Costa del Sol News - 29th July 2013

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive In association with

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


Mijas saddles up for equestrian tourism

Officials say the sector has potential to reach 120,000 tourists a year

By Oliver McIntyre

OFFICIALS in Mijas, one of Andalucía’s biggest horse towns, are promoting horseback riding as a new boost to the town’s tourism offerings.

The town hall says riding activities will provide an alternative to beach and golf tourism and complement the growing rural tourism sector.

Local officials believe the equestrian sector has the potential to reach some 120,000 tourists a year, and to help achieve this the town hall will roll out promotional campaigns in the town’s principal source markets for tourists, and will provide horseback riding information at the local tourism office.


IBI discount to benefit 4,220 Coín families

The property tax subsidy ranges from 10 to 50 per cent on eligible homes

By Oliver McIntyre

MORE than 4,200 families in Coín will benefit from IBI property tax discounts of up to 50 per cent next year under the new subsidy scheme launched by the Diputación de Málaga, said the town hall last week.

“The subsidies range from 10 to 50 per cent depending on the cadastral value of the home, which cannot exceed 100,000 euros,” said the town hall.

The level of discount is based on a sliding scale, with the largest discount going to homes with the lowest value and smallest to the higher-value homes, explained the mayor, Fernando Fernández. The top discount of 50 per cent will go to homes with a cadastral value of 5,000 euros or less, and the lowest rebate of 10 per cent to homes with a cadastral value between 75,000 and 100,000 euros.


Builders not to blame for block of flats in ruins, says court

Owners still have to pay their mortgages but fight on

By David Eade

A COURT in Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz) has ruled that the developer and the architect of the Jardines de la Verbena are not responsible for the ruined state of the block of flats. The homes are now uninhabitable yet the owners still have to pay their mortgages plus other taxes and charges.

The judgement stated that the cause of the damage to the properties – which includes major cracks separating entire sections of the structure – was caused by earth movements and had nothing to do with the design of the buildings or how they were constructed. Indeed other nearby buildings have also been affected.

The judge took into account the fact that a geo-technical study had been carried out prior to construction and that the land held the block of flats foundations satisfactorily. The cause of the damage was an east to west land slippage in the direction of the former fire station. The municipal sewage and waterworks also aggravated the problems.


Be an ‘ambassador of the Costa’ – and win prizes

Contest urges public to highlight Costa’s best features on social networking sites

By Oliver McIntyre

THE Costa del Sol Tourism Office last week launched a campaign aimed at making local Costa residents and visitors the best ambassadors of Málaga province, and giving them a chance to win prizes by doing it.

The '#soyembajador' campaign urges all lovers of the Costa del Sol to sing its praises on social networking sites by sharing photographs or descriptions of their favourite places, activities or other aspects of Costa life.

The details on how to post entries on each of the sites are available online, in English, by going to the Tourism Office website (visitacostadelsol.com) and clicking on the #soyembajador banner.


Torremolinos shop in international drug bust

Leather goods store laundered millions in drug money, say officials

By Oliver McIntyre

THE OWNER of a leather goods shop in Torremolinos laundered some 13 million euros in drug money, said Guardia Civil officials last week, announcing the break-up of what they described as one of the biggest drug-trafficking and money-laundering networks in Europe.

In all 46 people were arrested in operation ‘Túnida’, carried out by the Guardia Civil, the Belgian police and Europol under the coordination of Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation unit.

The network, formed mainly of Moroccans, included a group in northern Africa in charge of cultivating and processing the hashish. Other gang members would smuggle it into Spain from Morocco via Zodiac-style inflatable boats.


ZERO TOLERANCE

Drink driving fines set to double with new legislation

By Dave Jones and Nuria Pérez

DRINK drivers caught by the police face a fine of 1,000 euros under new plans being drawn up by the government.

Under-secretary of the Interior Ministry, Luis Aguilera, confirmed that the national traffic department (DGT) is set to double the current penalty of 500 euros.This will also apply to those driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

Sr Aguilera said the proposal is included in a draft law on road safety which will go before Cabinet in the coming weeks.


Utility bill goes up again

Government claims action to tackle deficit to sector averts '42% rise'

By Alex Watkins

ELECTRICITY bills are to rise by 3.2% due to government action to tackle its enormous and rapidly growing deficit to the sector.

This 'definitive' reform announced by vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría aims to recover €900 million of the €4.5 billion deficit from users, the same amount from the state budget and €2.7 billion from both traditional and renewable energy companies in the industry.

She claimed that this will “put an end” to the growing disparity between the costs of the maintaining the system and the income received by the industry.

The deficit supposes “a key imbalance in our economy,” she said.

It has been growing for over a decade without action by successive governments. The rise in bills of 3.2% is the result of a 6.5% rise in the 40% proportion of the total that corresponds to the Ministry of Industry.


Costa jellyfish app goes live

The free app is gives a forecast for jellyfish presence on local beaches

By Oliver McIntyre

A NEW mobile phone application to warn beachgoers of jellyfish presence at beaches in Málaga province is now available.

The InfoMedusa app, first announced last month, has now gone live, said officials from the Diputación de Málaga and the Aula del Mar marine centre last week. In its first two weeks it was downloaded from Google Play by more than 600 people and received a user rating of 4.9 out of five, they said.


Spain tops league of sex attacks on Brits

British Behaviour Abroad report shows overall requests for consular help down 14%

By Dave Jamieson

THERE has been a sharp increase in the number of rapes against British citizens in Spain, according to the UK government’s latest assessment of UK tourists in foreign countries. The report, the British Behaviour Abroad Report 2013, published last Thursday, details consular assistance requested around the world in the 12 months from April 2012 to March 2013.

It records that Spain returned the highest number of reported sex attacks of any country, at 39, up from 22 the previous year. Almost half of the alleged attacks reported in Spain were made on the Balearic Islands.

However, the total number of requests for consular help made in Spain last year was down almost 14 per cent at 4,658 and cases included those who were hospitalised, arrested, or had lost either luggage or travel documents. The Foreign Office said there had been a “significant decrease” in arrests and hospital admissions.


Junta’s anti-eviction decree suspended

Law, which allows Junta to expropriate homes from banks, halted due to court challenge

By Oliver McIntyre

THE JUNTA de Andalucía’s controversial eviction protection law, which allows it to temporarily expropriate homes from banks in order to prevent the eviction of homeowners in dire economic circumstances, was halted last week when the Constitutional Court agreed to hear the central government’s appeal against the regional law.

To date the Junta law had been used to prevent 12 evictions since it took effect in mid-April. Now it will be suspended for at least five months while the Constitutional Court reviews the appeal. Further, even in the 12 cases in which the Junta had already started expropriation proceedings, those proceedings are now also on hold, meaning the homes remain in the hands of the banks, leaving the homeowners vulnerable to possible eviction.


Rajoy under pressure

PM says he will not resign despite Bárcenas’s claims of illegal payments

By Dave Jamieson

SPAIN'S prime minister has rejected calls to step aside after further allegations in the investigation into the activities of former Partido Popular treasurer Luis Bárcenas. “The rule of law does not bow to blackmail,” Mariano Rajoy told journalists, adding he would not allow the “rumours” surrounding the Bárcenas case to divert his administration from its programme of reforms.

Sr Rajoy was talking shortly after Luis Bárcenas, who has been held in prison since last month, appeared before Judge Pablo Ruz to answer more questions about the slush fund which allegedly took cash from businesses in return for handing our lucrative contracts, with the money then paid as undeclared bonuses to senior Partido Popular figures.

For the first time, Sr Bárcenas admitted the authenticity of ledgers published in January by El País, which claimed they were his records of slush fund transactions. He alleged that he had paid Mariano Rajoy and María Dolores de Cospedal, now the PP’s secretary general, cash in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each, he claimed, had received 25,000 euros in 2010, paid to them in 500 euro notes. Sra Cospedal has denied the allegations and described them as “slander,” while Sr Rajoy has consistently denied receiving any such payments.