Saturday, 18 November 2006 - No. 105
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
Alora's Castle in the Dark
Lack of maintenance and vandalism have left Alora's castle only half lit for some time. During the summer a melted fuse left the castle in darkness for half the season and now the castle has again been half lit for some weeks.
The Ayuntamiento and the provincial government have announced plans to build a security training school for the police and fire brigade in the town. The aim is for the school to be officially recognised by the Public Security School of Andalucia in order to attract new local police officers and fire fighters from all over the district.
Police in Coin are to begin to issue fine tickets for cars left parked in the same place for more than 16 consecutive days. The new practice is aimed at preventing the abandonment of vehicles on public roads as well as the practice of parking cars on the street with a ‘for sale’ sign in the window. Officials at the Town Hall say it is unfair for such vehicles to take up space that should be available to all drivers to use.
Plastic Surgery Conference in Malaga
A conference of plastic surgeons was held in the city over the weekend, which attracted 120 professionals to the capital. During the conference, it was stated that an average of more than 80 aesthetic plastic surgery operations are carried out in Malaga province each month, with 80% of the procedures carried out on women.
Recent Rains Cause Damage to Malaga's Cathedral
The recent rain and leaks in the roof have damaged the ceiling of Malaga Cathedral and with more rain expected, there are concerns that the damage could be irreversible. There were plans to place a new roof above the current one, but this has been delayed. At least 40 leaks in the roof have been identified so far.
Fly Gibraltar - A New Low-cost Airline?
A new airline is due to begin flying in March 2007, they will operate scheduled flights to Gibraltar from London - Stansted, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin. Fly Gibraltar will begin its operations with two Boeing 737-300 aircraft; painted in the Fly Gibraltar livery but owned by Astraeus Airlines, which will also provide the operating licence for the first year. They will provide in-flight catering and seat allocations in the ticket price, but are positioning themselves as a budget airline, flights are due to go on sale in December.
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New Spanish Civil War Law
Relatives of victims in Spain's Civil War may never know the truth about their deaths under a new law designed to heal wounds from the conflict according to Amnesty International. The human rights group called for the government to modify or scrap the law it is about to put through parliament which would officially recognise victims of the Civil War and of the Franco dictatorship which followed it.
Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the Civil War. Under the law, relatives of victims would be able to ask for a declaration from a parliamentary commission that family members were unjustly killed or imprisoned. But their killers or torturers would not be named and the names of these people would also be removed from archives.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose grandfather was killed fighting Franco's men, hopes the law will comfort victims' families. The conservative opposition Popular Party, which has roots in Franco's movement, has accused him of reopening wounds.
The Civil War has resurfaced as an issue in Spanish politics since Zapatero became president in 2004. The subject still appears to divide people as much as ever, with Left and Right wings accusing each other of trying to rewrite history.
Half of the Growth of Spain's GDP Over the Last Five Years is Due to Immigration
Immigrants receive less of the Spanish economy than they contribute and will be profitable to the public accounts over the next decade, assured the leader of the Government Economic Office, Migel Sebastian, during the presentation of a report on the impact of immigration on the Spanish economy.
Sebastian's team calculates that more than the 50% of the economic growth of the last five years is due to immigration (3.1% of annual average), thanks to the contribution of the increased population of working age. The decrease in productivity - they state - will be corrected when the process of training these workers is complete and they are fully integrated into the work force.
At the root of these figures is the present pension imbalance: immigrants receive barely 400 million Euros in this way, when their wage contributions surpass 8,000 million. With the data of 2005, the immigrant population, almost 8.8% of the total, contributed to the fiscal income 23,042 million Euros, equivalent to 6.6%.
El Gordo to Pay Out Record 2.1 Billion Euros this Year
Spain's traditional Christmas lottery will pay out prizes worth a record 2.1 billion Euros this year when the draw takes place on 22 December, up 120 million Euros from 2005, according to press reports this week. The jackpot, known as El Gordo, is worth 3 million Euros per series of tickets. But few winners become millionaires because most only buy a few tenths of a ticket costing 200 Euros. The world's biggest lottery is also the oldest. It dates back to 1763, when King Charles III launched its predecessor to fill state coffers.
A Fortune in Cash Found in Spanish Banks
Police are searching for the mystery owner of 1.8 billion Euros held in several banks, after tax inspectors raised concerns that the accounts might contain laundered money. A court order has frozen the accounts, but the owner(s) have yet to identify themselves, various Spanish newspapers have speculated that the money comes from local construction companies that are trying to evade tax.
Drivers in Spain May Have to Have Headlights on During the Day
The Spanish traffic authority (DGT) is carrying out a study to ascertain whether to introduce a new law obliging drivers to turn on their headlights in during the day. The study on the viability and repercussions of such a law has to be completed by the end of this month. Similar studies carried out by the European Commission have estimated that daytime lights on vehicles could save between 1,200 and 2,000 lives on Europe’s roads every year.
In its favour is the savings in lives but against this is that having a car’s lights on during the day will increase average petrol consumption by 20 litres a year, and its corresponding effects on CO2 emissions, as well as additional cost in light bulbs.
Burger King Advert Goes Against Spanish Anti Obesity Campaign
Burger King should remove an advertising campaign for its monster XXL burger, the caloric equivalent of eating 10 fried eggs, because it goes against a Spanish initiative against obesity, according to the Spanish Health Ministry. The ministry said it had been asking the fast-food chain to abandon the campaign because the commercials go against an agreement signed by the Spanish Federation of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs, of which Burger King is a member. Under the agreement, members of the federation said they would refrain from promoting huge servings of food, the health ministry said. An official at Burger King's press office in Madrid said the company had no plans to abandon the campaign.
The Name in Spain
The Spanish National Statistics Institute has published a list of the most common names in Spain since the 1920’s. Most common names across the country currently are Maria and Antonio, followed by Maria del Carmen and Jose, Carmen and Manuel, Josefa and Francisco, and Isabel and Juan.
Regarding surnames, Garcia is the Spanish equivalent of Smith and the most popular, followed by Gonzalez, Fernandez, Rodriguez, Lopez, Martine, Sanchez, Perez, Martin and Gomez.
Osbourne Bull Celebrates 50 Years
Fifty years ago this week, the first Osborne publicity bull was placed beside a main road as a method of promoting the Jerez-based company's new brandy Veterano. Created by Manuel Prieto, the first bull was placed near the N -1 road at Cabanillas de la Sierra.
However, Ignacio Osborne, president of the company at the time, did not like the design and was altered to the one we know today. Also altered was the material in which it was sculpted from wood to metal. The bull was threatened with disappearance in the 1990s after a law was passed banning roadside advertising for alcohol. In 1998, the Osborne bull was named a 'national treasure' following a series of very public protests against its removal that ensured its permanent placement close to the main roads of Spain.
The Beckhams are said to be quarrelling about the future of David’s career after he’s been unwilling to agree to a new contract with Real Madrid. The couple moved their family to Spain in 2003 and at the time it was Victoria who didn’t want to move away from England, she has now settled into life in Madrid and their older children are enrolled in a local school over here. Now though, it is said that David has told Victoria their time in Madrid is up, and that he wants to go back to the place he knows best and Victoria keeps telling him how ironic is it because she didn’t want to go to Madrid in the first place, and now it’s her who wants to stay.
Malaga's next game is away on Sunday 19 November to Elche, kick off 5.00 pm.
Nadal Wants to Open Spain's Campaign
Rafael Nadal wants to help Spain start its next Davis Cup campaign on a positive note in Switzerland, even if Roger Federer is not playing for the hosts. Nadal, in Shanghai for the Tennis Masters Cup, moved to reassure Spanish supporters he had not turned his back on the Davis Cup team after reports last month suggested he'd skip the opening match.
"It is going to be a difficult tie," he said. "We will do our best to win because we lost in the first round of the last two years." Nadal said Switzerland remained favourite to win the Feb. 9-11 match in Geneva because of its home court advantage, even without No. 1-ranked Federer on the team, Nadal, is heading for Malaga next month when top-class tennis returns to the city. The three-day tournament will also be attended by five of Spain' other top players. Agreements for the event were finally signed between Nadal and Malaga's mayor, Francisco de la Torre, during last week's World Travel Market in London. The Malaga Masters will begin on 1 December at the Martin Carpena sports stadium.
Second F1 Grand Prix for Spain?
The prospective site would be the Valencia circuit, the race track on Spain's Mediterranean coast that most of the F1 teams use for testing. The city of Valencia has recently undergone considerable renovations for hosting the America's Cup sailing regatta, particularly around the port area that has transformed the city into a Spanish Monaco. Now, city officials wonder what will happen after the America's Cup is over. Their ideal solution, it would seem, would be to secure a grand prix, but while the popularity of F1 in Spain has skyrocketed with Fernando Alonso's back-to-back world titles.
Spain already has a race in Barcelona, leaving Valencia to fight several uphill battles to get their own, however unlike other locations bidding for a race, the Valencia circuit is already built and up to F1 standards. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says it's far from a fait accompli, but it could be closer than we'd think.
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