Volume 93

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 6th January 2007 - No. 112
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
New Year
Spain starts the New Year with increases in travel, gas, and electricity, natural gas prices increase by 2.8%, the average price of bottled gas is now 11.78 Euros per 12.5 kilo bottle, the electricity rate is 2.8% more expensive, line rental with Telefonica is up by 2%, tolls on motorways cost 3.68% more, Renfe AVE high speed and long distance train tickets increase in price by 1.5%, but, there is good news for pensioners and people on minimum wage. The average pension in Spain increases by 2.6% and the Government has approved a 5.5% increase in the minimum wage in Spain, it is now 570,60 Euros a month.
Income tax rates have also changed, if you earn less than 9,000 Euros you do not have to make a declaration, previously this was a mere 3,400 Euros. There are now five tax bands, ranging from the new minimum rate of 24% all the way up to 43%, the Euribor is currently 3.921%
Children Throughout Spain Cheer the Arrival of 'The Three Kings' of Epiphany
They gathered in their thousands on pavements and roads to cheer the arrival of the Magi in traditional eve of the Epiphany parades, held each year on the 12th night after Christmas, the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the 3 wise men who followed a bright star to offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn Christ child in Bethlehem. The street parties enliven one of the country's largest family-oriented feasts where parents accompany young offspring to see glittering floats brimming with colourful participants who shower onlookers liberally with sweets.  Madrid hosted one of the largest parades, as tens of thousands of people hailed dozens of floats accompanied by clowns, jugglers, horse-drawn carriages and marching bands that travelled down the capital's Paseo de la Castellana boulevard.
Picasso Museum Success
The Picasso Museum in Malaga achieved a 12.5% increase in visitor numbers in 2006 with a total of 342,824 people visiting the museum at a rate of 1,099 a day.  October 25th, 2006, the date of the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Malaga born painter recorded the busiest day of the year.
Malaga's Train and Bus Stations will be Joined by a Footbridge
A pedestrian footbridge will unite the bus station with the entrance to the Renfe train station and the planned new Metro.  This option will consist of a lateral walkway from the bus station, in calle Roger de Flor that leads directly into Calle Mendivil, from where one will access the Vialia Centre.  This pedestrian footbridge will be covered by glazing. The placement of the footbridge will depend on the construction of the Metro in Calle Mendivil, between calle Roger de Flor and Explanada de la Estacion.
Rio Grande Dam Project Put on Hold
The numerous protests against the proposed small dam near Guaro and the installation of a pipeline to direct water from the Rio Grande to the city of Malaga have resulted in 57 million Euro project being put on hold until March 2007 while talks with councils and interested groups are held.
Small Earthquake in Andalusia
The earthquake registering 3.8 on the Richter scale struck parts of Granada and Malaga early on Friday, there was no serious damage or injuries, but almost 2 hundred people called the emergency services, the epicentre was in Santa Fe to the west of Granada. Residents in Santa Fe said they felt "nervous and worried" but were reassured by police, it is the strongest quake to hit this part of Spain in the past 3 years.
New Racing Circuit in South of Spain
A brand new race track is almost finished in Spain.  Situated less than 50 Km from Sevilla, Monteblanco race track is for the moment intended to be only a F1 and MotoGP test track.  The track can be used in 8 different configurations with permitting the use of two tracks at once and one part of the track can used for wet condition tests.  The track will encircle a French style village replica with restaurants museum and hotels.
Number of Foreign Residents in Antequera Increases
There has been a huge increase in foreign residents in the area with 13.25% of the population being non-Spanish. Britons are the largest national group with Italians being the second largest.
Antequera's Convent of Mary Magdalene to Become a Rural Hotel
The group, Antequera Golf, is to restore the convent as a four star rural hotel.   Along with the reformation works they will also reinstate the chapel of the convent and construct a ceiling with a dome.  The convent is decorated with sixteenth century frescos, work that was carried out by a monk during his life. 
Construction Threatens Roman Ruins
Plans to build 170 houses and a hotel close to the ruins of a second century Roman settlement have been slammed by environmental groups, Prado del Rey town hall amended its PGOU urban expansion plan to allow for construction on 58 hectares of land in Los Alcornocales Natural Park in the Cádiz province, 44 illegal homes in the park, mostly built during the 1970s, are also set to be legalized under the plan.  Although the project has yet to be cleared by the Junta de Andalucía regional government, environmental groups are pressuring officials not to give the green light to the plans, which could see construction work just metres from the ruins of the Roman settlement of Iptuci, an important second century fortress.
Malaga's Population Growth will be Concentrated Along the Coast
80% of the expected increase in population in Malaga province over the next ten years will be concentrated along the coast.  The population of the province is now 1,491,287, having gained 37,878 over the past year. The number of people who live in Malaga City has reached 560,631 while Marbella and Mijas lead the list of new people who have registered at their local town halls. The population of Marbella is now over 125,000.
It’s not all large-scale expansion however - the numbers also show that the Serrania de Ronda is losing residents and there are still several villages in the province with less than 500 residents.
Safety Fencing to be Installed on Malaga's Motorway
The Ministry of Development is to install protective fencing along 74 kilometres of the A-7 motorway. The project will affect the stretch between kilometre 166 in Estepona and kilometre 240, near the San Jose tunnel on Malaga's Ronda Oeste.  The fencing is designed to stop people from trying to cross the motorway on foot.
Skull Unearthed on Building Site in Benidorm
National Police are investigating the discovery of a human skull spotted by workmen on the tram electrification project in El Moralet, Benidorm last week.  Initial reports say it could have been buried for more than 10 years.  No other human remains were found at the site.  Forensic analysis is being carried out to try and identify the victim.
67 Year Old Spanish Lady Becomes the World's Oldest New Mother
The woman who gave birth to twin boys in a Barcelona hospital at the weekend, becoming the oldest new mother in the world, is expected to leave hospital in the next couple of days after the normal recuperation time for a caesarean birth, a hospital spokesman said yesterday, the woman and her sons are in good health after a smooth delivery at the Sant Pau hospital, a centre for difficult births.
ETA Bomb in Madrid Ends Peace Process
The 200 kilo bomb, planted by the Basque separatist group, ETA, which destroyed a five storey car-park at Madrid's Barajas airport Terminal 4, brought to an end a year of optimism, along with the “permanent” ceasefire announced by the group in March and prompted the government to halt a faltering peace process aimed at ending 40 years of violence.  Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,
Spain's prime minister, said: “With violence, there is no dialogue.   Another car bomb has since been found unexploded along with various components for making bombs. 
Tobacco Prices Increase
The price of a packet of a well known brand of cigarettes has gone up by between 10 and 25 centimos. The rises are controlled by the Tobacco Market Commission. For example the price of a packet of 20 Marlboro has gone up by 20 cents to 2.95 Euros and a packet of Chesterfield now costs 2.60 Euros a packet. The rises reflect the effects of the fiscal measures adopted by the Government to stop the increase of cheap brands appearing on the market in the price war related to the Anti-tobacco law.
Foreign tourists spent more than 45 billion € in Spain between January and November last year. The number has been published by the Institute of Tourists Studies which belongs to the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism. The average daily spend increased 2.4% to 90 €, with the total spend for tourists reaching 852 € with an average stay of nine nights.  with the British the largest group and bringing in 43.3% of the money.  Foreign tourists spent more than 45 billion Euros in Spain last year according to figures published by the Institute of Tourists Studies.  Tourist spent an average daily sum of 90 Euros a 2.4% increase, with the total spend for tourists reaching 852 Euros with an average stay of nine nights. 84.9% of spending came from tourists from within the European Union, with the British being the largest group spending 43.3% of the total.
Torremolinos continues to top the Andalusian tourism figures list. For the first time, more than one million tourists visited the town in a year (1,148,346 people) according to the Town Hall and the National Statistics Institute.
EC Renews its Attack on Spam
The European Commission is to introduce legislative proposals at the beginning of 2007 on spam and other malware, The EU communication on Fighting spam, spyware and malicious software, issued this week, says the EU ‘will take new initiatives in the area of legislation and research that aim to provide fresh impetus in the fight against malpractices that undermine the information society’.  Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for Information Society and Media, says it is time to turn the political concern about spam into concrete action. ‘In line with EU legislation, the Dutch authorities have managed to cut domestic spam by 85 per cent,’ she said. ‘I would like to see other countries achieving similar results
Contract Awarded for Alora's New Football Ground
The Ayuntamiento of Alora has awarded the 1.09 million Euro contract for construction of the new municipal football pitch to UTE MLR Construcciones and Movex Vial.  The work is expected to begin in mid-January and be finished by June 2007.
Nadal in Final
Spain's world number two Rafael Nadal and third-seeded Belgian Xavier Malisse set up a semi-final clash in the Chennai Open with contrasting third-round victories, top seed Nadal easily beat 106th ranked Italian Davide Sanguinetti 6-3, 6-2 while 26-year-old Malisse was stretched to a third set by the number 6 seed Frenchman Fabrice Santoro before winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-0. Former world number one Carlos Moya of Spain will meet Austrian Stefan Koubek in the other semi-final.
Contest Winner
Congratulations to Steve Grisenti, he was the first entry to correctly state "Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe" as the answer, if Steve would send his home address to us his prize will be dispatched.
Thanks to everyone who participated.
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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 
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