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6 Gardening News CoastRider CoastRider- Edition - Edition 470 488 - March - July 95thth 2013 Lions helping Alpe at Specsavers Local police in Torrevieja use riot gear The Torrevieja Costa Lions Club are continuing with their support for ALPE, The educational centre for disabled children and young adults in Torrevieja. Specsavers in Torrevieja are holding an open day in aid of ALPE on Wednesday 24th July, with talks on eye care for young and old. Sunshine FM are supporting the event and more details can be found on Sunshine FM. The Lions are also stepping up their collection of used spectacles which they deliver to the Lions spectacle recycling centre near Alicante. To date your local Lions have delivered in excess of 8,000 pairs of used spectacles, which are cleaned, graded and re framed before onward distribution to countries where no eye care is provided. Everyone should get their eyes tested every 2 years, so when you get your new pair of Spectacles, please feel free to drop off your old pairs at Specsavers in Torrevieja. Lets get that total nudging 10,000 this year. ■ PAUL MUTTER In their continuing battle against the sellers of illegal goods in Torrevieja the specialist police unit established to combat this scourge the Grupo de Refuerzo Operativo (GRO) or ‘Men in Black’ turned out recently in full riot gear consisting of helmets, batons and shields. The equipment is very similar to that used by other security forces such as the Guardia Civil or the National Police in dealing with riots on the street except in the case of the Torrevieja group they are not equipped with weapons capable of deploying rubber bullets. There have been several incidents between security forces and the street sellers in the past year including those where chairs from nearby restaurants have been thrown. Defending the action to issue the police group with this equipment the councillor for police in Torrevieja, Agustina Esteve, said they did not need special permission to use the equipment because it is designed to protect the police as a defence and officers from the GRO unit had been attacked with rocks, chairs and sticks by the street vendors on several occasions over the past 12 months. The latest confrontation involved some chair throwing and tension between security forces and the street traders however a full-blown showdown was avoided. At the time officers were trying to clear some half a dozen unlicensed traders from the Plaza de Waldo area. The problem of large numbers of illegal traders has been with the city for some considerable time now and despite the establishment of the GRO and increased action by the security forces the problem refuses to go away. There was talk under the previous councillor for police, Eduardo Gi,l of the local laws on street trading being changed in order to tighten up on the situation but councillor Esteve said the council no plans in the short term to do that. The final demise of Bullfighting When Spain joined the European Union in 1986, many people thought the death knell for bullfighting had sounded. The modernising effect of membership of the bloc would stretch way beyond the confines of the national economy and infrastructure, they believed, to the more ethically questioned area of‘los toros’.But the doomsayers were wrong or at least partly so. The late eighties and early nineties saw something of a resurgence of interest in bullfighting, reflected both in opinion polls and the number of bullfights being staged. And yet, nearly three decades on, the writing really does seem to be on the wall for this tradition; fewer than 500 bullfights will be held this year, compared to 2,700 in 2007.There are several reasons for this decline, however, animal rights, in its truest sense, is not the main one. But even so, when Catalonia banned bullfighting from 2012, it was a huge setback for the pro-bulls lobby. It did not matter that few were fooled by the claim that the regional parliament had backed the ban simply because its members hated the gratuitous killing of bulls. The real reason that banning bulls was above all a political act asserting Catalan identity was irrelevant, the blow had been dealt. Precedents are important whatever their motives and other parts of Spain are either thinking of following Catalonias example, or, in the case of the city of San Sebastin, have already done so. Yet while animal rights and antibullfighting groups are growing, they are not doing so at a rate that would seem to worry your average Matador. What does seem to be increasing is indifference to the national fiesta. With so many other sources of entertainment, who can blame youngsters for staying away? For them, a pastime such as football is more relevant, more international and more sexy. And for a generation that has grown up consuming the unpaid-for delights of the internet, paying 50 euros for a seat in the sun in a city bullring doesn't make much sense. There is little doubt that with the crisis still digging in these high prices have contributed to the bubble in which bullfighting has been surviving. Top matadors are still earning up to hundreds of thousands of euros for appearing at a big fiesta, but the industry is in free-fall. Although Madrid, Seville and Valencia are still hold their big fiestas, it’s the small towns and villages whose bullfighting traditions are disappearing.Given that blood. However, after returning from a life-threatening goring in Mexico in 2010, the matador is appearing mainly at smaller venues rather than in the great bullrings of Spain and Latin America. Now 37, his mantle as bullfighting’s last hope is swiftly fading and only a handful of Toms's peers can be deemed first-class bullfighters. the economy is expected to endure a painfully slow recovery according to the most optimistic forecasts, a bullfighting fight-back looks unlikely if not impossible. It all adds up to a deeply depressing scenario for bullfighting fans: a lack of stars; an economy and public hit by recession; a younger generation distracted by other interests; and an animal rights lobby bolstered by Spain's complex relationship with its regions. All of which is not to say that bullfighting will disappear in the immediate future. Its hard-core support is still vocal, as was illustrated by a recent petition presented to Congress to protect la fiesta by law that bore half a million signatures. But even so, at some point, this centuries-old tradition is going to be put out of its misery. The saviour? Not so long ago, there was a feeling among aficionados that the dominant figure of Spanish bullfighting of recent years, Jos Toms, would single-handedly lead a revival. Returning with a vengeance in 2007 from early retirement, his daredevil style, frequent gorings and enigmatic persona all made him that rarest of matadors: one who made it onto the front pages of newspapers, albeit often caked in

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