Inland news 09/11/07

Ambulance staff in strike threat

Ambulance staff in the Valencia Comunitat may strike in a dispute over pay. The UGT and CCOO unions have called for a 3 day strike to take place on November 20, 21 and 22. The general strike of all ambulances in the Valencian Community comes after a "stalemate in negotiations" over pay. The strike which is expected to begin at midnight on November 20 will involve around 2,000, drivers and assistants and 800 ambulances.  Trade union officials have warned that if this first general strike does not affect ¨negotiations with employers" a further 3 day strike will be begin on November 27. According to unions the monthly salary of an ambulance driver in the Valencian Comuntat is well below the national average. Ambulance staff in Catalan, Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha earn around 1,500 euros a month compared to 915 euros received by workers in Valencia. Only drivers in Murcia receive a similar salary to those in Valencia, but a preliminary agreement has been negotiated for Ambulance employees in Murcia which details wage increases over the next four years of over 500 euros a month.

Union Spokesperson said the strike is only being called after "eight months of tough negotiation¨. The Generalitat Valenciana "is more concerned about spending huge sums on advertising and 'singing' the praises of its management to the public rather than solving problems”.

Nazi gathering in Ontinyent photographers are Nadal/Ordiñana

Demonstrations for and against immigration held simultaneously in Ontinyent. In Plaza de la Concepcion 40 people took part in a protest against immigration organised by the Alianza Nacional party. Protestors carried banners which read 'Stop immigration' and 'Immigration destroys your future'. The youth group blames the rise in unemployment and crime levels on the "invasion" of foreign nationals. At the same time just 500 metres away in the Mestre Ferrero park a celebration of unity was held by the Consell de la Joventut d’Ontinyent. More than 200 people enjoyed juggling and dancing displays in a celebration of "solidarity, diversity and respect". The “demonstration” was organised in protest at the Alianza Nacional’s "racist, xenophobic and discriminatory" protest. People of all ages applauded as organisers urged everyone to "combat racism." A large police presence ensured the two groups did not clash.

Albaida Ladies Darts Champions

Ladies Spanish darts team ‘5 fan blanca’ won the National Darts Championship held in Barcelona. The Albaida ladies team: Mª José Pardo, Ana Tormo, Lourdes Porta, Sandra Simón and Eva Santamaría won 8 matches of Cricket and 301 in the ‘Bullshooter’ Championships. The all ladies team, which is part of the Albaida Darts Club, has had a fantastic season and will be travelling to Las Vegas next year to represent Spain in the World Electronic Darts Championship. Albaida Mayor, Juan José Beneyto congratulated them on their victory in the Spanish darts championship and wished them every success for their visit to Las Vegas.

Half a million visitors

Nearly 500,000 people visited this years  661st Fira de Tots Sants in Cocentaina. The town hall has revealed that a total of 30 million euros was spent on over 700 stalls, an average of 60 euros per person. The Fira is one of the best known and popular in the Communitat. 

Doll sales raise money for Downs Association

Juguetes Ferre and Súper Juguete have produced the first doll with Downs Syndrome features. The Baby Down doll costs 25 euros out of which 3 euros will be donated to the Spanish Downs Syndrome Federation. The toy manufacturers based in Alicante, Ibi, Alcoy and Madrid are the first company to sell the male and female Downs dolls according to Manager, Antonio Ruiz. The first day of sales reportedly saw hundreds of people buying the doll in Alicante.

Parents jailed

Parents of a 9 year old child received a 3 month suspended prison sentence last week for not ensuring their child attended school.  The judge said the parents had "failed to take any steps to prevent the alarming truancy" of their son and they had a "a total disregard for proper development and learning of young children” in what amounted to "family neglect". The three month sentence was suspended for 2 years, if the child is absence from school within this period the parents will be sent to prison. The child, who attends the College of Santa Ana Alcoy, missed a total of 17 days during the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 terms.  The prosecutor commented that the parents had "ignored demands by the City Council Social Services Alcoy to ensure the child attended school." 

Free books

A budget of 31.3 million euros has been set by the Government for school books in 2008. More than 160,000 students will benefit from next years grants, which see´s an increase of 49.39% on this year. In the current 2007-08 school year 97,000 students in the first and second year of primary benefited from the grants. According to the Education Ministry the scheme "will be expanded gradually to cover the remaining Elementary and SCS levels," and eventually school books will be free for all children.

Vaccine for cervical cancer

A cervical cancer vaccine will be included in the vaccination schedule for girls in the Communitat from 2008. The drug, called Gardasil, has been available to buy from private pharmacies across the province for the last two weeks, but not a single dose has been sold. The college of Pharmacists of Valencia attribute the lack of demand to the fact that the vaccine is "something new" and little is known about it and because "at 465 euros per course it is very expensive". The Ministry of Health intends to include the vaccine in the schedule for girls from next year, when it will be paid for by the Public Health Service. Although the age at which girls will receive the vaccine has not been confirmed officials suggest that 13 would be appropriate and are considering visiting schools to administer the drug. Cervical cancer is the second most common tumor among women, according to data provided by the Ministry of Health. Around 77 women die each year in the Valencian Community from the disease.

More parking spaces

Xativa city will have a thousand new parking spaces by the 2010. Mayor, Alfonso Rus  revealed plans at the official opening of the new underground car park in Ausias March. Residents have bought the majority of the 116 spaces for 9,700 euros, payable over a twenty year period. Rus explained " more work is desperately needed, there are plans  to provide more parking in other parts of the city to help reduce congestion on our streets and provide our citizens with adequate parking. Future projects  focus on the construction of car parks in Callixtus III and Plaça de Sant Jaume.

Fun without the racket!

A public campaign in Alzira aims to reduce noise pollution in the town at night. “Fun without Disturbing” is the latest in City Council initiatives to reduce late night rowdiness in the town centre.Youth Councillor, Carolina Lillo, stressed that the campaign is intended to raise awareness of both young and old people out in the town at night to the disturbance they unconsciously create for residents living in the area. Lillo continued " we hope that this campaign will serve as an example of civic behaviour and demonstrate that differences between residents can be reconciled. "

L'Alcudia reduces car tax by 90%

L'Alcudia Town council is set to reduce car tax for drivers of environmentally friendly cars by up to 90%. The L'Alcudia authorities are offering a 90% tax cut on cars with lower emissions.  This new incentive runs in conjunction with central Government plans do away with car registration tax on all environmentally friendly cars from January 2008. The tax cut is just one of the many initiatives to reduce the town’s carbon footprint.

L'Alcudia is also home to a biodiesel fuel processing plant and has one of the first bio diesel filling stations. The El Serrallo petrol station distributed more than 65,000 litres of biofuel in 2006.

Euribor falls in October

The euribor has fallen for the first time in two years, ending the month of October at 4.647%. The recent crisis in the United States and Europe forced central banks to increase the cost of lending. Experts are suggesting that the recent dip in rates could be a new trend which will be a great relief for those looking to apply for mortgages and for those who have borrowed on flexible rates. Government Vice President of Economics, Pedro Solbes, broke traditional discretion on the matter when he said the Euribor "has peaked, "the feeling is that it could possibly go lower".

Pool activities

Picassent swimming pool is offering courses for pregnant women, babies and OAP’s. Pregnant women can attend classes aimed at making labour easier and there are swimming activities for babies and children from 6 months to three years. There will be swim therapy classes aimed at increasing mobility in the over 60’s.


The fundraising Halloween Street Party held at Rio Narcea, Castalla International was a great success. It was attended by 80 English guests and 20 Spanish guests.

 The weather was bright and sunny for all the games during the day.

The evening party was enjoyed by everyone despite it being a little chilly.

The Tombola was a great success, as was the auction which was carried out by Michael DeCarlo from Caudete. Michael is an ex-Rotarian as is Peter Cunliffe and they are now considering forming a Rotary Club in the area. Michael has given Peter a race-track which was used successfully to raise money at this event and hopefully will be used at many others in the future. Janet won the exciting horse race and was generous enough to donate half of her winnings back to the Guatemalan Village Appeal. The BBQ and lashing of Halloween punch added to the success of the night.

The weekend before Halloween two parties were held in Onil at  Bar Alexandre & Bar El Parque  to raise funds for the appeal. Chas and Mally kindly donated lots of   prizes for the Tombola and offered to play free of charge, unfortunately Charles was taken into hospital and was unable to appear, we wish him a speedy recovery. D.J.Malcom stepped in to take their place and performed all night free of charge and helped to create a great atmosphere.

 Groups of young Spanish Trick or 'Treaters  came to the event with Councillor Sue McKenzie, who actively encourages  Spanish /English relations. The whole days event raised  €1,015.00.

This is great for the village and when Peter & Teresa return to the village in January 2008 for 4 months, they will send reports of how the money is being put to good use for the entire village.

Peter & Teresa would also like to say a big thank you  to everyone who has supported this wonderful cause and would like to especially thank Brian & Rita, Mo & Keith who wrote a song especially for the evening. Beryl & Geoff and all the neighbours without who's help the event would not have been possible.

Free movies for kids

Torrent City Council has arranged a programme of free movies for children between the ages of 3 and 12 to be shown every Sunday throughout the autumn and winter months. "The main objective is to promote and develop values of friendship, solidarity, tolerance, coexistence and fellowship in children through films" said Councillor for Culture, Modesto Munoz.

Mushrooms Galore

Picking mushrooms has become alternative weekend entertainment for families in the Sierra de Enguera region. It is not unusual to see around 300 people on the mountains seeking out the valuable fungus. The attraction of Canal Navarrés is the superior quality of the mushrooms which have a individual flavour like no other. Environment councillor Jose Simon said the present weather conditions  "leads us to believe the mushrooms will last right through until Christmas." Figures suggest that in one day nearly 1,000 kilograms of mushrooms are collected on the mountains, attracting visitors from far and wide, resulting in traffic jams at prime picking spots. The department for the Environment advises that anyone wishing to pick mushrooms should collect them in a wicker basket which allows the spores to fall through back to the ground and to cut the mushrooms at the stalk, both methods help to ensure good crops for the following year. Jose Simon stressed the need to "take care on the mountains, as it is open hunting season."

Four injured in house fires

Four people were injured in house fires in Valencia, Mislata, L’Alcudia and Sagunto over the bridge weekend. Two of the victims suffered burns and others suffered from smoke inhalation. Three women and one man, were injured in two house fires in Valencia and Mislata. They were later transferred to La Fe Hospital after inhaling smoke and suffering 1st and 2nd degree burns. A married couple were injured after their kitchen caught fire in their house in A fire on the fourth floor of an apartment block in L'Alcudia was quickly extinguished by fire crews from Alzira. No one was inured.

Filling the tank costs more

The cost of filling your tank now costs 5 to 6 euros more than it did one year ago. The price of fuel in the Valencian Comunitat is more  expensive than any other communitat in Spain. Unleaded 95 costs, on average, 1.07 euros per litre across the country, where as in the Valencian Comunitat it is 1.10, making a tank of fuel around 2 euros more expensive than anywhere else in the country. A recent Oil Bulletin from the European Union showed an increase of 10.8% over the last 12 months. The costly fuel coincides with rises in crude oil and the growing demand for oil in China and India which threatens to keep oil prices  high for the foreseeable future.

300 fined in one night

Local Police in Valencia fined 300 motorcyclists during the Valencia Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo circuit at Cheste. Police sources have revealed that from Friday evening until Saturday morning officers carried out nearly 4,000 inspections on the outskirts of the city. The purpose of the checks was to control the speed of motorbikes into the city and reduce noise pollution. Officers carried out 3,943 random checks of which 251 were fined for not wearing a helmet, not carrying insurance documents or for excessive noise levels. Officers fined a further 49 riders for "serious misconduct" mostly involving excessive noise and confiscated bikes which had been illegally modified.

CNC investigate food prices

The 3.6% rise in inflation has caused concerns for the National Competition Commission (CNC). The price of basic foodstuffs have skyrocketed in Spain in recent months, along with petroleum products, putting inflation at intolerable levels and causing Government concern. CNC Inspectors are investigating the food sector to identify whether there has been a case of "collective recommendation" of prices increases amongst market leaders. President of the CNC stated "sanctions will only be applied if there is a proof that there has been an infringement of competition law." The Federation of Consumers in Action (Facua) are expected to complete results from a recent milk survey next week. The federation has also been following the price of eggs and meat since August. The new CNC is viewed as vigilant in acting on behalf of the consumer following the recent investigation into the “rounding up” of mobile phone bills by Movistar, Vodafone and Orange.

Free bus for students

Elche Town hall has launched a campaign to offer free transport for students aged between 4 and 26. The town hall has distributed leaflets to residents informing them of the scheme. Students interested in the travel system must complete and return the application form and will be required to pay 4 euros towards to the cost of producing the travel card. The cards, which last 4 years, will be sent directly to schools for distribution. The town hall estimates that 60,000 people will benefit from the scheme which is expected to come into action before the end of the year.

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