News Round Up - 22/01/09

" The right thing to do"

Despite the article in Issue No 118 Paul Robertson continues to reside and deceive innocent people in this area with his various business proposals. Mr. Robertson attempts to connect himself to well known businesses and professional bodies who have absolutely no connection with him or any of his products. He claims he himself is the victim and that liable statements are being made about him and routinely states that Lawyer Marc White is acting on his behalf.

Since our last report a further 8 cases of theft have been reported to us from the Alicante & Valencia provinces. Sue O´Brien Director of Xativa Trading Post Import S.L says "Our Company stepped forward to help people by disclosing what we had been informed of about Mr. Robertson. This was done in the knowledge that this may attract some negative reaction to the international phone cards we provide. However, this was and is simply the right thing to do. Mr. Robertson has a long personal history of being engaged in calculated dishonesty and continuing deceit long before he approached us and it has to stop".

"We are very proud of our services. Any product we supply is fully guaranteed and we continue to see a strong demand for our International telephone services. Mr. Robertson is not connected in anyway with our product and customers can be fully confident that whatever they purchase through us is fully endorsed and their consumer rights upheld". The file has now been handed to the Police and those individuals or businesses who are looking for Mr. Robertson should contact them directly "We have done all we can do in the hope that this man is stopped and that our customers can continue to trust our Company".

Inland Trader contacted the Lawyer Mr Robertson claims to be acting for him with regards to the liable statements. Marc White on behalf of the law firm White & Baos in Denia, confirmed that he does not act for anyone with the name Paul Robertson and that neither he nor the firm have ever been instructed by a person with that name "We do not act for Mr Paul Robertson and have never done so. I do not know of any libel action. I have met him a couple of times, but no more."

Many Expats feel powerless when they find themselves in similar cicumstances. However, we at Inland Trader over the last 5 years have pursued and raised awarness of those amongst us who make false claims, provide illegal services and obtain money through deception. With your help and your community commitment, we can all make a difference by not letting others fall prey to the less desirable characters amongst us. We are committed to serving our community throughout this year. In the hope of making a difference, and saving others from the heartache which has been suffered by those before them.

By Lorraine Harris Editor.

BARACK Obama was sworn into office on Tuesday and announced that his reign would be the start of ‘a new era of responsibility’ for the people of North America.

During his speech as he was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, Obama appealed to the fundamental values of his country and said he intended to open a new chapter in history.

"Our economy is debilitated as a consequence of the greed and irresponsibility of some, but also because of collective failure to take difficult decisions and prepare the nation for a new era," Obama announced in front of thousands of people who had travelled across the US to be present at the event at the Capitol building, central Washington D.C.

He called upon the people of the United States to adhere to the values that have made it the nation it is today – hard work, honesty, courage, justice, tolerance and patriotism.

Obama reminded all Americans that they have ‘obligations to themselves, their nation, and to the world’.

In terms of international relations, the new American president stressed there would be great differences to the government of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"The United States is a friend of every nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to be leaders once again," Obama declared.

Obama recognised that his inauguration as the USA’s first-ever black president was "a moment that will define this generation," reminded those present that his father, a Kenya-born goatherd, would not have been able to eat in a restaurant in Washington 60 years ago because of his skin colour.

Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, where his parents were students.

He then grew up in Hawaii, Indonesia and New York, raised by his Kansas-born mother and grandparents after his father returned to Kenya. He is married to Michelle and has two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven.

Bomb alerts in Dénia court were hoax calls

A SPATE of hoax bomb alerts has led court officials in Dénia to fear that their security measures are not up to scratch.

Two hoax bomb calls on Tuesday morning forced the court to evacuate more than 200 people as a precautionary measure.

They had just three minutes to leave the four-storey building.

Children from a neighbouring primary school were also forced to leave class at around 10.30hrs.

The hoax call, in the name of Basque separatist terrorist cell ETA, was received by the fire brigade and was traced to a telephone box in the Comunidad de Madrid.

One of the judges at Dénia court claims the CCTV cameras have not been working for some time, despite complaints to the council of justice.


Reduction on rubbish rates ‘impossible’ to apply for

COSTS of applying for the proposed reduced refuse-collection rates for pensioners in Jávea will be more than the discount, complains a leading political party.

Bloc-Centristes have suggested offering a 50 per cent reduction for pensioners on rubbish rates, but Nueva Jávea points out that to prove they are pensioners will cost more than the 42 euros they will save on this tax. For Brits, they will have to apply for a letter from the DHSS to prove they are in receipt of a retirement pension and have this accredited by the British embassy. This will involve travelling to the embassy and paying 35 euros for the transaction. German residents will need to go through the same red tape, but at a cost of 30 euros. Dutch residents’ paperwork is believed to be unacceptable to local authorities.

Belgian expatriates will have to travel to Belgium to deal with the necessary paperwork. Nueva Jávea has slammed the mayor’s claims that he intends to treat all citizens, irrespective of nationality, equally. They say the system makes it impossible for anyone besides Spaniards to claim the discount. "We do not agree that it should only be the pensioners who are supported by tax reductions. This should also apply to others on a low income," says Kristina Olmedo Saez of Nueva Jávea.



               Fall in prices of new builds

PRICES of new homes on the Costa Blanca and in the city of Valencia have plummeted in the last year, according to statistics published this week by the ministry of housing.
Comparing the cost of a new build in the last quarter of 2008 with that of 2007, they found that the fall was in region of 16.7 per cent.
A year ago, a brand-new 90-square-metre property on the Costa Blanca cost 296,000 euros, dropping to 246,000 euros at the end of 2008 – a fall of 50,000 euros.
In Valencia, a government-subsidised, or VPO, property of the same size and newly-built would have cost 209,000 euros twelve months ago but would now be on the market at 171,000 euros.
The ministry’s findings reveal that the further south on the Costa Blanca a new property is built, the higher the fall in market price in the last year.
Those in Jávea dropped by 14 per cent, compared to 18.7 per cent in the Torrevieja area.
But it is not all doom and gloom – new homes in Benidorm increased in price by nine per cent last year, and new builds in inland parts of the Valencia province such as Quart de Poblet have gone up by 9.9 per cent.
Overall, house prices as a whole dropped by 3.1 per cent across Spain in the past year, but the Comunidad Valenciana saw a below-average fall of 2.1 per cent.


Government ‘could have done better’SPAIN’S government has admitted that the country ‘could have managed the situation better’ during last week’s heavy snowfalls across the country.
Next year, it says, they will create new guidelines along with the Civil Protection squad to allow the latter to help people out more.
Vice-president María Teresa Fernández de la Vega says the snow that swept the country on January 9 could not have been predicted until a few minutes beforehand.
By this time, she says, it was too late to take precautionary measures.
The snowfall affected Madrid, inland Castellón and Valencia, and the Sierra Nevada area as well as much of the north of Spain.
Fernández de la Vega says infrastructures need to be improved in case it happens again, since planes were grounded at Barajas airport and roads became blocked leading into the capital.
Passengers received no information about their flights – of which 571 were cancelled – and when the runways finally opened there were not enough planes or crew members to deal with the 45,000 travellers affected.
The vice-president puts this down to ‘a lack of communication’.
Weather reports on the morning of January 9 pointed to seven centimetres (three inches) of snow and temperatures of –4ºC in Madrid.


               Huge cash injection to fight unemployment

CRISIS talks are being held between the regional government and Valencian Chambers of Commerce over how to beat the credit crunch.
The Generalitat has approved a second extraordinary programme to help support the region’s flagging economy, part of which involves investing a further 330 million euros beyond its 2009 budget in industries that continue to be productive and may have a future.
They say this is in a bid to create more employment in the region.
In order to finance the crisis programme, the Generalitat has to convince the central government to hand over more cash – or face increasing its existing budget deficit.
Minister for the economy Pedro Solbes says Spain will end 2009 with a three per cent budget deficit, but the Valencia region’s own deficit is expected to be less than half of this.
The crisis programme includes a further 360 million euros being invested into the region in order to reduce unemployment.

               Wanted Brit caught on Costa

A BRITISH national under a European arrest warrant has been caught in Santa Pola.
National Police arrested D.K., 29, on Saturday after an international search operation.
He is wanted in the UK for drug-smuggling and dealing offences.
On the same day, National Police arrested a 50-year-old Dutch national in El Campello, who is wanted by Interpol after escaping arrest in his home country for offences related to forgery and money-laundering.
Both men are being held in custody pending trial, but it is not yet clear whether they will be deported.

Over 60,000 motorbikes being ridden illegally
ONLY eight per cent of motor scooters have passed the compulsory ITV test before the deadline imposed by the ministry of traffic.
A new law stipulated that by Wednesday of this week, all mopeds and motorbikes on the road should have passed an ITV, Spain's answer to an MOT test.
But 27 per cent of those inspected have failed.
Those that have passed and are now legal on the roads only represent eight per cent of all scooters and bikes in the region.
At least 60,000 motorbikes are thought to be awaiting inspection.
This is in spite of awareness campaigns that have been launched throughout the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón over the past few months.
The cost of an ITV for a motorbike or moped is 24.22 euros, whereas the fine for not holding a valid pass certificate is 150 euros.
The rider may also lose his or her licence and the bike be impounded unless a test is passed within ten days of being caught without one.

Human traffickers arrested at Moroccan border
AN international organisation thought to be behind the trafficking of immigrants into Spain via Melilla has been broken up by Guardia Civil and National Police officers.
At least 17 people have been arrested in connection with the smuggling of Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans into Spain.
They mainly smuggled them onto Spanish soil by hiding them in vehicles and driving into Melilla, a Spanish-owned enclave on the Moroccan coast.
But police discovered the would-be migrants when they carried out random vehicle inspections.
The immigrants were both men and women, some of the women being in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
Investigations have been ongoing for six months and this week led to the arrest of 15 Spaniards and two Moroccans.

Biggest prehistoric settlement in Spain dug up
SPAIN'S largest prehistoric archaeological dig has been uncovered in Caravaca de la Cruz (Murcia).
Experts from Murcia university have found 1,300 human skeletons that are thought to be over 4,000 years old.
They have also discovered the remains of 50 dogs and various household items and tools that date back to between 2400 and 1950 B.C.
Archaeologists believe it was a predominantly agricultural community since they have found grain-storage vats on the site near the hamlet of Molinos de Papel.
Skeletons found in the burial site were lying in the foetal position, apart from one which was tied up and another lying on its back, the motives for which the university plans to study in greater depth.
Among the tools discovered was a dagger made of flint of around 27cm in length, twice the normal length of such weapons in prehistoric times.
Those studying the dig say the flint comes from Yecla, around 70 kilometres from the site.
According to the archaeologists, violence and war appeared to have been prevalent in this period in history.
They intend to study the arrow-heads to ascertain whether they were used for hunting, for war, or both.

Spain could have highest unemployment in Europe by 2010
UNEMPLOYMENT could reach 19 per cent by 2010, worrying figures reveal.
The European Commission claims Spain's economic minister, Pedro Solbes' predictions for next year are too optimistic.
Solbes believed Spain would spend 2010 recovering from the credit crisis, but Europe believes it will get worse.
They think Spain's gross domestic product will drop by around two per cent and the country's deficit will reach more than six per cent by next year.
If unemployment figures reach 19 per cent of the population, it will be the highest in the EU.
But Brussels believes unemployment will hit its peak in 2009 and begin to recover in 2010.
Also, inflation in Spain is likely to fall from the 4.1 per cent it saw in 2008 to 0.6 per cent this year, although it could rise again to 2.4 per cent in 2010.

Direct flight from Valencia to New York takes off in June
A DIRECT flight from Valencia to New York will take off this June, and is expected to transport a total of 30,000 passengers to and from Spain and the USA before the end of 2009.
Delta Airlines plans to set up in Manises airport on June 6, offering four weekly flights to New York at a price starting from 378 euros.
Planes leave Valencia at 21.00hrs and land in JFK airport just before noon, a duration of eight hours.
The return flight leaves New York at 17.05hrs and lands in Valencia at 07.30hrs.
This means passengers will be able to arrange onward travel from JFK to other major US destinations such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, flights to which are available from New York.
At present, to catch a direct flight to the USA, travellers need to catch a plane in Madrid, Málaga or Barcelona.
Valencia's mayoress says she hopes it will encourage more tourists from the USA to explore the city and its surroundings.
At the moment, the USA is the country that sends the most tourists to Europe, after Japan.
In 2007 – largely due to the America's Cup – the Comunidad Valenciana welcomed 52,311 holidaymakers from the USA.
The typical profile for US travellers to the region is aged between 25 and 44, booking flights and hotels independently rather than using a package tour company.

Driving schools feeling the pinch
DRIVING schools are among the worst-hit by the credit crunch, since young people now do not have the money to pay for lessons, says a leading driving school association.
Vicente Martín head of the Asociación Valenciana de Autoescuelas (AVAE) says the government should intervene to prevent a vast number of driving schools shutting down and fewer young people being able to afford to learn.
This week, the association intends to discuss the matter with the regional government.
They want the Generalitat to put up part of the costs of obtaining a driving licence for the under-25s, up to a maximum of 300 euros.
The government has already tried to save driving schools by offering interest-free loans of between 500 and 1,000 euros to pay back in three years, being a maximum of a euro a day.
But with driving schools already offering interest-free credit, the scheme was nothing new.
The drop in the number of pupils is seen in the time taken for theory exams to be taken.
In the traffic centre in Saler, exams were running every day until 17.00hrs.
Now, the exam rooms are empty just after 11.00hrs.

Alzira man give cigarette money to Congo farmers
AN Alzira resident who gave up smoking five years ago has saved every cent that he used to spend on cigarettes – and donated it to a farm in the Congo region of Africa.
Juan Antón's money, which reached 6,000 euros – a spending of roughly 100 euros a month on cigarettes – has managed to plant two hectares of crops in Bukavu, near the Rwanda border.
The crops are cultivated organically in order to utilise natural resources to the maximum and protect the environment.
Juan says the idea came to him years ago when he travelled to Hondurás and struck up a conversation with a car-washer.
He discovered that this man earned exactly what Juan smoked in a day.
As a result, he decided to give up and use the money to help the third world.

Residents complain over airport noise
YET more complaints have been filed against the noise level created by aeroplanes taking off from and landing in Valencia airport.
Recently, residents of Manises, the village where the airport is located, complained about the noise.
Now, inhabitants of the village of San Antonio de Benagéber, near Utiel, has presented a court order to Valencia city council.
They say the number of planes that cross their airspace has rocketed in the last year.
Efforts to discuss the matter with the council have proved fruitless.
Valencia city council recognises that it has been receiving complaints from residents near the airport, and said that they are aware of planes that leave pre-established flight paths to shorten the journey and save money in fuel.

Helpline for the elderly receives 3,000 calls a year
A FREEPHONE telephone line that offers help to the elderly says it receives 3,000 calls a year, 32 of which are to report physical and mental abuse.
A further 150 related to questions about government funding available to carers under the new Law of Dependence.
Most of the elderly callers or their carers who rang 900 10 00 11 in the last year were from the province of Valencia, with only 21 per cent being from the Alicante province and 13 per cent from Castellón.
Since the helpline was set up in 1997, it has received around 26,000 calls.
Psychologists and social workers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help elderly persons who live alone or require urgent assistance.

By Samantha Kett.

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