Volume 59

Cristina Sanchez
1Casa News from Spain - No. 77
A Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
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Expatriates Continue to Buy in Spain
Property purchases by Expatriates are maintaining Spain's construction boom, states The Financial Times. Angel Berges, a partner at Analistas Financieros Internacionales, stated "There is no risk of a property crash in Spain in the short or medium term thanks to new demand generated by immigrants."  Berges told the FT he thought that immigrants will buy some 170,000 homes in Spain this year, this is nearly a quarter of total demand for new houses. In the past six years, Spain has seen a huge increase in its immigrant population, the number of immigrants has risen to 4 million.
Estate agents say people who have split up will buy up to 140,000 homes in 2006, last year there was an 80% increase in divorces due largely to a speeding up of procedures.
Cristina Sanchez
My namesake, Cristina Sanchez, is a bullfighter, she returns to the fray on 21st May in Torremolinos after 6 years away from the bullring.
Alora, Fiesta of the Virgin de la Cabeza
The fiesta of the Virgin de la Cabeza will take place this weekend, 29 and 30 April at the Estacion de Alora. It begins today, Saturday 29 April at 12.00 noon throughout the day and again tomorrow, Sunday 30 April.
Presentation of Book 'Football in Alora'
Next Saturday, 6 May there will be presentation of a new book titled 'Football in Alora'. The presentation will take place at the Theatre Cervantes of Alora beginning at 9.00 pm.
Motor Ocasion Malaga 2006
The Palace of Fairs and Congresses in Malaga welcomes Motor Ocasion from Friday 28 April until Monday 1 May. Motor Ocasion (exhibition and sale of used vehicles) this year celebrates its third edition. Over an area of 8.000 square metres this event will show hundreds of used cars of all descriptions from luxury and sports cars to more modest vehicles. Included among the large variety of cars at the show will be Renault, Ford, Honda, Citroën, Seat, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, Opel, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Volvo and Porsche among others. The event will be open from 12.00 noon to 9.00 pm on Saturday with Sunday and Monday open from 1000 am to 9.00 pm.
Airbus 330-200 Named
The company Air Europa baptised their first Airbus 330-200 aeroplane at Malaga airport on Thursday and gave it the name 'Estepona Costa del Sol'. The company will use the aircraft for long distance journeys.
Airport Runs Out of Fuel
Granada airport ran out of aviation fuel last Tuesday, which caused some flights to be diverted to Malaga and Almeria. A Ryan Air flight from Stansted was among those sent on to Malaga, while another Ryan Air flight from Liverpool had to wait on the tarmac at Granada while fuel was brought in.
AVE High Speed Train
The Spanish government has announced that the AVE high speed train will arrive in Antequera this year and in Malaga next. Magdalena Alvarez, the Development Minister, said that the dates were solid and sustainable. She also said that the work on the new line between Cordoba and Malaga is now 53% complete.
Juan XXIII Bridge to be Replaced
Malaga’s Juan XXIII traffic bridge is to be pulled down by the end of June. The bridge is too low for the new AVE high speed trains which will resurface at this point to make their way into Malaga station. A new temporary higher bridge is being constructed to link the north and south sides of the railway lines until these have been taken underground and the new road layout designed. While the work is taking place the authorities will encourage drivers to use the new Juan Pablo II bridge, which crosses the lines nearer the station.
Traffic Offences Lead to Licence Suspensions
The Provincial Traffic Authority suspended 4,589 driving licences and 267 motorbike riding licenses last year leaving a total of 4,856 drivers in Malaga province without driving licenses during the year.
This is a result of having committed a driving offence according to data provided by the Traffic Authority. Among the most common causes of the suspension of a driving licence are driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding. Under the new law, speeding will be considered a ‘grave’ offence if the driver exceeds the speed limit by more than 50%.
The list of violations that can lead to total loss of points goes much further than driving under the influence of alcohol or speeding: dangerous driving, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, failing to give way at a junction when required to do so and passing dangerously can all lead to the suspension of a license for a period of between one and three months. Fines are also in place of between 91 and 300 euros in the case of ‘grave’ violations and between 301 and 600 euros if the offence is considered to be "very grave".
Drought Restrictions to be Lifted from Parts of Costa del Sol
The Junta de Andalucia is to lift the official drought restrictions in force for part of the Costa del Sol from 1 June 2006. Thanks to new desalinated water plants and the Concepcion reservoir now being full, supplies are now guaranteed for the summer between Torremolinos and Manilva.
Further Boosts for European Property Investment
Property investment opportunities in Europe have been boosted again this week, with two key pieces of news in relation to the economies of Spain and Germany.
Spain will lift restrictions on Monday for the entry of workers from some of the newer members of the European Union which analysts have suggested will have a significant impact on the country's economic growth.
It follows similar moves from Britain, Ireland and Sweden, all of which now allow workers from eight former Soviet-bloc nations, Malta and Cyprus, to enter the countries to work with immediate effect.
Spain needs foreign workers because of huge shortages in various sectors, while the Spanish economy has performed adequately for a number of years, it has one of the world's lowest birth rates and there are key gaps that need to be filled.
Spain's decision to lift its own restriction is likely to be particularly welcomed by the real estate sector, with property investment in the country as popular as ever.
Spain to Set Up Emergency Brigade to Fight Disasters
Spain's Defence Minister Jose Antonio Alonso announced yesterday Friday that his country will set up a 3,000 strong emergency brigade to help cope with natural or man made disasters.
The brigade, to be deployed across the nation, will have access to engineering equipment, aircraft and medical equipment, said Alonso, the brigade will give an integrated response to disasters, whether they are big fires, massive floods or earthquakes, he said. "We will feel secure when faced with a great disaster," the minister added.
He said the idea had come from Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who wanted to set up a rapid reaction force dealing with bacteriological, chemical and other disasters.
Amor (Love)
The word ‘amor’ has been chosen as the most beautiful word in the Spanish language following a survey carried out by the Escuela de Escritores via their web site. More than 47,000 people responded to the question ‘what is the most beautiful word in Castellano’ in an event to tie in with the Day of the Book celebrations. Here are some of the other winners:
Amor, Libertad (Freedom), Paz (Peace), Vida (Life), Azahar (Orange Blossom), Esperanza (Hope), Madre (Mother), Mama (Mum), Amistad (Friendship) and Libelula (Dragonfly).
Beta Version of Google Maps for Spain
Google Maps introduced the beta version of its street maps for Spain on last Thursday, which combines satellite images of Spanish territory combined with street names, hotel, restaurant, and business information. The system is also available for cell phones, it is an open code product that can be adapted by users. At the moment it will not feature advertising, as Google plans to integrate further services. The beta version's algorithm will also improve its search function as the system becomes more familiar with each user's needs.
Spanish 'Star Spangled Banner' Causes Controversy
British music producer Adam Kidron caused a stir when he came up with the idea of a Spanish language version of the U.S. national anthem. In the week since he announced the song which features artists such as Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull and Puerto Rican singers Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon,it has been the target of fierce backlash.
Many people are infuriated by the thought of "The Star Spangled Banner" being sung in a language other than English. The initial version of "Nuestro Himno," or "Our Anthem," comes out Friday and uses lyrics based closely on the English language original, said Kidron, who heads the record label Urban Box Office.
Party Revellers May Have to Pay for British Consulate Services
In a recent report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) urged the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to begin charging for services provided to Britons abroad who get into trouble when travelling to Spain for stag/hen parties and  "who have been clearly negligent or otherwise at fault". The recommendation comes as overseas stag and hen parties have become increasingly popular, with Spain as the top destination. Typical calls for help from such revellers, or from the local police officers who call the consulate on their behalf, are due to lost or stolen money, illness or injury and arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour.  Consulates already do charge fees in a number of situations, such as after-hours services but it appears the [PAC] recommendation is to take this further."
Prison Sentences for CD Pirates
The European Parliament has proposed four year prison sentences for those who make pirate CD and DVD copies, together with fines of up to 300,000 €. Over 8.5 million counterfeit copies were recovered in Spain in 2004, and last year's figure is expected to be higher.
Real Madrid 2 - Malaga 1
Malaga nearly earned an historical victory in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu last weekend but in the end lost to a last minute goal. Malaga’s next game at La Rosaleda this Sunday is against Racing Santander: kick off at 5.00 pm.
European Football
The Champions League and the UEFA Cup finals will both have Spanish/English finals. Arsenal will play Barcelona in the Champions League with Middlesbrough to play Sevilla in the UEFA Cup.
Nadal Continues Winning
Reigning French Open champion Rafael Nadal Friday advanced to the semi-finals at the Open SEAT Tennis Tournament at Barcelona, Nadal, the top seed and defending champion, rallied to beat No. 7 Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, for his 45th straight clay court victory.
Nadal improved his record for 2006 to 20-3. His semi-final opponent is fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who was a 6-3, 6-3, winner over another native of Spain, No. 10 Juan Carlos Ferrero, the runner-up at Barcelona in both 2000 and 2005, on form Almagro has a 9 match winning streak.
Bransdon and Karlsson Shine in Spain
Australian David Bransdon has made a hole-in-one during the second round of the Spanish Open as he climbed to eight-under for the tournament following a brilliant 65, he trails former British Amateur champion Graeme Storm by four strokes, after the Englishman finished with three birdies on his way to a five under 67.
Adding to the drama on day two of the European Tour event was another ace, registered by Swede Robert Karlsson who fired a course record 63 on the San Roque course to finish day two on 11 under, tournament favourite Colin Montgomerie remains in contention after a second straight 68 to lie eight under par.
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