Inland News 96 01/02/08

Valencia, Comunidad still the most popular with foreigner home buyers

Three out of every ten homebuyers in the Comunitat are foreigners

A study by Expofincas has revealed that 17.39% of home buyers in Spain, during 2007 were foreigners, 2% more than 4 years ago. Purchases by Spaniards fell 2% over the same period. Valencia, Comunidad de Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha are the most popular with foreigner home buyers. Expofincas stressed that the property market is not suffering a crisis and operations in real estate sales continues to "increase". The report, which analyzed sales in major cities throughout Spain over the last four years shows that Valencia saw the highest number of foreigner properties purchases.

Figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that the average mortgage taken out in November in the Comunitat was for 135,000 euros, 12,000 euros below the national average, a fall of 3.87% for the same period in 2006. A total of 13,635 homes were mortgaged in the Comunitat in November last year.

Hunt for Missing Girl

The mother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick has been visiting towns and villages in Alicante and Valencia distributing leaflets with a photo of her daughter. Fifteen year old Amy went missing from her home in Malaga on January 1. Police are looking for a white Ford Fiesta registration number C955 SLK. Anyone with information should call Police on 062.

Local community pull together

The British and Spanish communities joined together to raise money for the Hospital de la Beneficiencia in Ontinyent. The Sisters of Charity gladly accepted the 800 euros from raffle organiser Mike Redfern. ¨ we have doubled the amount we raised

last year, I am very grateful to all the Spanish and English businesses who supported us.¨ A presentation took place at Tisana’s café where Sister Enlightened accepted the cheque on behalf of the hospital and thanked the British community “for remembering the needy in our hospital, especially at this time of the year”. Mike, who runs a monthly Quiz night at Hotel L'Estacio in Bocairent, said ¨we hope to double the figure next time¨. Joan Cambra has acted as an intermediary between the hospital and those who come together every year to raise money for such a worthy cause.

ETA member arrested

French police have arrested ETA member Ainhoa Adin Jauregui in connection with the planting of a bomb in Valencia in 1996 which killed a woman. Adin is an alleged member of ETA group, Commando Ibarla, responsible for bombs in Dénia, Oliva, Altet and explosives found in Xàbia. Three other alleged members Francisco Javier Irastorza, Mark Sagarzazu and Ignacio Telletxea were arrested in August 2007.

Items recovered

Guardia Civil have arrested two people in connection with 30 burglaries from homes and vehicles throughout Spain. According to a statement from Valencia Police Command effects worth 30,000 euros were recovered as the men attempted to leave Xativa in two cars full of stolen items. The men had loaded the vehicles with 110 mobile phones, 10 laptops, four LCD TV’s, a video camera and DVD players. All items will be held at the Guardia Civil in Canals in the coming week for identification. Viewing will take place between 9am and 2pm. A crime report relating to the burglary must be provided before any items can be viewed.

Space for Lenny Kravitz?

Singer, Lenny Kravitz looks set to appear in Valencia this summer. Valencia Council are trying to find a date for the American star in their summer concert schedule. President Alfonso Rus said all "the best tours pass through Europe" we want more to come to Valencia. Valencia City Council hopes that securing a date for Lenny Kravitz will encourage other big names to include Valencia on their tour dates. British band, The Police will be appearing at the City of Valencia' Levante UD on July 2nd. For more information see the what´s on pages


Casa Santonja l'Olleria
Restoration work has begun on the historic “Casa Sontonja” in l’Olleria. The building, which dates back to the nineteenth century will become home to a Glass Museum. A workshop has been created to offer 36 unemployed students the chance to work on the renovation project and learn new skills.

Pregon Carnival Ontinyent

The Pregon fancy dress Carnival in Ontinyent is being held a week later than normal to avoid clashing with the Moors and Christians in Bocairent. The opening ceremony begins on February 9th at 11.30pm in Plaza Major, with 14 stilt walkers and dancers from the Masters Ballet School. The Carnival Queen will lead the parade on her float accompanied by a band. The parade starts at Plaza Mayor and continues along Calle Mayor, Plaza de la Concepcion, Calle Pintor Carlets and finishes in front of the La Lima night club where all participants will get free entry. Organizers, la Associacio d’Amics del Carnestoltes, hope this delay will encourage more people to come and join in the fun.

Parents fear Asbestos at local school

Parents of the IES Sivera Font de canals School intend to remove their children from school until the asbestos levels have been tested. Esther Alventosa, President of the AMPA association (Parents association) explained “I sent 21 letters, in December, to the Territorial Education, the Ministry of Education and the Health Department calling for testing to be carried out, but we have still not received an answer.” The building was constructed in 1994, a time asbestos was not recognized as a toxic substance, "Parents would not send their children knowing they would be breathing in these fibres. I would be happy if I could say that there is no risk, but it is something that until testing is carried out we can not ensure. We are not asking for anything unusual and our attitude is not unreasonable." 

L’Acludia say “NO” to airport

L’Alcudia town hall will not be supporting the proposed airport in Alzira.

Mayor Robert Martinez said “the town hall will not approval the project, we are concerned about noise and pollution and how this will affect residents.”  Studies show that the noise level could reach as high as 60 decibels. A meeting will be held on February 5th to discuss the concerns of the Town hall. President of Alzira Business Association, Jose Villalba says “the installation of the airport will be very positive for the commercial economy.” The main concern is the surrounding community is dense and people are worried about pollution.

European police hunt three suicide bombers

Police and secret service agents are hunting three suicide bombers linked to an Islamist terrorist cell arrested in Barcelona. The three are linked to the jihadist group who were planning an imminent attack on the transport network in Condal. Officers believe the group were also planning a simultaneous attack in France. The terrorist group, based in Barcelona sent the three men to Pakistan for explosives training before they returned to Spain between October and December 2007. Interior Minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, was very cautious when it came to talking about the international connections of the terrorist group in Spain, but commented that "the operation has prevented a serious attack" in several European countries.

Motocross competition suspended

The Jos & Car 2008 Motor cross trials in Albaida have been suspended.

The postponement of the event comes amid confusion over the use of trademarks.  A spokes person for the Murcia Federaciones and the Polaris World Group Estate Agency confirmed “the use of these company names has never been granted, all money paid into the account for this event should be returned.” A spokesman for the Moto Club de Albaida said “This matter is not our responsibility.”

Valencia home to 90,000 Muslims

It is believed that around 90,000 people from Islamic countries live in Valencia, with the majority from North African countries, most notably Morocco and Algeria. The latest figures from the National Statistical Institute (INE) reveals 56,950 Moroccans and 14,725, Algerians have registered as residents in the Valencia region. According to the Presidents of the Higher Islamic Council in Valencia, Said Ratbi, "Almost all of them are Sunnis, a more moderate branch of Islam." Some sources say that there is barely 1% or 2% of Shi'a Muslims in Spain.

Foetus discovered in toilet

A maintenance worker at the Elche General Hospital discovered a human foetus in a toilet at the emergency department. Forensic officers and a medical examiner were called to authorise the removal of the corpse. A 22 year old Romanian girl was later rushed to the hospital with a condition not related to the pregnancy but following an examination doctors identified her as the mother. An Institute of Forensic Anatomical autopsy has confirmed that the female foetus was 25 weeks gestation.

Eleven arrested in the Comunitat for child pornography

A Civil guard officer is one of 51 people arrested for dealing in child pornography on the internet. Investigations began in March 2007 in Cordoba, after police received a tip off about a website offering paedophile images for exchange on the internet. Civil Guard officers spent 10 months tracking those linked with the images and identified 71 internet users living in Spain. Police arrested 51 people residing in 27 Spanish provinces; 11 were arrested in the province of Valencia. Police seized laptops, hard drives and disks containing more than one million images. Spokesperson for the Alicante Government, Encarna Llinares confirmed that a member of the Civil Guard from Alicante was among those arrested.

56 years' imprisonment for sex offenders

Prosecutors have called for a prison sentence of nearly 57 years for a man accused of sexually assaulting and abusing 19 children. Between 2004 and 2006 the accused is alleged to have sexually abused 19 children, 13 of which were minors living in Denia, El Vergel and Altea. The accused, identified only as VSC, is said to suffer from an impulse control disorder as well as being an alcoholic. Prosecutors explained that it causes loss of their ability to understand the correctness of their actions.

Moped licence minimum age rises to 15

The minimum age for riding a motorcycle is to increase from 14 years to 15 years.  Council Ministers have approved plans to increase the age and the introduction of a more stringent application process. From September 1st 2008, youngsters will have to pass a theory and a practical exam. The new regulation stipulates that the minimum age for obtaining a motorcycle licence will be 15 years, and only riders over the age of 18 will be allowed to carry pillion passengers. Ministers hope the move will prevent the deaths of hundreds of motorcycle riders on the roads in Spain each year. According to latest statistics between 3,000 and 4,000 people are killed on Spanish roads every year. To obtain a licence to ride any motorcycle up to 125cc riders will have to pass a theory test and a practical test on a circuit and on the road. Ministers have also reduced the margin for error in the written exams; at least 80% of the questions must be correct.
Driver Kills then claims for damages.  

The parents of a 17 year old boy killed whilst cycling back to a campsite now face a 20,000 euro compensation bill for damages caused during the accident. Enaitz Iriondo was killed after Audi driver; Thomas Delgado hit him at 113 miles per hour on a dirt road in August 2004. His mother explained that her son used a dirt road which ran parallel to the LR-111 as it was a safer route back to the campsite. According to a police technical report Iriondo failed to observe a stop sign and was hit by 43 year old, Delgado. A total claim of 19,952.28 euros has been filed for damages caused to Delgados Audi-A8. The senior prosecutor will "revise the issue" and declare whether new data and technical reports will reveal sufficient evidence to attribute blame to Iriondo and allow another trial to take place.

Drivers face prison sentences.

Civil Guard officers have stopped 180 drivers in the Valencia Province for driving with out a licence in the last 2 months. New traffic regulations introduced on December 2nd set new guidelines for punishment for traffic offences, which included imprisonment for driving without a licence. The guidelines will severely punish drivers who have never taken a test or those still driving after being disqualified. The 180 drivers now face imprisonment of between 3 and 6 months. The General Directorate of Traffic estimates that around 30,000 drivers in Spain do not hold a licence and many more are driving whilst disqualified.

Three new cases of leprosy in Valencia

Three new cases of leprosy were diagnosed in Valencia during 2007 from a total of 14 in Spain, according to data provided by Dr. Jose Ramon Gomez of the San Francisco de Borja Fontilles hospital. Leprosy is an infectious disease that is caused by a germ that likes to live on the skin and nervous system. "It is not a highly contagious disease," says Dr. Gomez, however there is an increased possibility of infection in areas with poor living conditions. The disease is transmitted via the respiratory tract so when a person suffering with leprosy "coughs, sneezes or talks the germ becomes airborne. Generally, only people predisposed to contracting the illness may become infected."  The hospital held various activities to commemorate the World Day of Leprosy on January 27th
Mosques urge children to leave class for Friday prayers

During the Third National Congress in Torrent, members of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) distributed application forms to parents authorizing children to leave school early to attend prays on a Friday. Ihab Fahmy, of the UCIDE explained that according to the law passed in 1992, Muslim pupils are exempt from attending lessons and examinations during the hours of prayer and mandatory "festivities and religious celebrations." he went on to say  "Many Muslims are unaware that this law exists and we intend to publicize it." The leader of the Union of Islamic Communities in Valencia (UCIDVAL) explained, Muslim children can leave school on a Friday between 1.30pm and 4.30pm to pray,  under the same ruling Muslims workers can stop work for prays on a Friday and on religious holidays.

Council announces plans for the new Pont de Sant Vicent

The secretary of infrastructures, Victoriano Sanchez, announced during a recent visit to Ontinyent that the long awaited bridge “Pont de Sant Vicent” will be open during 2009. The Pont de Sant Vicent will offer a vital connection between the CV-650 and CV-81 and the industrial estates. The city has been awaiting the construction of the bridge for 15 years and now work is expected to start after the summer. Over the years many reasons have prevented the bridge from becoming a reality and even in the final hour designs have been altered to incorporate a four lane road as opposed to the two lanes originally intended. With the recent announcement of the construction of the city’s new hospital in the vicinity the construction of the bridge has become even more important.

Tirant – The Super Computer

The University of Valencia has one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

“Tirant” is one of the top 500 most powerful computers in the world and the seventh largest integrated into the Spanish Supercomputing network. The super computer has the scientific power equivalent of 512 conventional computers. Although its size is not spectacular, the calculations it can perform are immense and now researchers have a tool to work on finding solutions to problems that are impossible calculate with an ordinary computer. The Tirant is installed on the campus of Burjassot and will be used for the study of proteins, drug design; DNA; climate change and more. General secretary of Science and Technology, Francis Marcellán, explained that the capability of the computer not only offers benefits to the world of science, "but is an investment in society." The supercomputer installed at the University of Valencia cost 1.2 billion euros.  

Castellón de Rugat in the guide books

Castellón de Rugat has been included in the official tourist information guide. According to Mayor, Miguel Canyon main guides and publications promoting tourism in the Valencia region assist councils in applying for grants. The Mayor also explained that the City Council had improved pathway sign posts and this has been another key factor in promoting rural tourism in the Vall d'Albaida town.


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