Volume 94

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 13th January 2007 - No. 113
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
24th Malaga Theatre Festival
The 24th Malaga Theatre Festival began yesterday, 12th January, with Shakespeare's ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  The production was in Spanish and faithful to the original text but the action took place in a Mediterranean setting.  The Festival will run until 3rd February.
Torremolinos Wedding Fair
A wedding fair will take place in Torremolinos this weekend, concentrating on future husbands. There will be 43 businesses of 15 different sectors, all related to the world of the wedding.  In 3,000 m2 of exhibition, couples can find all they need for the big day: wedding dresses, suits for the groom, flowers, photographers, travel agency, fashion design, decoration, hotels, restaurants and even stag party arrangements.  The fair is at the Conference and Expositions Centre.  C/ Mexico, 3. Torremolinos and is open this weekend from 10.30 am to 9.30 pm. Entrance free. 
Jose Merce in Concert - La Linea
Popular flamenco singer Jose Merce will be performing at La Linea de la Concepcion's Palacio de Congresos on Saturday, 27th January, 2007 at 9.30 pm. Tickets: Advance sales - 15 Euros, or 20 Euros on the door.  Jose Merce, born Jose Soto Soto in Jerez de la Frontera in 1955, is a member of a great dynasty of flamenco singers, began his singing career at the age of just 6 as a choirboy at the Basilica de la Merced from where he took his stage name. 
Fuengirola Cercanias Train to be Extended to Marbella and San Pedro
Plans to extend the Cercanias railway line from Fuengirola to Marbella are now near to completion and it has been announced that the connection to Los Monteros in Marbella and then to San Pedro will be a mainly underground in order to minimalise the impact in the area and traffic flow.  The scheme will cost more than 1,100 million Euros and is expected to take 18 months once the go-ahead has been given.
Family of British Writer Accused in Golf Course War
Martin Amis' family have joined the fight against a planned golf course development in a UNESCO protected area in Andalucia, but Lord Kilmarnock, stepfather of Amis, is at the centre of a lawsuit by developers demanding 22 million Euros in damages after investors pulled out of the project following the campaign, the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday. The British peer is one of three expats being sued by the consortium behind the double golf course scheme that includes the construction of 800 houses and 3 luxury hotels on the outskirts of the Sierra de las Nieves national park, near Ronda.
Lord Kilmarnock was one of more than 100 foreign residents who signed a petition against the 100 million Euros scheme, but it is his comments to the Spanish media criticising the project on environmental grounds that brought the legal action, last year he said "The scheme is completely unsustainable, the high demand for scarce water in a period of increasing drought will inevitably degrade the environment. "The plague of buildings on green and protected land is threatening the long term interest of the region, which has become popular for green tourism." Two others, Briton, David Milnes and German, Petra Wiegmink, who publicly spoke out against the venture are also accused of slander, coercion and moral injury, the protesters have the support of Spain's Green Party.
Tanker Oil Clean up Continues in Maro
A 12,500 litre oil spill caused when a tanker overturned on the N340 at Maro near Nerja is still being cleaned up close to the border of Malaga and Granada provinces. Experts say that the Cerro Gordo - Maro Nature Park has not been affected by the spillage, despite a river of oil alongside the road. The spill caused 100m of the road to be resurfaced. The driver was not seriously injured in the accident.
Greatest Number of Golf Courses are in Malaga Province
Figures released by the Royal Spanish Golfing Federation show there are more golf courses in Malaga than any other Spanish province.  The province has 45 registered courses and also has the largest golf course in Spain at La Cala, which has 60 holes.  As a region Andalucia has the most golf courses, with 90, more than double Cataluña with 39. There are now 340 registered golf courses in Spain, up 32 on last year. 
Junta and Government Present Project to Develop Tourism and Sport in Jaen
The counsellor of Tourism, Commerce and Sport, Paulino Plata and the minister of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, Joan Clos, presented an initiative 'Jaen, provincia del aire’ this week in which the objective is to develop interior tourism and sport, and is framed in the plan ActivaJaen.
Andalucia Statutes Referendum Date Announced
The President of the Junta de Andalucia, Manuel Chaves, has announced that the referendum on the region's new statutes will be held on Sunday 18th February.  His decision was announced after it was passed on to opposition leaders in the region last week.
Alicante Introduces New Crossing Patrol Team
A new team of lollypop men and women is being set up by The Civil Protection Agency to help control the traffic, along with the Local Police, outside schools and colleges in Alicante.  The first two lollypop men, not a common sight in Spain, started work yesterday outside a local school, complete with sign and reflective jackets.
Road Death Toll Down Over Christmas/New Year Period
A total of 115 people lost their lives on Spanish roads during the Christmas and New Year period.  The figure is 66 less than the previous year, a reduction of 35%. There were 95 fatal accidents over the period according to the data from the DGT traffic authority. The region with the most deaths was Andalucía, where 18 people lost their lives, followed by Valencia and Castilla-La Mancha.  The worst day of the period was 23rd December, when 12 people were killed in nine traffic accidents which also left six people seriously injured.
Renfe Increases Long Distance Rail Ticket Prices
Renfe has announced an increase in prices on its long distance services. The increase is above inflation at 4% and comes into effect on 15th January 2007. The price will also include the new surcharges on ticket prices being issued both over the counter and on the Internet.
"Illegal" Homes: A way to save them?
Spain's new environmental prosecutor Antonio Vercher said an estimated 100,000 illegal homes exist in Spain, in a crackdown on illegally built properties, Vercher says he will presume buyers knew they were illegal when they bought their properties and will knock down their homes, he said: "I can't believe these people spent all this money and did not know these houses were illegal. Most have benefited from lower prices because they were illegal, we will have to knock them down." He said despite language and cultural barriers, foreigners looking for a villa in Spain could all have done routine checks by looking at the local property register which would have revealed if their home was legal or not, the register would show if the house had been properly registered with the authorities, Vercher said: "It is obvious that when you buy you have to go to the register.”I find it astonishing that people could spend so much money without checking."
But there may be a way which will save homeowners from seeing their dream homes reduced to rubble, experts said courts would have to consider if any owners whose holiday or retirement homes are threatened bought them in good faith or not. Manuel Martin, Dean of the College of Registrars for Property in Western Andalucia, said homeowners are protected under Spanish law by the "principle of public faith in the registry". He added: "This ensures that those who purchased homes in the belief that the information supplied to them by officials was correct must be allowed to keep ownership."  If in the worst case scenario, a court ruled the owner had not acted in good faith, their properties could then be demolished.
Almodovar Wins the American Critics Qward for his Film Volver
Pedro Almodovar won the U.S. critics award for Best Foreign Film for his latest film 'Volver', the prize was awarded by the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures in New York. At a ceremony with the film's star, Penelope Cruz, Almodovar posed for photographers but refused to talk to reporters. It has two nominations for the U.S. Golden Globes, to be presented 15 January, however, Almodovar has pulled out of attending the awards on Sunday night, because he has a heavy cold.
Almodovar has already taken two of those coveted spheres, for 'All About my Mother' (1999) and 'Talk with Her' (2002), features that also earned him Oscars. Volver is Spain's candidate for this year's Oscars in the best foreign film category, the nominations for which have not yet been announced.
Spain's Songs for Eurovision Selection Announced
The fifteen songs that will take part in the Spanish preselection were chosen last Thursday, 11th January.  From 15th to 21st January, one can vote for them at the website of Mision Eurovision.  Five of the most popular songs will compete in the Grand Final on 20th February.
Spain 'Will Be Oldest Population in World in 2022'
Josep Borrell, president of the European Parliament, said mass immigration was essential as birth rates fall, speaking at a conference in Barcelona, Borrell claimed in 15 years the populations of Spain and Italy will be the oldest in the world, making large-scale immigration a must. Borrell identified four crises that affect the EU which is now made up of 27 members: "identity, size, efficiency and legitimacy". He pointed to "core problems" including demographics and immigration. Borrell, a socialist who is due to step down from the presidency of the European Parliament after two and a half years in office next week, considers it necessary to implement a common policy to manage the flow of immigration to the Old World. Despite the fact that arriving immigrants have sparked wide-ranging debates in the countries receiving them and that they are part of the EU's "identity crisis", Borrell warned that "we need many more immigrants because we have a terrible demographic gap that we can only resolve if we accept massive immigration".
Argentine Ex-president Isabel Peron Arrested in Spain
Peron is wanted in her home country for an investigation into killings of dissidents before the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, police sources said, Peron, the widow of Argentina's former President Juan Domingo Peron and whose full name is Maria Estela Martinez de Peron, was arrested at her home in Villanueva de la Canada, a town in the province of Madrid, the sources said. Her arrest came a day after an Argentine judge issued an international arrest warrant for her. Federal Judge Raul Acosta wants to question her in a case involving the 1976 disappearance of a man whom rights groups claim was last seen being taken into custody by state security officials.  Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, who has pushed for deeper investigations into past human rights abuses, said after the warrant was issued that, "no one is above the law".
Building Bulgarian Bridges
A Spanish construction company has been awarded the contract by the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport to build a new bridge over the Danube. The bridge which will link the city of Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania will cost 116 million Euros.   The company, FCC, won the bid in competition against 14 other companies.
Today, Saturday 13th January, there will be a march in defence of the Cercanias train.  The march will leave from Alora station in the direction of El Chorro.  This march is the second of its type to be organised in Alora and will be supported by the neighbourhoods of El Chorro, Las Mellizas, Antequera and Bobadilla.  The organizers, are calling for the extension of the line into the neighbourhood of the Guadalhorce as far as Antequera and have called on local people to participate in the march which will begin at 2.00 pm.
New Road in Alora
Alora's Mayor, Jose Sanchez has recently announced that a new street in the Peñón Gordo area is to be created.  The street will run parallel to Avenida Miguel de Cervantes, joining the Fuente de la Mania crossing and Fuente de Arriba square. The objective of the remodelling work is to ease traffic flow in the town centre, and in particular, the Avenida Cervantes, which will be converted into a one way street under the project. It is estimated that approximately 40 new parking spaces will be created around the area of the new street. The Ayuntamiento is currently looking for a company to finance the project.
Malaga Football
Malaga beat Almeria 2 goals to 1 on their return to league football after the Christmas break, however, the Kings Cup first leg results were bad news for Malaga after being beaten at the Rosaleda 0-3 by Zaragoza.  Malaga's next game is away to Cadiz on Sunday 14th January, kick off 12.00 noon.
Dakar Rally
South African, Giniel de Villiers (Volkswagen) snatched the lead from his team-mate, Carlos Sainz, at the end of the seventh stage of the race in the Mauritanian areas of Zuerat and Atar.  Sainz, third in the stage, appeared happy despite losing the lead because of problems encountered in sand dunes.  Sainz commented that the stage was complicated by the sand storms in various sections, which caused organizers to suspend the last 134 kilometres of the race.  France’s former winner Stephane Peterhansel was second in the stage.
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