Volume 92

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 30 December 2006 - No. 111
A Happy New Year Y Tambien
FELIZ AÑO NUEVO from all at 1Casa
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
Los Reyes (Day of the Three Kings)
Special Offers for 1Casa Clients
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Cristina Sanchez 
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Traditionally in Spain, Three Kings Day is the present giving time rather than Christmas Day. Celebrations will take place in towns and cities across Spain.  On the evening of the 5th January the Kings parade through the streets throwing sweets into the crowds gathered to watch the procession.  The following day, 6th January, is Day of The Kings, when presents are given and received.  For this celebration a special cake is made, it is ring doughnut shaped, covered in sugar and jellies.  Inside the cake are hidden charms to ensure good luck throughout the New Year
Royal Doll is Christmas Favourite in Spain
Limited edition dolls that look like Spain's 14-month-old Princess Leonor, have sold out in the shops and are being auctioned on the internet for up to 500 Euros each (their original price is 65,95 Euros). The doll looks like Leonor but the Alicante-based company which makes them says the appearance is a coincidence.  Leonor is the daughter of Crown Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne, and Princess Letizia.  She will become queen if her parents do not have a male child.
Lisbon-Dakar Rally
Malaga is preparing to welcome the Lisbon-Dakar Rally on 7th January 2007.  The race will take place between 6th and 21st January.  There will be 525 vehicles competing and they will pass through Malaga to embark at the port for Africa, which will be the second phase of the fifteen into which the rally is divided. 
Flybe Cancels Withdraws Malaga Route
Flybe is to withdraw its route between Birmingham and Malaga. It has cancelled the flight scheduled for 8th January blaming a heavily saturated market. Flybe is also cancelling its Birmingham to Alicante routes but has made no statement about the Birmingham to Madrid and Barcelona routes presently operated by BA Connect, a business which it takes over on January 1 2007.
138 Drivers Over the Limit in Malaga Christmas Drink Driving Campaign
Out of 10,692 tests carried out across Malaga province between 11th December and Christmas Eve, 138 drivers tested positive for alcohol.  It also appears that the introduction of the points driving licence on 1st July has had little effect on the number of fatal accidents in the province. In the year so far there have been 91 fatalities across the province, compared to 93 for all of 2005.
Malaga’s Vialia Shopping Centre Must Close on Pubic Holidays
The Junta de Andalucia has ruled that the new Malaga train station shopping centre cannot open on all fiesta days, they have also threatened the centre with fines if it continues to open and says it must comply with the calendar imposed on all other commercial centres, which are allowed to open on 8 Sundays or fiestas a year.  Vialia has other shopping centres in Spain, and these are allowed to open every day of the year because the centres are located in train stations.
Escaped Murderer Captured in Malaga
A convicted murderer who went on the run from a Suffolk prison after avoiding guards during a day trip to a Cambridge shopping centre has been arrested in Malaga.  Mark Ryder, 35, a former market trader, has 14 days to appeal against extradition proceedings to send him back to Britain.  Ryder had served 12 years of a 15-year sentence at Highpoint jail near Haverhill, when he escaped during an escorted trip on 12th October.
New Baby Orang-utan Born in Fuengirola Zoo
The first Borneo Orang-utan to be born in captivity in Andalucia was born in Fuengirola Zoo at the beginning of December.  The baby's mother came from Hong Kong Zoo at the beginning of last year and his father came from Paignton Zoo in the UK a year later.  The species is one of the most threatened on the planet, with numbers estimated to have dropped by 92% in the past 100 years.
Tourism Stimulation Plan Approved for 7 Villages
The Plan is to be financed by Provincial Government funds, by the Junta de Andalucia and by central government, and is based on the Tourism Development Plan already developed for the Nororma region two years ago for the encouragement of tourism in the seven municipalities that make up the region. These are Archidona, Cuevas Bajas, Cuevas de San Marcos, Villanueva de Algaidas, Villanueva del Rosario, Villanueva de Tapia and Villanueva del Trabuco.
Hollywood Actors Support Alhambra Nomination for Eighth Wonder of the World
George Clooney and Antonio Banderas were in Granada together earlier this week to support the candidacy of the Alhambra to be declared a new and eighth Wonder of the World. The actors arrived at the invitation of the Granada City Hall.
New Use for Olive Stones
A scientific study at Granada University has discovered that olive stones could be used to remove heavy metal ions from contaminated industrial waste by a process of bio absorption, due to their ability to attract and retain ions on their surface. Olive stones are also used in heating systems.
Suspects Arrested in EU Funds Fraud
The Judicial Team of Police of the Civil Guard have arrested 18 members of a team which could have defrauded more than 2.6 million Euros of European Union funding in subsidies for means of fictitious training courses and other illegal practices. In a statement last week, it was confirmed that Operation Isidros began in January this year, and centred on the three provinces of Granada, Jaen and Madrid, where investigators scrutinised vast amounts of documentation and questioned a large number of people.  Their investigations led to a Madrid based company which acted as a consultancy for companies applying for EU subsidies in personnel training.  The company inflated costs or added items on to invoices such as charging for teaching premises which had been provided for free. The Civil Guard say the company operated as a training centre nationwide and may have operated the fraud system in other provinces.
18 Greenhouses Investigated by the Junta in Almeria 
Investigations continue into the alleged use of unauthorised pesticides in the growing of green peppers, the Junta de Andalucía in Almeria has said that the greenhouses will remain closed off until January 1 or 2, by which time the results of analysis carried out will be available. It comes after illegal pesticide was detected in Germany on peppers from the region. It’s thought that any problem could be centred on the town of El Ejido. If unauthorised chemicals have been used then the farmers would face a charge of a crime against public health.
Aerial Photography Used to Monitor Building in Spain 
The Hacienda announced that aerial photography is being used to detect any illegal building across the country. These latest techniques will be used to show any new building and have already been tested in some zones close to large cities in Spain, Andalucia, Murcia, Cantabria and part of Catalunya have already been photographed, and any structure larger than 50 centimetres high can be detected by the method.  The information obtained will be shared with the regional governments and local town halls across the country. Under the plans the entire country will be photographed and checked by a group of special planes by the middle of next year.
Car Bomb Explodes at Madrid Airport
A car bomb claimed by Basque Separatists has exploded in a car park at Madrid Airport this morning.  A warning call from the Basque separatist group ETA was received, according to officials.  Several people, two of them national police officers, were injured in the explosion.
Homosexuals from Franco Era May Get Thousands in Compensation
Antoni Ruiz found out for himself what thousands of others had already suffered, Antoni, then just 17, from Valencia, eastern Spain, told his mother he was homosexual and his family sought advice from a nun. "She went straight to the police and I was arrested and sent for trial," said Mr Ruiz. "I spent three months in prison. I was raped there and in the police cells and psychologically tortured by both the guards and the prison doctor." Now, 31 years later, Mr Ruiz and a dwindling band of others who suffered General Franco's ruthless repression of homosexuals, may finally be offered compensation by the state.
The Spanish government may offer money to those who were sent to mental hospitals, tortured, imprisoned or who suffered a lifetime of persecution. The Spanish Justice Minister, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, is considering granting victims a pension of 800 Euros (£540) a month, plus a one-off 12,000 Euros payment for what they suffered under the regime. It could be introduced in two months.
Millions of Pesetas Still Kept in Spanish Homes
Five years after the introduction of the Euro it is estimated 1.8 billion Euros worth of Pesetas are still being hoarded in Spanish homes. The old currency can still be exchanged for free, but now only in the Bank of Spain. During the last year 41 million Euros worth of pesetas were exchanged.
New Years Eve Party, Alora
The restaurant, La Reja in Alora, is holding a New Years Eve party with free entry. 
Art Course, Alora Estacion
There is an art course beginning on 9th January at Art Estacion, Alora Estacion.  The classes begin at 7.00 pm.  No previous experience is necessary.
Malaga Football
Malaga's next league game is on Saturday 6th January against Almeria, kick-off at 6.30 pm. This will be followed by the King's Cup leg against Zaragoza on Wednesday 10th January 2007.
Andalucia Beat Joint Palestine-Israel Football Team
Members of Israel’s national squad partnered Palestinian players against a team representing the southern Spanish region of Andalusia on Wednesday for a friendly organised by the Peres Centre for Peace aimed at promoting peace. Israeli Vice-Premier Shimon Peres was among the 35,000 fans at Seville’s Sanchez Pijuan Stadium, and he and French football great Michel Platini performed the honorary kick-off. The proceeds from the match were to go towards financing schools in Palestinian territories in a project sponsored by the Andalusian regional government; Andalusia beat the Israeli-Palestinians 3-1.
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