world's third richest

Amancio Ortega now behind only Carlos Slim and Bill Gates

By Oliver McIntyre

THE founder of Zara's parent company Inditex, Armancio Ortega, has bumped Warren Buffet from third place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index after a year in which the Spanish fast-fashion king saw a bigger boost in his fortune than any of his fellow billionaires.

The stock value for Inditex, whose other brands include Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and Bershka, shot up 66.7 per cent last year, helping push majority stockholder Ortega's personal fortune to $57.5 billion (€43.56 million), up $22.2 billion from a year ago, according to Bloomberg Markets magazine's list of the world's 200 richest people.

The 76-year-old media-shy Galician holds just under 60 per cent of Inditex's shares, which debuted on the Madrid stock exchange in May 2001 at 14.70 euros a share, and in October of last year surpassed 100 euros for the first time, later rising to daily highs of more than 111 euros.

Inditex's strong performance last year came even as the Ibex-35 - the main index on the Madrid exchange - closed 2012 down 4.6 per cent on the year.