Inland News99 14-03-2008


Zapatero wins another four year term

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero promised a new era in Spanish politics, after winning another four year term in office. Zapatero thanked supporters saying "The Spanish people have spoken clearly and have decided to open a new period without tension, without confrontation." A Party spokesman said the win endorsed the prime minister's liberal reforms - including a gender-equality law, fast-track divorces and same-sex marriages - which have been fiercely opposed by the Roman Catholic Church. It is expected that Mr Zapatero will start his new term by announcing measures to boost growth and jobs as inflation in Spain hits a 10 year high and unemployment figures are the highest this century. Despite failing to win by an absolute majority his Socialist Party won 169 seats, five more than in the last election. Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party won 153 seats. Turnout on voting night was 75.3%, just below the 75.6% recorded at the last elections.

Dog poop campaign
A rather humorous and effective campaign has been launched by Sax Environmental Council. Anyone failing to scoop the poop will be fined 100 euros. Owners of guide dogs or other kinds of animals such as cats are also being asked to try and prevent soiling in public areas. The word is... NOT TO POO ON THE STREETS!


ETA’s most wanted

Police and Civil Guard in Spain have released a new poster with 6 photos of ETA’s most wanted. Over 46,000 copies of the poster will be distributed in Spain and a further 30,000 in France. It is the first poster campaign of its kind urging people to come forward with information about the 6 terrorists.



HOLLYWOOD starlet Gwynneth Paltrow claims paella is one of her favourite dishes – and she showed off her culinary flair at a Valencia restaurant last week.
After a visit to the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias, the actress, who is married to Coldplay member Chris Martin, was guided through the complex process of making paella at the La Matandeta de Alfafar restaurant in Valencia.
She met up with minister for tourism, Angèlica Such, at the state-of-the-art museum complex and declared that she was ‘really looking forward to getting to know Valencia’.
“I now understand why paella is the most famous dish in the world,” reveals the Shakespeare in love Oscar-winner.
Gwynneth hopes to promote the region in her home country, where she will present a documentary featuring Valencia’s attractions and traditional cuisine.
The show, titled Spain on the road again, is due to be aired shortly in the USA and was being filmed live in the city last week.
Valencia welcomed more than 52,000 US tourists last year, mainly thanks to the America’s Cup.


SKIRTS worn by falleras are ‘the most unattractive in the world’, according to Valencia’s mayoress. Rita Barberá told reporters this week: “I don’t understand why they wear those skirts so wide. It’s not attractive.”
Explaining why she wanted to reduce the weight of the costumes and get rid of crinoline hoops, Barberá said: “Girls these days have such slim figures and there’s no need for all that skirt. “I want to see them narrower and more vertical.
“Those crinoline hoops that they still wear – it’s the most unattractive thing in the world.”
A fallera costume has to be hand-made and can cost between 3,000 and 4,000 euros, revealed one girl who takes part in the parades every year.


IKEA may soon open in Valencia, meaning residents on the north Costa Blanca will no longer have to make the hike Murcia to visit the popular Swedish furniture store.
President of Spain’s furniture export association, Enrique Pérez, said this week that a store in the city would be ‘a great source of wealth’. He said Ikea particularly appealed to the young, since its wares are affordable but trendy.
The Murcia store has been flooded with visitors since it opened two years ago since expatriates setting up home again from scratch are fond of its reasonably-priced household goods.Planning permission to set up in the shopping centre in Alfafar, near Valencia, was granted in 2005 but later rejected.Now, however, proposals have been reopened.

Funeral of 5 year old

Relatives attended the funeral of 5-year-old Mari Luz Cortes in Huelva, southern Spain, on Monday, March 10, 2008. The child had vanished back in January when she went out to a newspaper stand to buy potato chips and her body was discovered on March 7.

"For Freedom, No to ETA"
Supporters of Isaias Carrasco came out in force during a demonstration held in his memory in the Basque town of Mondragon, northern Spain, Monday, March 10, 2008. Those leading the demonstration held a banner reading "For Freedom, No to ETA",Carrasco, a former town councilor from the Socialist party, was shot dead Friday by a suspected ETA gunman in Mondragon.

Spanish King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega and Development Minister Magdalena Alvarez visited the monument to the victims of the Madrid 2004 terror bombings in Atocha train station, Madrid, on Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Tuesday marked the Islamic terror bombings that killed 191 people at Madrid train stations four years ago.

A WOMAN who kidnapped the child she cared for because his mother owed her money has been arrested. National Police in Valencia say the 34-year-old childminder kept her charge, two, hostage for a week when his mother did not pay her wages.
Neighbours in the Ruzafa district of the city raised the alarm when they heard the mother, 29, screaming hysterically from inside her home.Officers had to negotiate with the carer when they tracked her down to her home so that she would hand over the child. She is being held in police custody for questioning.

A SUSPECT package turned out to be a hair-raising discovery in Alicante port this week. Security forces cordoned off the area when they detected what they believed to be an explosive device in the early hours of Thursday morning.According to witnesses, a box was discovered abandoned on top of a sawn-off palm-tree and was taken away by detonation experts.However, on inspecting the contents, it was revealed the box contained a harmless wig.Regional authorities refused to comment on the incident when questioned.

‘DOG therapy’ is proving a huge success among prisoners in Valencia.Abandoned pets are being cared for and trained by inmates at Picassent jail as part of the latters’ reform programme. In the last five months, eight prisoners – four men and four women – have been training Olaf, a labrador, and Fiono, a cross-bred. The dogs were handed over to their new owners this week. Olaf will be a guide dog for a wheelchair-bound person and Fiono will live in a centre for disabled persons in Manises.Animal charity ARCADYS, which is behind the project, said is had been successful for all parties – human and canine.A spokeswoman revealed that the dogs were always greeted with ‘hugs and kisses’ by the inmates. Two more dogs have been brought in from ARCADYS for training, Carol and Yukai. Another eight inmates will be in charge of training them, having firstly undergone a short course in canine management.

Guardia Civil officers have seized cocaine with a street value of 18 million euros in Murcia. The drug was hidden in a sports bags in a container of spices shipped from South America. Around 300 kilograms of high purity cocaine were found, during the largest cocaine bust ever undertaken in the Murcia region, in the town of Torres Cabezo. Officers discovered 231 packets of cocaine inside the container which was being transported from the port to a company in Murcia.

Man shot dead in Patraix
A man shot dead in Patraix was known by local police and had a criminal record for possession of weapons, burglary and forging documents. The victim, identified only as Daniel, was shot at close range in an apartment parking garage in the early hours of March 8th. The body was discovered by a couple leaving the apartments at 1.30am. Police have interviewed his girlfriend, family and friends in the hope that they can reconstruct the last few hours of his life. Officers suspect that Daniel was involved in drug related activities and this is likely to have been the reason for his murder. Investigators are also trying to find out why the young man was carrying four mobile phones at the time of his death.

Microlights crashes
Two men were unharmed after their microlight crashed into the lake at Bellus on Saturday, 8th March. Fisherman explained that the light aircraft flew low over the water and then disappeared. Witnesses recalled how one man swam to the shore but left the scene without searching for his companion or calling emergency services. The second man escaped from the wreckage unharmed. It is unclear whether the microlight came from the nearby Benicolet airfield. Police cut a man free after he crashed his microlight in Peñarrubia near Villena on Saturday afternoon. The man became entangled in cables close to houses which caused the microlight to crash. He was cut free and transferred to Elda Hospital for treatment.

60,000 flock to Valencia

More than 60,000 people crowded into the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia for the start of the Fallas celebrations on Sunday. The good weather attracted a large number of people to watch the first of many mascletás. Red Cross volunteers treated 24 people who  fainted and 3 people who were bruised or burnt by falling shells and one person had to be rushed to hospital after suffering chest pains and shortness of breath. The city of Valencia holds one of the most magnificent Fallas celebrations and it is well worth a visit. If you are hoping to visit during fallas week please take note that during the mascletás you should place your fingers in your ears BUT keep your mouth open.

Frost wipes out 2008 crop
Heavy frost during March has caused extensive damage to apricots in many farming towns in the Vall d’Albaida. In some areas all the peach, nectarine and apricot crops have been ruined. In the first nine days of the month the temperature fell as low as -3ºC wiping out much of this years fruit harvest. The Chairman of Valencia Farmers, Cristobal Aguado, called for "speed on the part of insurance experts to ensure that farmers are compensated quickly and with a fair price.”

Car park campsite
Travellers who settled on a site in Albal have moved on leaving the area littered with rubbish and building waste. A convoy of around 30 travellers had set up camp opposite a banqueting hall. The owner of the ‘salon de bodas’ was concerned that the presence of the camp would upset the guests of a wedding due to be held over the weekend. The owner told Las Provincias “I approached the travellers and they told me they would be moving on in two days so I let them stay”.  She continued “These camps damage our image”. Televisions, mattresses, bags of rubbish and building waste were left behind. The car park has been used on several occasions by the travellers to set up a temporary camp.

Mercadona to close the meat counter
Valencian supermarket chain Mercadona is to close all in store deli counters over the next 12 months. Products normally available from the counter will be available to buy in pre packed form. The chain previously closed all fruit and meat counters and is still undecided on the fate of the fish counters. The recent economic downturn has not affected Mercadona who have reported increased profits of 39% on the previous year, to 336 million euros. In 2007 Mercadona opened 87 more supermarkets throughout Spain bringing the total to 1,137. It created 3,000 new jobs and now has 60,000 employees.

Rise in gluten intolerant children
The Comunitat has seen an increase in the number of children under three years old who develop an intolerance to gluten and go on to develop celiac disease. According to Carmen Ribes, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at La Fe hospital in Valencia the number of children suffering has quadrupled in five years. According to Dr. Ribes the increase is caused, in her opinion, by the falling number of breastfeeding mothers. La Fe is developing a European project to prevent celiac disease in infants. It consists of combining breast milk with the introduction of small doses of gluten enabling children to become gluten tolerant from an early age. The study will be carried out in 12 countries across Europe and includes 400 Spanish families.

Three soother manufacturers withdraw products
Soothers made by Bebisana, Vidal and Saro have been withdrawn from the shops following concerns over choking hazards. The following models have been withdrawn and parents should dispose of any currently in use, Bebisana (ref 407, Lot 03/2007), Vidal (ref 354, Lot 02/2007) and Saro (ref 4571) all have teats which can easily be removed. Also clips and brooches for soothers that break easily have also been called back, by: Bebisana (ref pacifier chain with 704) and Selecta toys (pin model 1387). The snap click dummy from Suavinex (CN ref 220939) and brooch with chain by Puppi (21CM/04-07 ref), are both considered choking hazards. Chain porta-soothers from the Carrefour brand, Tex-Baby, is a choking hazard and can trap fingers. Parents should regularly check the condition of soothers and clips ensuring all parts are securely attached.



Car drives off bridge

Police were called after a driver crashed her car off the side of Paduana Bridge on March 2nd. Ontinyent Local Police received a call that a white Mercedes 300 had crashed into a barrier plunged 5 metres to the concrete below. Emergency Services rescued a 31 year old woman and her 33 year old passenger. Both were taken to Ontinyent Hospital and treated for cuts and bruises. It was later discovered that the woman had been driving without a licence.

Underground waste

Lliria Town hall has installed the first underground waste containers in the city. More than 40,000 euros has been invested in the installation of containers for recycling organic waste, paper and cardboard, glass and plastic. Over the next three years the Town Hall will invest a total of 450,000 euros  installing the underground waste containers throughout the ´Centro Comercial Historico´. Lliria Mayor, Manuel Izquierdo explained that the new underground containers “allow us to say goodbye to the traditional plastic waste containers, which are ugly. On the whole this project will improve the image of our streets and help towards making Lliria a cleaner town.”


Neighbourhood Watch

A new police “Neighbourhood Watch” unit has been created in Llíria to increase security in residential areas. Four officers patrol the town, on motorcycles, during morning and afternoon shifts. Mayor Manuel Izquierdo stressed that the initiative "hopes to increase police presence in neighbourhoods and increase the safety of residents". He continued that the objective of this motorcycle unit "is to establish direct contact between the police and residents". Llíria local police have also created a new email crime report system to allow residents to report illegal or abnormal activities. Residents can email any observations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Duathlon Championships
The streets of Ontinyent will host the Spain Duatlón Championships on March 30th. The event was announced at a recent press conference by Arturo Navarro of the Valencia Triathlon Federation and the President of team Prosolia Triatló d'Ontinyent, Alicia Llopis. A total of 300 athletes from all around the country will battle for the title of Spanish Duatlón Champion over the 10 kilometre course.

Intergration of Foreigners
The Town Hall of Lliria has been granted 80,000 euros towards a project aimed at encouraging foreigners to integrate into Spanish life. Lliria Mayor Manuel Izquierdo explained  “it is the first time the Town hall has been granted money for such an important project. The aim is to work within education and social areas to ensure people from other countries have the same opportunities and receive the same treatment as native Spaniards.” The Education department continues to promote the integration of foreign students in schools by providing counselling and educational support. The Town Hall also hopes to allocate newly registered pupils to schools which will best meet their needs. Educational support will also be offered throughout the school holidays, which is a highly valued activity allowing many children to continue learning.

Valenciano Lessons for foreigners
Alzira Town hall has revealed that it will subsidize Valenciano and Spanish lessons for foreign students. Councillor of Education, Anabel Juarez, explained "This program will help schools to integrate foreign children who have been living in Alzira for a short time.” Classes will be held over week long courses and will assist students with both oral and written language proficiency. Students will be able to attend both Valenciano and Spanish classes, depending on their needs.

Generalitat Valenciana invest 667,000 euros
The Generalitat Valenciana has revealed that it intends to invest over half a million euros on business in Villena commercial . Shops in the complex, Querol Y Querol and Murillo Optical have recently been awarded the Excellent Trade recognitions from the Foundation of Calidad Valencia. The Commercial Counsel for Industry and Innovation, Bethlehem Juste visited the centre during a recent visit to the city. Juste stressed that "trade in Villena has adapted well to changes and customers needs by introducing a range of innovations and enhancing its image through advertising".

Traffic accidents reduced
Traffic accidents in Albaida have fallen by 80% during the last 12 months as a result of the instillation of speed bumps and traffic control measures. Chief Inspector of Albaida Local Police, Jordi Rodriguez explained that speed bumps installed at strategic points around the town have helped to slow traffic and prevent accidents. Police in Albaida have reported that they have noticed "more children playing in the streets and parks now. Their parents know that the vehicles are driving through the town at a slower speed. This initiative has not only improved road safety, but the quality of life of residents in the town."

Residents go 72 hours with out water supply
The residents and businesses in Quatretonda were left without water for 4 days after workmen replacing the existing water pipes which dates back to 1964 hit problems.
Mayor  Rafael Benavent, commented  "every time a problem was resolved the next day there would be another malfunction". Local government are looking at ways to make sure that this does not occur again.


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