Volume 99

Cristina Sanchez
Saturday, 24th February 2007 - No. 118
1Casa Topical Digest of News and Views from the Andalucia Area in Spain
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Spanish Economy Grows By 3.9%
Figures from the National Statistics Institute show that the Spanish economy grew by 3.9% last year, one point higher than forecast and the strongest growth since 2000.  Over the last quarter the economy grew by 4% over the year and 1.2% in the quarter itself.  Last year employment increased by 3.1%, which equates to the creation of 550,000 full time jobs.  Spain is the world's eighth-largest economy in World Bank rankings based on 2005 GDP, behind US, Japan, Germany, China, Britain, France and Italy.
Andalucia Votes Yes in Statute Referendum but Turnout is Low
The turnout for the referendum on the new Andalucian Statute was only 36.2%, however, voters overwhelmingly voted 'yes'.  The 'yes' vote scored a massive 87.4%, while 9.4% voted 'no'.
Record Numbers of Foreign Tourists Visit Spain in January
Spain enjoyed its best January ever for foreign tourists visiting the country with 2.8 million travellers coming to Spain, a 4% increase on last year.  A quarter of the visitors went to the Canary Islands, even though numbers there were 2.4% down. There was a 7.2% fall in the number of Britons who came to Andalucia last month, but an overall increase in numbers in the region of 5.4%. Valencia welcomed almost 272,000 visitors, a 4.6% increase.
Dolce and Gabbana Advert Withdrawn in Spain
Italian fashion house, Dolce and Gabbana, have withdrawn an advertisement from Spain which authorities said encouraged violence against women.  The Milan based company suggested that Spain was showing themselves to be "a bit backward" according to a newspaper report. The advert shows a bare-chested man using his hands to pin a woman dressed in a black evening dress and high heeled shoes to the ground, as four other men in various stages of undress look on. The company says the images are only being withdrawn in Spain, but not in other countries.
Earlier this week Spain's Women's Institute, a branch of the labour ministry, complained about the advertisement and consumer group, Facua, said it had asked Dolce and Gabbana to withdraw the ad, which it said showed "macho violence," from its international catalogue.  Spain’s Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has made the fight against domestic violence a priority of his government.
Ryanair Starts New Granada-East Midlands Link
Ryanair starts a new route from Granada Airport to East Midlands Airport in Nottingham, the airline will fly the link three times a week and forecasts 2007 passenger volume of 40,000 people for the new route.  It will create 40 new jobs, the company is currently offering a promotional price of 2.99 Euros.  Ryanair began their Granada operation at the beginning of 2005 and also flies to Liverpool, London Stansted, Frankfurt and Milan from the airport which is now known as ‘Federico Garcia Lorca Granada - Jaen.’
Concrete Beam Disrupts Train Travel
The Seville AVE line was closed earlier this week when a crane supporting a 140 ton concrete beam collapsed over the tracks. Thousands of travellers are thought have been affected on 120 cancelled trains.  Buses were used to transport passengers until services resumed.  Train services are now restored and running normally.  Renfe, the Spanish rail company, is to refund all the AVE passengers who were inconvenienced.
Motorway from Malaga Delayed
The motorway will not be ready for use this month as previously predicted.  The Junta de Andalucia has claimed that work on the road between Cartama and Casapalma is 5 or 6 months behind schedule and therefore work may now be completed by August. The main reason for the delay is the difficulty to legally acquire land from its owners and the lack of means for diverting traffic while work takes place.  Electric and telephone cables also have to be moved so they are not damaged and this delays work even more, due to the fact road workers are not allowed to touch the cables and the necessary work has to be carried out by workers from the phone and electric companies. The new stretch will be 4.5km long, with two 3.5m wide lanes in each direction and will reach from the Rio Grande petrol station to Finca Casapalma. The work on the next stretch that will extend the road to the Zalea crossroads will soon be assigned.
Casares Grants Building Licence for 40 Subsidized Homes
Casares Town Hall has granted the building licence for 40 subsidised housing units that are to be built on the municipal land of Puerto de la Cruz. According to a statement given by the company for Public Land of Andalucia (EPSA), who will be handling the project, the works could start before summer once all the paperwork and the licensing phase for the construction company has been completed.  This project is a result of an agreement signed by the Town Hall and EPSA to build 40 low cost dwellings in Casares. The development will consist of 33 units with 3 bedrooms, 1 of 4 bedrooms and 6 of 2 bedrooms.
Earthquake in Casabermeja
An earthquake that registered 3.2 on the Richter Scale was felt in Casabermeja and Malaga last Thursday, 22 February.  The earthquake, which happened at 10.20 pm, had its epicentre southeast of Casabermeja.
Investigation into Alleged Building Irregularities at Golf Course Begins
The Supreme Court of Andalucia has opened a criminal investigation into alleged irregularities in the construction of homes at the Santa Clara golf resort.  Officials are looking into claims of fraud at the complex in Otura after environmental group Ecologistas en Accion presented a report to the public prosecutor’s office against developers Santa Clara SA.  According to newspaper Granada Hoy, the green group believes construction on the 3,000 homes, many of which have already been sold, at the complex started without a municipal works licence. The court is also looking into claims water authority Confederacion Hidrografica del Guadalquivir was not notified by the developers that natural streams at the complex had to be diverted to accommodate the homes.
Rio Grande Dam Project to be Scrapped
The Ministry of the Environment has agreed to seek alternatives to the planned small dam and pipeline system to divert water from the Rio Grande to Malaga.  The project has been met with strong opposition from Guadalhorce Valley officials and residents. At a meeting last week, a ministry representative promised the mayors of Coin, Guaro and Cartama that at least the dam portion of the project will be completely scrapped and removed from the National Hydrologic Plan. He said that other options for ensuring water supply to both the Guadalhorce Valley and Malaga are being studied and that a new plan will be presented within a month.
1st Salsa Marathon in Malaga
The weekend beginning 3rd March, will be an unforgettable weekend for salsa enthusiasts.  The event will begin next Saturday with workshops from 3.00 pm until 10.00 pm and classes for all levels.  From 10.30 pm the Auditorio Municipal de Malaga will open its doors to the Great Marathon: Live music, dance spectaculars with international stars and much more.  The partnership that dances the longest will receive a fantastic prize.  Tickets 18 Euros.
Shakira Concert in Granada
Granada is impatient to see Shakira in the city judging by the queues that formed after tickets went on sale last week. The concert will take place on 30th March in Plaza de Toros de Granada and is the first show of her Spanish tour.
Alora Carnival 2007
Today, Saturday 24th February, Alora's carnival will begin at 4.30 pm from the Casa de Cultura with a parade through the town.  The participants will all be dressed in disguises and hoping to win prizes for the best costumes.
Dia de Andalucia (Day of Andalucia)
The Day of Andalucia will be celebrated next Wednesday 28th February.  In Alora The Municipal Band will perform in the Plaza Fuente Arriba from 1.00 pm with the flags raised at 1.30 pm. 
Pizarra Circus
There will be a circus performance in Pizarra this evening, Saturday 24th February, starting at 6.00 pm.  The venue for the performance is the Campo de Futbol de la Vega.
Ardales XI Fiesta de la Matanza
The town of Ardales will celebrate the eleventh Fiesta de la Matanza, tomorrow, Sunday 25th February.  Approximately 15,000 people are expected in the town during the day.
Numancia 2 - 0 Malaga
Malaga is beaten 2-0 away at Numancia with Fukuda opening the scoring and Moreno wrapping things up in the last minute. Malaga are at home to Sporting Gijon this Sunday, kick off at 5.30 p.m.
Clean Sweep for Spanish Teams in UEFA
All the Spanish teams in the UEFA cup competition won their games played last week. Osasuna beat Gironins of Burdeos, Sevilla beat Steaua Bucharest, Español beat Livorno 2-0 and Celta knocked out Spartak Moscow. 
Freire Wins Tour of Andalucia
Spain's triple world road race champion Oscar Freire clinched overall victory in the Tour of Andalucia when he won the sprint to take the final stage in Antequera on Thursday. Freire topped the final podium ahead of Italy's Dario Cioni of the Predictor-Lotto team and Slovenian Tadej Valjavec of Lampre.  The other stages in the five-day tour were won by 2005 world road race champion Tom Boonen of Belgium, Dutchman Max van Heeswijk and Cioni.
Alonso Launches Motor Sport Scholarship
The future of motor sport in Spain looks secure following the unveiling of a new scholarship programme for Spanish engineers, according to a report on Formula One's official website. Fernando Alonso, the Formula One World Champion, helped launch the scheme in Madrid.
The 'Fernando Alonso Scholarship' has been created by Spanish bank Cajasur, who currently sponsor Alonso.  The scholarship will enable 12 post-graduate students to study engineering at Oxford's Brookes University.  Students will study either an MSc in motor sport engineering or in race engine design.  Each scholarship is worth approximately 36,000 Euros.
Sierra Nevada Welcomes Ladies Alpine Skiing World Cup
The Sierra Nevada will host two events of the Alpine Skiing World Cup FIS for women between 24th and 25th February, slalom and a giant slalom.  The Spanish delegation will be headed by Carolina Ruiz of Granada.  There will be competitors and technical staff from twenty countries at the event.
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