Monday, 27 July 2009

Official limousine stolen in Spain

Ulla Schmidt flew to Alicante at her own expense, but her driver drove the nearly 2410km journey in her $196,000 limousine to Spain from Berlin to ferry her to and from official meetings with German retirees in southeastern Spain.
"Her chauffeur's accommodation was broken into and the car keys were stolen," said a Health Ministry spokesman.

Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) health minister came under pressure to explain why she took her official limousine, complete with chauffeur, to Spain where the vehicle was stolen.Opposition politicians demanded Ulla Schmidt provide more details about the affair.The incident could damage the SPD who trail Merkel's conservatives by more than 10 points in opinion polls in the run-up to a September 27 federal election.

Increased usage of antidepressants and tranquillizers

In Spain, 24 percent of women use antidepressants and 31 percent use tranquillizers -- sometimes used to help people sleep, researchers said. Lead author Sonsoles Perez of the Las Aguilas Health Centre in Madrid and colleagues studied 121 women in Madrid ages 25-65 using family dysfunction surveys and the additive scale used to evaluate social readjustment. The psychopharmaceuticals analyzed were antidepressants and benzodiazepines -- sedatives, anxiety reducing, anti-convulsant or muscle relaxants. Although one might think that family conflicts lead to greater consumption of psychopharmaceuticals among women, we did not find any such relationship Perez said in a statement. Some people with family, work-related or financial problems do not feel able to tackle their problems and fall back on the use of drugs.The study, published in the journal Atencion Primaria, also found in 78.6 percent of cases, these drugs are prescribed in primary health centers. The diagnosis is recorded in the patient's medical records in 64.5 percent of cases, with the primary causes being depression at 11.6 percent, anxiety at 9.9 percent and 3.3 percent of insomnia. The researchers found benzodiazepine use increases with age, but there was no similar finding with antidepressant use.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Marbella constructor José Ávila Rojas, arrived at the prison in Albolote

Marbella constructor José Ávila Rojas, arrived at the prison in Albolote on Wednesday morning to complete an eight year sentence for four counts of tax fraud. His appeal against last year’s sentence from the Granada provincial court was turned down by the Supreme Court last month, and it left no other means open to try and avoid entering prison.The fraud relates to the purchase and sale of two properties in Marbella, Málaga province, at the beginning of this decade, calculated as amounting to 3.5 million € in unpaid IVA and income tax. The sentence from the Granada court last summer also ordered the businessman to pay a fine of 10 million €.
EFE reports he was due to spend Wednesday in the prison’s admissions department before being assigned to a cell at some stage on Thursday.

Beach sewers and pumping stations that are still in use on the Western Costa del Sol.

Old concrete structures covered in graffiti they have to take a detour around while strolling along the shore are sewers and pumping stations that are still in use. And they may never learn, unless perhaps just after a spell of rough weather, that beneath their feet is a fragile network of pipes. Some of these structures have been there for 40 years, but it is only now that serious plans have been made to remove them. After all the authorities are not short of reasons. The sewers and pumping stations are not only an inconvenience to bathers but they are also in a kind of legal limbo as they occupy the strip known as the public maritime domain protected by the Coasts Law. They also complicate beach regeneration work and are in places so fragile that breakages and sewage leaks onto the beaches are not uncommon.
The plans for the first phase of the 60 million euro scheme have already been drawn up by Acosol, the water company that belongs to the Mancomunidad de Municipios on the Western Costa del Sol.

No official figures for the number of Britons going home, because nobody is counting.

The change from the peseta to the euro caused inflation that ended the "cheap living" forever.

No official figures for the number of Britons going home, because nobody is counting. But Spain is certainly counting its unemployed, up to 17% with more than four million out of work. And that has a painful effect for the Britons who prospered during Spain's boom times. Jim and Caireen Candlin met in Spain, married in Gibraltar and decided to raise their young children on the Costa Brava.Estate agent Marion Atkins is quitting Spain to run a pub in Britain Aberdeen-born Caireen says: "I think Spain is ideal for bringing up children. That's why I'm staying here while he goes back to the UK." Jim is heading home to retrain as an electrician after building work dried up. He says: "We've both worked for firms that have gone bust in the past year. "When we couldn't pay the rent one month and had to phone our parents for help, we realised economically it wasn't working here. We couldn't carry on like that." So now the couple have decided to leave the area, and possibly the country.Like Jim and Caireen, Barnaby Griffin and his wife Rebecca have been forced to live apart by a search for work. Rebecca returned after two years in Orihuela Costa to do temping in London, while Barnaby stays on as a performer in the local bars. "All my friends our age are struggling," he says. "People talk about living the dream but all it seems to be is sunshine, cheap cigs and wine. This area had low wages anyway and we're fed up living hand to mouth."

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