Latest News Issue 105 06-062008

Four killed at Valencia F.C. stadium

A FOOTBALL stadium under construction has cost the lives of four workmen who fell 20 metres to their death last week. Nelson Rocha García, 24, from Bolivia and Medardo Sinchiguano, 38, from Ecuador, were killed instantly when the platform they were standing on whilst working on Valencia's new Mestalla stadium collapsed. Their colleagues, José Vilanova, 22, from Bejís and Enrique Pradas Franco, 24, from Torrent, were taken to hospital but died within hours of arrival.

Both their home towns held emotive funeral services for them on Thursday last week.

Luis and Nelson's bodies have been repatriated. The General Workers' Union (UGT) is investigating the cause of the accident, since National Police say the platform appeared unable to cope with the weight of the four men. They believe there may have been a fault in the construction of the apparatus. Staff say they received stringent training on working at heights just a few days before the tragic accident.

They have been working on the Mestalla pitch since August 1 last year and say they have always felt safe on the building site.

FROGS JOURNEY FROM COSTA RICA TO VALENCIA

The Health Department and Animal Protection in Valencia were called to the central market to collect an exotic frog found in a box of bananas. Staff from the Animal Protection Society collected the and were able confirm that it was a harmless Smilisca Baudinii tree frog (Masked Tree Frog) normally found in the southern tip of Texas (USA) and southward across the tropical low lands to Costa Rica. Health Councillor, Lourdes Bernal, explained that "the system used to transport the bananas is cooled and the bananas are placed in perforated polythene bags to delaying their maturation during transportation. The frog appears to have survived all this and the long journey from Costa Rica to Valencia".

BREATHTESTING TO START

From June 15th police will begin a random breath testing campaign throughout the Province in a bid to improve road safety. Last year there were 2,415 traffic accidents in Spain in which 2,741 people were killed and 3,000 injured. Almost one third of fatal accidents involved alcohol.  

GROUP OF PLANES STOPPED

Guardia Civil officers have cracked a drug smuggling network which used private jets to transport drugs from Africa to Spain. Operation `Ladano´ which involved officers from Sevilla, Cadiz, Huelva and Madrid resulted in the arrest of a commercial pilot and 11 network members. Over 21 weapons including, assault rifles, pistols and machine guns, and drugs were seized.

ZAPATERO OFFERS REASSURANCE

The Government has urged citizens to remain calm and assures them that proposals made by the National Energy Commission regarding an increase in electricity charges by 11% will not be passed on to consumers. According to President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero the rise in electricity prices is likely be around 4.7%, in line with the current inflation index than the increase proposed by the CNE. Zapatero also voiced his optimism about the current economic crisis.  During a televised interview Zapatero admitted that electricity bills would increase shortly, but confirmed that it will be a "reasonable" increase. "The proposal of the CNE is not going to be accepted by the Government of Spain even though we are aware of the increased cost of production, which according to expert reports is highest in Spain," said the President.

NEW BRITISH HONORARY CONSUL IN VALENCIA

Martin Hayes takes over from Máximo Caletrio as new British Honorary Consul in the province of Valencia. Yesterday, the British Ambassador, Denise Holt CMG, thanked Máximo Caletrio for his years of loyal service at a reception at a hotel in the city of Valencia Martin Hayes is a solicitor based in the city of Valencia with several years of legal experience in Spain, Ireland and Scotland and takes over from Máximo Caletrio who has supported the British consular network for ten years.

The British Honorary Consul in Valencia provides assistance to British citizens in distress, issues emergency passports carries out notarial work.

The Ambassador travelled to Valencia from Madrid to personally thank Caletrio for his work and to welcome Hayes into his new job.

Mrs Holt said: "I want to thank Máximo Caletrio for the outstanding service he has provided to British residents and visitors over the past thirteen years. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Martin Hayes to the largest and busiest British consular network in the world".

The British Consulate in Alicante covers the regions of Valencia, Murcia and the province of Albacete.


Triplets meet up – 28 years later
TWO sisters who were mixed up at birth have been reunited – 28 years later. Friends say the girls, both from Gran Canaria, “walk the same, talk the same, have the same facial expressions and the same tone of voice.” Not only that, but the girl who believed she was an only child has just discovered she is one of triplets. One of the sisters went to a shopping centre in 2001 where a friend of the estranged sister worked. She thought it strange that her friend did not say hello to her. The girl called a mutual friend, expressing her anger. It was the latter who called the unknown twin, who denied having been into the shopping centre that day. She even spoke to an assistant at the shop in question to prove to her friends that she had not been there. But the sister she never knew she had came back to the retail outlet a few days later to return some clothes she had bought. She was caught in the act by one of her twin’s friends, who quizzed her about her identity and later set up a meeting. In a bizarre twist, the new-found sister said she already had a twin, whom she had known all her life. It transpired that the three girls were in fact triplets, who had been separated in the hospital after their birth in 1973. It was not until three years later that the twins agreed to take a DNA test to prove they were related. The newly-discovered sister suffered from panic attacks and said she “just wanted to carry on living like before.” Their case has come to light this week – seven years on – since the three sisters are now attempting to sue the health authority. The previously-unknown triplet’s lawyer is claiming three million euros based on emotional damages.  He says the health authority’s error has “interfered with her development” and deprived her of her “absolute right to her correct personal and family identity.”According to the lawyer, the woman – now 35 – has “lost the opportunity to form a proper relationship with her biological family.”


Girl denied abortion because ‘the State has already paid once’

SAN Juan Hospital has refused to allow a young woman to have an abortion – despite the fact that it has been legal in Spain for 23 years. A number of women say that certain hospitals and health centres continue to make it difficult, or impossible, for them to undergo terminations. This latest case was reported by a retired biology teacher who acts as voluntary translator for foreign women in the San Juan area. She said the family planning centre in Elche, following usual practice, evaluated the young Sub-Saharan girl’s pregnancy and psychological condition before referring her to the hospital. Here, they would have written a psychiatric and a medical report before she proceeded with the abortion. But a female doctor at the hospital has refused to carry out the necessary psychiatric examination, independent of whether the result is positive or negative. She maintains that the girl had had an abortion four years previously and therefore “the State has already funded one termination – for them to pay for another would be excessive.”

Additionally, she reproached the patient for “not having kept her side of the bargain and used contraceptives.” The girl and her translator are considering taking up action with the regional ombudsman, the Síndic de Greuges. Since they are up against time, they are also having to consider going through the process at other hospitals.

If all else fails, the young immigrant could be forced to pay for private treatment.

JELLYFISH NUMBERS DOWN

The Institute of Marine Sciences has confirmed that the number of jellyfish along the coast this year will not reach the epidemic levels experienced in previous years.  Experts believe over fishing is the most likely cause of the general increase in numbers which has been seen all over the world over the last few years. Officials warn bathers to remain on guard and if stung by a jellyfish to seek medical assistance from the Red Cross immediately.

NEW WASTE TAX

The Metropolitan Waste Treatment Company (Emtre) has proposed a controversial waste tax which would effect residents in Valencia city and fifty surrounding towns and villages. Increasing costs and landfill problems have forced Emtre to offset the cost of the service, an estimated 39 million euros, with contributions from residents - those who create more trash, pay more cash?

They propose to calculate each household garbage tax using  their water consumption figures as a guide for charges. The theory behind the proposed calculations are that the more water a household uses - the higher their standard of living is and therefore produce more waste. Town halls and residents are unhappy with the plans put forward. Some tax payers could see their waste bills double under this new system if it is agreed.

Brother and sister jailed for fraud

Sister and brother fiddling duo were sentenced to two years in prison for stealing 78,000 euros from an elderly woman. The Courts in Valencia heard how the brother, a financial advisor and his lawyer sister continued to withdrew large sums of money from the widower’s bank account for three years, between 2002 and 2005, following the death of her husband. The victim had provided her savings book and National Identity Document (DNI) to allow them to withdraw money to pay for their services.


MORTGAGE PAYMENTS ACCOUNT FOR HALF THE FAMILY INCOME

Mortgages are swallowing up a staggering 49% of the average family’s monthly income according to according to Property Registration Statistics published last week. This level far exceeds the recommended 30% advised by lending experts to ensure homeowners are able to maintain a good standard of living and avoid serious financial problem.

TEENAGER THROWN FROM WINDOW

A man has been imprisoned for throwing his 13 year old step daughter from a second floor apartment window in Castellon. The young girl she suffered a stroke after landing on her head and broke her femur and fibula and dislocated her elbow. Neighbours said they heard the girl and her step father arguing shortly before the incident. The argument was believed to have started after the girl told her parents that she intended to move in with her boyfriend. Witnesses claim that the man "appeared to be under the influence of alcohol."

MOTHER HANDS BABY TO STRANGER

National Police arrested a woman after she handed her 3 month old baby daughter to a stranger in the street, saying she could not care for her. Romanian, Mihaela B. 26, is reported to have approached Johny Alonso CR, a 38-year-old Ecuadorian near the municipal market in Tortosa (Tarragona) and asked him if he would like to take her daughter because she could no longer care for her. The baby is now being cared for by an emergency foster family. The man accepted, allegedly without paying any money, on condition that the mother handed over all documentation for the baby. The woman met with him at a train station on May 29th where she handed over the baby and documentation. The baby was taken for a check up the next day where doctors recommended that the man contact police and explain the situation. Police have confirmed that the baby showed no signs of abuse or malnutrition and will remain with the foster family until the courts decide where she will live.


ZAPATERO THINKS ETA “WILL DO HARM" THIS SUMMER

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, believes that ETA are likely to launch "a long campaign of violence" this summer. However, he is confident that security forces across the country will be able to contain possible threats. During a recent interview on Cadena Ser, Zapatero commented that despite the weakness of ETA, “we may suffer” in the coming months. The President is convinced that Basque society is becoming “increasingly tired and turning against terrorism” and, in his view, “support for ETA and social understanding has decreased markedly.” “That is a positive factor and a sign of hope,” he added.

RAIN FLOODS THE NORTH

Heavy rain and floods in Biscay and across the Basque Country  led to the evacuations of many residents and left over 30,000 people without electricity last weekend. The outlook is bleak as forecasters indicated that the situation could get worse. Some residents were forced to leave their homes by boat as water levels rose as high as 2.36 metres in some places. More than 30,000 homes were left without power after an Iberdrola substation was flooded. The Urola, Oria and the River Zadorra, broke there banks in several places leaving many road impassable.

SPANIARDS CONCERNED ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT

Spaniards worry about unemployment and economic problems above anything else. According to a report by the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS) 59% of the population fear unemployment and 48.4% worry about economic problems. The study reveals that concerns over ETA terrorism is down 5% to 31.4%, the same as it was before the assassination of former socialist councillor Isaiah Carrasco. Immigration (26%) and housing (25.6%) came in the top five concerns.


NEW ALDI  

Construction started on the new Aldi store in Cocentaina which is due to open in November. The supermarket will be built next to the textile company Jover on the Alcoy to Cocentaina road. German Company Aldi is now one of the largest supermarket chains in the world.

WOMAN RESCUED FROM CAVES   

Guardia Civil Mountain officers have rescued a woman after she fell and dislocated her shoulder in the Les Covetes caves in Bocairent last weekend. Mountain rescue experts were able to evacuate the 41 year old woman using stretchers and pulleys.

ALCOY PROP TO OPEN 24 HOURS 

Alcoy Town Hall is requesting that the city’s PROP office is open 24 hours a day making it easier for residents to access assistance. The Ministry of Justice and Public Administrations will be responsible for opening the offices in Alcoy and the proposal from the Bloc party was accepted by the PP as "bringing information to residents" said the Mayor, Eugenia del Castillo.


THEFTS IN VILLENA

A recent wave of thefts from shops in Villena has prompted shop owners to consider contracting the services of a private security firm. Around 200 traders in the town are meeting this week to address the situation. An organized group has been targeting businesses and almost every night there is a break in. Local Police have expressed their frustration as individuals arrested are normally charged and released within 24 hours to re-offend.

MC’DONALDS BLOCKS CATTLE
Ecological protestors are attempting to stop the construction of a new McDonalds restaurant in Alcoy as it will block an existing livestock route. Ecologist-La Colla Carrasca says that the restaurant will block the Llonganissa de Teulada livestock route in the town. Spokes person for the group, Maria Carles Mansanet, believes the plans are “illegal” as there is no record of a change to the livestock route.

NEW TRAIN STATION

A new train station and platform will be open by the end of the year for travellers and residents in Albaida. The new station situated at Avenida de La Feria, is just 500 metres outside of the village. Plans include ramp access to the station and platforms making it more accessible for disabled travelers, as well as a cafeteria, playground and petanque court.

CONTAMINATED WATER

A report by the Ministry of Water in Moixent has revealed that there are  traces of arsenic and feces in the local water. The PSPV of Moixent have accused the Popular Party of withholding details of the problems at the water fountains at La Ermita, La Nueva Bosquet, Fuente de Oak and Azud Bosquet.   According to Josep Lluis de la Piedad of the PSPV, "The council received a letter on May 12th stating the water was not fit for human consumption and posed severe health risks."  Faced with these accusations, Moixent Mayor, Vincent Dubal said that there are "information boards at each of the fountains indicating that it is not fit for human consumption. Residents in the town are well aware of the risks but continue to drink the water regardless”. Josep Lluis de la Piedad concluded that it is "incomprehensible and careless to allow people to drink from these fountains."


HOUSING PROJECT STOPPED

A project detailing the construction of 1900 houses in l’Olleria is likely to be rejected by the Generalitat. The amendment of the town management plan in l'Olleria is still pending, but it is believed that an application for the construction of 1900 homes, which would increase the town’s population by 4000 people, will be rejected. Councilor Julia Engo explained "The expansion we want for l'Olleria is not isolated from the main town. We want to grow, but in a coherent manner, allowing us to develop now and in future."

MAN ATTACKED WITH SAW

National Police Officers in Rotglà i Corberà, north of Xativa, have arrested a 36-year-old man who allegedly attacked a man with a saw. The arrest was made after officers discovered the Moroccan man. 27 in a nearby street with severe cuts above his eye and covered in blood.

CLIMBERS CLEAN BELL TOWER

Passers by were amazed to see men clinging to the side of the bell tower some 20 metres above the ground last week in L´Olleria. Members of the Escort Sant Jordi de L'Olleria climbing group were the ideal candidates to assist in the difficult task of clean the outside of the bell tower at the Parish of St. Mary Magdalene church in l’Olleria. Over the last 2 years small fig trees have sprouted from cracks in the brickwork and have become entangled around the bell, the branches were removed and plant killer was sprayed in the hope that it will prevent re-growth in the future.

NEW HEALTH CENTRE

A new health centre has been agreed for residents in Font de la Figuera. The Ministry of Health has awarded a grant of 742,174 euros towards the new building which will replace the current outdated centre. The centre is expected to be operational within the next  2 years during which time medical services will be moved to temporary facilities in Calle de les Eres. Mayor, Santiago Micó, said "after many years of waiting and negotiations with the Ministry of Health we are happy to have finally achieved a satisfactory outcome.”

SUMMER SCHOOL & CAMPING

Summer School activities from July 7th until August 1st have been organised by C.P Miguel de Cervantes School and Sax Sports. Children of all age groups will be able to choose from workshop & activities or Sports and Art. Activities will include games, trips to natural beauty spots, sports tuition and various arts related activities including theatre, film making and magic. During July there will also be a camping trip to Albergue “Torre de Alborache” in Alborache. Closing date for the summer school registrations is June 13th.  Closing date for summer camp is June 25th. For more information and registration call 966967217 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  


‘LUDOTECA’ ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN

Children from 5 -10 years will be able to enjoy free, fun workshops at `Ludoteca´ in Alzira from June 2nd to the 13th. The workshops will be open from 5.30pm until 8.30pm. Alzira Town Hall will also be organizing sports night at the Fontana Mogort sports center on June 21st for youngsters over the age of 12. Registration is 2 euros and kids can take part in football competitions, basketball, gymkhanas, alternative sports and different workshops. Also there are two “song and dance” Galas, the winners of each will perform at the towns Sant Bernat festivals. The galas will be held at the Casa de Cultura on June 28th and the Gran Teatre on July 5th. Registration for any of these activities can be handed into the Juvenil Information Center at Calle Escoles Pies, 4. Alzira. Tel. 962417407.

HOUSING DEMOLISHED FOR NEW PARKING

Houses in Calle del Mig in Ontinyent have been demolished to make way for a new car park. Construction company Excavaciones Guerola have carried out the first steps of the Town Halls plan to build a car park which will join a site in Tomas Valls on the site of the old Pere Cinema. The building will cover a plot of 900 square meters and will have 70 car park spaces over four levels for residents living in the Poble Nou in Ontinyent.   


5 METRE FALL MAN SURVIVES

A 48 year old man was hospitalized suffering head traumas and a dislocated shoulder after falling 5 metres from a property in Calle del Palau in Castello de Rugat. Emergency services transferred the man to San Francesc Borja Hospital in Gandia. It is still unclear how the accident happened.

MAN DIES IN NIGHT CLUB

A 34 year old man from Paterna died in a nightclub in Burriana after collapsing. The man collapsed at around 7am and was carried out of the building by his friends. Emergency services were called but were unable to revive the man. The cause of death is still unknown and investigations continue. 

LOW STAFF COMPLAINTS AT HOSPITAL

A nurse from Ontinyent General Hospital has lodged a complaint with the Comisiones Obreras Union (CCOO) regarding the lack of nursing staff within the pediatric department. The Pediatric Service was opened last October in the hospital but hospital management is struggling to find new medical personnel or nurses to work within this sector. Despite the advantages of this service, children requiring hospitalization still have to be transferred to Xàtiva hospital as Ontinyent does not have sufficient beds or personnel.

 The Baby-Jumping festival of Calacho


Scary devils leap over newborn babies in celebration of the Catholic festival of Corpus in Castrillo de Murcia (Burgos). Grown men leap over babies born during the previous 9 months of the year, with full parental consent, in a ritual said to "cleanse" the babies from evil. The town has observed the strange practice called El Colacho since 1620. 

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