Latest News Issue 107 04-07-08


Spains Fernando Torres celebrates with the trophy after winning the Euro 2008 final between Germany and Spain in the Ernst-Happel stadium in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, June 29, 2008. The squad celebrated the country´s first major trophy in 44 years in an exuberant homecoming parade at Madrid´s Plaza Colon on June 30th. One million ecstatic fans chanted "Si, si, si la copa ya esta aqui" (Yes, yes, yes the cup is now here) as the team´s open top bus made its way along Madrid´s main Paseo de la Castellana.
(AP Photo/ Bernat Armangue)

General News

First Guardia Civil plane

The first ever Guardia Civil aircraft has been unveiled by Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba at the Torrejon de Ardoz airbase in Madrid. The fixed wing aircraft will be operated by the Guardia Civil Air Service for border control and in the battle against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. At present the Air Service has a total of 37 helicopters, the new aircraft will extend the patrol area and increase the number of hours spent on surveillance along the Spanish coastline.

Sales to ease the crisis 

Retailers look to "more aggressive" sales campaigns and better discounts in an attempt to drum up business. The unpredictability of shoppers over recent years has left shop owners questioning if summer and winter sales actually make a difference to spending.  President of the Association of Consumers and Users in Valencia (Avacu), Fernando Moner said, ¨many establishments are holding a lot of stock, which may result in discounts of over 50% being slashed off current prices.  

Traffic Sense

According to a recent study by car insurance company ARAG a concerning number of Spanish drivers are unaware of traffic laws, speed limits in urban streets and the new Penal Code - which makes it an offence to drive in excess of 200kph on motorways and 110kph on smaller roads, although 90% of the 4,000 people surveyed said they supported the new law.  Valencian drivers were identified as being the worst when it came to know and adhering to speed limits. Thirty five percent of those questioned considering it unlikely they would get caught for speeding- not surprising when you consider in the  whole of Spain there are only 300 fixed speed radars, the same number as in the city of London.

Queen's Birthday Celebrated in true British Style

The UK Ambassador, Denise Holt CMG hosted a stylish reception for the UK national day on Friday evening (20 June). Set at the Ambassador's residence, hundreds of guests including many VIPs were entertained by the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and 'summer fete' games.

The party, in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 82nd birthday, also celebrated the deep and extensive ties between the UK and Spain in this special year. The bicentenary of the Spanish War of Independence and the centenary of the British Chamber of Commerce make this year one which reminds us all of the history that unites the two countries. Spain and the UK are united today as well, with strong levels of investment and trade between our countries and of course the continuing popularity of Spain as a tourist destination for British people, and increasingly as a country of choice for British nationals to live and work in.

The Ambassador said

'Relations between Spain and the UK have never been better. Spain was the largest investor in the UK in 2006 and commercial ties are very strong. Spain and the UK share the same vision of open markets, competition and solidarity with the poorest nations. This is a great moment to be British Ambassador. I am delighted that so many people are here to enjoy the party and celebrate both the Queen's birthday and the warm and fruitful partnership our countries enjoy.'

Many left without healthcare

A total of 1,600 British nationals living in the Comunidad, who have taken early retirement in Spain have lost their entitlement to free health care under the Spanish healthcare system. British ex-pats who are not pensioners, do not make social security contributions in Spain or may have accessed free healthcare with a “legislation letter” from Newcastle will no longer receive free health care under the Law on Health Insurance. According to Health Ministry sources the implementation of a new computer system "is allowing us to accurately identify patients, which helps prevent people from abusing our public health system”. Computer records show that there are currently 3,000 British nationals living in the Comunidad who have no form of medical cover.

Brits fall foul of bogus share dealers

HUNDREDS of British investors have been stripped of their savings by fraudulent finance companies based in Barcelona and Alicante, according to an exclusive report by the BBC. British MP Nigel Evans reported that following extensive investigations in the Chambers of Commerce, over 300 ‘sharks’ were found to be operating on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. They are said to have defrauded savers of more than 750 million euros in total. These companies operated by selling shares to unwitting customers based in Spain and showing apparently astronomical returns on them. In practice, the victims had merely given their money away. According to inside sources, difficulties in finding work in the face of Spain’s employment crisis means young English people are tempted by the chance of earning thousands of euros via the cowboy share schemes. Households have lost anything from 5,000 euros up to a million or more. Evans reports that one investor committed suicide when the family’s entire savings disappeared.

Football stadium widow left impoverished

A WIDOW of one of the four men who perished in a recent accident at Valencia Football Club’s new stadium says she has been left ‘destitute’. Until the autopsy is carried out on her husband, Luis Medardo, Carmen Aveiga says she cannot claim her widows’ pension. Suffering from breast cancer, high blood pressure and a stomach ulcer and with two children of nine and 11 years old to care for, she is unable to work. This means Carmen could find herself on the street if she cannot pay her 1,019-euro-a-month mortgage. She also says her children have permanent residence rights in Spain but she does not, meaning she could be deported when her current permit runs out. This was not the case with her husband. Luis, a Bolivian national, plunged to his death along with three of his colleagues last month whilst building the new Mestalla stadium.

Investigations into the cause of the accident have been opened.

Expats help the housing crisis

SPAIN’S housing market is relying on expats to keep it afloat through the crisis, say regional government sources. They say one fifth of property buyers in the provinces of Valencia and Alicante are non-Spanish, even though expatriates only account for 15 per cent of the region’s headcount. Of the total of 3,600 million euros that foreigners spent on buying homes in the region last year, 3.2 per cent of this came from European Union citizens. Some 2,171 million euros of this figure involved the purchase of second-hand properties.

Teachers ‘will be suspended’ for not using English in class

TOPICAL suggestions for a key school subject to be taught in English have taken a bizarre turn this week. Education minister Alejandro Font de Mora says teachers who refuse to give Ciudadanía (‘citizenship’) classes in English will be suspended without pay. If they persistently teach the core subject in Spanish or valenciano, they could be fired for ‘allowing their political opinions to get in the way of their work’.

Citizenship Education – or Educación para la Ciudadanía – was introduced into the national curriculum in schools in September. Although slammed by many as mirroring the societal brainwashing of Franco’s time, it is intended to teach youngsters to mix in with their peers and be considerate to others. Sex education, immigration, religious diversity and homosexuality are some of the subjects covered in an attempt to dispel myths and prejudices about these issues.

Underground suspended during Formula One due to strike action

METRO employees in Valencia have announced extensive strikes throughout the long-awaited Formula One Grand Prix. They will down tools eight times in July and nine times in August, including the weekend of July 22 to July 24. During the Formula 3 warm-up event, metro services will be disrupted over lunchtime and in the evening of July 26 and 27. Staff have chosen the Formula One event to strike over pay and working conditions, for maximum impact. They know that many of the 145,000 spectators will be relying on the underground to get them from the station to the port.

Passengers have already raised a petition over repeated metro strikes in Valencia, which they say is making the service unreliable.

Another cancer victim among hospital staff

A NINTH victim of a Valencia hospital’s cancer epidemic has come to light this week.

Virtudes, who has worked in the kitchen of Hospital Clínico since the late 1970s, has just undergone a course of chemotherapy for leukaemia. She has told her lawyer she does not want to go back to her job and is said to be ‘very distressed’ about the situation. So far, seven employees in the kitchen and the maintenance department, which is near Radiology, have died of cancer since 2005. Studies are being carried out to ascertain whether there is a leak of radiation or a presence of asbestos in the area.

Judges opened an investigation last month after the relatives of three victims took legal action against Hospital Clínico.

Gandia receives cleanest city award

The city of Gandia has been awarded the 'Golden Broom 2008' award for being an exceptionally clean city. The award is given to the three cleanest cities in Spain in a contest organized by the Association of Waste and Environmental Management, ATEGRUS. Councillor of Services and Environment for Gandia, Vicent Alcatraz, received the award at the International Fair of urbanism and Environment in Madrid. ATEGRUS award towns for exceptional waste management, city cleanliness and projects aimed at environmental management. Last year Gandia was awarded the Ecobeach flag from ATEGRUS in recognition of "outstanding tourist services".

War becomes Fiesta

More than 300 hundred people took part in the reenactment of the War of Independence, 200 years after the original battle took place. Napoleon's troops attacked the city of Valencia in 1808 and in celebration of the anniversary enthusiasts brought the battle back to life in the streets of Valencia last weekend. The battle filled the streets of Quart and Guillem de Castro with the smell of gun powder and the ringing of gun fire. A narration of the events and timeline of the battle was played in this real life history lesson. Spectators commented that it was wonderful to see history come to life.

43,000€ compensation for knee injury

A woman has been awarded 43,000€ in compensation after she broke her knee when she was caught in the automatic doors of a PROP office in Valencia. The High Court of Justice of the Valencia (TSJCV) ordered the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport to pay the fine after it was revealed that the victim had become trapped when the door closed "suddenly". The 45 year old woman continues to suffer from arthritis caused by the knee injury which happened in 2002. The Generalitat were found guilty of failing "to maintain the automatic door in a secure and safe condition".

Six new roads 

The number of major roads in the south of the region will double over the next seven years as new roads are built in a bid to reduced congestion. The number of people living in the area in the last 15 years has risen from 183,000 to 365,000 as new housing urbanizations have sprung up all over the region. The road network is suffering from the increased traffic and the Ministry of Public Works has revealed plans to connect new major road networks and improve local systems on the Alicante-Cartagena motorway, much of the N-332 will be connected to the new AP-37 from Catral to Murcia as well as the CV-95 (Orihuela-Torrevieja), the CV-91 (Orihuela-Guardamar) and Orihuela-A-7 to Abanilla.

More protests Planned

Between 300 and 400 farmers brought traffic on the A-3 to a standstill in the Utiel – Requena region on June 30th in a rally organized by the UNI-COAG association

The 10 minute protest caused tailbacks of 2 kilometres, union officials have confirmed further protests are planned  for the 4th, 10th and 23rd July. Josep Botella the UNI General Secretary stated the rise in production costs over the past year "are ridiculous" it is the end for many farmers in the region with the continual increase in the price of diesel, fertilizers and feed. Farmers are calling for a reduction in IVA on all fuel used for agricultural use and better compensation for crops destroyed by rabbits.

Lowest forest fire number in a decade

Forest fires in 2007 were the lowest recorded in Spain in the last ten years, according to the Ministry of Environment. Thirteen major fires occurred in 2007 significantly lower than the average thirty fires per year. Fires destroyed a total of 155,362 hectares, 48% less than in 2006. The worst year for fires was in 2005 when 188,697 hectares were stipped by fire and 11 people died after a barbeque set fire to woodland in Alcolea del Pinar (Guadalajara). This incident led to an invest of 100 million euros to implement   new fire prevention measures across Spain.

Plagues of mosquitoes

The recent rain brought misery to thousands of homeowners in the form of floods and now it looks set to cause problems with plagues of mosquitoes this summer. According to Professor of entomology and pest control at the University of Valencia, Ricardo Jimenez, heavy rain in recent months "may have produced an increase in some mosquito species" which has not been experienced in previous years.

First Face transplant

The first ever face transplant in Spain is expected to take place in La Fe Hospital in Valencia after the Inter Transplant Council approved the operation. Minister of Health, Manuel Cervera, said that the approval granted by the Standing Committee of the National Health System (NHS) was a "very important" step. The first two cases likely to undergo facial transplant will be a burns victim and a patient suffering from a congenital condition. Doctors hope to carry out the operations later this year.

Off anywhere nice?

Valencian holidaymakers are more likely to book trips to New York, Egypt or Morocco than anywhere else according to Iberia Travel Agency. Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife are the most popular destinations amongst those with a smaller budget and who are less keen to travel far from home. A spokesperson for Iberia Travel Agents commented: "The average cost per person is usually a few thousand euros for an eight to ten day holiday in New York, while Tunisia and Egypt are a little more affordable at around 700 to 800 euros.” The Valencia Travel Agents Association expects trips to China to increase in the coming months with the start of the Olympic Games.

Trucker dies of heat stroke

A fifty year truck driver has become the first victim of the intense summer heat in the Comunidad. The trucker died from heat stroke on June 27th while waiting at Valencia Port for goods to be loaded on to his vehicle. Drivers unions will meet with Port Authorities to demand that more water coolers are placed outside terminal buildings and better shaded areas provided for drivers. Unions will also bring into question the reason for lengthy delays at the port after an anonymous driver revealed how he had waited for over 2 hours to be loaded. The port authorities are being blamed for delays due to the lack of staff to off load containers.

Improved safety

The Generalitat are offering courses to bullfighting clubs and associations to increase safety and security at ‘bous al carrer’ events. The move comes after three people were killed in June while participating in bull running events. In total, 11 courses have been organized.  Every year the event becomes more popular and more towns apply for permission to hold ‘bous al carrer’ events. In the last five years over 100,000 bull running events have been staged across the country.

Inland News

Fifth highest paid Mayor in the Comunitat

Albaida Mayor, Juan Jose Beneyto has received a 12,000 euro pay rise taking his annual salary to 61,000 euros. His is now the fifth highest paid councillor in the Valencia region. The salary is proportionally higher than that paid to Mayors of cities like Gandia, where the population is twelve times that of Albaida. The Mayor not only receives his salary for government work but also for his work as a private doctor. Local PSPV secretary, Josep Bodí commented that while central and regional administrations "were calling for restraint, freezing wages and cutting public expenditure, the Mayor of Albaida seems to live in another country and beyond reality." Mayor Juan Jose Beneyto explained that the town has a budget of over six million euros of which his pay rise "represents less than 0.2% of that budget."

Organic rabbit meat

Agriculture and livestock centre, Teularet de Enguera have begun an organic Giant Rabbit breeding programme. The centre has acquired seven female and two male Tineo giant rabbits typically found in Asturias. The rabbits currently weigh around 3 kilograms but need to gain between 2.5 and 5.5 kilos before breeding can begin. Program director, Vicente Garcia-Menacho, explained "it is important to preserve these animals for future generations" not only because they provide a good food source, but also to prevent future extinction. The Giant Rabbits are similar to the Flemish Giant Rabbits and breed well producing between eight and 12 babies in each litter.

50 children vaccinated against meningitis

Fifty children have received meningitis vaccinations after a child was admitted to the Virgen de los Lirios Hospital in Alcoy suffering from a bacterium variant of meningitis. The El Paraiso nursery in Alcoy has fifty students ranging from newborn to three years of age, all of whom required the vaccination as a precaution. Sources from the Health Ministry have revealed that the infant admitted to hospital is in a stable condition. Nursery director, Naomi Blanes, told Las Provincias that she wanted to reassure parents that this is not an outbreak, but an isolated case of meningitis.

No space in schools

Thirty two families in Ontinyent have been unable to register their children in any of the three schools selected on the enrolment form. Parents affected by the lack of student places have started a campaign called 'Volem triar escola' meaning `We want to choose a school´ in the hope of finding a solution to this problem. Difficulties have arisen due to the high level of demand for places in the San José district, one of the most popular areas located in the heart of the city where many parents work. The only two schools with spaces available are in San Rafael at the opposite end of town. Parents are being forced to register their children in schools in neighbouring villages such as Agullent.

Residents request petrol station move

Alzira council confirmed last week that test results have revealed that the land around the petrol station in Avenida Luis Suñer is contaminated. Local residents who complained about the unpleasant smell over 6 years ago were pleased the problem had finally been confirmed and commented "it is now time for the owner of the petrol station and the council to reach an agreement to relocate the station to the outskirts of the city."

Freeze on salary

Alcoy Mayor, Jordi Sedano, has announced that he has frozen his salary along with other high level councillors as a gesture of solidarity during the current economic crisis facing the city. The Mayor hopes to lead by example as "residents in Alcoy have to tighten their belts." Speaking of the current economic situation in Spain and all over Europe the Mayor believes that "we have to face reality and gestures like this are important." Despite what the Mayor described as the very tough social and economic situation in the city at present he has "never seen, so clearly, the future of Alcoy and I want to send a message of reassurance to all residents."

New water source

The discovery of a new well located outside Fontanars dels Alforins could provide the town with four times the amount of drinking water required. Currently the water is brought in from Villena at a cost of 4,000 euros a month. According to Mayor, Vincent Ribera, "drilling tests to detect the capacity of the well revealed the source was able to supply 20 litres of drinking water per second." Fontanars suffers from a major water shortage so the discovery of the new spring is an important find for the town. The exact location of the new well was discovered “thanks to the assistance of elderly residents who were working with water board technicians in the hunt for a source," said Ribera. A sample of the water has been sent for analysis to confirm its suitability for consumption.

20 kilometres of traffic.

Traffic was bought to a standstill as demolition work at the site of the new Madrid –Valencia motorway caused six hour tailbacks. Work to demolish an old flyover was planned to finish at 6am preventing any disruption on the A3 and A7, but work over ran last weekend causing a 20 kilometres. The Ministry of Public Works apologized for any inconvenience caused.

New Ecoparque opens in August

The new Ecoparque in Chiva will finally open seven years after the original construction was completed. Chiva Mayor Jose Manuel Haro is hoping the facility will be open by the end of July, but no date has been confirmed. The opening of the park was delayed because of the poor condition of the access road, which also had a dangerous bend which could cause accidents. These problems were rectified last summer but delays in opening the site had caused the facilities to deteriorate. The council hope that once and for all the site will be ready to open in a month’s time.
La falta de uso había desmejorado las instalaciones, que necesitaban de una adecuación antes de abrir sus puertas al público.Una vez solucionados todos estos pormenores, se espera que en un mes aproximadamente puede abrir por fin sus puertas.

Extra traffic surveillance

Local Police will be increasing patrols in Xàtiva town in a bid to stop drivers from double parking on roads and walkways. Security councillor, Jose Antonio Vidal announced that the plan was to keep the roads of Xativa flowing freely over the next two months. Cars doubled parked will be asked to move on immediately. "The campaign is not intended to prosecute the offender, but get drivers in Xativa to stop this bad habit and learn better road habits in the city, so we all benefit," said Vidal. Although, no fines will be enforced, for minor infringements such as double parking he warned that “cars parked badly will be removed and drivers fined." Officers will be paying particular attention to la plaza Pais Valencià, Gregorio Molina, Vicente Boix, Abu Masaifa and Dos Molins as well as Plaza de la Bassa, Avenida Jaume I and Alameda de Selgas.

Hiking in the Senda Vella reopened

Nearly 200 walkers took part in the official opening of the Senda Vella ramblers path in Canals. The route is located in the Serra Grossa mountains and runs from Xativa to Biar. Work by ACDEMA volunteers has reopened the 2,300 metre route which starts close to Pic de la Atalaya. The event was attended by deputy mayor, Teresa Mollà, and Environment minister, Marina Ballester.

Man killed by friend

Drunk driver kills his friend in a road accident in Alfafar.

Passenger Raul ML, 23 died after the car he was travelling in collided with a bus on the CV-401 early on June 29th. The driver of the Volkswagen Polo provided a positive breath test at the scene and two other passengers were treated for minor cuts and bruises. The driver, identified only as JMPM, was four times over the legal limit. A further six people were killed in three traffic accidents over the weekend in Vila Real, Altea, Pego, Carlet and Confrentes.

Man arrested over kidnap

Police in Villena have arrested the man responsible for the kidnap of a 13 year old Bulgarian girl. Kpemena was walking through plaza Maria Auxilliadora de Villena with her younger sisters aged 9 and 11 on June 22nd when she was dragged into a car by three men and a woman. She was held captive for five days until one of her younger sister’s recognized a 25 year man involved in the kidnap. It is believed that the gang were trying to force Kpemena to marry a Bulgarian man after a previous marriage proposal had been refused by her parents.

Up to 12-hour waits in Urgencias

A DOCTOR shortage means patients attending casualty at Gandia hospital are having to wait up to 12 hours. Unions have warned that with the summer holiday season about to start, the situation could become chaotic. One day last week, medics recorded 240 patients. Another day saw five people complaining about unreasonable delays in being attended to. According to Spain’s main unions, the UGT and CCOO, the Urgencias department at Gandia’s Francesc de Borja hospital comprises around 20 doctors, all working shifts. At some times of the day, however, no more than four may be on duty at any one time. With an average of 200 patients a day, unions say out of season that 20 doctors are not enough. But around 60 per cent of patients attending Accident and Emergency have only minor afflictions that could easily be dealt with at a local health centre. These include back or joint pain, or even toothache. Doctors say that if local clinics had the facilities to give simple X-rays and blood-tests, a lot of these visits could be avoided. They say as a result, GPs are only too quick to send patients to Urgencias.

Only Bellreguard, Oliva, and Tavernes de la Valldigna have emergency services on hand in local health centres.

Beach left in filthy state by council, say residents

LES Deveses beach has been ‘abandoned’ by local authorities and is in a filthy state, complains the residents’ association. President Carmen Frasés says there is no water in the foot-showers, reeds and seaweed are heaped up on the shore, the sea is full of algae and rubbish, and inferior-quality sand has been used to regenerate the beach.

Les Deveses technically belongs to Dénia, although its geographical location is Vergel.

And residents want it to be handed over to Vergel, saying Dénia does not bother to maintain it properly. But a spokeswoman from Dénia council has said local authorities will make every effort to ensure residents’ complaints are heard and the problem is resolved.

Oliva Moors and Christians programme released

FIESTA-FOLLOWERS in La Safor and the Marina Alta know not to miss Oliva’s Moors and Christians, the programme for which has been published by the town council. The presentation of the troops in the main Paseo, with the mock castle and a massive TV screen as backdrop, takes place on Saturday, July 12 at 11pm in Parc de l’Estació.  Next, on Thursday, July 17 at 8pm, Oliva-born poet Àngel Gregori Parra officially opens the festival from the balcony of the town hall.

Friday evening at 8pm sees the entry of the Christians, and at 6am the next morning the unusual entry of the Moors – by boat, sailing into Pau Pi beach – continues to be a huge attraction.  That night at 7.30pm the Moors make their grand entry in the streets of Oliva, crossing the N-332 at the Dénia end and parading down C/ Loygorri and the Paseo to the municipal market. Saturday, July 20 is the final mock battle scene as cannon-wielding Christians storm the castle in Parc de l’Estació where the Moors have sought refuge. The battle starts at 8pm and is rounded off with a firework display at around midnight.

Brit arrested over Audi robbery

A YOUNG man accused of stealing a car in the UK and attaching false number-plates to it has been arrested in Orihuela Costa. Police say the 22-year-old British national was caught by an off-duty policeman last week. His description fits that of a youth who stole an Audi TT in the UK in December 2007 and fled to Spain to escape arrest last month.

When officers attempted to arrest the man in Orihuela, he pushed and shoved them and managed to escape with his handcuffs on. But a policeman who had finished his shift caught up with him later. The suspect was riding his bike through an urbanisation and carrying a rucksack that contained marihuana, Guardia Civil officers say.

Legal action for mother who ‘kicked teacher in front of class’

A MOTHER who reportedly punched and kicked two of her children’s teachers in front of the class could be forced to pay 18,000 euros in compensation.

Two years on from the incident at Elche’s Casablanca primary school, education authorities have managed to push the case through to the courts.

Margarita Bru, a teacher of 18 years’ experience, described how she was insulted, threatened, kicked and near-strangled by Rosa P.F.

Her pupils screamed, sobbed and clung to the teacher’s legs as she underwent the ordeal. Margarita’s colleague, special needs teacher Ana Carolina García, was also pinched and punched in the face when she went to the victim’s assistance.

The accused, mother of seven children – three of whom attended the school – says she did not attack anyone. But she says she went up to the school to intervene after one of her children said Margarita had hit his sister across the back.

“I didn’t hit Ana Carolina, but it could be I tried to defend myself, because she grabbed me by the wrist and I was on the stairs. I thought she was going to push me down them with my six-month-old daughter in my arms,” Rosa stated.

As for hitting the other teacher in front of a class of ten- and 11-year-olds, she says, “I didn’t hit her, and if I did it was unintentional.” Margarita says she did not slap the little girl in question. She and another child had been fighting in the playground and the teacher was attempting to separate them.

Guinness Book of Records attempt for Calpe

VISITORS and residents are asked to donate their loose change in a bid to put Calpe into the Guinness Book of Records. Inspired by an attempt in Benetússer, near Valencia, in March to create the longest-ever line of ‘brown’ coins, the town will hold a two-day festival on the weekend of July 12 and 13 in which they will lay their coins out on the street in a chain. Starting at 8am in Plaza Colón, they hope to beat Benetússer’s 1,100 metres (1.1 kilometres). Shops in the town have been given envelopes to store their five, two and one-cent coins. Whilst the adults are parting with their shrapnel, children will enjoy bouncy castles and trampolines.

Later, a live orchestra and a DJ will entertain participants until late into the night.

Environmentally-friendly WCs on beaches

BEACH toilets are going green this year in Calpe, says the town council.

Wooden WCs are being set up on seven beaches instead of the traditional plastic port-a-loos. As well as being adapted for disabled people, local authorities say the new wooden design is less of an eyesore and fits in better with the view. A total of 18 are being installed. Ambulances will also be based on some of Calpe’s beaches to assist bathers in trouble.

School-trippers stranded in France by airline

A GROUP of 50 children and four teachers from schools in San Vicente del Raspeig and Elda were forced to sleep in a French airport after Ryanair cancelled their flight home. Teachers say the airline told them to travel to another airport and buy new return tickets at a cost of 245 euros per person. Since Ryanair did not offer a hotel for the night, the group had to sleep in Deauvais airport. In the early hours of the morning, police evicted them. Two teachers were accused of vandalism to furniture in the departures area. Eventually, the tour operator managed to get the group home to Alicante via two coaches, changing at Orléans and Barcelona. They arrived home 24 hours later than planned. The teachers say the airline has refunded the entire group for their return flights.

Ador development scrapped

PLANS for a new residential urbanisation in Ador (Villalonga) have been scrapped as local authorities cannot guarantee a mains water supply. Approval for the development of the Pinaret area of Ador was granted by the regional government in 2005.

But it has come to light that the mandatory report from the regional water board, the Confederación Hidrográfica del Júcar, had not been applied for. This report is required for new developments to ensure sufficient mains water will be available.

As a result, the regional high court has vetoed the plans this week.

Getting to know Calpe in your own language

WALKING trips around the Calpe area offered in three different languages will run during July and August this year. The tourist information office, who will soon release dates and times of the guided tours, say routes include the Peñón de Ifach, the Oltà mountain range and the old town. Further information can be obtained from the tourist office or the town hall.

Police learn English to help expats

POLICE in the Vega Baja area are learning English to be able to help tourists and British residents. Officers, as well as social services staff, have embarked on a 20-hour crash course in the language. In Torrevieja and the Orihuela Costa area, as well as municipalities such as Guardamar del Segura, Rojales and Benijófar, the number of EU expatriates outstrips Spanish residents.

This has pushed public sector workers to take steps to be able to help them in times of crisis. Practical teaching, theory and lingo relating to crime will be included on the English course. They will run from September to December this year.

Additional information