News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Feria row as opposition's 'eco-marquee' torn down
By Oliver McIntyre
ALHAURÍN de la Torre's Feria de San Juan got off to a less than festive start last week when, just a day before the fair kicked off, the town hall removed the facade of the Electores-Equo party's marquee, which had been created using recycled and reusable materials.
The party claims the move came because the mayor, Joaquín Villanova (PP), "didn't like the facade for aesthetic reasons," though the town hall says the structure posed a safety risk.
The party and its volunteers had created the environmentally friendly facade and décor using wooden pallets, tyres, containers and other industrial or construction materials that would "be returned to their previous use following the fair," said party officials.
Mijas burro-taxis get official 'licence plates'
By Oliver McIntyre
MIJAS Pueblo's famous burro-taxis, which carry tourists on rides around the streets of the village, have now got official 'licence plates'.
The licence plates, which the town hall began distributing last week, mean that "in the event of a complaint or an accident, the burro and its owner can be identified," said the town's councillor for public ways, Juan Carlos González.
The councillor for consumer affairs, María del Mar Ríos, added, "The identification via licence plates is a further step toward ensuring a positive image to tourists and protecting the rights of consumers."
Fuengirola seizes over 8,800 fake designer goodsSpecial police squads are on the lookout for pedlars in both Fuengirola and Marbella
By David Eade
THE battle against hawkers and market stalls that sell fake designer labelled goods such as clothing, shoes, watches and sunglasses continues.
In the first five months of this year the local police in Fuengirola have seized 8,808 faked items that violate intellectual and industrial copyright. That is already more than half the number confiscated in the whole of last year.
Fuengirola's councillor for local security, Rodrigo Romero, says the steady increase in the amount of faked goods seized over the past five years is due largely to the activities of the local police who are now targeting these illegal traders.
Thousands of homeowners to get IBI tax discount
By Dave Jamieson and Oliver McIntyre
IN a surprise announcement, Málaga's provincial government has said it will subsidise the Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles (IBI) property tax next year. The move by the Diputación de Málaga is likely to benefit 100,000 homes in the province, affecting half a million people.
The government says subsidies of between ten and 50 per cent will be paid to owners of properties with cadastral values of under 100,000 euros.
However, these will only be available to those living in municipalities which have entrusted their IBI collections to the provincial revenue board, the Patronato Provincial de Recaudación.
This therefore excludes home owners in the city of Málaga, Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena and Alhaurín el Grande.
New radar trap at La CalaThe traffic timing radar goes into action on Friday June 28
By David Eade and Suzan Davenport
MOTORISTS travelling along the A-7 coast road through La Cala de Mijas will need to watch their speed even more carefully from tomorrow, Friday June 28th when a new timing radar goes into action.
The Dirección General de Trafico (DGT) radar will operate on both sides of the road between the kilometric points 200.1 and 205,3, a notorious blackspot, in an effort to reduce the number of road accidents in the area.
The DGT has said that during the first few days it won't be sanctioning drivers who go over the speed limit. Instead offending motorists will receive a letter advising them that they have broken the speed limit. After that period drivers will be fined according to the traffic offence. This can be anywhere between 100-600 euros and also carry the loss of between two and six points on the driver's licence.
BRITISH SEX OFFENDER SEIZEDThe 58-year-old man, wanted for Vélez attack, was arrested in Morocco last week
By Dave Jamieson
A BRITISH national, wanted in connection with the attempted abduction of a 12-year-old girl in Vélez-Málaga last year, has been detained in Morocco.
He is reported to have been arrested last week while attempting to abduct a six-year-old girl but was pursued by members of the public who heard her screaming and held him until the police arrived.
After his arrest, investigators in Tetuán discovered there was an international search and arrest warrant in his name. Interpol said he had been living illegally in Morocco since the start of this year and that he is implicated in a sexual attack on two boys in the country.
He is wanted by the Spanish National Police in connection with an attack on November 19 in Vélez-Málaga. On that occasion, he’s alleged to have parked his grey Peugeot 106 with the door open in the street near a playground. As his victim walked past, police say he launched himself at her, forcing her into the vehicle, but she managed to struggle free from his grasp, open the door opposite, and make her escape. The car was later found abandoned by police.
Good news for mortgage holdersBBVA and two other banks revoke minimum interest clause following court ruling
By Oliver McIntyre
HUNDREDS of thousands of mortgage holders in Spain will see their monthly payments drop after BBVA, Cajamar and Novagalicia NCG Banco last week announced they were revoking the minimum interest clause from all of their variable-rate mortgage loans.
The move came after a clarification from the Supreme Court on its ruling last month in which it had said the ‘cláusulas suelo’ are invalid if their inclusion in the loan, and their impact, were not made fully clear to the customer.
The ‘cláusulas suelo’ – whereby the interest rate, though based on the Euribor index plus a fixed commission, could only drop to a pre-set minimum no matter how low the Euribor fell – were relatively common in Spain in recent years. With the Euribor now at historic lows of around 0.5% many homeowners have been stuck paying interest of, say, 2.5% or 3% due to their minimum interest clause.
The tax mess facing Barca’s MessiProsecutor accuses football star of million-euro tax fraud
By Dave Jamieson
A prosecutor investigating financial irregularities has presented a lawsuit against one of the country’s top soccer players. Barcelona’s public prosecutor is alleging that the 25-year-old Argentinean international player Lionel Messi and his father defrauded the tax authorities of more than for million euros between 2007 and 2009.
The claim is that part of the athlete’s earnings from his image rights were not included in his tax declarations. These rights are reported to have included contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Telefónica and others, and amounted to €2.56 million in 2007, €3.82 million in 2008 and €3.80 million in 2009.
These, plus his annual salary from Barcelona of 16 million euros, make him one of the world’s highest paid athletes.