Home News Spanish National WEEKLY DIGEST – 25 AUGUST 2014


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Elefanta Petita


According to official figures released by airport operator AENA, from the total of all foreign tourists visiting Spain, only 0.51% landed in Murcia, compared to 0.49% last year. Supporters wishing to keep San Javier airport open have criticised the presentation of the figures, which show that for every 100 visitors entering into Spain, only half a person lands at the current Murcia airport. Passenger numbers into San Javier also dropped in the last month.


The Telefurgo van rental company has announced that it will allocate 50 of its vehicles to charitable causes in the next few months, as part of their initiative to provide assistance to those in need. The campaign is operating in 19 Spanish cities already, where the company operates, including Alicante, with applications welcome before the 14th of September for the company to consider the requests.


The Cartagena based yacht ‘Carmen’ skippered by Joseph Coello claimed victory on handicap in the 50th edition of the Cruise from Torrevieja to Cabo Roig in which twenty boats took part last Tuesday morning. The Murcia boat ‘Malice’ out of San Pedro was the first to cross the finish line taking one hour and twenty-seven minutes to complete the 10.5 nautical miles. ‘Carmen’ finished 2nd while in 3rd place was the Norwegian yacht ‘Apex’ sailed by Ole-jan Midttun.


‘Petita’, the most famous elephant in Terra Natura Benidorm, celebrated his 42nd birthday on Saturday with a colorful Hindu battle. The elephant sprang to fame when he was disowned by his herd as he was considered to be "ugly". According to Terra Natura, Saturday’s party was the only ‘Holi’ festival in Valencia to commemorate the birthday of an elephant.


A recent survey by holiday site Tavelzoo shows that BRITISH tourists are thought of as the heaviest drinkers while on holiday. The Spanish are said to be the most likeable travellers, with the French ranked as the least popular. Almost half of Spanish respondents claimed UK travellers are the least generous when abroad, but the Germans think they are humorous, courteous and helpful.


The Guardamar City Council unanimously approved a proposal to modify its General Urban Plan last Wednesday after a High Court judge called for the town planners to allow a new development to be built just 100 metres from the La Mata Nature Reserve. Seyva and Villamartin builders say they want to build more than 1,500 luxury homes in El Raso close to El Moncayo.


The councilor for security in Torrevieja, Agustina Esteve, supported by the chief of the local police has vetoed the creation of a canine unit within the force, despite the officers providing their own dogs, and undergoing training at no expense.


Despite the health department cutting hospital beds in the summer as they say there is a reduced demand, the La Loma medical centre has seen severe delays, with patients at times having to wait around 4 hours to be seen. Torrevieja´s department of health say that the average waiting time is 47 minutes during August, which is also shorter than last year.


Spain should immediately halt summary returns of migrants to Morocco from its North African enclave, Melilla, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. Spain should also investigate evidence that Guardia Civil officers beat migrants at the border fence. “Spain’s right to secure its borders doesn’t give it carte blanche to abuse migrants,” said Benjamin Ward, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia Division at Human Rights Watch.


Spanish oil engineering company Tecnicas Reunidas said it had won a $1.5 billion turnkey contract as part of the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Malaysia. The 50-month contract, awarded by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), is to engineer, supply and build part of a refinery and integrated petrochemical plant.


In response to a question raised by the municipal Esquerra Unida group of Valencia, the local government revealed that for the 50,000 families evicted from their homes, just 16 have been given contracts to stay in the “social housing” provided by the government in 2013.


An investigation into a crash in March on the island of Gran Canaria has attributed the cause of the incident to be a vehicle travelling at an inappropriate speed. However, members of the Guardia Civil are outraged at the findings, as the vehicle involved was one of their patrols responding to an emergency call, with lights on and siren sounding. The driver has been sanctioned for the offence and faces disciplinary proceedings.


In the midst of the worst drought in history, Spain´s olive producers believe that this year´s harvest could be up to 40% smaller than last year. They also claim that the result will be higher prices for direct and indirect products, which have already increased by 30% since January across Europe.


Spain has increased electricity supply from renewable and clean resources, with 55.3% of all electricity generated in July alone coming from zero emission sources, according to the national electricity network. Wind power generation soared by 28.7% year on year, responsible for 16.8% of all electricity consumed, hydroelectricity generated 10%, whereas solar power generated just 4.3% per cent, a figure similar to the 4% from solar thermal projects. Nuclear power was responsible for just 19%, showing a marked change in the way energy is generated.


Figures released last week reveal the importance of relationships between Almería and Russia, with food exports from Spain now valued at 14.7 million euro, 42.5% more than 2012. The main produce sent to the Russians is tomatoes, worth a total of 6.7 million euro, whereas cucumbers, the second placed produce, are worth 3.6 million euro. Between January and May 2014, tomato exports to Russia increased once again, worth 66% of all output, valued at 5.4 million euro for the quarter.


Banco Sabadell is offering early retirement to members of staff aged 55 or over. This follows on from a similar agreement introduced in 2012 when approximately 600 employees accepted settlements which, in some cases, paid compensation of 245,000 euros, including 80% of net salary and Social Security contributions to the age of 63.


The Guardia Civil is investigating the death of a swimmer whose body was found early on Wednesday morning floating in waters off the coast of Santa Pola. The body, said to be of a Spanish man in his 50s, was found just after 8am, dressed only in a bathing suit, so the hypothesis is that he suffered a heart attack whilst swimming in the sea.


The Han Dynasty exhibition which has been open in the Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ) since last June has so far received a total of 17,664 visitors, of which 13,500 are from Alicante. There have also been a significant number of visitors to the Museum from France, Britain, Eastern Europe, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, America, Italy and Germany.


A 50 year old man died on Monday after suffering an accident on a tractor that he was driving in Algorfa. The incident occurred at around 5pm. On arriving at the scene the man was pronounced dead by the Emergency Medical Aid Service (SAMU). No further details have been released at this time.


Spain´s Ministry of Health has placed information boards in the arrivals hall of major airports, advising of precautions to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. Alicante-Elche airport has had them installed this week, although it is worth noting that there are no direct flights from Alicante to countries affected by the virus.


The Terra Natura animal park in Benidorm has increased its collection of snakes with the addition of an Indian python (Python molurus bivittatus), which is almost two metres long and about 10 kilos of weight. The snake has passed a comprehensive review to check its health and behaviour before being fully integrated into the park.


In the first six months of this year, the city of Alicante has been the driest since 1857, when an official weather record was established, according to the Laboratory of Climatology at the University of Alicante. The head of the department, Jorge Olcina, explained that the provincial capital has registered only 27 litres of rain in the first six months of 2014, and so “we have one of the driest years in the Iberian southeast in the last 150 years”.


Despite the hot, dry summer, sales of ice cream are registering “similar or slightly lower” numbers due to “disappointing” demand, according to the president of Spain´s national association of ice cream makers, José Luis Gisbert. The reason is partly due to more businesses opening offering a more diverse range of cooling treats, and people having less money to spend this summer.


Residents and local groups of Guardamar del Segura have collected more than 3,000 signatures complaining about the town hall´s enforced ban on feeding stray cats in the municipality.


Over 2 million budget passengers have passed through Alicante Airport In the first seven months of the year making it the third busiest low cost airport in the country, behind only Barcelona and Malaga. According to data released by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, budget airlines transported 18.3 million passengers in the first seven months of the year, representing an increase 10% over the same period last year,


Pomegranate producers across Elche have expressed their concerns that sanctions against trade with Russia will result in a 30% drop in their export sales. If the growers are unable to sell to Russia, directly or indirectly, they will be faced with an excess of 13,000 tons of fruit destined for export.


Some of the best campsites in Spain can be found in the south of Alicante, as proven by the annual awards decided by the Dutch travel association ANWB, and the German automobile club ADAC. The Marjal Costa Blanca Eco Camping Resort in Crevillente, which only opened recently, is on the list for “Best Camping 2014”, along with Marjal Guardamar Camping and Bungalows Resort, and Camping La Marina.


A medical emergency on the beach at playa de San Juan this week, was attended by lifeguards and an off-duty doctor who managed to stabilise a young girl who had fallen ill, whilst they had to wait 35 minutes for the arrival of an emergency ambulance. In addition to severe cuts in the number of ambulances on the street, there have been numerous cases this year alone of ambulances getting lost, which has been attributed to the centralisation of the 112 emergency coordination centre for cost saving reasons.


The family of a 36 year old architect in the town of Almendralejo in Extremadura, have filed a complaint with the police after the man died of internal bleeding, and they believe that the 112 emergency centre´s refusal to send a medically equipped ambulance was a contributing factor, as the presence of a doctor could have provided assistance in the last moments of his life. The family also says that they had to request the ambulance twice, as the first time the coordinator had just assumed the man to be drunk. Confirming the severity of the situation in a second call, a basic transfer vehicle was sent, but the friends of the man had to carry the victim to the ambulance, as it only came with a driver.

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