Volume 89

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 9 December 2006 - No. 108
Inauguration of the Christmas Crib
The inauguration of the crib and the Christmas address will take place in the Casa de Cultura, Alora on 14th December.
Bird Show, Alora
Alora will be holding its annual bird show between 15th and 23rd December at the Instituto las Flores, Avenida de la Constitucion.  The show is open to the public from 20th to 22nd December from 11.00 am until 1.30 pm and 5.00 pm until 9.00 pm. 
Work on New Health Centre May Finish in December
According to sources responsible for the work at the Town Hall, work on the new health centre should be finished in December, however other sources consulted would not commit themselves to this date.  Work has already been delayed by four months due to problems with the concrete and the quarry strike at Alhaurin de la Torre.  Furthermore, when the building is finished, then the fixtures and fittings will have to be installed, so it may be some time before the centre is in operation.
New Fire Station for Alora
A new fire station is to built in Alora and will be up and running in a just over a year. Mayor Jose Sanchez announced the plan which was approved at a recent plenary meeting. There will be 15 professional firemen based at the station that will provide a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year service and will be in co-ordination with the other squads in the province. The station is expected to cost 1.2 millions Euros, which will be financed by the Junta de Andalucia and the Malaga Provincial Government. Once in operation the service will receive an annual investment of 230,000 Euros, of which 35% will be provided by the Ayuntamiento and the remainder by the Provincial Government.
Rio Grande Dam Project - New Malaga March Planned
With a temporary delay on the proposed works announced, the plans only remain on hold until after the up-coming elections.  Organisations from Coin and Pizarra, such as the representatives of la Coordinadora en Defensa de Río Grande, and the Mayors Zacarias Gomez of Pizarra and Gabriel Clavijo of Coin, have called for a new Malaga march on 16th December 2006.
AVE High Speed Link Between Cordoba-Antequera Opens Next Week
The 100 kilometres of the Cordoba to Antequera section of the AVE track will open to passengers on 17th December.  It will reduce journey time between Malaga and Madrid by 30 minutes. It is the first high speed rail link in Malaga province.  The remaining 55 kilometres between Antequera and Malaga will be operational within the year.
Investment of 82,000 Euros in Re-surfacing at Bobadilla Estacion
The area of Works of the Ayuntamiento of Antequera reports that at present it is proceeding with the surfacing of the urban thoroughfares of Bobadilla Estacion, improving the present surfaces of the streets.  The investment adds up to a  total of 82,000 Euros and is included in the Programa de Fomento del Empleo Agrario (PFEA) 2006, that has a total budget of 1.2 million Euros.
El Rastrillo Christmas Fair
El Rastrillo Christmas Fair is taking place at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos (Trade Fair and Congress Centre) in Malaga between 6th and 10th December, 11.00 am until 10.00 pm.  There are stalls including presents and curiosities, bars, restaurants, Flamenco shows, tea rooms and lots of entertainment. El Rastrillo is an event organized by Nuevo Futuro, a non profit making organisation providing homes for children deprived of a family environment.
Maria Zambrano - Malaga's New Railway Station Name
The new railway station in Malaga has been named after the famous Spanish philosopher, Maria Zambrano.  She was born in 1904 in Velez Malaga, educated in Jaen, Segovia and Madrid where she studied philosophy under Zubiri and Ortega. She worked as a teacher at Madrid University, and married the secretary of the Spanish embassy in Santiago, Chile in 1936. After the civil war in Spain she worked in universities in Mexico and Cuba, then lived in Italy and Switzerland, finally returning to Spain. She wrote many famous works of philosophy and was awarded the Premier Principe de Asturias in 1981 and the Cervantes literature prize in 1988. She died in 1991.
Monopoly Malaga
Malaga has become one of a select number of cities in the world to have a Monopoly set based on its streets and properties.  Monopoly is one of the most popular board game of the world, with 160 million copies sold in eighty countries and in twenty-six different languages.  One can now acquire the Alameda Principal or la Plaza de la Merced thanks to the version of Malaga 'Monopoly', that includes 22 symbolic places in the city.
CCTV to be Installed in Malaga City Centre
After almost a year of administrative setbacks, the City Hall is about to award the contract for the installation of 17 CCTV cameras in the city centre. The selected company will install the cameras in line with the technical plan drawn up by the company Implanta.  A control room in the police station will receive images being recorded from the city centre streets such as Calles Larios, Strachan, Calderia, Mendez Nunez and the Plaza de Constitucion.
Water Levels Improve in Malaga
Water levels in Malaga province's reservoirs rose by two hectometres over the last week and now stand at 32% of total capacity. There are now 193 cubic hectometres stored, compared to 163 at this time a year ago.  Most water is held in La Vinuela which is now 48% full, while the Guadalteba and El Limonero remain at levels at only just over 10% full.
Archbishop Sued by Canon
A Spanish judge has ruled in favour of a priest to bring a private prosecution against the Catholic archbishop of Granada, alleging, amongst other things, slander, "psychological injuries" and "moral bullying". The judge decided Monsignor Javier Martinez should answer charges that he treated his subordinate in such a vindictive way that he needed psychiatric help to get over it. The archbishop had argued in a prior hearing that the priest had sworn obedience to his superior and had no right to complain. The scandal emerged when the canon denounced the archbishop in a civil court for slander after being publicly accused of pilfering from the archive, that case was thrown out and the archbishop responded by sacking the priest as archivist and theology teacher while banning him from taking religious services.
Supermarket Forced to Close After Exceeding Noise Limits
Officials from the environment department of the Granada City Hall issued a temporary closure order on a Dani supermarket in the city after readings showed the noise generated by business at the supermarket was 48 decibels. The legal noise limit during the day cannot exceed 35 decibels in Andalucia.  Council officials claimed the noise generated by the shop caused “serious discomfort to nearby residents.”  One un-named neighbour told the newspaper after the supermarket’s closure: “It is like we have won the lottery. The noise shook the sofa in my living room for 15 years. It was like a continual thunderstorm.” She also complained about the litter generated by the supermarket: “The pavement was always dirty with the rubbish that was thrown away and the entrance to our block of flats was always blocked by the shopping trolleys.”
Snow Forces the Closure of Mountain Passes in Spain
In twenty-seven mountain passes is has become necessary to use snow chains due to the heavy snow falls in the last few hours according to reports.  Asturias, Leon, Lugo and Huesca, are the provinces most affected by the snow, rain and wind that complicates driving on many of the main and secondary roads in the network.
Schools Receive Ninefold Rise in Foreign Pupils
Alejandro Tiana, the head of the Spanish education system, said the surge from 60,000 to 550,000 foreign pupils brought "a very significant change in the educational system". The children of immigrants now constitute 7.4% of all elementary and secondary students in Spain, he said. Spain's new basic law for education includes provisions to adapt schools in order to "integrate immigrants" and do it well," Tiana said, adding that the legislation also establishes the principle of equality in funding among all state-supported educational institutions.
Reforms in Primary Education in Spain
The government has announced reforms in primary school education, the new decree is called Minimum Teaching in Primary and will come into force in the next academic year. the biggest change is that primary school pupils will be able to choose whether or not to study Religious Education, and those who choose not to will have the right to study an alternative subject. This is already the case in most state schools, but many private schools with religious connections offer no substitute to the traditional Religious Education classes in Spain, which teach children the ins and outs of Catholic beliefs.  The other main change in the schools’ curricula is in the number of hours dedicated to teaching language, maths and foreign languages. According to the new decree, from next year onwards pupils will receive 45 hours more maths tuition and 25 hours less of Spanish language and literature.
Record Breaking Spanish Housing Market
The Spanish housing market is on course to beat another record this year, according to the latest data from the Bank of Spain. The number of projects started between September last year and this is up 21%.  If growth continues at the current rate, it means that projects for 900,000 new homes will have begun in Spain this year.
Spain Introduces New Law to Stop Land Speculation
This law will detail national limits on how much land can be re-classified for construction by local authorities, it would also put an end to projects that would increase a town's population by more than 20% and also dictate that developers give at least 25% of the project for social or subsidized housing or rental properties. It is aimed at halting the real estate corruption in Spain, however regional authorities are expected to try and retain control over urban development.
Renfe Surcharge on Over Counter Ticket Sales
Renfe, the Spanish railways company, has announced it will charge a surcharge of between 3 and 3.5% on tickets sold over the counter from 1st January 2007, with a maximum surcharge of 4 Euros.  The new charge only applies to regional and long distance routes. The surcharge, which still has to be approved by the railways infrastructure administrator, means that ticket price increases have been kept down, according to Renfe.  The company has also indicated that it is considering increasing the price of tickets on its long distance services by 1.5%.  Last week we reported that Renfe had decided to impose a surcharge of 2.75% on tickets bought online.
Spain's Abertis looks at Leeds Airport
Spanish infrastructure group Abertis is looking at Leeds Bradford airport with regard to a possible purchase, The Barcelona-based company, which operates Luton airport, is looking at the books of the airport, owned by Leeds and Bradford councils plus other regional councils, an Abertis spokesman said, the move comes at a time of strong investor interest in UK airport sales and follows the recent auctions of Exeter airport, likely to fetch 60 million pounds, and London's City airport which went to a U.S. financial consortium for an undisclosed sum.
Fight Fire With Fire?
Heroin is better at combating drug abuse than methadone, according to a new Spanish study, research from a 3 year trial at a Granada hospital showed doctors could use heroin to improve the health of intravenous users or even get them to stop. The results, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment, show that addicts who administered heroin in controlled circumstances twice daily experienced health improvements two and a half times greater than those only given methadone. 
Spanish Version of the Holy Koran Now Available in Spain
Translated directly from Arabic by Shia scholar Jafar Gonzales, the 778-page book is a fluent and simple translation of the Koran into modern Spanish. It took Gonzales over two years to accomplish the task.
Almodovar's Film Volver Collects Another Award
Volver, Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, has won another award, the Best Foreign Film of the Year, from the United States National Board of Review. The award comes from the votes of 120 professionals from the industry, and is considered a step towards the chances of the film winning an Oscar.
Goya Work Achieves Record Sum at Auction
El Toro Mariposa – The Butterfly Bull, a drawing by Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, has reached a record amount for a Goya drawing at auction, - 1,900,000 Euros at Christie's in London, the figure more than doubled expectations.  The buyer is the Spanish Ministry for Culture.  The drawing shows a bull, suspended by the wings of a butterfly.
School Pupils Prevent Coach from Falling Down Bank
Last week, pupils on a school trip from Madrid stopped their coach from going over the roadside by acting as counterweights.  The vehicle came off the dirt road on route to its destination and was in danger of tipping over onto its right side down a bank at the edge of the road.  Emergency services told the driver by telephone to send the pupils, aged between 16 and 17, to the left hand side of the bus until firemen could arrive to rescue them.  All were evacuated safely from the coach shortly afterwards.
Circus Tiger Tears Off Man's Arm in Spain
A 31-year-old man was in serious condition after a circus tiger in south western Spain ripped off his left arm, police said Sunday, the man was with a friend looking for a job at the temporary circus in the town of Zafra. While his friend was talking to the owners, the victim entered an area forbidden to the public and tried to take a picture with his mobile of the tiger. However, he got too close to the cages and was attacked.  Hospital officials in Zafra said the man, who was not immediately identified, was in a serious condition.
Malaga 3 - Castilla 3
Malaga secured a high scoring draw in the last match.  This weekend the team is off to the Canary Islands where they play Vecindario on Saturday 9th December at 5.30 pm (local time).
UEFA Accept Gibraltar as Provisional Member
The Executive Committee of UEFA has decided, in their last meeting of the year, to allow the Gibraltar Football Association to be a provisional member of their organisation, however, they also approved a recommendation that the 31st UEFA Congress formally rejects their entry in a meeting to be held in Dusseldorf at the end of January 2007.  The Spanish Football Federation is against Gibraltar's entry, with one reason being their football ground is built on disputed land close to the Spanish border.  Earlier this week FIFA rejected an application to admit Gibraltar.
Marco Andretti to Test F1 car in Spain
Marco Andretti, the Indy Racing League's rookie of the year and runner-up in the Indianapolis 500, will test a Formula One car next week in Spain as part of the Honda Racing F1 winter development programme.  The 19 year old grandson of Formula 1's Mario Andretti will be in Jerez on 15 December.
Severiano Ballesteros to Return to Professional Golf
Seve Ballesteros is returning to professional golf and plans to compete in the Masters and British Open next year. The five-time major winner said that he also wants to join the Champions Tour in the United States in April. The Spaniard has had chronic back trouble in recent years. He last played in July at the British Open at Hoylake. He also played at the Madrid Open in October 2005 after a two-year absence from tournament golf.
Spain Issues Commemorative Coins to Celebrate Basketball World Championship
Spain's mint, the National Money and Stamp Factory, is to produce two collectable coins, in gold and silver, to commemorate Spain's basketball triumph in the world championship in Japan.  The mint will produce 2,000 gold coins and 15,000 silver coins. The gold coin will show a hand dunking a basketball, with the legend "Spain 2006" on one side and the other side will have a picture of an unidentified player shooting for a hoop, with the legend "Champions of the 2006 Japan World Championship" and the silver coin will have the face of Spain's King Juan Carlos on one side and two basketball players on the reverse, one in the act of scoring a basket and the other trying to stop him. The legend is "World Champions, Japan 2006".
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Cristina Sanchez 
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