Inland News100 28-03-2008

Zapatero urged to "put the brakes on"

Zapatero has been urged to recognise the economic crisis in Spain and is advised to "put the brakes on".  Spokesman for the Popular Economics parliamentary group, Jose Mari Olano called upon central government to "curb the economic crisis" and "recognize the seriousness of the economic situation facing our country at this time.” Mari said "data shows that Spain has suffered the largest fall within the construction sector over the past few months within Europe" and added that growth in mortgage lending "has nearly halved in the last 12 months." In his view, "Zapatero has concealed the real situation in Spain, hidden problems and fooled Spaniards with lies." Mari said that the PP "will not allow the same mistakes to be repeated during the next four years."


The World renowned singer, songwriter, ROD STEWART, will be performing his greatest rock classics of all time in the Campo de Futbol Juan Rojas in Almeria on May 30th, 2008. With over 40 years of countless hit albums and singles, Stewart is considered one of the world's most successful and popular artists of all time.
"From brash pub-rocker to sophisticated balladeer, from soul man to folk troubadour to rock & roller, Stewart has been able to change sound and style over and over again. But one thing thats never changed is the power of his singing after 4 decades".

Don't miss this rare chance to see Rod Stewart in concert in his only live performance in Spain in 2008.

For more information call: (0034) 636 627 454  Tel:902 15 00 25

Lowest number of deaths recorded over Easter of the decade

For the first time in ten years the number of people killed in traffic accidents during the Easter weekend has fallen. Two people were killed in the Valencia Comunitat over the four day holiday compared with ten in 2007. The national figure was also down from 103 in 2007 to 63 this year. This is the first time in ten years the figure has fallen below 100.

The emergency services received 31,412 calls during the holidays, 670 related to traffic accidents.

Flood lit chimneys
The recently restored Industrial chimneys in Ontinyent have become a night time attraction. The once rather unsightly towers now project an illumination of light after dark. According to Ontinyent Mayor, “these lights will change colour in unison on all the chimneys in Ontinyent creating a wonderful and very different feature of the urban landscape of the town, whilst retaining memories of its industrial past”. Three different coloured lights have been placed on the chimneys, white, blue and gold and will alternate every 15 minutes until 1am in the morning. As various on going chimney restoration projects are completed they will be added to the display. The lights will be turned on at dusk every night until 1am.


Soccer Solidarity Campaign
A Soccer Solidarity Campaign named “A ball, a smile” has been launched to raise funds for a humanitarian trip to towns in the Republic of Guinea, one of the poorest countries in Africa. More than 20 people from Ontinyent, Bocairent, Cocentaina, Alcoy, Muro and Djibril Camara footballer for C.D Contestanto, are involved in the project. The idea is to build a new football campus in Guinea where players will teach local children skills and knowledge of the sport. The trip is planned for August 2008, so organisers are collecting second hand clothes, school supplies and medicines all of which are in short supply in Guinea. Initially 15,000 euros must be raised for the purchase and shipping of materials.

The project would gladly welcome donations including clothes, sanitary materials, gauzes, bandages, plasters, aspirin, disinfectants and paracetamol, school materials or sports equipment. If you can help or would like more information visit or call 667 237 250. Donations can be made in the CAM bank account number 2090 1111 10 0040441838.

Nine escape house fire
Two mothers had a narrow escape when they had to climb down the drain pipe of a nearby property with their three young children after their home caught ablaze last Saturday morning. Brave Maria, from Romania, told Spanish newspaper Las Provincias "We thought that no one was coming to help us, so we had no choice but to take our children and climb down the drain pipe.” The fire took hold in a property in Calle Tomas Valls, where nine Romanians were living. There were no reported casualties and crews from Ontinyent and Alzira were able to control the fire quickly. The cause is believed to have been an electrical short circuit on the first floor. 

Elche builder scam
A court has called for a two year prison sentence for an Elche builder after he cheated a local couple and businesses out of more than 150,000 euros. Rafael SG and Monica LG contracted Andres AG to build them a house in February 2000 for which they paid 135,680 euros. Andres AG subcontracted builders and concrete suppliers who he failed to pay. The prosecutor is requesting that the court apply a 30 month sentence.

Official documents found at tip
Official documentation has been discovered dumped at an illegal tip in Montserrat according to Gent d'Esquerres. The paperwork contained payroll and personal information, it is thought that the documents may have been dumped there by an ex employee of a local Notary. Gent d'Esquerres councillor, Alberto Font, said " it is a very serious incident" and a "clear breach of the Data Protection Act." Among the documents were payroll information from local pharmacies. The tip has been a constant topic of confrontation between the council and residents.

The PSPV warn of 200 illegal villas
The PSPV has warned that there are over 200 illegal villas within a 32 square kilometre area of La Pobla de Vallbona. Party spokesman Guillermo Garcia explained that the situation was due to "negligence and inefficiency of the Partido Popular throughout its 20 year management of the town." This means that many residents lack the most basic of public services such as asphalt roads, lighting or sewage and as a result "the environmental impact is brutal." The socialist group has asked the Mayor, Mari Carmen Contelles, of the Partido Popular, "to closely monitor applications to build smaller constructions such as tool sheds as these eventually become a family home equipped with a pool, garden and all the comforts of a second home.” The PSPV considers it to be unfair to legalise these properties when others have applied through the correct procedures to construct properties.

Cheerful plants
The Vila in Alzira is being decorated with flowers ready for the arrival of spring. Alzira Town Hall has replanted 45 containers that were last used over Christmas. The containers are now planted with beautiful spring plants including geraniums, hydrangeas and floral ivy. Councillor, Lola Ortega, explained, “We want Alzira to be in all its glory during the spring, which is why all the planters in the villa have been replaced with colourful and cheerful flowers.”

Businesses targeted
Businesses located in industrial parks in Cocentaina have suffered a spate of burglaries. Six companies in the Avenida del Pais Valencia and San Jaime region have been targeted this month. The assailants escaped with around 2,700 euros in cash and caused considerable damage. Police believe those responsible may have connections with 12 burglaries in the Alcudia area recently. People have expressed their anger and feeling of helplessness as the Guardia Civil continue with their investigations. Cocentaina Town Hall has shown concern about the recent thefts and has announced that two more officers will join the town’s force and night time patrols will be increased. Burglaries in the Gormaig urbanization have also risen and residents have requested that surveillance cameras are installed and controlled by police.

Road works completed in June
Road works along Avenida del Textil in Ontinyent are coming to an end. According to  the town hall the road will be reopened in April. The 570,000 euro project has improved one of the main entrances in to the city via the industrial area. Two additional lanes for traffic have been created and a cyclists and pedestrians path.

New Tourist information centre
Alcoy has opened a new tourist information centre in the former dye factory ‘San Jorge’ in the Barxell river bed. The new office called ‘Explora’ serves as a museum and tourist information centre where tourists can find out about the history, nature, industry, traditional festivals and even the latest technology of the city. The project has involved the investment of more than one million euros by the Generalitat Valenciana. Guided visits include an audiovisual presentation taking in old and new sites of interest around the city.  Traditional fiestas such as Belen de Tirisiti, La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos and the Moors and Christian fiesta are also included in the presentation.

Uninsured drivers beware
Civil Guard officers patrol the roads day in, day out in the hunt for uninsured cars and vans. There are only a dozen of these patrols in Spain including the one in Valencia. Patrol cars are fitted with a specialised camera which can read registration plates from 10 metres away and can confirm within seconds if the vehicle is insured. The camera can take readings whilst travelling at 90kph although officers have reported taking a reading from a vehicle travelling at 200kph in the opposite direction. Not even bad weather or poor light can prevent the camera from reading a registration plate, although officers admit that failure on the part of insurance companies to update their databases promptly can result in insured drivers being stopped. The camera can store more than 50 million compressed images and could be used for tracking cars without ITV or vehicles of a particular interest to the police. During the first month of tests officers checked 62,000 cars which resulted in 130 fines. The Department of Traffic and insurance companies estimate that about two million vehicles driving on Spanish roads do not have insurance.

Seven walks of discovery
A network of walks along protected land in L’Ombria, Benicadell is now open to the public. Visitors can discover this beautiful part of the Vall d’Albaida along seven routes covering natural and cultural heritage in the area. The routes pass through many towns including Salem, Rafol de Salem, Beniatjar, Otos, Belgida and Albaida. The 75,000 euro project aims to show visitors historic features including natural snow fridges and castles.   Each route has a site of interest including those listed below.
- Ràfol de Salem - former tree nursery: ecosystem nursery where trees were planted for reforestation. - Beniatjar - Pico Benicadell:  ancient snow fridges, great views.
- Otos - Alt del Moro: traditional crops of the region, Carbonera Castle and beautiful rocky caves. - Bèlgida - Carrícola - Font Freda: traditional crops, Castle Carrícola, Font del Melero and Font Freda.
- Albaida - Atzeneta d'Albaida - Former farmlands, ancient buildings, abandoned quarries, agricultural mosaic.
- Port d'Albaida - Pico Benicadell: impressive historical complex "Neveres de Carcaixent” and “Corral de Don Miguel".


The most expensive Falla  gone in 10 minutes
'Cuento Cuento' the Falla from the Nou Campanar area of Valencia City was the biggest and most expensive in Fallas history. The mammoth monument took first place in the Fallas 2008 competition and was the last to be burnt outside the Valencian Town hall on the “Nit de la Crema”. The 900,000 euro monument, which depicted fairy tale characters, took just 10 seconds to burn marking the end of the Fallas 2008 in Valencia city centre.

America’s Cup shelved for two more years
A WHITE-WATER head-to-head between the top two America’s Cup teams will take place next year as a result of a long-winded legal tussle. Swiss team Alinghi, winner of 2007’s Cup, tried to claim New Zealand’s BMW Oracle’s position of Challenger of Record was invalid. BMW Oracle counter-claimed 10 million euros for financial losses.
This was because the 33rd America’s Cup was due to be held in Valencia in 2009 – two years earlier than originally planned - but the wrangling in courts meant that there was not enough time to go ahead. The 34th America’s Cup will now take place in Valencia in 2011. In the meantime, next year’s event – the 33rd America’s Cup – will be a direct confrontation between Alinghi and BMW Oracle. However, the decision to host the 2011 competition in Valencia will not be affected by the outcome.

Fallas see 97 hospitalised in one night
THIS year’s Fallas brought commotion with hundreds hospitalised and more than just the monuments going up in flames. A whopping 44 wheelie bins and eight cars caught fire in the city of Valencia on Wednesday, March 19 when the fallas were set alight. Two lorries were the first to burn when the cremà started just after midnight. Next, 864 people were attended to by emergency medical staff. Most of the victims suffered injuries ranging from minor bruising to serious wounds. A further 45 sustained burns, 62 were treated for foreign bodies in their eyes and several more for panic attacks. A staggering 516 people fainted and had to be seen to by paramedics. Red Cross staff say a total of 97 people were taken to hospital for various reasons. They say 16 ambulances and 89 volunteers were on hand in the early hours of Thursday morning in the town hall square alone. However, sources from the town hall say the number of casualties had fallen by around 12 per cent in comparison with 2007’s Fallas.

Speed-merchants to receive fines online
CHILLING news from the ministry of traffic could cause motorists’ hearts to leap into their mouths each time they open their email boxes. According to the Dirección General de Tráfico, within just a few months driving fines could be sent to offenders by email.
They say this will cut down on time and administration and guarantee that motorists who have committed infractions will receive notice of their fines. Head of the DGT, Pere Navarro, says letters sent to drivers often go astray or are simply binned. Furthermore, the process of sending notification in writing of offences takes around three months and is expensive. Navarro hopes the system will be up and running before the end of this year. Speeding is one of the major causes of serious and fatal accidents on Spanish roads.
Guardia Civil officers upped vigilance in the Alicante and Valencia provinces over Easter with the massive rise in traffic volume due to the long bank holiday weekend.

10,000 poor people in the Comunitat will receive help
Around 10,000 people who meet the requirements of being ‘poor’ in the Comunitat will receive payments of between 373 and 603 euros thanks to the Guaranteed Citizenship Income, which comes into force from March 25. It is intended to promote employment, social integration and training activities. Payments will be assessed on an individual basis. “We do not want citizens to become dependent on social services and have no motivation to find a job. We do not believe in the policy of subsidiary” explained the general Family director, Carolina Martinez. The new Citizenship Income replaces the former Economic Benefits (PER), which in 2007 was awarded to 2,475 Comunitat families. Citizens aged between 25 and 65 can make applications for the grant at town halls or at the Department of Social Welfare.

Education in English
The Minister of Education, Alejandro Font de Mora, has announced that children will be able to choose to take philosophy, geography and history classes in English from September. The courses in English will be available to secondary school students from September and extended to primary classes in 2009-10. The minister indicated that the Valencian government is investigating how many teachers are qualified to give classes in English, and how many would be willing to teach in a foreign language.

ETA car bomb explodes on Good Friday
A car bomb detonated on Good Friday by ETA contained 70 kilograms of explosive material. The bomb exploded outside a Guardia Civil barracks, in Calahorra in northern Spain, after a warning call from Basque separatists. Spanish media reported that the area was cleared before the bomb exploded and only one officer was treated for a minor injury. A blue Honda was stolen at gunpoint just hours before the attack. ETA was blamed for the killing of a former councillor in the Basque region two days before the Spanish general election earlier this month.

Snow forces road closures
Several major road networks were closed to traffic due to heavy snow over the Easter weekend. Many drivers were advised to use snow chains in particularly treacherous areas in the north of Spain. According to the General Directorate of Traffic many northern towns were badly affected by snow including Palombera, Burgos, Cantabria and Vegarada in Leon. Weather conditions deteriorated over the weekend affecting mostly the Asturias and Cantabria regions.

Free bikes in Valencia
People in Valencia will be able to travel through the city in a quick, economic and environmentally friendly way thanks to a new bike rental system. There will be 1,500 bikes available for hire from 150 bike rental stations situated around the town. All bikes will be connected to a GPS system so the rider will know exactly where they are at all times. You can apply for a yearly swipe card or rent bikes on an hourly basis. A similar system operating Barcelona and Sevilla charges just 24 euros for a year pass although Valencia Town Hall has not confirmed charges. The system will be introduced around the city at the end of the summer.

 9,000 flock to new Valencia Zoo
More than 9,000 visitors flocked to the new zoo in Valencia in just one day. The Bioparc opened its doors on February 28 and since then it has become a major tourist attraction culminating in a record breaking open day on March 22. Hundreds of people queued for up to 90 minutes to see the animals in ‘immersion’ habitats. The zoo has areas dedicated to African and Madagascan environments to ensure animals are kept in conditions as close to their natural habitats as possible. In recent weeks the park has welcomed many new species including a five year old African elephant called Jambo and hopes to eventually increase the number of animals to 4,000. Entrance to the zoo costs 20€ per adult, 15€ for children between 4 and 12, children under 3 are free. For more information visit

Man dies after falling from ferry
The body of a Morrocan man was pulled out of the sea between Valencia and Palma de Majorca. A Maritime Rescue helicopter was called after a man travelling on the Iscomar ferry, Mercedes Sea, fell from the ship’s safety rail. The body was found 21 miles off the Valencian coast and taken to Ibiza. The ferry was 2 hours late docking at Palma de Majorca.

Free spectacles for under 3’s
The Ministry of Health plans to subsidize glasses for children up to the age of three years from September. According to Manuel Cervera of the Health Ministry the five million euro project will be extended to incorporate children up to the age of 6 by 201. The Ministry of Health is currently finalizing negotiations with the College of Optometrists to supply free glasses to all children under 3 in compliance with the PP’s election promises. The Minister of Health stressed that the decree could be published before the summer and begin from September. Cervera explained that in Valencia 41,000 children under the age of six suffer visual problems which cause problems in 15% of primary school students.
The Ministry of Health estimates that from September free glasses will be available for children under three years, in 2009 and by 2011 all children up to the age of six year olds.


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