Binge tourism' reaches a new low when police fire rubber bullets to restore peace

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For decades now, the Spanish have taken an easy line on foreign tourists and the oceans of alcohol they consume in coastal resorts every summer. Not any more. The party is definitely over in one of the most emblematic of Spain's mass tourism towns, Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava, where, earlier this month, police fired rubber bullets at gangs of drunken revellers when they ran amok through the city, kicking in shop windows and setting a police car on fire. After two nights of clashes that dragged on until 7am, there were 20 injured, nine of them police officers, and 20 arrests. Tellingly – in a city of 40,000 with 25 discos, 261 bars and roughly a million tourists a year – all those in custody were foreigners, most of them reportedly French.

As far back as 2004 – when, after similar incidents, the then Catalan Minister of the Interior invented the phrase "binge tourism" – there were promises of clean-ups. This time, though, in a year which had already seen 15-year-old British expat Andrew Milroy stabbed to death outside a nightclub, (over which two French men have been arrested), the authorities say they mean business. "We've touched bottom on these questions," the mayor of Lloret de Mar, Roma Codina said. "We will be shutting down the most conflictive bars and banning prostitution in public." For good measure, he added, disco closing times were to be tightened up and there would be a crackdown on underage drinking. The police presence was massively stepped up, too.

But no sooner had things quietened down in Lloret de Mar than trouble popped up elsewhere. Authorities in the Balearic Islands warned last week of a fresh wave of deaths from "balconing", a dangerous game in which inebriated tourists leap from their hotel rooms into the swimming pool below. This year, there have been three deaths – two Britons and one Italian, all in their twenties – and more than a dozen injuries from hotel falls in Ibiza and Majorca, well above the seasonal average. Majorcan hotel owners say they are raising the height of balcony railings and building screens between them; there have also been calls for educational campaigns in the tourists' home countries. It has come to this: leaflets explaining the perils of hurling yourself head first off buildings.

And in Magaluf, until last week you didn't even have to drink to get drunk. On Thursday six "oxy-shot" machines – which convert alcohol into gas, enabling your body to absorb it 10 to 15 times quicker than in liquid form – were confiscated by police from bars and discos in the town. This latest craze to hit Majorca has now been banned in the Balearics. Jose Cabrera, a toxicologist, explained on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, "Oxy-shots can destroy your lungs, because there is no way of eliminating toxins, which is what happens when alcohol goes through the liver."

Not everyone behaves badly, of course. "The vast majority of tourists are just out for a good holiday, and a good time," says a Spanish man who would only give his name as MLC. He has been delivering beer to El Arenal and Magaluf, Majorca's two key German and British "ghettos" – as the Spanish call them – for 12 years. "But I've noticed that the hardcore drinkers are younger – maybe 15 or 16 – drinking more, and more violent than they used to be. There's no way I'd go into those ghettos alone. It's too scary. But only the British one, eh? The Germans are all right: they just drink, sit down and sing their heads off."

Certainly, at 1am on a Saturday night in Benidorm this month, in the plaza dubbed "British square" on local nightclub flyers, the atmosphere is anything but settled. The first thing you notice is you can't hear a word of Spanish, let alone see it among the swathes of adverts and signs in English for pints, pies, Yorkshire puds, football, fishfingers and beans.

Instead, long lines of stag-nighters lurch and weave their way past huge knots of drinkers outside a row of open-air pubs, all dubbed with British-sounding names such as Piccadilly, Carnaby Street, The Red Lion and Wookey Hole. In fact, the area seems built on fake nostalgia for a slightly rancid vision of England on holiday three or four decades ago. The tribute bands for 1970s and 1980s acts such as Neil Diamond, Shakin' Stevens and Showaddywaddy help, of course, but so do the profusion of comedy clubs for vaudeville turns such as Albi Senior, The British Bulldog of Comedy, or the slightly saucy Roy "Chubby" Brown tribute: "blue, offensive and vulger" [sic]. You have been warned.

There is drinking – lots of it – but nobody's being sick yet, and I don't see any fights, and there are even a few families, their six- or seven-year-olds wandering around. In fact, if you took away the stream of adverts for prostitutes – verbal and otherwise – and the 30C-plus temperature, but retained the truculent, threatening atmosphere outside some of the noisier pub doors, this part of Benidorm would seem like a slightly dingy British inner city, right down to the peeling skyscrapers, trails of dog excrement, and potential for violence.

When trouble does flare up, British residents insist it tends to be limited to one particular zone. "This end of town, I've never seen anything in the five years I've been working here," says Tracy, waitress at one of Benidorm's oldest British pubs, the Duke of Wellington. "It's all around 'British square', that's where you get the lads all falling around and being sick." But given that tourism is one of the few boom industries in an economy in tatters – even if visitors' spending has dropped – you can't help thinking there's only so much tinkering with places like British square that the authorities will be willing to do.

Take Salou. Two years ago, the Costa Dorada resort became Spain's first place to oblige tourists to keep their T-shirts on away from the beaches – or face a €300 (£265) fine. But this town still plays host to the notorious SalouFest, where, for five days, up to 5,000 British students drink each other under the table for as little as £189 all- in. During that annual binge, getting the students to keep their Union Jack shorts and hotpants on in public would be a major achievement, let alone their top halves.

Nor is the tourism industry in great shape. The Benidorm coast's biggest English-speaking newspaper, Costa Blanca News, pointed out last week that although tourist numbers are up, Benidorm hotels are worried because spending is down by as much as 40 per cent. "These last two years have slowed down a lot," Tracy confirms, "we get more Spanish in, and they only have maybe a couple of halves of lager over an hour and a half. They don't spend as much as the British."

Such is the demand among northern Europeans for cheap booze-fuelled holidays, though – as little as €200 all-in for a week – that the region of Alicante has lost half a dozen of its most emblematic five-star hotels in the last three years. Others have downgraded to three or four stars. "There are Happy Hours that go on for the whole of the morning now," MLC confirms. "From 10 or 11am right the way through to 1 or 2pm."

In Barcelona, the third most popular European destination for British stag parties, they banned Happy Hours two years a go. But in Benidorm and other resorts such as Lloret de Mar, the price war has reached ridiculous extremes. In Bendiorm last week you could buy two vodka cubatas – Spanish long drinks usually containing three or four British measures – for €4, or a pint of bitter for €1 "until the first goal scored in the League game".

But as the Spanish are discovering, such offers are a two-edged weapon. Cheaper booze means more business, but it also means more reckless aggression and senseless bravado, as the rubber bullets of Lloret de Mar and the broken bodies of the "balconers" have shown this summer. And until that particular alcohol-powered conundrum is resolved, they are trends that may prove very hard to stop



earthquake causes alarm on Gran Canaria

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More than 1,000 calls were made to the emergency number after the quake on the south east of the island. There was no damage or injuries

The 112 emergency number on the Canary Islands received more than 1,000 calls from concerned members of the public after an earthquake in Agüimes, on the south east of Gran Canaria, on Monday afternoon.

None reported any injury or damage to property however.

The quake at 2.15 pm was a 3.4 magnitude on the Richter scale, with the epicentre at sea off the coast of Playa del Inglés. Its effects were also felt in Santa Brígida, Telde, La Aldea de San Nicolás and Santa Lucía de Tirajana.

There was a small tremor on El Hierro earlier on Monday, where EFE notes more than 3,700 seismic movements have been detected since July 19 this year.



Man who survived jimson weed poisoning at Getafe rave discharged from hospital

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20 year old who was admitted to hospital after attending a rave party in Getafe at the weekend, after which two others died after taking a cocktail of drugs, was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

20 year old Álvaro L.G. was admitted to Intensive Care and analyses have shown that he took large amounts of drugs and stramonium, or jimson weed, a hallucinogenic plant which can be highly toxic.

Sources quoted by Europa Press indicate that it was a liquid preparation. He however tested negative for speed, which his friends said he had also taken. Europa Press reports that he has told the National Police that he suspects that someone slipped something into his drink.

The bodies of the two who died were both found near a local river on Sunday.

The rave was held in an abandoned building known as the Monastery of La Aldehuela. Getafe Town Hall is now studying steps to demolish the building.



The euro zone crisis has mobile users hanging on to their phones a little longer.

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With fewer consumers buying, the Continent’s big mobile retailers have been keeping inventories low, which has brought the first-ever quarterly decline in cellphone shipments in Western Europe, said Gartner, the research firm.

The downturn has not hit the United States, where business over the past few years has grown side by side with that in Europe. Worldwide, Gartner said, it expected shipments to grow 12 percent for the year, to a record 1.8 billion phones.

In Western Europe, International Data Corp. is forecasting the number of cellphones shipped will grow 6 percent in 2011 to almost 207 million units, with smartphone shipments expected to rise 44 percent to more than 103 million.

Nevertheless, the dip is causing consternation.

“There is caution around what’s been happening,” Anurag Gupta, the president in Europe of Brightpoint, a U.S. company that handles mobile phone supply, distribution and logistics for operators like Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom. “The euro zone nations are totally consumed with the debt situation. People have been cautious, whether it is the wireless carriers or the retailers, all the way down to the end user.”

The market in Europe for cellphones tightened in the second quarter, according to Gartner, with shipments falling 0.5 percent in Western Europe to 43.57 million from 43.77 million in the first quarter. Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst in London, said sellers of mobile phones were using “channel management” to keep inventories lean and to reduce risk.

“In a normal situation, you might have 100 phones in the back room,” Ms. Milanesi said. “Now you have 50.”

She added that consumers were “fatigued” and holding back on upgrades.

Mr. Gupta, who is based in Barcelona, said mobile operators and other big retailers were keeping three to four weeks’ worth of inventory, whereas, 18 months ago, it was four to six weeks.

The European market is also being weighed down by the restructuring at its longtime market leader, Nokia. In the second quarter, Nokia fell to No. 2 in total shipments in Western Europe, behind Samsung, and to No. 5 in smartphones, where it had a 10.8 percent share, according to International Data Corp.

One year earlier, Nokia led the European smartphone segment with 39.5 percent. Now the Finnish company trails Samsung, Apple, HTC and Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, which have 22 percent, 21 percent, 14.3 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively, according to I.D.C.

Francisco Jeronimo, an I.D.C. analyst in London, said consumers were shying away from committing to Nokia’s phones using the Symbian operating system, which Nokia plans to phase out in favor of Windows Phone as part of an alliance with Microsoft announced in February.

Stephen Elop, the Nokia chief executive, said then that the company expected to sell 150 million Symbian phones during the transition to Windows. Mr. Jeronimo said he expected Nokia to sell only 100 million such units. Nokia began cutting prices on Symbian devices in the second quarter, Mr. Jeronimo said.

In North America, where Nokia has less than 5 percent market share, the mobile market is still growing, fueled mostly by the iPhone and phones with the Android operating system by Google. Smartphone shipments by Apple rose at an annual rate of 62 percent in the second quarter, according to I.D.C. At HTC, one of the leading makers of Android phones, shipments grew at an annual rate of 125 percent. Over all, shipments to North America rose 3.7 percent to 47.2 million in the second quarter, according to Gartner. Smartphone shipments rose 9.2 percent to 24.7 million, Gartner said.

“The situation at Nokia is affecting the broader market in Europe,” Mr. Jeronimo said.

Nokia said it planned to present its first Microsoft phones this year and ship significant volumes in 2012. The company released a statement saying that the Microsoft transition was progressing well, as were sales of its high-end N9 smartphone and N500 auto navigation device.

“Clearly we are going through a transition,” Nokia said in the statement. “We’ve been very transparent about the challenges we face and the strategy we are implementing to regain global smartphone leadership. The only real measure of progress is delivering truly great products that people around the world want to use.”

Mr. Jeronimo said it might take Nokia two to three years to climb back to being among the top three smartphone makers in Europe. But the European mobile market, with or without Nokia, will keep growing, said Rajeev Chand, an analyst in San Francisco at Rutberg, an investment bank. Smartphone penetration in the European Union is still only 31 percent, he said, so “smartphones still have a long way to go.”

Qualcomm, which makes processors and other components for mobile phones, said it expected the Western Europe market to grow 16 percent this year to 180 million Internet-enabled devices. In July, Qualcomm, based in San Diego, said that Eastern Europe markets remained strong, but “we continue to monitor Western Europe because of the ongoing economic challenges.”

In Europe, at least for a while, the market is likely to remain fluid, tied in part to Nokia as it seeks traction with Microsoft. Ms. Milanesi, the Gartner analyst, said the first Nokia Microsoft phones were likely to be solid devices, but not so different from what is already on the market.

“The new, first Nokia-Microsoft phone is unlikely to blow away the public because the company hasn’t had time to differentiate its line from the competition,” Ms. Milanesi said.



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Visitors walk at El Valle de los Caidos (The Valley of the Fallen), the giant mausoleum holding the remains of dictator Francisco Franco, outside Madrid July 12, 2011/Andrea Comas

The Spanish government has asked the  Vatican for help transforming the Valle de los Caidos monument  holding the remains of dictator Francisco Franco into a place of  reconciliation, a Vatican spokesman said on Saturday. Ministers made the request during the visit of Pope Benedict  to Spain as part of a Roman Catholic World Youth Day which has seen hundreds of thousands of young people travel to Madrid from around the world to take part in religious festivities.

A government-appointed commission is due to make proposals in November on the future of Franco’s burial place in a mountain range an hour’s drive northwest of Madrid, dominated by a 150-metre-high crucifix and a focus for the extreme right. The monument, known as the Valley of the Fallen, is  dominated by a large basilica and is also home to an order of  Benedictine monks. It has long been a source of controversy.

Spain’s Catholic Church, which had close links with Franco during his 36-year dictatorship, has clashed with the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero over gay marriage, abortion and the teaching of religion in state schools.

The future of the monument was discussed at a meeting on Friday between Minister for the Presidency Ramon Jauregui,  Foreign Affairs Minister Trinidad Jimenez, Secretary of State for the Vatican Tarcisio Bertone and the Papal Ambassador to Spain Monseigneur Renzo Fratini. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the Spanish government’s request was listened to by the Holy See, but no decision has been made.

“The proposals were listened to attentively but there was no decision or stance taken on the part of the Vatican. These are matters which require more in-depth discussion,” Lombardi told journalists at a briefing.

The government commission is one of several to have grappled with how to make the Valle de los Caidos acceptable to all Spaniards since Spain returned to democracy in 1978. One of its tasks will be to allow relatives to remove the remains of some 12,000 soldiers from the losing Republican side in the war, who were buried alongside Franco supporters at the valley without families’ knowledge or permission.

On Friday, the second-day of his four-day trip to Madrid, Benedict greeted groups of young nuns and unversity professors at the San Lorenzo monastery in El Escorial, a town nestling in the shadow of the Valle de los Caidos.  A day-trip to include both locations is one of the top attractions for tourists visiting Madrid.


Desperate to lure foreign buyers back to its property market, Spain's government has cleaned up the buying process.

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With an economy in turmoil and a reputation tarnished by tales of dodgy developers and legal nightmares for expats trying to buy their dream home, the Spanish property market has been something of a disaster zone for the past couple of years.

Yet some say now is the perfect time to snap up a bargain, with the country's banks trying to offload repossessions and new rules being introduced by the government to improve Spain's image and tempt back British buyers.

"We are in the middle of a big PR push by the Spanish government to get the Brits back," said Richard Way, editor of A Place in the Sun magazine. "We already have heavy discounts – depending on the area and the financial position of the developer – now the government is trying to sort out some of the legal and ownership problems which have given the country's property industry such a bad press."

In an attempt to persuade Brits that they will not fall foul of some of the country's numerous property scandals, measures are now in place to make the system more transparent. First and foremost, expat buyers can go to their local town hall to request a translated land registry certificate.

"The new initiative to enable local town halls to issue land registry certificates is a welcome move in the right direction, as long as any local delegated authority, such as this, is not overturned at a later date by central government," said Louise Reynolds, of agent Property Venture.

These certificates, known as nota simples, cost €29 (£25) plus VAT, and include the seller's details, a property description and any charges and embargoes against it. These can be obtained online from the Colegio de Registradores, land registry,

Other improvements introduced by the Spanish government mean that properties deemed to be fuera de ordenación – not built to current building regulations – can be registered on the land registry as long as they are at least four years old, in order to protect owners who, in many cases, bought in good faith. For anyone buying off-plan, information about any legal proceedings brought against the property, which could result in fines or demolition, must be incorporated into the land registry. Town halls are obliged to provide registrars with this information and will be held financially accountable for any losses incurred by those buying in good faith.

In a bid to support off-plan buyers, it is no longer possible for a new home to be registered on the land registry unless it has the license of first occupation, a construction license and a technical certificate stating that the building corresponds to the plans for which the license was granted.

"Making the local authorities accountable is also a shrewd move to help address potential corruption that has been an issue for some town halls on the costas in the past," said Ms Reynolds.

All good news, but these measures will do little to comfort existing homeowners struggling in Spain, many of whom sunk their cash into new developments, which were later declared illegal by local authorities. These homeowners now face the threat of demolition because their property was built on restricted land, or because developers seeking a fast buck built and sold properties without planning consent. Other horror stories are told of couples spending their life savings on the deeds to land with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of debt signed over to it, or off-plan buyers who ended up with a home that fell well short of what was promised, or even nothing at all because their developer went under.

These tales, coupled with Spain's economic plight, are enough to put many buyers off. Yet the truth is that property prices have gone down considerably in the country. Properties in coastal areas, where most holiday homes are found, fell by 9.5 per cent in the year to July 2011, according to valuations from Spanish appraisal company Tinsa. Across the board, prices fell by an average 6.4 per cent.

In general, getting a mortgage in Europe has become increasingly hard, with many banks closing the door to foreign buyers. However, in Spain, the banks have so many properties to shift that there are some good deals to be found for buyers getting their mortgage and new home from one lender. Several agents are now working closely with Spanish banks to offload some of these homes to Brits and other foreign buyers.

The estate agent Connells (, for example, is working with Spanish bank Caja Mediterráneo, has links to bank Cajamurcia, and Spanish agency Básico Homes ( now has a UK arm headed up by Robert Evans. According to Mr Evans, in the costas, where most construction took place, buyers can find many well-built developments being sold by banks at attractive prices combined with a mortgage.

"Spanish banks have a lot of property to sell and are really the only option for someone trying to buy a home in Spain with a mortgage. The truth is that it is difficult to obtain a mortgage unless the bank is selling the property," he said.

"Mortgages are available but with the banks holding so many properties they are basically looking to provide home loans on what they have to sell, so those foreign buyers looking to rely on mortgage finance who are not buying a repossession from a bank can struggle," he added.

However, some experts argue that many of the best deals are available for properties that overseas buyers should steer clear of – homes at the lower end of the market likely to be located on over-built, or unfinished developments. "Because a property has a low price tag doesn't mean it's a bargain. Be prepared that with Spanish property you are looking at a long-term investment, maybe 10 years or more before you see capital appreciation," Mr Way said.

For anyone brave enough, the onus is still on the buyer to do their research, carry out due diligence before signing anything and ensuring the property is free of debt and other liabilities. From the start, it's important to hire an independent Spanish lawyer not affiliated or recommended by an estate agent or developer.

"When buying in Spain, it is important to speak to a local attorney who will help handle the agreement, conveyance and possible migration. There are local taxes and fees that the attorney can explain. It can also be helpful to speak to a tax adviser who can find tax incentives to residing in Spain," said Christian de Meillac from agent Knight Frank International.



1,400 people had to be evacuated from their homes but there have been no injuries apart from one fire fighter

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Earlier reports that the fire which has affected 420 hectares close to the La Manga Club in Murcia was under control have been revised. Now the authorities say the fire is ‘stabilised’ and warn that the strong winds in the area could see the flames revive and they have to be prudent.

The golf courses of La Manga have acted a firebreak from the flames, and make up part of the 30 kilometre long perimeter which is now being patrolled.

Most of the land affected is in the Calblanque regional park, and there was much fear in Portmán where 1,400 people had to be evacuated. The Guardia Civil gave the order by knocking door to door at three in the morning on Thursday.

A single fire fighter suffering from heatstroke is thankfully the only injury from what is an environmental tragedy.
The origin of the fire remains a mystery.



37 year old Briton has died after falling six floors down a stairwell of a hotel in Magaluf.

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Paul David Newman was trying to find his room after a night drinking

A 37 year old Briton has died after falling six floors down a stairwell of a hotel in Magaluf.

The victim had come back from a night drinking with two friends and the three were making their way back to their room, number 414.
Guardia Civil report that the dead man, Paul David Newman, leant over the railing to try and work out where the room was in the Hotel Royal Beach, but lost his balance and fell. The three men had climbed two floors too many.

It happened at around 5am on Saturday and the victim suffered severe head injuries in the fall. On their arrival ambulance workers were able only to confirm his death.

An investigation has been opened by the Guardia Civil.


Al-Qaeda suspect plotted to poison tourists' water supplies

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Al-Qaeda suspect plotted to poison tourists' water supplies to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden, a Spanish judge said Saturday as he remanded the man in custody.
Abdellatif Aoulad Chiba, a 36-year-old Moroccan, had gone so far as to obtain manuals on poisons, toxins and explosives on jihadist websites, the judge said.
Police swooped soon after the suspect appeared to be saying farewell to his wife.
Chiba's online comments on jihadist websites "expressed a clear desire to carry out an attack against 'infidels' by poisoning human water supplies", he said in a written ruling.
The online comments indicated that he wanted to strike "at camp sites and tourist resorts", most likely in Spain, said the judge of the National Court, Spain's highest authority for hearing terrorist cases.
"The risk increased after he entered in contact with other users of the forum who supplied him with manuals on how to make and use poisons, toxins and explosives."
Police arrested Chiba on Wednesday in the southern town of Linea de la Concepcion.
He was remanded in custody Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a terrorist killing and of being a member of a terrorist organisation. Formal charges have not yet been laid.
In one online post found by police he swore his allegiance to Al-Qaeda's North African offshoot, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The suspect had "expressed his intention to continue the organisation's efforts to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden and other key members of Al-Qaeda", the court said.
US forces killed bin Laden on May 1 in Pakistan, a decade after the September 11, 2001 attacks he masterminded leveled the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon.
"It is considered probable that all the actions carried out by Abdellatif Aoulad could be the steps taken according to a plan whose goal could be to carry out a terrorist act," the judge said.
Chiba called for attacks to be carried out in Europe and the United States in the online postings but the court said the plot to poison water supplies "probably concerned Spain since that is where he lives".
In one post he wrote on August 11, he urged members of the jihadi forum "to kill the enemies in the heart of Europe and the USA ... attack their houses, poison their water, set off explosives in their markets and the places where they meet".
Police found information about poison and water deposits on his computer, the court said.
Chiba telephoned his wife in Girona, northeastern Spain, in the early hours of August 12, the ruling said.
"During the conversation he did not discuss any topic which would justify the urgency of calling at this hour," the court said.
"But between the lines you can detect a need to express his love in what appeared to be a tacit farewell."
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claims allegiance to the global extremist network. It carries out attacks and kidnappings and runs smuggling routes in the Sahel region that spans north Africa.
Spain suffered its worst terror attack on March 11, 2004 when bombs exploded on packed commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding 1,841 others in a strike by a local cell of Islamic extremists carried out in the name of Al-Qaeda.
Twenty-one people, mostly Moroccans, were convicted of involvement in the attacks.


Spain announced further austerity measures on Friday while also unveiling a halving of sales tax on house purchases

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Spain announced further austerity measures on Friday while also unveiling a halving of sales tax on house purchases as it seeks to strike a balance between cutting its deficit and stimulating anaemic economic growth.

The 5 billion euros ($7 billion) of savings to reduce the deficit aim to fend off debt market attacks. However, the government steered clear of drastic cuts that could damage the ruling Socialists' chances in November's general election.

Moves to cut drug costs for regional governments with a new bill on generic medicines will save 2.4 billion euros and a further 2.5 billion euros will be saved by front-loading tax payments from large businesses each year through to 2013.

The government said the measures would make it easier for Spain it to hit its deficit targets this year as it battles to avoid being dragged into a euro zone debt crisis which has pushed borrowing costs to record levels.

But analysts said the country's low growth prospects and market volatility could yet steer the government's deficit target off course.

"Given that we see growth forecasts being revised down across the euro zone and high uncertainty in financial markets, it is still not clear whether these measures will be enough to be able to meet its deficit forecasts," said Marco Valli, euro zone economist at UniCredit.

However, he stressed he believed the government would take further measures if necessary to assure targets were met.

Spain aims to cut its deficit to 6 percent of gross domestic product this year. The government cut the gap to 9.2 percent in 2010 from 11.1 percent in 2009.

Spain's debt risk premium on 10-year bonds against German bunds has come down since hitting euro-era highs over 400 basis points in August, thanks largely to bond purchases by the European Central Bank.

On Friday the spread was around 288 bps, little changed from the previous day and tracking Italian debt, which the ECB has also been buying.

The temporary cut in sales tax to end-2011 on the purchase of new houses to 4 percent from 8 is aimed at working through a glut of around 1 million unsold houses and stimulating Spain's collapsed property market.

Spain's housing and construction sector was the driving force behind a decade-long boom which petered out in 2008, leaving the country mired in its worst recession in half a century and the highest unemployment rate in the European Union.

Spain has come out of recession but economic growth barely hovers above zero.

Though comparatively small, the austerity measures could compensate for any overshooting of public deficit targets by Spain's 17 autonomous regions, a persistent market worry.

Parliament has been recalled to vote next week on the measures, which are due to be presented around 1200 GMT and expected to win approval from lawmakers.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero brought forward general elections by four months, hoping to take advantage of a pick-up in employment over the peak summer tourist season.


Six arrested in clashes with police after anti-Pope rally in Madrid

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Six people were arrested and two policemen injured when National Police charged against the lay demonstrators who were in the Puerta del Sol in the centre in Madrid, after a march through the centre of the capital, showing their rejection of the Pope’s visit to the city on Thursday.

The protestors are angry at the cost of the visit at a time when there are harsh cuts in public spending. Despite the efforts of the police, some of the most violent of the lay demonstrators attacked some of the pilgrims in the city for World Youth Day.

Some Spanish media is claiming today that the police failed to act to protect the pilgrims.
The Pope arrives in Madrid at noon Thursday.



ON the Costa del Sol he has long been known – quite rightly – as the ‘Prat with the Hat’

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 after he cancelled a concert six years ago leaving thousands of fans disappointed.

But now Space Cowboy superstar Jamiroquai has returned to make amends by playing a secret gig at Malaga’s Auditorio Municipal last week.
Compensating the thousands of fans who lost out in 2005 when promoters Seabreeze failed to stump up his fee, he gave a two hour show promoting his new album Rock Dust Light Star.
Known for hit singles such as Virtual Insanity and Space Cowboy the group dazzled fans with their unique sound which mixes funk, acid jazz and rock.
The previous day the band played in Barcelona despite rumours that Jay Kay was suffering from a hernia.


They call themselves "the indignant". Armed with sleeping bags and week old clothes stuffed into rucksacks, around 500 people stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Madrid's central square.

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As darkness falls, and the last few tourists flock to their hotels, the nightly vigil begins.
Some hoist placards. Others gather outside the gates of the Ministry of the Interior, chanting in unison: "It's not the crisis, it's the system" and "End the cuts". Many of them have been here since May 15, when they joined the nationwide protests against government austerity measures and Spain's chronic unemployment.
But this is not just Spain's disaffected youth. Among the crowds are parents, pensioners, teachers and civil servants, all angry and frustrated as their nation – once a European heavyweight – teeters on the brink of a crisis. As the rest of Europe suffers amid soaring sovereign debt, the protesters reiterate their demands for jobs, secure housing and increased hospital funding.
This is no longer a peaceful protest. Last week, riots broke out in Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles, leaving at least 20 young people and seven policemen injured. Police estimate that up to 100,000 people have taken part in protests so far, with countless strikes, clashes and arrests across Spain. There is increasing speculation that the protests may turn violent on Tuesday as participants react badly to the cost of the proposed €60m (£37m) visit by the Pope.
Despite efforts by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain's Prime Minister, to quell the movement, the ranks of the "indignant" are growing. Early elections have been called and opposition parties are strengthening as the turbulent economy continues to fuel popular unrest. But what does this domestic turmoil mean for Spain in its European context? The markets remain volatile as Zapatero's government struggles to restore investor confidence and stave off financial crisis. Is this once-stable nation becoming the weakest link in the eurozone?

"Spain is the reality everyone is ignoring," warned Nouriel Roubini, the bearish US economics professor, addressing a recent conference in Madrid. Looking at Spain's faltering domestic economy, traders might be advised to heed his words.
With government debt at 64.5pc of gross domestic product (GDP), the nation has only shown halting and at times regressive recovery after the economic crisis burst the
property bubble that had
previously propped up the Spanish boom. The latest figures from the Bank of Spain place second-half growth at a cautious 0.8pc – dampened by a sluggish first half and the threat of tensions over its neighbours' sovereign debts.
In a bid to reduce the deficit and fortify banks' balance sheets, PSOE, Zapatero's ruling party, introduced a raft of austerity measures in 2010. The programme includes spending cuts, raising the retirement age, liberalising the labour market and selling off state assets. But the result is far from the increased fiscal liquidity the embattled leader was hoping for. Figures from Spain's National Statistics Institute show that industrial production fell 2.7pc in June, while the number of bankruptcies increased 16.5pc in the second quarter against the same period last year.
Unemployment remains the thorn in Zapatero's side, however, with more than a fifth (20.9pc) of the working-age population out of work, according to government data.
Carina O'Reilly, senior European analyst at IHS Jane's, says the unemployment problem has been "building for a while", soaring to around 43pc among the under-30s. "When the crisis hit Spain, unemployment rates were – even then – very high, and it's been rising steadily since 2007," she adds. Much to the despair of the "indignants", this puts career opportunities in Spain below the rest of Europe, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia.
The spillover from Spain's domestic woes has already been felt in Europe. The benchmark Ibex 35 index fell to its lowest level – 7966 – on August 4 from a high of 11113 earlier in the year.
Moody's downgraded Spain's credit rating to Aa2 back in March, warning that the economy was "subdued", and late on Thursday night short-selling in Spanish banking stocks was banned by the European Securities and Markets Authority. Earlier that day, Standard & Poor's cut the credit rating of Telefonica, the Iberian telecommunications giant and a major economic driver, from A- to BBB+ after its net profit slumped 27pc.
In the Spanish bond market, 10-year government bond yields reached 14-year highs of 6.29pc in July, soaring dangerously close to the 7pc level that saw Greece and Portugal bailed out in the last 18 months. Even the reactivation of the European Central Bank's bond-buying programme has left shaken investors hesitating to venture into the rollercoaster Spanish market. Last week, bond yields dropped back below 5pc, but analysts are warning traders to remain cautious.
Louise Taggart, European analyst at AKE consultancy in London, says the ECB's
intervention gave Zapatero's government "breathing space", but is unlikely to signal the end of economic volatility in Spain. "At the minute, unemployment is the major issue, and if the protesters involved in the 'indignant' movement aren't seeing any improvement in the situation, then there's no reason for them to get off the streets," she adds. "But I'd be surprised if the civil unrest impacted on the markets unless it got worse."
Jan Randolph, director of sovereign risk at IHS Global Insight, sees little difference between Spain and Greece and Portugal where civil unrest in response to austerity measures saw both countries seek European Union bail-out funds. "The battle for the euro will be won or lost on the southern flank for sure," he warns. "My bottom line is that Italy and Spain are solvent but if markets push new borrowing costs at the margin up to 6-7pc, and this permeates the rest of their debt mountains over time, then this could make them insolvent."
Mr Randolph was one of the first to blacklist Spain as the "big weak link" in the eurozone, and says the "indignant" movement has already proven a "major political constraint on more aggressive structural reform in Spain". He adds: "Whether social cohesion holds together under such pressures is still an open question."
The economic outlook on the Iberian Peninsula is not all doom and gloom, however. A handful of companies in the Ibex 35 continue to post positive reports, buoyed by dominant positions in niche markets. Amadeus, the airline bookings company, grew first-half profits by more than 12pc to €263.7m, while Madrid-based insurer Mapfre climbed 13.5pc to €322m in the first quarter. A report published by Deutsche Bank in July revealed latent optimism towards Spain's stock market, with hotel chains – particularly Melia International – profiting from a booming tourist trade.
Back in Madrid's main square, Spain's "indignants" will not be moved. Angered by job losses, hospital closures and 150,000 annual housing repossessions, they have planned a raft of protests this month, culminating in the nationwide "Real Democracy Now" strike on October 15. With one eye on the elections, brought forward to November after mounting pressure on Zapatero to resign, opposition leader Mariano Rajoy is wooing potential participants with promises of tax cuts and sturdy growth.
But the protesters may take more convincing. "We won't leave until they promise us jobs," says Silvia Inez, a former secretary who has been unemployed since last year. Isabel Gimenez, a university professor in Madrid, adds: "The 'indignant' movement has been highly positive ... it has served to revitalise Spanish society."
With widespread support, robust motives and no jobs to
go home to, the "indignant" movement shows no signs of abating. And as Spanish markets and bond yields rollercoaster, investors' confidence in domestic recovery continues to plunge. Within a debt-ridden eurozone, Spain is clearly not the only cause for concern. But while everyone looks the other way, it could well be the next domino to fall.




Spain’s troubled banks turn off credit tap

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Amid the turmoil of the latest phase of the eurozone financial crisis many Spanish banks have found a way to survive the drought of wholesale funding on which they relied in the past to finance their lending.
But their solution – turning off credit taps even to solvent borrowers – smacks of desperation and has angered employers and threatens to tip the economy back into recession.

“It is impossible for the banks to access the markets, as has been the case over the past couple of months,” said one senior commercial banker. “So the only way to generate liquidity is by reducing the commercial gap – that is, the difference between loans and deposits. This means a credit crunch.”
The evidence is stark across the Spanish financial system.
According to Analistas Financieros Internacionales (Afi), a research group, Spanish lenders need to refinance €97.5bn ($138.5bn) of maturing loans over 2011. Of that, €31.05bn was raised in the first five months of the year, although no debt has been raised since a poorly received €1bn covered bond from Santander , the country’s biggest bank, two months ago.
Of the remaining €66.45bn, banks had covered €30.27bn by the end of May simply by cutting loans faster than they lost deposits to generate a so-called positive gap. “All the generation of the ‘positive gap’ is being achieved through the reduction of credit,” said Alfonso García, Afi managing director.
Santander, which generates much of its profit overseas in Latin America and the UK, cut its loan-to-deposit ratio from 150 per cent at the end of 2008 to 116 per cent on June 30 this year as part of what one banker describes as a “brutal” deleveraging. At Santander’s Spanish businesses, the ratio fell from 183 per cent to 122 per cent over the same period. For Santander’s branch network, customer loans fell 6.8 per cent in the year to June.
With some of the smaller unlisted savings banks, or cajas, fearing they could run out of cash within months, those with liquidity to spare are eager to talk about it.
Banca Cívica, a medium-sized bank formed of four cajas that floated last month, boasts of a €8.91bn cushion of liquid assets that it says will cover not only its €2.11bn of debt maturing in 2011, but the repayments due in the following four years as well.
The credit squeeze by the banks explains in part why Spanish banks did not, in the first half of the year at least, increase their recourse to liquidity provided by the European Central Bank. They kept their demand below €50bn in June.
Another reason was greater reliance on repurchase transactions through clearing houses such as LCH.Clearnet, where banks can increase short-term liquidity using government bonds as collateral.
The danger with this option is that if sovereign bond prices fall again LCH.Clearnet could increase margin requirements, thereby restricting access to banks in search of liquidity and triggering the need for a bail-out as happened in the cases of Ireland and Portugal.
In the longer term, Spanish banks that cut credit lines to corporate borrowers risk throttling the Spanish economy and hurting their own business, even if bank executives feel they have little choice but to try to attract more deposits and reduce lending to plug their funding gaps.
“We believe we can definitely make it through 2012 by deleveraging and by making efforts to capture deposits,” said one executive at a large Spanish bank. “It’s the only thing we can do.”
Spain’s employers’ group, the Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE), complained this month that Spain was the only large economy in the eurozone where business lending continued to contract.
Bank loans to business were down 2.4 per cent in June compared with a year earlier, whereas in the eurozone as a whole there was a 1.5 per cent increase, the group’s research showed.
The CEOE complained that the private sector faced “expulsion” from access to bank credit, while the public sector took too large a share of new lending.



21 year old British tourist drowned on Tuesday in the swimming pool of the Hotel Puchet in Sant Antoni de Portmany on Ibiza.

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Emergency services report that it happened at 1630, and when they arrived at the scene the man, who was not staying at the hotel, had been removed from the water by hotel workers and had suffered a heart attack.

Attempts by the health workers to revive him proved unsuccessful, and they could no more than certify his death at the scene.


British Consul discusses security issues with Alicante Airport

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 the British Consul in Alicante, Paul Rodwell, met with the Director of the Alicante Airport and police representatives to discuss security issues. The aim of the meeting was to gather information about the functioning of the new terminal and raise the British Consulate’s concerns over the number of passports that have been stolen since it opened.

The British Consul said:
“We enjoy a very good working relationship with the airport authority and with the police and they are always receptive to our requests and comments. The new terminal has improved significantly the airport’s capacity and service quality but we must continue to work with the authorities to cover all issues affecting the security of British passengers”

3.9 million British nationals travelled through the Alicante airport last year making, 40% of the total number of passengers.



British holidaymakers once again face summer travel chaos as airport strikes threaten to cripple the nation's favourite holiday destination.

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More than 60,000 ground staff at Spanish airports are threatening walkouts on August 18 and August 26, bringing airports in Malaga, Alicante and the Canary Islands to a standstill.

The action, which will hit an already-troubled Spain during its peak tourist season, could cause holiday misery for hundreds of thousands of Britons returning from their annual sunshine break.

Grounded: Iberia planes are seen at Barajas airport in Madrid. Spanish airport staff have voted in favour of a strike this month

The strikes come at a particularly perilous time for the Iberian Peninsula,  which is battling huge economic problems and whose tourism industry is only just beginning to recover after three very difficult years.

Strike threats by Spanish airport workers have become a routine annual peril, making British families increasingly wary about booking holidays to the country.

The number of Britons visiting Spain has been falling steadily since 2006. The figure was down by 2.2million last year alone to around 11.5m.

The CCOO, UGT and USO unions said the action will affect all of Spain’s international  airports – especially those in  popular holiday destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and the Canary Islands.


The workers are protesting after a private company which runs baggage handling at Barcelona’s El Prat airport made four workers redundant.

Three were rehired by the same company, WFS, but the unions called the drastic action in support of the fourth worker, who remains out of a job.

An industry source said yesterday: ‘The unions are threatening to ruin the holidays of hundreds of thousands of people travelling to and from Spain on those days, all because one person has been made redundant. It’s incomprehensible and totally out of all proportion as a response.’

The first day of the strike is timed to coincide with the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid to take part in World Youth Day celebrations. Workers on the Spanish capital’s underground have also called a strike that day in separate industrial action.

Costa: Aerial view of the resort town of Benidorm. August is the busiest month for the Spanish tourism industry

A spokesman for the CCOO union said: ‘The airport strike will affect every single Spanish airport, and will involve around 60,000 workers.

‘The strikes have been called because handling companies are repeatedly ignoring agreements they made with unions, and in particular because of the laying off of four workers by WFS at Barcelona airport.

‘When WFS took over the handling contract at the airport they guaranteed there would be no redundancies, then shortly afterwards they made four people redundant.

‘That is unacceptable. For us it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’ve been trying to sit down with the company since July 4 but without success. Industrial action is our only option.’

Union bosses will meet today to discuss providing ‘minimum services’ at airports. A spokesman for the Spanish airports authority said: ‘We don’t know what the consequences would be. We are hoping the unions will call off the strikes.’

August is Spain’s busiest month for air travel, with millions of passengers travelling through its airports.

A spokesman for flight comparison website Skyscanner said: ‘While Spain regularly features in our top-ten most searched countries, consumers are wary about planning trips where there is a risk of flight disruption.’


Intricacies of the expat will

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Younger sons joined the army or the church and daughters were married off. The wife of the "tenant for life" (Jane Austen’s Mrs Bennet being a typical example) lived with the constant fear of being thrown out of the house should her husband die – an effective incentive to produce a male heir or to encourage a daughter to engage the affections of the distant cousin who would be measuring up for carpets ready to move in.
This somewhat ruthless approach resulted in the preservation of many of the largest English landed estates, whereas in most of Europe the Napoleonic code meant that property had to be divided between children, and the Anglo-Saxon trust was treated as an undesirable product of an effete and feudal society.
Both systems have developed over the years but the two are still very different, and for expats with assets spread around the world to plan properly, not only do they have to understand the systems in each country where they have assets, they also need to be aware of the rules that govern the interaction (or lack of interaction) between those jurisdictions (known, with some justification, as the conflict of laws).
The objective of succession planning has remained much the same, namely, to ensure that your hard-earned wealth is passed down the generations as efficiently as possible and is not squandered along the way by feckless or bankrupt beneficiaries, divorce, gold-digging ‘last-minute’ spouses, ungrateful children, rash investment or punitive taxes. In more volatile jurisdictions, succession planning may also reflect the need for discretion with the aim of keeping a sufficiently low financial profile to reduce the risk of governmental appropriation or kidnap.
The basic tool of succession planning is of course the will. Everyone should have one.

In the context of an international estate though, there are pitfalls. Will it be recognised as valid in each of the countries where there are assets? Will the dispositions be overruled by local law? Who will be responsible for dealing with it all when the time comes? Will the particular form used create complications in any of the relevant countries and is it better to have one will covering everything or separate wills in each jurisdiction where there are assets?
The first point is to ensure that the will is 'formally valid' and is recognised as a will in each country where there are assets. Most common law countries (such as the UK) provide that the will has to be signed by the testator and witnessed by two independent witnesses.
Civil law countries (most of Europe), on the other hand, require either a handwritten will or a will that has been drawn up by a notary.
Fortunately, there is a Hague Convention under which most countries agree to recognise wills drawn up in accordance with the law of the testator's nationality, residence, or domicile, or the law of the country where the will is signed.
A will may be perfectly valid as a document though, but still include provisions that the local law will not give effect to. Many European (and Islamic) countries have rules as to the slice of the estate that can be left (or given during lifetime) to anyone other than close relatives. If these limits are exceeded then there are rules by which the relatives (usually children) can claim their due proportion of the estate. In some countries (such as Spain) a will is automatically void to the extent that it disregards the local 'forced heirship' rules. In other countries (such as Italy) the children (or other heirs) actually have to make a claim.
This is further complicated by the issue of whether it is the domestic law of the country where the assets are held that applies or the law of the testator's residence, domicile or nationality.
Finally, irrespective of the strict legal position, there is the practical issue of who is going to manage the estate and whether in terms of expense and administrative convenience it is more practical to have multiple wills or one worldwide will.
Theoretically, it is better to have one will so that it is clear who is responsible for dealing with the estate (the choice of executor is crucial), who is responsible for paying what tax where and from where any liabilities, administration expenses or tax should be paid.
This is fine if the will is very straightforward. The catch is that in many places the authorities and the local lawyer who will be dealing with the practicalities will find it easier, quicker and cheaper to deal with a will in local form, in their own language, and with provisions that they understand and are used to dealing with.
Certainly a rural French notaire will be happier dealing with a simple holograph French form will limited to dealing with property there rather than a 20 page English will setting up complex trusts.
If you do have more than one will covering different countries, you must ensure that they tie in with one another. It is very easy inadvertently to revoke an earlier will by a later local will that is intended to cover assets in just that one jurisdiction.
At the more advanced level, of course, there is a positive cornucopia of tools available for succession planning. Trusts may have fallen out of favour in the UK in recent years due to more stringent Inheritance Tax rules but they can still provide flexibility and protection against external events; there may also be significant tax advantages for trusts where the settlor is not domiciled in the UK. Family limited partnerships are the latest fashion and there is much to be said for the humble joint account. From the more European end of the spectrum there are all sorts of other structures, Anstalts, Stiftungs and the like, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Get local advice, but whilst this is undoubtedly important, it is equally important to ensure that someone has a bird’s eye view so that the advice is coordinated and the pieces of the jigsaw fit together.



Briton falls from roof top bar in Lanzarote

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Yet another Briton is injured after falling from a height, but this time after a six metre fall from the roof of a commercial centre at Playa Blanca, Yaiza on Lanzarote, for reasons which have not yet been established.

However it happened at 0429am on Wednesday, according to a statement from the local Town Hall, when the man was in the roof-top bar called ‘Roof Tops’ on top of the Punta Limones Commercial Centre.

Reports indicate that the 42 year old has suffered severe head injuries. He was stabilised at the scene by health professionals as soon as they arrived, having found the man on the ground in a pool of blood. He was quickly taken to the Doctor José Molina Orosa Hospital in Arrecife.

Both the Local Police and the Guardia Civil have opened investigations.



Spanish consumers organisation takes court action against five airlines

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OCU wants 40 clauses it sees as abusive removed from the general conditions for Ryanair, Iberia, Spanair, Aireuropa and VuelingEFE archive

The OCU Spanish Consumers and Users Organisation has challenged five airlines in the courts for what the OCU considers as ‘abusive’ clauses in their general conditions. The companies concerned are Ryanair, Iberia, Spanair, Aireuropa and Vueling, who between them have 40 clauses the OCU sees as detrimental to passengers.

They include cancelling a passenger’s return ticket if the ticket for the outward journey has not been used, setting a maximum number of children who will be allowed on a flight and charging passengers for their hold luggage.

Another is that some companies reserve the right to decide which identity documents the passenger must present and the OCU has asked the judge, in the case of Ryanair, to stop the airline’s practice of demanding DNI identity cards for children who are travelling with their parents.

The OCU said in a press release that any passenger who has been affected by any of these clauses and wants to take action must currently take the case to the courts on an individual basis. They hope the court will rule in favour of their case and order the clauses removed from the airlines’ general conditions.



Plague of White Scorpions in Antequera

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plague of White Scorpions is worrying the locals in the La Quinta area of Antequera, with some residents even being bitten in their homes.

The White Scorpion is not poisonous in adults, but it can have serious consequences and even be fatal in children aged under four.

The local residents have demanded a solution from the Environment Department of the local Town Hall. They claim that over recent months the barrio has not been maintained as before and is now ‘abandoned’.

The councillor for the Environment, Juan Álvarez, said that following the letter from the residents he had put the matter in the hands of the cleaning company, Aguas del Torcal.



150 tons of jellyfish removed from the Mar Menor

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fleet of 12 boats have working to clear the Mar Menor of jellyfish, collecting a total of 150 tons between last Friday and Wednesday this week. Numbers offshore have been substantially up this year, partly due to the easterly winds and also because of the recent theft of some of the nets which were put in place to keep the jellyfish off the beaches.

Most of those caught are Cotylorhiza Tuberculata, a species which is known as the fried egg jellyfish and does not inflict a painful sting.

In neighbouring Almería province, lifeguards on the beaches of the provincial capital have treated more than 700 people for jellyfish stings since June 1. It’s an increase of around 50 percent on the summer or 2010, and according to a spokesman from the lifeguard service quoted by Ideal newspaper, is mainly due to fewer numbers of the jellyfish’s natural predator, the Loggerhead Turtle.

Óscar Paris from ‘Cooperación 2005’ advises bathers who are stung, if there is no lifeguard station nearby, to wash the affected area in salt water and vinegar and carefully remove any remains of tentacles from the skin.



Spain's debt risk premium surged anew and stocks plummeted Thursday as the European Central Bank appeared unable to halt a widening eurozone debt crisis.

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Just as Madrid congratulated itself for raising 3.3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) in a bond auction, albeit at higher rates, European authorities seemed to whip up market fears again.
In Frankfurt, ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet announced a new window of six-month financing for hard-pressed banks.
He also signalled that the central bank for the 17 nations that use the euro would buy wilting eurozone sovereign bonds, responding to widespread calls for tough action to halt the turmoil.
But analysts said there were signs the bank was buying only Portuguese and Irish debt, and they noted Trichet failed to state clearly that it would purchase Spanish and Italian bonds.
"The market was very volatile when Trichet was speaking," said Nuria Garcia, analyst with Spanish broker Ahorro Corporacion.
"He gave a very ambiguous message in my opinion, what he said was that the situation is very delicate," Garcia said.
"What was not clear was whether it is going to buy bonds of the countries that are in the firing line like Spain and Italy," she added. "It was not clear at all."
Miguel Angel Rodriguez, associate analyst at Spanish online brokerage XTB, said the central bank appeared to have started its intervention by purchasing Portuguese and Irish government bonds.
Trichet had failed to give the impression that the eurozone was united in confronting the crisis, he said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso seemed to stir up the market concern by sending an open letter to eurozone leaders saying debt contagion had spread.
"It is clear that we are no longer managing a crisis just in the euro-area periphery," he wrote.
A July 21 deal on a second bailout for Greece has failed to prevent sharply higher debt-risk premiums for Italy and Spain, the eurozone's third and fourth-largest economies.
The agreement included a new, 160-billion-euro ($226 billion) package of financial aid for Greece. But almost one-third was funded by private sector investors, sparking a selloff of other doubtful sovereigns.
The combined effect of the statements from Frankfurt and Brussels rocked the markets.
The risk premium investors demand to buy Spanish 10-year bonds over safe-bet German debt struck a euro-era record of 407 basis points Wednesday. It eased to 364 points early Thursday but shot back to 399 after Trichet spoke.
The Ibex-35 index of most-traded Spanish shares closed down 3.89 percent at 8,686.50 points, the first time it has fallen below the psychological barrier of 9,000 points since June 2010.
Banking stocks were especially hard-hit with Santander down 4.43 percent at 6.389 euros and BBVA down 4.12 percent at 6.469 euros.
Spain's Treasury later announced it would not hold a bond auction previously scheduled for August 18.
But a finance ministry official said it would be wrong to describe the decision as a cancellation because no sale had been organised, explaining that in previous years, too, Spain had not held a bond auction in August.
The eurozone debt crisis has already claimed Greece, Ireland and Portugal, forcing them to seek bailouts from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
There are growing fears that Italy and Spain, the eurozone's third- and fourth-biggest economies, could be next in line, developments that would dwarf previous bailouts and could undermine the euro itself.
Madrid argues it has pursued tough reforms including raising the retirement age, relaxing collective bargaining rules, making it easier to hire and fire employees, cutting civil servant wages, forcing banks to bolster their balance sheets and placing assets such as the national lottery on the block for sale.


whole case is a mess of illegal contracts, bad investment and a loss of client’s money in spite of Danske Banks huge profits

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expat is taking Denmark’s biggest bank to court after it convinced him to use his two million euro Malaga home as collateral against an equity release scheme that now threatens to leave him penniless.
Euan Armstrong, 73, who lives in Marbella, was initially lured in by the false hope he could reduce inheritance tax for his two daughters – who would eventually be liable to pay Spain’s top rate of 34 per cent – and enjoy a salary for life.
But Armstrong, originally from Scotland, now faces losing his home.
“The whole case is a mess of illegal contracts, bad investment and a loss of client’s money in spite of Danske Banks huge profits,” said Armstrong.
“We must stop these banks stealing our money.”
Armstrong claims he was convinced by three separate Danske Bank employees in the Mijas branch that taking out a one million euro mortgage loan against his home would reduce his daughters’ inheritance tax liability by half.
Within the plan Danske Bank was supposed to use 850,000 euros to invest in bonds, Swiss Francs and Euros with the ‘profits’ being used to pay off the mortgage, while a 150,000 euro lump sum would be given to Armstrong as equity release.
But Armstrong added: “After the first year I realised that they had lost me 18,000 euros. For the next five years Danske Bank continued to lose money and in 2009 I was told by an account manager for Danske Bank in Luxembourg that I should sell my property and pay the bank back the 650,000 euros they had lost.
“I refused, so in November 2010 Danske Bank issued a foreclosure on my house and also a repossession order through the local court due to take place last month.”
Fortunately for Armstrong, his lawyer Antonio Flores from the Marbella based firm Lawbird – who is also filing eight separate complaints against various Nordic banks on behalf of expats who bought into similar plans – stepped in and obtained a court ruling suspending the repossession.
According to Flores it is actually illegal to indebt yourself in order to reduce your inheritance tax liability, but there are likely hundreds of people who have fallen victim to this scheme.
“This type of product, peddled by unauthorised agents under the auspices of supposedly reputable banks to mostly British pensioners, is becoming more and more common and should be avoided at all costs,” he explained.
And Armstrong added: “The Judge in Coin Court has accepted that the charges of criminal intent are correct, in spite of their lawyers saying it was not correct as someone else had tried a similar case and lost and had to pay 500.000 euros to Danske Bank, who had lost their money in the same way.”

Armstrong has now been forced to rent out his home and move in with his daughter and resume his former job as a yacht captain in order to raise legal fees.
A spokesman for Danske Bank said: “According to the law we cannot comment on individual customer cases nor questions related to individual customer cases. We have no comment.”
The investigation continues.