Tag: Europe

C&A Announce Closing of 23 Stores in Spain

Budget clothing chain C&A has announced plans to close down 23 ‘loss-making’ branches across the country, which will involve 16 percent of its staff being made redundant, but the bad news is not going affect outlets in the southern Costa Blanca and Murcia regions. The Dutch firm, which has been operating in Europe for 175

LEADER NEWS BITES – 04 MAY 15

Cavendish went bananas to win the stage

PAINFUL EXPERIENCE
A man reportedly shot himself in the foot to discover what it would feel like.

The unnamed 35-year-old man was admitted to hospital last weekend in Elda, near Alicante, and authorities believe the incident occurred because he was curious to know how painful a gunshot wound would be. The firearm that caused the wound has not been found by the authorities, who suspect the man of throwing it out of the window of a car on the way to the hospital. It remains possible the man will face psychological testing or being charged for firearm offences.

NO GO FOR ATLETICO
A regional court has struck down a longstanding plan by the city of Madrid and the soccer team Atlético de Madrid to replace the Vicente Calderón stadium with skyscrapers. Under the plan, two 36-story residential towers would go up in an area near the Manzanares River where legislation establishes a maximum height of four floors. The developers’ idea was to use the money from the sale of the 2,000 homes to finance construction of a new stadium in La Peineta, a decaying site once envisioned as part of Madrid’s Olympic bid. Atlético was originally supposed to move this year; the deadline was then delayed to 2017.

TEST TUBE INFIDELITY
After seeking fertility treatment in Spain, a British man discovered his wife had used her lover’s sperm to get pregnant. A court ruling from the case is now raising questions about procedures at clinics.

GOING DOWN
THE man dubbed ‘Europe’s biggest pimp’ has been picked up by the Guardia Civil in Torremolinos. Belgian expat Stefan Rene stands accused of heading a prostitution network that spans across Europe. He was arrested on after a Moroccan woman revealed his whereabouts to Belgian authorities after Rene allegedly beat her up and burnt her skin with a cigarette. Established in Malaga, Rene’s million-euro network currently operates in eastern Europe, Belgium and the Costa del Sol. Operating for a wealthy clientele, the organisation regularly caters for customers in luxury hotels and even on yachts

PICK UP THY BED
Homeless people sleeping in the streets are “scaring off” tourists from Madrid, a former Spanish minister and leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP) in the capital has said. Esperanza Aguirre, who is bidding to become Madrid’s next mayor in May’s elections, has prompted an outcry among volunteers that work with the homeless after promising to find out whether there was a way to make sleeping rough illegal in the city’s historical centre. Ms Aguirre was peaking at a round-table event with representatives of Madrid’s tourism sector.

NUCLEAR ENERGY
India and Spain have agreed to advance their bilateral negotiations on cooperation in nuclear energy, with Spain stating that it would support New Delhi’s early membership of the four multilateral export control regimes. A joint statement issued by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said the intent on both sides was to further advance bilateral negotiations on a framework agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

HEALTH TECHNOLOGY AWARD
Spain’s Everis, in a partnership with Sao Paulo’s Syrian Lebanese Hospital, has announced the creation of the first version outside Europe of its award for innovation in health technology. Brazil is the first country to receive the award besides Spain,” Eva Labarta, Everis’s top executive in the South American country, told Efe. The award has a cash prize of 50,000 reais ($17,100) and will include coaching, business plan preparation and product development assistance

THE PLANE TO SPAIN
Four men from near Birmingham ended up more than 1,500 miles away in Malaga after a drunken night out in Stourbridge. The 23-year-olds decided to go to Spain when the taxi driver asked them, “Where am I taking you?” on the way home. “It escalated massively,” sales adviser Matt Weyman said. “We went back and picked up our passports, then went straight to Birmingham airport with just an iPhone charger between us.”

CAVENDISH BANANA?
Just last week Mark Cavendish was the proud recipient of a bunch of banana’s for a stage win in the Tour of Turkey. No cobblestone trophy like in Paris-Roubaix, no donkey like in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, no lion like in the Tour de France and definitely no ordinary trophy like in the Amstel Gold Race. The winner of the Tour of Turkey and the one who wears the leader’s jersey, Mark Cavendish, has won…..a bunch of bananas.

CRIME WATCH SPAIN
The annual AGM will be held at Oasis Bar, Torretas III, Torrevieja, on Thursday, 21st May at 13.15hrs. Everyone, who’s interested in helping the community, will have the right to vote at the meeting for a place in the Association’s Committee. You don’t need to pay anything to be a member; you don’t need to be a member to collaborate with your own community. Just keep an eye around and report any incident to us, or to the Police or 112 Emergencies. Your name will not appear anywhere.

CHILD POVERTY IN ANDALUCIA
According to Save the Children almost three-quarters of a million children in Andalucia are living in risk of poverty. The charity is calling for more investment for the young. According to the Junta de Andalucía 512,373 children are at risk of social poverty, 8% suffer serious material deprivation (117,450), 18% (264,262) live in homes where basic home costs cannot be met and 8% suffer energy poverty and can’t afford to heat their homes.

MALAGA EMERGENCY
A Ryanair plane has made an emergency landing in Málaga. The incident happened on Monday when a flight from Stansted is reported to have had a problem with its brakes. Two emergency fire engines met the aircraft at the end of the runway which finally arrived safely without the passengers knowing what had happened. AENA announced that the emergency protocol had been put into action for the plane.

ROCK ON
A senior military source has revealed that the Ministry of Defence is lining Gibraltar up as an alternative base to the Clyde which would mean the Rock becoming the new home for Britain’s nuclear submarines. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wants to rid Scotland of Trident but both the Conservatives and Labour have said they want to retain the base on the Clyde, however moving the nuclear deterrent to Gibraltar would cost £3 billion and take a decade to complete.

SPAIN DRAIN
30% of Spaniards think that humans once lived alongside dinosaurs, according to the latest Social Perception of Science survey whilst a quarter of Spanish people believe the Sun revolves around the Earth, and not the other way round. A further 11.5% disagreed that humans are descended from animals. However, the startling results are still an improvement on 2006, when almost half the population thought dinosaurs and humans had co-inhabited the earth, and 40% thought the sun orbited us.

EMIGRATING BRITS
Over the past five years, the USA and Australia have leapfrogged Spain as the preferred choice for Brits moving abroad and our land of choice is no longer the most popular destination for emigrating Brits. From 2009 to 2014, just 52,000 Brits headed to Spain, down 124,000 on the previous four-year period. In comparison, 207,000 Brits upped sticks for a life down under, while 80,000 have taken the trans-Atlantic route in search of the American Dream.

DISSIDENT ARRIVES IN SPAIN
A prominent Syrian political activist has evaded a travel ban and fled to Spain before the end of his trial for “weakening national sentiment”. Louay Hussein, head of the Building the Syrian State (BSS) party, said he had thought that his life was in danger. The 55-year-old was a leading member of Syria’s internal opposition. He was detained last year after writing a newspaper article critical of President Bashar al-Assad. Mr Hussein arrived in Spain from Syria after what he called “a difficult journey”.

SPAIN REIGNS
China now has the second-largest wine-growing area in the world after Spain, pushing France into third place, according to figures released Monday by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. The figures for 2014 showed China had 799,000 hectares (1.97 million acres) of land devoted to wine growing, compared with 1.02 million hectares for Spain. However France remained the biggest producer of wine in the world, pumping out 47 million hectolitres last year.

BLESS ME GOOGLE
San Anton is a 21st century church, which embraces modern technology to make itself as welcoming as possible. It is nestled among the trendy cafes and shops of Madrid’s Chueca neighbourhood and is a church like no other. You can browse the internet, confess via your iPad and even take along your pet poodle. It currently boasts free wifi, live-streams on huge wide screen televisions and even has a special confession App.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/47130/

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BUMPER TO BUMPER

Parking is a part of driving not everyone feels comfortable with

According to new research by leading auto-manufacturer Nissan, one in three people in Europe* have experienced a parking incident in the last five years.

The research, conducted by global research agency YouGov, surveyed 9,177 drivers across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to identify the causes and effects of parking prangs, found that more than three out of ten drivers (33%) reported damaging their car in the last five years with 16% of those suffering car damage while in the act of parking.

Italy’s drivers were the most accident-prone with one in two admitting to damaging their cars over the same period – 26% of them doing so while attempting a parking manoeuvre. Conversely, British drivers were the most cautious, with just 10% reporting a parking-related incident.

In four out of five of the Nations surveyed, reversing proved the most challenging manoeuvre, with the tricky task accounting for 45% of all parking bumps; in Italy a staggering 51% of bumps were caused while in reverse.

Drivers of Estate cars should also take heed as parking incidents were highest in this popular class (27%).

Spanish drivers narrowly avoided being named the most accident-prone in Europe, coming in a close second behind Italy with one quarter of the country’s car accidents having taken place while parking.

Germany and France both proved more proficient parkers with parking bumps accounting for 11% and 10% of accidents respectively.

To assist unsuspecting motorists and demonstrate how vehicle technology can be a welcomed driver aide, Nissan transformed a car park in Rome to demonstrate the benefits of its Around View Monitor (AVM) and Moving Object Detection technology from its award-winning Pulsar compact hatchback.

Designed to assist with parking, the intelligent Nissan Around View Monitor system gives the driver a virtual bird’s-eye view of their vehicle as they manoeuvre into a space – providing a ‘safety net’ for drivers.

To see how the motorists got on with the technology and some of their extraordinary reactions, watch: http://youtu.be/o6trVdriZcM

“Parking is a part of driving not everyone feels comfortable with so we wanted to do everything we could to assist drivers,” said Bastien Schupp, Vice President of Marketing for Nissan Europe.

“By taking this technology out of the Pulsar and installing it in a car park in Italy we have given drivers the opportunity to see for themselves how Around View Monitor can take the stress out of parking and help them park with confidence – while also helping to avoid damage to their car.”

Combining bold design, technical innovations and interior space, the new Pulsar brings a new dimension to the compact hatchback market, offering all the familiar Nissan qualities in a stylish new package.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/47028/

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THAT EUROVISION FEELING

It is almost as if Brits are afraid or unwilling to applaud anything that is remotely European, or maybe being seen to enjoy it.

It’s that time of the year again; time for the annual Eurovision Song Contest when Eurosceptics and Eurovision haters band together to pour sneering snobbery and scorn upon the UK’s song entry, whatever it may be.

Listening to the Eurovision haters is actually great fun, particularly since they are truly passionate in their hatred of the song, and the performers, regardless of talent that they may have. Such critics tend to forget that the Eurovision Song Content will capture the attention of citizens of many nations for one enjoyable evening in May.

They will add into their argument comments, such as, “We won’t win anyway, we never do”, or “It’s a stitch up”, and even “It’s nothing like Sandie Shaw”, with the supposed killer comment being, “It’s all based on politics”. Well really? Now, that’s a surprise! Didn’t their teachers ever tell them that it’s not winning, but the taking part that is important?

The Eurovision Song Contest is, in many ways, rather like Blackpool, Benidorm and Marmite; you either love them or hate them. In my case, I love them all, and particularly Eurovision, which I have watched and enjoyed since childhood.

This annual extravaganza taught me a lot about geography, since I would check out the countries represented in the contest in my atlas, and the people and languages represented would always fascinate me.

Maybe it also set the seeds of curiosity that eventually led me to live a life outside the UK. Of course, I still remember that old trouper, Katie Boyle, a personification of BBC professionalism, as she would make contact with the faceless juries in Rome, Madrid and Paris, whilst dreading those awful words, “nil point”.

I value the cooperation and friendship that Eurovision stands for. It is refreshing to hear Europeans discussing songs instead of the usual arguments and debates about budgets and unemployment. My usual response to the Eurovision cynics is “If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it”.

They seem to miss the point that it is not to be taken too seriously. It is just an evening of cheesy fun, high camp, glitz, and catchy showcase spectaculars. It is rarely about the quality of a song and its music. How could it be with so many countries and languages and cultures represented, and does it matter anyway?

If I go into a German, Scandinavian, Irish or Spanish bar and ask “Who likes the Eurovision Song Contest?” the overwhelming response will be positive. If I tried that in a British bar, I guess I would be booed and laughed out of the premises.

Yet come the big day, Brits will also head off to bars and parties to watch the event on the big screens, as will their European counterparts. It is almost as if Brits are afraid or unwilling to applaud anything that is remotely European, or maybe being seen to enjoy it.

In many ways, the Eurovision Song Contest represents British suspicion of Europe and its institutions.

The dislike and distrust of Europe that is now gaining ground in the UK is the result of entrenched insular attitudes of many of its citizens; flames fanned by immigration issues, unemployment and a range of other social issues, which are now finding a political voice. Sadly, I guess that the UK will never be a true and willing partner that is comfortable within Europe and sharing the European dream; negative attitudes towards Eurovision reflect many of these issues.

I am delighted that Australia is taking part in the contest this year. I have many Australian friends who are great fans of the contest, and it is my hope that Aussie enthusiasm and their usual pragmatism will help to lighten some of the more cynical British attitudes.

I will be watching the contest, supporting both the UK and Spain, although I am not that bothered who wins the contest. However, I do know that it will be a good evening spent with friends from a range of countries. Personally, I would love to see a Worldwide Song Contest, which would be a refreshing change from viewing the world through the barrel of a gun.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Expat Voice’ (ISBN: 9780992767174). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle, iBooks and Google Play editions. iPhone/iPad and Android Apps: ExpatInfo, CanaryIsle and CanaryGay now available.© Barrie Mahoney

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/46723/

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