Category: News

New speed limits now in force in Spain

As of Tuesday 29 January, 2019, new maximum permitted speed limits came into force on certain roads in Spain.
This is the first of a wave of reforms intended on reducing the number of injuries and fatal incidents on the roads, and is effective on 7,000 kilometres of the secondary road network.
This reform reduces the maximum permitted speed on some of the main carriageways of the road network, and fixes a maximum permitted speed of 90 kilometres per hour, on roads where no other restrictions are in force.
This is in effect the same concept as the commonly referred to “National Speed Limit” which is in place on British roads, where a maximum is automatically set on roads outside of towns.
The maximum permitted speed on the secondary road network is now 90 kilometres per hour, for cars, motorbikes, small motor homes and pick-ups, as well as buses (except under certain circumstances), derivatives of cars, and mixed adapted vehicles.
In Spain, speed limits are dictated by three elements, the road, the vehicle and the driver (in some cases). Therefore, some vehicles are still restricted further, such as trucks, vans, large motor homes, articulated vehicles, vehicles towing a trailer, and others not listed, which are restricted to a maximum permitted speed of 80 kilometres per hour on these roads.
Bicycles and mopeds are restricted to a maximum permitted speed of 45 kilometres per hour.
The change applies only to the secondary road network, where no other restriction is in place, so if there is a sign saying that the maximum permitted speed is 80, or 50, for example, then that is the case.
Similar vehicular restrictions are also in place on motorways, as we can see from the table. It is important to know what classification your vehicle is.
Some drivers are also restricted such as may be the case those suffering certain medical conditions, for which the doctor has determined a restriction is necessary.
Prior to this change in the speed limit there was some confusion as some roads had different limits depending on their physical characteristics. This change aims to simplify the concept as there is now a uniform maximum permitted speed outside of towns, again, in places where no other restriction exists.
Reducing the speed limits on these roads has not been without controversy, with a number of people voicing their complaints about the reduction, this being the first of many reforms we will see this year.
Before the end of January this year, more than 100,000 people have been killed on the roads around the world. This is the reality of road safety, the fact that too many people are losing their lives or being injured, every single day, and so long as we, the drivers, collectively fail to make the roads safer, then we can and should expect more legislation which is ultimately aimed at keeping us all safer on the roads.

Let there be light in the Semana Santa Museum

Plans for the new Semana Santa Museum are currently on hold whilst the town council waits for Iberdrola to connect the electricity. The museum has been reorganised and is due to host the Museo del Mar y de la Sal (Sea and Salt Museum) too.
It has been a controversial reorganisation as it means moving around the effigies that are a feature of the traditional Easter time processions. It has also raised debate with the announcement that these effigies will share floor space with evidence moved from the courts. This is currently stored in boxes on the fifth floor of the court building.
The Semana Santa Museum building was handed over to Torrevieja town last September by the Valencian regional government. It has five floors above and three floors below ground level and cost more than six million euros to build. It is planned that other local council departments will also be based here, reducing the monthly fees that the local government has to pay out for renting premises.
It is claimed that it could already be in use but for the fact that Iberdrola has not yet connected the electricity. Only when this final act has been completed can the building be given its licencia de actividad and open its doors.

First motorway to scrap toll sees 58 percent traffic increase

Traffic on the AP-1 motorway has rocketed by 58percent since the government scrapped the tolls on 1st December, giving an idea of what is yet to come when the next batch of pay-per-use highway franchises come up for renewal.
Public works minister José Luis Ábalos opted to continue with the previous government’s plans not to renew any of the toll contracts on Spain’s motorways once they expired, and a sub-commission in Parliament has been set up to work out how they will fund their maintenance in future.
The AP-1 was the first, and another nine followed a fortnight ago – the AP-7 between Cartagena (Murcia) and Vera (Almería) and the Alicante ring road on the same motorway; the AP-36 between Ocaña (Toledo province) and La Roda (Albacete province); the AP-41 from Madrid to Toledo; the M-12 Madrid airport link road, and three Madrid outer-suburban ‘radial’ highways, the R-2, R-3, R-4 and R-5.
These nine, however, are only toll-free overnight from midnight to 6am but fees for their use during the day have been slashed by 30 percent to encourage users.
Toll motorways in general have been losing traffic – and money – since the start of the financial crisis as drivers sought to save cash, and the firms’ response of putting up prices to claw back more backfired, with vehicle numbers plummeting as a result.
This has become patent in year-end traffic figures for the AP-1 between Burgos (Castilla y León) and Armiñón (Álava province, in the Basque Country), with a 58 percent rise in a month, skewing the total for 2018 to show an annual increase of 5.26 percent.
Since 1st December, the AP-1 has witnessed the passage of 26,516 vehicles a day on average, compared with 16,703 a day over the rest of 2018. This translates to a year-on-year rise of 40 percent – in December 2017, an average of 18,900 cars, vans and lorries used the AP-1 every day.
Lorries are using the motorway far more now the tolls have been scrapped – with 68.6 percent extra being recorded, or 6,400 a day, compared with 3,800 as at November 2018.
Assuming the current government stays in power until the next general elections are due in November 2020 – or a new government decides to continue with the motorway ‘buy-back’ plan – another handful will be toll-free by then.
Franchise ends
On New Year’s Eve this year, the toll franchises for the AP-7 from Tarragona (Catalunya) to Castellón and from Silla (Valencia province) to San Juan (Alicante province), plus the AP-4 in the provinces of Sevilla and Cádiz will also end and not be renewed, meaning these roads will become free of charge from 1st January, 2020.
So far, of the 10 toll roads now back in State hands, only two have seen a reduction in traffic rather than an increase – the R-3 Madrid-Arganda del Rey ‘radial’ highway, and the R-5 between Madrid and Navalcarnero (Toledo province) – the first of these by 24 percent, down to 8,214 vehicles a day, and the second by just 0.85 percent, to 10,868 per day.
Traffic volume hikes on the other seven – excluding the AP-1, R-3 and R-5 – range from 1.8 percent on the AP-7 Alicante ring-road up to 15.7 percent on the AP-41 Madrid-Toledo motorway. However, the latter has long been the motorway with the lowest volume of traffic in the country, at just 1,193 vehicles a day.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS AND CRAFTERS

Your ideas and skills are URGENTLY required. Tuesday 12th February Costa Arts And Crafts Workshop will be launching a new gathering based on your ideas and influence. Over a glass of bubbly and a few nibbles at the Cultural Centre in Quesada starting at 2.30p.m. your ideas will form the basis of the new group. Of course there are plans in place but new ideas will form the foundation for moving forward into a strong friendly group. There are no boundaries or restrictions, every idea will be welcome. So this is the moment to dig out those hidden canvases, don that smock and beret, put those brushes between your teeth and join a new group bursting with fun and energy. Come and muck in, don’t miss this exciting opportunity! So that we can ensure we have sufficient supplies of bubbly and caviar (ha ha!) please contact Susan by email to sueinthesun@hotmail.co.uk or on 966 713 503 or Roger on 653 433 933 to confirm your attendance. This will be a day to remember YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU. Don’t miss it.

Boxes and bags of evidence

The 5th floor of the Palacio de Justicia can only be described as clutter of boxes and bags. What must cause concern is that in these are kept a variety of evidence and other items that have been seized in criminal proceedings. The whole floor is littered with objects and it is difficult to imagine how any kind of a filing system exists.
However, there are plans in place to transfer all these items to new premises in the Museo de la Semana Santa, or holy week museum. The allocated storage area is in part of the basement of the museum and will sit alongside items from the Sea and Salt Museum and Semana Santa artefacts.
The current storage area is in an unfinished part of the Palacio de Justiciabuilding. It suffers from missing plaster, is without lighting and has exposed wiring. It is hard to see how anything could be found in this labyrinth of piles of boxes. It was never intended to be used as a storage area but was designatedas more judicial offices. The building of these has never taken place.
The items that are kept here have been collected over a period of 12 years. They comprise of items that have been presented as evidence in criminal proceedings. It was in 1999 that Torrevieja established its own courts, separate from those of Orihuela. The judicial buildings in avenida de Las Habaneras are five storeys tall and now they struggle to handle all the cases that come their way.
In 2007 the courts were extended with another similar building constructed by a construction company in exchange, it is claimed, for receiving the area of Torreblanca from the City Council. However, the construction company never completed the fifth floor which currently houses this medley of evidence

Body of missing Irishman found

A body, believed to be that of missing Irishman Carl Carr, has been recovered from an area near the motorway between Algorfa and Benijófar. Sources claim that preliminary checks indicate that the body is likely that of missing 38-year-old Carr, given information about his tattoos and metal bars in his legs from a car accident. DNA samples have been taken from the remains to confirm his identity.
Five arrests were made and four people have been remanded in custody without bail – one for alleged murder and three for concealment.
Carr was reported missing by his girlfriend in September last year after he had been at a dance event in Cabo Roig and had not returned. The body was discovered by police buried in a shallow grave near the motorway. It appears that he may have been beaten to death. Despite Carr’s previous criminal record for drugs charges – he served an eight year jail sentence in Ireland after heroin and cocaine worth €1.43 million was seized – police believe that the alleged murder is not drug related. Speaking to the press in Ireland, Carr’s mother claims that her son was involved in a ‘love triangle’ and that this is what led to his demise. However, a motive for the alleged murder has not been formally confirmed.
Five people were arrested – identities have not been released but they are believed to be of Irish, British and Spanish nationality. One individual was released but remains under investigation. The other four, including the one accused of the alleged murder, appeared in court at the weekend and have been remanded in custody. The court appearance is believed to have taken place after the body was located but no formal charges have yet been brought against the four – two men and two women – as is the norm here in Spain where charges are formalised closer to trial. The investigation into Carr’s disappearance was initially led by authorities in Orihuela but was moved when investigators suspected that the alleged murder took place within the jurisdiction of Torrevieja. The main suspect is also believed to be under investigation for extortion as part of a separate case.

The best sales have arrived at Habaneras Shopping Centre

As well as enjoying incredible discounts in all its retail premises, the Centre will
be giving away loads of prizes through its App.
With the slogan “Enjoy Sales”, Habaneras Shopping Centre, managed
by JLL (real estate consultancy firm), is determined to start 2019 in a
big way by offering customers the best sales and discounts, along
with some fun ways of obtaining loads of direct prizes.
From today, 7 January, you’ll be able to get yourself the best bargains
at all the retail premises inside the Shopping Centre and, while the
sales are on, customers can collect their shopping receipts and
exchange them for gift vouchers and tickets to enter the prize draw
for €300 worth of gift cards. All customers shopping in the January
sales are eligible to take part.
To take part, all you have to do is be a user of the Habaneras Shopping
Centre App and exchange your shopping receipts at any of the
Centre’s retail premises and kiosks. Every weekend you can go to the
information point to pick up your vouchers and, for each 20 euros
spent on shopping, [H]Addict users will get a ticket for the prize draw.
Gifts include selfie sticks, mobile batteries, cinema tickets, notebooks
with inspiring messages, backpacks, gift cards and lots more prizes.
Everything is subject to availability, as the promotion is valid while
stocks last.
Plus, both Shopping Centre visitors and social media followers, as well
as [H]App users, can get extra vouchers to exchange for direct prizes.
But they’ll have to be alert because, at weekends only, the Centre will
be running a fun event called #loquemivecinasellevo when you can
get these special vouchers, but stocks are limited. So keep an eye on
the Habaneras channels and don’t let your neighbour get there
before you!
For another year, Habaneras welcomes the start of the winter sales
with lots of surprises and gifts for all Shopping Centre customers. Are
you going to miss out?
Habaneras, Enjoy Sales!

Emirates cabin crew recruitment in Alicante this week

The airline Emirates is looking for flight attendants in Alicante and is set to hold a recruitment open day this Wednesday January 9th. The airline is also holding recruitment events in Mallorca and Barcelona.
The recruitment conference will be held at the AC Hotel Alicante, starting at 8am.
The airline is looking for “open-minded, attentive, friendly and service-oriented” candidates to offer customers a good on-board experience. Candidates can present themselves with an up to date CV in English, in addition to a recent photograph. Although it is not mandatory, candidates are recommended to complete the online application on the Emirates Group Careers website before attending.
According to the airline, there are a few qualities which will make you stand out on recruitment day. Namely, you’ll be positive, confident, flexible, friendly and very keen to help others. Emirates also requires that candidates are:
• At least 21 years of age at the time of joining
• Arm reach of 212 cm while standing on tiptoes
• Minimum height of 160 cm
• High school graduate (Grade 12)
• Fluency in English (written and spoken)
• No visible tattoos while you’re in Emirates cabin crew uniform (cosmetic and bandage coverings aren’t allowed)
• Can adapt to new people, new places and new situations
• Physically fit for this demanding role with a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)
More information on applying, and on the dress code for recruitment day can be found at https://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/cabin-crew/

Planning the next Habaneras competition

It’s a popular annual event. The International Habaneras and Polyphony Competition will take place this year from 22nd to the 28th July in Torrevieja. It’s an international singing competition that gives the town good publicity and provides entertainment at the height of the summer.
This year will be the 65th version of this event that takes a great deal of planning. Announcements are made throughout the year on the lead up to it and there is always some controversy surrounding where it is to be held and whether any tradition is broken.
Alongside the main adult competition a junior version has evolved. The 25th youth competition will take place on 6th April and there will also be a soloist competition from the 8th to 9th November. The choirs who take part sing a song of their own as well as there being a compulsory element. This year the song that every choir must sing will be ‘Rosita de un verde palmar’. As usual, it is the Cuban ambassador who will raise the flag on the event.
The Habaneras competition has strong links with Cuba. This type of music originated there and was brought back to Torrevieja by its sailors. Boats traded with Cuban ports in a number of products and sailors found themselves the carriers of this singing tradition too. The competition is a time of reflection on Torrevieja’s past and its links with Cuba which go back 500 years to the town of Habana.
Once again the event will be publicised on television by Televisión Española (TVE) and it is hoped that a Cuban personality will be able to attend. The actual event will be hosted by whichever party wins the local elections in May. The councillor currently responsible, Domingo Soler, has expressed his wish that the plans should be sufficiently in place so that whoever is in charge can make sure the event goes ahead with as few difficulties as possible.

Dispute over responsibility for town hall transport fine

On 9th November 2017 a town hall worker was involved in a small accident whilst travelling on the moped provided for her by the town hall. At a roundabout, the moped slipped and the police attended the incident. On inspection of the vehicle they issued a fine for the ITV (MOT) being out-of-date.
Now, the town hall worker, who is part of the parks and grounds team, has presented the fine to the town hall, insisting that it is their responsibility to pay this, rather than hers. The debate continues as to who should pick up the bill for the missed ITV. According to the town hall, it is the responsibility of the employee using the vehicle to ensure that it is roadworthy and that its documents are in order.
The fine was for €200 or €100 for early payment and the driver of the moped paid the fine. However, she decided to apply for a refund from the town hall as they actually owned the vehicle. However, this was refused on the basis that the law does not allow for this type of payment in this way.
The debate continues. Some feel that a fine issued for non-compliance with traffic regulations such as speeding or jumping a red light should be the responsibility of the driver but that the maintenance of the vehicle should be the responsibility of the owner.
This isn’t the first time that such a confusion has arisen. In October a town council employee was fined €80 when delivering documentation in Alicante on town hall business. The driver had not obtained the ticket needed to leave the vehicle in the blue zone. However, on this occasion the decision was made that the fine would be paid by the town hall. Who exactly is responsible for picking up the tab seems to be rather unclear.

Death of baby donkey inspires incredible kindness

Kisses the baby donkey that was rescued by Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre (EHCRC) recently, having been found tied up in a bag but who sadly couldn’t be saved, has stirred the hearts of thousands of people around the world.
There was such an out pouring of grief, particularly on social media, over the brutal mistreatment and ultimate loss but also anger towards the inhumane treatment this poor little creature suffered at the hands of a human being. The messages flooded in from across the globe but none so much as from the Spanish people right here. The Spanish nation are often criticised for some of their traditions involving animals but there is a very active movement of young and old alike who are vehemently against any kind of animal cruelty for any reason. Many of these people have kindly donated money which has enabled the Centre to pay for the costly hospital bill which resulted from trying so hard to save Kisses.
EHCRC’s monthly Open Days are now testament to the increasing interest in its work and the thirst for knowledge on how everyone can work together to advance animal welfare in Spain. The free Open Days are jam packed with multinational supporters who come to join in the activities by taking part in one of the guided Tours which are available in Spanish, English, Russian and French and participating in the raffle and enjoying a vegetarian lunch. All proceeds go directly towards the animals’ care.
Sue Weeding co-founder said: “We are so grateful to all our supporters and we could not continue to care for our current 123 rescued equines or develop our services for the future if it wasn’t for the public’s help, donations and fundraising. Rod and I will not be here forever and we need to ensure that the Foundation is well established to continue our work.”
One example of outstanding support comes from Louise and her team at Looking Good Boutique in La Zenia. They have been staunch supporters of EHCRC for many years but following the horrendous story of Kisses they have taken up the challenge of doing some serious fundraising. Not only have they installed a very special rail of designer clothing donated by their loyal customers with all or a percentage of the sales going to EHCRC but they have also held fashion shows and have had some incredible donations for example a brand new smart phone, designer outfits straight from the Joseph Ribkoff company and incredible donations of money with one particular customer donating €1,000.
There are so many other ways for people to show support, and although monetary donations are vital, it isn’t always about money. One of the most useful ways to help is for people to donate their unwanted furniture to the Charity Shops as this is a valuable source of financial income for EHCRC.
Finally Sue said: “Sadly the story of Kisses is not an isolated case. We have had many situations of a similar nature where the poor animals had been abused and left to suffer and die in solitary, lonely, off the beaten track places where the perpetrators of these horrendous acts of cruelty hoped their deeds would never be seen. We are sure there are many more unknown cases and we are determined to work closely with the Police and the local authorities striving to grow the organisation to build a better future for all animals.”
The non-profit Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre relies entirely on donations to fund its important animal welfare work. Those interested in volunteering at the rescue centre or in the charity shops can call Sue on 652 021 980.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, located just outside Rojales at Partido Lo Garriga, 59, opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. Free horse tours run throughout the afternoon and refreshments are available in the café. For more details and directions, please visit www.easyhorsecare.net

Come and Join the Band!

You’ve probably already heard the Phoenix International Concert Band play. They were the musicians who accompanied the singing at Torrevieja’s carol concert in December. Every year they have been entertaining the international crowds in La Plaza de la Constitución with their music.
Whilst continuing with their usual bookings the band has also undergone some changes. They wanted their name to reflect the very international nature of their members. So, instead of being called The Phoenix Concert Band, they are now the ‘Phoenix International Concert Band, Costa Blanca’.
And they are truly international with Dutch, Norwegian and German players alongside players from every part of the UK. They also have a new Musical Director. Capt. (retired) Robert (Bob) Wilson who has brought a new lease of life to the band along with the very able support of Gordon Jamieson B.A. The band now has 26 players with nine extras who support when needed.
The band has set aside its old military image and are moving forward as a more progressive concert band. They have many modern and international pieces in their repertoire including the Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Medley’ and Phil Collins’ ‘Another Day in Paradise’. They have a bass guitar, rhythm guitar and keyboard section and are a not for profit group who support many charities in the local area.
The band is growing week by week but they still have vacancies for many instruments and are aiming to be one of the leading concert bands on the Costas. They would welcome new players of all instruments, including strings. Many members are retired professional and amateur musicians but there are no age restrictions or ability barriers stopping anyone from coming along and joining them in playing music.
They are now planning their 2019 season of events and if you think you might like to take part then they would love to hear from you. You can show your interest by contacting Gloria via e-mail glorandwill@gmail.com or by calling 679 576 591.
Alternatively you can just come along to one of their rehearsals every Tuesday (starting January 16th) from 1.30pm until 4.30pm below the public library at Biblioteca Publica de San Miguel de Salinas calle Vicente Blasco Ibanez. You will be made very welcome and tea and coffee is available during the break.

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