Volume 18

1Casa News from Spain - No. 18
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Carnival at Valle de Abdalajís
The annual carnival in Abdalajís takes place today, Saturday 19 February 2005.  All the local people will be out in force celebrating along with their British and European neighbours.
17 New Hotels In Malaga Area Planned
The Barceló Vialia Hotel, belonging to the Barceló Hotels and Resorts group, will have 222 rooms on eight floors, and will be situated close to the RENFE train station in Malaga.
The Campos Elíseos Hotel, with an investment of seven million euros, will be a three-star hotel situated on Paseo de Reding, number 19, with a total of 70 rooms. The opening of the hotel is scheduled for December 2005.
Gallery Hotels is building a four-star hotel with 108 rooms, covering an area of 1,000 square metres.
The Hotel del Pinar, a charming hotel to be built on an area of 185 square metres, will be located at number 27, calle Álamos.
The Echegaray Hotel, a four-star hotel to be opened in 2006, with 75 rooms and meetings rooms. The interior design will be modern and functional, while the present exterior façade will be preserved.
The Mercamálaga Hotel will have 64 rooms, among its facilities being functions rooms.
The four-star San Andrés Hotel will be situated on the new Poniente esplanade, next to the Parque del Oeste. It will have 107 rooms, along with meetings and conference rooms, a restaurant and high-tech rooms.
The Monte Málaga Hotel is expected to open in the spring of 2005, and will have 179 rooms, all with the most up-to-date environmental technology.
The Travelodge Málaga Hotel, belonging to the Travelodge España chain, will have 74 rooms and will open in October 2005.
MS Hotels will open a 90-room hotel in March/April 2005. A leisure and rest area will be installed on the top floor, with a gymnasium and jacuzzi, among other facilities.
The NH hotel chain plans the amplification of its NH Express Hotel, dedicated to the business sector.
The Palacio de Trinidad Grund, situated at number 9, calle Trinidad Grund, with an investment of 15,000,000 euros, will have an art museum of works from the 19th century, with permanent and temporary exhibitions of Malaga artists. The hotel will have 40 rooms.
The Palacio del Marqués de la Sonora, owned by Salsa (the Larios Sugar Society), situated on calle Granada, is being built with an investment of 6,000,000 euros.
The Posada de Patio de Antonio Díaz, being built by Promotora Parquesol, will have 72 rooms, and will open in 2005 (part of the Moorish walls will be integrated into the design).
At the end of 2006, the Raytur Caribe Hotel (the old mosque), situated on calle San Agustín, will open with 80 rooms.
In Alhaurín El Grande, the NH hotel chain plans to build a new hotel on the Lauro golf course, with an investment of 10,000,000 euros. The hotel will have 197 rooms.
In the municipality of Alozaina, the Jorox rural hotel is currently being built, with an investment of 420,000 euros. Financing is being done by the Malaga provincial government.
In Campanillas, the new Cortijo Jurado Hotel (Vincci Hotels) is being built by the Promotora Mirador company, It will have 230 rooms, and will involve the restoration of an old farmhouse dating from the 19th century. The old building will be the hotel's reception area, with a business centre and a cafeteria there too.
In Casares, two new five-star luxury hotels are being built by the Hyatt chain, situated in the Doña Julia residential development. The first of these will have 150 rooms, 20 of which will have personalised spa facilities. The second will have 350 rooms. The complex will have three golf courses, nine restaurants, a leisure area and sporting facilities.
In Fuente de Piedra, the Spherahoteles company will build a new establishment aimed at the rural tourism and ecological sector, beside the old storehouses of Casares.
In Istán, the Cerros del Lago Hotel will be built with an investment of almost 2,000,000 euros, and will have 62 rooms.
The International Monetary Fund this Thursday issued a favourable report on the performance of the Spanish economy, raising its growth forecast for next year. But the multinational lending body again pointed to a number of clouds on the horizon, most notably the risks caused by an overheated property market and stubbornly high inflation.
The IMF raised its forecast for growth in Spain's gross domestic product for this year to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent previously, with domestic demand continuing to be the main motor of growth. "A gradual but sustained recovery is expected, with GDP growth projected at 2.7 percent in 2005 - again based on the strength of domestic demand - with a continued negative contribution of net exports," the report said.
Although the Fund praised the economy's "remarkably strong performance," it also highlighted a number of domestic risks thrown up by a "persisting real estate boom, rising household indebtedness, and an appreciable inflation differential with the euro zone."
House prices in Spain have risen by about 150 percent since 1997, and there are few clear signs of a slowdown. According to figures from the appraisers' association Tinsa, new home prices rose 17 percent last year, and second-hand houses by 19 percent.
The Spanish Mortgage Association (AHE) Thursday also released the latest available figures on mortgage credit levels. The value of outstanding mortgages taken out by households at the end of last year stood at €581.39 billion, a rise of 24.3 percent over a year earlier.The AHE noted that the annual growth rate in December was down slightly from rates of over 25 percent in the three previous months. Lending agencies granted an additional €113.522 billion in mortgages last year.
Spain is expected to back blueprint for EU
Spaniards are expected to vote overwhelming in favour of ratifying the EU constitution in a referendum on Sunday - the only uncertainty being the level of abstention.
Both the Socialist government and the main opposition party have backed the constitution, leaving little doubt that the Yes votes will win and making Spain the first country to support the 325-page treaty.
However, despite a slick media campaign, most Spaniards admit to knowing little or nothing about the contents of the constitution.
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the prime minister, would be happy with a turnout approaching 50 per cent, which would be interpreted as support for his 11-month-old mandate.
Spain's relations with the US have not yet recovered from his decision last year to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, and Mr Zapatero has invested much of his international credibility in Europe. On Friday night he was due to address the final rally before today's media blackout, traditionally referred to as "a day of reflection".
Mariano Rajoy, leader of the opposition Partido Popular, will headline a similar event in another part of the Spanish capital.
Officials in Madrid and Brussels hope that Spaniards will use Friday to reflect on the weight of their civic duties, rather than the fortunes of Real Madrid, the iconic football club, or Friday's social agenda.
France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Britain will consult their own electorates over the next two years in referenda whose outcomes are far less certain than the one in Spain.
As one of the main beneficiaries of EU aid since its accession to the union in 1986, Spain has few of the Eurosceptics who have polarised sentiment towards Brussels in those countries.
At a Yes event at the Picasso museum in Málaga, a spokesman said "I am not a pessimist and I believe that Spaniards will vote in this referendum if we make a final effort to explain to them the importance of it."
The question of whether or not a majority of Spaniards will bother to exercise their fundamental right to a voice in Europe's future will be answered on Sunday.
Cancer causing Dye Found in Hundreds of Food Products
Health authorities in Britain have found a cancer-causing dye in over 350 food products. The illegal dye known to cause cancer has created the largest food recall in history.
The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the food recall of the cancerous dye began Friday 18th February with supermarkets and retailers after the dye known as Sudan I, a red colouring used typically in products such as shoe polish and petrol, was found to have been used in over 350 food stuffs from packaged Pot Noodles to shrimp salad. 
The FSA issued a warning to consumers and grocers alike Thursday. Health experts said the dye led to an increased risk of contracting cancer but that there was "no risk of immediate ill-health" from having ingested the dye.
Experts assessed the cost of the food products recall at 15 million pounds. Manufacturers of major brands, like Heinz and Birdseye are included as well as all the major supermarkets own-brands. 
The FSA narrowed the source of the red dye to Premier Foods PLC one of Britain's largest food processing companies. Premier had imported five tons of Worcester Sauce, a common flavouring in processed foods, that contained the red dye.
The Worchester Sauce had been resold to food suppliers who then used it in products manufactured for the supermarkets under their own brands.
The FSA said that among the 359 products that contained the cancer-causing red dye, Birds Eye 400g shepherd pies, five flavours of Pot Noodle and Loyd Grossman sweet and sour sauce sold in 370g and 450g jars were being recalled.
Of the major supermarket chains, Asda withdrew 68 contaminated product lines. Waitrose 54, Sainsbury's 41, Morrisons 44 and Tesco 38.
Of the major supermarket chains, only Sainsbury's disclosed the recall on their website.
While consumers were understandably alarmed over the food products recall, the FSA said that the amount of Worcester Sauce used as a spice made the cancer-causing dye levels barely negligible and that people should not be concerned if they've already eaten any of the food products that contained Sudan I.
The contaminated Worcester Sauce was only detected after an unspecified quantity was sold to an Italian manufacturer, which detected the Sudan I in its own tests and alerted the Italian authorities.
Premier Foods said it had received the chilli powder from a "reputable UK source" and obtained "written assurance" that it did not contain Sudan I. In a statement, the Hertfordshire-based company said: "It must be stressed that the product withdrawal is a purely precautionary measure."
Premier is likely to be investigated by trading standards officers to find out where the source of contamination came from.
Consumers are being asked to check their cupboards and fridges for suspect products. A list of affected products can be found at the website: www.food.gov.uk/sudanlist.
Málaga C.F. - Numancia 0 - Málaga 1
Málaga recorded a much needed win beating Numancia by a single goal, which moves them 4 points clear of the drop zone. Their next home game is with Espanyol on February 20th.
Spain v Russia Decider
Spain and Russia will meet in Sunday's final of the UEFA  Championship following semi-finals victories against Ukraine and Italy respectively. 
World champion Spain cruised past Ukraine 5-0 at the CEZ Arena in Ostrava. 
In a repeat of the 2001 European Championship final, the Iberian outfit had a much easier time of it this on this occasion with four second half goals sealing an impressive victory. 
Andreu got the opener in the seventh minute and wrapped up proceedings with three minutes remaining while Daniel, and a brace from Serrejon booked Spain's passage in to the decider. 
Russia fought back from being a goal down twice to account for defending champion Italy 4-2. 
The defeat was the Azzurri's first in the tournament, after it topped Group B with three wins from as many starts - including Thursday's triumph against Spain. 
Russia had suffered a 2-1 loss to Ukraine on Thursday but bounced back to earn its place in the final. 
Italy and Ukraine will meet in Sunday's early game in the third-place play-off.
Red Bull F1 Team Choose Klien
Austrian Christian Klien will join Red Bull F1 team-mate David Coulthard at the Australian Grand Prix on March 6th.
The 22-year-old beat off the challenge from Red Bull's driver, Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, to race in the first F1 of the season. "I'm very proud to have the privilege of starting for Red Bull racing at their first race in Melbourne," Klien said. "I'm all the more honoured that the decision has been made in my favour - it's got me even more motivated."
Sporting director Christian Horner said the decision between the drivers had been a close call. "We are very fortunate to have two exceptionally talented young drivers, who have both impressed the team during pre-season testing," he said. "Christian will undoubtedly benefit from David Coulthard's considerable experience and will hope to build on last year's performances."
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