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February 28th 2008

Motocross is getting to be big business on the island, so much so that the Cabildo is extending the present facilities. President Mario Cabrera attended the inaugural day of the Fuer-Lanz Championship last week, when 28 competitors from the islands took part in a rally.
New timing equipment was used on the day as well as new speakers that gave the up-to-date information. Apparently, the Cabildo was interested in taking a look at a sport that now has a large following and want to improve the infrastructure in the area. The current circuit was constructed in 2004.

Carnivals are taking place all over the island. One of this year’s big successes is the carnival in Morro Jable. This is partly due to the fact that there was a huge public participation in all the events. Ramona Francés was elected as la Gran Dama. There was also a Gala Drag and the usual Entierro de la Sardina. Theme this year was ' The Animal World. ' The Commission of Fiestas, headed by the mayor, Rafael Perdomo, and the councillor of Celebrations, Jesús Umpiérrez, both showed satisfaction at the great participation of residents and tourists. El Entierro de la Sardina, as expected, was very sad with much weeping and wailing for the loss. He was finally put to rest after a tiring week.
And still on carnivals, the Intersport shop in Corralejo won the Best Shop Window award at this year’s carnival. Situated in the Belfry Commercial Centre, the window was judged on the originality and creativity of the design. The prize was €900.
This is a new initiative in the Carnival of Corralejo, and is under the auspices of the councillorships of Commerce and Celebration in of Ayuntamiento of La Oliva, with the idea of promoting a good carnival atmosphere on the streets.
The theme for the windows was the same as for the Carnival itself - “ The bottom of the sea ”. The Ayuntamiento is grateful to everyone who took part.


The Lebrancho Rock Festival takes place in March with two groups from the peninsula taking part. Narco and Lujuria (whose names translate as Drug Trafficker and Lechery) will head the list of participants in this fifth edition of the festival that takes place on March 14 and 15 in Puerto del Rosario. There will be 28 groups taking part. This is the first weekend of Holy Week and is expected to attract many of the young majoreros back on the island for holidays. There’s a budget of €80,000 for the event from the Cabildo, with the groups using the hostel in Tefia. Anyone who wants to camp during the festival should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Fifty children from first and second-class in the primary school CEIP in Villaverde were in Puerto Lajas in Puerto del Rosario recently to release two turtles back to the sea. The first turtle weighed in at six kilograms and appeared a month ago in the waters around Corralejo. It was tangled in fishing tackle, as was the second one, which was found in Puerto del Rosario. Both animals have a microchip. The vetinerary team looked after the animals from La Lajita zoo. These have an agreement to treat any wild animals that are rescued. Any animals that are being released back to their natural habitat is done in conjunction with the Departments of Environment and Education. This allows students understand that respect and protection must be given to these animals. The students had been given a talk the previous day.

The Canarian Government is taking measures to reduce unemployment in the islands. The figure at present stands at 140,000. More than 200 measures will be introduced between now and 2013. The aim is to reach full employment within these years. The target is to reduce unemployment each year with the year 2013 as the target year for full employment.

Four million euros will be handed out this year for various musical initiatives on the seven islands over the course of this year. The aim is to consolidate the musical sector. The investment will be directed at the extending the annual Patronage to the Production of the Music, as well as to the consolidation and enlargement of the Circuit Islands of Music and promotion of musical others, and the support of festivals of different genre as the operatic one, the operetta, the classic music, between others.

Three million euros will be given to art for the development of various activities over the year that will take place in the centres around the islands. Some of the money will be to bring more artistic work to the Casa de los Coroneles in La Oliva

More university places for medical studies will be available this coming year. The proposal is to have a bigger intake over the next four years so that at the end, there will be 150 places in each of the two colleges. The need to create places is seen as urgent by The Commission of Education, Universities, Culture and Sports of the Government of Canaries. At present, there are 85 pupils in the University of Las Palmas and 120 in the University of La Laguna.
 

Weird News:

There is usually a well-stocked Red Cross tent when the January "corralejas" (amateur bullfights) take place in towns in the Colombian countryside, reported The New York Times in January. "This year was calm, no deaths yet," said a newscaster in Sincelejo. Hundreds of wannabe matadors jump into makeshift rings, some sponsored by local merchants but others merely inebriated or sober and foolish, some gaudily dressed, some in bunches (with one group even picnicking). Wrote the Times, "A stream of men arrived" in the Red Cross tent, "intestines peeking out of a belly, bone protruding from a fractured shin, blood spurting from a gash in the buttocks." Said a local, "This is about the ecstasy of escaping death.

In December, even after the widely reported tiger attack on a visitor at the San Francisco Zoo, the Houston Zoo was still allowing its visitors to play "tug of war" with its own lions and tigers. A 20-pound slab of meat, attached to a long rope, is tossed into the enclosure, and visitors are encouraged to toy with the cats by yanking on it as the animal lunges for it. Said a Houston zookeeper, the game keeps the animals from getting bored. Besides, a zoo official said, "(The lion or tiger) kind of lets us know when he wants to play, and we go along with that."

Two counsellors in the Denver school system proposed in December that the school board give high school girls who get pregnant at least four weeks of maternity leave, without academic penalty, so they can bond with their newborns. The counsellors said the policy would encourage teen mothers to stay in school. [Denver Post, 1-7-08]

Meanwhile, the Department of Education of the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra granted permission for a 16-year-old student at Stromlo High School to take smoking breaks, based on a doctor's finding that she is so "clinically addicted" to nicotine that her work suffers without it.
 

February 20th 2008

The long-awaited new bus station has finally opened in Puerto del Rosario. The official honours fell to the Transport Councillor Ann Padilla. The station has the capacity for 15 buses as well as two large articulated vehicles. The base of the concourse will be sublet for the time being. The new station of guaguas of Port of Rosario has been provided with a budget near to four million euros.

The Chamber of commerce has signed an agreement with the University in Las Palmas to encourage students to return to their island of origin. The agreement will help regulate the the formation, the innovation and the employment of Fuerteventura of those majoreros who have left to study. Companies and organisations have been encouraged to participate

Residents may soon receive up to 70 per cent discount on the price of plane and boat tickets between here and the other islands. The Transport Forum in Las Playitas has said that one of the Government targets is to achieve this figure.

The Transport Councillor announced that the Executive is looking at the development of three strategic lines to improve the communications in the archipelago. The definition and development of an interinsular network that integrates the terrestrial, marine and air routes, the interconnection of the Canary systems of transport with the continental ones and the guarantee to impel the mobility of a sustainable form. The forum has been debating how to improve transport communication and mobility in the islands. And once again, the possibility of a rail and road bridge between Fuerte and Lanzarote was discussed. The construction of this infrastructure would have an approximate cost for 800 million euros and a term of execution of three years.

Public Works councillor Juan Ramón Hernández, has agreed that the Port of Morro Jable will be provided with two docking lines of 150 meters before next summer begins, giving the port the capacity for two ships. The upgrade of the port and surroundings will cost more than 8,3 million euros. This port is one of the most important entries on the island and will complete communications with Gran Canaria. President of the Cabildo, Mario Cabrera, pointed out that the new and improved infrastructure would provide excellent facilities for sports crafts and professional fishing boats. The mayor of Pájara, Rafael Perdomo, said that the new harbour is very important for the municipality, its residents and visitors.

With elections coming along shortly, Prime Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has been making the usual promises. He has announced that if the ruling Socialists are voted back into power within 10 years students leaving high school will be able to speak English at an "everyday" level.
Among the package of measures announced by Zapatero on Monday was the short-term goal of teaching 15 percent of high school classes in English by the end of the next legislature - something that would require the temporary hiring of 12,000 native English teachers and 8,000 teaching assistants.
Starter courses in English for 4,000 primary school teachers would also form part of the plan, as would intensive courses to be delivered in the United Kingdom and the United States for more experienced teachers.
The prime minister also promised to make EUR 85 million available for 200,000 students to learn English abroad, making the point that this money would go to children from families "who don't have the means" to send their kids abroad during vacations.

Princess Elena, the eldest daughter of the king and queen of Spain, has purchased an investment and consultancy business. It is the first time that a child of the Spanish monarchs has become the owner of a company. According to official documentation held at Spain's company registry, the princess purchased Global Cinoscéfalos - a limited company with working capital of EUR 3,600 - on 10 December 2007.
The company was created in August 2007 by Alejandro Latorre Atance, a well-known businessman. He sold the company to the princess a month after the royal household made public her separation from her husband, the Duke of Lugo.
The commercial activities of the company are listed as "assessment in the fields of accountancy and finance," as well as "industrial and commercial projects through the purchase of shares."

Punters in Spain will soon have the opportunity to go into a betting shop and place bets. Licences are to be issued in the next few weeks for 10 companies to open shops in Madrid and the Basque Country. The betting will be limited to 30 sports including the Basque ball game Pelota, but the main bulk of the wagers is likely to be on football.

Nearly 100 suspected members of an international credit card falsification gang, which defrauded more than 6 million euros from its victims, have been arrested by Spanish police. A further twenty-six people were also arrested in other European countries. The gang, many of them Romanians, installed copying equipment in cash machines and shops where information could be copied from the credit cards when they were used. The cards were then forged along with their holders' identity documents. The gang operated across Spain, as well as in several other European Union countries and in Turkey.

The EU has given mobile phone companies until July to cut their roaming charges for text messages and Internet use or face regulation. The EU communications commissioner told company chiefs at the industry's annual trade show that mobile phone companies would not be allowed to "rip off" EU citizens who travel in member states. After regulating the roaming cost of phone calls the commissioner, Viviane Reding, will focus on the price of text messages and data transfer, which includes Internet use as well as email and other downloads.

Ryanair has announced a fifth Spanish base in Reus, Barcelona. From October, Ryanair will invest in 2 new aircraft and 12 routes that will create 1,000 jobs and over a million passengers a year. The new base in Reus will join the existing bases in Madrid, Alicante, Girona and Valencia.

Would you believe?
Five of the 10 best-selling novels in Japan in 2007 were originally composed, and serialized, on cell phones, thumbed out by women who had never written novels, for readers who mostly had never before read one. The genre's dominating plotlines are affairs of the heart, and its characteristics, obviously, are simplicity of plot and character and brevity of expression (lest authors' sore thumbs and readers' tired eyes bring down the industry). Said one successful cell phone writer, for a January dispatch in The New York Times, her audience doesn't read works by "professional writers" because "their sentences are too difficult to understand."

The New Lucky Restaurant has been around since the 1950s in Ahmadabad, India, serving diners among the gravestones located at various points around the tables. No one is certain who was buried under the restaurant, according to a December Associated Press dispatch, but Indians aren't much spooked by the experience. Said a retired professor: "Graveyards in India are never scary places. We don't have a nice literature of horror stories, so we don't have much fear of ghosts." The restaurant's main concern is that waiters know the floor plan and don't trip over the ankle-high monuments.

It's the "holy grail" of beers, said a Boston pub manager, but, still, only 60,000 cases a year of Westvleteren are brewed because the Belgian Trappist monks with the centuries-old recipe refuse to expand their business (and even get on the phone to harass black-marketers). Westvleteren is sold only at the monastery gate, by appointment, with a two-case-a-month limit, at a price that's reasonable for retail beer, but anyone who gets it from a re-seller will pay 10 times that much. Producing more, said Brother Joris, to a Wall Street Journal reporter in November, "would interfere with our job of being a monk." Furthermore, said Brother Joris, referencing the Bible, "If you can't have it, possibly you do not really need it."

February 13th 2008

Great improvements are on the cards in order to attract visitors to the island. A study of more than 1700 people taken between October, 2006 and June, 2007 has come to the conclusion that Fuerte has magnificent opportunities to develop initiatives that will cause tourist interest. The General Direction of Tourist Promotion of the Government of Canaries, with the company CODEXCA, presented the conclusions of the study recently to the Cabildo,. The 1700 people included visitors, majoreros, residents and people from other islands on the archipelago. Improvements to entice more visitors include 960 berths for boats, the construction of marine avenues, the promotion of conferences, the construction of a sports centre for elite athletes, a total of 9 golf courses , the conversion of Betancuria in a theme park, and of course, the construction of the Monument to the Tolerance in Tindaya. The study also came to the conclusion that signposting on the island leaves a lot to be desired, and this is to be looked at shortly by the Cabildo

There have been some changes to the bus timetables in recent weeks. The bus that used to run between Puerto del Rosario and Caleta de Fuste now runs between Puerto del Rosario and Las Salinas, except for the earliest and latest buses that start and finish at the Atlantico centre in Caleta. All the buses now call at Nuevo Horizonte (Costa Antigua) apart from the 4pm from Caleta. These changes will be much appreciated by the residents of Las Salinas and Nuevo Horizonte. It will also make it easier for those tourists staying in Costa Antigua to get back from Puerto del Rosario it. There are now four buses a day from Puerto del Rosario to Gran Tarajal and back on weekdays and two at weekends and festivals.

It’s not often you see a snow plough on the island but one has been hard at work recently – taking sand from the road out by the dunes. Motorists were asked to be aware that some of the sand was quite deep and to slow down.
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Proper highways from north to south are underway. Works are on going on the dual carriageway between Corralejo and Caldereta. Next on the list is the road between the airport and Pozo Negro. Environmental studies are taking place in this area. This road will run parallel to the existing one, behind the hill of El Castillo, until it reaches Pozo Negro and Gran Tarajal

Seventy-six people were arrested last Sunday in the biggest swoop against internet fraud in Spain to date. Operation Ulysses, which was carried out simultaneously in 15 regions, targeted people suspected of selling nonexistent goods to customers or gaining illegal access to their bank accounts and credit card information in order to make unauthorised transfers.
The total fraud is upwards of EUR 3 million, in amounts ranging from EUR 400 to EUR 10,000, police sources said. Interpol and Europol are cooperating with Spanish law enforcement agencies to identify the thousands of online users who have been affected by the scam. The members of the gang hail from 16 different countries, from Armenia to Moldavia, and include 45 Spaniards. It is believed that the money was used at least in part for "holiday shopping" - sprees financed with other people's money.
The bank account information was obtained through two techniques known as phishing and pharming. In the first case, scammers create a phoney website imitating a real company or institutional web - often that of a bank or the Tax Agency - to trick the victims into providing their personal access codes. In the second, the victim's computer is infected with a virus that automatically records the credit card information used on regular shopping websites.

Madrid's Fashion Week is taking place, but without three British models who were sent home from the casting after failing to show the minimum body mass index (BMI) of 18 required for models to take the catwalk in the nation's capital.
The BMI minimum for Madrid Fashion Week became a requirement for the regional government, which is the event's main sponsor, before Fall Fashion Week in September of 2006, and resulted in five out of 68 models being excluded.
While the initiative to promote a healthy image of beauty was lauded by most, it caused an uproar with modelling agencies - including a proposed, but later cancelled, boycott of the Cibeles shows - which claimed that the measures were unnecessary and would only hurt the industry. It also resulted in the exclusion of two of Spain's top models, Eugenia Silva and Marta Español, who refused to be weighed.
This year, however, Dr Susana Monereo, who has overseen Madrid Fashion Week events since 2006, said the testing "has become a completely normal affair," adding that the average model's BMI has gone up. The World Health Organisation registers a person with a BMI of less than 18 as "thin," while a "normal" BMI is 18.5-24.9.

The 9 March general elections will be the first to take place under the Gender Equality Law, which says that party lists must have no fewer than 40 percent and no more than 60 percent of male or female candidates. The law was enacted to increase women's presence in political life. Yet all major parties have arranged their lists in such a way that females will likely continue to be underrepresented in Congress no matter what the outcome. If the poll yields similar results to the 2004 election, for instance, then only five more women will sit in Congress, bringing their total to just over 37 percent of the congressional body.
The Socialist Party, which pushed the law through, would lose two congresswomen, while the United Left would lose one. The opposition Popular Party (PP) would gain four congresswomen, while the Catalan nationalists of CiU would win three and the Canaries Coalition one.
The officials who drew up party lists did not need to resort to complicated operations to circumvent the spirit of the law. It was enough to use the usual trick: place men in the top positions and women in the lowest.
There are only a few provinces where women candidates make up 60 percent of the party list, but even there the top posts are generally reserved for men. In fact, men are top of the list in 75 percent of cases for both parties, just like in 2004. "What this underscores is that the principle of equality is not understood," said Soledad Murillo, secretary general for Equality Policies and one of the main supporters of the law. "Women's presence is still viewed as a legal obligation. Equality must be a democratic principle, not an imposition

Last Thursday (7th February) Facebook launched a Spanish version of its social-networking website which lets users opt for Spanish instructions, alerts, news feeds and other information. Spanish speakers can change their language preference from their account settings, and the site will automatically load the Spanish version when accessed from a Spanish-speaking country.

We all know that roaming rates for mobile phones are very high. But EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said at the Mobile World Congress that sending a text message or downloading data in another country should not be substantially more expensive. "Higher roaming charges abroad must be justified by additional costs of operators. If not, they will have to disappear," she said. The 27-nation EU adopted a proposal from Ms Reding last year to cut the cost of making and receiving voice calls outside a person's home country, but the proposal did not include data and text messages. Ms Reding said sending a text message abroad should not be more expensive for consumers than at home plus the "very small marginal costs" for using a foreign network. Mobile phone operators must act before July 1st to avoid the European Union imposing lower prices for texting or surfing the web via mobile phones when abroad.
There are 2.6 billion handsets in use all around the world, according to official figures, and they send nearly 7 billion text messages every day. Nearly everyone has a cell phone, but not everyone has one with internet. That connection, which opens the door to endless services, is one of the keys to the GSMA's Mobile World Congress 2008, which begins today in Barcelona (www.mobileworldcongress.com).
The head of Vodafone, Arun Sarin, the president of Nokia, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, and the president of Telefónica, César Alierta, are some of the figures who will be debating the future of the cell phone at the conference, alongside famous faces such as the veteran actor and director Robert Redford, who is promoting the creation of films designed for cell phone screens.
In total, more than 50,000 experts and 1,200 companies will be present, 70 of which are Spanish. The majority of these companies offer services, such as Bmat, which plays music that fits in with your current mood, or Lleida.net, used to send out official certificates in SMS format.
The first big announcement will come this morning, regarding a new pact in the industry. Cell phone operators present in more than 50 countries have created an alliance to fight against images and videos featuring child pornography. Currently 2 percent of these illegal images are connected to cellular use.
Cell phone services generated USD 763 million in revenue in 2007, a figure that is predicted to rise by 11 percent this year. A total of 100 million handsets are expected to be sold this year.

Do our taxi drivers speak English? Probably just a few words the same as taxi drivers in any city. The Madrid Chamber of Commerce has started a scheme to offer free English classes to any small business owner or employee who wants to learn. After 12 years behind the wheel of a taxi, 50-year-old Antonio Figueroa has picked up a few words of English. "Girls, girls, girls" is one of them, he says. "They ask that a lot and, well, I take them to the places where the girls are."
According to the Chamber of Commerce, 65 percent of the students who have signed up for the 150-hour English course are taxi drivers, while most of the rest work in the hospitality sector.
However, even after the course ends, finding a taxi driver or waiter in Madrid who speaks good English may still be a problem - just 18 students attended the first class.

A pioneering study by the Health Ministry shows that over 86 percent of Spanish women have a healthy height-to-weight ratio, yet 41 percent said they have trouble finding clothes that fit them. The results of the report have prompted the Ministry to propose abolishing the existing clothes-size system.
The study, which measured the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 10,400 girls and women between 12 and 70 years of age, is a snapshot of women living in Spain, who are on average 1.62 m tall and weigh 57 kg.
The idea for the report came after a public controversy over the extreme thinness of catwalk models, which led fashion show organisers to ensure that their model's BMI be at least 18, a figure the World Health Organisation considers acceptable.
For the first time, the report also establishes three new body types for women, which the Health Ministry is calling "cylinder," "diavolo" and "bell."
This new system breaks with the traditional categories that referred to men. The cylinder is the predominant body type in childhood and early teens, the diavolo - named after the popular toy and referring to a narrow waist compared with chest and hips - is more common among adult females, and the bell, where the bosom and waist have similar measures and the hips widen, occurs most frequently in later years. But the report found this does not mean that one body type is limited to one age range, which is the reason why many women cannot find clothes that fit them right. The report is intended to inform fashion designers to give them a better sense of what they should be designing for customers.
But Health Minister Bernat Soria went further Thursday, saying he now plans to take these conclusions to the European Union with the goal of establishing a new size system to replace the current one. Instead of size 42, for instance, there would be a code for a woman's height and her chest-waist-hips measurements. This 1-2-3-4 type system would make it easier for women to find clothes that really fit them.
"We're moving towards the disappearance of sizes," said Soria of a system that has been in place since 1972. Soria did not specify when these changes might be implemented. The announcement was a pleasant surprise for consumer groups such as Facua, since until now the only plans were for clothes makers to regulate themselves.
The Ministry study showed that 56.2 percent of Spanish women have a normal BMI, which ranges from 17 to 29.9, while 24.9 percent are overweight and five percent are slightly underweight. Soria highlighted one issue of concern in the report, and that was the fact that 70 percent of females who were found to be extremely thin, with a BMI of under 16 (representing 1.4 percent of the total) said they were satisfied with the way they looked.
Following Spain's lead, Germany has initiated a similar study, while Portuguese authorities said they will probably follow suit in the near future.

Is this weird or what?
China's historical fascination with crickets has recently been exhibited in cricket beauty contests, singing competitions and prize fights, according to a January Los Angeles Times dispatch, and has led even to increasing vigilance about crickets cheating with performance-enhancing drugs. The fighters duel in terrarium-sized containers, and, according to the Times, "Overhead cameras (project) the action onto large screens," allowing spectators close-ups of crickets tossing each other around with their powerful jaws. The best fighters may sell for the equivalent of $10,000, are raised on vegetables and calcium supplements, and are sexually active before fights. The doping issue mostly involves the "singers"; slowing the vibration of the cricket's wings produces an attractively lower pitch. [Los Angeles Times, 1-13-08]

Scott Anthony Gomez Jr. filed a lawsuit in January against jail officials in Pueblo County, Colo., alleging among other things that they failed to take security precautions to prevent him from escaping. He seriously injured himself last year when he fell 40 feet while scaling a wall in his second escape attempt. He said that, after his first escape, he had told then-sheriff Dan Corsentino how lax security was, but that no "improvements" had been made.

California's Solar Shade Control Act protects solar panels from obstructions from sunlight, and in January, Santa Clara County officials sought to enforce the law against homeowners who themselves are staunch environmentalists. Since the back yard of Prius-owners Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett contains lush redwood trees that block their neighbor's panels, the county ordered that the trees be cut down. [San Jose Mercury News, 1-24-08]

Tolerance: In November, 70 petitioning neighbors said they were fed up with the Museum of Tolerance in West Hollywood, Calif. The final straw was the museum's application to expand its building, extend hours of operation until midnight, and reduce the buffer zone between it and nearby homes. [Chicago Sun-Times-AP, 11-15-07]

February 6th 2008

The spending habits of the Irish holidaymakers in Fuerte and the fact that the numbers visiting here last year rose by 50 percent was given a mention at the recent FITUR fair in Madrid. The roadshow organised by the Cabildo was very popular with visitors to the fair and there are great hopes for increasing the numbers of Spaniards and other European visitors. There will be an increase in the frequencies of the regular lines that operate with Barcelona, Bilbao and Oviedo. New connections will be established with Valladolid (only in the summer ), Malaga, Seville, A Coruna and Valencia. On a global scale a new route will be opened with the German city of Bremen, as well as with Portugal and Poland. And emphasis is being placed on the fact that the Irish tourist in Fuerteventura spends an average of 49 euros a day.


Some good news for those wishing to get back into the workplace by setting up their own businesses. The Ayuntamiento of Puerto del Rosario and the Caja de Canaries have signed an agreement to give credit for viable projects to those who may find it difficult to get credit through traditional channels. The programme has been set up with collaboration from various non-governmental organisations, employment councils and social services. It’s primarily aimed at anyone who has been unemployed for a long period who are not able to gain credit and bank guarantees.

El Cotillo beach has been given a complete overhaul recently with permanent teams working in the area. The La Oliva Ayuntamiento is investing in beach equipment that includes showers, waste bins and bathrooms, not only in El Cotillo but in all the beaches of the municipality, including Corralejo. Access for the disabled is also part of the plan.

Almost a million foreigners throughout Spain were granted residencies in 2007, bringing the total of legalised foreigners up to 3,979,074. The most numerous are Moroccans, 650,000 followed by Rumanians, 604,000, Ecuadorians, 396,000, Colombians, 254,000 and British 199,000. EU citizens make up 39% of the total foreign population followed by South Americans 30% and Africans 21%.

The Spanish telecommunications company, Telefonica, has just launched a new ADSL package, which should cost less than 20 euros per month. The service, ADSL Mini, includes 1 Mbps speed with a download limit of 2GB and a call plan.

A Euro Millions lottery ticket holder won 76.6 million euros in the draw of 25th January. The ticket holder remains anonymous at the moment, but it is known that ticket was purchased at a lottery office in Montefrio, Granada. Local rumours say that the winning ticket holder is away harvesting olives and unaware of his good fortune. It is the biggest ever lottery win in Spain and the second largest in Europe.

It’s not often that you see a dead cow floating in the sea but this is what happened to one holiday-maker recently. He was walking along the footpath between Nueve Horizonte and Caleta when he spied the animal. It’s thought that the cow is a zebu, an Asian breed and this gives rise to the possibility that it was thrown from a ship.

Whales and dolphins living around the coasts of the islands can breathe a sigh of relief – there will be no more antisubmarine sonar equipment used in the water. This had been part of the policy of the Spanish Navy and may have placed the mammals in danger. The new policy will not allow any underwater explosions within 50 miles of any coast where it’s known there are colonies of whales and dolphins.

Although the epidural was only introduced last year, some 50 per cent of expectant mothers are availing of the service. The number of births on the island last year was just under1,100, with eleven sets of twins. Boys and girls were very evenly divided. Nearly 17,500 babies were born in the islands last year, with 9743 now part of the population of Las Palmas province and about 7670 in the Tenerife province.

Food prices have increased more in Spain than in other EU countries, particularly in the last two months of 2007, according to the Spanish Government. The National Competition Commission has been called in to investigate the possibility of price fixing within the food industry.

Spanish police are investigating possible links between a seizure of cocaine in Malaga and the murder of Dublin drug dealer Paddy Doyle (27) near the city yesterday. Two Irishmen remain at large today 24 hours after escaping the gun attack on the Costa del Sol in which Doyle was shot dead. Detectives are examining a link between the shooting and the seizure of 115kg of cocaine in the area on the same day. Eleven people were arrested in the operation, and it is understood gardaí (Irish police) are examining whether at least one of them had an Irish passport. It is reported locally that an Irishman and six Britons were among those detained after the discovery of the cocaine. British police believe the drugs came from Colombia and were due for distribution by drug gangs throughout Europe. Spanish police investigating the murder want to question Dubliners Freddie Thompson (27) and Gary Hutch (26) who were travelling with Doyle when he was shot. A car pulled up alongside their 4X4 in Estepona near Marbella at around 2pm local time, and at least five shots were fired into the vehicle causing Hutch, who was driving, to lose control and crash into a lamp post. As Doyle attempted to escape from the front passenger side of the vehicle he was shot at least two times in the head, witnesses said. Thompson, who had been in the back seat, was not injured, but Hutch was hurt, though not apparently seriously. Doyle, with an address at Portland Place, Dublin 1, was a major drug dealer and member of one of two drugs gangs from the Crumlin/Drimnagh area of Dublin whose feuding has led to 10 deaths since 2001. A Garda liaison officer based in Madrid will track progress in the case and will assist with information from Ireland if Spanish police request help.


Funny bits and pieces
Japan’s leading toilet manufacturer, Toto, is providing free repairs to 180,000 toilets after three reported incidents of its Z series catching fire.
“Fortunately nobody was using the toilets when the fire broke out and there were no injuries,” a company spokesman said.
“The fire would have been just under your buttocks.”
Toto builds high-tech toilets with built-in electric bidets, which caused the fires.
The versatile Z series also features a power dryer, a ‘tornado wash’ flush, a pulsating massage spray, and an automatic lid.
I don’t care if the repairs are free. If I owned one of these toilets, I would much rather buy a new one that has no electric accessory/chance of flaming my backside.

Let’s say you parked your car, left to do whatever you needed to do, and came back only to see a strange couple steaming up the back seat. What would you do?
A. Watch in secret (cause you can’t say no to free porn)
B. Unlock the door and yell, “what the hell?”
C. Unlock the door and ask if you can join in.
If you didn’t choose B, you must be pretty twisted!
So here’s the story. Bernhard Stadlinger,24, parked his sister’s car next to an identical car.
He went to a disco, met a girl, took her to what he thought was the car and began to have sex in it.
Petra Eichinger,42, walks to the parking lot, sees her car being violated, and in outrage, calls the police.
I bet they thought it was a prank call.
The woman had locked her doors but Stadlinger’s key happened to work on both cars. What are the chances?
I can’t believe he had intended to make the beast with two backs in his sister’s car. That’s just not right.

A fake ad posted last weekend on Craigslist led to a rental property being stripped in Tacoma, Washington.
“In the ad, it said come and take what you want. Everything is free,” Landlord Laurie Raye said. She had cleaned the house after evicting a tenant.
Not long after the ad appeared, neighbors saw strangers taking items away. They made off with a sink, light fixtures, the hot water heater, a vinyl window and the front door.
Raye said Craigslist told her they would need a subpoena or search warrant before they could release information about who posted the ad.
Police Detective Gretchen Ellis said: “We’ve had prostitution things happen, rental scams, fraudulent activity. In this case, it appeared the items were going to be given away, but they were not.”
I have a feeling the evicted tenant did it for revenge.
 

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