Monday, 26 October 2009

Two weeks to go before lines for pay-as-you-go mobile phones will be automatically deactivated if their owners have previously failed to register

Two weeks to go before lines for pay-as-you-go mobile phones will be automatically deactivated if their owners have previously failed to register their details with their operators.The move comes under a new law which came into effect in November 2007 as a consequence of the Madrid train bomb attacks on 11th March 2004, when the bombs were set off by pre-paid mobile phones. Registration has been obligatory since the law came into force, but 20 million such phones bought before that date are estimated to still be in use.To date, 12.5 million people have registered their details, but some 8 million have yet to do so and could find themselves automatically cut off if they fail to register on or before the deadline of 8th November. Operators are then legally obliged to deactivate any which remain unidentified.Registration for each user is at one of their operator’s points of sale, where they must provide either their DNI identity document, passport or foreigners’ residency papers. Businesses must provide their fiscal identification card.

27 year old girl has died in Residencial Monte Marbella at Artola Alta in Marbella

27 year old girl has died in Residencial Monte Marbella at Artola Alta in Marbella after falling to the ground as she tried to get into her own home through a window after forgetting her keys inside.EFE news agency quotes municipal sources as saying the victim is a foreigner, but her nationality has not yet been released. Named with the initials A.K. she was returning home after celebrating her birthday and had climbed a pergola to reach the window. Reports indicate that girl suffered a head injury in the fall, and had already died before emergency services arrived at the scene.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Benitatxell attacked by hundreds of angry bees

German man out for a countryside walk with his wife in Benitatxell on Wednesday found himself suddenly attacked by hundreds of angry bees while he was passing a site which is used for commercial beekeeping. Diario Información notes that there are warning signs about the hives in the area.Named by the paper as 70 year old Hans Klaus V., a resident of Benitatxell, he was rushed to the local health centre in Teulada, where staff removed 300 stings from his body, before he was sent on to hospital in Dénia. He was kept under observation there for some hours, where doctors were surprised, despite the numerous stings, that he suffered no allergic reaction to the bee attack.

Prostitutes who ply their trade on the public way in Granada City will soon face a fine of up to 3,000 €

Prostitutes who ply their trade on the public way in Granada City will soon face a fine of up to 3,000 € under a new local by-law which comes into force next month. The measure also affects their clients.The new regulations, effective from 10th November, ban sexual relations or their negotiation in all public places, with the maximum sanction to be imposed if they take place within 200 metres of schools and residential and business areas.Granada Hoy newspaper said the money collected in this way by City Hall will be spent on social programmes and helping the women who work as prostitutes, particularly those who want to leave the profession.

Search for a missing 13 year old German boy who fell into the sea at Calpe on Thursday was called off

Search for a missing 13 year old German boy who fell into the sea at Calpe on Thursday was called off last night as rough seas continued to affect the area. The child had fallen into the sea from the breakwater on the Playa de la Fosa.
The weather conditions complicated the search and lead to some of the firemen taking part being injured.Witnesses had reported seeing three people fall into the water, of whom two managed to get out, one unaided and a second thanks to another man who was in the area.These two are both reported to be foreigners, one of them is Senegalese according to reports, who had also tried without success to reach the German boy, but who finally had to be rescued himself.The Alicante Fire Service was called out, generally because of wind damage, some 100 times on Thursday between 1030 and 1930. Most of the calls came from Elche, Alcoy, Concentaina, La Nucía, Benidorm, Orihuela, Torrevieja and San Vicente del Raspeig.

officers allegedly took advantage of a prostitute’s illiteracy by charging her 600 € for a document they claimed was a residence permit

Four National Police officers, including a former Chief Inspector and his deputy, will sit on the accused bench along with a Civil Guard officer after their arrest following an 18 month internal investigation into illegal immigration, prostitution and drugs. The officers are accused of charging payments in return for turning a blind eye to local alternative nightclubs and, in one case, blackmailing the owner of one of the clubs who was in the country illegally.Officers arrested two years ago in the police corruption case in Ronda will go on trial at the Málaga provincial court next March, when 42 witnesses, 14 of them protected, will be called to give evidence in the case.La Opinión de Málaga highlights one instance when two of the officers allegedly took advantage of a prostitute’s illiteracy by charging her 600 € for a document they claimed was a residence permit. It turned out to be a registration form for the municipal register of inhabitants.

Mark Porter, 29, and 24-year-old Michelle Clydesdale died after they left their hotel in the resort of Salou, near Tarragona

Mark Porter, 29, and 24-year-old Michelle Clydesdale died after they left their hotel in the resort of Salou, near Tarragona, to go swimming in the early hours of Wednesday.They were with three other friends when they got into trouble and drowned.
Ms Clydesdale was from Scotland but it is not known where Mr Porter was from in the UK.A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm the death of two British nationals (Mark Porter and Michelle Clydesdale) in Salou, Spain.
"The next of kin have been informed and we are offering consular assistance to them. We understand that they went swimming and got into difficulties."It is understood the pair were found on the beach after being washed up by large waves.Their bodies were taken to the regional capital of Tarragona on the north-eastern coast of Spain for post-mortem examinations.They went missing shortly before 2.30am and their three friends raised the alarm.The local fire department said the weather was stormy at the time, with waves some 7ft high.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

670 million euros laundered money in Marbella

Money thought to have been laundered during the infamous ‘Malaya’ case in Marbella has been calculated at around 670 million euros.Most of this involves payments received in exchange for ‘favours’ relating to building development in the city, say police.It is said to have been laundered by up to 26 people who worked according to the orders of the alleged ringleader, former town planning assessor for Marbella Juan Antonio Roca.The suspects are spread across Spain and include six lawyers from a firm in Madrid.In addition to property development corruption on the Costa del Sol – and particularly in and around Marbella – the ‘Malaya’ case is believed to have involved homes built in Los Alcázares (Murcia).

Autopsy carried out on the body of the Boyzone singer, Stephen Gately

autopsy carried out on the body of the Boyzone singer, Stephen Gately, has determined that the 33 year old died from a severe pulmonary oedema, fluid on the lungs, according to sources quoted by El Mundo newspaper this Tuesday. He was found dead on Saturday after a night out while on holiday with his husband, Andrew Owles, on the island of Mallorca, and there has been speculation in the UK press that he may have choked on his own vomit.
A Bulgarian man, Georgi Dochev, told the Sun newspaper that it was he who found the body after accompanying the couple back to their holiday apartment after their night out and found Stephen lying lifeless on the sofa the next morning.

In further information from the Guardian newspaper, a court official on Mallorca is reported to have said the singer’s family will now be permitted to take his body home to Ireland for burial. The paper noted that police on the island have said there are no signs of suspicious circumstances in the 33 year old’s death.

Two ETA terrorists have already been found guilty for the attempted car bomb attack at Málaga Airport eight years ago

Two ETA terrorists have already been found guilty for the attempted car bomb attack at Málaga Airport eight years ago, but a third suspect comes before the National Court this Thursday where he will face a possible 14 years in prison for his part in the attack.The device was deactivated by the Tedax bomb disposal squad before it could go off, but the security lockdown put into place after the warning phone call came early on 26th July 2001 caused extensive disruption to the airport and to the flights which were scheduled that day.The man on trial is Ismael Berasategui Escudero who, with Javier Zabalo Beitia, one of the two found guilty, set up a car washing company in Guipúzcoa as a cover for the stolen vehicles their commando used for the car bombs. The third suspect, Ainoa Barbarín, was responsible with Berasategui for transporting the cars loaded with explosives to the target selected by ETA leadership.The car parked at Málaga Airport, loaded with 53 kilos of Titadyn dynamite, was set to explode at 8am that day, with the warning call coming just under 45 minutes before the explosion was timed.Diario Sur said the bomb attack came in retaliation for the death of an ETA member 48 hours previously, who died in Torrevieja, Alicante province, while handling another bomb.

Delta Airlines direct link between Málaga and New York

Delta Airlines direct link between Málaga and New York, re-launched in June 2008, is to end for the winter, although the company foresees restarting the route at the end of March 2010.The last flight until then will be next Sunday, 18th October, despite average occupancy levels during the time it’s been in operation of 78%. Sources at the company described their basis for the decision to Europa Press as operational and strategic. The news agency quotes figures from the Junta de Andalucía that some 16,000 passengers have flown into Málaga from New York’s JFK on the 119 aircraft which have made the trip to the Costa del Sol since the launch date more than 16 months ago.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Growing anger in Spain over British "health scroungers" has led to accusations that the country's health services are increasingly being used

Spanish doctors' trades unions are leading the charge against what has become known as "scalpel tourism", with easy-to-get hip and cataract operations allegedly attracting Britons who temporarily install themselves in Spain to skip queues at home.Growing anger in Spain over British "health scroungers" has led to accusations that the country's health services are increasingly being used by the estimated one million British people with homes in Spain to plug holes in the NHS.The Simap trade union said that non-Spanish EU nationals in Alicante, where Britons are by far the largest group, now accounted for 15% to 20% of people treated in local hospitals.
"Spain's health service is quick, free and offers a wide range of services," said Dr Juan Benedito of Simaptoday. "It is not surprising that people come here."
The Socialist former head of the Extremadura region of Spain, Juan Carlos Rodríguez Ibarra, warned this week that "scrounge tourism" was bleeding money out of Spain's health service.Málaga's Costa del Sol hospital is among those to notice an increase in the number of British patients. "We get an increasing number of cases of foreigners who, taking advantage of the fact that they own a home on the Costa del Sol and that their own country does not cover all that we offer in Andalucía, decide to come to a hospital [here]," the hospital's general manager, Antonio Pérez, told Sur newspaper.Spanish media have been filling up with reports of so-called health scroungers. "Thousands of people from Britain, Germany and Scandinavia travel to Spain every year for operations that, frequently, are not covered by their own health system," the ABC paper claimed recently.One letter-writer to the 20 Minutos newspaper, Federico Avila, said his neighbours in Murcia, south-east Spain, travelled to their holiday home for an operation and then went back to Britain as soon as it was done. "As soon as he was allowed out of hospital they packed their bags and went home, not without first thanking us Spaniards for everything," he said.
Charity workers who help Britons with health problems in Spain say there is evidence that some who live in both countries – known in expat jargon as "dippers" – cherrypick the best health services from each place.
"I haven't come across anyone who has come to Spain specifically for an operation, though," said Pat Lee-Patten, of the Help charity in Alicante province, who rejected the idea that expats' activities amounted to health tourism.Lee-Patten said added confusion was caused by British residents who did not bother to sign on with Spanish health authorities and then asked for treatment using health cards meant for tourists.Bryan Arthur, an "on-and-off" resident of Britain and Spain, chose to have an aortic valve operation at a Costa Blanca hospital because he could get it in two months rather than six, he said."The surgeon in the Costa Blanca hospital spoke English quite well, said I was in urgent need of attention and could accept me in two months and the charge would be on their national health service," he wrote on the euroresidentes website. "So I signed the papers, had the preliminary catheterisation and eventually was admitted."Squabbling over funds is at the root of the complaints, with health authorities in Spain saying that they do not receive adequate compensation for treating EU citizens.
Scrounging foreigners? British expats accused of health tourism in Spain
This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 19.15 BST on Monday 5 October 2009. A version appeared on p9 of the UK news section of the Guardian on Tuesday 6 October 2009.

Stig hanging out in Puerto Banus



Stig hanging out in Puerto Banus. Well the Top Gear blog have has now confirmed that the duo were out in the Costa del Sol filming for a new DVD that will hit the shelves in November.The DVD called Duel will showcase a number of speedy challenges and races. The challenge in question involved a night time street race between Clarkson and the Stig from the Ascari circuit to a bar in Puerto Banus.

Antonio Banderas home ‘La Gaviota’ at Los Monteros in Marbella still under threat

Andalucía High Court has overruled an order suspending demolition of part of the propertyThere has been another set back for Antonio Banderas regarding his home ‘La Gaviota’ at Los Monteros in Marbella.The Andalucian High Court of Justice has rejected the ruling which had suspended the demolition of 150 of the 780 square metres of the villa, as well as the swimming pool for the property, considering that the land invades an area marked on the urban plan as being for beach equipment.
It means that the High Court has agreed with an appeal presented by the Community of Owners of the Los Monteros Urbanisation, against the hopes of both the actor and Marbella Town Hall, which had granted the suspension order until the town’s new PGOU Urban Plan is carried out. Under the new PGOU the house would have been made legal.
The lawyer representing the Community of Owners, Inmaculada Gálvez, told El País that to avoid demolition she had offered Banderas a deal under which he would compensate the community with a quantity equivalent to the loss of value of his property should the demolition take place – a sum estimated at 2.1 million €. But now the lawyer says that the talks are over and the demolition must take place. Marbella Town Hall is expected to launch an appeal.

Foreign Mans Death Cause's riots in Roquetas de Mar Southern Spain

Immigrants went on a rampage in a southern Spanish town overnight throwing stones and bottles at police after a Senegalese man was stabbed to death, police and Spanish media said on Sunday. Police would only say that the killing of a man in the town of Roquetas de Mar, had sparked "altercations throughout the night in which immigrants were involved." Spanish media said African immigrants were enraged by the death of the Senegalese man, 28, who was stabbed in a fight. Daily newspaper El Mundo's website said African immigrants threw stones and bottles at police, and burnt down two homes and two police cars. It quoted emergency services as saying that rioters set up barricades, burnt rubbish bins and cars. A policeman who went to the scene told national radio station RNE that firefighters were called to a false alarm and were directed by a group to where a fire was supposed to be. "They began to throw stones at the cars... They ended up destroyed, with broken windows, dents in the doors, at the front. The only thing there wasn't was injuries," policeman Carlos Manuel Ruiz said. Police arrested three immigrants, the media reports said. Madrid Reuters

Richard Henry Roberts, 36,found guilty of the murder of nightclub bouncer Daniel Hastelow

Richard Henry Roberts, 36,found guilty of the murder of nightclub bouncer Daniel Hastelow after a trial.But another Merseyside man, jointly accused of the killing in the popular resort of Palmanova in January last year, was acquitted by the jury of nine because of “lack of proof”.Roberts admitted stabbing the 26-year-old victim, from Walsall, seven times.But he claimed it was self defence when the four-day trial began on Monday.Yesterday, the jury rejected his claim he grabbed a knife from a table to defend himself when Mr Hastelow attacked him, delivering heavy blows.They convicted Roberts of murder, rejecting a defence plea for a manslaughter

Paul Anthony Griffiths aquitted in Daniel Hastelow murder case

The jury accepted the defence argument that evidence was not produced to support prosecution claims that Paul Anthony Griffiths, 23, also from Liverpool, took part in the deliberate killing of Mr Hastelow.It was alleged Griffiths beat the victim with a baseball bat as he lay sleeping in an apartment in the resort on the island’s south coast.Griffiths admitted being present when Mr Hastelow was killed, but denied taking any part in his death.The jury also dismissed a charge against both accused of breaking into the apartment where Mr Hastelow died.After the verdicts, Judge Eduardo Calderon formally acquitted Griffiths and dismissed him from the court.
The state prosecutor then asked for an 18 year prison sentence for Roberts.He also asked Judge Calderon to order Roberts to pay compensation of 90,000 Euros – around £81,000 – to the victim’s family.The judge’s written sentence will be known later.

Daniel Hastelow murder case

36 year old Briton, Richard Henry Roberts, has been sent to prison for 18 years for killing his compatriot, Daniel Hastelow in January 2008. The court in Palma de Mallorca heard how the accused had stabbed the sleeping victim eight times.
A second Briton arrested at the time, Paul A. Griffiths, was found not guilty and released without charge.The court and jury considered it proved that after an argument in a bar earlier the aggressor, Richard H Roberts, went to the apartment where the victim was sleeping under the effects of alcohol and drugs, broke in and stabbed the victim with a 20 cm long and 4cm wide knife eight times. The other Briton Paul Griffiths looked on.The two were arrested at the airport the following day.Richard Robert has also been ordered to pay 90,000 € compensation to the victim’s family. He has a previous record for violent theft, causing injury and robbery.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Torremolinos Arco Iris will become the first real estate project in Spain that is aimed at LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) clients

Arco Iris (Rainbow)will become the first real estate project in Spain that is aimed at LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) clients, with an added condition: residents must be over 55 as the development will also take on the role of a care centre.The building will be located in the very heart of Torremolinos, a town that in recent years has become a favourite holdiay resort for homosexuals. This has given rise to the opening of numerous gay-orientated businesses from clothes shops to bars and restaurants, although nearly always geared towards a younger clientele.
“You would think that all homosexuals are young, beautiful and healthy, but we get old too”, says Antonio Gutiérrez, a veteran gay rights activist who hopes that projects such as this one “will help find a solution for the human dramas suffered by older homosexuals who often have a limited family environment to fall back on as their parents have died and they have no children”.“Loneliness is one of their greatest concerns but many homosexuals we have spoken to believe that moving into a traditional home for the elderly would be like going back to the closet”, explains Íñigo Armengod, director general of Grupo Imnova, the firm promoting the scheme.
The building will have 27 apartments with comforts and services such as cleaners, a social club, a nurse station, and even care for pets, although the main attraction will be a day centre which will be open to residents as well as other members of the general public, regardless of their sexual condition. The apartments will range between 100,000 and 240,000 in price but as yet no date has been set for construction work to start, possibly after next summer.However the gay and lesbian association Colega does

Tax hikes announced by Spain’s Socialist government will increase the cost of the average newly-built property by 2,000 Euros

Tax hikes announced by Spain’s Socialist government will increase the cost of the average newly-built property by 2,000 Euros, thanks to an increase in VAT from 7% to 8% on new home sales. The government will hike VAT (known as IVA in Spain) on new home sales in 2010 to try and plug the country’s gaping fiscal hole.In areas like Madrid and Barcelona, where property is more expensive, the cost will go up by an average of 3,000 Euros, according to José M. Galindo, President of the Association of Developers and Constructors of Spain (APCE). He warns that higher costs will reduce demand for newly built homes, at a time when the market is struggling to digest a glut of them.The more expensive the home, the more VAT to be paid. New homes costing 1 million Euros – fairly common in areas like the Balearcis and upmarket areas of the Costa del Sol, will now cost buyers 10,000 Euros more in VAT, or 80,000 Euros in total.As transaction taxes are not typically financed by mortgages, buyers will have to finance the higher cost from their own capital. The only good news is the increase won’t come into force until July 2010. So if you are planning to buy a new home in Spain, you might want to do so before then.The G-14 group of Spain’s leading developers describe the tax increase as just “another difficulty” for a sector where “all the news is bad”. The G-14 developers (13 of them in total, several of whom are in bankruptcy proceedings) have also revealed that they started just 59 private homes (excluding social housing) between them in the 8 months to August.

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