Volume 56

Cristina Sanchez
1Casa News from Spain - No. 74
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Semana Santa
Semana Santa begins this Sunday 9th April with Palm Sunday, it is the official start of the Holy week celebrations in cities, towns and villages all over Spain. Here in Álora the processions through the streets by the Hermandades (brotherhoods) with their richly decorated tronos bearing the images of Christ and the Virgin Mary will take place during the next week. The highlight of Semana Santa is La Despedía (the Farewell), which takes place on Good Friday. Two tronos, one bearing the image of Christ and the other the Virgin de Dolores take different routes through the streets and eventually meet in the Plaza Baja, Lower Square around midday where they move towards each other from opposite ends of the Plaza in order for the Virgen Mary to say farewell to her son before crucifixion.
Malaga and Seville are the two cities in Andalucia where the festivities are perhaps the best known for the spectacle and size of the processions and celebrations.
An Earthquake of 3.2 Degrees Felt in Ardales and Teba
An earthquake of 3.2 degrees occurred last Thursday 6 April at 12.10 pm in the neighbourhood of Ardales. Efe sources of the National Geographical Institute informed that the earthquake epicentre was located in of the municipality of Ardales and was also felt in Teba. The earthquake was calibrated by the technicians of the institute with a magnitude of 3.2 degrees on the Richter scale. This earthquake, that barely was felt by residents, follows another which occurred recently in the region of the Guadalteba, with the epicentre registered in neighbouring Canete la Real on 11 March at 3.6 degrees.
Flood of Support for More Water
1.5 million euros is to be invested by Ronda town council to improve the water supply system to the southern part of the town, the move is intended to end the supply problems the area suffers, particularly during the summer months.
Local town planning councillor, José Herrera, announced that two new wells will be able to supply 45 litres a second to the system, the council will also set up a new emergency tank, which will hold 2,000 cubic metres of water.
Three kilometres of piping in the neighbourhoods of San Francisco and Padre Jesus will benefit 10,000 people when the work is finished in nine months, another reservoir which has not been used to date because of filtration problems will now also come into service.
The Town Hall in Coin is currently negotiating with a private firm to construct a public car park with 52 spaces on the edge of the town centre in the area known as Atarazana. The car park will be on two levels of a new block of flats. The Mayor hopes to put a stop to double parking in Plaza San Austin and relieve traffic congestion at the entrance to the town.
More Bilingual Schools for Malaga
A further 17 state schools and institutes in Malaga will offer bilingual education in the next school year, bringing the total number of bilingual schools in the province to 45. As part of the Junta de Andalucia's Multilingual Development Plan, it means that 250 of Andalucia's schools and institutes will, when schools restart this September, be able to offer bilingual studies. 206 of the schools will offer Spanish-English education, with 36 offering French, and 5 German. The Plan also includes further training for language teachers, which includes two weeks this summer in the UK, France and Germany for 300 teachers.
Malaga Wins Both Titles!
Elisabeth Reyes Villegas (21), representing her home town of Malaga, has scooped the title Miss España 2006 before making their final decision, the panel of judges deliberated over six finalists, which included the runners up of Miss Alicante and Miss Soria.
Accepting her crown from last year’s winner Veronica Hidalgo, the green-eyed brunette thanked everyone who had made her win possible.
Malaga also netted another prize when Juan García Postigo, from Málaga won this year’s Mister España.
IKEA May Open Second Store in Malaga Province
Before opening their first store in Malaga, IKEA is now talking of opening a second store in the province, expected to be located between Malaga and Marbella. It is believed that the company has been in contact with Fuengirola town hall and the second store may even be trading before the first following more delays to the Malaga project. Reports suggest Malaga City Hall is refusing to issue the building licence following an unfavourable report.
Traffico have announced that they are to take measures to try and improve traffic flow around Malaga. A company will be given the job of placing cones and using reversible lanes and hard shoulders in an attempt to improve traffic flow. The company will be paid 262,000 Euros for the work which will be carried out over the next two years on access roads into the city.
Costa del Sol
The regional tourism board is to spend 335 million euros on adapting the Costa del Sol to the new demands of tourists over the next four years. The Qualifica plan intends to make the Costa a more attractive destination and encourage tourists back from other destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia or Croatia. The plan was announced by regional tourism councillor, Paulino Plata, who said, with 15 million overnight stays in hotels last year, the Costa del Sol is the most important destination on the Iberian Peninsular.
First 5 Star Hotel for Torremolinos
Torremolinos is to get it's first five star hotel. Mayor, Pedro Fernandez Montes, described the project for a 22 floor tower and two 11 storey blocks as the most important tourist investment in the town for more than 30 years. The project, known as the Cruiser Hotel Tres Carabelas will cost 120 million Euros and will be located on the site of the old Melia hotel.
Marbella Town Hall Dissolved
The Government proceeded to dissolve the Marbella town hall in a cabinet meeting yesterday, 7th April, and ordered the Diputacion de Malaga to establish a committee to run the town until municipal elections are held in May 2007. The government says it is following the legal procedure as outlined by the Consejo de Estado yesterday, dismissing opposition protests.
The Cabinet said that they were taking the action against the Ayuntamiento de Marbella because of the ‘very serious judicial allegations’ which linked the Town Hall to real estate corruption. Deputy Prime Minister, María Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, said the decision was taken after a formal request from the Junta de Andalucia and favourable reports from both the Senate and the National Commission for Local Administration.
Fly Around Spain for £17!
Good news for those intending to travel around Spain this spring. Vueling, the cheery Spanish low-cost airline, has released 100,000 tickets for €10 (about £7) per flight without taxes. Add on £10 or so to cover taxes, fees and charges.
Book by Wednesday, April 12, and travel until June for these prices.
Vueling flies daily from and to Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Bilbao, Seville, Majorca - Palma, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Malaga, Lisbon, Ibiza, Menorca and Amsterdam. see their site here http://www.vueling.com/EN/index.php?mode
Antonio Banderas Gets Lost in the Music, but finds Himself
There's more to Antonio Banderas than easy going masculinity and Old World-style gallantry, but those traits still came in handy for his latest film, Take the Lead, in which the 45-year-old swashbuckling Spanish star of the Zorro and Spy Kids films plays Pierre Dulaine, a real-life ballroom dance instructor whose lessons change the lives of the New York City kids he mentors.
"When I met first met Pierre, I loved the way he carries himself - he's a bit mysterious in a way," says Banderas. "You don't know what's behind his eyes. He's not one to talk about himself, and he's not a guy who imposes, but little by little, he lets ideas sink into the minds of his students, and they slowly come around to him.
"What I tried to do is (capture) how Pierre behaves, which is sort of about masculinity through self-respect and dignity. It's a way of moving through the world."
Talking about the many parts he has played he said, "I suppose that my masculinity fits these different roles because I am very clear about what and who I am. I wanted to just let myself go and do whatever suited the film or character - I don't care about playing gay characters or supertoughs or superheroes, whatever. "But one thing I cannot bear is that `macho thing.' In anybody - it feels like posing, it's phony. The vision I have of myself doesn't just go to my (roles), but to my life. I guess that's one reason I love comedy, because an important part of masculinity is laughing at one's own persona."
Cordoba Mosque Beam Auction Called Off by Christie’s
Christie’s announced last Monday that the auction, scheduled for Tuesday, of five 10th century beams from Cordoba mosque had been called off for the time being. The auction house had said that the sale would go ahead despite objections from the Spanish Government. Lawyers representing Cordoba Cathedral Chapterhouse and the Spanish Ministry of Culture, said that the sale had been cancelled so that these authorities could negotiate privately with the British auction house.
Christie’s confirmed that conversations had started with the Spanish Government with a view to the private sale of the beams. The Spanish lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said that Spain had been trying to obtain a court order to stop the sale of the beams, however Christie’s actually stopped the sale after Scotland Yard had ordered the auction to be called off on the instructions of the Home Office. The police are investigating whether the beams were plundered from the mosque.
The five beams were part of a sale of Islamic art and manuscripts. Christie's had valued them at between 148,000 and 450,000 euros each. The auction house said it did not know when the beams were removed from the mosque, but that they had been exported from Spain before 1928, when architect Felix Hernandez published a list of all the known existing elements from the original ceiling.
Changing Times
According to a new survey, for the first time, a majority of young Spaniards said they did not consider themselves Catholics. The survey, carried out by the Fundacion Santa Maria, said many felt a mounting distrust of the Roman Catholic Church and growing disbelief in God.
The authors of the survey said its results indicate that within a generation Spain will no longer be a Catholic country, as the present generation's children will not be brought up as believers.
The survey polled Spaniards aged between 15 and 24 and found that last year only 49% said they were were Catholics, either practising or non-practising. In 1996 a previous survey found that 77% of those questioned said they would describe themselves as Catholics.
Grupo Ferrovial Launches Bid For BAA
The Spanish construction and services group Ferrovial Grupo has paved the way for a bid battle with BAA by launching a surprise hostile all-cash bid for BAA, the UK airports group. BAA, owns seven UK airports including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London's Heathrow and Gatwick was swift to reject the £8.75bn cash offer. Investors were disappointed that the bid was at the same level as an offer made by the Spanish firm three weeks ago.
Kidnapped Spaniards Escape
Two Spaniards who were kidnapped in the Darien jungle in Panama on 20 January have escaped from their captors. Naturalist José Vicente Colastra and his son Sergio managed to flee through the jungle to the safety of the village of Jaque on the border with Colombia. They were kidnapped by armed men in a remote area of the jungle where they were building a medical centre. Spanish ambassador to Panama Gerardo Zaldivar said authorities were trying to determine the exact details of their dramatic escape.
Mobile Phone Virus in Spain
Mobile phone owners in Spain should be aware of a new worm virus which the experts say is reaching epidemic proportions in parts of the country. It is called ‘Commwarrior’ and the virus thrives in public places because it is spread by the Bluetooth technology. It can also be carried in mobile messages which include images, audio or video. When it arrives in a new destination it automatically sends such a message to everyone in the address book.
The Bluetooth option means that the virus can jump from phone to phone within the Bluetooth coverage distance of several metres, and this explains why the virus has been found to thrive in public places such as airports where there are more phones in reach.
One expert says his phone received 10 messages with the virus in just five minutes while he was in Terminal 2 of Barajas airport in Madrid. However as in your computer at home, if you do not open the message your phone remains fine.
Models from the top manufacturers, Nokia, Panasonic, Sendo and Siemens are all affected – these all use the Symbian Serie 60 operating system.
Real Sociedad 3 - Malaga 0
Second division is now inevitable for Malaga as Real Sociedad won their relegation battle. Malaga’s next game is at La Rosaleda this Saturday 8 April against the Madrid side Getafe and kick off is at 5.00 pm.
Beckham Doubtful for Weekend
David Beckham could be out of action for three weeks after suffering a rib injury during Real Madrid's Spanish Primera Liga 1-1 draw against Barcelona last weekend, the England captain feared a cracked rib but scans revealed severe bruising, the Sun newspaper reported.
Beckham told reporters that the injury was causing him a lot of pain.  "I really want to play but we'll see how the injury improves,” he said, the injury is Beckham's second in four weeks. He missed two games after suffering a groin strain against Arsenal at Highbury on March 8, the 30-year-old midfielder also bruised his right ankle in last month's game against Deportivo La Coruna.
A Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
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