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

Profile of a goat farmer

The goat dealer Maria de Pino Hernandez has been milking every day, for the last 14 years. She is one of the 95 women in Fuerteventura work on a goat farm. She started this way of life, to make goats cheese, as the best way to take care of her son at home and still make money. She is following in the footsteps of her mother, who relocated to Gran Canaria, when hard times hit Tuineje 50 years ago. Maria returned in the 1980's where she worked in the hotel trade and city council until falling pregnant. Four months after her son was born she decided to become a goat farmer and cheese maker. She settled in the same region that her mother was born. Maria has to get up at six every morning to milk 74 goats. In her corral, are about 150 more animals, ewes and kids, that do not need milking. When she has finished milking, she returns home to start making cheese for approximately two hours.

Man hurt in motorbike accident

A 42 year old man was taken to hospital after falling off his motorbike between Villaverde and Correlejo. Doctors said his condition was not considered serious but he was suffering from concussion.

Local bar will hold fund raising event

Rogues Gallery are holding a fund raising event for Steven Griffiths on Sunday 15th March from noon til 6pm. Steve has been in hospital on Gran Canaria for 3 months after a fall here on Fuerteventura, and breaking his back. He is not able to move any part of his body, and needs an air ambulance to transport him home. Unfortunately, although his insurance covers the medical bills, it does not cover transprort back to England. Bars are donating prizes for a raffle and an Elvis impersonator will be performing, with the possibility of a guest performance by Derek Mac.

Protest over Internet prices in Spain

An association has been set up to try to lower internet prices in Spain. The Web site, “ADSLmasbarato.com” has the support of ADSLZone.net, Association of Intenautas, ADLSnet.es, Coveralia.com, Elotrolado.net and Tuexperto.com. It invites other associations and individual internet users to add themselves to the initiative. The website explains that Spain has for several years been occupying the last place of Europe for broadband services and that in spite of the promises of the Government, broadband in Spain is “slow and expensive” and the dominant operator (Telefonica) is the most expensive of Europe. Alternative operators to Telefonica have not transferred to end users the wholesale price that was approved by the Commission of the Market of the Telecommunications that enforced a reduction in the fees they pay to Telefonica.

Body of drowned man recovered

The body of a 23 year old male was recovered a few hours after he disappeared while swimming with a friend. They were bathing off the coast of Nuevo Horizonte, in Antigua. Emergency helicopters and lifeboats were all involved in the search and rescue efforts, after his friend raised the alarm.

Carnival Season starts on the island

The carnival season is upon us once again, starting in Puerto del Rosario. About 5,000 people gathered in the 'Puerto Cabras' to watch the making of floating sculptures. The fine weather enticed the thousands of people who packed the promanade to witness the most important event of the festival. The creativity of the participants in their constructions delighted the audience who applauded because of their designs. The floats are made from various things to produce floating carnival grounds doing a tour from the capital of Fuerteventura pier and the beach of Los Pozos, using the basic principle of a ban on using mechanical propulsion systems and the requirement that participants not to rely on boats for the actual construction of the float. Founded twelve years ago the competition has become one of the most popular events of those held in Fuerteventura. For pictures of this event see Surfbum's report.

Islas Airways increases flights

The Islands Airway (Islas) has strengthened its presence in Fuerteventura, by an aircraft being based on the island. An ATR 72 aircraft was based in Fuerteventura last week, which has helped to provide an early daily connection with Gran Canaria. Only a few years ago was very difficult to get tickets to travel to other islands on certain days, or how the connections were very limited at times. The president of the airline, Miguel Concepción, recalled that "it was in Fuerteventura where the first connection to the Islands began several years ago. Over time we have increased the number of services and just a few months ago named one of our new aircraft after Fuerteventura. Islas also signed a collaboration agreement with the Chamber of Commerce in Fuerteventura, so that businessmen would benefit from a discount of 70 percent, including their companions, on the islands routes.

La Oliva prepares for summer

La Oliva municipality is getting ready for the summer! All around the promenades the benches are being replaced with new ones. The beaches have their flag poles, but no flags as yet. Wooden accesses for wheelchairs and baby buggies on the beaches have been laid.

Over half of Brits will book late for summer 09


Over half of Brits will book their 2009 summer holiday at the last minute, according to a specialist travel and leisure marketing agency.

The independent quarterly study, commissioned by BLM Horizon, found 54% of customers will book in April or later.

The number of customers who plan to book their holiday late has jumped by 14% since the same survey was done in September 2008.

Chris Armond, BLM Horizon business director, said: “The effects of the recession combined with the collapse of several airlines and the travel giant XL means consumers are more reluctant to commit in advance to big purchases such as holidays, although they still intend to take a holiday.

“Travel companies that offer protection and inclusive deals may benefit at the expense of those who don’t. Holiday-bookers may also be anticipating further last minute price cuts and are holding off for late deals.

“However, well-publicised reductions in capacity by the main tour operators mean that such deals may not materialise. Travel providers will have to weigh the risks of securing early bookings and investing in the strong consumer intent-to-purchase closer to the summertime.”

The survey also found that:

- 40% of holidaymakers state they will spend less on their holiday plans - an increase of 12% since September.

- 27% will save money by cutting the length of their holiday, 45% by booking cheaper destinations and 43% by choosing all-inclusive deals (43%).

- 70% of British holidaymakers will take the same (or more) holidays this year, down from 83% in September

- 19% state they will take less holidays this year (an increase of 11% since September) and 7% will not holiday abroad in 2009.

The survey was based on 1,000 survey respondents, a mix of package and independent holidaymakers, who travelled during 2008.

BLM Horizon clients include Thomas Cook, Warner Leisure Hotels, Innovation Norway, Tourism Montréal and Kew Gardens.
[www.travelmole.com]

More tobacco smugglers caught

Customs agents at Newcastle airport have seized £280,000 (nearly 200kg) worth of hand rolling tobacco in the last two weeks alone.

Four passengers were detained off a flight arriving from Tenerife and the haul accounted for just under half that amount.
This follows a recent success in Edinburgh when four men were arrested off a flight from Fuerteventura carrying 80,000  cigarettes destined for the black market.
UK Border Agency (UKBA) is determined to crack down on illegal tobacco smuggling, and has noticed a shift in the type of product being smuggled into the U.K.
The Canary Islands, with cheap tobacco prices, are a prime source for smugglers. [www.tenerifenews.com]

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