Costa del Sol News - 24th June 2013

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

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

AVE hits 10 million mark

Málaga-Madrid bullet train reaches passenger milestone after five and half years

By Dave Jamieson

THE high-speed rail service between Málaga and Madrid has carried its 10 millionth passenger. The landmark was achieved during May, five years and five months after the first AVE service opened between the two cities on Christmas Eve of 2007.

According to Renfe, by the end of last month, 10,042,000 people had travelled on the line.

A large majority of these passenger use the line to make the complete journey from Málaga to Madrid, or vice-versa. They made up 7.8 million of the 10 million users. Málaga is the origin or destination for 82 per cent of all the line’s users, while those starting or ending their journeys at Antequera make up just 2.2 per cent.

Research published in April shows that 86 per cent of people travelling between Málaga and Madrid now choose the train over the plane, whereas previously rail travel only attracted 28 per cent of passenger traffic. Renfe said that its share of the travelling public on the route had gradually crept up over the last five years.

Palm tree killer bug pesticides banned

EU ban welcomed by environmentalists but may hinder battle against palm weevil

By Alex Watkins and Oliver McIntyre

PESTICIDES used to treat the Costa’s palm trees against the red palm weevil are affected by last month’s EU ban on chemicals alleged to seriously harm bees.

The ban affects three widely-used neonicotinoids (known as neonics) - thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid - which will be prohibited in most circumstances for two years from December 1.

Pet adoptions from pound jump by 25%

However, still only around half of available animals find a home

By Oliver McIntyre

THE number of animals adopted from the provincial dog pound has increased by 25 per cent during the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year, announced Diputación de Málaga officials last week.

The Residencia Canina Paraíso, which is contracted by the Diputación to provide stray animal collection service in 88 towns in the province, re-homed 498 animals – the vast majority dogs – from January to May of this year.

“So far this year they have done an average of 100 adoptions a month,” compared to around 80 a month previously, said the Diputación councillor in charge of the environment, Juan Jesús Bernal.

Summer security boost in Fuengirola

Local police launch special plan for peak season

By David Eade

FUENGIROLA is gearing up to welcome the massive influx of tourists and residents for the peak holiday season by reinforcing its police numbers.

The local police have created a special plan to strengthen their numbers in zones most used by the public. There will be a mix of uniformed and plainclothes officers.

From July a special squad of police will keep specific watch over the town centre and the prom covering the zone between Calle Cuesta and Plaza San Rafael. This unit will have 22 officers and will be reinforced by the National Police at night.

Illegal itinerant vendors are at their most numerous during the peak holiday months and police patrols will operate between 10pm and 1am to control their activities.

San Juan fire warning

Barbecues allowed on city beaches but bonfires could bring fines of €3,000

By Dave Jamieson

MÁLAGA town hall has issued a reminder that it is illegal to start fires on the city’s beaches during this weekend’s San Juan celebrations. The traditional midsummer event will see thousands of people camping out along the coast on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Following problems in previous years, the town hall says it will be enforcing local bylaws dating from 2004 which could lead to anyone setting a fire on the sands being fined up to 3,000 euros. However, barbeques are permitted, but only on three nights of the year, including San Juan, the Virgen del Carmen celebrations in July, and the first night of the city’s annual fair, provided that the proper equipment is used in areas designated for the purpose.

Anger over 720 ‘deception’

Expats say asset declaration being used to reassess earlier tax returns

By Dave Jones

BRITISH residents have voiced their anger over the ‘deception tactics’ of the government in the asset declaration process introduced this year

The tax office had described the obligation to declare assets outside Spain, including bank accounts and properties, as a ‘mere informative declaration’.

However a spokesman for expat protesters said recent cases proved information provided on the now-infamous 720 form is being used to “troll back in order to reassess earlier tax returns”.

Local NGO helps Gambian girl get lifesaving surgery

Fatou Jatta, 13, to receive free bone cancer treatment on the Costa

By Oliver McIntyre

A 13-YEAR-OLD Gambian girl arrived in Málaga at the weekend to undergo lifesaving bone cancer surgery, thanks to the efforts of a local NGO and participating doctors, medical centres and other sponsors.

Fatou Jatta, from a small village in inland Gambia, has an osteosarcoma (malignant bone cancer) on her left shin and a life expectancy of around two months if it is not treated immediately, according to the Málaga-based NGO Nakupenda Sana. Doctors in her home country do not have the resources to treat her.

IVA threats bring food concerns

Minster says some basic goods could be moved out of super-reduced rate

By Dave Jamieson

CONCERNS are being expressed about a possible increase in the rate of value added tax (IVA) applied to basic food stuffs. Contradictory remarks from the prime minister and one of his ministers last week have resulted in confusion, following recommendations received from the European Commission. Brussels wants Madrid to reduce the numbers of goods and service in the lowest of the three IVA rate bands, arguing that there is scope to increase the overall tax burden.

First, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that the government would “explore” the possibility, but added there were no plans to raise the rates. However, in a television interview, the minister for industry, energy and tourism, José Manuel Soria, indicated that some of the tax rates will be adjusted.

Fake Shaolin master faces double murder charge

Kung fu expert’s torture victim dies and body parts of previous victim found

By Oliver McIntyre

A NIGERIAN woman who had been rescued alive but in a coma ,after allegedly being tortured by a martial arts expert in Bilbao, died days later in hospital.

Juan Carlos Aguilar, a martial arts instructor who had falsely claimed to be a kung fu champion and Shaolin master, was remanded to jail on charges of murdering both the torture victim, Maureen Ada Otuya, 29, and a Columbian woman, Jenny Sofía Rebolla Tuiran, 40, whom he allegedly killed a week earlier. Both women are understood to have worked as prostitutes.

Costly repairs needed at Almuñécar aquarium

Work is underway and the aquarium could re-open next month

By Dave Jamieson

REPAIRS needed at Almuñécar’s closed down municipal aquarium will cost 600,000 euros. The figure was given at a press conference last week when the findings of a report by the auditing firm Ingeniería y Proyectos were made public.

Mayor Trinidad Herrera said the report showed that the building had shortcomings which dated from the time of its construction. She said that these had been advised to the mayor at the time, Juan Carlos Benavides, but claimed that he had done nothing to remedy them.