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

Fuerteventuran children dance their way to fame

Fuerteventura already has 2 child stars of the dance circuit. Azarel and Cirenia, who have already gained 3 international prizes in the dance modules of chachachá and sasla. Soon they will be competing in cities like Barcelona, Cordova and Palencia. They began to dance when they were only 5 years old at the Municipal School of Dance of Port of the Rosary. Now that they have reached the grand old age of 10, they travel every weekend to Lanzarote to perfect their technique. Although still they are very small, both youngsters want to dedicate themselves to dance in the future. At the end of February they obtained 1st place in Madrid in the International Salsa in the City of Fuenlabrada and 1st place in the International Chachachá also at Fuenlabrada. Recently they were placed 3rd for the Chachachá in the European Championship at Torremolinos. During the next few months Azarel and Cirenia will be competing in Almendraejo, Barcelona, Cordova, Palencia and Carceres. Apart from the salsa and chachacha they will also compete in other modules such as the tango, pasodoble, valls, rock and retro (which is a combination of valls pasodoble and tango).

UK Government launches new benefit fraud initiative

The Department for Work and Pensions has extended its successful benefit cheats hotline to the Costa del Sol and Canary Islands following its launch in Alicante in September 2008. The new campaign is called 'We're closing in'.
Residents in these popular ex-pat areas can report suspected British benefit thieves to a local number and their concerns will be passed on by the operator of the hotline to a team of investigators in the UK.
Employment and Welfare Reform Minister Tony McNulty said:
"We are absolutely determined to stop benefit thieves stealing from the British taxpayer. Our commitment extends beyond the borders of the UK. Even in sunny Spain, we're closing in on benefit fraud."
A publicity campaign, 'We're closing in', in the local ex-pat media is raising  awareness of the hotline as well as a dedicated web site where suspected British benefit thieves living abroad can be reported on-line. 
The total cost of benefit fraud committed by UK benefit recipients living in or travelling to countries abroad is an estimated £63 million a year. It involves a range of scams such as people on means-tested benefits going abroad but failing to declare their absence, and individuals working while claiming sickness benefits.
This initiative is part of a growing relationship between Spain and the UK on social security issues that already includes agreements to data-match and share death notifications.
The Spanish benefit fraud hotline number is 900 554 440. It is free and confidential and operates from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. For more detail on what constitutes benefit fraud along with an on line reporting form go to  www.dwp.gov.uk/benefit-thieves-spain

King Juan Carlos to visit Fuerteventura

The commemoration of five centuries of ups and downs and warlike feats of the regiment Infantry Soria 9 will have two important guests, King Don Juan Carlos and Dona Sofia. They will be present to celebrate on 26th May in Puerto de Rosario. The regiment is housed in three towns, Seville, Soria and Puerto, and is the oldest regiment in Europe.

UK Travel firm offers school holiday discounts

A scheme has been launched to keep children in school during term time – by offering cheaper holidays.

Families in Sunderland could save cash through the return of the city's holiday scheme, aimed at preventing children from missing valuable school days.

Sunderland City Council has again teamed up with Hays Travel to run the project, designed to improve attendance rates.

The discount scheme will allow every family living in Sunderland to benefit from 10 per cent off their family breaks, as long as they travel during official school holidays.

A recent Government report showed family holidays as the second most reported reason for school absences in both primary and secondary schools, accounting for 6.2million missed school days.

But, in Sunderland, since the launch of the Hays discount programme in 2004, more than 600 families have saved a total of £95,000.

During the school year 2007/08, the number of school days missed because of family holidays in Sunderland fell by nearly 10 per cent as a result of the campaign.

John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel, said: "Especially during these difficult financial times, many families feel that the only way to enjoy a more affordable holiday is to take their children out of school and to avoid booking breaks during the advised school holidays.

"As a result of our partnership with Sunderland Children's Services, families are now able to book the same holidays at more or less the same price, with the added bonus that their children will not miss out on any invaluable school time.

"If every Sunderland household took advantage of the scheme, then we could find ourselves giving away over £2million-worth of holiday discounts."

Grandparents Harry and Pauline Graham have already taken advantage of the programme for the second year.

Pauline said: "We are thrilled to have saved over £395 by booking our holiday to Fuerteventura during the summer holidays.

"We often take our grandson, Harry, on holiday with us – and, as we'd prefer not to take him out of school, the price usually rockets as soon as mid-July arrives.

"The holiday discount scheme will definitely help many other families to book affordable holidays and it's great that the discount is not just available to parents and that any family member can access it as well."

Every school pupil will receive a holiday discount voucher over the next few weeks, which can be used to get 10 per cent of the entire cost of the family holiday when booked at Hays.

Women only surf holidays launched

A women's only surfing course is being offered by Girle Camps in conjunction with Flag Beach. Girlie Camps offer skate, surf and snow camps throughout Europe. Their customers are girls and women from all over the world. They visit the camps because they want to improve their riding and get to know other girls who share their passion for board sports. Girlie Surf Camps have been around for six years. Starting out in Hossegor-Biarritz France, they have also arranged camps in Spain, Italy, Morocco and will now take the next step in alliance with Flag Beach, Fuerteventura, sometimes referred to as the Hawaii of Europe. For more information see http://www.girliecamps.com/

Fuerteventura voted one of the best tourist islands

The influential QTravel Magazine has given its ‘Best Island’ readers choice award to Gran Canaria. GRAN CANARIA was chosen ‘BEST ISLAND’ by readers of the magazine ‘QTRAVEL’, which targets the modern, trend setting, open minded traveller. Close competition was with Ibiza, Mauritius and Fuerteventura in a magazine that boasts “the best of every place from our own experiences”.

Cardiology Conference held in Costa Calma

The town of Costa Calma has welcomed, the twenty-second regional congress of Cardiology, where some 200 experts will discuss progress and alternatives in cardiovascular treatment. During this congress doctors also hold a workshop in which experts present work with a model of the human body with advanced surgical equipment. Among the speakers at the event is the head of the hospital's cardiology unit of San Carlos de Madrid, Carlos Macaya, an international expert on transplants. Another issue to discuss will be the medical development of the angioplasty or dilation of clogged arteries which prevent surgery.

Credit crunch hits tourist numbers throughout Spain

The latest figures just released by the Spanish airport operators AENA reveal that visitor numbers to Fuerteventura fell by over 25% last month. Whilst it would be easy to blame this on all the Ryanair flights being pulled, the situation was similar throughout the Canary Islands and indeed even worse in some places on the mainland.

Of the main airports on the mainland, Jerez, Valencia and Almeria all suffered drops of more than 30% in passenger numbers and the national average was a 15% decrease. In the Canary Islands, numbers in Lanzarote numbers fell by 23%, in Tenerife Sur by 21% and in Gran Canaria by 19%. It should be remembered that these figures are slightly skewed by the fact that Easter fell in April this year and in March during 2008.

The advisor of Tourism, Águeda Montelongo, said yesterday that “since Ryanair left we have lost a large amount of tourists from Germany and Ireland”. The spokesman also said that they are “to continue negotiations to attract new airline companies to fly to Fuerteventura”.“If tourism fails, we will have closed the door to the Island and we will all have to go away”.

Corralejo Improvements rejected by Businesses

Merchants and businessmen of the old town of Corralejo have publicly announced its rejection of the rehabilitation project of their area by the municipality of La Oliva. The Association of Merchants and Entrepreneurs of the Old Town of Corralejo (Acecavic) criticizes the Council for not taking their views into account and considers the architectural and decorative elements have nothing to do with the image of the old fishing village of Corralejo. The businessmen say the City Council want to convert the old town into a mall, of which there are many all the same. He adds that they are prepared to cope with the inconvenience and economic losses during the inevitable development of the works "to achieve an authenticity that the area has gradually been losing, and that is precisely what the tourists who visit us want. Like all people we wish to preserve our heritage."

Los Hormigas becomes a haven for addicts

The park, Los Hormigas, in El Charco, built to offer residents a meeting place and recreational area has come under attack by locals. This public area was opened in 1995 to coincide with the bicentenary of the capital Fuerteventura. But what was once a place of celebrations, concerts, meetings and entertainment for young people and Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, has become an area of neglect and ruin. One resident stated "No one from the City Council has been here for years. I am convinced that neither the mayor nor the council members know the state of the park or the neighbourhood. The addicts take over the entire park day and night, and as there is no light, the area is unsafe." The neglect of the park has caused all sorts of waste to be dumped there and there is now a major rat problem. Also many of the trees in the park have died from lack of care, and water.

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