Volume 19

1Casa News from Spain - No. 19
1Casa Estate Agency
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Dia de Ándalucía - 25 Years of Autonomy for Ándalucía
Monday February 28th is a public holiday in Álora and thoughtout Andalucá so that its people can celebrate the anniversary of the referendum in 1980 which gave the region its autonomy.  The day will be celebrated with ceremonies and family parties.
The Day of the Almond
On Sunday 27th February there is a celebration called Day of the Almond, as its name suggests, this day is dedicated to all the uses of the almond. The event takes place in the town of Almogia throughout the streets of the village. Open from 11am till 18.00
for more information 952 48 38 68 (GDR Valle Guadalhorce) or call 952 43 00 25 (Ayuntamiento de Almogía)
Road Improvements from the A357 at Zalea to Álora
The Department of Works and Transport of the Council of Andalucía have bid for a budget of almost 2 million Euros to improve the road, La Pista, from Zalea to Álora including access to the town.
The works are expected to begin towards the end of this year with a duration of 12 months.
The AVE’s Longest Viaduct - Álora
Another landmark on the AVE has been reached on its journey through the province of Malaga.  The 14-metre wide viaduct over the Espinazo and Jévar streams in Álora for the high-speed railway line between Cordoba and Malaga has been completed.  It is highly spectacular, visible from many kilometres away on all sides, despite the hilly countryside. At 1,739 metres in length it is the longest bridge on this stretch of line.
Spain says “Yes” to the European Constitution
Last Sunday the people of Spain gave their support to the European Union Constitution, or at least those who voted did (turnout was low with only 42.32 per cent of the electorate going to the polls).
The Government had called the referendum to find out what the people thought about the treat, nevertheless very few actually bothered to give their opinion. Of the 34.7 million Spaniards on the electoral roll, only just over 14,204,000 exercised their right to vote, the lowest turnout in a Spanish ballot since the reinstatement of democracy. Nevertheless among the voters the triumph of the “Yes” vote was overwhelming: 10,784,125, or 76.73 per cent of the ballot papers.
In the province of Malaga, 83.19 per cent of voters said “Yes” to the European Constitution, 6.5 per cent more than the national average. Just under 12 per cent of voters said “No” and 4.98 per cent handed in blank ballot papers. However here there was a higher percentage of abstainers with only 37.77 per cent of the electorate exercising their right to vote. 
The results for Malaga were similar to those for Andalucía as a whole, where 83.24 per cent of voters said “Yes”, 11.64 per cent said “No” and 5.12 gave in blank papers. The turn-out was 40.68 per cent. (Sur in Enlish – 25 February – 3 March 2004)
Tourism in Ándaluica
The number of British tourists visiting Andalucía was up 16 per cent in January compared with the previous year. This positive figure is even more relevant when compared with the number of British tourists visiting Spain as a whole, which experienced a fall of 0.6 per cent in January. (Sur in Enlish – 25 February – 3 March 2004)
Thyssen Exhibition
This an Exhibition on loan from the world famous Thyssen museum in Madrid, there are over 90 works of art dedicated to Andalucian painters, such as Zurbaran, Ramon de Torres, Moreno Villa among others. An Exhibition that should not be missed they say!
It is held at the Plaza del Obispo s/n in Malaga.
Italian Circus
The Italian Circus Hermanos Rossi Eurotour is in Malaga  from the 26th to the 28th February, the circus is located in the grounds next to the convention centre.The zoo is open daily for children to view the animals.
British Residents in Spain urged to register to vote in UK Elections 
While many British residents in Spain enjoy the right to vote in municipal and European elections in their adopted home towns and villages, they remain excluded from the Spanish general elections. Nevertheless as British citizens, overseas residents retain their right to vote in UK Parliamentary elections and referendums, providing they have been registered to vote in Britain within the last 15 years.
With the next UK Parliamentary election coming up this year, as well as the European Constitution referendum in 2006, the Electoral Commission has launched a campaign to encourage British citizens resident in Spain to register to vote before it is too late.
The British Consul in Malaga, Bruce McIntyre, explained earlier this week that if the UK Parliamentary General election is finally called as expected on May 5th, overseas residents must have registered to vote by March 11th as the process could take up to seven weeks to complete.
Residents outside the UK can apply to be overseas voters if they have been registered within the last 15 years. If they were too young to vote before they left the UK their parent or guardian must have been registered.
Registration forms can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission’s voter information site ( www.aboutmyvote.co.uk ) or the British Embassy site ( www.ukinspain.com ) which contain clear details about how to register as an overseas voter. The completed forms must be sent to the electoral registration office for the address where they were last registered to vote in the UK. At the same time overseas residents can apply to vote by post or by proxy, if they do not plan to be in the UK on election day to vote in person.
Overseas voters are not eligible to vote in the elections for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly or the London Assembly. They can vote in elections for the European Parliament providing they do not vote here in Spain.
Requirements: Overseas voters must have been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years.
Deadline: If the UK election is called for May 5th, overseas voters must have applied to register by March 11th.
Forms: Available on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
How to vote: By post, proxy or in person in the UK.
More information: British consulate, C/ Mauricio Moro Pareto, 2. Edificio Eurocom, Bloque Sur, Malaga, or www.ukinspain.com (Sur in Enlish – 25 February – 3 March 2004)
Bush Meets Zapatero at NATO Summit
US President George W. Bush has been in Europe this week to discuss matters of security and the role of NATO, among other issues. While a private meeting with the Spanish Prime Minister was not on the agenda, on Tuesday Bush greeted José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in Spanish with the words “Hola, ¿qué tal amigo?” The brief encounter between the two leaders took place at the NATO headquarters in Brussels after the summit photograph. Zapatero, who answered with a polite “Muy bien, ¿y tú?”, later described his contact with Bush as “cordial and reasonable”. (Sur in Enlish – 25 February – 3 March 2004).
Costa Blanca villa to be Demolished
A BRITISH couple have been left penniless and homeless in the Costa Blanca, Spain after paying £300,000 for a retirement home that will have to be demolished. 
Bruce Gauntlett and Wendy Jackson-Smith ploughed their savings into a luxury villa on the Costa Blanca, expecting to spend the rest of their lives there. 
But their dreams of a comfortable retirement in the sun lie in ruins after Spanish bureaucrats served them with a demolition order because their home is built on land earmarked for agriculture. 
Mr Gauntlett, 61, said the estate agent who sold him the land - around 20 miles south of Alicante - did not tell him he could not build on it. 
He has started legal action against the estate agent and landowner but a lengthy court battle will not reach a conclusion in time to save his home. 
Experts said it was likely that Mr Gauntlett had been duped into buying the land and warned Britons buying in Spain to watch out for the scam. 
Mr Gauntlett told last night how he faces a bleak future with only his pension to live on and is considering moving back to the UK. 'This has been like stepping into a nightmare,' he said. 'I have sunk everything I have into this.' 
He said he had always dreamed of retiring to Spain and when he was offered voluntary redundancy from his job as an engineering manager he seized his opportunity. 
He sold his house in Tyneside and moved to Spain with his partner Mrs Jackson-Smith and began searching for land. 
When he saw an advert for what seemed to be a perfect plot in a local paper he seized his chance and went ahead with the purchase, before hiring a developer to build his home. 
The villa, which has four bedrooms, a large lounge diner, a courtyard and sun terrace, was finished last May. 
Their £300,000 villa is set to be bulldozed but weeks after the final brick was laid, the couple received the devastating news that it was not legal. 'In June the police arrived with officials from the town hall,' said Mr Gauntlett.
'They said we should not have built here because it is agricultural land and not building land for development. 
'At first they said we would be fined but it would not be a problem. They reckoned we would pay about £10,000 and everything would be sorted. 
But then there was a change in government and that fine came in at £19,000 and they served us with a demolition order on the house.' It is believed the house will be torn down within months. 
Property expert Sarah Monaghan, editor of Everything Spain magazine, said: 'British people tend to leave all sense at home when they buy abroad. 
'Luckily, scams like this are few and far between but people must always check the status of land before they buy it in Spain. 
'It is best to hire a reputable lawyer to deal with the transactions as you would in the UK.
Footnote; Enjoy peace of mind with 1Casa, ALL our properties enjoy comprehensive insurance protection against many unexpected or unseen problems, this is included in the cost of the property you buy.
Málaga C.F. - Málaga 3 - Espanyol 2
Málaga´s 3 - 2 win over Espanyol with goals from Juan Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel and Juanito have lifted the team to 14th place in the league.
Malaga’s next game is in Pamplona, when they face Osasuna, kick off is at 5.00 pm.
Tennis Montanes, Nadal in all-Spaniard Final at Mexican Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal cruised past Mariano Puerta 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the finals of the Mexican Open.
The seventh-seeded Nadal will meet fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes, who reached the title match by fighting off a pair of rallies to outlast Agustin Calleri 7-6 (3), 1-6, 7-6 (4) in a nearly 2 1/2-hour struggle.
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