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Outrage in Elche and Alicante over Phase 0

Regional government officials have rejected central government’s decision to leave some areas of the Valencian Community in Phase 0 while many other areas of the district proceed to Phase 1 of the de escalation plan this week.
The areas progressing to Phase 1, organised by Health Department rather than geographical boundary, include Torrevieja and Orihuela but local politicians are furious that areas such as Alicante and Elche are being left behind.
Six health departments in the province have been given the green light to progress to Phase 1: Alcoy, Dénia, Marina Baixa, Elda, Orihuela and Torrevieja. The Ministry for Health has ordered that many areas remain in Phase 0, including Alicante, Castellón and Valencia.
Despite good epidemiological figures by both of its health departments, Elche remains in Phase 0 along with Alicante city. Local politicians have lodged appeals to the central government and will have to wait until later this week to find out if officials relent and allow more areas to progress to Phase 1.
The decision, when it was announced at the weekend, caused outrage in the Valencian region. President of the Generalitat Valenciana Ximo Puig expressed his indignation at the decision saying on Twitter, “We do not share this decision. We have justified with technical criteria the conditions so that the entire Valencian Community had to go to Phase 1 to protect Valencian society. We ask that our plan be studied again to review the decision as soon as possible.”
Valencia’s Minister for Health also made her disagreement known through a statement issued over the weekend. Ana Barceló said, “We do not agree with it because we have met all the criteria and demands that the ministry itself had asked of us.” Barceló revealed that the Valencian Community, at the behest of central government, submitted its proposal for the region which included figures on criteria such as the number of hospital beds available, the number of ICU places available, the capacity for response and follow-up in Primary Care, the capacity of laboratories to carry out the PCR tests and more.
Barceló also criticised that other communities have been allowed to pass entirely to Phase 1 with worse indicators than the Valencian region. According to an index of cases recorded in the two weeks before the de-escalation Phase 1 list was confirmed, the Valencian Community was in the top six in Spain in terms of infections per 100,000 inhabitants at an average of 13.59 cases. Barceló revealed that some regions with between 46 and 63 cases per 100,000 residents have been allowed to pass entirely to Phase 1.
Mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, agreed to immediately halt measures that had been in place ready for the city to move to Phase 1 this week. Barcala revealed that he will formally request from the Ministry of Health “appropriate explanations that make us understand why we have not gone to Phase 1.”
The Mayor of Elche, Carlos Gonzáles, was more cautious about directly criticising the decision, saying, “This is a process in which you have to be open to what is proposed by the health authority and you have to know the reason why and, from there, go forward.”

You can’t bathe here!

Regional police officers have been on patrol around the natural lakes of
Torrevieja and La Mata reminding people that they are not allowed to bathe
there. Many people who enjoy a dip in Torrevieja’s salt lake do not realise that
they are actually prohibited from doing so.
Over the past week, the regional police force has been on patrol. The area is,
in fact, designated to the salt works who mine the salt from there. The police
had been patrolling around calle Sol. This is the area most used for access to
the lakeon the edge of the Torretas urbanisations.
The reason given for clamping down on the bathers is that the machinery for
collecting the salt does in fact operate close to this point and it is not a safe
area for bathing. However, people have been enjoying this area for decades
without incident, although it was claimed that last summer a swimmer almost
collided with the machinery.
It was at the end of August that the salt works requested the intervention of
the police in dissuading people from entering the lake and surrounding area.
The Local Police did in fact make an appearance and spoke to more than 250
people around the 400 metres bordering the edge of the lake. However, they
do not have the capacity to include this area as part of their regular patrol.
Many of the people who stop by the lake are holiday makersoften from central
and northern Europe and Russia. The lake is particularly attractive due to its
spectacular scenery as well as the belief that its water and mud can have a
therapeutic effect.
The regional police force (policía autonómica) are separate from the Guardia
Civil or the National Police. They are responsible for enforcing laws that have
been delegated to the regional community, in this case Valencia. Their brief
includes that of security, public order, shows and performances and, in some
cases, traffic.

Observations from the outfield by Chris Darwen

Finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's nearly here. It is so close I can
feel it. That's right folks, Test Cricket is back and what a series we have to look forward
to in the latter stages of the summer.
Latter stages? OK, second half, maybe. You know what I mean. Shall we just call it
Five Test matches. Just under six weeks. It's going to be full on and it is going to be
just what a Test series should be – a test. The clue is in the name, after all.
I have grown weary of these mini-Test series that have become en vogue, purely as a
way to try and get the 'bigger' Test nations into stadiums more frequently and therefore
pay the bills. I am old school, despite still being young enough to considered a colt in
some counties. I like a Test series to be best-of-five. Let's get it on.
With the first ball of the series to be bowled at Lords on Wednesday, the series is
already throwing up enough talking points for the average club cricketer to shell at least
one like a pea. Trust me, following my brief return to the I'Anson Cricket League in
Surrey for one weekend only last weekend, I know all about shelling a very simple
catch. Catches dropped in Spain? Not very many at all. Catches dropped in one game
in England? Two. And boy was one embarrassing.
But I am not here to confess my own inability, oh no.
I am here to critically analyse, or as I prefer to call it, mock the moment.
Adil Rashid
It's not like Yorkshire to get their knickers in a twist over something cricket related, is it
now? Adil Rashid 'retired' from red ball cricket to focus on his ODI game earlier this
year, basically rendering him unavailable for County Cricket. Despite not bowling a red
ball in anger since 2017, Ed Smith has decided that Rashid is just what England might
need heading into the Test Series with India and boy are Yorkshire unhappy about it.
Martyn Moxon has talked of counties being "doormats" whilst counting up exactly how
many Tykes are representing England across all formats. Jonny Bairstow suggested
that actually, Yorkshire might be "secretly chuffed" that another Academy graduate has
gone on to play Test cricket for their county. If they are Jonny, they are keeping it a
very good secret.
But why not Rashid? He is bowling some of the best stuff of his life currently and
England are in dire need of an alternative spin option to Moeen Ali, even if Ali does
tend to produce the goods in England. Granted, India are pretty adept when facing spin
so if Rashid does actually play and not just become a controversial drinks carrier then it
will be interesting to see how he adapts.
Personally, I am all for picking players who are in form and are confident in themselves
regardless of the format – at the end of the day the rules don't change that much
between the formats – try not to get out and score as many runs as you can if you are
batting and try and get as many of them out as possible for as few runs as you can
when bowling. Oh, and catch it if it comes to you, OK?
With that in mind, and I have said this several times, I'd be getting Alex Hales and
Jason Roy in the squad too – they have to be better options than players like Stoneman
and Malan.
Jamie Porter
Five years ago, Jamie Porter was cold calling companies just in case they might want
him to find them a new employee. Banging on the door, so to speak, you could say. On
Wednesday morning, or England bat first maybe Wednesday afternoon, Jamie Porter
might be banging on a few Indian doors with a red ball in his hand. If selected, of
So who is Jamie Porter and what has he done to earn a career that has taken him from
recruitment to an England Test place in just five years?
Porter, it would appear, has the most county wickets of available Englishmen over the
last two-and-a-bit seasons. And, considering that after Anderson and Broad the last
two bowling slots have been rotated somewhat in that period of time it is almost a case
of asking why England have waited this long to have a look.
Porter took 55 wickets in Division Two back in 2016 spearheading Essex's charge to
promotion. He backed that up with 75 Division One scalps at 16.82 a piece last
summer as Essex won the top tier.
England chose to not show their hand to the Indians as Porter was rested from the
India vs Essex tour match leading up to the first Test. If Porter does get the nod ahead
of Sam Curran then it will be interesting to see if he can take that county form into the
toughest Test series there is out there right now.
Do the selectors actually know anything?
Well, the first two points might suggest they do and then the latest selector to be
bestowed with power, James Foster, only further endorsed this by coming up with a
wonderful bit of tactical insight.
Virat Kohli is going to be key to this series.
Really, James? You think? The Indian skipper is almost peerless in every format at the
moment and if he finally overcomes his England tour jinx then India will be very tough
to beat.
But we knew that, James.
How about telling us something we cannot work out for ourselves?

Fruit prices rocket as consumption falls

Fruit has gone up at more than three times the rate of general living costs, by two-thirds in 12 years and by 14 percent in the past year, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Only cigarettes, up by 102 percent and university tuition fees, which have increased by 68 percent, fruit has gone up in price more than any other consumer goods or services since before the start of the financial crisis.
Weekly fruit shopping cost €20 just over a decade ago, but now comes in at €33 – yet farmers are not benefiting from this increase and conclude that retailers must be giving themselves a higher profit margin.
A national farming union, the UPA, says the fruit industry is ‘rife with speculation’ and agricultural workers are having to produce far more nowadays just to break even, and many are dropping out of the sector altogether.
Stallholders believe the price hike must be due to climate change and shrinking harvests.
In fact, some fruit farmers – particularly watermelon-growers in the provinces of Almería and Murcia – are considering giving up because they are afraid of running out of irrigation water due to the ongoing drought.
Retailers say fruit now costs more because a higher amount is exported, as producers know they can earn more from selling their crops abroad – in fact, exports have risen by 67 percent in the last decade, much of which goes to the UK and Germany.
According to a national association of supermarket chains, the costs of sustainable waste management have gone up and the quality of the fruit in general has improved, which has had an impact on the end consumer price.
Vicious circle
Fruit becoming more expensive means residents in Spain are buying less of it to save money – around 12 percent less, in fact, than five years ago, or down from nearly 4,800 tonnes to just 4,200, or from 103 to 92 kilos per person per year. Despite the fall in consumption, the amount spent per capita on fruit remains the same as five years ago at €134 annually.
Figures show that some fruit rises in price by as much as 500 percent between field and supermarket shelf – this is the case with Golden Delicious apples, which sells at €2.22 per kilo in shops compared with 37 cents per kilo at source.
Other types of fruit where the margin between source and consumer is huge include clementines, which retail at €1.53 per kilo but for which farmers are paid 32 cents per kilo, a difference of 378 percent; oranges, which go up by 207 percent, from 63 cents to €1.94 per kilo; pears, from 56 cents to €2.01 per kilo or 258 percent, and bananas, with a difference of 397 percent, increasing from 43 cents to €2.14 per kilo.
The UPA is calling for greater control, saying customers are paying excessively high prices whilst farmers are barely covering their costs, and all those in between along the supply chain are ‘lining their pockets’.
Supermarket association ASEDAS does not agree, saying they consider it ‘perfectly reasonable’ that a third of the value of the fruit should each go to the grower, the retailer, and the company involved in selection, cleaning and transporting, which they say ‘explains the 300 percent increase’.

Celebrating Armed Forces Day in Orihuela Cathedral

Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. The event is held annually both in UK and in Spain.
The Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion on behalf of District North (Spain) are immensely grateful to the Dean of Orihuela Cathedral for allowing us to celebrate the day by holding our service in the 13th century Orihuela Cathedral.
The service, which will take place at 5.30 pm on 30 June, will be conducted by the President of the Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion, Pastor Keith Brown. He will be assisted by Father Victor Manuel Ferrer García, the parish priest of Santas Justa y Rufina de Orihuela.
It will be preceded at 5.15pm by a parade and march, the short distance to the cathedral from Plaza Teniente Linares, about 300 metres. The march will be led by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums and four Chelsea pensioners from the Royal Hospital. It will further comprise of the Standards of the RBL Spain North, RAFA, RNA, RMA, British and Spanish military veterans and serving members of the armed forces and security services here in Spain.
The 45 minute ceremony will start in the cathedral at 5.30pm. It will be a joint denomination service of readings and hymns conducted in English and Spanish with musical and choral accompaniment by the Royal British Legion Band in Spain, the Crescendo International Choir and Paul Michael.  The readings, in English and Spanish, will be delivered by invited guests.
It is hoped that all branches across Spain, particularly those in District North, will attend the event at which we hope to see as many standards as possible marching at the head of the parade, along the Calle Mayor de Ramón de Cajal.
As well as representation from the RBL we also hope to see a large number of serving members and veterans of the Spanish Armed Forces and of the Spanish Security Services, the National Police, Guardia Civil and the Local Police.
This is certain to be a truly special occasion and the organisers would be delighted if as many people as possible would make an effort to attend. It is absolutely free and open to anyone, service or civilian, who might wish to attend.
Free coach transport available from La Zenia Boulevard leaving at 4pm. The event will also be followed by a short guided tour of either the cathedral or the historic city of Orihuela after the event with coaches returning at 8pm.
More information about the event and coach bookings from Eddie Coleman or Kevin Reardon on either: or

A happy ending in sight for the cemetery tree

What should be done with the eucalyptus tree that is a well-known landmark
outside the cemetery walls in Torrevieja? The tree is 3.6 metres in diameter
and has been a feature there for more than half a century. It is a rare species
of eucalyptus in Spain and is remembered and recognised by many visitors to
the town. However, its position and existence has been threatened by
Iberdrola’s plans to give more power to the desalination plant.
The news that it was to be moved caused great consternation amongst local
people. It has provided relief and solace for many on their journeys to and
from the cemetery and the idea that it should be re-located or even destroyed
has been met with horror.
It’s been under threat due to the laying of additional electricity cable needed to
double the capacity of the desalination plant. The tree lies bang in the middle
of the planned route for the cable. However, its predicament has attracted the
attention of many local people keen to see that the tree is not forced to budge
from its current location.
Some other trees in the area have already been moved. An olive tree and a
pine tree have been uprooted and replanted elsewhere. However, moving this
great tree is a more complicated procedure. Now, a solution has been found
at the last minute. An organisation called Dotor Árbol, a business from
Catalonia, specialises in the rescue and preservation of trees in similar
They use a special method that enables the cable to be placed below the
ground without the need to remove the tree. The good news is that this
operation will be paid for by Iberdrola and with a guarantee that the tree will
not be harmed as a result of the process, this has to be one piece of good

Vicente García stand bites the dust

The councillor for sports, Victor Ferrández, has announced that the firm
contracted to demolish the main stand at Torrevieja’s football stadium has
begun its business. The work started with the demolition of the roof and a
crane has been sent in to dismantle it. The main indoor grandstand and
changing rooms are all due to be demolished and there will be disconnection
of all utilities.
Asbestos also needs to be removed from the site which will be left good
following the removal work. The demolition is expected to be complete by the
end of August. There are plans to replace some of the facilities and to ensure
that the team has somewhere they can play in future.
Councillor Ferrández has explained that in the new football season it is hoped
that the field will be back to normal and that the second phase can begin of
drafting a new project which will allow for new seating to be developed and
the stadium to have more modern facilities.
The need to demolish the stand and team locker room is nothing new. In 2014
it was recognised that there were deficiencies in the building work and a
technical report suggested that measures should be taken to limit the use of
the stand and accompanying locker room.
The stand did not, in fact, have a licence and it would have been too
complicated to have made the corrections necessary to enable one to be
applied. Instead it was decided that demolition and rebuilding would be a
better option. A minor contract has now been issued for a drafting of the
project and work is being carried out following the approval of the 2018

Improved view for Punta Prima.

The Municipal Department of Beaches, which is headed by Councillor Luisa Boné, has
carried out the refurbishment of the viewpoint on the promenade of Punta Prima.
The viewpoint on the seafront was in a very bad condition. The sidewalk was damaged with
numerous loose stone slabs and the pergola had only half of the prefabricated beams, as
they deteriorated steadily due to years of wear and tear. The balustrade had numerous
broken sections.
The city councillor said: “We from the Municipal Department of Beaches felt it necessary to
renovate this viewpoint, because it was possible to turn it into one of the most beautiful
enclaves of our coast, where we can sit down and enjoy the wonderful view."
"The work consisted of the demolition of the old structure, the preparation of the soil and
the construction of a 24-metre- long and 4-metre- wide pergola made of white wood, the
cover of which consists of planks which are separated from each other and so allow for a
shadowed effects.”
She added that the beams and planks along the pergola were placed in such a way as to
create the optical effect of a wave, ideal for the enclave in which the pergola is located. And
a railing was installed with the same planks from which the pergola was built to add
symmetry and better aesthetics. The stone floor was replaced by a wooden grey floor that
matches the colour of the pillars. Four grey wooden benches in a modern style complete the
viewpoint and give it the pleasing look that the government team wanted to achieve.
The city councillor for beaches pointed out that the cost of renewing the viewpoint at Punta
Prima is equivalent to an investment of €37,458 including VAT and added that the Municipal
Department of Beaches will continue to slowly improve all the facilities that are located on
the beach or in the immediate vicinity.

Hard work pays off for Footwork duo

Danielle Dickie and Neve Bradley,are about to fulfil their dreams of becoming professional dancers ,
when they take the next important step by attending UK Performing Arts colleges in September
this year. Both have auditioned and been accepted and are very excited at the adventures which lie
ahead for them.
The girls have attended classes at Footwork Dance Studio in ballet, tap modern, jazz and acrobatics
under the tuition of Principal Erica Dorrill 3 or 4 days a week over a period of time. Their progression
has been such that they have reached a standard to allow them to take the next steps to become
professional dancers and performers.
Principal Erica Dorrill said: “Everyone wishes them lots of luck for the future. Both girls have worked
extremely hard and proved to be a great credit to the Dance School.”
Erica added, that she will be sad to see the girls go, but is happy in the knowledge that when
students take the next steps towards their chosen career, you have done your job correctly.
If you are interested in taking part in classes, at Footwork Dance Studios, they have classes for
everyone, from 2 years through to adults, with the eldest member being 80 – proving it’s never too
late to join a class. Contact Erica on 662003823, email: or check out
the facebook page ‘Footwork Dance Studios Spain’.