News roundup March 6th 2009

Calling all expats: your vote counts
EXPATRIATES across Spain are being urged to register themselves to vote in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections.
Spain has 1.9 million European expatriates, but only ten per cent have registered to vote in June this year.
So far, the province of Alicante has the highest number of expatriates who have claimed their right to vote, with 17 per cent putting their names forward.
Residents are being encouraged to use their chance to make their voices heard, particularly as EU membership is of increased importance to expatriates.
The right to live, work and study in any other European Union country, together with the rights to property, healthcare and education are among the main benefits of being part of the continent-wide agreement.
Without EU membership, any violation of these rights suffered by Europeans abroad could not be dealt with.
Benefits of being part of the EU have been strongly tested in recent years, with both Spaniards and foreigners alike suffering the loss of their homes and savings through abusive regional land laws.
To claim your right to vote, you should be registered on the padrón, or municipal census, in your town.
Next, go to the town hall and ask for a Declaración de intento de voto form to complete.
If you do not have a residence card or certificate, an up-to-date European passport is sufficient under EU law.
In the event you are denied the form on the grounds that your passport is not enough, ask the town hall to call the census office, who will confirm that this is indeed the case.


BRITISH national has been arrested in connection with the fraudulent sale of telephone cards, thought to be valued at around 85,000 euros.

According to reports the accused, Paul Robertson 52, was detained in Canals on Wednesday. A police search at his property uncovered a stash of 2,000 forged top-up cards, valued at around 40,000 euros.
The total amount defrauded from business investers is believed to be more than double this amount.
The fraud Squad have been investigating the situation since January when they were alerted by members of the public. 
Hundreds of people and business owners, from Barcelona to Murcia, are said to have been affected by the scam.The suspect has been releasd on Bail while investigations continue.
Police advice anyone who has been affected and have not yet made a report to do so, as soon as possible. In the first instance notify your local police station.

Bruce Springsteen
to Rock Benidorm
TICKETS are now on sale for Bruce Springsteen’s concert in Benidorm this July.
The US rocker, dubbed ‘The Boss’, will perform tracks from his new album Working on a dream together with old favourites. So far, 35,000 tickets are up for sale, ranging from 70 to 85 euros each. They can be bought from the box office in the Plaza de los Reyes de España, or via
Mayor Manuel Pérez Fenoll has warned that they could all be sold out on the same day, so fans of Bruce ‘The Boss’ should strike whilst the iron is hot. His concert takes place in the Les Foietes football ground on July 30.

Mediaeval market and Ancient Greek comedy in Bètera
IN celebration of International Women’s Day, a Mediaeval market and craft fair will fill the streets of Bètera over the weekend of March 7 and 8.
At least 40 stallholders will be selling their wares, which include textiles, pottery, jewellery, leatherwork and unique household decorative items.
Other stalls include homemade traditional foodstuffs, such as crêpes, seafood and pizzas, oven-baked bread and fresh cheese.
The fair will also include an open-air stage production of the hilarious Aristophanes play, Lysistrata.
In this Ancient Greek comedy, the women are sick and tired of their men fighting and beg them to put an end to the war between Athens and Sparta.
When the men refuse, their wives deny them sex until they are prepared to do so – with hilarious results.
The fair will be open between 11.00hrs and 20.30hrs on Saturday and Sunday.
Stallholders are struggling to make a living with the credit crunch, since the cost of their stands at the market often exceeds the profits they make from sales.
For this reason, and to ensure that such events can continue in the future, readers in the Bètera area are urged to support their local fiesta this weekend.
Zapatero ‘to fornicate’ with Russia?
SPAIN’S president made a slip of the tongue during a conference about promoting tourism, causing him to tell the world that he had made ‘an agreement to fornicate’.
During the presentation, in which José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero discussed Spain’s efforts on building links with Russia with a view to increasing tourism in both countries, the president managed to keep a straight face and move swiftly on.
Zapatero announced, “we have made an agreement in order to stimulate, to favour, and to fornicate” tourism, rather than “to support.”
He accidentally used the word follar, meaning to consummate the union, rather than apoyar, which means to support.
But the president instantly corrected himself and the slip was barely noticeable.
This said, the video has already been published on
Retired cop faces jail over fraudulent property sale to football boss
A RETIRED police officer is facing prison for the fraudulent sale of a flat to the president of Valencia CF.
According to National Police, the accused forged the national identity card of the real owner of the six-million euro apartment on C/ Colón, Valencia’s main shopping street.
He is then said to have pretended to be the legitimate owner in front of the notary when selling the flat to Vicente Soriano Serra, head of Valencia football club.
The accused is believed to have taken a cash deposit of one million euros.
Investigations into the matter began a year ago when certain aspects of the sale did not appear to add up.
This week, a 71-year-old Spaniard, a retired National Police officer who is believed to have an existing criminal record, was arrested in nearby Paterna.
Two other men of 49 and 68 years of age who are thought to have been involved in the fraud were arrested, but later freed pending trial.
Chinese to be taught in high schools from 12 years upwards
HIGH school students in the Comunidad Valenciana will be taught Mandarin Chinese in class starting from the new academic year in 2010.
The subject, although optional at this stage, will be given from second year onwards, meaning children will begin to learn it from the ages of 12 and 13.
Education minister for the region, Alejandro Font de Mora – who has been at the centre of a controversial decision for Citizenship classes to be given in English in spite of pupils’ limited knowledge of the language – says multi-lingual education is the future of schools in Spain.
Font de Mora says those who speak Spanish and English are potentially able to communicate with 1,500 million people.
By adding Mandarin Chinese to the equation, says the minister, this number doubles.
At present, 500 students of all ages across the region are studying for government-endorsed exams in the language.
Ex denies murder after couple appear on national TV
THE former boyfriend of a murdered Russian girl who ended their relationship on national television denies killing her.
Svetlana Orlova’s throat was cut in November 2007, shortly after she appeared on Antena 3’s Diario de Patricia – Spain’s answer to Trisha – where she said there was no chance of rekindling her relationship with Ricardo Antonio N.R.
The accused says he was not in the block in Alicante where Svetlana lived on the day she was murdered.
A court heard that the person who committed the crime rang the bell asking to speak to ‘a Russian girl’.
Ricardo Antonio said he did not ring the bell, nor did he wait for her in the doorway.
He claims neighbours saw someone with similar characteristics to his and assumed it was him because they had seen him on the television.
Svetlana died in Alicante General Hospital on November 19, 2007, due to a deep knife-wound to the right-hand carotid artery and the jugular vein.
Four days previously, the accused, 30, had been on Diario de Patricia to publicly ask Svetlana to get back together with him.
If found guilty, he could face 20 years in jail, a fine of 4,500 euros to the regional health service, and be forced to pay compensation totalling 330,000 euros to Svetlana’s family.
El Altet airport will have underground train into city
ALICANTE airport will soon have a train line built below the runways.
The underground train will connect with the high-speed inter-regional AVE rail in Alicante city.
This project, which comes at a cost of 170 million euros, has been awaiting the approval of airport governing body AENA.
The regional ministry of public works believes the underground metro link will be open by 2012.
Ryanair opens new routes from Alicante
RYANAIR has announced the opening of its fifth base in Alicante airport, meaning that from this summer the cheap flight company will be able to offer four new routes.
The Irish-based budget airline says that from July 2009, passengers will be able to fly from El Altet airport to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Aarhus, and Santiago de Compostela in the north-west of Spain.
The latter, Ryanair’s fourth internal flight route within Spain, is famous for its splendid cathedral and as an international pilgrimage destination.
Ryanair says its aim is to become the top airline for the Costa Blanca and put itself ahead of rival easyJet.
The company hopes to close the year with a total of 2.3 million passengers, which will allow it to keep 2,300 members of staff in jobs.
‘Gorrilla’ fined for damaging car
A ‘GORRILLA’ who damaged a woman’s parked car because she refused to pay him has been fined by a Valencia court.
She would not give him money after he showed her into a parking space, so he scratched the side of it with a sharp instrument.
He has been ordered to pay her 244 euros to cover the repairs.
‘Gorrillas’ are people who loiter in free car parks, showing drivers who enter into spaces and then attempting to charge for the privilege.
Some try to charge for watching the driver’s car in his or her absence.
This practice is completely illegal.
Rapists and terrorists under house arrest ‘hard to justify’
PROPOSALS for rapists, paedophiles and reoffending terrorists to be held under house arrest instead of prison was rejected out of hand by the Judges’ Council this week.
The Consejo General del Poder Judicial said it would be ‘difficult to justify’ 20 years of monitored liberty for serious criminals.
Additionally, the CGPJ has criticised proposals to increase sentences for sexual assault, prostitution and corruption of minors.
They say that if the rape of a child under 13 carries a sentence of between 12 and 15 years in jail, and the murder of a child the same age from 10 to 15 years of prison, this would be ‘disproportional’.
At present, however, under Spanish law there is no maximum sentence length.
Murderers have often been jailed for 40 years and the Madrid train bombers were given a total of 21,000 years behind bars between them.
This phenomenal sentence was passed to express the public’s disgust at the magnitude of the crime.
Antonio Banderas in Woody Allen film in London
ANTONIO Banderas has been offered a starring role in the latest Woody Allen movie, which will be filmed this summer in London.
The Málaga-born actor will play alongside Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Freida Pinto and Josh Brolin.
Details of the storyline, and the title, have yet to be revealed, but the North American directors publicists have confirmed Banderas’ presence and that part of the action will take place in the English capital.
Woody Allen is no stranger to Spanish cinema, having directed the recent box-office smasher Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which won actress Penélope Cruz both a Goya and an Oscar.
Only a third of under-30s have left home
TWO-THIRDS of young adults prefer to live with their parents rather than go it alone, a recent survey has revealed.
The Young Persons’ Institute, INJUVE, has found that the number of teens and twenty-somethings who leave home has fallen drastically in the Comunidad Valenciana in the last year.
This is largely due to the near-impossibility of finding stable work with a salary that allows them to pay rent and bills, or to gain a foothold on the property ladder.
Spain’s rate of unemployment is currently the second-highest in the EU, behind Lithuania, at 14.8 per cent.
Economists have predicted that this could rise to 20 per cent by 2010.
Escaped juvenile delinquent behind seven robberies
POLICE have arrested a teen thought to be behind around seven muggings and aggravated robberies in the Orihuela Costa area.
The boy, 14, is said to have committed these offences after escaping from borstal.
He mainly targeted other minors, stealing both money and mobile telephones, officers say.
Following his arrest in Orihuela town centre, he has been remanded in police custody at the order of the court.
Psychiatric patient attacks Princess Letizia’s delegate
PRINCESS Letizia of Asturias had the fright of her life on Thursday when a mentally-ill man pinned down her escort and threatened her.
The man, said to be in psychiatric treatment but luckily not armed, shouted repeatedly, “death to the King!” during the assault.
He attacked the princess’ delegate just at the moment when she was meeting president of the Balearic Islands, Francesc Antich, and Spanish health minister Bernat Soria.
The accused, a 55-year-old Argentinean national of Italian birth – but with residence rights in Spain – was arrested and admitted to the psychiatric ward of the Son Dureta hospital, Palma de Mallorca, where Letizia was on an official visit to the maternity ward.
The princess’ meeting was attended by medical professionals, patients and their relatives, who applauded her when she arrived.
Letizia was there to find out more about the work of children’s charity La Sonrisa Médica (‘the medical smile’) who sends clowns into paediatric wards to entertain young patients.
Sacked worker sets light to work premises
A GARDEN centre employee who burnt down his work premises after he was fired has been arrested.
The Moroccan national, 34, produced forged identity documentation when applying for the job, since he was not a legal resident in Spain.
When his fraud came to light, he was dismissed from his job.
He then set fire to several greenhouses on the premises in Castellón.
A man fitting his description was arrested in Castellón this week.
Falling chair-lift injures 23
AT least 23 people were injured when a chair-lift came unhooked in a Sierra Nevada ski resort this weekend.
The lift, which reaches a maximum height of 6.5 metres, came off its cable at the ski station in Borreguiles (Granada) and plunged to the ground.
Most of the injured parties were able to go to the health centre for a check-up on foot on or skis, although three are said to have been seriously injured and taken to hospital.
The ski station management has opened an investigation into the cause of the accident.
Drug-dealer, 84, in custoday
AN 84-year-old man has been arrested in connection with peddling drugs in one of Alicante’s most notorious dealer districts.
The elderly gentleman was detained along with six others, all in their late teens and twenties, in the Cementerio district of the city.
After raiding the properties at numbers six and 13 of C/ San Emilio, police seized 83 grams of cocaine.
‘Black Sunday’ on region’s roads
SUNDAY was one of this year’s blackest days on the region’s roads, with three dead and five injured in accidents across the Comunidad Valenciana.
A 48-year-old man was pronounced dead on arrival in hospital after a collision at 07.00hrs on the N-340 near Puçol (Valencia).
He is thought to have lost control of the car at a roundabout.
At exactly the same time, several hundred kilometres away, a 36-year-old biker was killed on the CV-36 road between Elche and Torrellano, near Alicante airport.
In the same crash, a 29-year-old woman was taken to hospital with multiple injuries.
At around 14.00hrs on Sunday, three people were hurt when a car veered off the road in Sagunto.
One of them is said to be in hospital with serious head injuries.
Finally, five hours later in Vilafamés (Castellón), a head-on collision injured a man of 36 and killed an 18-year-old boy.

Brits prefer Benidorm
BRITISH holidaymakers’ firm favourite for fun in the sun is Benidorm, reveals a survey carried out by Thomson Holidays. The leading travel agency says UK tourists prefer the Costa Blanca resort town to any other sun, sea and sand destination in the world.
Brits interviewed voted Benidorm as number one in the top ten holiday locations around the globe, together with four other Spanish coastal towns. These were Puerto de San Miguel in Ibiza; Playa Blanca in Lanzarote; Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria and Puerto Pollença in Mallorca. Most of the other five were destinations in Turkey and Greece.
Thomson, part of TUI Travel, carried out the survey in a bid to help tour operators plan package holidays for Britons. Their airline, Thomsonfly, works with various companies in Benidorm, Dénia, Jávea and Moraira.
‘Smelly’ seaweed left on beaches until Easter
TONNES of seaweed that has gathered up on the beaches in Dénia will be left in order to protect the sand from the elements. But residents on the seafront have put in numerous formal complaints to the council about the stench coming up from the beaches.
Councillor for the environment, Juan Collado, says local authorities will remove ‘invasive species’, saying these are the plants that cause bad smells. But ‘native species’, says Collado, will be left on the beaches ‘just as in previous years’. “We’ve always left seaweed on the beach in winter, since it helps to regenerate the dunes and protects the sand against the weather,” Collado reveals. He says the seaweed will be removed by Easter when the holiday season starts. Already, since November last year, 5,000 tonnes of seaweed has been cleared up from Dénia’s beaches.
Calpe is full of foreigners, census shows
TWO-THIRDS of Calpe’s inhabitants are expatriates, according to a census published this week. The town currently has just under 30,500 residents registered on the padrón, but only 11,000 are Spanish. Brits and Germans put together outnumber native inhabitants, statistics reveal. The most highly-representative group of foreigners are from the UK, with nearly 4,500 living in the town. Germans are not far behind, with 4,000 inhabitants. Another 2,400 are Belgian, 1,725 are Romanian and 740 from Holland.
The only non-European group recorded were Moroccans, with 760 on the census.
Dénia’s bus station to be scrapped
DÉNIA’S bus station’s days are numbered, reveal local authorities.
They say that they need the plot to carry out works of ‘great social value’ and have a budget of 10 million euros to do so.
This means the town’s bus station will be dismantled at the end of the year.
But this does not mean the end of public transport for the town.
The depot will be moved into an out-of-town location, which has yet to be confirmed.
It will also have a parking lot.
Yet this will defeat the object for those residents in Dénia who use the bus service because they do not own a car.
It means they will need four-wheeled transport to be able to reach the bus station.
The council says the old site will be redeployed, but has not fully confirmed its future use.
However, councillors have said the Les Roques area will undergo some much-needed reforms, as will the Ronda de las Murallas street, the Bosc de Diana area, the castle tunnel and the town hall square.
New bicycle lanes will also be set up.
Some of the money will also be used to continue the ongoing restoration of the castle walls, and to improve the appearance of some of the back streets of town such as C/ Sandunga and Fontanella.
Burglary suspect ‘arrested 23 times’
NATIONAL Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in Bellreguard over a burglary in the Marxuquera area of Gandia.
He is known to the police, having been arrested on 23 previous occasions, say officers.
They say that as the evidence that incriminated the young man left ‘no doubt’ of his involvement, he has been remanded in custody immediately.
They are now focusing their investigations on recovering the stolen items, which included thousands of euros’ worth of fallera costumes and accessories.
Police have not ruled out that the accused could have been involved with other burglaries in the area.
Burglars steal school trip money from primary school
BURGLARS have cleaned out the Arenal primary school in Jávea and taken money held in a safe for school trips and educational material. The thieves are thought to have ripped out the alarm system, preventing the police from being alerted, when they broke into the building in the early hours of Friday morning. They also took two laptops, a projector, two photographic cameras and a camcorder. Two mobile telephones and the school trip safe, containing over 6,000 euros, were stolen from the PTA meeting room.
Police believe the burglars knew their way around the school as they entered by kicking in the door nearest to the alarm system, which they deactivated by pulling out the junction box. This is not the first burglary that has been registered in a Jávea school.
Since January this year, a crimewave affecting shops and bars in the old town and also other primary schools has been sweeping through the town.
Calpe traders fear loss of custom
TRADERS on Calpe’s C/ La Niña have met with mayor Ximo Tur to discuss their concerns over ongoing works in the street. They fear that the massive repair operation will not be finished by the deadline of May 31, meaning they could continue to lose customers due to parking and accessibility problems. The works are being carried out to repair damage caused by the floods in October 2007. Tur has agreed to meet with those in charge of the works in order to speed up the process.
He has also agreed to have more street lights and zebra crossings in C/ La Niña, Avenida de Europa and Plaza Colón, and to up police vigilance in these areas.
Mayor calls for answers to Puerto Blanco situation
ANSWERS are urgently needed over the plight of yacht-owners with moorings in Calpe’s Puerto Blanco, says mayor Ximo Tur. He has asked the ministry for ports, airports and coasts to give him more information about yacht-owners’ rights.
Last week, the franchise company that owns the moorings towed away vessels they said were illegally anchored. But the boat-owners say they signed an agreement allowing them the use of these moorings for several years and have paid up front for the lease of them. However, after the contract was signed, the franchise company demanded they pay rent on moorings the yacht owners already own on a leasehold basis. Ximo Tur says he is concerned for the rights of the owners, together with the impact that the stories about the Puerto Blanco situation in the expatriate press may have on the image of Calpe as a popular tourist town.
School fire drill
SOME 600 primary school pupils in Calpe watched firemen put out a blaze that took hold of two vehicles in the street. On Thursday, fire fighters held a simulation exercise as part of their training, and school children were able to watch from a safe distance and learn about what emergency staff do when they are on duty. The Azorín and Gabriel Miró primary schools took part, as did the Gargasindi special school.
Lisa Svoboda chosen as Cibe-BLOC councillor
THE wife of a major campaigner in the fight against the land-grab laws has been elected as councillor of the Benissa coalition Cibe-BLOC. Swedish-born Lisa Svoboda, wife of Chuck – who has headed up the 40,000-strong Abusos Urbanísticos NO pressure group which has been working to change abusive regional land laws for more than a decade – was chosen to represent the party in her home town on Thursday evening.
Councillor Jaume Ortolà, who headed up the Cibe-BLOC during the last election campaign, resigned from his post last week.
Lisa Svoboda will take up office from April.
HELP visits Local Police in La Nucía
HELP of the Marina Baixa visited the Local Police in La Nucía on Friday to get to know more about officers’ work first-hand.
The British-run charity, which has branches all along the Costa Blanca, was particularly interested in finding out about traffic control and surveillance cameras being installed in the area.
Members of HELP visited the telecommunications room, where the cameras are based.
They were told that 67 CCTV cameras had been set up around La Nucía with built-in technology allowing them to recognise registration plates.
The aim behind the 2.4-million euro investment in security cameras is to make the town a safer place for residents and visitors.
Dénia hospital gets more doctors in the face of complaints
DÉNIA’S new hospital has drafted in extra staff for its accident and emergency department after a flood of complaints received since the centre opened.
Waiting times in casualty range from four to 14 hours.
This week, a further 17 professionals have been taken on, bringing the total up to 54.
Dénia hospital says it should now be able to handle 1,000 emergencies a week.
Health workers’ unions have criticised the hospital’s ‘rushed’ opening, meaning it is not ready to cope with the needs of its thousands of patients.
Appointments, both new and follow-up consultancies, which were cancelled two or three months ago have not yet been rebooked.
Patients who have telephoned to find out when they will be seen have often found that their records have not been transferred from the old site at La Pedrera, and the new hospital cannot trace them.
In the meantime, the hospital has run out of complaint forms.
Patients who wish to make a complaint may go to Atención al Paciente on the ground floor near the canteen, or to the consumer office, OMIC, in Dénia town centre.
House fire in Xaló
FIREFIGHTERS were called out to a home in Xaló on Sunday after a blaze broke out in the lounge.
They rushed to the scene in the town’s Camino al Cementerio at around 10.00hrs.
Once there, rescue workers found that the fire had started in an electricity junction box.
The occupants of the house had already abandoned the building, and nobody was hurt.
Speed camera near Iberdrola in Ontinyent

A SPEED camera has been set up in Ontinyent on a main road.
The local motorcycle club discovered the camera this week in the Pou Clar area of town, on the straight stretch of road just past the Iberdrola head office.
Given that the speed-trap, a white box just behind the metal guardrails on the roadside, looks more like a gas unit or electricity post, it is difficult for motorists to recognise.
Drivers are warned to look out for the trap and keep their speed down when passing.
Eroski official saves tot’s life
AN Eroski security guard saved the life of a toddler who stopped breathing on Thursday in Carcaixent.
Little Lucía, aged 16 months, suddenly collapsed unconscious on the supermarket floor whilst out with her parents at around 19.30hrs.
Mum Irina Belenguer said she and her husband were ‘powerless’ and ‘feared the worst’.
But 27-year-old security guard, José David Rubio, from Alzira, rushed to the scene without thinking twice.
He said he saw that some customers appeared frantic and were crying.
“I ran over there and saw a baby on the check-out counter and her dad giving her mouth to mouth,” reveals José David.
The guard, a qualified first-aider, immediately pulled Lucía out of her father’s arms and carried out his training on her.
He said he firstly carried out a technique used to dislodge anything stuck in the respiratory tubes.
“And it worked,” José David revealed.
She was then taken to Carcaixent health centre before being transferred to the Ribera Alta hospital for tests.
Although her parents say Lucía appears lively and normal, she will remain in hospital a few days more as a precaution.
Irina says she is ‘full of gratitude’ for José David’s heroic actions.
She says staff at the supermarket have since bought presents and toys for her daughter, since they now consider her ‘one of the family’.
“My daughter has come back to life because of this young man,” says an emotional Irina.
Anna Golf Resort plans cut due to credit crunch
A PLANNED luxury golf resort in Anna with 1,200 homes will no longer go ahead as envisaged.
The credit crunch means developers cannot justify constructing the proposed villas and apartments for later resale.
But Anna Golf Resort has not been abandoned altogether, planners say.
They reveal that they will built one show home in the style of each of the flats and houses they had originally planned, so that any other properties can be built to order rather than on speculation.
Developers Golf y Aventura Annabella, S.L. presented apartments of 50 square metres in the Urbe fair in Madrid at a price of 113,000 euros, a drop from its initial price of 120,000 euros.
They now say they will build according to demand and ‘let the market dictate their speed of work’.
But at present, the hotel and shopping centre planned for the site will not now go ahead.
Cheapest new-build homes in Spain
ALCOI has some of the cheapest new-build properties in Spain, reveals a report by a leading quantity surveying society in conjunction with a local estate agent.
Of all the towns in the country with 50,000 inhabitants or more, Alcoi – and in particular its north end – has the best property bargains.
The credit crunch has forced prices down, meaning reductions of between 20 and 30 per cent – or up to 60 per cent for second-hand properties – can be found.
According to the report, the average price of a new apartment in Alcoi is around 1,135 euros per square metre, compared with 2,069 euros per square metre elsewhere in the country.
SC Inmobiliaria, the agency involved in the research, says it is possible to buy a new build for 120,000 euros with an indoor parking space and IVA included.
Fireman injured in warehouse blaze
A FIREMAN was rushed to hospital this week after he became injured putting out a blaze in an Ontinyent warehouse.
The emergency worker, 50, was hurt when a fire extinguisher exploded in the industrial unit on Avenida del Llombo.
He and his colleagues were called out in the early hours of the morning to attend to the inferno, which wiped out the entire 1,500-square metre warehouse and took an hour and a half to bring under control.
The fireman was taken to Ontinyent hospital in the beginning, but later transferred to the La Ribera district hospital in Alzira given the seriousness of his wounds.
He had suffered an injury to his leg, but his life is not said to be in danger.
Fire engines remained on the site of the blaze for a further 12 hours as a precaution, say emergency staff.
More than 200 give blood in one day
A BLOOD donor rally in Xàtiva last week saw an impressive turnout, say organisers.
Over 200 people came along to give blood during the session held in the town.
Members of the regional Transfusions Centre worked non-stop from 11.00hrs until late evening to attend to the overwhelming number of people who had turned up in the hope of saving lives in the future.
Each of them was given a t-shirt commemorating the event, and a sandwich and drink to give them their strength back after giving blood.
Organisers say most of the regular donors came along, but many new ones – including plenty of young people – attended for the first time.
If you are interested in giving blood, contact your local health centre.
You must be in good health and not taking regular medication, not be a carrier of any hereditary disease and be over 50 kilos (7st 12lbs) in weight.
Nursing home fire leads to 70 evacuations
A BLAZE that broke out in a nursing home in Anna on Friday forced emergency services to evacuate 70 residents.
The home’s manager and a maintenance worker, aged 63 and 48, have also been taken to Xàtiva hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.
Firefighters were called out to the home on C/ Médico Rafael Sanz at around 10.45hrs on Friday morning.
They believe the fire started in one of the bedrooms, due to a cigarette not having been put out properly and setting light to a mattress.
When firemen arrived, staff at the home had already managed to bring the flames under control.
The fire was extinguished by the afternoon and nobody was reported as being injured.
Socks that heal and stop sweaty feet
AN Alcoi company has designed a pair of socks that regenerate the foot’s skin and prevent sweaty feet.
With no seams, the socks also help prevent sores and blisters caused by walking.
The company, Lurbel, together with the Technological Textiles Institute (AITEX) have come up with the pioneering invention which they also claim helps cuts on the feet to heal more quickly.
Using a special type of fabric and incorporating adjustable bands to adapt to the size and shape of the foot, the socks are designed to maximise air flow to the feet and regulate their temperature.
These socks have already been displayed at the ISPO Winter 09 fair in Munich, where companies displayed their winter clothing and sports equipment.
Leading companies lay off 137
REDUNDANCIES in three leading inland textile firms has left 137 workers out of a job in just three days.
The Cocentaina-based companies, Moltó Reig and Estampados Prats have laid off 104 members of staff between them.
In Muro d’Alcoi, the firm Filprim has temporarily suspended 33 employees due to lack of work.
They will continue to trade, but with fewer staff members, all on rotating shifts.
Estampados Prats closed its doors last week, leaving 58 workers unemployed.
They said their cash flow is non-existent and they have seen a severe fall in their order numbers.
Staff say they were ‘gobsmacked’ by the news, since they had recently been working overtime and believed there to be plenty of work.
Redundancies and long-term unemployment in the Alcoià i Comptat and Foia de Castalla districts are reaching record highs, say unions.
No pool for La Pobla
FOR the second year running, the outdoor municipal swimming pool in La Pobla de Vallbona will be closed.
This is because of ongoing modernisation works on the village pool, which are not now expected to be finished until around 2010 or 2011.
But in order that residents can still take a dip during the hottest months of the year, a free bus service will take them to the Los Jazmines restaurant and banquet hall a kilometre outside the town.
Local authorities have come to an agreement with Los Jazmines that La Pobla’s residents can use the pool during the summer.
Drug-dealing suspect shoots police
A SUSPECTED drug-dealer shot at police officers when they called at his home in Godelleta last week.
Officers were in possession of a court order allowing them to inspect the property.
They were unhurt in the attack, but immediately arrested the 41-year-old occupant, who is said to have at least 17 previous criminal charges against him.
Investigations started in early February when police got wind of a drug-dealing operation in two bars in Alaquàs.
By passing as customers, they infiltrated the bars and caught the dealers red-handed.
A total of six people have been detained, including the man who shot at officers last Thursday.

Lehman Brothers victims stage protest in Dénia
INVESTORS in Dénia who have been affected by the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy staged a protest on Monday.
Around 20 people carried banners calling for a refund of their money.
They marched down the central Marqués de Campo street, stopping and chanting outside the CAM bank where they subscribed to investment packages that were involved with the US financial institution.
The main victim, Carlos Moreno, says he deposited 600,000 euros in a fund in the CAM bank in 2005, but in 2008 stopped receiving his annual interest payments.
He then received a letter from the bank detailing the risks involved with the investment, ‘which they should have done at the outset’.
Some of the investors say they have had no response to their complaints to the bank since the Lehman Brothers’ crash.
Expat walker hurt on Jávea beach
AN expatriate walker who became injured whilst hiking in the cliffs off the coast of Jávea had to be rescued by emergency services on Monday.
The 60-year-old Dutch woman, a practiced hiker, had fallen and broken her ankle after climbing from the Playa del Tangó up to Cabo de Sant Antoni.
She called 112 just before lunchtime and was airlifted to safety.
This part of the bay of Jávea is popular with nature-lovers, but is only recommended for experienced walkers.
More fines to be handed out in Dénia
DÉNIA predicts it will amass an extra 21 per cent in traffic fines this year.
When the budget was presented in Friday’s council meeting, BLOC spokesman Pau Reig expressed his ‘surprise’ that the amount relating to money received in fines had increased substantially.
The budget for 2008 included a provision for 429,000 euros to be collected by Local Police for motoring offences in the town.
But this year’s predictions suggest a further 90,000 euros will be earned by the council from fines.
Yet when questioned, leader of the local government Miguel Llobell of Gent de Dénia denied that police officers were on commission for the number of traffic penalties they handed out.
Jávea traders storm council meeting
TRADERS from Jávea’s old town who are tired of losing customers due to ongoing roadworks stormed a council meeting on Monday evening.
They demanded that the work either be stopped altogether or brought to a swift conclusion.
With parking problems and limited accessibility, customers are put off going to shops, bars and restaurants in Jávea’s historic quarter.
Four times, during the course of the meeting, one affected resident asked mayor Eduardo Monfort for the names of the council technicians responsible for public works.
The person in question went on to say, “perhaps it would be more productive for the town if these technicians were put in charge of cleaning up seaweed instead.”
Despite traders’ clamouring for his resignation, Monfort says he will not quit his post.
Zapatero ‘to fornicate’ with Russia?
SPAIN’S president made a slip of the tongue during a conference about promoting tourism, causing him to tell the world that he had made ‘an agreement to fornicate’.
During the presentation, in which José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero discussed Spain’s efforts on building links with Russia with a view to increasing tourism in both countries, the president managed to keep a straight face and move swiftly on.
Zapatero announced, “we have made an agreement in order to stimulate, to favour, and to fornicate” tourism, rather than “to support.”
He accidentally used the word follar, meaning to consummate the union, rather than apoyar, which means to support.
But the president instantly corrected himself and the slip was barely noticeable.
This said, the video has already been published on

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