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Costa del Sol News - 27th May 2013

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.


Bretón set to go on trial for killing his children’

Ninety-eight witnesses and 46 experts to testify during three-week trial

By Oliver McIntyre

JOSÉ Bretón, accused of murdering his two young children in Córdoba and then pretending they had disappeared while he was out walking with them at a local park, is to go on trial next month.

The Regional Supreme Court (TSJA) has set the date for Sr Bretón’s trial for June 17, with the nine-member jury to be selected that day and Sr Bretón to be called to testify the following day, June 18.

The children’s mother and Sr Bretón’s now ex-wife, Ruth Ortiz, is scheduled to testify the next day.

A total of 98 witnesses and 46 experts are to be called to testify during the trial, which is expected to last three weeks.


BA returns international flights to Granada

Airline has also announced increased service on London City-Málaga route

By Dave Jamieson

BRITISH Airways is to open a new direct service between London’s City Airport and Granada. From July 25, BA will fly five times a week, reducing to four times weekly from September.

Operating 90-seater Embraer E-190 aircraft, the service is expected to carry 2,000 passengers a month in the high season and 1,600 monthly in the low season, and will allow Granada’s Federico García Lorca airport to recover its international character.


Operating staff robbed in Málaga hospital

Thief broke into 17 lockers in staff changing rooms

By Dave Jamieson

STAFF at Málaga’s Carlos Haya hospital have complained of security shortcomings after several were robbed of personal belongings while they were working in the operating theatres. The nursing union, Satse, has reported that they returned to the changing areas to find 17 lockers in the men’s area and one in the women’s area standing open.

The incident is thought to have taken place on the third floor of the hospital around midday on Wednesday last week. The union did not specify what objects or how much cash had been taken by the thief.

The hospital management confirmed the incident and added that the lockers had been opened but force had not been used, although staff have complained that it is easy to open the lockers without the keys. Only one staff member is reported to have lodged an official complaint that his wallet, holding cash and documentation, had been taken. It was later found with the paperwork intact but with the money missing.


Mijas removes more than 600 illegal billboards

Dismantling of final 20 un-licensed signs is pending court orders

By Oliver McIntyre

MIJAS town hall has removed more than 600 illegal billboards and hoardings over the last two years in a move aimed at ridding the town of the clutter and aesthetic blight of excessive advertising signs, announced officials last week.

The campaign has seen the removal of nearly all the illegal billboards in the town, which were installed without municipal permits on private land as well as in some cases on public open space and green zones, said officials.


Home owner battles against €200,000 fine and demolition

He claims ‘discrimination’ as similar action not taken against other illegal homes

By Oliver McIntyre

A PIZARRA man has filed a court challenge against a town hall order to pay a 200,000-euro fine and tear down his illegal home, which he built on protected non-building land in the rural La Vega area of the town.

The town hall first took action against Manuel Domínguez in 2004, issuing a halt-work order on the house, which he had been building little by little since 2000. However, he ignored this as well as a second halt work order, and currently has a 300-square-metre house as well as a pool and other amenities.

However, Sr Domínguez says the large fine and demolition order levied against him are discriminatory given that there are many other homes in the town in the same situation, yet no similar action has been taken against them.


HOMES SAVED

Málaga welcomes new coastal law but environmentalists thrash it

By Dave Jamieson

THE new Coastal Act approved by the government last week has come has a huge relief to residents in the Málaga suburbs of El Palo and Pedregalejo where the status of over 500 homes can now be regularised – though environmentalists have sharply criticised the move.

The legislation allows the residents to take ownership of the properties and to make alterations which do not affect their area or height. The change applies to a total of around 1,200 homes, 50 hotels and almost 400 beach bars and restaurants in the province of Málaga.


€4,000 fine for calling huge party on Facebook

Woman, 21, says she cancelled the announcement but it was too late

By Dave Jamieson

THE government’s sub-delegation in Málaga has decided to impose a fine of 4,000 euros on the 21-year-old woman who used Facebook to advertise an outdoor spring festival held in the city on April 12. Around 5,000 people turned up for the event despite a local police warning that the gathering would not be legal.

The spring festival is a large outdoor drinking gathering held in many cities which have a space set aside for such events. However, local police in Málaga warned that the city does not have such a facility and that those convicted of drinking in the streets could be fined up to 350 euros. In spite of these warnings, crowds began gathering from about 2.30pm on a site next to the Municipal Auditorium on Calle Paquiro.

Police said that during the event, they had confiscated 633 glass bottles containing a total of 1,100 litres of alcohol and had emptied 500 other bottles onto the ground. Twenty-eight people required medical attention, including three suffering from alcohol poisoning and 90 from other effects of alcohol, while the municipal cleansing department collected 3,000 kilos of rubbish from the site after the party-goers eventually went home.


BAD TREATMENT

EU warns Spain on refusal of emergency medical care for EU visitors

By Dave Jamieson

THE European Commission has warned that it may take action against Spain if hospitals continue to refuse to offer emergency treatment to European Union citizens visiting the country.

The EC says it has been receiving complaints about 20 different hospitals where treatment is reported to have been refused to foreign EU nationals, unless they could find the cash to pay on the spot.


Caught in the act

Car thieves spotted by police while loading vehicles onto tow trucks

By Oliver McIntyre

THREE alleged car thieves were arrested in Mijas last week after local police caught them in the act of loading four cars onto two flatbed tow trucks.

Officers spotted the men at 12.50pm on Thursday loading an Audi A3, a BMW 318, a Ford Focus and a Nissan Almera onto the two tow trucks in Avenida Polaris in the Riviera del Sol urbanisation.

When approached by officers the men said they were taking away cars that they had purchased, said officials.


Spain will not extradite HSBC whistleblower

High Court rules his revelation of tax-dodging data would not be crime in Spain

By Dave Jamieson

SPAIN has refused to extradite the former HSBC worker who blew the whistle on the bank’s activities. A court last week denied a request from Switzerland to extradite 40-year-old Herve Falciani to face charges of violating Swiss banking laws.

Falciani collected data on at least 24,000 clients of HSBC’s Swiss subsidiaries between 2006 and 2008 when he worked in Geneva. He later passed these to the French authorities in an effort to expose thousands of tax dodgers.

He was detained by Spanish immigration authorities when he arrived in Barcelona in July of last year after they were notified of an international order for his arrest issued by the authorities in Bern. He was later freed on bail but ordered to remain in the country after the Spanish authorities argued he was cooperating in several European countries in investigations into tax evasion, money-laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism.


Home sales rise 15% in first quarter despite March drop

Boost in January and February may be carryover from before tax hikes

By Oliver McIntyre

HOME sales in Málaga province increased by 15% in the first quarter of this year, with 5,035 sales compared to 4,383 in the same period of 2012.

However, the figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that the boost really came in January and February, while figures for the month of March were actually down by 31% to 894 sales compared to 1,290 during the same month last year. Both January and February posted more than 2,000 sales.

Despite the increase for the first quarter as a whole, the March drop-off is significant because it may be the first reflection of the impact on sales following the increase of IVA tax (VAT) on new home sales – from 4% to 10% - and the disappearance of home-purchase tax deductions, both of which came into effect in January.