Volume 87

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 25 November 2006 - No. 106
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
Work Starts on the Alora Northern Access Road
Construction of the northern access road is now underway, the road, which will link the A-357 and the MA-441 should be completed by Easter 2007.  The works will be undertaken up to the A-357 but the actual connection there is to be organised by the Junta de Andalucia who have sole jurisdiction regarding the completion of the actual connection itself.  Alora Ayuntamiento hopes that the new road will reduce traffic circulation in the town centre by 30%.
Work Commences on Reforesting the Castle Hill
Works to reforest the castle hill in Alora have begun. The work has a budget of 119,000 Euros and is being carried out by the public enterprise EGMASA.  The project is divided into 3 phases, the first, which will be the cleaning of the gorge, is now being carried out.  The final stage will take place in February 2007, and consist of painting of the facades of the houses that overlook the gorge.
Santa Cecilia
A mass and a concert by the Álora Municipal Band will be held on 25th November in honour of Santa Cecilia.  The mass will be held in the church of Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion in the Lower Square at 7.00 pm followed by a concert by the Municipal Band of Álora in the Church of the Veracruz at 8.30 pm.
"Trapos Sucios’' (Dirty Clothes)
The play Trapos Sucios will take place at the Cervantes Theatre tonight, 25th November from 9.00 pm.  A work of "cruel humour and a bit absurd, highlighting certain stereotypes of corruption and ambition that have been reflected in the news of the last months"  Tickets 4 Euros.
Brazilian Dance Performance
On Wednesday 29th November there will be an exhibition of Brazilian dancing performed by Brazilian children.  The show will take place in the events room of the Casa de Cultura at 6.00 pm.
Salarebo’s Christmas Fayre
The Salarebo’s Christmas fayre will be held on Saturday 2nd December from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm.  There will be stalls selling gifts, cards, wrapping paper, mulled wine and mince pies along with Santa’s grotto and Tony the Pony.
Dance and Fitness Classes
Dance and fitness classes for all ages are now being held at El Hacho School: Monday and Wednesday 9.00 am to 10.00 am (adults), street dance for children Monday and Wednesday 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm.  *Coming soon*: Triple Challenge fitness classes (aerobics, step and body toning) Friday’s 9.00 am to 10.00 am and Cheerleading for children (time to be confirmed).  For private fitness classes in the comfort of your own home call for further details – Energy Training - 664 138 160.
Alora’s Eighteenth Painting Competition
The competition opens on 22nd December with prizes 4,500 Euros for first prize and 2,500 for second prize plus honourable mentions for some of the other entries.  The paintings will form part of an exhibition which will be shown between 19th January and 16th February in the Casa de Cultura.
Protests Against Plans to Dam the Río Grande
The project to build an ‘azud’ or small dam, has set off a wave of protests in the region.  Groups from Alora, Coin, Pizarra, Cartama, Guaro, Alhaurin el Grande, Alhaurin de la Torre and small villages located near the river are preparing to take action against the construction. Representatives from Coín Town Hall, ecological groups and neighbourhood associations are holding demonstrations to protest against the local government plan to build a small reservoir in Cerro Blanco to gather water from the Rio Grande in order to supply Malaga.
Iron Bridge, Estacion de Cartama
The new lighting on the iron bridge at Cartama Estacion has been switched on.  The work involved an investment of 30,000 Euros consisting of 15 lamps and their corresponding equipment.  During the inauguration it was announced that council had asked for the bridge, which dates from the beginning of the 20th Century, to be declared a protected site.
Malaga's New Railway Station will be Inaugurated Next Week
Malaga's new railway station will be inaugurated either next Monday or Tuesday, 27th or 28th November, with a hundred commercial units and leisure and hotel facilities.  Workers are putting the final touches to the complex this weekend and the new station name signboard, Maria Zambrano, is already in position.  The AVE high speed train, however, will not arrive in Malaga for another year. 
El Camino de los Ingleses Premiered in Malaga
El Camino de los Ingleses, directed by Antonio Banderas, saw its World Premiere in the Cervantes Theatre in Malaga last night, Friday 24th November. The Hollywood star, who was at the premier with his family and friends, told the press that the film had ‘broken some of the laws of cinematographic gravity’. The film is based on the novel El Camino de los Ingleses by Antonio Soler who described the film as ‘tremendously brave and beautiful’. Banderas spoke of the pleasure of filming in his native city, and he thanked local people for letting him film in a relaxed manner.  The commercial premiere of the film will take place next Friday 1st December.
Malaga Competes for Microsoft R & D Centre
Malaga province is competing against Asturias to be chosen as a centre for research and development by Microsoft.  Malaga Technology Park has a developed software industry and is closely linked with one of the best IT universities in Europe, the University of Malaga.  To win the Microsoft project would be a triumph for Málaga and would enhance the project Malaga Valley e-27 which was presented recently and aims to make capital the premier software centre in Europe.  E27 refers to the number of IT companies that already operate in the Technology Park.
New Catamaran Service Between Malaga and Melilla
A new high speed ferry ‘Millenium III’ goes into service between Malaga and Melilla shortly.  The Australian built catamaran will cover the voyage in 3 hours at speeds of up to 48 knots, which previously took up to 7 hours.  The vessel has a capacity for 900 passengers, 267 vehicles and cargo and is also equipped with ample comfortable seating, 3 bars a shop and disabled access ramps.  On Monday 27th November, the Minister of Development, Magdalena Alvarez, will preside over the launching of the catamaran for the company Acciona.  During the off season the timetable will be adjusted to suit demand and next year in the high season, from 1st June to 30th October, there will be a daily service from Malaga leaving at 10.00 am and arriving back in Malaga at 7.00 pm.
Adsur Grants a Subsidy to a Carpenter in Castillo de Locubin
ADSUR (The Association of Rural Development of the South Sierra of Jaen) has granted to artisan carpenter Antonio Collado Castillo, in the municipality of Castillo de Locubin a subsidy of 39,048 Euros to help with the transfer of his carpentry business from the town to the 'El Cerezo’ industrial estate.  The total investment to this man has been 145.539 Euros of which this subsidy has financed the construction of the unit and the machinery which has involved 26.8% of the total of the project.  President of Adsur, Juan Peinado, said "the transfer of the localities from the town to the industrial estate significantly reduces the noise in the centre as well as promoting employment through the enlargement of the business.  Specifically, a job has been created for a person under 30 years of age and a current employee's position has been consolidated."
UGT Days Preparing Affiliates for Retirement
In the events room of the Palacio Abacial, Alcala la Real, the UGT provided preparatory days for its affiliate's retirements.  Not only have all places been taken up but there exists a great demand for new courses and events of this kind.  In this way UGT prepares its members for a better start to retirement.  Needless to say a person that passes from an active state to a passive one may get old rapidly. Through these techniques and courses one can prepare the members to keep active not through their working life but through their hobbies, clubs, and such works that seem important to them to carry out to make a better society.
Sierra Nevada Ski Resort Prepares to Open
The Sierra Nevada ski resort will start its season on 1st December given favourable weather conditions and production of snow from its 50 snow making machines.  Production of snow began Friday 24th November on the principal pistes up to a height of 2,300 metres.
History of the Sea
The Secretary General of the Universities Investigation and Technology dept. inaugurated a course on Submarine Archaeology and Exploration in the Science Park at Granada, together with the vice-president of the company Titanic Centenary 2012, starting a series of conferences with the sea as the main theme.  As history tells us on the morning of April 14th 1912 the icy seas of the Atlantic put an end to the most talked about maritime crossing in history, that of the Titanic, now the investigators are studying the same ocean with regard to another threat, this time, heat, climatic change and the effects on the planet.
New Museum of Gypsy Culture in Granada
Three caves in the Sacromonte area of Granada now hold the very first museum to ‘La Gitana’ in Spain. Help from the regional government in the form of a 350,000 Euro grant has set up the centre and it is hoped the centre will become a new tourist attraction for the city. The first cave looks at the history of how the gypsies left India and were subjected to particular laws under the Catholic Kings in Spain, for example a law in 1499 condemned them to a lifetime of slavery and in the 1800’s they were still forbidden to speak in Caló or wear their traditional dress. The second cave concentrates on the activities of the women's group itself and looks at famous gypsies from history.  The third cave has details of traditional gypsy health remedies handed down through the generations.
Internet Use Surges in Spain Particularly in Andalucia
Approximately 20% of new Spanish internet users in 2005 were from Andalucia.  A study shows that 315,000 users were from Andalucia, 298,000 from Madrid, and 264,000 from Catalonia. In 2005 the number of Broadband connections rose by almost a million in Spain, 38% more than in 2004.
Cash to be paid in Land Grab Argument?
Property owners caught up in the Valencia land grab row may get some cash paid out at last.  Regional government land and housing head Esteban González Pons has unveiled a scheme through which property owners who sold rural land to developers over the last 25 years could receive cash payouts. Under the proposal, residents stand to be reimbursed if the area has since been built on, as they will have lost the opportunity for spectacular capital gains profits.  However, some Britons, who have had their land ‘grabbed’ under the Ley Urbanistica Valenciana (LUV) (formerly LRAU) ruling may not be in line for a payout, pending clarification of the proposal and its legal adoption.
Sr Gonzalez Pons claims his scheme has the backing of the Spanish Constitution. “I think that we have to adopt measures that prevent only the privileged few from being able to benefit from these capital gains,” he said. “Public authorities should regulate the use of land to avoid speculation and to make sure actions are carried out in the public interest.”  The news comes hot on the heels of the ultimatum that the European Commission has given Spain to Government of Spain has until 12 December 2006 to respond.
El Gordo Changes its Face
Unlucky Clive Arrindell has been the British face of Spanish good luck every year since 1998, unfortunately he became too popular. "El Calvo as Clive was known had cannibalised the advertising campaigns, making people forget what they were about," said a state lottery spokesman.  As a fixture of the Spanish Christmas, the El Gordo lottery campaign has made Arrindell almost as well-known as another import from the English-speaking world, Father Christmas.  The lottery draw for El Gordo is on 22nd December and will be watched by the 80% of Spaniards who buy tickets for what is billed as the world's largest lottery payout.
Spain and Portugal in Summit Talks
Leaders of Spain and Portugal met yesterday for a two-day summit focusing on illegal immigration and plans for an all-Iberian electricity grid, Prime ministers Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain and Jose Socrates of Portugal met in Badajoz, a south-western Spanish city on the border with Portugal, along with 18 ministers from the two countries.  The two leaders will also discuss Portugal's ideas for when it takes over the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2007, the summit will conclude at midday Saturday 25th, when the prime ministers will hold a news conference.
Spain Predicted to Grow and Grow
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said gross domestic product was expected to grow 3.8% in 2006, he added, consumer prices seen would go up by between 2.5% and 2.6%.  Speaking to delegates at a business forum in Madrid, Zapatero said the government also expects a budget surplus equivalent to 1.5% of GDP, later he claimed the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 8% in 2007.
Ever Strengthening Euro
The euro shot past the key 1.30 dollars mark yesterday for the first time in 19 months, ending the trading week at 1.3088 dollars,  its highest level since April 2005, shares in key European exporters such as carmakers and chemical groups fell Friday dragging down leading Europe's stock market indices, this came on the back of investor's concerns that an accelerating euro could undercut the 12-member euro zone’s international competitiveness and as a result hit the currency bloc's key export machine.
LLoyds TSB New Spanish Re-mortgage Package
Lloyds TSB, has launched its Own Overseas re-mortgage product, offering flexible mortgage services for UK residents wishing to purchase property in Spain, the service is open to both current and new Spanish holiday homeowners, customers who wish to re-mortgage to own overseas will be given the choice of adding the valuation fees and fulfilment fees to the loan, they will be asked to pay the stamp duty fee, while Scottish Widows will pay the notary and registry fees.
Obesity Increases in Spain
Figures from the OCDE show that Spain is now the tenth fattest country in the world. 13% of people over the age of 15 with a Body Mass Index greater than 30 puts Spain only behind the U.S.A. Experts believe the problem often starts in childhood, when high risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol are incubated, and these then go on to cause cardio-vascular illnesses later in life.
Spain Aiming to Eliminate Mad Cow Disease by 2010
The country's top veterinary officer stated yesterday with 668 cases of BSE, reported in the country since 2000, Spain is currently ranked No. 4 in terms of BSE "prevalence" in Europe, said Juan Jose Badiola, president of the College of Veterinarians. He said that since 2003 the number of cases had been dropping, with only 55 reported so far this year, the disease is controlled and will be totally eradicated in four or five years," said Badiola, adding that a third of cases had occurred in the verdant and rainy north-western region of Galicia.
New Breeding Centres for Iberian Lynx
The Environment Ministry has announced three new breeding centres for the Iberian Lynx. The new centres in Portugal, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha will be in addition to the existing El Acebuche centre in the Donana nature park in Huelva.  The Acebuche Centre has achieved 5 births in captivity over the past two years. The Junta de Andalucía also has plans for new breeding centres in Jaen and Cordoba provinces.
Monster Catfish Caught in Spain
An English school caretaker nearly drowned as he set a record for hooking the largest catfish in Europe, a 226 pound monster christened "Jaws" in Spain, it took two friends to keep Carl Smith of Oswestry from being dragged into the River Ebro in Spain after fighting the giant fish for 35 minutes,  "The force of the tug practically sent me crashing to the ground," Smith said. "Its mouth, with rows of sharp teeth, made it look like a man-eating shark."
European wels catfish are reputed to eat anything that can fit into their huge mouths, the catfish was released after being weighed, measured and photographed with Smith holding his tail, common in Spain, Italy and Greece, the catfish generally weigh between 80 and 100 pounds, the previous European record was 224 lbs.
Titian Painting Auctioned
A Spanish auction house will sell a hitherto unknown work by Italian Renaissance master Titian (1488-1576), an art expert representing the company said yesterday, Titian painted "The Portrait of a Lady" sometime between 1549 and 1550, at the height of his artistic career, said Roberto Alonso of the Segre auction house. The painting measuring 90 x 80.5 centimetres, which is in need of restoration, will have a starting price of 360,000 Euros on December 19.  The origins of the painting and the identity of the woman portrayed are not clear. The owners of the painting acquired it in 1985 without knowing that it was a work by Titian.
Elche 2-Malaga 0
Elche added the second victory of the season, after two months, to gain victory against Malaga, in a very exciting and intense game.  Malaga has two home games in succession. This Sunday they play Salamanca, kick off at 5.30 pm and next week they play Real Madrid Castilla.
Ladies Golf Qualifying at La Cala
England’s Samantha Head took pole position in the race to secure a Ladies European Tour card for 2007 after the third round of Final Qualifying School at La Cala, the 33 year old from Ascot, who is based in Champions Gate, Florida, came storming up the leader board after a seven-under-par 65, which took her to six-under-par after 54 holes, Cork's Claire Coughlan is just 4 shots off the lead.
Spanish Heartache for Herts Tennis Ace
Promising young tennis star, Hannah Pickford, had her dreams of glory in the Sunday Telegraph Center Parcs National Junior finals shattered after suffering a torn muscle which forced her out of the tournament in La Manga, Spain.  The 17-year-old from Goffs Oak sustained the initial injury during a practice session and although she made it on to court for her round-robin match against Louise Laciny the next day, a fall at the end of the first set meant she was unable to continue.
Zanardi Shrinks his Feet to Feel Formula 1 Thrills Again
Alex Zanardi has a simple solution to the problem of squeezing into a tight-fitting Formula One car, he puts on smaller feet, "We couldn't improve the size of the cockpit, so I suggested we can make my feet smaller. I'm the only driver on Earth who can do that," the Italian told Reuters in Valencia on Friday. Unfortunately there is no chance of the test being anything more than a demonstration, with BMW team boss Mario Theissen saying last month the idea had started off as something of a joke when Zanardi first raised it.  "The dominant feeling is just…the joy, to be back in a super car," added Zanardi. "It was like being on a desert island and Naomi Campbell comes along. It's a pretty good sensation." BMW have modified the controls of the car so that he can brake and accelerate by hand.
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