Category: News

Why do the streets still flood?

Thousands of euro has been spent on digging trenches in many parts of
Torrevieja to contain the flood water. But still, on Saturday 15 th September,
many streets across the town became impassable and damage was done to
property and transport.
One litre of water per square metre of ground fell every second, totalling 30 in
half an hour. Between 7.30am and 8am 31.2 litres per square metre had been
recorded. Not surprisingly it did not take long for the canals running parallel to
the natural lakes to be full.
From the avenida de las Cortes Valencianas up to the avenida de Delfina
Viudes, the roads were impassable and traffic at a stand still. For more than
20 minutes the water continued to flood this area around the N332 and as far
as access to the Ozone commercial centre and Carrefour. The Guardia Civil
had to rescue five drivers from their cars.
However, this is not a new situation and public money has been spent to try
and remedy the problem. Why did it not work? Canals and ditches have been
constructed to take excess water since 2014. Had they not been constructed
then the flooding would have been far worse. However, there are also those
who argue that some of the measures taken have, in fact, just moved the
problem elsewhere.
There are still more proposals on the table for how to alleviate the town’s
flooding problems. A channel running parallel to the N332 down to the sea, is
one suggestion. It’s not just nature, however, that we can blame for the state
of flooding in Torrevieja.
The fact remains that the huge amount of residential building in and around
the town over a period of four decades is also responsible for the problems
we encounter now. Previously there was more soil to absorb the rain water.
Following the boom in house building this was replaced by large amounts of
asphalt. In the rush to build, little thought was given to the problems this would
cause for those buying here.

Second edition of "The Winter Beach" hits Orihuela Costa

Saturday saw the start of the second edition of "The Winter Beach" at La Caleta in Cabo
Roig. The beaches of Orihuela are the perfect environment for of the 23 water, sports and
family activities that have been organised by the Department for Beaches and the
Department of Youth to run through the autumn and winter season.
Luisa Boné, Councillor for Beaches said that "after the high levels of participation in the first
edition of" The Winter Beach " which was held last spring, we are running more activities
this autumn, taking advantage of the magnificent climate of our area, to be able to continue
enjoying activities in the best setting we have, our beaches. "
Every Sunday, from 10:00am, you can practice paddle boarding, canoeing, aerobic activities
– such as aerobics, yoga, body balance. And so that parents can relax and enjoy these
activities without worrying about keeping the children entertained there are children's
workshops for them during the morning.
On Saturday 22 nd September, 29 th and the 2nd October, an introduction to diving has been
organised to allow locals to experience and enjoy the marine environment of the coast.
Mar Ezcurra Councilor for Youth said: “The activities are free and will be reported every
week through the Facebook pages of the Councils of Beaches and Youth in the calendar and
the corresponding activities. These are activities that enhance leisure on weekends on the
coast of Orihuela and also aims to educate people in the conservation, respect and
protection of the environment."

HELP makes donation to Los Arcos Hospital

For many years HELP Murcia Mar Menor has provided a
hospital visiting service at Los Arcos University Hospital
visiting English speaking patients of all nationalities
providing magazines and company for those who find
themselves in hospital and do not speak Spanish. In a
further move to help their local hospital HELP recently
presented the hospital with 10 new wheel chairs as they
are always in great demand by patients.
The presentation to Director of the hospital Tomas
Salvador Fernandez Perez who was accompanied by
Manuela Muñoz Sanchez the supervisor of Safety and
Security of patients was made by Christine Baillie the
President of HELP M.M.M. with Janneke Chambers
representing HELP’s caring services. The hospital were
very pleased to receive the chairs and ensured HELP’s
president that they would be well used.
A spokesperson for HELP told the Costa Blanca People,
“This is the fourth presentation that HELP has made
during 2018 to help the people of the Murcia Region and
in this way we are able to give something back to the area
that we all enjoy living in.”

Bicycle parking

The Department for the Environment is encouraging locals and holiday-makers to get on their bikes,
with the installation of 38 new bicycle parking racks. The Councillor for the Environment, Miguel
Ángel Fernández explained that the racks will be located throughout the municipality.
"It is a need that exists in downtown Orihuela, on the coast and in the districts, and had already
been requested several times to the City Council by interested third parties," said the councillor.
The Councillor was accompanied by the director of the Official School of Languages, Sergio García,
who thanked the City Council for the installation of one of the first bike parks at the school and
wanted to add that "it is a clear commitment to the environment, mobility and trust in which
someday we have to expand this area ".
The bike racks will be installed throughout the month, with a total of 16 allocated in the districts: in
La Murada (School, the sports centre, Avda. Marqués de Lacy, the Church Square and the municipal
sports centre), in La Matanza (Barrio de los Garcías, Health and Pharmacy Centre, Church Square and
the district of the seven houses), in Virgen del Camino (in front of the School and the Health Centre),
in La Campaneta (Social Centre, Medical Office, Pharmacy and College), and in San Bartolomé (in
front of the school, sports area and animal shelter).
The Councillor told of how important the installation of bike parks were on the Coast "where we will
place eleven bike parking racks in Alameda del Mar Civic Centre, at Punta Prima Beach, Flamenca
Beach Shopping Centre, La Florida Mall, IES Playa Flamenca, Los Dolses, Mil Palmeras Beach, at the
Reading Point in C / Cipres, at Playa Flamenca Esplanade and Zeniamar Centre".
In addition, a total of eleven will be installed in Orihuela centre on Avda. Príncipe de Asturias (School
of Languages ​​and Health Center Álvarez de la Riva), in Marqués de Rafal Square (municipal library
Fernando de Loaces), Hernandiano Corner (Miguel Hernández house) ), Plaza del Carmen, Oriolet
Street, Brotherhood of the Resurrection (sports track), Mayor Vicente Escudero Street (new Health
Centre), Teodomiro Avenue (Speciality Centre), Avda. De la Estación and Plaza San Sebastián
(Auditorium of "La Lonja").
Miguel Angel Fernandez wanted to emphasise that "little by little, with small gestures like this we
continue to adapt our municipality to the use of bicycles and to support the use of non-polluting
means of transport. He took the opportunity to remember that "shortly we will present the activities
of the European Mobility Week, where cycling is also part of the planned actions".

British man shot dead by police in Estepona

Officers from Spain’s National Police force shot a British man dead in Estepona, Málaga, last Monday evening. The man, who had a criminal record for drug trafficking and weapons possession, reportedly fired shots at the authorities as he was being detained.
The incident began on Monday morning, when a number of witnesses called the emergency services to report that an individual had been in a traffic accident near Puerto Banús, in Marbella. According to witnesses, the man involved was carrying a firearm when he emerged from the crashed vehicle. Rather than waiting for help, he fled the scene of the accident.
The local police managed to determine the identity of the suspect, leading them to a hotel in Estepona. When officers tried to detain the individual, he fired his weapon at them, prompting them to respond in kind. Emergency crews were called to the scene, but were unable to save the life of the British man.
The man was subsequently found to be in possession of two firearms and four magazines of bullets. Police sources did not confirm whether any officers had been injured in the shooting.
This incident marks the second shooting death in Estepona in less than a month. On 20th August, a 34-year-old Spanish man was killed by a hooded assailant, who later fled the scene on a bicycle. The shooting happened in the early hours of the morning, in a residential estate in the east of the municipality. The victim was about to enter his home when he was killed.

Spanish health minister quits over ‘degree-gate’

Spanish Health Minister Carmen Montón was forced to quit recently after mounting irregularities emerged regarding a master’s degree she had studied for at Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University (URJC) in 2011. The institution has been at the centre of a series of scandals, which have involved current Popular Party (PP) leader Pablo Casado, and former Madrid regional premier Cristina Cifuentes, also of the PP. The latter was also forced to step down over her master’s degree, among other matters.
A story published earlier last week by Spanish online newspaper revealed that Montón’s grades had been altered in the university’s online system. Montón did not pass all parts of the masters’ course in June 2011, which is when she should have finished her studies. According to her student records, at least one part of the coursework was marked as “not submitted.”
On 25th November, 2011, “someone entered the IT system” of the URJC and changed “not submitted” to a “pass,” despite the fact that the administrative procedures for the course had been closed, according to This alleged modification of the grades outside of the deadline would explain why Montón’s official certificate states that she completed the course in 2012.
The minister had stated that she handed over her final thesis on gender studies in June 2011, something that would have been irregular since at the time she had not completed all of the coursework – an essential requisite.
As the story broke Montón insisted that she had not done anything wrong, voicing the same arguments used by Cifuentes and Casado over their suspect master’s degrees – i.e. that they had done everything they had been told to by the university.
PSOE Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had, until last night, backed the minister. But the revelation that her final thesis contained sections that had been plagiarized was the final straw.
The work is entitled “Assisted reproduction. A liberation or a setback in equality,” and is 55 pages long. And it is alleged that whole pages and paragraphs are copied from other theses and articles that are freely available on the internet – even containing texts lifted from Wikipedia.
For example, practically the entire first chapter is the same as an article entitled “New identity,” written by Mexican Mónica Pérez, in an article dated 26th July, 2004.
The episode is an embarrassing one for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who came to power earlier this year after ousting PP Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a vote of no confidence, precisely due to the corruption scandals that were plaguing the party.
“I have been transparent and honest,” Montón told the press last night after announcing her resignation. “I have not committed any irregularity.” She went on to praise Sánchez, and stated that she was quitting so as not to cause him damage.
She also highlighted the work that she had done as health minister in the first 100 days of the Sánchez government. “We have brought back universal healthcare. We have laid the foundation for the approval of a law for protection against childhood violence. This is a good result for the first 100 days,” she stated.
Montón will be replaced by María Luisa Carcedo, who was until now the high commissioner against child poverty.
Montón is the second minister to have to quit in the first 100 days of the Sánchez administration. Culture and Sports Minister Màxim Huerta resigned in June after just a week on the job, after the media reported that he withheld taxes in the early 2000s and was recently forced to pay €365,000 in back taxes, late fees and fines.
More degree-gate
In late April, Cristina Cifuentes of the Popular Party (PP) was forced to step down due to irregularities in connection with a master’s degree that she obtained in 2012 from King Juan Carlos University. That case has led to a criminal investigation into forgery of public documents by officials at the public university.
And the current leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, is under fire for a similar degree obtained from the same institution in 2009. So far he has refused to hand over his final dissertation, and has stated that he will not resign even if the Supreme Court, which is investigating the case, decides to charge him.

Spanish women live the longest

Spanish women have the highest life expectancy in Europe at birth. According to an analysis by Public Health England, the women in Spain come out top at 86.3 years followed by France and Italy. The UK is ranked in 17th place out of the 28 EU countries that are featured in the table. At the bottom are Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia.
The results are based on informationpublicised by Public Health England as part of its Health Profile. This brings together a variety of reports, data and research to provide a picture of the health of people in England in 2018. One of the reports it draws on is that of Eurostat data from 2016.
Obesity is one of the reasons being given for the difference between the two countries. The Mediterranean diet has long been referred to as a major reason for longevity, both for the nutrients it provides and also as a combatant to obesity.
Men in Spain do not do quite as well. Their life expectancy at birth is down to 80.1 years. However, this is still relatively high in comparison to many other countries and again beats the UK whose men have a life expectancy of 79.4. Top of the charts are the men in Italy who can expect to live until they are 81 years old.
Life expectancy at birth is an indicator of the number of years a baby could expect to live if mortality patterns when it is born stay the same throughout its life.

Casino controversy continues

The casino in Torrevieja is currently at the centre of an argument between its members. The disagreement is over when there will be elections to select its board of directors. The lack of consensus has now erupted into accusations by a member of the casino association during a presentation by its vice president.
The vice president, Rosario Soler, was the target of the verbal attack whilst presenting the programme of cultural activities for the coming year on 10th September. A member of the audience got to his feet and accused her of lying. The presentation had followed the normal course of such an event until the end when Rosario asked if anyone had any questions.
At this point, a member of the audience, got to his feet and asked ‘When will there be a general meeting to choose a new president?’. The vice president then explained that an election had been suspended due to a leak of data which could leave them vulnerable to crimes under the protection of personal data legislation. Until this was addressed, no election could take place.
The aggrieved member, Alfonso Esteve, then accused Soler of lying, following which the press conference was suspended and Esteve asked to leave the building. The subject of the press conference, the casino diary for the coming year, was overshadowed by the outburst.
It has been suggested that some of the disagreement about the election comes from deep-rooted sexism and the wish to prevent a women taking the presidency for the first time. The casino is over a 100 years old and an iconic landmark that is closely guarded by those who are members there. It also hosts a number of cultural events and talks, which the press release had been intended to promote.
Although the building is open to the public and many tourists it is also considered to be a haven for its members who have privileged seats and other benefits. Presiding over the building is now being hotly contested and there doesn’t seem to be any agreement in sight.

Waste plant could destroy lake

Opposition is growing to plans to build a waste treatment plant between San Miguel de Salinas and Torrevieja. The plant, is planned on the La Finca Lo Timur which is to the North West of the salt lake and between San Miguel de Salinas and Torrevieja. This location is only 900 metres from the wetland surrounding the salt lake which is considered to be an area of natural beauty.
The Grupo Salins who run the salt works linked to the lake are one of the organisations coming out most strongly against the plans. They are concerned that building this plant so close to the lake could contaminate the water in there. Both a deluge of rain or gradual seepage could mean that the lake carries impurities that would impede the creation of salt and harm the wildlife and fauna that live in the area.
The plant is not a landfill site but is for treatment of waste only and it would mean a large number of refuse lorries would be entering and leaving the site. The quantity of traffic would be increased because the proposed site is more of a sorting centre with lorries taking rubbish away for either landfill or recycling elsewhere.
The finca, which is the proposed location for the site, is only 900 metres from the shore of the Torrevieja lake and 600 from the edge of the natural park. This is an area that not only plays host to the successful salt mining industry but is also a recognised bird sanctuary. The only barrier between the finca and the reserve is the CV-943 road.
The business responsible for the treatment plant, OHL, is applying to the town hall of San Miguel but they must also have agreement from environmental departments located in Valencia. However, access for lorries will be on land in Torrevieja and Los Montesinos. The value of the plant is estimated to be more than 40 million euros and it would be responsible for treating around 120,000 tons of solid urban waste a year.

International tourist arrivals slowing down in Spain

Fewer foreign tourists have come to Spain this summer season than in 2017, which was a record year for the sector. International arrivals numbered 9.98 million in the month of July, a 4.9 percent drop from the same period last year.
Spain’s biggest markets have been sending fewer visitors: the number of British tourists fell by 5.6 percent in July, while there was a 11.4 percent drop in visitors from France and 6.2 percent from Germany.
Barring natural events – such as the emissions from the Iceland volcano that paralyzed air traffic for several days in April 2010, slowing down visits to Spain by 13 percent – the figure for July 2018 represents the biggest decline in international tourist arrivals since 2009, when the economic crisis led to monthly drops of between 10 percent and 15 percent.
However, the July figure of 9.98 million international visitors is only “low” compared to last year’s all-time high of 10.5 million. The 10-million threshold has been crossed three times in recent history, twice in the month of August and once in July.
Industry leaders are also pointing to a recovery of alternative sun-and-sand destinations such as Tunisia and Turkey, whose tourism sector had suffered in recent years from terrorist attacks and regional instability. In the case of Turkey, the recent depreciation of the lira has made the country even more attractive to foreign tourists.
Also, exceptionally warm weather in northern Europe has made it unnecessary to fly to Spain to enjoy the beach. France, Britain and even Finland and Norway have experienced a hot summer, while in Russia, the temperature in June was eight degrees higher than usual.
Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has played down the year-on-year drop from July 2017, saying that the government wants “a strategy based on quality” and “diversification” in order to avoid overcrowding.
“We are going to get behind a strategy based on quality, aware that there is going to be a slowdown in tourism flows. It is already happening,” said Maroto at a news conference in Santander recently.
But the minister also underscored that the accumulated figure for the last seven months shows 47.1 million tourist arrivals, a 0.3 percent rise from the same period last year. She also said that tourist spending has grown 3 percent so far this year.
Maroto added that her department wants to diversify the options for tourists because there are currently “very overcrowded destinations” and this is creating “problems with local residents.” The minister did not directly allude to the anti-tourist sentiment that has cropped up in parts of Spain due to the mass tourism in some city centres.
The Balearic Islands continued to top the list of favourite tourist destinations in July 2018, receiving 24.4 percent of all foreign tourists in Spain. Catalonia ranked second with 23.9 percent, followed by Andalusia with 13.3 percent. In spite of this, arrivals declined in all three regions. The Madrid region experienced the opposite trend, with a 6.7 percent rise in foreign tourists in July. The tourists who did come spent fewer days in Spain compared with other years. The average stay in July was four to seven nights.

Galicia fishing boat impounded in Ireland

A fishing boat from Galicia has been impounded in the Republic of Ireland after its crew were accused of ‘cutting the fins off sharks’. The Virxe da Blanca (‘Virgin in White’) is being held off the port of Castletown in the south of the country after an inspection of its practices led authorities to believe the fishermen were guilty of ‘finning’.
This is illegal in Europe, although common-place in east and south-east Asia, where sharks are caught, their fins removed and the remainder of the creature is thrown back in the sea. The fins – considered a delicacy, especially in China – are then typically made into soup.
In the case of the Virxe da Blanca, which has passed every single inspection up to now, the fishermen say they were acting in accordance with EU norms: after catching Blue Sharks (Prionace Glauca) and whilst cleaning them for future sale, the crew cut off the ‘anal fins’, which are located exactly where the name suggests.
The fishing industry does not consider these ‘fins’; rather, an ‘attachment’ or ‘appendix’, because they are very fragile and do not serve the same purpose as the ‘main’ fins.
Sergio López of the Fishing Producers’ Organisation (OPP) in Lugo, which the boat – based in Burela – belongs to, says all previous inspections of the Virxe da Blanca’s Blue Shark-catching practices have been signed off as legal, and believes the vessel has been impounded due to a ‘misunderstanding’.
According to López, the Secretary-General for Fishing has already written to port and fishing authorities, and is hoping the issue will be ‘satisfactorily cleared up’ very soon.
And Spain’s industry for fishing says it is waiting to hear back from its counterpart in Ireland, but assures that the crew has not been formally accused of any offence against EU regulations.
The 13-strong multi-national crew, of whom three are from Galicia, used to fish off Spain’s northern coast catching white tuna, known as Bonito in Spain and a popular dish in fish restaurants along the Cantabrian Sea regions, but were experiencing disappointing results from their trade and decided to branch out internationally two years ago.

Orihuela Patron celebrations

It’s fiesta time in Orihuela as the municipality prepares to honour its patron saint, the Virgin of Monserrate. The celebrations include a full schedule of entertainment featuring a variety of fun performances and musical concerts.
The Councillor for Festivities, Mariola Rocamora, has detailed the entire programming lined up for the traditional festivities which will run from Thursday 6th to Sunday 16th September. Whilst announcing the programme of events, the Councillor was accompanied by Paco Serna, vice president of the Archconfraternity of the Virgin of Monserrate, who was in charge of ensuring the liturgical and religious events are at the centre of the celebrations.
The event began on Thursday with a mass at 8pm, which has been celebrated by the residents of the Rabaloche for the last 10 years, this was followed by the transfer of the icon from its Sanctuary to the Cathedral of El Salvador and an evening serenade concert. The events continued over the weekend and this week, on Wednesday the 12th, the programme resumes with the representation of the children’s musical concert “La bruja Eloise”, which will take place in the Ramón Sijé square starting at 9:30pm, with an evening of fun theatre and music for the whole family.
On Thursday 13th September at 9:30pm, also in the Ramón Sijé square, a concert will be given by the Orihuela-based “Troupers Swing Band” combining their own songs with versions of swing and rockabilly.
On Saturday, 15th September, there will be the traditional ‘besamanto’ of the Virgin of Monserrate, taking place from 10am to 2pm and from 6pm, “where the Association of Agronomist Engineers of Orihuela will celebrate the Virgin from 12.00 noon.
The celebrations will finish with a spectacular fireworks display which marks the Virgin Monserrate’s transfer back to her sanctuary on Sunday 16th September at 8pm just after the final mass of the fiesta, which starts at 7pm which will be presided over by Jesús Murgui, Bishop of the Diocese of Orihuela-Alicante.
All residents from across the municipality and beyond are invited to celebrate this fiesta of honour, as Orihuela´s patron is once more given the tribute she deserves, before resting for another year.
The Virgin of Montserrat, popularly known as La Moreneta, is also the patron saint of Catalonia. Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat is a Marian title associated with a venerated statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery on the Montserrat Mountain in Catalonia, Spain.
The famed image once bore the inscription ”Negra Sum Sed Formosa” which translates from Latin as: I am Black, but Beautiful.
Pope Leo XIII granted the image a Canonical coronation on 11 September 1881. The image is one of the Black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, La Moreneta (“the little dark-skinned one” or “the little dark one”). Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church. However, it is more likely a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.
An 18th century polychromed statue of the same image is also displayed in Saint Peter’s basilica, previously stored in the Vatican Museums which was gifted by the President of Brazil, Joao Goulart on the Papal election of Pope Paul VI in 1963. The image has been on display for Papal masses since the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.