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

Tree Planting campaign proves successful

The campaign for the replanting of trees have produced, according to sources in charge, positive results in the two years that this initiative has developed on a large scale in different parts of the island. According to data from the Biological Station of La Oliva, 80% of the 5,000 shrubs,trees and plants that were planted last year have survived.
Most are located on the higher grounds of the island, in areas such as Velosa Morro and Castillo de Lara, Betancuria, or Pico de La Zarza in Jandia, etc.

Archaeologists study Fuerteventuran sites

Six sites on the island are being studied in order to record them and work out their archaeological potential. The surveys conducted so far, focus on old areas associated with farms and homes, trying to locate ceramics and pottery. Also the structures of houses are recorded in detail, to establish their different uses over the centuries. Early findings of sites studied in Betancuria, show some structures that have had Aboriginal use, then probably used by the first European settlement and then later used for livestock.

Turtles get their chips!

Workers have participated in a class of how to install a microchip into a turtle, both theoretical and practical. The class watched a demonstration on a young of turtle, that was injured off the La Oliva coast. After recovering in the Zoo at La Lajita, it was used to show how to use a hypodermic syringe to insert the microchip without doing any damage or inflicting pain/stress to the animal. The turtle was released after the class. The Council of Environment, with the cooperation of ULPGC, keeps a register of all recovered and microchiped animals that are freed in Fuerteventura. This information appears on a world-wide data base that allows identification where ever in the world.

Weird news from around the world

Baltimore prosecutors were stuck in their case against cult leader Queen Antoinette, whom they charged with the starving of a young boy because the boy's mother refused  to cooperate as she believed the Queen would resurrect her son from the dead. However, she is now prepared to cooperate as she has a written promise that if the Queen brings back her son all charges will be dropped.

A team from the University of Turin had volunteers attach weights of 1.3 to 2.6 pounds to their penis, for 6 hours a day for a six month period and found that the length increased on average by 1 inch.

Police were called to a resaurant where Erik Salmons was allegedlly intoxicated and annoying customers. Officers declined to arrest him but did insist that he call someone for a ride home. However, once home Salmons decided he was insulted at being thought of as intoxicated and drove to the police station and demanded a breath test, which he failed and was arrested.

Howard Sheppard found some bullets on the ground and experimented to see what would happen if he struck one with a metal punch - result shot himself in the arm.

Eric Fortune, nagged his brother into shooting him in the leg. According to the police report he had always wondered what it was like to get shot - result it was so painful that he cried.

Miracle man to visit Fuerteventura

On Thursday, 14th May, Faros Christian Fellowship will be hosting a very special meeting on Fuerteventura.
 
Ian McCormack is a surfer, who was swimming in the seas around Mauritius when he was stung by five box jellyfish.  These are deadly, and Ian subsequently died. 
He came back to life as the hospital staff was about to start the autopsy!
 
In this meeting, Ian will be sharing what he experienced, both as he was dying, and whilst he was dead; and why he came back to life.
 
The meeting will be held at our church building in Corralejo, at Calle Isaac Peral, 32 at 7:30 pm on Thursday, 14th May.
 
Limited help with transport from other parts of the island is available, but needs to be pre-booked.
 
Please contact Gerhard Zierl on 697 470 220 if you have any questions or need directions.
 
Ian has paid for his own air-fares, so we will be taking up a free-will offering at the meeting in order to at reimburse him.
 
Ian is then going across to Lanzarote, where he will hold a similar meeting on Friday, hosted by the Family International Church before returning to the UK.

Tourism Council urges people not to panic over swine flu

The World Travel & Tourism Council has urged the industry not to panic over the growing threat of swine flu.

But the organisation warned that a potential pandemic could be “severe and prolonged”.

The World Health Organisation last night raised its threat level to five out of six, saying that the world is at imminent risk of a swine flu pandemic as there were 331 confirmed cases confirmed in eleven countries, with almost 80 suspected cases in the UK.

The WTTC is monitoring the situation as it develops and is in close contact with the WHO, which is co-ordinating the global response and assessing the corresponding threat of an influenza pandemic.The situation continues to evolve rapidly.

The United States Government has reported 109 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Mexico has reported 156 confirmed human cases of infection, including nine deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (34), Germany (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (3), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8).
To date there have been no reported cases in the Canary Islands.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

Tour Operators cancel Mexican holidays

Major tour operators have cancelled fights to Mexico in light of the outbreak of swine flu.

Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook have all cancelled their services to Cancun and are flying customers already in Mexico back to the UK.

Kuoni has suspended holidays to Mexico but normal booking conditions apply to all departures from May 4 onwards.

"Customers currently on holiday in Mexico are being looked after by our local representative in resort," said the operator.

British Airways is continuing to operate its four weekly flights to Mexico, saying it was up to travellers to decide if their tripl is essential.

The FTO is warning against all but essential travel to Mexico, where the virus has now claimed 159 lives.

A British couple are in quarantine after catching the flu while on honeymoon in Cancun.

Tests are being carried out on around 23 people in Scotland and results are expected later today.

Thomas Cook has cancelled all flights to Mexico for seven days.

Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all flights to Mexico until May 8, and are giving customers going to Mexico between May 9 and 22 the option of switching their holiday plans to a different date or destination.

Those due to travel to Mexico up to May 8 are being offered a full refund without incurring any cancellation charge.

Monarch has cancelled all flights and Monarch Holidays departing the UK for Cancun up to and including May 8.

All customers booked will be contacted and offered an alternative destination, a postponement of their holiday to a later date, or if no suitable alternative can be found, cancellation of their holiday with a refund of the holiday cost.

Monarch customers booked to travel to Cancun between May 9 and June 9 may choose to amend their booking and transfer their holiday to an alternative destination.

Cruise ships are re-routing itineraries to avoid Mexican ports.
[www.travelmole.com]

Holland confirms abolition of flight tax

The Dutch government has confirmed the scrapping of the country’s  flight tax after just a year.

The tax, which was introduced on July 1, 2008 for all passengers who left Holland from a domestic airport, is to be abolished from July 1.

The flight tax for short-haul flights was €11.25, while long-haul passengers were charged €45.

The abolition of the flight tax is one of the measures by the Dutch government to stimulate the country’s economy in these difficult times, a statement said.

A recent survey by SEO Economic Research concluded that the flight tax would account for a 2% year on year decline in visitor numbers.

The survey also found that the Dutch economy would be €1.3 billion worse off because of the flight tax.

The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) said scrapping the tax will strengthen Holland’s international competitive position.

”Accessibility and affordability of Holland as a destination is essential,” a spokesman said.

“Furthermore, the NBTC expects that axing of the flight tax will also stimulate carriers to soon amend their investment plans and commitments in relation to routes and frequencies to Holland that were temporarily frozen.”
Phil Davies
[www.travelmole.com]

Hunters call for a ban on falcons

Cazadores de Fuerteventura and environmental groups oppose the legalisation of falconry in the Canary Islands. According to Martinez Berriel, falconry has never happened in the Canary Islands and it is an unfair method of hunting compared to traditional methods, in addition to endangering native species. Similar views are expressed by the conservation partnership SEO / BirdLife, whose spokesman announced that while not opposing the practice of falconry as a method of hunting, it must take place with a number of conditions i.e. restrictions on which birds of prey are used and that they must come from authorised breeders. Environmentalists also want the birds, if allowed here, equipped with tracking devices in case of escape. Also asking that the practice of falconry is carried out only in authorised places to prevent unintentional hunting of endangered species. In addition, SEO / Bird Life believes that proper training of falconers is carried out.

Water tanks renovated

The Cabildo of Fuerteventura has completed the rehabilitation of over 150 hectares, of Gavi (man made water tanks) in several areas of the island during the past ten months, mostly around the town of Tuineje, along the canyon and in areas of Guisguey. Natalia Evora explained how the Corporation is developing a steady recovery of the territory, especially in regard to the traditional culture such as GAVI, whose maintenance avoids sediment from the hills being carried to the sea, and at the same time to drain the water needed to enrich our island. 

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