Volume 61

Cristina Sanchez
 
1Casa News from Spain - No. 79
 
 
A Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
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Flamenco in the Cervantes Theatre
 
Next Monday, 15th May there will be an evening of Flamenco at the Theatre Cervantes beginning at 9.00 pm. Entrance is free. There will be an interactive class of Flamenco, with Lecturer and Guitarist Eduardo Rebollar, Singer Sebastian Cruz and Dancer, Yolanda Lorenzo.
 
 
The Second Guar-Rock Festival – Campillos
 
The Second Guar-Rock Festival will take place at the football ground in Campillos on 3rd June 2006. The festival will begin at 12.00 noon with the groups Manana Noi, Eclipse, Bajo Zero, Aligator, Sanchez, Engachez and Tesalia taking part in a competition with sets from DJ's Magoiz and Poluto and the ethnic animation group Boromtamba. At 10.00 pm acts in concert will be La Linga, Discordia, DDT, Sherpa (ex-Baron Rojo) y Koma. Tickets are 15 Euros and can be bought from the Ayuntamiento.
 
 
Plan to Create a Railway Museum at Bobadilla is Approved
 
A plan has been approved for the creation of a railway museum in the old station of Bobadilla. The coalition, who put forward the plan, argued that the station is one of the most important railway junctions in all of Spain. The station was built in 1864 and the first train ran in 1865. Historically it has been the driving force of development for the whole Antequera area.
 
 
Ronda's May Fair
 
Ronda's 'Real Feria de Mayo', the oldest in Andalucía, will be held from 19th of May until the 21st May with more than 150 businesses from as far away as Galicia, Asturias and Cataluna taking part. This year there will be a free bus service between the fair ground and the various zones of the town and a free 'guarderia' child-minding service.
 
 
Testing Begins on AVE High Speed Line
 
Testing has started on the new AVE high speed line which is now completed between Cordoba and Antequera. A Talgo train was used to test the tracks from the Santa Ana station in Antequera. There is a double track along 100 of the 155 kms of the link between Cordoba and Antequera. The high speed line will eventually terminate in Malaga.
 
Cartama Feria
 
The feria of Cartama Estacion began last Thursday 11th of May and continues until Monday 15th of May at the new feria ground. The feria is in honour of their Patron, San Isidro Labrador.
 
The Day of San Isidro is celebrated on the 15th of May. San Isidro is the patron saint of the farmers, and many villages celebrate his day with a procession through the fields and a fiesta, as well as agricultural trade shows.
 
 
Olive Pollen Contributes to Hayfever increase on the Costa del Sol
 
Doctors have reported that they are currently swamped by people suffering from the effects of Hayfever on the Costa del Sol, with demand increasing since the end of April. Every year an increasing number of people develop a sensitivity to pollen, with olive pollen being responsible for half of all the new cases.
 
 
Andalucian Health Service to Charge Foreigners for Health Care
 
The Andalucian Health Service (SAS), has said that it wants to charge EU residents for health care given in Spain. An international summit on Health Technology opened last week in Malaga, and heard that new computer technology will allow the SAS to work out what care has been given to foreign residents and tourists on the Costa del Sol.
 
 
Cases of ‘Health Tourism’ (where people travel to Spain to take advantage of the health care on offer), have increased dramatically over recent years as people become aware that it is quicker and cheaper than in their home countries.
 
 
Elena Salgado, the Minister for Health, said the situation would change in two or three years. By then EU health services would be exchanging information whereby each country can be charged for the health care given to its citizens abroad.
 
 
At the moment a guarantee fund is used to cover such costs, but this is considered inefficient and does not take account of exceptional areas of high demand, such as the Costa del Sol.
 
 
Malaga Cathedral Bells Back in Place
 
The bells from Malaga cathedral tower are now back in place, after being taken away for restoration last September, together with the two bigger bells that were cleaned without being removed. A new addition to the tower is a carillon of 24 smaller bells that will be able to play melodies. Malaga’s towers will be one of the few Spanish cathedrals with bells that can play tunes, which will be operated by a computer in the sacristy. It is hoped that the bells will ring for the first time during the Corpus Christi celebrations in June.
 
 
500,000 Illegal Boreholes Adding to Spain's Water Crisis, Says WWF
 
 
Spain's already scarce water supply is being siphoned by more than 500,000 illegal boreholes and sold through a profitable black market to farmers and developers in the arid south, the international environmental group WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature) has claimed.
 
The amount of water stolen from underground reservoirs each year would be enough to satisfy the average consumption of 58 million people, more than the population of this drought prone country where one third of the land risks being turned into desert like areas. Instead, it is used to irrigate a surplus of crops, keep golf courses green and supply new hotels and housing complexes, the 15-page report said.
 
 
"Many developments are based on the illegal use of water," said Guido Schmidt, head of the Freshwater Programme at WWF in Spain.
 
 
Spanish Stamp Fraud Case
 
Nine men have appeared in a Spanish court accused of defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of euros by lying to them about the value of their investments in postage stamps. The men were linked to Afinsa and Forum Filatelico, two privately owned companies at the centre of what could be the biggest fraud scandal in Spanish history.
 
At least 350,000 people invested their savings into the companies, which said they used the cash and their expertise in the global collectibles market to buy rare postage stamps.
 
 
Spain's public prosecutor said the firms operated "a pyramid type business, without any economic logic and destined for failure". Afinsa and Forum Filatelico deny the charges and have assured their investors they can meet their commitments, but the case has left thousands of Spaniards wondering if they are going to get their money back.
 
 
Hotel to be Blown Up in Almeria
 
Spanish authorities said yesterday that they will first buy then blow up a partially built hotel complex on one of the country's few unspoilt Mediterranean beaches in an effort to protect Spain's blighted coastline. The decision to demolish the hotel at El Algarrobico beach, near Carboneras, in the south-eastern province of Almeria, was welcomed by Greenpeace and other campaigners. They had turned the complex, being built at the gateway to the Cabo de Gata natural park, into a symbol of all that has gone wrong on the saturated Spanish costas.
 
 
The Andalucian government said it would forcibly buy the half-built complex for €2.3m (£1.6m). Manuel Chaves, the president of the regional government, said yesterday: "It is going to disappear. The hotel will never be opened."
 
 
The 22-floor hotel was one of eight planned for the site, along with a golf course and 1,500 flats. Administrators sent in to run the town hall at Marbella recently announced that bulldozers would almost certainly be brought in to knock down illegal buildings there too.
 
 
Iberia Airline Reports Profit Loss
 
Spain's largest airline by sales and passenger numbers reported a loss of 45 million Euros in the first quarter, compared to a loss of 16 million Euros in the same period of last year. Iberia reported a first-quarter loss last Friday, blaming higher fuel prices, pricing pressures from low-cost competitors and the Easter holidays falling later this year in April. The company said its fuel costs jumped more than 45% from last year to 257.6 million Euros and with the Easter holidays being in April, this affected the comparison with last year.
 
 
3 ‘Brides’ Hitchhike to Spain
 
Three Mid Wales environmentalists have thumbed lifts all the way from Powys to southern Spain........wearing wedding dresses, to increase their chances of getting lifts, the friends wore wedding attire throughout the journey, which took exactly 60 hours.
 
 
Tabitha Pope, 23, Tegwen Brickley, 32, and Alzena Wilmot, 27, all work at the Centre for Alternative Technology, an environmental organisation outside Machynlleth, they decided to hitchhike from Machynlleth to Sunseed, another eco-centre near Almeria, Spain.
 
 
"We didn’t want to fly because the carbon dioxide from aeroplanes is one of the biggest single contributors to climate change," said Mrs Brickley, who wore a full-length white dress with a veil on the journey across Europe.
 
 
Britains Choose Spain as Destination for Fertility Treatment
 
Spain has become the destination for childless, infertile British couples driven to seek help abroad. This is due to the fall in the number of people prepared to donate eggs or sperm at home since Britain passed a law in April 2005 that gave children the right to know the identity of their biological parents.
 
 
Some British donors have offered to travel to Spain, where anonymity is guaranteed, to give eggs that could later be used by infertile women. One Spanish doctor admitted that he had even had offers from potential donors from Britain who wanted to know if they could travel to Spain. "It has been a big surprise," said Dr Olivares, who rejected the offers. "It has a lot to do with the new law in which anonymity was lost."
 
 
El Greco - The Movie
 
The life of artist El Greco is to be made into a film with the painter being played by 27 year old British actor Nick Ashton. A joint production between Spain, Greece, Italy and Great Britain has been in the pre-production stage for nearly seven years, but the project has now been presented in Athens. Shooting begins in October and takes place in Spain, Greece and Italy. The film soundtrack will be composed by Vangelis.
 
 
New Goya Painting Discovered
 
A Spanish art expert has discovered a previously unknown painting by Spanish master Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) on Britain's Isle of Man.
 
 
'The Rope', which was acquired for 18,000 Euros as an anonymous work 35 years ago, is worth 3 to 4 million Euros, Paulino Gimenez estimated.
 
 
'The Rope', which shows a woman dressed in Roman-style clothing and holding a child looking down from a window, is believed to have been painted by Goya around 1770, when he was an art student in Italy.  The painting measuring 63 x 51 centimetres belongs to a British private collector who bought it in London.
 
 
The owner finally began suspecting the painting might have a link with Goya and called Malaga-based expert Paulino Gimenez, whose 10-month investigation led him to establish that the painting bore the hallmarks of Goya, such as a face hidden in it.
 
 
Malaga 0 - Sevilla 2
 
Sevilla secured a place in Europe and kept up their push for the last Champions League place with a 0-2 victory over already relegated Malaga last weekend. It was a humiliating end to Malaga's season with a display of uninspired football against Sevilla's reserve side. Malaga only managed to gain 9 points out of a possible 72 in the last 24 games they played. Their last game of the season is away to Cadiz on Saturday 13 May, kick-off at 8.00 pm.
 
 
Spain Have Their Eyes on Football Double
 
Spain have their eyes on winning both of Europe's top club competitions after Sevilla beat Middlesbrough 4-0 in the UEFA Cup final last week. Barcelona take on Arsenal in the Champions League final in Paris on May 17 and Spain could achieve a fourth European double after Sevilla's victory in Eindhoven last Wednesday.
 
 
Spanish clubs previously did a double in 1958, 1960 and 1966 when the UEFA Cup was known as the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. In each of those three years, Real Madrid won the European Cup and Barcelona the old Fairs Cup.
 
 
Ronaldinho Says Door is Open for Henry at Barcelona
 
Ronaldinho, Barcelona's Brazilian star, has insisted that the opportunity is there for Arsenal's Thierry Henry to join him at Barcelona. Ronaldinho revealed he and Henry have spoken recently, as the French striker agonises over whether to commit himself to Arsenal or move to Spain after the sides meet in next week's Champions League final.
 
Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Catalunya
 
This weekend will see the Spanish Grand Prix take place at the Circuit of Catalunya, Barcelona. Fernando Alonso clocked the fastest time in free practice, but was also fined £1,055 for speeding in the pit lane in the first session of practice.
 
 
Along with the rest of the big names, Alonso took the second session more seriously to trail test drivers Anthony Davidson and Robert Doornbos. Michael Schumacher was sixth, behind Alexander Wurz and Christian Klien. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen did not leave the garage in the first session and was only 15th in the second.
 
Alonso could be handicapped in Sunday's Grand Prix by using the same engine he raced with at the Nuerburgring last week, while Schumacher and Massa both have fresh engines.