Latest News 28/09/2008

Teenage girls threatened online
Guardia Civil officers have arrested a 21 year old man from Madrid for alleged threats and falsifying his identity to teenagers online. The man pretended to be a teenager and after earning the trust of his online female friends would persuade them to send him photos. Once he had the photos he would edit them to look more sexual and provocative, and then blackmail them for sex or money to ensure he would not upload the indecent photos on the web. Initial reports suggest the number may well be over 1,000.

462 cars stolen for North Africa
Five people have been arrested accused of the theft of more than 462 vehicles. The group strip the cars down, send the parts to North Africa and scrap the rest of the vehicle. Cars of medium to high quality were stolen throughout Alicante Province and Murcia. According to National Police the group was based in Torrevieja and the majority of them are Moroccans aged between 20 and 40 years of age. The ring leader had a criminal record and had been arrested 5 years previously on the same charge, but had fled the courts.

Preferential treatment for ETA prisoners in the Comunitat Valenciana
Prison manager, Jose Martinez Dolor has reported to Las Provincias newspaper that "ETA members have privileges in jail." Statements made by various prison sources support this statement indicating that ETA terrorists are indeed receiving certain privileges not offered to other inmates. The exact number of ETA members held in Valencian prisons is unknown; the information is withheld for “security reasons”, although it is suggested that around 12 are held in local prisons. The former head of the Vizcaya Command, Juan Jose Iglesias Chouzas, responsible for a large number of murders, was recently transferred from Villena to Picassent as his partner, ETA member Nagore-Mugica, was about to give birth. He also avoided 12 days of isolation for beating a fellow prisoner along with another ETA member in Alicante II prison. Prison rules state that two ETA terrorists must never be housed on the same block or be able to come into contact with one another. There is a strict one ETA member per module rule, but the recent attack shows that this rule is not being enforced. ETA members also have the special privilege of receiving newspapers from their home country. In 2004 Idoia Lopez, known as “The Tiger”, was allowed to marry ETA member Juan Ramon Rojo Gonzalez and the newlywed couple were permitted to spend a night together in a cell with a double bed.

Citizenship Education taught in English
The Parents Association of Students, AMPA, is to protest at the recent decision by Education Councillor, Alejandro Font de Mora  that Citizenship Education will be taught in English. AMPA has called upon all its members to appeal to their schools and demand that the subject is taught in either Castellano or Valenciano.

ETA strike again
A third car bomb in 24 hours has killed an army officer and injured several others. ETA gave a telephone warning before the blast close to a military academy in the town of Santona in the Cantabria region. Three policemen were among the 11 people injured in an earlier explosion outside a police station in Ondarroa and another explosion on the outskirts of Vitoria. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said “Spanish society will never submit to the dictates of the criminal gang". The attacks follow Spain's a recent ruling by the Spanish Supreme Court that two Basque nationalist parties were considered illegal because of their links to Eta, causing increased turbulence in Basque politics

Heroes welcome
Hundreds of family, friends and colleagues gathered on the platform at the train station in Valencia last weekend to welcome home the Valencian Paralympic Athletes from Bejing. The Spanish Paralympic team won a total of 58 medals, 15 gold, 21 silver and 22 bronze. Athletes took part in 20 sports, including wheelchair Rugby, sitting volleyball and wheelchair fencing.

Attempted kidnap
The parents of a two year old girl have reported her attempted abduction in L´Alfas del Pi. The toddler was walking with her grandfather when a Colombian man tried to snatch the child. Local Police were immediately informed and the alleged perpetrator was arrested.

Cash point thieves arrested
Guardia Civil have arrested a group who used cranes and bulldozers to rip over 200 cash machines from walls. The operation was based throughout Hungry, Alicante and Murcia. So far 12 members of the group have been arrested, with the help of the Hungarian Police. The group has been operating since 2005 and is formed by Albanian and Kosovo citizens. Five house arrests were made in the Alicante area in Almoradi, Formentera del Segura, Rojales and Orihuela Coast and in Lopagan in Murcia, where various tools, guns and false documents where seized.

Valencia Day of the Bike
More than 15,000 cyclists took part in Valencia’s day of the bike held on September 21st. The day was part of the European Mobility Week and paid homage to the “two-wheeled vehicle that has accompanied young and old throughout history”. Crowds gathered in the Paseo de la Alameda for the start of the 12 kilometre ride. Valencia Cycling Association spokesman, Antonio Llópez, described the day as "a triumph - It's something that benefits those who love bikes and society in general, and also traffic is reduced." The riders made their way through the city to the Urban Circuit where they rode around the track where just weeks before F1 cars were travelling at over 200mph.

Heavy Rains
The week begun in the Comunidad with over 34 litres of rain per square metre in just 12 hours. According to the Meteorological Centre of Valencia the heaviest rainfall was recorded in Castellón Fredes (with 34 litres per square metre) and Borriol (30 litres), Ontinyent (32 litres), Elda (33 liters) and Beneixama (23).
According to State Meteorological Agency, spokesman, Angel Rivera, this coming autumn will be only very slightly wetter and cooler than in previous years. Rivera explained that this autumn "will not see extreme changes in the weather" both rainfall and temperatures will remain average for this time of year.

Newborn baby abandoned
A new born baby was discovered in the doorway of a house in Valencia. Jose Domingo, named after the police officer who rescued him, was rushed to Hospital Doctor Peset de Valencia suffering from hypothermia. Doctors believe the baby was just a few hours old as he was covered in blood and the umbilical cord was still attached. Officer Jose Domingo Martinez told Channel 9, "I was totally mortified, the baby was showing signs of hypothermia so we just grabbed him and rushed him to hospital.” A passer-by first discovered the baby after hearing it crying and called the police. Residents reported seeing a blue blanket dumped in a door way, but thought it was rubbish and another neighbour reported hearing, what she thought was a kitten crying. Generalitat Social services will take over the guardianship of the child while National Police try to find the mother.

End of the summer season
More than 29,100 bathers required the services of the Red Cross this summer on the beaches of Alicante, double that of the same period in 2007. From June 1 until September 15, Red Cross personnel dealt with 29,113 swimmers on 53 beaches. Throughout the entire Comunitat, this figure was 57,102 people on 109 beaches and is a "significant increase" on figures for 2007. The organization revealed how 770 swimmers were rescued, 240 required hospital treatment and 337 lost children were found.

Migrant plane returns to Spain
A Spanish plane has been forced to return to Spain from The Gambia with more than 100 illegal immigrants on board. The migrants were being returned under an immigration accord signed between the two countries in 2006, but the Gambian authorities refused to let passengers disembark, saying Madrid had not given them enough time to prepare. Spanish officials were surprised stating The Gambia authorities had approved the repatriation. The plane was stranded at Banjul airport for seven hours before being cleared to return to the Canary Islands. The two governments will now have to agree a revised date.

Quick thinking
The quick thinking of an armoured truck driver prevented thieves from fleeing the scene of the crime. Two men entered a petrol station in Quart de Poblet, on September 22nd, in a grey Fiat and snatched a handbag from the front seat of a car, whilst the driver was paying for fuel. On leaving the garage the woman saw the man and screamed for help and  the armoured truck blocked the cars exit from the garage. A local police car passing, saw the commotion thought it was an attack against the armoured money truck and stopped behind the car and pulled their guns. One officer approached the vehicle to remove the keys but was dragged back and forth as the driver attempted to escape. The officer fired one shot in the air and another into the empty passenger seat. Both individuals were arrested at the scene.

Arsonists wreak havoc in Marina Alta
FOREST fires that swept across the Marina Alta this summer were mostly intentional, reveals a government report. Over the last month, various blazes, including two in Pedreguer close to urbanisation Monte Solana and two in the Pego region, were started deliberately. Regional government ministers estimate around 50 per cent were caused by arsonists. They particularly highlight a forest fire in Llíber, which was started in three places near the remote Gata de Gorgos road, and led to occupants of five houses on a mountainside urbanisation being evacuated. Others have been started near Ondara, and further south, in Guadalest. Authorities are carrying out investigations to help them track down the arsonists responsible. If caught, they could face a stiff prison sentence.

Invasive plants stripped from Oliva beach

TEAMS of workers will strip Oliva dunes of invasive tropical plants that have been found growing in the area in recent months.Experts fear that if left to continue to grow, they will suffocate and wipe out the numerous species of native Mediterranean plants that the dunes, an officially-protected area, are famous for. Among those found are the curiously-named ‘Pigface’ – the Carpobrotus. This mainly grows in South Africa although has been seen in abundance in Latin America. Otherwise attractive, with pinkish-purple flowers, the ‘Pigface’ poses a real threat to indigenous flora.

The Terrestrial Bromeliad, a shrub found in the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala, is another botanical ‘foreign body’ that must be removed to safeguard existing plants.
Jobseekers are being taken on for the work, thanks to an agreement between INEM, the dole office, and the Dirección General de Costas.

Pouring oil on troubled waters
USED cooking oil can now be deposited in special bins so that it can be converted into ‘green’ fuel. Jávea local authorities have installed 16 ‘oil banks’ in the Arenal, the old town and the port area, as well as on the urbanisations.
The move is a result of continued pressure from the housewives’ association who said pouring used frying oil down the sink can contaminate the waterways.
It also causes blocked pipes in people’s homes.But this waste material can be converted relatively easily into soap or even biodiesel, an environmentally-friendly combustible fuel.
For information about your nearest ‘oil bank’, contact the town hall.

Jávea Players seeks young artists
JÁVEA Players amateur dramatics society is seeking budding young artists to design programmes for its exciting Christmas production, The wind in the willows. Under-tens are needed to draw or paint pictures of the characters who live on the river bank, namely the well-known and much-loved Toad, Badger, Rat, Mole, Otter, and Albert the Horse.  Children from ten to 14 years of age are sought to design pages for the programme featuring the ‘wild wood’ characters, including the fox and the weasels, who star as Chicago-style gangsters. Finally, the 15-18 age-group are asked to design the ‘wild world’ characters. These include car salesmen, a train driver, a washerwoman, two car-drivers, a magistrate, a gypsy and the daughter of a prison governor.
Winners, along with those in second and third place will see their handiwork in print and receive a framed copy. They will also net free tickets for themselves and their parents for the opening night, December 1, and a backstage pass for the show which is held at Gata de Gorgos’ Unión Musical. Entrants have until October 13 to submit their artwork. Call Julie Dalby on 659 223 330 for further information.

Drug-smugglers caught in hire-cars on Dénia-Ibiza ferry
EIGHT members of an organised gang who travelled from Dénia to Ibiza with their families have been arrested on suspicion of drug-smuggling.
National Police say the suspects, all Colombian nationals, caught the ferry in cars hired from a rental firm in Madrid. They gave the impression of being normal holidaymakers, but their vehicles were specially adapted to carry drugs in well-hidden places.
Officers found ten kilos of cocaine in the cars, and arrested eight individuals in Ibiza, Madrid and Fuerteventura. Almost weekly, drug-related arrests are made on the Dénia-Ibiza ferries. Passengers have been caught hiding cocaine and hashish inside their clothes.
Many do so in an attempt to make money from selling hard drugs to clubbers on the White Isle. 

Dangerous driver causes biker’s death in Dénia
A DRIVER who ignored a stop sign and caused the death of a motorcyclist in Dénia was arrested in the act, police revealed this week.
They say the accident occurred just after midnight last Tuesday, when the 19-year-old driver failed to respect the road sign and pulled out of the junction without checking the way was clear. As a result he crashed into a motorcyclist, a man of 32 who is said to be of foreign origin. The biker was killed instantly, say Local Police. In the meantime, the motorist has been arrested and charged with dangerous driving.

Camper van fire threatens Jávea homes
PANIC broke out on three urbanisations in Jávea when a motor home went up in flames, emergency services report. They were called out on Thursday when an electrical fault, later traced to the cable that fed the camper van from the owners’ house, caused a raging inferno next to a pine forest. The motor home was parked on a plot in the Entrepinos urbanisation, close to the developments of Toscal and El Tosalet. Firefighters managed to avert a tragedy with their prompt action, but said it was a race against time to stop the flames spreading to the nearby residential homes. Luckily, nobody had to be evacuated, but the La Guardia road was shut off for several hours and the campervan was left a charred wreck, say the fire brigade.

Fine for refusal to marry gay couples dropped
A JUDGE who denied the rights of at least three same-sex couples to marry legally has been let off a 305-euro fine. The Council of Judges, or CGPJ, voted nine-to-eight against Laura Alabau having to pay the financial penalty for what they had previously categorised as ‘a serious offence’. Despite leading gay collective, LAMBDA’s view that the fine was ‘insulting’, the Dénia-based judge who refused to marry a lesbian couple in 2006 on the grounds that it was ‘unconstitutional’ has been awarded an exemption.
She caused uproar amongst British people in the Marina Alta, who called her actions ‘a double discrimination’, when she refused to marry two male couples from the UK since ‘such a union is not legal in their country’.
Alabau was recently moved to another position within the courts, although it has not been clarified whether this was obligatory or voluntary.

Water rate rises ‘unfair’
RESIDENTS in Pedreguer have complained of unfair hikes in their water bills.
The norm is that households who use more water are penalised financially when rates increase. But the opposite appears to be happening in Pedreguer, says the PSPV. They say the lower rung of consumption, the first ten cubic metres, has risen by 13.8 per cent, but the top rung – from 81 to 100 cubic metres – has increased by 13.4 per cent. Socialist councillors have criticised the move, saying households that use the least amounts of water are likely to see the biggest increases in their bills.

Patient complains over treatment at Dénia health centre
A PATIENT at Dénia health centre has complained to the regional ombudsman, the Síndic de Greuges, because his doctor left the clinic to deal with a home call-out. The patient says he was kept waiting all morning as his GP had to leave to attend to an emergency. It is not clear whether the complainant’s own condition was urgent or the appointment was routine, but the Síndic revealed he finally walked out of the clinic before being seen. However, the ombudsman has upheld his complaint, saying that where a doctor has to see to an emergency off the premises, other medics should be on hand to deal with patients booked in.
The Síndic de Greuges has also said the health centre took too long to address the complaint. As a result, it had to be addressed to the head of the town’s health authority.
Dénia’s health centre continues to be severely overstretched, a matter that has been a bone of contention with residents and councillors for years.
This issue worsens in summer when the town’s population more than doubles.

Piles homeowners ‘must knock down part of their block’
A GROUP of homeowners on Piles beach have been told they must knock down 119 square metres of their apartment block.
If they do not do so, they will not be awarded their cédula – the habitability warranty that means they officially form part of the town council’s jurisdiction.
Without a cédula, the council does not take responsibility for providing services or facilities such as street lights and road resurfacing for the urbanisation.
But the block has been built too large for its planning permission, says the council. However, the developer blames the council, saying the original plans were approved. Local authorities deny this and say the block’s size does not correspond with the deeds of the apartments in it. Mayor Vicent Císcar says the residents have his full support in resolving the problem.

Car Fires

Ontinyent National Police are calling for residents help to prevent the increasing number of cars being set alight. Over the last 2 weeks five have cars have been set on fire in random locations usually at around midday. The majority of attacks took place on vehicles parked in the car park behind the Pou Clar hotel. Police patrols have been increased in the area and urge the public to call 091 if they have any information.

BMX and Skate circuit finally granted
Plans for a BMX and Skate boarding park in Xativa have finally been granted.  Although the location has not yet been confirmed, Youth Councillor, Marcos Sanchis, has confirmed it will be close to the town Sports centre and Claret school.

Bogus Engineers
Water company Egavasa has warned residents in the Ontinyent area of bogus engineers operating in the area. Homeowners are being conned into paying up to 1,300 euros for the installation of a water metre, a service offered free of charge by Egavasa. The company wishes to remind anyone living in Ontinyent, Aielo de Malferit, Montaverner and surrounding areas that this service is free with a legitimate engineer and they should contact police if they are suspicious.

Free cruise for 100 people
A young couple from Villena won an 8 day cruise for themselves and a hundred of their friends. Veterinarian, Mari Carmen Catalan, 28 won the cruise as part of a dairy product campaign where entrants were asked to collect barcodes from products and enter them on the company’s website. The final part of the challenge was to confirm a minimum of 50 guests. Despite festivities in Villena only recently ending and many of Mari’s friends finding it difficult to take additional time off, she managed to pull together 55 guests. Among those are her mother, Paquita, and 85 year old grandmother, Carmen.
On September 30th Mari Carmen Catalan and her guests will board the cruise ship Costa Concordia heading for Palma de Mallorca, Tunisia, and the Italian ports of La Valletta, Palermo and Rome.

Body buried in field

Two walkers discovered the body of a woman buried in a field in Macastre, just south of Alborache. According to EFE sources the couple discovered a ‘grave’ type mound of soil in an olive grove and contacted Guardia The shallow grave contained the remains of a 20 year old female. The body could not be identified due to decomposition. It is believed the body had been buried for at least 10 months.

Residents satisfied with police services
Cars entering the city of Torrent are stopped as part of an on going city wide surveillance. Public Safety Councillor Santiago Miquel said, “This surveillance was carried out by local and national police to increase safety in the city”. Officers stopped vehicles and asked where they had travelled from and where they were heading. Any suspicious vehicles were searched and random breath tests carried out. A local petrol station employee said “normally the checks never cause traffic jams, they stop about five cars at a time and if all seems good they let them go again”. Torrent resident Cristina Martinez said "It does not bother me; I think it’s very good. If there were no such controls, everybody would do what they wanted. We must increase police presence in the city”.

Bull runner seriously injured
A young man from Alzira was trampled by a bull at the Bou Embolat festival in Canals last weekend. The 27 year old required surgery on his left ankle and right forearm after he was trapped by the bull, as he ran towards a safety barrier. Canals Mayor confirmed that the maximum-security measures are always taken at these sort of festivities and it was a simple accident. The incident did not affect the celebrations activities and they continued on throughout the weekend.

Smear Campaign
Bellús Mayor, Joan Vicent Garcia believes a recent spate of vandalism in the town is intended to "damage my political image and make me appear a lousy Mayor and manager to my residents." Vandals have so far targeted various municipal properties such as the wastewater treatment plant, the municipal swimming pool, street lighting, trees and schools. The most recent incident involved the blocking of waste water pipes which caused sewage to overflow in to the street. It is suspected that the vandals are part of a small group who do not want Garcia as Mayor.

Xativa nurse doing her part for the Bolivian war
A nurse from Xativa has found herself caught in the armed conflict which rages between Bolivia and supporters of the President Evo Morales and the Autonominists. Merce Gil has reported that she is no danger, but family members have confirmed that the Spanish Embassy in Bolivia have contacted her “in case she needs to be evacuated from Santa Cruz”. Despite an offer of returning to Spain by the Embassy, Eva has decided to remain in Santa Cruz until late October as she originally planned. Eva is living in the refugee homes Epua Cuñaterí where she is working with women suffering from AIDS. Merce conducts daily lectures on sex education and health care in the hope that the information can be passed down to their children.

Shoot out in vehicle warehouse
One man was killed and another seriously injured in a shoot out at a car warehouse in Cheste. The victims were scrapping cars when three men entered the premises on Calle La Reva just before 10am on September 21st. Residents reported hearing six shots but initially mistook them for firecrackers. Jose Peretó, 70, was shot dead on the premises where he had worked for 20 years. The other victim, a bricklayer named Lucas, was shot twice in the head and in the body, but managed to reach the road and raise the alarm.

Drugs seized
Civil Guard officers have arrested 3 people in connection with drug trafficking in Alberic. Three individuals aged 59, 24 and 37 were arrested and police seized seven grams heroin, 4800 kilograms of marijuana, 14,900 euros in cash and two precision scales. Police also removed a haul of suspected stolen items which included car radios, DVD’s, chainsaws, cameras, video cameras, car speakers, video consoles, a laptop and mobile phones.

International Guitar Festival
Until October 5th the International Guitar Festival will take place at the council auditorium in Castelló Rugat. The event has been organised to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the birth of James I. Three of the best guitarists on the music scene will perform at the two week festival. Appearing are 21 year old Mexican Daniel Olmos and   French musician, Francisco Ortiz who will close the festival with a recital devoted to the poet Federico García Lorca Granada.

Scrub fire
Fire-fighters were called to a scrub fire in Alcoy on September 21st. Over 500 square metres of land were scorched along Avenida de Andalucia. Firecrews from Intercomarcal de Muntanya attended the scene and were able to extinguish the fire in just over an hour.

Credit card fraud
A restaurant owner in Ontinyent has been arrested in connection with fraudulently taking cash from a diner’s credit card. The withdrawals became apparent when the clients bank contacted him regarding repeated use of the card in the restaurant. The foreigner paid for meals in an Ontinyent restaurant and used his credit card to pay, but the owner passed the payments through more than once and police believe the amount stolen to be between 1,000 and 2,000 euros. Police have revealed that they believe it is still happening and are carrying out further investigations.

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