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Local News

This news is translated from the Spanish Press unless otherwise indicated.

Fuerteventura goes digital

Lanzarote and the north of Fuerteventure will be the first areas in the archipeligo to lose the old fashioned analogue style TV signal when the switch to digital is made on June 30th. Despite the fact that the cut-off is only 1/2 weeks away many users in the Canaries have not yet made provision for the change.

Fuerteventura Music Festival confirmed

El Cotillo will stage the' Fuerteventura Music 2009 ' on the 3rd and 4th of July. There will be international and canarian bands performing. The location of the Festival, has moved to improve accessibility, safety and amenities. It will also have a large team responsible for cleaning the area during and after the Festival.

Police tighten upon illegal taxis

It has been agreed to take measures against the illegal practices in the taxi industry.
Among the measures to be introduced is training on regulations for transport, by the local police and guardia civil, as well as increased police checks at the airport, ports and towns, especially on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays as these are the days when most tourists land or leave the island. It was agreed to concentrate on the town centres where most cases are detected. The drivers will have to prove their vehicles are registered and that the fare is displayed.

Bank branches close in the capital

Employers in the commercial area of Puerto del Rosario, warned about the closure of bank branches in major shopping streets, particularly in Leon y Castillo which has the largest number of shops in the capital. Various banks opened branches in the area during economic boom causing the introduction of numerous businesses in the area of Puerto del Rosario. However, after the opening of the shopping center and because of the economic crisis many of these businesses have been forced to close down.

Island troops leqave for Afghanistan

A farewell ceremony was held for the departure of the Spanish troops, who leave on July 1st, for Afghanistan. Where a battalion of 250 troops will go to oversee the electoral process in the provinces of Badghis and Herat, also a team of 170 soldiers, will be installed in the village of Qala-e-Naw. The farewell ceremony was held to give support and encouragement to the soldiers.

Weird News

A son, angry that his father had ordered him to clean his room, screamed and threw a plate of food across the dinner table. Dad then rang the police, the habitually untidy son apologized and went to clean up crying uncontrollably. Not unusual, but the son is 28, who lives rent-free with his parents in Ohio, and is a member of the school board.
 
When courts in Nashville get too busy, a local tradition allows judges to appoint local attorneys to act as "special judges" to help clear dockets. It appears that some of the special judges used their power largely to dismiss speeding tickets, at least one instance of a lawyer dismissing his own clients ticket. It was found that of almost 1,800 speeding tickets dismissed by courts, 1.300 were by special judges.
 
The US Air Force has spent an estimated $25 million training a combat pilot, but is about to discharge him involuntarily because he is gay. He has earned 30 awards and decorations in Kosovo, Afganistan and Iraq, and was one of the elite fighters called on to patrol the air space over Washington on Sept. 11th.
 
Doctors and specialists from the New York Psychiatric Institute are in the middle of a year investigation, on a $400,00 grant from the NIH, on why gay men have risky sex in Argentina. Researchers visit gay bars nightly and question men about their behaviour and substance abuse.
 
Researchers, operating on a $2.6 million NIH grant, are now training prostitues to drink responsibly, to reduce the womans willingness to engage in risky sex. However, the training is taking place in Guangxi province, China.
 
The Cutting Edge pub initially complied with the 2007 Smoking Act, which prohibits lighting up inside. However, since smoking research is generally caried on indoors, research was exempt from the law. The landlord ultimately renamed part of the bar the Smoking Research Centre and allows patron to smoke provided they fill out questionnaires about their habit. So far neither Britains Home office nor the local council have intervened.
 
Tim Martin was arrested for indecent exposure, after he was spotted standing partially nude with a string attached to his penis, manipulating it like a puppet.

Aer Lingus confirms new Fuerteventura route

Aer Lingus have confirmed that they are introducing a new route to Fuertevenura on thier winter schedule. This will fly from Dublin every Saturday. Tickets are currently selling for around 250e return including taxes. This is in spite of the airline also saying that it was cutting some of its long haul routes.

The airline says the moves are being made to address 'significant losses' generated over the winter period on some routes. Aer Lingus says these are now being exacerbated by 'extremely weak' demand and lower fares.

The airline is stopping Shannon flights to Chicago from September 1, while services from Dublin to Washington and San Francisco are being dropped from October 25. It says the restart of these services in summer next year will be 'subject to review'.

Aer Lingus is maintaining its winter schedule from Dublin to New York, Chicago and Boston, and from Shannon to Boston. The Shannon-Boston route is being cut from seven to four flights a week. But it says the Shannon to New York direct service remains 'under close review'.

The decisions announced today amount to a 25% cut in the number of seats on long-haul routes compared with 2008. One leased plane will be dropped to facilitate this.

Aer Lingus's long-haul business is 100% dependent on the Ireland-US market and it also has to deal with recession in Ireland. It says its fares on US routes fell by almost 20% in the first quarter of this year.

Speaking on RTE radio, Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington cutting out loss-making routes was very important to the company at the moment. He said the airline had earlier this year predicted a 'reasonably significant' loss for 2009, and nothing that had happened since had changed that view. 'Cutting out routes and loss-making operations is going to be beneficial to that,' he added.

On shorter routes, Aer Lingus is to reduce capacity at Dublin Airport from 24 planes to 22 for the winter, though there will be two new routes - to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands and Monastir in Tunisia.

But it is planning to increase frequency on the Shannon-Heathrow service to three flights a day by basing an extra plane at the airport.

In Belfast, the number of planes will be cut from three to two for the winter, with routes to Barcelona, Faro, Milan, Paris, and Rome and Faro suspended. But new services between Belfast and Tenerife have been announced.

Aer Lingus is also adding an extra plane to its Gatwick base. This will increase the number of routes from eight to 14 with additional services to Bucharest, Eindhoven, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Vilnius and Warsaw.

Aer Lingus says pilots and cabin crew are being offered unpaid leave to deal with a surplus in staff caused by today's announcement. It says a broader cost-cutting plan will be announced shortly. 'Once this plan is announced we will commence a process of engagement with staff around the necessity of bringing our cost base into line with that of our closest competitors,' a statement said.

Shannon Airport director Martin Moroney said that while there was disappointment over the loss of the Chicago service for the winter, the retention of other routes and the basing of an aircraft at Shannon to strengthen the Heathrow service was 'extremely positive'.

On a review of the Shannon-New York service, Mr Moroney said that he was confident that the service was sustainable, particularly following a decision by Delta Airlines to suspend its winter service on the route. [www.rte.com]

Grandfather jailed for sexual abuse

The Court of Las Palmas had imposed a nine year prison sentence of a grandfather who raped and sexually abused his granddaughter in Puerto del Rosario. The sexual abuse occurred on a continuous basis between 1998 and 2003, starting when the girl was just six years old. But in January 2008 raped her again, leaving her pregnant. The girl decided to tell her parents on June 18, when she was 23 weeks pregnant, which was then terminated. She had not spoken up earlier because of the shame and fear, and the reaction of her parents. The ruling also ordered Tito Lara Alfaro to pay damages of €27,000 and gave a restraining order for 10 years after release.

Illegal fishing traps found

The Guardia Civil, after months of surveillance in the Strait of Bocaina, between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, seized a number of traps used illegally by poachers that had 200 kilos of fish in them. Three months of investigation and surveillance led the patrol officers to find the forbidden traps. The officials of the Maritime Institute finally managed to detect small buoys, which were difficult to detect because of the immensity of the sea which made them almost invisible. They were able to locate six pots, which were exceptionally large, most of them had a diameter of 7 to 8 meters, with a very tight knit mesh making it impossible for the fish to escape.

All the seized fish were returned to the sea. The pots are a fishing method that has been prohibited in the waters of Fuerteventura for six years, with the goal of keeping stocks up. An initiative that was raised by the fishermen themselves, who understand the uncertain future of their livelihoods if continuing this method of mass fishing.

Girl injured in hotel fall

A girl of 17 was seriously injured, after falling from the third floor of a hotel, located on Avenida de Los Pueblos in Esquinzo in Pájara, according to the Coordinating Center for Emergency and Security (Cecoes) 1-1-2. She was transferred from the local medical facility in Morro Jable to the Hospital Universitario Insular de Gran Canaria, by helicopter, as she was suffering from serious multiple fractures.

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