Volume 91

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 23 December 2006 - No. 110
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
Christmas in Spain
Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena. It is a big night when families gather together to enjoy a traditional evening of food, drink and socialising.  Christmas day is very similar to Christmas Eve with more eating, drinking and partying.  Traditionally the Spanish exchange gifts on Three King’s Day 5th/6th January.
Dia de los Santos Inocentes (the Feast of the Holy Innocents)
On 28th December 2006 throughout Spain is the Dia de los Santos Inocentes.  The day is Spain's equivalent of April Fool Day.
El Gordo Lottery Drawn
Residents of Almazan, a small town in rural Spain won the top prize of 390 million Euros in the world's richest lottery, known as El Gordo or "the fat one". The village with just 6000 people, sang, danced and drank champagne on the cobbled streets of their town in north-central Spain after some became millionaires in Spain's Christmas draw. "It's 10 million for the whole family, we don't believe it yet!" shouted a young mother in Almazan on national television, cradling a baby in one arm and a champagne bottle in the other.
The second prize ticket was sold entirely in the Puerta del Sol in the centre of Madrid, and the third prize ticket went to Aviles and Oviedo in Asturias.  Prizes worth 2.14 billion Euros will be paid out in total. Traditionally, the winning number was sung live on television by girls and boys from the San Ildefonso school for orphans.
GDP Increases in Spain
Two Year Block on Romanian and Bulgarian Workers into Spain
Spain is to block the entry of Romanian and Bulgarian workers into Spain for a two year period despite the two countries joining the European Union on 1st January 2007. The Minister responsible for employment and social affairs confirmed the decision last week, describing the two year period as the maximum time with a possible lifting of the restriction in a year.
Minister Suggests that the Bull Should Not be Killed in a Bullfight
Cristina Narbona, the Minister for the Environment has expressed her own opinion (not that of the government) that bullfighting continues in Spain, but that the bull should be spared.  The comments were made informally to journalists and have been printed in a national newspaper with the Minister's permission. She said that Spain would have increasing difficulty in defending the bullfight in the European Union, because of an increasing international movement for the protection of animal rights. The changes would put Spanish in line with the Portuguese tradition where the bull is not killed.  The latest poll of Spanish people, carried out last October, showed that only 27% of the population claim to be interested in bullfighting, which is less than half of the 55% in 1971.
Giant Dinosaur Remains Found in Spain
The remains of one of the largest animals ever to walk on the Earth, a massive plant-eating dinosaur near Riodeva in Spain. It died about 150 million years ago, in the late Jurassic Period.  Experts have been surprised by the find as previously examples have been confined to the Americas and Africa.
Brown Bears Not Hibernating in Spain
Spain's bears appear to have stopped hibernating in the county's northern mountains, according to Spanish scientists who blame climate change for the behaviour.  Among the Cantabrian brown bears living in the region, a few females with cubs have been found awake in a season when bears usually hibernate.  According to La Fundación Oso Pardo (the Brown Bear Foundation) they are the first bears known not to hibernate in Europe.
"Mild winters mean that it is energetically worthwhile for the females to stay awake and search for nuts and berries," Guillermo Palomero, the foundation's president and coordinator of a national plan for bear conservation, told the Spanish daily El Pais, Palomero added that other signs of winter bear activity have been observed "with absolute certainty" in the past three years. While it is impossible to prove definitively that these changes in ursine behavior are the result of global warming, "everything points in that direction," according to climatologist Juan Carlos García Cordon, professor of geography at the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain.
Normally bears begin hibernation between October and December, and remain dormant through most of the winter to bypass the scarcity of their food supply — mainly nuts and berries. They resume activity between March and May.
Warmest Year on Record for Spain
2006 is on course to be the warmest year on record in Spain.  So far this year temperatures have been 1.46 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average as a searing summer gave way to mild autumn and winter.  Experts warn global warming will be especially painful for Spain, and some have even forecast its southern beaches could become too hot for tourists later this century.
Andalucia's New Regional Statutes Approved by Spanish Parliament
The new regional statutes for Andalucia have been approved by the Spanish parliament with 242 votes in favour and just one abstention, from the Galicia Nationalist BNG party in a session lasting just two hours.  The reformed text will now be submitted to a referendum by the people of Andalucía in February.
New Malaga Railway Station Shopping Centre Closed Christmas Eve
The new shopping centre, Vialia, located in the station of Renfe, will not open 24 December, Christmas Eve.  This decision is due to an agreement between the company and the Junta of Andalucia, as explained yesterday by the secretary general of the union of Commerce, Hotel business and Tourism. 
Please note some of the train times from Alora to Malaga and return have changed slightly.  New timetables are available from the Renfe station in Alora.
New 'Affinity Unicaja Valle del Guadalhorce' Credit Card Launched
Around 2,800 businesses in the Guadalhorce region will benefit by a new credit card as a consequence of the covenant signed last week in Malaga between Unicaja Bank and the Business Federation of the Guadalhorce, a company in which the associations of traders of Alora, Coin, Alhaurin de la Torre, Alhaurin el Grande, Cartama, Pizarra and Almogia are represented.
Research Dates Malaga City Another 200 Years Older
Malaga is a city which dates back to the 8th century BC according to latest research, which means it is 200 years old that previously recorded.  The revelation was made at the end of the first International Symposium on Malaga in Antiquity, which has just ended in the city.
Drivers in Malaga Not Losing Any Licence Points
The municipalities in the province of Malaga are still not removing drivers' points from their licence due to the fact that they are still not connected to the DGT computer database.  Furthermore, only Malaga City has plans to make the connection in January. So far, this means that drivers caught breaking the law have only been served with fines.  Nationwide 468 drivers have lost 1,433 points for traffic offences mostly for not wearing a seat belt.
New Road Between Coin and Casapalma
The Counsel of Government has authorized the Department of Public Works and Transport to invest 13.2 million Euros for the construction of a new road between Coín and Casapalma (A-357) that will connect the villages of the Sierra de las Nieves with the Guadalhorce motorway. This project will start early 2007 and will take approximately 20 months.  The road will be 5.5 kilometres in length from the A-355 Coin bypass to A-357 at Casapalma.  The construction of this new road is included in the Mascerca Plan for the Guadalhorce Valley, where the autonomous Administration anticipates investing more than 244 million Euros in improvement project for accessibility and road safety during the period 2004-2010. 
Improvement of the Intersection of Cartama and Coin Roads with the A-357 Link
One of the most dangerous crossroads of the Guadalhorce Valley is to be improved.  The intersection of the A-355 with the A-7057 (A-357 link) is to have a new roundabout to improve road safety.  The project will also include new signalling, the modification of the course of a nearby arroyo and the illumination of the roundabout.  In principle the length of time for the works will be 6 months therefore the new roundabout could be operational by the middle of next year.
First Radar Checkpoint on a Secondary Road
A fixed radar point is to be installed the Zalea crossroads (Km40 A-357).  This is the first one to be found on a single carriageway road in the province.  The reason for this installation is the accident rate in this location with 5 serious accidents occurring in 2005.  A second radar point will also be installed at Las Pedrizas (Km120 near to the exit to the Antequera road).
Couple Leave Behind Bag of Guns at Former Home
A Granada couple who left a bag of stolen guns in the house they had just sold have been arrested.  The buyers discovered a sawn-off shotgun, a revolver and two pistols in a sports bag in the garage of the Cúllar Vega house and alerted the Guardia Civil.  The sawn-off shotgun had been stolen in Madrid in 2004 while the revolver had its serial number etched out. It was later traced to Cuidad Real where its owner had reported it stolen in 1996.  The couple were arrested in the new home in Pulianas on 1st December.
Free Flights for Life with Vueling
Vueling the Spanish low-cost airline, has launched a competition to win “The golden ticket” allowing free flights on all Vueling routes indefinitely. Anybody purchasing a ticket before the end of January 2007 will be eligible for the prize draw. Try your luck now at www.vueling.com.
Bulgaria Flights
Ryan Air will begin to fly into Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2007 from the UK and Spain. Norwegian Air Shuttle will also expand their network to cover Bulgaria next year. On 14th April 2007 they will begin flights from their Oslo (International) base to Varna and Bourgas. Tickets can already be booked at www.norwegian.no.
Malaga 1-0 Tenerife (16th  December) Real Murcia 3 - Malaga 2 (20th December)
A win and lose for Malaga before the Christmas break.  Football resumes in the new year when Malaga play Almeria on 7th January 2007.
Alonso Test-Drive Cost McLaren 2 million Euros
According to a report a German publication, 'Bild-Zeitung', it cost McLaren 2 million Euros to allow world champion Fernando Alonso to test drive for his new team at the Jerez circuit last week.  The article quotes Renault boss, Flavio Briatore, as saying that he "still has a very good relationship" with Alonso, but that he demanded the payment because the driver remains under contract until the 31st December. Alonso finished fifth overall in his first drive in his new car.
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From everyone at 1Casa we wish you a Merry Christmas and a REALLY Happy, Safe & Prosperous New Year
Copyright © 2006 1Casa Affordable Homes, all rights reserved ( but feel free to copy it, post it, think about it, talk to others regarding the contents and  send it to friends and family everywhere.)
Cristina Sanchez 
1Casa REALLY Affordable Homes 
Calle Cantarranas 1, Álora 29500, Málaga, SPAIN 
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Spain's government said it has raised its official forecast for end-of-year 2006 GDP growth to 3.8% from a previous forecast of 3.4%, and raised its forecast for 2007 GDP to 3.4% from a previous 3.2%.  In the Stability Programme 2006-2009 sent to the European Commission, the Spanish government said the economy continues to 'maintain its robust growth, above European economies and is more balanced, with a more moderate domestic demand growth and a reduced negative effect from external demand.'
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