Inland News issue 93 07/12/07


PRISION SENTENCES FOR DRUNK DRIVERS

Just hours after the new drink driving laws came into force in Spain; three people are facing prison sentences. The drink drive limit is 0.25 milligrams, over this limit and you will incur a fine or a disqualification or both. If you have held your driving licence for less than 2 years, the limit is set lower, at just 0.1 milligrams, so half a drink could take you over the limit. Exceed 0.60 milligrams and you will face a 3 to 6 months custodial sentence, fines and a disqualification. The new law has been introduced to reduce the relaxed attitudes of drivers in Spain towards drinking and driving. In 2006 around 4,000 people were killed on the roads in Spain, 40% of which were directly linked to driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Judges will have the power to impose custodial sentences as well as community service orders, fines and driving bans.

Penalties for dangerous driving and speeding now carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and a disqualification for a maximum of ten years. Drivers who refuse to provide an alcohol or drug test also run the risk of imprisonment.

So how much can you drink?

Very little to be blunt!

The drink drive limit in Spain is almost zero tolerance. Each half-pint of beer with a ABV of 3.5%, a single 25mg pub measure of spirits, or a small 125 mg glass of light table wine is counted as 1 unit or 10mg. Therefore, 2 of these alcoholic drinks may take you over the lower limit of 0.25mg and you stand to loose your licence. Drink 5-6 of these measures and drive and you could end up behind bars this Christmas.

These figures are dependent on several factors and should not be used as a guide to safe drinking and driving. If you are driving then DON’T DRINK!

Imprisoned for the equivalent of 3 pints

One of the first people caught drink driving under the new laws has been sentenced to six months in prison, fined 2,160 euros and been banned from driving for 16 months. A breathalyzer test provided an alcohol reading of 0.62 milligrams.  The judge ordered 2 months imprisonment, 720 euros fine and an eight month ban. He also added a further four months to the prison sentence, a 1,440 euro fine and a further eight months ban for failing to provide a suitable breath test at the time.

The drink drive laws in Spain are now amongst the lowest levels in Europe, along with Norway, Sweden and Poland. Only Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary have a zero tolerance level. The UK level is one of the highest in Europe at 0.8 per mg the same as in Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Switzerland. Cyprus has the highest level at 0.9 per mg.

New electronic identity cards

A trial will begin in January 2008 of a new computer system which will produce chipped identity cards within 20 minutes of the application being processed. Government delegate, Antoni Barnabas said that the new system will "provide a better service for residents”. Barnabas spoke at a recent press conference along with senior police chief, Carlos Rubio, to explain the new security measures and benefits of the card. Head of Valencian Documentation, Antonio Martinez explained that electronic identity card also includes "potential for internet access" as the card contains an authentication certificate, as well as electronic signatures with a PIN code. The card will enable tax returns; employment history or driving licence infringements to be verified online.




THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION

La Vall d'Albaida Branch
At long last the Branch has been formed.  This took place at a meeting held on 7th November 2007 under the guidance of David Young, The Royal British Legion Recruitment Officer from District North of Spain.  At this meeting all the Officers of the Branch were elected.

Our next meeting will be held on the 12th of December at 12 noon.  This will be  at the home of the Chairman, Bill Rowlands and his wife Helen in L’Olleria, followed by lunch at a nearby restaurant.

The main change is the name of the Branch.  The idea for this is to let everyone know the area that the Branch covers. This area is, from the North, Xativa, to the South, Alcoy, and from the East, Rugat, to the West, La Font de La Figuera, all of which are in La Vall d'Albaida.  If you live in or around these towns and would like to join us, why not call our Membership Secretary on the number below.

Social Secretary Bill Costello has now sorted out the venue for the Christmas Dinner and the cost will be €18.50 a head, so please bring the money to the next meeting.

Remember also to bring your completed membership forms if you haven't already handed them in.

For information please ring the number below, we would like to hear from you.


Membership Secretary:   Brian Senior:  695153970
Caustic Shock



Workers at the Etexa Transportation Company in Agullent evacuated
after a chemical explosion at the plant. The explosion caused panic through out the company, but thankfully no injuries. According to sources the explosion was caused by a mixture of caustic soda and oxygenated water which workers were using to cleanse down lorry containers.  Local Mayor, Jesus Pla said ¨I was panicked when I first heard about the explosion because of the chemicals”, but thankfully other than irritation to workers eyes no one was seriously injured.            



WILD BOAR HUNT
The campaign to end the massive presence of wild boars in Alzira continues. Since the initiative began in October more than 26 wild boars have been culled. A representative of Alzira Town hall said, it is good to know that the hunters are there and will ¨ continue to solve the problems caused by wild boar for local agriculture and secure the safety of our citizens, as well as to promote the practice of hunting." Several boars were caught near the paths in ‘La Rabosa’ an area known as ‘La Paella’. In January the hunters will continue in La Garrofera area and other zones around Alzira where these mammals cause problems.

ANNA GOLF COURSE
Anna Town hall has approved the classification of land near the lake for the construction of an 18 hole golf course and leisure complex. Adventure Golf and Anna Bella SL are currently waiting for the final licenses before they begin the first phase of the construction. Anna Golf Resort will be constructed on land at La Canal Navarrés and will be the first golf course constructed in the Valencian Community in recent years. The resort will comprise of an 18 hole golf course, hotel, housing and shopping centre.


NURSING STAFF COMPLAIN
Nursing staff at the Addiction Unit in Xativa (UCAS) have complained about the poor state of facilities at the clinic. The clinic deals with addiction illnesses: including alcohol, legal and illegal drugs as well less well know addictions such as internet, mobile phones, and sex. The clinic treats patients from 74 towns in the region, but with over 200,000 residents, professionals feel they are sorely understaffed.

The UCA of Xàtiva is the worst equipped clinic in the Comunidad Valenciana, “we have no car park, the clinic is inaccessible to disabled patients as it is located on the first floor with no lift. There is no waiting room and the clinic lacks heating and air conditioning.” The local authorities are aware of the situation and are putting pressure on the health authorities to resolve the problems.

Casinos

The sleepy village of Casinos was invaded by legions of sweet-toothed shoppers on Saturday 24th November. Every autumn Casinos, renowned throughout the Valencia community for its confectionary, holds a two-day fiesta in honour of its thriving trade.
Casinos' most popular sweet products include peladillas - which are essentially sugar-coated almonds - and turrones, which are made with marzipan. Village stores buzzed with an estimated 50,000 visitors over the course of the weekend, while the evenings were marked by concerts and other celebrations.
The eighth annual Casinos street fayre was an undisputed success, with some sweet makers suggesting that there were even more visitors this time around.
If you missed out you there's no need to wait until this time next year - the village's 'sweet factories' are open all year round, including Sunday mornings, and can mostly be found on either side of the old CV-35 road as it passes through the village.

English plays at theatre in Ontinyent
Teatro Escolar 2007-08 is a campaign aimed at encouraging student interest and involvement in the “performing arts”. This years plays which will be performed in Valenciano and English include “What a Halloween night”, the tragic story of “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll and the “Tin soldier” by Hans Cristian Andersan. 

Doctors attacked
Attacks on doctors in the Valencian Comunitat have fallen during 2007. The chairman of the Valencia College of Physicians (COMV), Vincent Alapont, reported that physical assaults have dropped from eleven in 2006 to just one up until November 2007. The number of recorded complaints also fell "significantly" from 31 to 10 during the same period. According to Alapont "the decline" in the number of complaints can be attributed to the changes in "sentences given to those who attack doctors."

Ontinyent theatre.
The Echegaray theatre in Ontinyent will close its doors for the last time in January 2008.   Town hall culture representative, Inma Marti said, the building is in a state of disrepair, the  roof leaks which is very dangerous when you consider the amount of electric cables and spots lights in the ceiling ¨with all due respect we shouldn't have to cancel shows or put our lives at risk.” To celebrate the final day of the theatre, a concert has been organized by Ad Libitum. The Three Kings Concert will be held on the Sunday the 30th of December. Members of the Cine Club Utylle based at the theatre are currently looking for a new location to run their club.  

Man buried alive at sand quarry.
A 59 year old man died after being buried alive at a local sand quarry. The man became trapped as trucks were loaded at the l'Alcúdia quarry in Cocentaina. Emergency services (SAMU) and fire crews rushed to the scene, but were unable to revive him. In Burjassot a 28 year old man was injured after falling from the fifth floor of a construction site in. In Manises a 42 year old was injured after being hit by a vehicle at the industrial park. He was treated for head trauma and a dislocated shoulder.


Police identify rapist after 15 years
Police have identified a rapist 15 years after he committed the crime. In February 1992, the suspect had been drinking with the victim in a bar owned by her parents. They returned to his house, where he offered her money and jewellery in return for sex. When she refused he beat and raped her. He was later arrested, but later released due to lack of forensic evidence. In June 1992 a DNA match was made, but by this time he had fled and changed his name. National Police recently identified him during a routine inspection of foreigners serving sentences in Spanish prisons.

Two youths rescued from rock face
A team of Civil Guard mountain rescue officers were called last week when two youngsters became trapped on the rock face in Novetlè. The youngsters became trapped after climbing some 40 metres up the rock face of the Crest de la Creueta, a rocky area with a large cavern. Officers were able to bring the two safely back down.

15 villas to be demolished
Political parties within the city council have unanimously approved the demolition order of 15 villas in Monserat. Councillor of Urbanism, Joan Garcia Perales explained, it is impossible to legalise these properties because they are built on non-urbanizable land, they will be demolished, "at the moment a total of 15 properties have failed to meet urban regulations, but in the coming days it is possible that this figure will rise." At present there are around 5,000 buildings located on non-urbanizable land scattered across the city." Owners of the properties will receive a notification from the City Council, from this point they have 30 days to carry out the demolition.
Local Police "will continue to verify and inspect houses and buildings believed to be illegal. This is not going to stop; we will investigate regardless of whether properties are lived in or not.” Garcia explained. This is the first time that all political parties within the city council have unanimously approved a demolition order. Properties which are over four years old are covered by established "rules" and can not be demolished.
He continued that the illegal constructions, "in addition to being a criminal offence, are regarded as a social and environmental crime."
In Catral 179 of 1,200 illegal properties have received demolition orders, but no demolitions have, as yet, taken place.Y es que, tal y como apuntan fuentes de la Conselleria de Territorio y Urbanismo, "se trata de un proceso muy complejo en el que los vecinos suelen recurrir e impugnar las sentencias". The Ministry of Land and Urbanism stated, "this is a very complex process in which residents often challenge judgments."

Mortgages still expensive despite fall in Euribor
The Euribor ended November at 4,607%, according to data published by Interbank. The figure represents a slight decrease, but still remains high compared with the same period in 2006. The cost to borrowers in Spain is around 821 euros a year. The National Office of Statistics estimate that a mortgage of 150,328 euros over a 26 years period would see an increase in monthly payments from 759.03 euros to 827.49 euros.

Telefonica receives Award for Good Corporate Governance
The Good Corporate Award has been presented to Telefonica!?? The ceremony  organised by MY PORTFOLIO INVESTMENT magazine awarded companies with  distinguished company reputations. Telefonica President, Cesar Alierta, collected the trophy at a dinner chaired by the Minister of Housing, Carme Chacon. Courier company, MRW received the award for their attention to community responsibility and Professor Emilio Ontiveros collected an award for the promotion of economic culture. Tribute was paid to Henry Aldama, author of the code of business ethics, who recently died.

Prison for abortion clinic three
Dr Charles Morin, his wife Luisa D.S and employee Virtues V all received a custodial sentence last week, after being found guilty for carrying out abortions after the statutory 22 week time limit. Judge, Elisabeth Castelló, sentenced the three, without bail, for performing abortions beyond the statutory deadline, conspiracy and falsifying documents. Three other employees were arrested during the investigation the four private clinics Ginemedex, TBC, EMECA and Barnamedic in Barcelona, but were released on bail. The Judge criticised defence lawyers for “serious leaks” of information and reminded them that the legal process had been declared “secret”.

Surge in donations
An increase in the number of donors during 2007 has enabled doctors across the Province to carry out, on average, one transplant every day. In  352 transplants were performed during  2006 compared with 375 during 2007 (estimated to the end of the year). The Valencian Community is international renowned for pioneering transplant surgery, such as the double hand transplant by Dr Pedro Cavadas. Dr. Jose Mir, responsible for the liver transplant unit at La Fe explains "The number of donors is on the rise. People are aware of the importance of donation.

Prisoners take guards hostage
Last weeks riot at Picassent prison has confirmed officials concerns over the lack of security and over crowding at the prison. Three guards were taken hostage by four inmates for 12 hours, after one of the prisoners was refused a telephone call to his girlfriend. A team of negotiators, including specialists from elite unit of the Civil Guard, along with psychologists and prison staff brought the situation under control without incident. The prison is currently over crowded and lacks the number of prison guards to maintain security. According to Prison Union AFP, the prison department where the incident occurred is a virtual "mousetrap" with a single entry and exit door. Investigators are looking into how the inmates managed to obtain and conceal the screwdrivers, skewers and scissors, which were used to threaten the guards. Director of Prisons, Mercedes Gallizo and government delegate, Antoni Barnabas are to visit Picassent prison to discuss the current situation.


2.5 million Vaccinations
The Ministry of Health has spent 20 million euros on vaccines this year. More than 2.5 million doses were administered during 2007. Manuel Cervera of the Vaccination department explained that this is five time the initial investment made in 1995. Manuel Cervera stressed that the "effectiveness" of vaccination programs has led to the "control and in some cases eradication of some diseases".

BARXETA
Barxeta Mayor, Vicent Antoni Giner confirmed last week that work on the local Health centre in Barxeta will begin next year. Plans to reform and expand the centre include a larger waiting room, administration offices and possibly a nursery.



 

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