Category: Community

Salt tours in Torrevieja

 
On the 3 rd and the 10 th August there will be the first pilot tours of the salt works
in Torrevieja. The councillor for the environment, Fanny Serrano, presented
the proposals with the Director of the Grupo Salins, Emilio Díaz Caneja.
Alongside the tour there will be the opportunity to purchase some products
including bags of salt that are linked to the Parque Natural de La Mata-
Torrevieja.
The tour will include information about how salt is produced in Torrevieja and
includes the marketing of the fine sea salt which is used on the table and the
courser salt that is used for cooking. The design on the packets includes a
picture of the salt mountains and the logo of the Parque Natural.
The intention is to clearly display the link between Torrevieja and the products
as well as the natural park lands and lakes in the area. The salt products will
be displayed and sold in a number of outlets including a number of shops in
Torrevieja.
The production of these items has been taking place at the same time as the
salt company has been developing the idea of guided tours over the past
three years. Finally, the plans are coming to fruition with the trial tours this
August. Councillor Serrano explained; ‘The pilot will take place with two
guided visits in a bus to the salt works in order to demonstrate the process of
salt extraction.’
The bus will leave at 10am from the bus station at the Eras de la Sal and
those who are interested in taking part can register at
visitatorrevieja@salins.com leaving your full name, identity number and a
telephone contact. If you haven’t electronic means of registering then you can
register at the Tourist Office on the Paseo de Vista Alegre in town from
Monday to Friday from 9am until 8pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.
These pilot visits are free.
Díaz hopes to finalise this project in the spring of 2018 and make the visits a
regular part of the salt work schedule. The trial tours on the 3 rd and the 10 th are
to test out what works well and what they need to change. When the visits are
firmed up then they will be conducted using the tourist train. It is expected that
the visits will include a stop at the salt lake and the salt mountains in order to
take in the view. Visitors will also then be able to visit the Centro de
Interpretación de la Industria Salinera where there is a little museum and a
shop dedicated to salt.
The salt company also owns a salt works in France where they operate a
similar tour. It is anticipated that Councillor Serrano might visit this too in order
to see how it works there and see what might be applied equally well in
Torrevieja.
Salt tours in Torrevieja
On the 3 rd and the 10 th August there will be the first pilot tours of the salt works
in Torrevieja. The councillor for the environment, Fanny Serrano, presented
the proposals with the Director of the Grupo Salins, Emilio Díaz Caneja.
Alongside the tour there will be the opportunity to purchase some products
including bags of salt that are linked to the Parque Natural de La Mata-
Torrevieja.
The tour will include information about how salt is produced in Torrevieja and
includes the marketing of the fine sea salt which is used on the table and the
courser salt that is used for cooking. The design on the packets includes a
picture of the salt mountains and the logo of the Parque Natural.
The intention is to clearly display the link between Torrevieja and the products
as well as the natural park lands and lakes in the area. The salt products will
be displayed and sold in a number of outlets including a number of shops in
Torrevieja.
The production of these items has been taking place at the same time as the
salt company has been developing the idea of guided tours over the past
three years. Finally, the plans are coming to fruition with the trial tours this
August. Councillor Serrano explained; ‘The pilot will take place with two
guided visits in a bus to the salt works in order to demonstrate the process of
salt extraction.’
The bus will leave at 10am from the bus station at the Eras de la Sal and
those who are interested in taking part can register at
visitatorrevieja@salins.com leaving your full name, identity number and a
telephone contact. If you haven’t electronic means of registering then you can
register at the Tourist Office on the Paseo de Vista Alegre in town from
Monday to Friday from 9am until 8pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.
These pilot visits are free.
Díaz hopes to finalise this project in the spring of 2018 and make the visits a
regular part of the salt work schedule. The trial tours on the 3 rd and the 10 th are
to test out what works well and what they need to change. When the visits are
firmed up then they will be conducted using the tourist train. It is expected that
the visits will include a stop at the salt lake and the salt mountains in order to
take in the view. Visitors will also then be able to visit the Centro de
Interpretación de la Industria Salinera where there is a little museum and a
shop dedicated to salt.
The salt company also owns a salt works in France where they operate a
similar tour. It is anticipated that Councillor Serrano might visit this too in order
to see how it works there and see what might be applied equally well in
Torrevieja.

Cala Mosca – the fight goes on

Fight to save Cala Mosca continues
 
Two important developments took place in the past week in the fight to save Cala Mosca, the last kilometre of virgin coast in Orihuela Costa from the building of 1,500 new houses.
On 15th May, Bob Houliston of C.L.A.R.O., together with Marta Guillen, Councillor of the Orihuela political party Cambiemos and the regional assembly Deputy Antonio Estañ met with the Valencia government Director General for the Environment. The purpose of the visit was to follow up the meeting of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee at the end of February which unanimously decided to request the Valencia regional government to carry out an independent Environmental Impact Study before taking a decision on the revised plan to build 1,500 new houses on Cala Mosca.
According to the law as it stands, the developer is responsible for carrying out an environmental impact study before the approval of a building project. However, Members of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee objected that this involved an obvious conflict of interest in that the developer’s overriding concern would be to justify his project rather than prioritise environmental concerns. The visiting delegation argued that it would be within the competence of the Valencia government to commission an independent environmental impact study which could have a broader objective than the developer’s study which had not given sufficient protection to two endangered species present on Cala Mosca, the impact of the building project on the environment in general or the social cost of adding potentially 5-6,000 more to the population of Orihuela Costa already suffering from inadequate services.
The Director General for the Environment undertook to consider these arguments sympathetically when deciding on the reply to be given to the European Parliament.
The second development in the fight to save Cala Mosca was the surprise decision of the Valencia Government to reverse its earlier decision to exclude Cala Mosca from its new coastal protection plan. Announcing a modification to its initial proposal, the Valencia government included the southern third of Cala Mosca in its coastal protection plan but as a transitional measure which would prevent construction if the developer failed to carry out a building project within a period of 5 years.
 
More needed
While this is a welcome recognition of the importance of protecting Cala Mosca, it does not go far enough. It does not protect the northern two thirds of the area on which, although there is no house building, the infrastructure of streets, pavements and utilities has already been provided. The decision also carries the obvious danger that the developer will accelerate his plans to build on the so far virgin southern part of Cala Mosca in order to avoid the prohibition which would be applied after the 5 year transitional period.
However, something is better than nothing. The southern part of Cala Mosca is the most environmentally sensitive part where the endangered species are concentrated. Authority to build on this area would obviously be subject to very strict conditions.
C.L.A.R.O said in a statement: “The fight to save this emblematic remaining kilometre of virgin coast continues. There is important support to prevent its massive urbanisation.  It is a pity that the present Popular Party-Citizens party government of Orihuela has not lifted a finger to assist in this hugely important cause.”

Driving in Spain with the N332 group

Do We Have to Wear a Hat?
This week, we received a question from Costa Blanca People reader, John Bevan, from Quesada.
John asked, “Is it true that drivers of open top cars must wear some sort of hat to protect them from the intense rays of the sun?”
The answer is, according to law, no, you don´t. In fact, there is a chance that wearing a hat would prove dangerous as if it is not worn correctly, the wind could catch it, and blow the hat away and this could then become a potential hazard to other road users, especially the most vulnerable such as cyclists. However, the likelihood of this happening is slim, it is still a potential risk.
Of course not talking legally, it does make sense to wear a hat in order to protect yourself from the sun and its damaging rays as you say, but it is not a legal requirement.
The question does open up other points for comment, however, regarding open top cars. As much as possible, the manufacturers of these vehicles design them to be as safe as cars with full roofs. They are often fitted with strengthened supports around the windscreen for example, and roll bars, although these are not often as clearly identifiable as those fitted in rally cars, for example, in commercially available vehicles they are often integral to the structure.
So long as we are positioned correctly, sat down, wearing our seatbelt in the correct manner, open top cars are usually perfectly safe. Like all vehicles, It is when we don´t follow the design and safety guidelines when things go wrong.
Sometimes, vehicle occupants are seen with their hands held up or out of the cars, on a rare occasion even standing. Only recently, a vehicle was observed driving along the N-332 with the passenger standing up. This was not an open top car but it had a sunroof. We don´t need to be so graphic as to describe the likely outcome if that vehicle was involved in a collision of some form. You must keep your extremities, arms, legs etc., well within the confines of the vehicle for the roll bars to provide protection.
On the subject of legs, it is an increasingly common sight to see passengers with their legs up and feet on the dashboard. This also occurs in all types of vehicles and seems to increase with the summer months. It is an extremely dangerous practice. It is also illegal. The legs and feet can obscure the driver´s view, but worse than that, in the event of a collision there are two very common injuries, both of which often result in such serious injuries, amputation is common.
In the event of a collision, the airbags are normally deployed. If a passenger´s legs are over these airbags they will feel the full force of that deployment, which normally results in fractures to the legs, sometimes pelvic damage. If airbags do not deploy it is easy for the body to be thrown forward, underneath the seatbelt, an action known as submarining. This forces the body, feet first, like a torpedo through the windscreen, resulting in severe lacerations, often accompanied by fractures.
The only safe way to sit in any vehicle is within the design of the seat, with seatbelt securely fastened. You can read more about this on the n332.es website where we have a number of articles explaining in more detail.
 
Mark Nolan

N332 secures new sponsorship

Back in October 2015, the Costa Blanca People began featuring our Driving in Spain column where readers were invited to ‘ask the Guardia Civil’ about motoring in Spain. The column was run in conjunction with the N332 volunteers – the group behind the hugely popular Facebook page and website.
We are delighted to announce this week that after over a year and a half working together, we have decided to further concrete our good relationship and along with our partners at Moneycorp currency exchange, the Costa Blanca People will be official sponsors of the N332.
Pride of Spain award winner, Francisco Morales, is a Guardia Civil Traffic Officer and along with his Guardia Civil colleagues and fellow N332 team member Mark Nolan, the group spends great time and energy replying to people’s questions about motoring laws.  Francisco told us, “Some driving laws are universal – like obeying the speed limit, or not using your mobile phone while driving.  However, some are unique to Spain – for example, did you know that if you are towing a trailer, you are obliged to carry a fire extinguisher?  My colleagues and I from the N332 advice group want to ensure that drivers aren’t fined unfairly because of lack of local knowledge.  We can do this through our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DrivingSpain) and the website N332.es which is run by Mark Nolan to help us spread the word.  However, as not everyone has internet access, or Facebook, collaborating with the Costa Blanca People is a great way for us to get the message out to the English speaking community on the Costa Blanca.”
What does this new collaboration mean for our readers?  You will have access to more regular advice with a weekly Driving in Spain column by the N332’s Mark Nolan.  Not only that, but the Costa Blanca People and N332 will be working together on a number of events and projects during the year to raise even more awareness of motoring laws in Spain among international drivers here.
The Facebook page has grown immensely in the last 18 months having increased its followers from 14,000 to 101,377 (and counting!).
The team at N332 are also holding a series of talks and presentations and recently, met with the children of Phoenix International School (See Mark’s article, below).
These local presentations are invaluable as a means of spreading correct information.  Francisco told us, “There is a lot of misinformation around – for example, people think it is the law to carry spare bulbs in the car with you and that you will be fined if you don’t.  However, this is not always the case as in some cars, the lights can only be fixed by a mechanic and in this case, it is not obligatory to carry spare bulbs. Bit by bit, we are trying to make sure everyone has the most up to date, correct information.”
Managing Director of the Costa Blanca People, Claire Richards said, “We are thrilled to announce this important collaboration with N332 and Moneycorp.  We have always been great admirers of the hard work and dedication of the team of volunteers and are excited at the prospect of working together in the future to ensure safer roads.”
Send your questions about driving in Spain to n332@costablancapeople.com
Don’t forget you can find more advice about driving in Spain at www.facebook.com/DrivingSpain and from the website N332.es

APAH goes to Iceland

APAH goes to Iceland
 
Once again staff at the Iceland store in San Javier have chosen to support local animal charity APAH throughout 2017 and recently hosted an Easter Fair in aid of the cause.
Luckily the weather on the day was sunny and Iceland’s staff and customers were as supportive of APAH as ever.
Thanks to the hard work of APAH’s volunteers, there were lots of raffle tickets sold for the chance to win some fabulous prizes. These included: Iceland vouchers, and meals and gifts kindly donated by local businesses. There was a Tombola stall, which proved very popular with customers, a bric-a-brac stall with a wide range of items for sale and a chance for Iceland’s customers to enjoy a coffee and a toasted Hot Cross Bun.
The raffle was drawn at the end of the fair, and the photo shows the lucky winner of the food hamper, put together by APAH, which was presented on Monday by Iceland store manager, Lisa.
The total amount raised was 871.14 euros, and APAH would like to thank everyone who was involved in one way or another for all their hard work and support.
The next fund-raising event at Iceland San Javier will be a Summer Fair at the beginning of July.

Samaritans in Spain

 
Samaritans is a charity established in the UK by Chad Varah in 1953. Since then it has grown exponentially and more recently, has spread even to countries like Spain.
The Samaritans’ main function is to listen to anyone who is experiencing distress. Communication is mostly via telephone, free of charge. There is also an opportunity to speak to front line staff at the shop, and in the privacy of the Samaritan’s drop-in centre at Punta Marina commercial centre. Samaritans are also accessible by email. All listeners are trained volunteers who serve in rotas and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. How many hours or how often they offer their services (‘listen’) is up to the individual volunteer.
Samaritans listen to people who are either lonely, or feel themselves unable to express their feelings, concerns, or problems to those around them. They do not ‘counsel’, but provide an empathetic ear. Volunteer listeners are drawn from all backgrounds, all ages, and all walks of life. After initial training all new listeners are supported with mentoring. It is not only those who face life traumas, bereavement, or those burdened with guilt, who contact Samaritans.  Anyone who feels the need for emotional support, encouragement and lacking confidence will benefit by talking to a Samaritan. A call to the Samaritans could last a few minutes or much longer, since callers are never rushed.
The need for this type of help in the community is exemplified by the rapid expansion of Samaritans in Spain since its inception in September 2005. Increasingly, Samaritans in Spain not only require more volunteer listeners for its primary function, but also to help in administration, publicity and other varied roles. With branches in Madrid, Denia and a charity shop and drop-in centre in Punta Marina (Punta Prima), the latter established in 2013, Samaritans in Spain are now a regular feature as a charity in Costa Blanca (North and South).
Participants at a meeting on 13th January 2017 at the drop-in centre were unanimous in expressing their own sense of fulfilment and joy in serving as Samaritans. Thank you to the following volunteers.
 
Fionnula Fitzsimons, Elizabeth Rushton, Pamela Russell, Helena Smith, Jane Troubridge
 
Postscript                  
Come and meet us at the Recruitment Day, Wednesday 22nd from 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. at the Samaritans Centre, Punta Marina Commercial Centre.
Website: www.samaritansinspain.com.

New International library in Blue Lagoon

 
Las Filipinas Neighbourhood Association, which covers the area between Orihuela Costa and San Miguel de Salinas, has spearheaded a number of new activities at Las Filipinas Social Centre, which is located in Blue Lagoon. These include: Spanish lessons, fitness classes and community groups – and now thanks to the agreement of San Miguel councillor María José Costa, the building will now also house an international library.
Although there is no funding to buy books, the association hopes that local residents will donate books that they no longer need, in any language, to get the collection started.
The centre already hosts a fun community Mother and Toddler group each Wednesday and Fridays from 10.00am to 12noon, which costs only €2 per family, for details call 654 457 743. Every Tuesday there is a fitness class which is ideal for those with limited mobility or movement issues from 10.30am, for more details call Sue on 692 354 295 or email suzi4fitz@yahoo.com
The association has arranged for Spanish lessons to be taught at the Social Centre from yesterday, Monday 6th February, and there are favourable rates for residents. There will be two beginners’ groups and two intermediate, with the beginners’ classes taking place on Mondays and Thursdays from 09.30am to 11.00am and intermediate on the same days from 12noo to 1.30pm. The teacher is Terri Hughes, and for more information call on 672 836 539 or email: terrihughesterri55@gmail.com
The centre also has petanca courts, computers with internet access and wi-fi and table tennis and the association is encouraging residents to submit their own suggestions for events and activities at the centre that will help to bring the community together. Please submit any ideas either to the Facebook page ‘Asociación Vecinos Las Filipinas’ or email Sra Costa (in Spanish) to: mjcostamedrano@icaorihuela.com

World Cancer Day raises much-needed funds

 
Maria and the Pink Ladies hosted a local World Cancer day event at Zenia Boulevard on Saturday to mark the occasion. World Cancer Day takes place annually on 4th February and unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. It aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.
The local event attracted hundreds of well wishers and the warm sunny day encouraged people to join in the fun and help raise funds for Spanish anti-cancer charity the AECC. This was Maria and the Pink Ladies fifth World Cancer day event and it relied on members of the public making donations in return for an Iris plant or AECC merchandise such as keys rings, pens or unity bands. The iris plants that Zenia Boulevard provided proved very popular and helped to raise 1,784.16 euros and thanks goes to the shopping centre management team for the generous donation of the plants and for letting the Pink Ladies, yet again, take over the shopping centre for the afternoon.
Thanks also go to Tony Horrocks from Sunshine FM, who supervised the outside broadcast for the day and to Stevie Spit for comparing the e vent. The crowds were entertained on the day by local performers who gave their time and talents for free and these included: Rob Sweeney, David Williams and his Rod Stewart tribute, Suzy.G and Jaz, The 2 Ton Spice Girls tribute, Janelle Gaskell, Nikki.G, Kylie Burgazzi and saxophonist Stuart Sinclair, Just Ollie, Kevin Tyler and Luis Blacknight as Flashback and Totally Dance with their fantastic troop of 2-16 year old girls and boys.
Of course, as well as fundraising and having fun, there was a serious side to the event and lots of appointments were taken for subsidised cancer checks which form part of the AECC’s Early Detection Programme – and is always the most important part of these events. The Pink Ladies volunteers also answered people’s questions and queries and worked tirelessly all afternoon giving more of their time to the charity.
The next event hosted by Maria and the Pink Ladies in aid of the AECC will be held at the The Emerald Isle, La Florida, on Thursday 2nd of March. The event will run from 12noon to -5pm and as always will be a great fun day out.
Mireille Toddington
 

Access to the sea for the disabled

Beach access for all
Access to the sea for the disabled

Los Náufragos, Los Locos and El Cura beaches will in future have platforms from which the disabled will be able to enter the water. Torrevieja town hall is keen to make its beaches disabled friendly and now has received the go ahead from the Valencian government to install a platform that will extend into the water and enable people using wheelchairs to enter the water. The new structures will be installed in the coming weeks and will remain in place throughout the year.
Councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, explained that the footbridges will be positioned next to the lifeguard stations on the three beaches. It is anticipated that the new structures will be ready to use by Easter. It was decided to install them now to prevent any difficulties in the assembly task during the run up to the summer season.
The platforms are not permanent structures and can be dismantled, but it is expected that they can continue to be used for the next four years. They have been tested for strength using heavy vehicles to make sure they will not break when cleaning trucks travel over them. Over the first year the company installing them will help to maintain them and later it is expected that whoever is successful in winning the contract to keep the beaches clean will be responsible for their maintenance too.
Suzanne O’Connell

Charity art auction raises funds for rescued horses

Auction raises €1670 for rescued horses

A charity art auction benefitting abused and neglected horses living at the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre near Rojales has raised €1670 – enough to buy 335 bales of winter hay for the horses, ponies and donkeys.
Organised by volunteers Isabel Sodric and Koren Helbig, the Rescue Centre fundraiser included an online sale followed by a live auction at The October Press in Alicante on Saturday 26th November. Originals artworks donated by 28 artists from seven countries were sold to raise funds, with some pieces going to buyers living as far afield as Australia.
Easy Horse Care co-founder Sue Weeding said she was humbled by the response, which comes as the rescue centre enters the difficult winter and Christmas period when charity shop sales plummet and hay prices almost double to €5 a bale.
The Rojales-based sanctuary now cares for 99 horses, ponies and donkeys, after yet another skeletal horse was rescued just last Wednesday.
Sue said: “We are so grateful to receive this money, as it just gives us a bit of a push to keep going after a difficult year. A huge thank you goes to each of these artists, because having their support really has been so uplifting. Seeing such support roll in from all over the world has made us feel like people do value what we are doing and achieving.
“We are also so overjoyed to see so many Spanish people getting involved and wanting to be a part of improving animal welfare in their own country. What a positive end to the year.”
Isa and Koren said they were delighted to see so many people support the fundraiser both online and during the live auction, and that they hoped the money raised would help Easy Horse Care as it battled for funding during the quieter and colder winter months.
Supporters are reminded that the January open day date has changed to avoid falling on New Year’s Day. Instead, the centre will open for free to the public on the second Sunday of the month, 8th January from 1pm to 4pm. For more details and directions, please visit www.easyhorsecare.net. Rescue Centre co-founder Sue Weeding can also be contacted on +34 652 021 980 or by emailing: rescue@easyhorsecare.net.

All change at RBL Orihuela Costa

 
The Royal British Legion Orihuela Costa and District Branch held its Annual General Meeting recently, attended by the Chairman of District North Nigel Hails. Long serving Chairman Keith Carter stood down along with committee members Peter and Jean Breen, Pam Armatage and Sheila Asbury.
These were replaced by Kevin Reardon, who is serving his second term in the chair, along with Ann Faulkner, Sandie Coates, Jean Heald, Malcolm Cavendish and Shirley Johnson, while members Eddie Coleman, Tony Blackband and Dave Cottom continue in their current roles while Pastor Keith Brown remains as Branch President.
With the Poppy Appeal over for another year, and the branch having raised more than 35,500 euros in 2015, is currently finalising its totals for 2016. Poppy Appeal Coordinator Eddie Coleman said it has been another bumper year and is hopeful of excellent fundraising figures.
If you would like to find out more about the Royal British Legion all are welcome to go along to the next meeting, which will be held at the Olympia Restaurant, Mil Palmeras, on the evening of Thursday 15th December. Join in with the informal carol sing-a-long and you might even get a mince pie for your troubles. For further information visit: www.branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/orihuela-costa
 
 

Finding out about the fartet

Park volunteers continue conservation

On Thursday 10th November the natural park volunteers were asked if they would like to take part in the release of a number of Fartet (toothcarp) fish that have been bred in the visitors’ centre. This species of fish is in danger of extinction and it is hoped that the introduction of the fish into the Laguna at Torrevieja will help their long term chance of survival.
Those taking part met at 10.30am at the information centre in Parque la Mata where a short explanation of the project was given and the group then set off to the Rambla La Fayona where the release was to take place.
Crystal East, a park volunteer, was impressed by the combination of talk and action. Not only was the event about informing people of the Fartet’s predicament but also raising awareness of what is being done to halt the gradual disappearance of this little fish.
‘It was excellent,’ explains Crystal. ‘After a fascinating presentation about the Fartet and the problems they face we were taken to the Rambla de Fayona which is where the sea goes into the salt lake. This is on private land so we were very privileged to be there.’
The water was tested for salinity before the fish could be introduced. After the saline was reduced, the ten volunteers were each given a bag into which they put one of the Fartets. ‘These were then placed one by one into the Rambla,’ says Crystal. ‘We hope that they will now breed and produce many more.’
The park is very much about regeneration and education. One of the current schemes includes cutting down some overlapping trees to enable regeneration to take place. The volunteers have been making new signs to restrict access to the areas that are out of bounds at present because of this initiative.
Next events
This year it is the twentieth anniversary of the natural park of La Mata-Torrevieja and a number of events have been organised to celebrate the fact. The next date that the volunteers would like to draw your attention to is on the 23rd November when nest boxes will be erected in different parts of the Park.
The hope is that the new boxes will attract and help retain the Carbonero (Great Tits) which feed on the processionary caterpillar. This caterpillar is a  pest that can prove fatal to dogs and other pets. The nest boxes will be observed closely over the next few years to check on trends and use.
The Park exhibition is an ongoing attraction that it is hoped people will visit. The exhibition is called ‘Natural Architecture’ and includes models of birds nests, the real versions of whichcan be seen in the park. The exhibition is open from November 11th until December 11th.
The volunteers who help in the park are always looking for new members. If you think you might be able to join them and help maintain one of Torrevieja’s most attractive features then please contact the volunteer group on lamatavols@gmail.com
Suzanne O’Connell

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