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May 29th 2008

Fuertemusica, the popular outdoor concert that has been held in El Cotillo for the last four years, has been cancelled. In spite of many acts having been booked to play for months, the Cabildo have decided to withdraw their portion of the funding, making it impossible for the event to be held. The Cabildo claim that the event is too expensive to run, but much of the funding comes from the municipality of La Oliva and from private sponsors. Plans for a more modest event to be held in its place are being considered, and there are rumours that this will be called Fuerte es Musica and that it will be held on the 4th and 5th July in El Cotillo.

Ryanair have announced a new route from Bremen in Germany to Fuerteventura. The route will start on the 30th October and will run twice a week. This is the seventh route that Ryanair operate to the island. The initial promotional offers mean that tickets will be available for just 17.99e.

A woman who stabbed her husband twice in a domestic argument has been jailed for 9 months. The incident happened in Corralejo in June 2005. During the fight, the woman was struck repeatedly by her partner and even hit on the head with a frying pan. The husband was hospitalised with his wounds but has since recovered. The woman has also been told that she cannot go within 300 metres of her husband for a period of three years when she is released. The public prosecutor wanted a sentence of three years but the court felt that the husband's violence warranted some leniency.

Car Hire firms that do not have booths at Canarian airports will not be allowed to deliver their vehicles or pick their clients up from the terminal building without having previously received authorisation.  Instead specially designated areas will be provided for pick ups. However the area at Tenerife airport is apparently nearly a kilometre away. There have been strong protestations about this rule as it forces passengers to use the often more expensive services of those who do have offices in the terminals and decreases competition.

Plans are being made to develop an irrigation system in Pajara. The pipeline will run between Cortijo de Tetuy and Ajuy and will utilise existing underground wells. The system will feed local agriculture and contribute to the drinking water provision.

The directorate of coastal areas has decided to ban camping on public areas for the whole of the summer. Wooden posts are being installed all along the north coast of Fuerteventura between El Cotillo and Corralejo to prevent caravans parking there. The mayoress of La Oliva, Claudina Morales, has criticised this decision, as each year over 3,000 people, mainly from Gran Canaria, come her specifically for this purpose. For many families this is their traditional holiday. In previous years the number of people camping was limited by permits where a deposit was only returned after the site had been checked to ensure it was left in good condition. This year, camping will only be permitted for a maximum of three days in the two public camping grounds on Lobos (80 places) and Jandia (300 places). In addition to this the directorate will be closing off the road between the lighthouse in El Cotillo and Majanicho as this crosses public land.

The new jetty in Puerto del Rosario, which is being built so that both cruise and cargo ships can moor at the same time, has been delayed from being completed. The Port Authority do not feel that the specifications have been met and so have refused to issue completion certificates to the construction company. The jetty was due to be opened seven months ago and at present a completion date cannot be set until the disagreements are settled.

The Chamber of Commerce in Fuerteventura has criticised the lack of infrastructure in the Port. This particularly affects cargo landing at Gran Tarajal and Morro Jable, as because there is a lack of customs facilities, they have to take all their goods to a depot 25km away for inspection. This can lead to delays of up to five days to get their stock. They feel that any goods that have previously been inspected in Madrid should not have to go through this process.

The Canary Islands Government has launched the Spatial Data Infrastructure de Canarias (SDI), a computer system where you can detect all territorial changes that occur in the archipelago and use data updates to discover what illegal constructions have been created. This system which can be accessed through the website 'www.gobiernodecanarias.org' and 'www.idecan.grafcan.es', works similarly to' Google Earth ', and allows the Environment Protection Agency to compare digital maps of the region every two years. In addition, citizens can use the site to fond out all the details of a particular plot, the level of soil contamination, topographic maps, map of occupation, vegetation, protected natural areas, sites of community importance and protected areas for birds. In addition, this system allows you to find geographical or topographical features, make calculations of routes with the road map and access land registration data.

Weird News

After officials in Batu, a tourist town in East Java in Indonesia, asked its massage parlors to make clear to customers that they are not houses of prostitution, one parlor owner created uniform pants for his women with a padlockable zipper, and "locks in" each masseuse in front of the client at the beginning of a session. Other parlor owners have followed along. A local women's group representative complained that it is the customers, not the women, who need restraining. [Los Angeles Times, 4-26-08]

In April the Swiss watchmaker Romain Jerome (which last year created a watch made from remnants of the Titanic) introduced the "Day&Night" watch, which unfortunately does not provide a reading of the hour or the minute. Though it retails for about $300,000, it tells only whether it is "day" or "night" (using a complex measurement of the Earth's gravity). CEO Yvan Arpa said studies show that two-thirds of rich people "don't (use) their watch to tell what time it is" anyway. Anyone can buy a watch that tells time, he told a Reuters reporter, but only a "truly discerning customer" can buy one that doesn't. [Wall Street Journal, 4-25-08]

In April, according to police in Fort Pierce, Fla., Amity Joy Doss, 24, grabbed a young McDonald's employee by her shirt to emphasize her dissatisfaction with service and demanded to the manager that she be fired. A call was made to police, and Doss wandered outside, climbed a tree, hung upside down by bended knee for a while, then descended and lay down on the hood of her car before re-entering the restaurant and asking if the girl had been fired yet. She was arrested on several charges. [Fort Pierce Tribune, 4-8-08]

May 22nd 2008

A teenager was abandoned on Lobos island for more than 27 hours this week. The youngster was part of a Danish group of wayward adolescents over here on an adventure holiday to help to modify their behaviour. Apparently when the group went over to the island the teenager killed a guinea fowl and as punishment was left alone on the island on Tuesday afternoon. He was found by two local residents who called the police. The Danish run company who lead the groups were arrested when they returned to pick up the boy the next day.

A 10-year-old Irish girl saved her younger brother from drowning in a swimming pool while on holiday in Fuerteventura. The family with their four children came to the Canary Islands on April 29 for what they hoped would be a dream family holiday. However, that dream soon turned into a nightmare when ten year old Amy found her younger brother Lee lying at the bottom of a swimming pool just an hour into the holiday. “We had only just arrived at the villa we had booked for our holiday when the incident took place,” the mother, June stated. “All the kids had already been in for a quick swim in the pool and my husband had decided to go to the shops with our eldest daughter, Kerrie, to get some food. “I had literally only turned my back on Lee when he was out the door of the villa and he obviously went back into the pool.” June said Lee, who had no clothes on, must have also forgotten that he did not have his armbands on when he got into the pool. Within minutes, the terror-stricken mum heard a scream from Amy.
“Amy had gone back outside and found Lee lying at the bottom of the pool.
“She immediately dived into the pool with all her clothes on and somehow found the strength to lift Lee up and take him out of the water.”
June said that when she arrived on the scene, Lee was looking blue and lifeless.
“I did what little I knew of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but I wasn’t sure if Lee would come round.” Lee made an effort to take a breath and began to vomit. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital in the back of a car. “The hospital managed to get Lee stabilised but he was transferred to the main hospital on the island, which was a 40-minute drive away and he was kept in for two days, as he had some fluid on his lungs,” June explained. The young lad made a full recovery.

The new health centre in Puerto del Rosario will not open on schedule.  Although the main work will finish in the middle of June, there are still some outstanding issues to be dealt with, such as the construction of underground parking, furnishing the new unit and an out patients centre. The building will have 20 consulting rooms for General Medicine, 6 for Paediatrics and 2 for Dentisrty. In addition it will have an emergency room.

Politicians in Gran Tarajal are campaigning to get cruise ships to arrive at their town. Currently the cruises only stop at Puerto del Rosario. Locals feel that Gran Tarajal has a lot to offer passengers and that as their new wharf can support large ships, they should be encouraged to show more of the island.

YouTravel.com have revealed that there is a change in the way that people are buying holidays. They have found that there is a move away from the traditional package holiday, where the flight and hotel are bought together, to dynamic packaging, where consumers build their own package of accommodation and travel. Whilst Sharm-el-Sheik has remained their top holiday destination over the last two years, they are seeing increases in sales to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Sales to Fuerteventura have increased by over 220% from the year before.

Binter Canarias has temporarily grounded an ATR 72 turboprop after an incident in Fuerteventura in which a firearm was accidentally discharged in the cockpit, holing the aircraft's fuselage.
While no official Binter spokesman could be reached for comment, a source at the Spanish regional airline confirms the incident occurred during the boarding process of flight NT221 from Fuerteventura to Gran Canaria two days ago.
A customs official flying on duty, following the established security procedures, handed over his firearm to the captain during the normal passenger boarding process.
For reasons which are “still under investigation”, the arm was apparently discharged by the captain while he was storing the gun, which was loaded and unsecured.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the bullet, after perforating the ATR cockpit, ricocheted from a nearby empty TUIfly Boeing 737-800, although there was no damage to this aircraft and no injury to anyone on the ground.
After the incident, the ATR service was cancelled and its 41 passengers were rebooked to other flights. Binter expects to repair and return the aircraft to normal service "very soon". (www.flightglobal.com)

The Canary Islands government is being pressed to pass a plan for the future of energy provision on Fuerteventura. The plan outlines the urgent situation facing the provision of electricity in the island. Apparently the situation is so serious that the infrastructure is having problems continuing to provide services. The plan includes a number of different strategies, including the building of a new power station in the south of the island and the development of renewable energy sources.

And on this subject, a petition of more than 1,600 signatures has been handed into the Cabildo insisting that the the current energy plan be amended to allow for the development of rural solar and wind farms. In spite of the fact that the island is rich in natural sources of energy this is currently not being exploited.

Residents of Puerto del Rosario are concerned that the plans to improve the waterfront on the town will never come to fruition. Tenders were requested to improve the area for customers from the cruise ships and local residents in a process that was the first of its kind on the island, an open, democratic competition.  The winner of the contest held in 2006 proposed a number of islands connected by small bridges. They also proposed a raised platform adjacent to the current maritime avenue, underneath which would be some 15,000 square metres of commercial land, parking and sports and leisure facilities linked to the sea.  Around the port would also be a hotel of 15 floors and an aquarium and marina for 500 boats. However, after two years, very little evidence of the construction is evident and pressure is being put on the developers to move the works forward at a faster rate.

Weird News

Navigation System On, Brain Off: Brad Adams, 52, crashed his charter bus (carrying two dozen high school softball players, who had to be sent to a hospital) into a pedestrian bridge in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum in April (bus: 11 feet, 8 inches high; bridge, 9 feet, 0 inches). Adams said he missed warning signs because he was busy following the navigation system. [Seattle Times, 4-17-08]

Five days after that, in King's Lynn, England, a Streamline taxi minibus had to be pulled from the River Nar after the driver, who said he was obediently following the navigation system instructions, drove straight into the water. [Lynn News, 4-23-08]

Should've chosen another career: Joshua Crowley, 22, was charged with robbing a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Camas, Wash., in March after being chased down, wrestled with, and subdued by passerby Mary Chamberlain, 66. [KPTV (Portland, Ore.), 3-20-08]

In April in Bartlesville, Okla., Robert Horsley, 46, allegedly tried to come through a window in the house of a 95-year-old woman, but she grabbed a screwdriver and continued to stab his hand every time he reached inside. By the time police arrived, said officer Tom Holland, "(Horsley's hand) was pretty chewed up and one knuckle was almost gone." [KOKI-TV (Tulsa), 4-23-08]

Inadequate Game Plans: In April, in response to a man wielding an ax and demanding the contents of his cash register, the owner of Sam's Cigars in Vista, Calif., grabbed his wife and dashed out the front door, locking the man inside, where he made pleading gestures through the window until police arrived. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 4-16-08]

The next week in a suburb of Tampa, Fla., cafe owner Agustin De Jesus was asleep for the night in a back room but awakened by a break-in. He noticed that the thief had parked his SUV by the back door with the engine running for a quick getaway, so De Jesus hopped in, drove away and called police, who arrested Leonard Levy, 55, who is a candidate for life in prison based on his long record. [St. Petersburg Times, 4-22-08]


 

 

 

May 15th 2008

The authorities are continuing their clean up of coastal villages. this time they are focussing on Ajuy. People who live in houses that have been built on public land are receiving notices informing them that their homes are illegal. This does not necessarily mean they will be demolished. If the homeowners have been paying rates then usually they will be given  a 30 year concession to live in their homes. People who have received notices have 3 months to respond to them to prove that they are legal dwellings.

Naviera Armas have announced that they will cancel the ferry line between Fuerteventura and Morocco after the recent shipwreck. However, Confuer, the business association are determined to ensure that this does not happen or at least that authorities look for a suitable alternative, this time using a modern vessel, unlike the As Salama which was almost 50 years old. Confuer insists that the line is essential to increase the competitiveness and diversity of the economy on the island. The PSOE are also calling for the reinstatement of a route to Morocco but have suggested that this go to the port of Laayoune, which is much safer. This port not only has the facilities to handle large boats but also houses the Moroccan navy for added security.

A public consultation is to be held on the subject of the development of a power station in the Agando Valley in Tuineje. There will also be a number of information days to help local residents to understand the impact of the project. local protesters believe that the plant will have a negative environmental impact on the local environment and they are concerned about the possibility of fuel spillages from boats landing at Gran Tarajal, the nearest port. The proposal for the plant was previously rejected by the council in 2004, but the plans have continued. 

Last weeks crafts fair in Antigua was well attended and included work from over 250 artisans, any of whom showed their work in action at the event. The activities included many techniques that have almost disappeared on the island. A camel wool suit, a pannier produced from two types of sheep's wool, palm and wicker baskets and numerous farm implements were part of a broad range of products developed and exhibited at the stalls.

The OSP has requested the president of the Cabildo of Fuerteventura, Mario Cabrera, make amendments to the regulations of the Council of Tourism on the grounds that they are obsolete and out of touch with the social and economic reality of the island. Tourism counsellor Marlene Figueroa presented this initiative during the last Tourism Council meeting with the aim to "give greater participation with local trade unions and businesses in order to create a range of solutions that face the reality of the current economic situation facing the island of Fuerteventura". Figueroa feels that it is not acceptable that the Cabildo have invested so much money in catering for cruise tourism where a large part of the proceeds go to public institutions such as the Port Authorities.

The impact of the recent general elections are beginning to be felt. La Oliva, governed by the CC party is demanding that its decisions should not have to be ratified by the Cabildo insular, now run by the PP. Although attempts have been made to find a middle way on this, both parties agreed that their opinions were not even on the same playing field. The Cabildo have rejected this and are insisting that La Oliva develop a pact with other parties that would help its judgements fall more into line with the direction of the Cabildo.

The Ministry of Defence has agreed to curtail its activities on the shooting range and practice grounds in Pajara in order to respect local inhabitants. This decision followed the demolition of several fisherman's hut in a military exercise. Areas of safe passage are to be developed through the zone and the huts are going to be rebuilt. The army said that the reason the huts were demolished was because of a controlled detonation of a grenade in the area.

A Training and Employment show was held last week at the fairgrounds of Antigua. Twenty entities, schools, institutions and business groups participated under the organization of the Cabildo of Fuerteventura and the municipality of Antigua. The aim of this exhibition was to help strengthen links between the entities and increase training options to meet the main demands of businesses and the labour market, facilitating access to the world of work, particularly for low achievers. 
 

Weird News:

Almost-anything-goes "ultimate fighting," also known as "human cockfighting," is a major "sport," mostly in Southern and Western states, but only in Missouri are kids as young as 6 permitted on the mats, according to a March Associated Press dispatch from Carthage, Mo. Members of the Garage Boys Fight Crew, ages up to 14, including one girl, regularly square off with only a few concessions in rules and protective gear from their adult counterparts. Parents seem to regard the sport as casually as they regard Little League or soccer, and sportsmanship is in evidence, as kids are still best friends, pummelling each other inside the cage but then heading off afterward to play video games. [Star Tribune-AP, 3-27-08]

A highlight of this year's Easter promotion by the Jelly Belly company (as additions to its 50 standard flavours) was its surprise BeanBoozled boxes, with odd tastes and non-standard colours. Although garlic beans, buttered-toast beans and cheese pizza beans are no longer available, connoisseurs can sample jelly beans made to taste like pencil shavings, ear wax, mouldy cheese and vomit. A Jelly Belly spokeswoman told Newhouse News Service in March, "There are 20 flavours in each little box ... so you don't know what flavour you are tasting ... coconut or baby wipe." [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3-22-08]

Los Angeles businessman Llewellyn Werner told The Times of London in April that he plans to spend $500 million to build a Disneyland-type theme park in the heart of Baghdad, with the first phase (a skateboard facility, with 200,000 free skateboards to hand out) to open in just three months. Eventually, the park will include rides and a concert theater adjacent to the Green Zone. [The Times (London), 4-24-08]

Questionable new products: The Japanese manufacturer Nihon Sofuken recently introduced a slightly peach-flavored drink called Placenta 10000, but Wired.com was not able to verify whether it contains actual human placenta (which is supposed to have miraculous regenerating powers for some parts of the body). [Wired.com, 3-31-08]

From Nickelodeon merchandising has come a Spongebob Squarepants Musical Rectal Thermometer (which plays the Spongebob theme that (the designer apparently imagines) makes the temperature-taking process less unpleasant). [CartoonBrew.com, 2-19-08]

 

May 8th 2008

The Tourism Council of Fuerteventura presented yesterday at an extraordinary meeting of the Advisory Board, the results of the the Survey of Tourist satisfaction carried out during the winter season. Amongst the main complaints were the lack of leisure facilities; too much construction ruining the environment; not enough restaurants offering typical Canarian cuisine; and a lack of public transport within the towns. The lack of cleaning of public areas was also commented on. Despite this, the president of Tourism Council and the Cabildo island, Mario Cabrera, described as "very positive, the percentage of tourists who plan to return to the island as this stands at 50 per cent", He  stressed the importance of caring for the environment "by doing a sustained effort over time, rather than through specific actions." On the other hand, the minister of island tourism, Agueda Montelongo, felt that the report is "an essential reference tool to improve and correct any errors."

Local business owners on Fuerteventura held a meeting this week to begin the process of setting up a business association. The purpose of this is to have a strong voice with local government and tour operators. The initiative, led by Eileen Forrester of Penny Lane, proposes to work with the tourism and business areas of the council to improve services to both tourists and businesses. The meeting was well attended by the English and Irish communities, and it was felt that more work should go into encouraging owners from other nationalities, especially the local Spanish community to participate. The next meeting will be held in Mafasca's, Top floor of the Atlantico Centre, next Thursday at 2pm. For more details contact Eileen on 619 973 281.

A Corralejo man was jailed for 5 years and ordered to pay 6,000 euros compensation to his victim this week. The man, Calvo Wilson Gutierrez, seriously attacked a man by stabbing him in the neck several times. The incident took place on 21st April 2006. Calvo went to the victims house in the Bristol Playa area at 5 in the morning and proceeded to attack him. The victim was saved by the rapid response of the emergency services but still had to take 81 days off work as a consequence. The argument was over Calvo's girlfriend who used to go out with the victim.

A Uraguyan woman threw her four month old baby off a six metre cliff this week. The incident happened near Costa Calma. The baby was rescued and then airlifted to Gran Canaria for medical attention, but its condition still remains critical. The woman, Mariana Riba, had earlier in the day reported her husband for physical abuse. The Guardia took the man in for questioning and Mariana went home alone. She then left the house with the baby and was seen wandering around the tourist areas. When she reached a ravine she threw the baby over the side. Tourists who spotted her, called the police immediately and the baby was recovered, but had serious head injuries. Mariana is currently being treated in a local psychiatric facility.

The National Energy Commission (CNE) has recommended an increase of around 20% on electricity bills. They want this so that tariffs truly reflect the high cost of production. The Cabildo are considering this in order order to determine whether they need to subsidise costs to keep tariffs down.

The Canarias government has proposed a study into the impact of holiday homes on the islands. The proposal is being sent to Brussels for the summit next week for ratification, but has caused some controversy as to its purpose. The government insists that it is looking at the positive impact on population growth of this type of property, but opponents feel that it will open the doors to limiting second home ownership in the archipelago. To counteract this the proposal was reworded to reflect this difference in purpose.

The Spanish property market continues to remain buoyant. A recent report by RightMove.co.uk showed that Spain dominates 5 out of the top ten searches for overseas property from the UK. The usual Costa locations are included in these, but both Fuerteventura and Lanzarote also feature in the top 100.

The lack of growth in the construction industry has led to many migrant workers leaving the island. Figures show that over the last year over 3,000 labourers have returned to mainland from Fuerteventura. To many who live here, this will be seen as a necessity as supply of housing has increased way beyond demand over recent years. A slow down in this industry can only be good for property prices in the long term, but will have an inevitable detrimental effect on local economies in the short term.

The current ban on harvesting limpets and mussels is having a detrimental effect on other types of shellfish. In one species, the Canarian whelk - the population has reduced by over 50%. The Cabildo is now considering setting up reserve areas for to protest these creatures.

Weird news:

An Omaha man struggling to breathe used a steak knife to perform an at-home tracheotomy. Steve Wilder said he thought he was going to die when he awoke one night last week and couldn't breathe.
Wilder said he didn't call 911 because he didn't think help would arrive in time. So, the 55-year-old says, he got a steak knife from the kitchen and made a small hole in his throat, allowing air to gush in.
Wilder suffered from throat cancer and related breathing problems several years ago. About that time, he had an episode where he couldn't breathe because his air passages swelled shut. He said that's what happened this time around.
Doctors don't expect Wilder to suffer any adverse affects from the tracheotomy once it's healed.

A New York woman has filed a $100 claim against Norwalk saying a family outing to the Maritime Aquarium was ruined by dog feces. The woman claims her child's shoes, along with the entire outing, were ruined when her 1-year-old stepped in dog feces outside the Maritime Garage.
City attorney M. Jeffry Spahr said the official response is that her claim is denied and in his words, "poop happens."
Kelly DeBrocky, of Mahopac, N.Y., wants the city to reimburse her for $54 she spent replacing her toddler's ruined shoes and the expenses for parking and aquarium admission on April 5. For more stories similar to this, check out the Stella awards in this week's fun stuff!

It looked like a small charcoal briquette, floating on San Francisco Bay, but it was just a little bit too square to be a charcoal briquette.
Twelve-year-old Joe Carter, who was boating with his father Sunday off Crissy Field, figured he might as well reach over the side of their dinghy and pick it up.
It wasn't a charcoal briquette after all, Joe realized, because charcoal briquettes do not have hinges on them.
It was a jewellery box.
"What if there's a diamond ring inside?" Joe remembers wondering to himself. So he opened the small black box.
And inside was something round and golden, with a sparkling stone on it.
"It's a real diamond ring," Joe said. "With a real diamond."
Joe took the ring out of the box and inspected a small tag, which was still attached to it.
"Romance Princess. One-quarter carat. Diamond Wedding Ring. $499," the tag said.
Joe, being several years shy of the time of life when a diamond ring in a black box comes in handy, huddled up with his father, Matt. The two of them are honorable, and they figured the thing to do was to call Macy's department store and find out if anyone had lost a ring. The small box had "Macy's" printed on the inside.
But the jewellery sales clerk said there was nothing he could do. Macy's sells a lot of rings, and they don't come with serial numbers.
So the Carters, who live in Alameda, posted a "lost and found" ad on an online bulletin board.
"Ring found floating in SF Bay," the ad said. "We would love to return it. Please contact me with a description."
And for four days, they have sat back and waited for developments. Perhaps the unfortunate owner would come forward. Perhaps several different people, all claiming to be the unfortunate owner, would come forward. Gold and diamonds have a way of making people do things they otherwise wouldn't.
But, so far, no one at all has come forward.
While the Carters wait, they try to imagine how the diamond ring ended up in San Francisco Bay. Did a would-be husband fling it into the water after his proposal was rejected? Did a would-be bride toss it aside because it weighed only one-quarter carat?
"I knew a girl in high school who did that when her boyfriend proposed," said Joe's mom, Laura, filling in her son on the ways of women and quarter-carat diamond rings.
Did it fall from the promenade deck of a cruise ship? Did someone drop it into the water on purpose, as the old lady did at the end of "Titanic?"

 

May 1st 2008

A Spanish ferry with 113 passengers on board ran aground and partially sank off the Atlantic coast of Morocco, last Friday. The passengers were brought to safety after a dramatic rescue that involved the Moroccan navy and local fishermen. The ferry As-Salama was travelling from the Moroccan port of Tarfaya to Fuerteventura when it struck rocks a half a mile offshore in heavy seas and strong winds and began taking on water. All the passengers were safely taken off the ferry by rescue boats, but they had to leave all their luggage on board. The passengers were predominantly from Morocco and Spain, but it was also carrying holidaymakers from Germany, France and Japan. All the passengers were offered flights back to the canaries, but most refused, preferring to stay on dry land to recover from their ordeal. They were put up in local hotels.

The latest Spanish Ministry of Housing (MVIV) figures, which have been released to the public, confirms reports of the growing decline in the Spanish mainland property sector compared to the Canary Islands where property resales have been strongest. The government research showed that the number of resale transactions to foreign buyers in Spain fell by almost 18% year on year from 21,628 to 17,815 overall. But in contrast, this period saw a huge increase in resales to foreign buyers in the Canary Islands which resulted in a year on year increase of 73%. Although there is no specific breakdown as to which nationalities are actually purchasing property it does prove the long-term strength of the market in the Canaries and the confidence in the future of the islands. (Goldacre Estates)

Young people on the island are turning away from traditional occupations such as cheese making. Although Fuerteventura makes some of the best goats cheese in the world, families are concerned that their recipes and craft will die with the next generation as their children and grandchildren show no interest in carrying on the work. The youngsters are put off by the long hours and lack of weekends and holidays for recreational activities. Current producers say that the work is not hard but you have to be there all the time to ensure that the herds and cheese production run smoothly.

Two fishermen have been caught with 34 kilos of fish that they caught using spear guns. This type of fishing is strictly controlled on the islands and sportsmen are only allowed a small quota of fish per day in order to protest the underwater environment. This haul way exceeded these limits. The men tried to hide their catch behind the concrete pillars at the entrance to Morro Jable port, but they were spotted and the police were called. The officers arrested the men and confiscated the fish and the men's spear guns.

Pajara are building a path to connect the beaches of La Fuente and La Lajita. the path is being constructed to make access to La Fuente beach easier and to provide a pleasant route for a seaside walk.

Hospital Patients are complaining that the daily allowance they receive is insufficient for their needs. Day patients in Fuerteventura hospital currently receive just 18 euros per day and they say that this does not even cover the taxi fare let alone food expenses. If the patient has to go to another island for treatment, then the allowance increases to 118e per day, but this has to cover flight and accommodation costs as well. They are also complaining that the amount that the Cabildo of Fuerteventura receives per patient is far greater that that taken by the patient and they are accusing the Cabildo of pocketing the difference to the detriment of residents.

A new art exhibition at the Juan Ismael Arts Centre in Puerto del Rosario is aimed at increasing the exposure of local artists in order to generate interest in the arts amongst young people. The exhibition, The Artist and the Island, which opened on 30th April comprises of works from 23 local artists.

A local Fuerteventuran group, Amolan, has produced a CD dedicated to the folklore traditions of the island. The disc, called 'El Día Clarinado' features mainly the work of their own group but includes tracks from 2 other local bands.

Weird News:

What Housing Crisis? "This is heaven on earth," said one resident living on burned-out lava rocks about a mile from the oozing Kilauea volcano near Kalapana, Hawaii, explaining the lure that he and his neighbors feel, having built houses by hand, collected rainwater to drink, installed solar panels for power, and planted vegetables between the rocks for food. Said one of the semi-hermit residents, to an Associated Press reporter in March, "I'm more scared of people than I am a volcano." [CNN-AP, 3-25-08]
 

Astrid Literski, in prison after pleading guilty to murdering her 4-year-old daughter in 2003, is due in tax court in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in May to argue that she should not have to give back $1,296 (Cdn) in tax benefits she was wrongly paid for the child during 2002. Actually, the girl was living with her father at the time, but Literski says she deserved the tax benefits, anyway, because she provided "emotional" support. [Chronicle Herald (Halifax), 3-1-08]
 

A 26-year-old driver was arrested in Bay County, Fla., in April after being spotted on the side of a road masturbating. According to the police report, the man said "he had just left work and explained that he needed some personal time with himself that he could not have at home." [Northwest Florida Daily News, 4-2-08]
World's Greatest Lawyer: Oregon public defender Ethan Levi agreed to represent Eric Kincaid, 29, who had been identified by DNA as the man (in a miniskirt, wig and fishnet stockings) who one night last year had hidden in the closet of a woman he did not know before fleeing. Kincaid denied that he meant the woman any harm, maintaining that he had been invited by a mysterious second woman, whom he also did not know, to have sex but had realized after seeing the first woman that he was in the wrong apartment, and he left. In April, Levi convinced the jury to accept Kincaid's explanation and acquit him of all charges. [The Oregonian, 4-8-08]
 

Instant Karma: In March in Leesburg, Va., driver's license test-taker Nita Sureka was told by the examiner to park beside the Department of Motor Vehicles building, but she accidentally crashed into it, tearing a hole in the wall and forcing the department to close for the day. [Washington Post, 3-17-08]

The Manitoba (Canada) Bar Association, which was hoping to file a brief in a controversial police investigation case in Winnipeg in March, announced it would have to forgo participation because it lacked sufficient funds to hire a lawyer. [Winnipeg Free Press, 3-7-08]

 

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