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

Canary Islands gets new British consul

Matthew Vickers has taken over from Steve Jones, to become the new British Consul to the Canary Islands. Matthew has decided to make Tenerife his base instead of Gran Canaria, but will carry on with the regular visits to the other islands started by Steve.

Search for Camping areas begins

The Municipality of La Oliva has begun to prepare two or three camping areas for Easter and summer. The selection of the areas depends on enviromental issues and the agreement of land owners, as they don't want camping in public places. Camping in the past has been mostly on the coastal areas, with local authorities turning a blind eye to persons camping on public land. This situation is caused by the lack of official camping sites, which the municipality hopes to rectify.

Paralysed expat appeals for help to return to the UK

A family in the UK is applealing for help so they can fly a Rotherham granddad - left paralysed after a freak accident on Fuerteventura - back from the Canary Islands.
Sixty-three years old Steven Griffiths suffered a broken neck after the accident last November and has been in hospital in Gran Canaria ever since. After two operations he is still unable to move or feel anything from the neck down.

Now his distraught family in Rotherham are desperate to bring him back to England where the grandfather of four would be transferred to the specialist Spinal Unit at Sheffield's Hallamshire Hospital.

Medi Aviation, a York-based medical repatriation company, which specialises in cases like these, have agreed to help the family and is working with them to help raise funds to bring him back home. However, the family are struggling to raise the £22,000 needed to get him home as the they don't hold sufficient medical insurance to fly him back to Britain.

Son-in-law Richard Bramall of Rawmarsh, Rotherham described it as "nightmare situation". He said:

"It's nearly three months since the accident and we just want to get Steve back home to get specialist care. It was a freak accident that has resulted in horrific consequences. Steve was simply helping someone in a wheelchair down two steps when he tripped and broke a bone in his back. Ironically, the accident happened on the same set of steps where the lady in the wheelchair had suffered a similar accident a fortnight previously."

"My in-laws spend several months each year in Fuerteventura and thought they were covered insurance-wise. But one good deed has revealed they were not covered for specialist flights home. My mother-in-law, Roslyn, is obviously still out there in Fuerteventura and is making the trip to Gran Canaria to see Steve every two days. But money is running low and she fears that she will have to return to her home in the next couple of weeks - leaving her seriously-injured husband alone in a far-off country.

"This has been heart-breaking for the family because we feel so useless being so many miles away. We would advise anyone travelling or living abroad to check their insurance cover in fine detail because we would hate anyone to go through what we are going through at the moment."

Fundraising is now underway with a vengeance – Sheffield Steelers have given their support to the campaign and are holding a bucket collection at their game against Nottingham Panthers on 14th February but more needs to be done.

If you would like to contribute or help in any way please contact Richard Bramall on 07878259555 or visit www.justgiving.com/stevensfund website to make a donation.
[www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk]

FEAGA cancelled for 2009

The annual agricultural fair, FEAGA, held oin Los Pozos, will probably be cancelled for 2009. This event is traditionally held in April and is a showcase for the island's agricultural produce a nd farm animals. However the economic crisis has led to the Cabildo cutting budgets and pulling funding from local cultural events such as the FEAGA. It is possible that, like FuerteMusica, the concert held in El Cotillo, the fair may still be held but with funding from private sources instead.

Fishing boats grounded by strong waves

The fishing fleets of  Morra Jable and Ajuy, in the south of Fuerteventura, will remain moored and will not be able to work till the strong surges affecting the island die down. The fishermen have been warned not to go to sea. On the coast the waves are spectacular and are over six meters high. The commercial ports of Puerto del Rosario, Corralejo and Gran Tarajal are operating without problems. To avoid possible accidents, the Local Police of Pájara have cordoned off the entrance to the caves at Ajuy, that are closed due to the strong surge.

Murder charges dropped against uncle

Ivan Perez Gonzalez, who was charged with the death of a baby in Fuerteventura during the trial that was being held against the child's mother and her partner. Iván González, brother of the mother of the baby, has been released after giving evidence. The judge has not taken precautionary measures against the accused and has called for a forensic report to see if there are compatible injuries suffered by the baby, to match with Ivan's version of events. But the court kept the charges against the mother for murder and abuse, and against her partner for the same crimes, although as a case of murder by omission. After Ivans self confession, the couple accused of killing the child, who allegedly suffered continual abuse, were released on the first day of the trial. After the death of the baby the body was examined and bruises were found on various parts of the body, there were several broken ribs and other signs of abuse. At the start of the trial both denied having hurt the child.

The end of overhead cables?

The Cabildo of Fuerteventura and Telefónica are working on an agreement to eliminate telegraph poles and overhead lines. From now on all new lines must be buried underground, and the old ones buried over a period of time. Thus generating a more beatutiful and environmental Island.

Pajara targets tourists from the peninsular

The City Council of Pájara (Fuerteventura) has decided to attract more visitors to the Canary Islands and has signed a collaboration agreement with a Group of Independent Travel Agents in Andorra, Spain and Portugal (GEA). In this regard, the councilman of Pájara Tourism, Blas Acosta, stressed at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) the importance of the agreement with GEA, which includes about 2,000 retailers. Acosta emphasized the need for more emphasis on Fuerteventura as a destination for tourists from Spain, Andorra and Portugal.

Missing woman found drowned

The body of the woman who went missing whilst "swimming" off Lanzarote was found 5 miles from Toston Point, in Fuerteventura. Apparently the woman, of Chinese descent, was washed into the sea by a high wave whilst out celebrating the Chinese New Year with her husband and son. The family live in Yaiza, Playa Blanca.

Kiss Flights start Fuerteventura routes

Kiss flights will start flying to Fuerteventura from 1/4/09. No, this is not an April fool! There will be two routes, one from Gatwick and another from Manchester. The times of the Gatwick flights are not the most convenient, with the outbound leaving at 6am and the return arriving at 2am, but the Manchester times are much more amenable. Looking at their website, prices at off peak times will be around 180 pounds return soaring to around 300 pounds during holiday periods. This at least gives people another choice in getting too and from the island. Take a look at their website for more information.

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