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12 November, 2008

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SIGN OF THE TIMES

10 November, 2008

When Andalucia’s regional television channel, Canal Sur, recently advertised 112 jobs in different departments, it received an astonishing 18,700 replies. A third of the openings are for receptionist-telephonists, gofers and administrative clerks while another third are distributed among production, the newsroom and scriptwriters. The rest are for technicians, cameramen, and maintenance people. Job interviews began last week at the Congress Centre in Seville.


DOZEN GOOD DOWNPOURS NEEDED

10 November, 2008

A spokesman for the Cuenca Mediterranea Andaluza (Mediterranean Water Board) said last week that Malaga needs another dozen downpours like the recent ones ten days ago or six weeks of steady rain to end the drought that has been affecting the province for the past four years. Antonio Rodriguez Leal said the province would need 40% more rain above the annual average of 560 litres per square metre, that is, 800 litres per m2 to fill the reservoirs, which are still too low.


CARTAMA TO GET ITV CENTRE

10 November, 2008

Residents of the Guadalhorce Valley will be able to have their vehicles ITV-tested closer to home in (hopefully) the not-too-distant future. Cartama Town Hall has just approved the construction of a new industrial estate half-way between Cartama town and Estacion de Cartama, which will include an official ITV test centre. The Town Hall spokesman who announced the project last week did not say when work would begin on the project.


SKI RESORT TO OPEN EARLY

10 November, 2008

A spokesman for Cetursa, the company which manages the Sierra Nevada ski resort, has said the slopes could be open to the public as early as November 15th or the 22nd this year if the current low temperatures continue. The resort usually opens in December, snowfall permitting.


UPROAR OVER BANDERAS HOUSE

10 November, 2008

The owners of houses in the Los Monteros urbanisation in Marbella have said they will formally accuse the Town Council of peddling political favours if Antonio Banderas’ house there is legalised. The film star’s beach front house was on the list of those to be demolished for building irregularities but will be regularised under the provisionally approved General Urban Plan (PGOU). Apparently Banderas has agreed to pay an unspecified amount in compensation and to relinquish some thousand square metres of garden. The other residents claim that the star – a known supporter of the Socialist regional and national governments – is being given special treatment because of his political affiliation.


BRITON KILLED IN CAR CRASH

10 November, 2008

A 24-year-old British man, identified only by the initials L.W., died in a car crash involving three vehicles on the A7 near the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos, direction Torremolinos, at 2.20am last Sunday morning. Six people were injured in the accident, three of them seriously. Two of them had to be freed from the wreckage by firemen. Police said one car had hit the central reservation before ploughing into two other cars.


ROCA USED MOTHER FOR TAX REASONS

10 November, 2008

Juan Antonio Roca, the alleged brain behind the Malaya and Saqueo 1 corruption cases in Marbella, denied in court last week denied that he had used his own companies to divert public money from the Marbella Town Hall between the years 1991 and 1995. He suggested that someone in the Town Hall had taken advantage of his accounts. When asked why his companies and other assets were in his mother’s name, the former municipal urban planning adviser Roca said he had always used her name “for tax reasons”. Another man charged in the Saqueo case, former legal adviser Jose Luis Sierra, told the court: “Nobody even breathed in Marbella without the express order of Gil”, referring to the late Mayor Jesus Gil y Gil. He added: “If anyone did anything without his permission, even if it was the logical thing to do, they would be looking for a job the next day.”


MUÑOZ DROPS JUICY TV DEAL

10 November, 2008

Former Marbella Mayor JuliAn Muñoz, who was recently granted an open prison regime after being found guilty of real estate irregularities, thought he was onto a good thing when he did a deal to sell his story to the Tele5 TV channel for €350,000. Presenter Ana Rosa Quintana even came down from Madrid last week to record the exclusive in Marbella only to have it cancelled at the last minute after the judge hearing the cases against Munoz instructed the prosecutor to look into the matter for tax purposes.


FINES BRING LITTER BUGS TO HEEL

10 November, 2008

After a 15-month campaign costing 150,000 to persuade the residents of Marbella to keep their streets clean, the Town Hall has taken off the kid gloves and started fining litterbugs, god owners who do not clean up after their pets and people who leave their rubbish in the street outside the allotted hours of 9-11 pm. Since a plain-clothes policeman and a team of “tecnicos (experts)” began patrolling the streets on September 15th, they have handed out 84 fines ranging for €25 (for dog owners) to €600 for hotels and stores, for a total amount of more than €32,000. The biggest fine – €2,400 – is reserved for the owners of dogs belonging to dangerous breeds who do not wear muzzles when walking them in public. A Town Hall spokesman said dog owners are now becoming “more aware” since the fines started.


IRISH AMBASSADOR MEETS AMYS MOTHER

10 November, 2008

During a visit to Malaga last week, Irish Ambassador Peter Gunning Ms Audrey Fitzpatrick, the mother of Amy Fitzpatrick, who was last seen near her home in Calahonda on January 1st this year. The Irish Embassy has offered assistance in the case and there has been regular contact and cooperation between the Irish and Spanish authorities since Amy’s disappearance. Representatives of the Guardia Civil briefed the Ambassador, Ms. Audrey Fitzpatrick and her partner Mr Dave Mahon of everything done so far by the Spanish authorities solve the case.


BULL BREEDERS HIT BY CRISIS

10 November, 2008

The current economic crisis is making itself felt in all areas of life in Spain – including bullfighting. One of the country’s most famous breeders, Juan Pedro Domecq, told reporters last week that the number of bullfights per year will probably have to be reduced, because people will think twice before buying tickets. It’s good news for the anti-bullfighting campaigners but Sr Domecq said he and his fellow bull breeders were determined to keep the breed alive for the better times that he is sure lie ahead.


FAST HEARINGS NOT SO FAST

10 November, 2008

The so-called fast court hearings were introduced for crimes carrying jail sentences of under five years were introduced five years ago to reduce a back log of cases. That was the theory anyway. But in practice, these fast hearings can take up to three months instead of two weeks as was originally intended. One penal judge in Malaga said that more small courts and personnel were needed to make the scheme work. The average number of fast hearings a day is between 12 and 14 which does not keep up with the number of cases, which has doubled in the past year alone.


SHOPPING AROUND PAYS

10 November, 2008

A study by the Andalucian Consumers in Action Federation (Facua) has shown that people can save up to 70% in dentist fees if they shop around first. As an example, Facua used oral hygiene treatments, which some dentists do for as little as €35 while others charge €60. Having a tooth pulled out costs between €50 and €80, although the health centres provide this service free. The Facua report, based on a survey of 116 dental clinics in the eight Andalucian capitals, found differences of up to €300 in the prices of some dental treatments.


EROSKI TO BUILD IN RONDA

3 November, 2008

The commercial centre that Eroski plans to build in Ronda will generate about 1,300 much-needed jobs for the town. When announcing the project last week, Mayor Antonio Marin said the centre would occupy between 50,000 and 60,000 m2, making it twice the assize of the Eroski centre in Antequera. He said there would also be 2,000 places in the car park, 14 cinemas as well as several stores. Not everyone is pleased with the project. The local Small and Medium-sized Businessmen Association views the project as a threat to the town’s small shops. The mayor said the project would take 15 months to complete but did not give a starting date.


NADAL TO PLAY IN MALAGA

3 November, 2008

Malaga City Hall has confirmed that Rafa Nadal will compete in the Malaga Masters International Tennis Championship, after weeks of talks with the tennis ace’s representatives. The event will take place in the Martin Carpena sports hall the first weekend in December. And will be televised on Andalucia’s La 2 TV channel in Spain. However, Nadal’s recent injury may upset the plan but just in case – start getting out those autograph books.


HUNGER THEFTS INCREASE

3 November, 2008

Police have detected an increase in so-called “hunger thefts” as the current economic crisis hits consumers’ pockets. Several thieves were caught last week: one was sailing off on his motorbike until police stopped him to find out why his legs were so swollen. He had a leg of Serrano ham hammed down each trouser leg. Another thief had managed to stuff 12 bottles of olive oil down his trousers, while one man waltzed away with a tray full of York ham and cheese. The saddest tale was of two young men who were caught stealing a few sweets from a kiosk. Police said they expected such hunger thefts to continue to rise.


MORE HOME GROWN MARIJUANA

3 November, 2008

The Guardia Civil has detected a sharp increase in illegal marijuana plantations throughout Malaga province. They are called plantations but in fact many consist of a few plants in pots on the patio for personal use only. Last week, the Guardia seized 110 plants in Alhaurin el Grande and El Chorro which would have yielded some 60 kilos of marijuana. A spokesman said home growers were getting more sophisticated and offering their customers a variety of marijuana leaves. It’s a small but profitable business. All the grower needs is a well-lit place to put the pots and a dryer. If the plants are not visible from the street, the grower can reap his illicit crop for years without any hassle from the police.


SAME SEX MARRIAGE FIGURES RELEASED

3 November, 2008

Since same-sex marriages were legalised in July 2005, 188 gay couples have tied the knot in Malaga province, according to Justice Ministry figures released by Malaga’s Gay and Lesbian Collective. There were more gay marriages in Malaga capital, followed by Torremolinos, Marbella and Velez-Malaga. For some reason, all the same-sex marriages in Coin were between women, while the ones in Fuengirola were all men.


FIRST SHOW FALL

3 November, 2008

The first snow of the winter was spotted early Sunday morning on the mountains behind Coin and Malaga city, to cap a week of steady rain and gusting winds. Last week’s rain has gone a long way to replenishing the reservoirs but still more is needed before the four-year-long drought can be declared officially over.