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Vol. 1 Issue 19

Your expat

voice in Spain

December 5th - December 18th, 2019

Home run Taxi driver turned local hero after driving from Ireland to rescue his injured friend

DELUGE: More floods in the Costa Blanca EXCLUSIVE By Simon Wade

AN angry mayor has slammed the regional authorities for failing to clear blocked drains that have caused a second round of flash floods in just three months. Furious Los Alcazares leader Mario Perez told the Olive Press the ‘mudfilled drains’ were the reason over 100 local residents had to be evacuated on Monday following torrential rains. It comes less than 80 days since the deadly gota fria downpours left six Continues on Page 4

HE was once an ordinary taxi driver from north Belfast – but these days he gets pestered for selfies and stop ped by people pestering him in the supermarket to call him a 'hero'. All because of a good deed gone viral. This is the story of how 43-year-old Phil Hamilton embarked upon the longest journey of his life – some 4,107kms across six countries – to help his friend in need. It started when the news broke that fellow Belfast local Jim Moore, 58, had gone missing in Benidorm on November 15. Shock quickly turned to desperation as no news of Jim arrived for 72 hours – until a Spanish nurse contacted a friend via an appeal on social media. It turned out he had slipped on the stairs at his Acuarium II hotel complex, needing an urgent ambulance to VillaJoyosa hospital where he was placed into an induced coma.

EXCLUSIVE By Joshua Parfitt

With no documentation on him, nobody knew who he was until a nurse recognised Jim in a local missing person's post. But the ordeal was not yet over as when Jim finally did come round doctors ordered he could not fly for at least three months due to the affect cabin pressure would have on his injuries. “They were very worrying times – and we were absolutely ecstatic when we found out he was in hospital,” Phil told the Olive Press from Northern Ireland, this week. “Phil has been a great customer of my firm 365 Taxis, and I often have a wee pint with him at our pub. “So when I found out he couldn’t fly I joked that perhaps we could send a taxi to Benidorm.

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BIG HEARTED AND BIG FARE: Phil’s trip cost £4,300 “I said ‘that’s the way to do it, all we need is a driver’, and then all eyes were suddenly on me.


T will go down as the hottest decade on record. With temperatures soaring, both on land and sea, global warming has become a major issue for the world. With temperatures about 1.1C above the average from 2010 to 2019, desertification has been spreading, in particular, through southern Spain. The provinces of Granada, Malaga and Almeria are in serious risk, while Murcia and large parts of Valencia are also at risk of semi-desert conditions. The ‘exceptional’ heat around the world was announced by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), as climate activist Greta Thunberg (pictured) arrived in Portugal by boat en route for a key climate summit in Madrid this week. The Swede snubbed an offer of a donkey ride from Lisbon to the Spanish capital, preferring the modern comforts of the train. It would have taken the teenage climate activist more than five days to reach Madrid on donkey back, by which time she would have missed half the summit. She is set to stay in the capital for two weeks, taking part in a huge demonstration this Friday. Temperature rises are close to the 1.5C warming that scientists insist will cause extreme weather and the loss of vital ecosystems in many places. Other impacts include severe droughts, heatwaves and floods across all continents, and over the seas there have also been heatwaves. The findings by the WMO show that this year will be the second or third warmest since records began. So can we save the world? Page 7

“How could I turn around and say no?” No sooner had he left Belfast for the news broke in newspapers around Ireland, the UK and even Spain that he was on his way. A whopping nine days, (82 driving hours) and a taxi metre reading £4,300 (€4,700) later – Jim is now safely home with his family in the suburb of Newtownabbey. “The firm covered all the costs which was a lovely gesture from our directors,” Phil continued. “And we’ve been inundated with messages of support from New Zealand, Australia and America. “People in Benidorm made us sandwiches for the journey home, Brittany Ferries gave us a free passage from Santander to Cork and C&C Motorparts offered a free service on our return. “Our local Indian even gave us a complimentary meal – it’s unbelievable.” He continued: “The story has clearly given people hope. We might fight among each other, but when one of us in need we all gather round, regardless of race, colour or creed. “I think the reason it touched the hearts of so many people is that stories like this turn out pretty bad – and this had a happy ending.”

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NEWS IN BRIEF Hoax GUARDIA Civil have arrested two men, aged 25 and 26, in Madrid on crimes of sexual abuse after they convinced five minors the end of the world was nigh.

Underwater Trade POLICE have busted the ‘world’s first’ transatlantic narco submarine after seizing the 65-foot vessel carrying $121 million of cocaine in Galicia. It had come from Colombia – 4,778 miles away.

Band of brothers FOUR brothers have confessed to burgalaring at least eight homes on the Costa Blanca between 20172018. Two conducted the break-ins, while the others handled sales of stolen goods.

Tracked A CRIMINAL group dedicated to breaking foreign-plated car windows and robbing belongings in tourist towns of Denia, Javea, La Nucia, Los Alcazares, Callosa de Segura, Alicante and Ceuti, have been arrested.

Hidden messages THE crimped skirts, green smoothies and exercise tips look like the pages of any glossy women’s magazine. But read closer, and all is not what it seems. Because accompanying the luxurious images in the fake Artemis magazine are testimonials of domestic violence, support lines and encouragements to denounce partners for abuse. The secret publication was a product of a sixmonth project by Denia’s Policía Local’s Unidad Artemis wing for abused women – and results

December 5th - December 18th 2019 show 24 women contacted the numbers in its pages to begin police action against domestic abusers. The concept was sparked by Denia’s Civil Protection department as they brainstormed how to reach the 80% of women who are killed without having made any prior contact with police. A total of 70 magazines were then distributed among 18 hairdressers, gyms and social spaces in the Marina Alta capital, according to revelations of the scheme made in the wake of last week’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

End of the road THE leader of a human trafficking gang that packed up more than 100 migrants to the UK between 2017-2018 has been jailed for four years in Spain. Judges ruled that Iraqi Shwana Rafiq showed no concern for his victims’ ‘wellbeing’ as he hid them inside refrigerated Britain-bound lorries where temperatures are kept at 4C. Shwana was known to ‘beat’ illegal migrants that suffered panic attacks, the Teruel court heard. The 36-year-old entered a

Booty sniffed

Human trafficking ring made €1 million from sending Iraqis to UK in freezing trucks guilty plea deal, admitting he played a lead role in the international criminal gang that predominantly smuggled Kurds into Britain and Ireland. It was a deal that saw his 14 years behind bars reduced to a shocking four. Police believe Shwana’s gang made earnings up to €1 million from the estimated 100

BRITISH drug traffickers have been rumbled by a Spanish police dog in Benidorm. Two Brits were charged with drug trafficking after a routine patrol of the English square saw a police canine ‘mark’ the boot of the lads’ car. Agents carried out a search and discovered a secret button which opened up a James Bond-like hidden compartment stashed with party pills, hash and a switch blade.

migrants brought into Britain between 2017-2018. The investigation began with the discovery of six Iraqis in the back of a UK-bound refrigerated lorry at a service station near Teruel, central Spain. Four of the six were children. They alerted the unsuspecting lorry driver by screaming for help hours after being hidden in the trailer by Shwana when he broke into it and then locked them inside. The following month, eight Turkish and Iraqi migrants including four children were discovered in almost identical circumstances in a second UK-bound lorry near the same spot. Policia Nacional said: “The members of the organisation

would try to obtain detailed information about the destination of the vehicles and, while the driver was resting overnight, smuggle people into the cargo hold without him realising. “The normal length of stay would be between 30 and 40 hours at temperatures of no more than four degrees Celsius. “The gang was conscious of the risks these sorts of journeys entailed, and they acted with complete disdain for the lives and wellbeing of the people they were trying to smuggle into Britain. “At times they even resorted to hitting those who had panic attacks while they were travelling or giving them drugs to calm them down. “The price people were charged increased considerably if they requested the presence of a smuggler inside the back of the lorry to help them.”

Black Widow

SHE did not plunge the knife into his back, but the ‘black widow of Valencia’ is now facing 22 years in prison over the murder of her former husband in their garage last August. “Kill my husband for me,” is what María Jesus M.C. told her lover as she allegedly invented a story that her husband, Antonio Navarro, was a violent domestic abuser holding her captive. And while alleged killer, Salva R.L., set off to murder Antonio in the early hours of August 16, the mistress and wife of both men was spending the night with a third male lover whom she had been seeing since May, 2017. The brutal tale has shocked Valencia city, where residents have given her the epithet ‘black widow’ after the deadly spider that eats male partners after conceiving. Court papers revealed that Maria Jesus had sexual relations with Salva, with whom she worked in a local hospital, before and after her marriage to Antonio on September 3, 2016. Following a ‘fierce attraction’, Maria, 28, told her lover 20 years her senior that she was having ‘serious problems’ with her husband prone to violent outbursts. Public prosecutors, however, could find no denouncements nor evidence of the abuse. Nevertheless Salva claimed she gave him ‘a need to protect her’ – a need that would result in both plotting the murder of Antonio.

NEWS HE’S been truly lighting up the lives of Malaga residents over the last few months. So it was more than appropriate that Antonio Banderas should switch on the city’s celebrated Christmas lights. The Hollywood star, who was born in the city, has just opened a new theatre in the city. Banderas joined Junta President Juanma Moreno and Malaga Mayor Francisco de la Torre (right) at the

IN SPAIN: For spy drama

Colin on the costas OSCAR-winning English gent Colin Firth is shooting a World War II film on the Costa del Sol, but needs some help. Producers of Operation Mincemeat have put out a casting call for the movie, which sees the King’s Speech star playing the part of a spy. The film, also starring Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald, tells the story of how the Allies foxed Hitler during the war. It came when the navy faked the death of an ‘officer’ in the Royal Marines using the body of a tramp, washed up on a beach in Huelva. The body of Glyndwr Michael was dropped in the sea to be picked up by fishermen, before being handed over to the Germans. The fake plans in his pocket allegedly showed the Allies would launch a major drive against the Nazis in Greece, not Italy. Hitler fell for it and moved 90,000 troops from southern Italy, meaning the Allies faced a smaller opposition force when they landed in Sicily. The incredible case is said to have saved the lives of over 40,000 Allied soldiers. Based on a 2010 book by spy historian Ben Macintyre, filming begins in March along the Costa del Sol and Huelva. See Olive Press online for more stories on Operation Mincemeat

December 5th - December 18th 2019


Name in lights! annual switch on in front of thousands of spectators. Speaking at the event, he said: “This is my city and I will always work for it with all the love from my heart.” It was the first time in recent years that Malaga was without its famous light tunnel, which was this year sold to Liverpool City Council.

Fan of the family Helena Bonham Carter’s grandfather was a Spanish war hero who saved thousands of Jews SHE has become one of the most famous faces on TV screens this Autumn thanks to her portrayal of Princess Margaret in the Crown. Playing the controversial Queen’s sister in the third series of the Netflix drama, Helena Bonham Carter, 53, shows off the perfect regal poise. However, it emerges the actress is almost more a Spanish senorita, than a British one. In a fabulous new documentary, in which she stars, Channel 4 has pieced together the heroics of her Spanish grandfather during the Second World War. Going back to her Spanish roots, we discover that Edu-

ardo Propper de Callejon played a big role in saving thousands of Jews in occupied France. Then based in Paris, the Spanish diplomat defied his government to provide visas for Jewish families to escape into Portugal. In one moving scene, Helena met with Martha Bolinski in Bordeaux, whose family were among those saved by Eduardo, and who went on to reveal that her great-grandfather had gone on to become the founder of UNICEF in America after the war. Eduardo, who was born and studied law in Madrid, died when Helena was just three, leaving her with few memories, so she started her jour-

INTRIGUING: Bonham Carter is inspired by hero grandfather Propper (inset) ney by speaking to her moth- able. conventional war heroes, they er Elaina. “I think he had a great sense didn't fight in any battles or Elaina revealed: 'My father of what people should do in win any medals, but I want was very secretive, with very life. They would have all died to discover what they did for few friends, he never talked if he hadn't done it.' themselves.' about what he did in his life. As Helena herself explains in During the filming, she travHe was very modest because the documentary My Grand- elled to Paris to explore where what he did was so remark- parents’ War: 'They weren't her grandparents Eduardo, grandmother 'Bubbles' and her mother lived in the 1930s. They shared the house with an extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins and while life before the war was harHOW on earth does he do it? monious, when war broke out Despite stiff competition from his usual nemesis Cristiano it was fraught as Eduardo's Ronaldo and, this year, Liverpool’s amazing Virgil van Dijk father was Jewish and at risk (right), Lionel Messi (left, with family) has won the Ballon of the Nazis. d’Or for a record sixth time. The 32-year-old Barcelona star bagged football’s top prize for netting 54 times for club and country over the 2018 to 2019 Punished season. Undeterred he signed visas “Today is my sixth Ballon d’Or. It’s a completely different mofor hundreds of families, who ment, lived with my family and my children,” said the Argenwere able to cross neutral tinian. Spain to Portugal, where they “As my wife said, you must never stop dreaming but always were safe. work to improve and continue to enjoy. I am very lucky, I am Eduardo, who died in London blessed.” in 1972 at the age of 77, went Messi finished ahead of Dutch defender van Dijk, who helped on to be punished for his acLiverpool to beat Tottenham in the Champions League final tions, and sent to Morocco, this year. with a ruined reputation. In third place was former Real Madrid star Ronaldo, who But the demotion had a silver completed a big money move to Juventus this season. lining, because in Morocco Meanwhile American striker Megan Rapinoe, who led the US his Jewish family were out of national team to a second successive World Cup this year, won danger. the Golden Ball award, with England’s Lucy Bronze second.

Another fine Messi



From front page

Flood farce

dead around the Vega Baja region. He blasted Murcia president Fernando Lopez Miras for failing to clear the drains despite a number of urgent requests. “If they are still clogged up with tonnes of dry mud from September, where is the excess rainwater supposed to go?” he insisted. He lashed out as emergency plans led to dozens of homes and families being moved to safety as the streets flooded again. The town centre had to be closed to traffic due to flood waters, while residents with upper floors were told to go upstairs and not leave their homes. Alcazares councillor Maria Jose Lucas made a punchier demand to Murcia on social media. She wrote: “Get your fat asses out of your comfortable armchairs and get to work. “You have no shame, you have no scruples, you have no empathy.”

Mass grave Cops probe gruesome find of strangled and tortured dogs

POLICE have launched an investigation after a shallow grave of dead and tortured dogs was discovered by a local farmer. The Guardia Civil, in Mula, is probing the gruesome discovery of at least four former pets who had been strangled and had their legs tied together. Some of the pets still had ropes tied around their necks, while one, a German Shepherd, had a deep wound in his back which had apparently broken his spine. dogs had been found MORAIRA PLUMBING HEATING The at a finca near the village of Barqueros, when a farmPLUMBING & AIR CONDITIONING SPECIALISTS er spotted what looked like dead sheep near a pile of

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December 5th - December 18th 2019

rubble. He soon realised they were dogs and called in an animal welfare group Paes y Almohadillas Felices to investigate further. When members of the group arrived later on Friday night the dogs had already been buried in four shallow graves, close to the RM-C1 road. “In total we found four pets, two female and two male,” explained Cristina from Paes. “They had clearly been strangled and tortured, pos-

sibly beaten with sticks. “There was clear evidence of brutality and most had blood on their snouts.” Police were quickly called to confirm the deaths and the following day returned to interview the owner of the


My boy’s back! THE father of a British boy has been arrested in Spain after absconding with his son nine months ago. Rafael Jurado-Cabello, from Cordoba, but with British residency, was arrested at Madrid airport after getting off a flight from Mexico with his son Angelo Jurado-Marmolejo. Angelo’s mother, Karol Marmolejo, said being reunited with her nine-year-old boy was ‘the best Christmas present’. The boy’s father has been detained under the terms of a European Arrest Warrant, after a joint operation between British and Spanish police. Det Insp Matthew Lloyd, of Avon and Somerset Police said: “Everyone is delighted Angelo has been found safe and well.”

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have been very vocal in my criticism of commission paying underlying investments in products such as pension transfers or Spanish investment bonds for many years now, with that culminating in Chorus winning major European awards for our steadfast campaigns in both 2018, and again this year. I fail to see the positives of a financial advisor receiving a secret cash incentive for putting their clients into a particular investment fund or structured note. Not only does this dramatically increase the cost of these products for the client, but it also near but guarantees the advisor is not choosing the best product available for their clients. As investors you are already taking a certain degree of risk for that return, and the thought of an advisor increasing that risk to line their owns pockets, with no benefit to their clients, really is stomach churning.

Over the last 5 years I have dedicated many column inches, many radio hours, and many a seminar in my attempts to warn our communities here in Spain about the dangers of such practises. It has been particularly difficult to fight this battle alone, and I’m sure you can all guess why no other major financial advisory in Spain has joined Chorus on this campaign! These practises were outlawed in the UK in 2013, but despite many companies advertising their UK FCA credentials, these companies continue these exact practises with their Spanish based clients, as it is sadly still legal here, even for companies passporting their licenses from the UK. Many been funds many

10,000s of you have already placed into commission paying without your knowledge and others will be unwittingly about

land. According to the welfare group the son of the owner denied that they had killed the dogs, although he admitted they had buried them. An investigation continues.

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By Sam Kelly, DipPFS, EFA, BA (Hons). Managing Partner, Chorus Financial to sign up to a new investment, or pension transfer exposed to these types of practises. It’s also likely that to add insult to injury, the recommendation will include a tie-in of as much as 10 years, with an annual bond fee of up to 0.95%, when exactly the same product is now available through Chorus at 0.25% per annum with no tie-in.

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If you wish to discuss your pensions or investments, without pressure or obligation, please contact me directly on +34 664 398 702 or

Investment contracts are intended as medium to long term investments, and all investments have some level of risk. Figures in our articles are examples of what can be achieved and cannot be guaranteed; the value of your investments can go down as well as up. Fees and charges can vary and will be fully explained to you before any advice can take place. This article should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular product.

Chorus Financial is a trading style of Tourbillon Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Commission (Gibraltar), Licence Number FSC1118B, registered with the UK FCA reference 539348, registered with the Spanish DGS and CNMV Nº Registro Oficial 3214.


NEWS Voted top expat paper in Spain

A campaigning, community newspaper, the Olive Press represents the huge expatriate community in Spain with an estimated readership, including the websites, of more than one million people a month.


We want to be eco-friendly but…

By Heather Galloway in Madrid

AT the drop of a hat Madrid has managed to hustle together an alternative venue for the COP25 summit in record time. And the result is pretty impressive. Eager for the prestige, the capital put out a call for 2,000 volunteers to help set up the conference in a month when it usually takes two years. And the army of eco-helpers are everywhere, handing out goody bags while ironically speaking about the need to consume less over Christmas. “I’m very stressed about it what to do,” said Corina Popa from Romania. “My family is big on Christmas but I’m trying to make it more experience-based, giving things like massages.” Naturally, sustainability has become a buzzword throughout the city with phases like ‘circular economy’ rolling easily off people’s tongues. Yet, still the street outside Primark is mobbed and the traffic on the A6 makes it a daily death trap. “People are lazy about not using their cars,” says volunteer Cristina Gomez. “There’s no excuse. We have a very good public transport system.” Yes, indeed, except disgruntled workers at the Metro had not read the script and called a strike on only the second day of the summit. It meant the majority of COP25 delegates having to travel back to their hotels in taxis. At least Greta got there by sail and rail!

For a friend PHIL Hamilton’s life has turned around. When he set out to Benidorm to pick up his client and longtime friend Jim, all he made was a simple Facebook post to inform families and friends. But the resulting social media storm echoed across headlines around Europe. And the best part is that none of it was intended. A good, honest deed is a rare thing. That’s why the story had such resonance. It also captured hearts because of the people still missing in Benidorm. Phil was quick to mention Philip Pearce, whom the Olive Press reporter is still missing after nearly 3 months. Countless people have helped as selflessly as Phil without making a headline or an anecdote. May his example remind us we can all be a Phil Hamilton in our own quiet way - doing what we do to help someone in greater need.

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The ‘Marques’, the ‘Minister’ and the trade union boss - just three of the 21 senior political figures who turned a billion euros aimed for unemployed Andalucian workers into a ‘reptile fund’ to pay for drugs, fast cars and prostitutes


December 5th - December 18th 2019 CORRUPT: And now in prison (from far left) Employment Minister Francisco Guerrero, the ‘cocaine chauffeur’ Juan Trujillo and CGT union boss Juan Lanzas


VER €25,000 per month on cocaine, €400,000 for a fake chicken farm and thousands on bottomless gin and tonics. That’s just a few of the ways €680 million of embezzled Junta de Andalucia cash was spent Special report during the infamous ERE scandal between 2001 and 2009. by Laurence Expats and tourists to Spain may have come across the term and perhaps heard the odd anDollimore in ecdote on its significance. But few will understand its staggering depths of Sevilla debauchery. Dubbed the ‘reptile fund’ by those in the know, this vast pool of money came from Madrid with severance package from cork production comthe intention of stimulating employment and pany Aglomerados Morel - despite never having aiding ailing companies. worked there. But, in reality, it was illegally syphoned off to pay He later told investigators he thought the money off friends and key enemies of the Socialist-run arriving into his account was ‘a gift from God’. Junta, creating what will now go down as the Another neighbour was ‘fired’ from a bogus biggest public money corruption case in Spancompany that he never worked ish history. for, earning himself a €1,100 a Let me explain. ERE stands for month severance package from ‘Expediente de Regulacion de Like a capo from 2003 until 2013. Empleo’, and is a procedure Deals were notoriously made the mafia, he which allows companies facing by Guerrero with a gin and tonic bankruptcy to fire workers and ruled the roost in hand at his favourite Sevilla receive public funding to underrestaurant, Cabo Roche, and write severance and early retirewith energetic nearby drinking spot El Carament packages. Yes, you’ll have melo. aplomb to read that again. But it was in his hometown of Most of the payments were El Pedroso, in the rolling Sierra made off the books and withMoreno hills north of Sevilla, out any form of public scrutiny and, so far, 500 where he was really loved. people have been probed since investigations began in 2010. Involving seven judges, the tentacles of the scandal are buried so deep that the case had to be broken into 146 different probes. Finally, last month, the highest-ranking former Playing the role of Robin Hood, he garnered the officials finally faced justice. nickname, ‘the Marques’ and showered resiThey included ex-president Jose Antonio Grinan, dents with millions of euros. who was handed six years prison for perjury and The former mayor, he handed out countless earmisuse of public funds. He was also barred from ly retirement packages for locals who had suppublic office for 15 years. posedly worked in the nearby Alquife mine - deHis successor, Manuel ‘Monolo’ Chaves, was spite them never having set foot underground. given a nine-year ban from public office for lying The truth is, almost no-one had. The tiny village to protect his PSOE colleagues during the trial. of 2,000 citizens had only a distillery and a cork They are just two of the so-far 21 ex-politicians extraction plant to rely on for employment. handed prison sentences and bans from polit- But that was all to change, on paper at least, ical life. And it has shocked Spain to the core. when PSOE councillors Jose Rosendo and Jose Sayago set up a fake network of companies listing dozens of local residents taking early retirement. In total, the group was paid around €60 million over five years to do nothing. The ERE scandal began when campaigning Regionally, the reptile fund handed out money judge Mercedes Alaya launched a probe into in a similar way to hundreds of businesses in irregularities in the municipal company Merca- hundreds of towns and villages. sevilla. It included the formation of dozens of language It came after two former directors attempted to schools, IT and marketing companies and orbribe a pair of hotel owners, offering them the ganic fruit and veg businesses. Almost all fake. concession for a hospitality training school for a So brisk was the trade that a separate compacool €450,000. ny was set up in Sevilla to furnish these ‘firms’ Unluckily for them, the businessmen recorded with computers, desks and filing cabinets… and the meetings and handed the tapes over to Ma- even personnel, if none could be found locally drid’s Ministry of Employment, which sent them on the day the inspectors came to visit. to the prosecutor’s office. For that was the deal: you could get a fund of up While the Junta’s then Employment Minis- to €450,000 per firm, which would be delivered ter Francisco Javier Guerrero brushed it off a few days after an official inspection from the as merely a fund which ‘helped businesses Junta. breathe’, Alaya realised there was something As the Olive Press reported a few years ago, a much more sinister going on. truck would arrive with the necessary number of What quickly became clear was that desks and computers a day before the inspecchain-smoking Guerrero was the man with the tion and then return a day later to pack them keys to the safe. away. Looking like a capo from the mafia, he ruled the All you needed was a local office which, of roost with energetic aplomb, this now put down course, was easy to find care of the local Socialto his €25,000-a-month cocaine habit, con- ist-run town hall. firmed by his chauffeur in a sensational court The money would then be spent on various kicktestimony (more of which later). backs to key personnel, family and friends. The He could make anything happen, as long as you vast majority, however, was usually squandered played by his rules, voted Socialist and made on home decorations, foreign holidays and fast sure he got his generous kickbacks. cars, with El Pedroso’s councillors opting for He handed out cash from the fund at will, and family holidays together in Greece and China, literally dozens of friends and neighbours ben- for example. efited. They included pal Jose Llorente, who received a

The Marques

A judge’s hunch

The Minister

It was Guerrero’s so-called ‘co- caine chauffeur’ who offered up the most de- tailed and scandalous testimony. Driver Juan Trujillo admitted to judges h o w he spent at least €900,000 of public cash on cocaine, booze and ‘partying’ at brothels with his boss. He was known a s ‘the Minister’ in his hometown o f Andujar, a tiny hamlet north of Jaen best known for being an epicentre for the recovery of the Iberian lynx. He admitted taki n g €1.4 million in public a i d for business projects which never mater i alised. The grants were given to front companies including Iniciativas Turisticas Sierra Morena and Logica Estrategica Empresarial de Trujillo Blanco. One such business included an a l leged chicken farm, for which he received €450,000. And one of the sacked workers from these firms saw him give €122,468 to his mother. As he IRON awaits his sentence - for more are LADY: set to be handed down - Trujillo is Mercedes back in Andujar with his wife. “He is well groomed, as always,” one local Alaya told a national newspaper, “Like a minister, arrives in fact, and that’s why we call him ‘the Min- at court with her ister.’” trademark suitcase

The Union boss

Another man yet to hear his fate is Juan Lanzas, a leading trade unionist who allegedly pocketed up to €13 million in commissions for admitting companies into the corrupt network. His mother once boasted to locals in their hometown of Albanchez de Magina, in Jaen: “Mi hijo tiene dinero para asar una vaca,” (my son has enough money to roast a cow... essentially, he had money to burn). And she wasn’t wrong, given this true socialist from the UGT union bought 16 properties with his loot and had €80,000 cash stashed inside a mattress. Despite paying €450,000 to be released on bail in 2013, prosecutors are seeking an eight-year sentence in his upcoming trial. Like any corruption case, there are those who have managed to evade the long - and in Spain’s case slow - arm of the law.

A country in crisis However for the PSOE, the recent sentencing could not have come at a worse time, fresh off the back of the fourth general election in four years which delivered the Socialists a very slim majority. The party is in full damage control as it tries to negotiate an agreement with the Catalan separatists ERC. Its saving grace is that neither the leaders of the PSOE or the party itself (at least there is no proof) used any of the money to enrich themselves. The same cannot be said for the infamous Gurtel case involving the conservative Partido Popular which saw millions spent illegally funding the party while its leaders splashed stolen cash on weddings, fast cars and luxury holidays. But while the ERE architects may have been sharing the wealth to residents in a region often ignored by Madrid when it comes to investment and attention, it’s hard not to think what €1 billion could have achieved… and probably considerably more.

December 5th - December 18th 2019



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ADRID is rocking a rainbow vibe The capital can look forward to a green Christmas as activists and dignitaries from almost 200 countries converge as over 20,000 people look at strategies to avoid on the city for the COP25 cliecocide, writes Heather Galloway in Madrid mate change summit. It puts our capital at the centre of the global map for the first two weeks of advent, and let’s hope it provides the best Christmas present for Greta and all! Under a frosty blue sky that somehow seems to bely the global warming issues at hand, an estimated 20,000 participants emerged on Tuesday morning at the IFEMA conference centre where the key decision-making of COP25 is set to take place. But naysayers would have found it hard to deny the signs of climate change after the president of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, took the floor to describe her country’s ‘fight to the death’ when its capital, Majuro, battled a 16ft average swell that washed through its streets. “It’s a fight to the death for anyone not prepared to flee,” she pleaded. “As a nation, we refuse to flee, but we also refuse to die.” Islands such as São Tomé and Príncipe, off the coast of central Africa, are also on the frontline and face floods as often as 10 times a year. Yet visiting African meteorologist Jose Luis was cautiously optimistic when asked about the future. “I think everyone knows that the weather is changing,” he told me outside the summit’s key blue zone, which is hosting the main players during the 12-day UN conference. “If everyone can give the matter real importance, we can achieve the goals. But there needs to be more education.” It can be hard to make people care about climate change, particularly in countries that have so far experienced less direct ‘change’. For some, there will always be more pressing issues, as reflected by the current mayor of Madrid Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida’s thwarted attempt to unravel ‘Madrid Central’ – the restriction of traffic in the central zone implemented by his predecessor, Manuela Carmena. Despite his endeavours to raise emissions, he has welcomed the summit with open arms, and even went so far as to use the EU’s ‘Green Capital’ title. Making the eco-credential claims at the Puerto de Alcalá, he soon found activists promptly intervening to change the word ‘Green’ to ‘Grey’. One critic, Mario Agreda Uzeda, a delegate for CAPAJ, of the First Andean People, insisted the mayor was a fraud. “I took him to task personally over his statement that he would save Notre Dame before he would save the Amazon rainforests,” he told me. “He said he had spoken truthfully but that is his truth, not humanity’s.” Agreda believes that the key to saving the world lies in a system change. “What I am proposing is a collective in Europe and the Americas that would impose fiscal legislation on multinationals, who basically control everything. “The future for Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina looks bleak because they have 87% of the world’s lithium and 80% of its fresh water. “The fight is going to be over these commodities and the local Indian communiUP AGAINST IT: From top to bottom, protestors at the COP25, ties will be displaced as a consequence.” including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg A system change seemed to be what the new President of the EU Commission, Urand Spain can play an important role in “She has been a leader that has been sula von der Leyen, was suggesting when getting behind the Chilean COP25 presiable to move and open hearts for she laid out the plans for the first ever Eudency to push the agenda and increase many young people and many people ropean Climate Law to be put forward in ambitions but so far we all over the world,” Schmidt said adMarch that would make the are not seeing that.” dressing the summit. transition to climate neuOf course, there is still “We need that tremendous force in ortrality irreversible. time for Europe to raise der to increase climate action.” A leader that “In 10 days from now, the the ante, a speciality of Her presence, which is expected to be European Commission has been able to Swedish teen activist felt by Friday, could be the magic ingrewill present the European Greta Thunberg who was dient that will nudge the politicians into move and open Green Deal,” she stated set to arrive on Wednesmaking commitments that will mark a boldly on Monday. “Our hearts for many day after hitching a ride before and after – a point of no return goal is to be the first cliwith an Australian couin the best sense of those words. young people mate neutral continent by ple on their catamaran Taking a stroll around the green zone 2050.” over the Atlantic. for eco-enthusiasts plugging sustainBut Greenpeace climate Thunberg’s role in the ability with workshops, etc, etc, this specialist Tatiana Nuño said more conrecent surge of global warming awareweek, there was definitely a sense of crete timeframes and figures were needness was recognised at the summit by how and what will incorporate the ‘the ed. Chile’s environment minister Carolina new world’. “The first day was filled with words exSchmidt who is heading up the Chilean One thing for certain, as the decade pressing good intentions but there is an presidency while the country’s president proves to be the hottest on record, that enormous gap between the words and Sebastián Piñera sorts out conflict back needs to start from next year. And uractions,” she tells the Olive Press. home – ‘not unrelated’, as Nuño points gently. “Europe has a chance to lead. Europe out.

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- WATCH: Terrifying shootout ‘on the streets of Marbella’ goes viral… but is all what it seems? (14,410) - Spain’s Malaga swelters in winter heatwave (and it continues until Sunday (10,817)

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Justice at last

IT is the biggest public money scandal in Spanish history, estimated at nearly €1 billion. Now, finally, two former Andalucia leaders are heading to prison banned from office for their linksand to the disgraceful ERE scandal. Ex-Junta president Jose Antonio Grinan has been sentenced to years jail and banned from office six for 15 years, while predecessor Manuel Chaves has been banned from office for nine years. The pair oversaw the scheme, which saw the shocking theft of at least €680 million - dubbed the ‘Reptile fund’ - meant to go to companies in trouble and to stimulate employment. A further 17 politicians and businessmen who worked with the Junta received a total of 86 years in prison between them, a Sevilla court has ruled.


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Bewitched by fairytale Ronda Y

OU don’t have to be writing the next award-winning novel or screenplay to appreciate Ronda, but it helps. Artists from Ernest Hemingway to Orson Wells – both commemorated with busts in the town – have made pilgrimages to Ronda for centuries in search of artistic inspiration. And it’s easy to see why from the moment you begin your journey here in the south east – just outside the town’s walls. For this is the only place you should begin your trip to Ronda. To really understand this historic medina, you have to first leave it and start again outside the town’s walls. From this vantage point, Ronda – dripping with history – perches monumentally above the olive and auburn countryside it overlooks. And through winding dirt tracks by ramshackle farms tended by shepherds with crooks in the shadows of the fortress and up stone steps towards the town, you catch a glimpse of the mythic beauty that transfixed so many artistic geniuses. So stunning is Ronda’s puente nuevo, bridging the canyon the town is built over, that Germany’s most famous poet, Rainer Maria Rike, credited his stay at the Reina Victoria hotel overlooking the ravine with curing his writer’s block.

This picture-perfect mountain town has charmed many an artist in time past and many famous people recently yet still retains its mythical appeal. Robert Firth shares the magic


Around almost every corner is tucked a stunning church, immaculately preserved historical ruins or a viewing point over postcard landscapes. If entering the town the proper way from the south, a stop-off at the Arab Baths is almost obligatory. Indeed passing through the exceptionally well-preserved 13th century hammam was mandatory for visitors to the Muslim medina when the town was a stronghold of the Emirate of Granada. It was one of the last places to fall to Catholic rule. After the conquest, its remote location in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park made it a refuge for Muslims fleeing per-

RECENT VISITORS: J.K Rowling, Anne Hathaway, Gordan Ramsay, Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and Ricky Gervais

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It’s time to head to the hills for a classic winter break... our six-page Ronda special gives you the inside track

This included eight years for former Employment minister Javier Guerrero, who helped set up the scheme which embezzled money from 2000 to 2009. The bent politician was particularly guilty, having set up two bogus companies with his former driver - dubbed the ‘Cocaine Chauffeur’ defrauding over €700,000 betweenthem. The pair are said to have spent much of their afternoons spending the THE new money taking cocaine with prostigovernment is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030, its tutes at brothels near Sevilla. The final 1,700-page report, issued new minister for climate change by a panel of judges, announced that has revealed to the Olive Press. 13 of those accused received six to John Cortes told this paper how eight years in prison while all have despite the challenge, a Green been banned from public office for at Gibraltar is ‘realistic’. least 10 years. “I have never said it’s not a chalA further three, José Antonio Vi- lenge,” Cortes said. era, Francisco Vallejo and Carmen “I think Martínez-Aguayo were also minis- changes we have to make many in the way that we all ters. behave but I think it is possible In a major embarrassment for PSOE party, Chaves and Grinan the to achieve it. led “In some African countries the Junta for a combined 23 years, it’s already illegal to even import two thirds of the regional parliaa plastic bag or carry one with ment’s history. you.” The pair had been icons of the party, He called the Climate Change while Chaves went on to become minister in both the Spanish govern-a portfolio ‘overarching’ after dements of Felipe Gonzalez and Jose claring a Climate Emergency. Luis Zapatero. “All areas of government work The pair had overseen the set up will be influenced by commitof the €855 million slush fund, intendments to climate change,” he ed for retired and unemployed work- said. ers and struggling companies.

To the future


Rock to be carbon neutral by 2030 as new initiatives set to be launched

EXCLUSIVE By John Culatto

“I have to drive that very, very hard to make a real difference in everybody’s work and life patterns.” With New Harbours industrial estate already draped in solar panels, he is hoping to unveil whole raft of renewable energya projects in the next few months. “I think that society now has ‘hydrofluorocarbon’ (HFC) by clear picture of what we have toa 2047. do,” Cortes concluded. According to the Environmental “With the support of govern- Investigation Agency, ‘hydroments, together with NGOs and fluorocarbons, are super greencrucially with businesses, we house gases, manufactured for will achieve the carbon neutrali- use in refrigeration, air condity we need.” tioning, foam blowing, aerosols, It comes as the Kigali Amend- fire protection and solvents’. ment to the Montreal Protocol Unlike most other gases, these was extended to Gibraltar by the substances are ‘intentionally produced’. Government. The amendment “I am delighted that this amendto the glob- ment to the Montreal Protocol al agreement, has been extended to Gibraltar,” which was made Cortes added. in 1987, calls “This is one of the steps we needon countries to ed to take in order to continue to reach an 80% conform to international enviBASED reduction in the ronmental standards even when c o n s u m p t i o n we leave the European Union. of dangerous “I am grateful to DEFRA in the greenhouse gas UK for their support and their work on this and look forward to

EXPERT: John Cortes

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JAILED: Grinan and Chaves

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scandal in Spanish hisIT is the biggest public money tory, estimated at nearly €1 billion. leaders are heading Now, finally, two former Andaluciafor their links to the to prison and banned from office disgraceful ERE scandal. Grinan has been Ex-Junta president Jose Antonio banned from office for sentenced to six years jail and Chaves has been 15 years, while predecessor Manuel banned from office for nine years. saw the shocking The pair oversaw the scheme, which the ‘Reptile fund’ theft of at least €680 million - dubbed and to stimulate - meant to go to companies in trouble employment.


who worked A further 17 politicians and businessmen 86 years in prison bewith the Junta received a total of tween them, a Sevilla court has ruled.Employment minThis included eight years for formerset up the scheme ister Javier Guerrero, who helped to 2009. which embezzled money from 2000guilty, having set up The bent politician was particularly driver - dubbed two bogus companies with his former over €700,000 bethe ‘Cocaine Chauffeur’ - defrauding tween them. of their afternoons The pair are said to have spent much with prostitutes at spending the money taking cocaine brothels near Sevilla. by a panel of judges, The final 1,700-page report, issued received six to eight announced that 13 of those accused banned from public years in prison while all have been office for at least 10 years. Francisco Vallejo A further three, José Antonio Viera, also ministers. and Carmen Martínez-Aguayo werePSOE party, Chaves In a major embarrassment for the 23 years, two and Grinan led the Junta for a combined history. thirds of the regional parliament’s while Chaves went The pair had been icons of the party, the Spanish governon to become a minister in both Luis Zapatero. ments of Felipe Gonzalez and Jose up of the €855 million The pair had overseen the set and unemployed workslush fund, intended for retired ers and struggling companies. 2001 and 2008 Under Chaves’s presidency betweeninto the fund. more than €576 million was diverted Mercedes Alaya first It is now nine years since judge 200 companies and began investigating the more than dozens of politicians. across an amazA total of 507 people were investigated ing 146 separate probes. ‘expediente de The scandal is named after the so-called which means a collecregulacion de empleo’, or ERE, which need to tive dismissal procedure for companies downsize. were made to allegHundreds of illegal ERE payments severance payments to edly struggling firms to make exist, the probe dislaid-off workers, many who didn’t covered. companies and friends Millions were also handed out to described as ‘totally via grants which prosecutors opaque’. the ERE scandal in The Olive Press first revealed about believed to have was billion €1.3 of total a 2015 when over a 12-year pebeen embezzled by corrupt officials riod. year, we revealed how In a front page report in May, that ministry were behind employment the at 16 politicians the scheme. the fund as long President Chaves was warned about about bogus redunago as 2004 by a union complaining who did not exist. dancy payments to miners in Huelva newspaper El Mundo, In a letter published in national people had ‘not been the group complained that theseoutside’. near the mine, neither inside or

double the price - and then Police called after expats charged a meal at Wok restaurant assaulted - for failing to finish EXCLUSIVE By Simon Wade

in A BRITISH couple have called police after being charged DOUBLE for a meal they thought was below standard. Expats Wayne Clarke, 34, and partner Natalie, were left stunned after staff at Wok Asia 5 restaurant also then physically and verbally abused them. The pair told the Olive Press they were ‘assaulted’ for merely refusing to pay for four people when the only two of them had eaten at Zebuffet-style restaurant, in La nia. “The food was over-cooked and dry and appeared to have been heated up from the night before,” is explained Clarke, a builder who originally from the Midlands. bill “But when we asked for the they charged for four people, and

end of the we However, that wasn’t the at 3am, the when questioned said it was because saga, as later that night, believe was had left food on our plates! but couple awoke with what they “Obviously we refused to pay double, food poisoning. two.” their experience they wouldn’t accept paying for start- It is also apparent that To make matters worse, when they and isn’t unique, as online reviews give simied to leave the staff got aggressive larly low opinions. Asia 5 is rated started shouting at them. by the On Tripadvisor, Wok “The owner’s son grabbed my wifeus,” he 42nd out of 45 restaurants in La Zenia, bearm and shouted abuse at both of with all but one of this year’s reviews stars. continued. luck- ing rated with one or two garbage ever “I then called the police, who were Comments include, ‘Worst no wonder ily on the scene quickly.” told the presented with’, ‘Dreadful, Police backed up the couple and of the it was empty’ and ‘Horrible food, very restaurant staff to accept the offereaten’. rude waitress’. has one word of 16/06/2017 couple paying for ‘what they had 1 Clarke15:36 Untitled-1.pdf Understandably, the report readers, “AVOID!” “While they told us we could and go advice for Olive Press assault, we just wanted to pay home,” added Clarke.

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November 21st - December 4th, 2019

How a Cartagena naval officer’s ‘land of submarines’ made waves around the world

see pages 12-13 JAILED: Grinan and Chaves finally face crimes

Justice at last


IT is the biggest public money scandal in Spanish history, estimated at nearly €1 billion. Now, finally, two former Andalucia leaders are heading to prison and banned from office for their links to the disgraceful ERE scandal. Ex-Junta president Jose Antonio EXCLUSIVE By Simon Wade Grinan has been sentenced to six years jail and banned from office for 15 years, while predecessor A BRITISH couple have called in Manuel Chaves has been banned police after being charged DOUBLE for a meal they thought was below from office for nine years. The pair oversaw the scheme, standard. which saw the shocking theft of Expats Wayne Clarke, 34, and partat least €680 million - dubbed ner Natalie, were left stunned after the ‘Reptile fund’ - meant to go to staff at Wok Asia 5 restaurant also companies in trouble and to stim- then physically and verbally abused them. ulate employment.

Police called after expats charged - and then assaulted - for failing double the price to finish a meal at Wok restaurant





arm and shouted abuse at both of us,” he continued. “I then called the police, who were luckily on the scene quickly.”

The Proven Path to Success

couple awoke with what they believe was food poisoning. It is also apparent that their experience isn’t unique, as online reviews

give similarly low opinions. On Tripadvisor, Wok Asia 5 is rated 42nd out of 45 restaurants in La Zenia, with all but one of this year’s reviews being rated with one or two stars. Comments include, ‘Worst garbage ever presented with’, ‘Dreadful, no wonder it was empty’ and ‘Horrible food, very rude waitress’. Understandably, Clarke has one word of advice for Olive Press readers, “AVOID!”

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Dear me. What has happened to a once proud people? Heath Savage, Galicia


Take their passports away. Sandra Russell, Malaga

Name and shame

These punishments are far too low. They should be named shamed fined and banged up. Once the public get the message, it should decline. banning Alcohol for millions of well behaved punters is not the answer. Michael Bath, Malaga


The English are the only nationality that can’t handle their alcohol intake. Jacqueline Ridgwell, Andalucia

Has anything piqued your interest in this week’s Olive Press? Have your say on the matter by emailing letters@ or message us on at or Twitter @olivepress


for Spanish residents

Pauline Laverick, Torrevieja

In-soup-erable Am enjoying my first copy of The Olive Press available in my area - Villamartin. However, on doing the crossword was stumped by 1 across - thin soup. Decided to look at the answers and was stunned by BROTH. A very thick Scottish soup! My husband and I were much amused. Winnie Hall, Villamartin

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I have just collected the second issue of your Costa Blanca South ediThree tion. Wow, at last a real Kings NEWSpaper, with naclean tional as well as proper up local topics! You are the only paper who has reported on the Ciudad Quesada issue, finally putting to rest all the rumours and gossip that have been circulating regarding the abysmal rubbish collection which has been the biggest item of contention here just recently. I trust you will go from strength to strength - you certainly put to shame certain other papers who claim to report news but which merely consists of reports of charity functions which have already happened (and how tired I am of those!). Maybe being a fortnightly issue gives more power to your elbow. Keep up the great work. Janet Kilbourne, Ciudad Quesada. JAILED: Grinan and Chaves finally face crimes

Justice at last

IT is the biggest public money scandal in Spanish history, estimated at nearly €1 billion. Now, finally, two former Andalucia leaders are heading to prison and banned from office for their links to the disgraceful ERE scandal. Ex-Junta president Jose Antonio Grinan has been sentenced to six years jail and banned from office for 15 years, while predecessor Manuel Chaves has been banned from office for nine years. The pair oversaw the scheme, which saw the shocking theft of at least €680 million - dubbed the ‘Reptile fund’ - meant to go to companies in trouble and to stimulate employment. A further 17 politicians and businessmen who worked with the Junta received a total of 86 years in prison between them, a Sevilla court has ruled.


November 21st - December 4th, 2019

How a Cartagena naval officer’s ‘land of submarines’ made waves around the world

see pages 12-13

IT’S ON after years of complaints about perceived under-spending, Rojales Town Hall promises €600,000 will be spent in Quesada

This included eight years for former Employment minister Javier EXCLUSIVE By Simon Wade Guerrero, who helped set up the scheme which embezzled money from 2000 to 2009. TOWN hall bosses have The bent politician was particular- the Olive Press that workspromised to clean ly guilty, having set up two bogus up Ciudad Quesada will begin in the companies with his former driver new year. - dubbed the ‘Cocaine Chauffeur’ Finance councillor, Fernando Lo- defrauding over €700,000 be- renzo, admitted much work needed tween them. to be done and blamed the The pair are said to have spent the serious flooding this delay on autumn. much of their afternoons spend- But he promised the instructure ing the money taking cocaine with improvements would begin on Janprostitutes at brothels near Sevil- uary 7. la. In total, €600,000 will be spent The final 1,700-page report, issued on resurfacing the roads, by a panel of judges, announced pavements as well as widening improving that 13 of those accused received parking and lighting. six to eight years in prison while “It will be the perfect welcome to all have been banned from public Quesada,” he told the Olive Press office for at least 10 years. this week. A further three, José Antonio Vi- The move comes after years of era, Francisco Vallejo and Carmen claimed neglect by locals, who comMartínez-Aguayo were also minis- plained of bad lighting, poor paveters. ments and a lack of events and enIn a major embarrassment for the tertainment. PSOE party, Chaves and Grinan This week an Olive Press investiled the Junta for a combined 23 gation also found problems with years, two thirds of the regional overflowing bins and neglected play NEGLECT: Overflowing bins in Quesada parliament’s history. parks, as well as serious issues with It believes around 19,000 foreignThe pair had been icons of parking. the ers are NOT officially registered Lorenzo continued. party, while Chaves went on to “We could have more of everybe- However the town hall insists that and this leads to considerably come a minister in both the Spanmuch of this could be down to less thing.” the national funding. huge number of expats who have Continues on Page 3 “Imagine the funding we would failed to register on the Padron. have to spend if they all registered,” You Register, we Spend, See investigation on page 4

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National shame

The pair told the Olive Press they were ‘assaulted’ for merely refusing to pay for four people when only two of them

A further 17 politicians and busihad eaten at the bufnessmen who worked with the fet-style restaurant, in La Zenia. Junta received a total of 86 years “The food was over-cooked and in prison between them, a Sevilla dry and appeared to have been heated up from the night before,” court has ruled. explained Clarke, a builder who This included eight years for for- originally is from the Midlands. mer Employment minister Javier “But when we asked for the bill they Guerrero, who helped set up the charged for four people, and when scheme which embezzled money questioned said it was because we Police backed up the couple and from 2000 to 2009. had left food on our plates! told the restaurant staff to accept The bent politician was particular- “Obviously we refused to pay dou- the offer of the couple paying ly guilty, having set up two bogus ble, but they wouldn’t accept for paying ‘what they had eaten’. companies with his former driver for two.” “While they told us we could report - dubbed the ‘Cocaine Chauffeur’ To make matters worse, when they the assault, we just wanted to pay - defrauding over €700,000 be- started to leave the staff got aggresand go home,” added Clarke. sive and started shouting at them. tween them. However, that wasn’t the end of the The pair are said to have spent “The owner’s son grabbed my wife saga, as later that night, at 3am, the by the Continues on Page 5

BOTTOMS UP! Get educated

Please pass my gratitude to Jack Gaioni for the very interesting and illuminating article (In the Land of (Spanish) Submarines, Issue 331, pgs 12-13). As stated the Peral submarine (above) was designed in 1884 motors but no electric a political It had lly, as essentia EU, 1888. not launched sees theuntil Moore but was Rose The at sea. 7). The e is now pgsubmarin batteries 325, the proud, Issue of charging meanship (Leave and dictators . states, a Naval Cartagen 28 sovereign d in areMuseum preserve . There opposite is the reality as a former dedebacle, submarin to become g the ly echose Regardinthe which voluntari UK,modern including the importance well full know I vehicles ter underwa of would UK signer the that believes Dunne Steve d. associate paramount is ofto article the in stated as which control weight of going not I’m so. Not terms. fair better on WTO design. e submarin in ce importan and chapter page by quoting an even earlier pair of weigh down your letters a follow-up dothat like tond Mr Gaioni looks into the a. These Steve on recomme but Imight verse, l in Barcelon Monturio Narcis bythat designed es submarin Trump That knows. for he industry any of specifics sponge fishing and intended es submarin ial were commerc UKinshould EU-free an with deal trade a trying to get is research 1859 and was launched was I, Ictineo first, . His deals in 1865 trade Trump’s know:Ictineo you want you all tellhuman launched II, was second, . Histo powered for propulspeaks Brent Mahler Finally,provided labels. have the steam heat for reaction a chemical andUS-first forcelife, an inEU armed of an wary was UK citizens of and to sustain number a sion oxygen a by product boiler ideas , these years ahead many closer union. andare an ever and for the time systemHowever advanced credibly by specific floated design. people and not EU policy. I am of Peral’s years of proinsidious good work. thekeep up the40-plus and more regardsat Bestworried the EEC/EU by the Mail, Telegraph, Gandia. against paganda Joe Jackson, didand feedwords kindWhat yourSun. forThe course, veryofmuch youand, Times Ed. Thank Express, so an- ol and he was Monturi to look why Narcis starting askedinto amwhen he was back. Isay Murdoch conside strongly into ring a I go submari of: “When linesam the and his Ictineo g alongnes Somethin ti-EU? credit, has theirThe to Press, Olive The EU.” article. the up to go I follow when say: I what do they 10 No. Spanish known little these to e receptiv been ent! always appointm an for ask to had implication is that he vignettes. Jack Gaioni


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other international agreements on environment being similarly extended to Gibraltar in the coming months.” Meanwhile, the minister also hopes to continue to raise standards in the culture portfolio he took over from Steven Linares. “I will improve the way we record and archive our culture, including our cultural heritage and promoting our culture outside Gibraltar,” he added. As a dramatist, one of his main tasks will be to create a new national theatre at John Mackintosh Hall over the next two years.

LEAVERS: Trio of Brits in Spain

Readers react to revelation 75% of incidents on flights to Alicante Airport caused by British travellers (Brits Behaving Badly, Issue 18, p. 17).

Why are we waiting?



Down 2 Member of the Mob (7) 3 Farewell (7) 4 Snow sportsperson (5) 5 Glitter (7) 6 Move slowly (5) 7 Smallest (5) 13 Prolific (7) 14 Set off (7) 15 Devour (7) 17 Take as one’s own (5) 18 Dogma (5) 19 Collection of maps (5)

All solutions are on page 22



December 5th - December 18th 2019

Point of no return We must all do better and stop ‘bragging’ about who is ‘doing more’ insists Spanish minister

Reporters Simon Wade and Joshua Parfitt

Your reporters, here to help on the Costa Blanca Contact them with any stories or news on 951 273 575 or email (Personal contacts on page 6) The


Your expat

voice in Spain

SPAIN has scolded countries for ‘silent complicity’ in the global environmental crisis as a key climate summit launched in Madrid. Environment minister Teresa Ribera warned nations not to treat the COP25 summit as a trade fair, to ‘brag about who is doing more’. The pivotal environmental conference comes as world leaders try to agree on concrete action to ensure that a 1.5 to 2 degree temperature rise agreed at the Paris Climate Summit is kept to. The conference kicked off with UN leader Antonio Gu-

terres warning the planet had reached a ‘point of no return’. It is vital to establish a common time frame for countries to implement climate commitments, and resolve the issue of international carbon markets. That issue is the only one which delegates failed to agree at last year’s COP24 in Poland. As part of the Paris accord, signed in 2016, countries volunteered to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. However, many major countries are not on track to re-

Journey of a lifetime

Life’s a beach

TWO beaches have been washed away by torrential gota fria rains in Denia – and with them €110,000 of public money. At the end of November, Spain’s Directorate-General for Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea decided to dump hundreds of tonnes of sand onto stretches of Les Deveses and Les Marines, two beaches popular with second homeowners and tourists. The projects went ahead despite forecasts last week predicting a freak weather event due just days later. Denia Town Hall reportedly criticised the decision as it was almost certain the sand ‘would rapidly disappear’. And now Santa Anna beach, which lost €65,000 of sand, and Blay Beach, which lost €45,000, are back to square one.

enErgy promise For all your local advertising needs please contact our Sales Manager Charles Bamber 0034 661 452 180

duce their emissions and even if they were the world would still warm by well over the 2 degree limit. Since 2016, the USA, which

SPANISH energy company Endesa will splash half of its investments on renewables in the next few years. The gas and electricity firm will invest €3.3 billion in green energy over the coming three years totalling €600 million in 2020, €1,000 million in 2021 and €1,400 million in 2022. The company’s green transition is part of an agreement with the Spanish government to provide 900 megawatts (MW) of the mainland’s energy. The Italian-owned energy supplier is investing €6.3 billion in Spain over the next three years, almost 15% more than it originally planned to.

THE world’s most famous teenager, Greta Thunberg has arrived in Madrid as she makes her way to the crucial COP25 climate summit in Madrid. The 16-year-old Swedish activist crossed the Atlantic to Lisbon, before getting the train to Madrid, where she is expected to deliver one of her impassioned speeches. She crossed the ocean on the La Vagabonde catamaran with several crew, including her dad Svante and British sailor Nikki Henderson. Thunberg joins Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and other world leaders at what could be the most important climate event ever.

is the second largest producer of CO2 emissions in the world, has begun withdrawing from the agreement. Meanwhile, Brazil’s new president has accelerated destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The world’s biggest rainforest currently absorbs 5% of the world’s CO2 emissions every year. The forest recycles its own water to produce the same rain which falls on it. If over 25% of the forest is destroyed, scientists say it will stop producing its own rain and become a savannah, causing world Co2 emissions to balloon. Over 20% of the Amazon is already gone. “It has not been easy to work with Brazil on this subject in recent years,” said Ribera. She added that losing the Amazon would cause a ‘carbon bomb’ for the world. “Sadly, those making progress get criticized more than the people who stay silent,” added Ribera, who headed France’s Institute for Sustainable Development prior to her current role. Spain stepped in to host the climate summit after massive protests against inequality in Chile forced the South American country to pull out of staging it. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg arrived at the summit last night having landed via catamaran in Lisbon on Tuesday morning. Her arrival in Lisbon coincided with the release of a bleak report by the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization, which warns that the past decade is almost certain to be the hottest yet recorded.

YOU Sick hunt A HUNTER has been filmed dragging a dog along the road by its neck after allegedly beating her to within an inch of her life. The shocking footage was taken in Galicia, with several witnesses reporting the man having shot his dog to cops. In the video the hunter, from Lugo, can be heard saying he can ‘shoot whoever the f**k he wants.’ The dog, who had just given birth to six puppies, had a bullet wound and serious injuries to the skull. She is being treated at the Rof Codina animal hospital, while her puppies have been taken into care, according to NGO Mundo Vivo. The man could now face up to 18 months in jail and receive a €30,000 fine if prosecuted.

Rubbish figures A NAUSEATING 84% of all household waste is dumped into grey, mixed recycling bins in the Valencian Community. Valencians threw out 493kg of rubbish per person in 2017, meaning each citizen dispatched 414kg to landfill – or 4-6 times their body weight – according to new figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). The meagre 16% of waste recycled at the point of disposal was two-thirds of the national average, at 23% The figures also contrast wildly with other European Union countries. Austria, Germany and Belgium lead the league tables, recycling 63%, 62% and 58% of all household waste, respectively. However he country still does better than Bulgaria and Romania, which recycle 0% and 1% of their trash.


go S - p m to p ain ag ro ’s az pe in rty e

Tip Top

Issue 35

December 2019


NEW WAVE: Spain’s architects have had a busy and creative year... see pg IV

BREMAINERS THE Brits may be leaving the EU but they are certainly remaining when it comes to Spain’s property market. That’s what the latest figures from the country’s notaries suggest, with stubborn Brits continuing to dominate the foreign investment market in the first six months of 2019. The positive figures come despite the ongoing economic uncertain-

British buyers aren’t going anywhere when it comes to property in Spain

ty driven by the UK’s imminent departure from the bloc. In Andalucia, home to Malaga and the Costa del Sol, Brits made up 25% of foreign sales in the first half of this year (followed by the Swedish on 11%). That market share soars to 53% in Murcia before dropping to a still rather healthy 19% in the Valencia region which includes Alicante

and the Costa Blanca. While the Brits aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, the figures show there was a 3.2% drop in foreign purchases compared to the same period last year. In total, foreign buyers bought 51,720 homes in the first six months of the year compared to 53,427 in the same period last year. It’s the first annual decline after seven-and-a-half years of uninterrupted growth. Valencia was the hottest market for foreign buyers, followed by Andalucia and Catalunya. One increasing trend seen across the country is the surging French market. French buyers made up 46% of the foreign market in Catalunya, 43% in Cantabria and a whopping 70% in Extremadura.


December 2019


Mark Stucklin


While autumn sales figures are down, the last quarter should have picked up, writes Mark Stucklin Spanish home sales figures released for September 2019 show the market going through a period of weaker demand, though the figures also suggest the decline might be temporary. Data from the Association of Spanish Notaries reveals that Spanish home sales declined heavily between May and August compared to the same months last year, but settled down in September with sales returning to the same level as before. What might have caused the fall in sales? The market is facing a variety of headwinds at present. The most obvious cause of the

decline in June and July was the introduction of a new mortgage law that held up sales due to the confusion surrounding its implementation. The figures from the notaries show declines narrowing over the summer, and disappearing in September. If that trend continues the market will be growing again in the last quarter. The number of Spanish home sales inscribed in Spain’s Land Register in September for sales completed in the proceeding months was 34,493 excluding VPO subsidised housing sales, down 11% in a year.

That’s the second consecutive month of double-digit declines in these figures, which lag notaries’ figures by a few months. Declines should narrow and disappear over the next few months, following in the steps of the data from the notaries. New home sales declined by 20% whilst resales were down by 9%, which fits the explanation of the new mortgage law holding up sales – mortgages can be trickier to

arrange for new homes than existing homes with a track record. By region, sales were down in almost all areas of interest to foreign investors, with the exception of Murcia (+2%) and Valencia city (no change). The 20% decline in Málaga province, home to the Costa del Sol, is noteworthy, as that is one of the most popular areas with foreign buyers, especially British buyers. A decline in foreign demand

will be part of this story. Year to date the picture is less negative, with sales down in just over half the selected regions led by the Canary islands, in particular Tenerife. Sales were still slightly positive in Catalunya in the year to September. But it’s possible sales in the region could be hit in the last quarter by the flare up in political tensions. www.spanishpropertyinsight. com


Out of control

A PROFESSOR at a top economics institute has slammed rent controls as an ineffective solution to certain Spanish cities’ affordable housing crisis. Professor Miguel Angel Lopez said “It is not difficult to devise a more effective policy to reduce, and even eliminate, the amount of private rental housing than rent control.” He added that rent freezes ultimately encourage landlords to sell properties or use them for other purposes. His remarks come as left-wing Podemos, which has advocated rent controls, is on the brink of entering into government with the PSOE. Meanwhile those on the right of Spanish politics will be unimpressed by the professor’s lambasting of policies aimed at solving the housing crisis through increasing the supply of rental properties, which he called ‘a total disaster.’

Ups and downs

THE number of mortgages granted has increased significantly this year while house sales have stagnated. The latest figures for September reveal that mortgage loans surged 10.2% compared to the same month in 2018. This translates to 21,055 new mortgages, and follows the positive upward trend of August. It comes after the new Real Estate Credit Law this summer saw declines in the number of new mortgages of up to 20%. Meanwhile, house sales for the ninth month of 2019 stand at 42,538, a 0% change compared with last year’s figures.

AFTER the surprising news that Britons continue to dominate the Spanish property market (see pg 1), comes another revelation… Morrocans are the second-biggest home buyers in Spain. And the amount they are spending is increasing

more than any other nation. Buyers from the north African nation made 4,448 home purchases in the first six months of 2019, a 21% increase on the same period last year. In Andalucia, Moroccan nationals residing in Spain accounted for one fifth of purchases, more than any other country. Britons, meanwhile, still lead purchases in the autonomous com-


December 2019

Unruly renters

munity among foreigners not living in Spain full-time, making up a quarter of buyers. It comes as the first six months of 2019 saw fewer northern Europeans snapping up second homes in Spain, while there was an increase in economic migrants from North Africa, which may explain the surge in Moroccan purchases.

British boom Brits still flocking to Alicante property market - more than anywhere else in Spain

EXPATS are flocking to Alicante as new figures have revealed it as the province with the most foreign buyers. Spain’s College of Registrars announced a whopping 40.7% of all Alicante homes sold in the third trimester of 2019 were snapped up by foreigners – more than triple the national average.

A SHOCKING 61% of property administrators have been the victim of squatters, new statistics have revealed. Meanwhile, one in three have had arguments with tourists, according to the report, ‘Illegal occupation and housing for tourist use’. Of the administrators questioned, 76% complained about noise while 66% cited a lack of respect for the rules. Despite unruly guests, 84% of holiday home owners said they prefer tourist lets to long-stays as they are more profitable, and 75% consider them safer. Hygiene and vandalism were also highlighted as some of the biggest issues facing landlords, the report by insurer, Mutua de Propietarios, found.

A new leaf The region’s popularity conquered other expat hotspots in Spain, with Santa Cruz de Tenerife registering 32.6% of sales to

foreign buyers, followed by Malaga (28.8%), Baleares (28.1%), Girona (27.5%) and Murcia (21.5%). British buyers again took

How much, luv?

PROXIMITY to schools, pharmacies and health centres would be an attractive selling point for most parents-to-be looking to buy a home on the Costa Blanca. But what about pimps and madams looking to expand their brothel empires? Well they need look no further than the famous El

Quijote club in Pedreguer, which estate agents boast is also a short distance ‘from schools’ and health services. The bizarre advert extolls the ‘well lit’ dining room and kitchen, adding that there is a bus stop nearby. Sitting on the N-332, in between Denia and Javea, the 50-room brothel is on the market for a hefty €2,507,500. Measuring 3,616m2, the establishment came under fire in 2006 when 15 illegal immigrants were caught working the joint with falsified documents and fake Schengen area stamps on their passports.

the lion’s share of foreign house purchases, accounting for 14.27% of the foreign market nationwide. The number of houses sold to Brits across Spain – 2,160 – showed a 1% increase on 2018’s final trimester. UK buyers were trailed by the French (8.4%), Germans (6.6%), Belgians (6.17%), Moroccans (6.05%) and Romanians (5.83%). “Foreign demand continues to represent a very important strength in the Spanish residential market,” a statement from the College of Registrars said. “The expat market is a counterweight in the face of possible stagnation of domestic demand.”

PLANS to build 1,900 new homes in Torrox have been re-visited after a 12-month wait. A €28.4 million investment will fund 72 one, two and three-bedroom houses, the plans for which have been shelved since 2018. Prices for a two-bedroom property at the site start at €216,000. This urbanization, designed by Madrid’s BOD studio, is intended to be the centrepiece of the overall project. Titled ‘Essense’, the sustainable development is focussed on outdoor living and will be marketed to the Northern European market. Properties come complete with a health club, 12km of hiking trails, organic orchards and vineyards with a winery where residents can make their own wine. Building work will resume in the new year, once damage sustained during the site’s closure is repaired.

Multiple Listing Service


What is an MLS and what advantages does it have to sell your home?

f you’re interested in selling your home, you should know the term MLS by now. An MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is an exclusive Spanish real estate exchange in which cooperation between professionals is encouraged. The mechanism brings different real estates together, offering the client better sales options at the time of selling a home – although this system can also be used when purchasing homes. In short, we can say that by using a local MLS you will have a better chance of finding what you are looking for, regardless of whether you want to buy, rent or sell a property. Diffusion

The main advantage of working with an MSL is therefore greater diffusion of your property. Working with an MSL, you will also have access to more real estate agencies, which will increase the chances of selling your home. In this regard, it should be noted that the databases of qualified agency buyers are used to give extra potential that can be very useful in increasing dissemination. Collaborating MLS may belong to the same area, or may be from different cities or regions. Sharing resources Therefore, by collaboration between different and specialised real estate agencies, databases can be shared, which

disseminates important information on trends, market forces and useful technology systems. All this work is carried out jointly with the aim of improving the client portfolio and the benefits obtained. Professional service It is important to note that MLS are made up of professionals trained to provide information in a professional and educated manner, so you can take advantage of the resources provided by these professionals. Save time Finally, the use of an MLS ends up representing a great saving of time in the process of selling a home. This is because the MLS will be in charge of finding the buyers that best fit

the sale profile of your property, so it is more likely that your house will be sold in much less time.



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December 2019

Spain has offered up some truly stunning homes in 2019

Home-ing their craft IT’S been another fascinating year in the world of architecture. Spain has, yet again, offe-

red up some inspired work when it comes to unique and trend-setting properties. From quirky inland dwellings to minimalist mansions, eco-friendly masterpieces and the chicest of city apartments, Spain’s rich architectural tapestry makes it an exciting time to be an architect or interior designer in the country. In our last Property Magazine of the year, we take a look back at some of the homes which impressed us most in 2019.

New wave THIS Catalunya home whose undulating Gaudi curves would have raised the eyebrows of the great architect himself set the bar for sustainable homes this year. Villa Stgilat Aiguablava in Emporda was completed for a wealthy Swiss family who wanted a modern property which adapts to its environment. Crafted by Enric Ruiz-Geli and his Cloud 9 studio, the home features a main house, adjacent pavilion and incredible swimming pool. Advanced fiberglass engineering was used to form the enormous sweeping Catalan vault stretching across the main residence interior, a feature echoing the view outward. The structure and materials recreate the properties of a natural cave to keep things cool during hot summers and cosy during the winter, while their porosity keeps the air inside fresh, making for a highly energy efficient home. Meanwhile, outside the preexisting community of pine trees are complemented by an integrated native foliage, filtered rainwater swimming pool and adjoining wild native plant garden.

Costa Global

& With international buyers flocking to the Costa Blanca, homeowners would be wise to find a versatile agent

INTERNATIONAL interest in the Costa Blanca is booming. Current figures show overseas enquiries into the property market here is up 38% in the third quarter of 2019 – a massive jump. This is according to European property portal Kyero, on which Coast & Country also advertise. The most curious aspect of this is the sizable British segment of the interest: UK buyers still make +34up 965 22.5% 270 636 of total visits to the property portal, an increase of 18% year on year. (Whilst it surprised us we completely understand why people would be looking for an individual exit of their own, or just a bolt hole to escape, from the daily barrage of Brexit

news and British politics!) More Spanish are looking at this site, too, which from our own experience bears true with sales we have made to Spanish nationals from the big cities purchasing holiday homes on the Costa Blanca. The Netherlands, France istry statistics reveal one and Belgium make up the in every eight buyers in rest of the big five looking 2018 was a foreigner. This to buy Spanish properties. equates to over 65,000 Which brings us to the property purchases, the crux of the matter: if you highest since 2008, and are thinking of selling with many of these puryour Spanish property, it chases will be focused in would be wise to consid- coastal areas such as the er an agent with the lan- Costa Blanca. When it comes to selling guage skills and ability In other words,your the Spanproperty, people who to reach buyers in these choose ish property market is care. List your property with us... markets. definitely in good health. The Spanish government Our feeling is that we are even incentivising can be positive about the this shift by granting vi- housing market in Spain. sas and residence permits Given the uncertainty in to buyers from countries the political and financial like Russia, China and landscape in many counthe USA to live and work tries, it is good news for anywhere in Spain. The people planning to sell a measures can include the Spanish home! relatives and families of For free advice on selling the buyer. your home please get in On top of this, Land Reg- touch with us:


Email: Tel: 0034 693554967 Address: Avenida de la Paz, 3, Moraira, 03724 Alicante


December 2019

Cabin fever

Pure theatre

AS locations go it doesn’t get much better. High in the hills above Ibiza’s sleepy village of Es Cubells, this extension of a millionaire’s palatial villa needed to fit into the landscape and create impact. The Cabana, as it is christened, acts as ‘a refuge for the owner and his guests looking for a more primordial experience’. Created by Atelier LAVIT, an architectural and design practice, based in Paris, the room faces south, overlooking a valley and the sea, while the roof and walls have been designed to give the outdoor spaces 24/7 shade. Meanwhile, the carefully stacked wooden screens on top of the hut guarantee the privacy of its occupants, as well as sheltering them from the sun and wind. Inside, the design is simple, with the bathroom and dressing room separated from the bedroom. The project was largely prefabricated in a wood workshop in the south of France before being shipped onto the island. All the parts were numbered, dismantled and rebuilt on site within just three weeks.

Zero carbs

THIS curtain-raising design transformed a 19th-century Barcelona theatre into a stylish contemporary home guaranteed to get rave reviews from buyers. Aged brick walls and ceiling beams set the scene, hinting at the dramatic history of The Theatre House a short walk from iconic Avinguda Diagonal, one of the city’s main thoroughfares offering ‘best seats in the house’. Barcelona studio Cadaval & Sola-Morales are the whodunnits taking curtain calls for this theatrical thriller, which has seen the playhouse transformed into two individual work studios with lofty living space. “The project aims to recover and capitalise on the constructive values of the old theatre, expose its tectonic essences and exploit the amplitude that gives great height to its large diaphanous central space,” explained architect Eduardo Cadaval. The studios flank an indoor car parking space, allowing the owner to display a classic car ‘like a sculpture.’ “It’s a piece of art in direct relationship with the central space of the house,” he added.

JUMPING on the low-carbon bandwagon, this impressive home in Barcelona makes the best use of its space. Designed by local Right Size Architecture, the home’s sundrenched patio to the southeast creates a microclimate which gives constant warmth to the rooms. Named RA House, the property is divided into

Back to basics Spanish architect Jesus Perales really went au natural with Casa Almudena in the north of Spain. Showing off the construction’s lines and structure, the bricks also enhance its look. Created for a family in Catalunya, who love to spend as much time together as possible, the home is designed around a series of continuous paths which cross each other via a central axis in the form of a glazed indoor courtyard. “The shape allows a house with circularity and links the different parts of the living,’ explains Perales.“It doesn’t matter if you are cooking dinner while the kids are doing homework: you always have the feeling of being with your family.” The home, which additionally shows off its exposed concrete beams, sits near the village of Banyeres del Penedes among the region’s famous vineyards. It also opts for large windows which allows for heaps of natural light.

two ‘night’ and ‘day’ areas, with both parts connected by a small hallway. Its sustainability factor is boos-

ted by its wooden structure and frames and airtightness (hence the small windows), which creates a low energy demand.

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December 2019

PROPERTY You will NET believe it! How a shapeshifting home with see-through floors is putting family first in Spain


FUN home design that shifts its shape and allows the owners to virtually float on air is answering the needs of family life in eastern Spain. The REI House by CRUX Arquitectos was inspired by the way spaces in a home transform throughout the day and night and provides infinite solutions with its flexible and interactive interior. The property consists of three naves – a central nave to host the day’s main activities, including eating and relaxing and two either side which can be compartmentalised with railings, cur-


tains or partitions into different spaces that extend outdoors. Having a party? Open it all up to the terrace. Need extra bedrooms for the kids’ sleepovers? No problema. And they’ll all want to sleep here because the piece de resistance of this funky family home is its invisible second level, covered with netting where the floor should be. This unique feature allows light to flood the first level. And that’s not the best bit. It can also be

used by the by kids for noisy pillow fights and by adults to unwind with

a book. You’ll be on cloud nine !


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Boost for Barca SPECIALIST British student accommodation provider Vita Student has chosen Spain for its first foray into the international market. The London-based company is set to spend €30 million on building a new halls of residence in Barcelona’s Pija area. The City Council has given the green light for the firm to transform a 7,000 square metre old educational building into a block of 320 apartments. For €1,000 a month, students at the ultra-modern accommodation will also have access to an on-site pool and gym. The business, which was set up in 2013 by Manchester-born Mark Scott, already has 20 housing blocks in cities across the UK, including Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. Vita Student offers students and teaching staff access to personal growth experts and mentoring sessions with owners of large companies to boost their employability. “We are specialists in giving our residents an experience of education and personal growth,” said Ken Knott, director at Vita Students.

Foreign companies snap up contracts to run cheaper and more regular services between major Spanish cities from end of next year SPANISH rail officials have snubbed homegrown firms and awarded French and Italian businesses contracts to run services on Spain’s highspeed train network from December next year. Adif, Spain’s railway infrastructure manager, dished out contracts to France’s public railway company SNCF and Italy’s Trenitalia in the meeting last week. Spain’s public train company kept its contract for the busiest route, which will see

Clicking online



December 5th - December 18th 2019

Adios to Spanish rail it operating 48 trains a day. But other Spanish companies which were hoping for a slice of the mainland’s railway network walked away empty handed. The Motion Rail Consortium which is made up of two Spanish firms, Talgo and Globalia as well as private equity providers Trilantic Europe and Andalucian Eco Rail failed in their bids to run train services. As part of its contract Renfe will launch a low cost highspeed train between Madrid and Barcelona from April next year, with tickets available to purchase from January. Trains between Spain’s two main cities currently cost

€52 on average. The new low-cost service will offer discounts of 40%. Spanish train bosses say the entry of new operators into the train network will create 66 extra journeys a day across the railway network. There will be 61 trains between Madrid, Cordoba, Malaga and Sevilla, a 75% increase from the current 35. There will also be cheaper tickets on both the Madrid to Barcelona line and Sevilla to Valencia connection. Renfe, SNCF and Trenitalia emerged as winners because they were the only three firms bidding on the lines who already owned their own highspeed trains.

SPANISH consumers spent 40% more on online purchases last year than in 2017. People’s average yearly online spending increased to €1,920 in 2018, with buyers making 50 purchases throughout the year. Almost three quarters of internet users are online shoppers. And they splashed a whopping €41.5 million on e-shopping last year, an increase of €10.2 million and 24% more than in 2017. Gen X and Millennials (aged 35-54) made the most purchases, ordering 45% of all items bought online. Almost three quarters of holiday accommodation and package holidays were booked online. A further 68% of travel tickets were bought over the internet.

The other competitors would have had to rent or buy their trains, making it

difficult for them to operate them with sufficient frequency.

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Or you need... • Help with washing / dressing • Supervision

You could be entitled to extra income by claiming UK sickness / disability benefits while living in Spain FOR ADVICE OR TO BOOK A CONSULTATION call 950 169 729 or 663 297 568


December 5th - December 18th 2019


Buttie ban

Wine into water? SPAIN’S designated drivers will be jumping for joy this Christmas as a new invention that lowers the alcohol content of wine by 30% has been unveiled. The machine is the brainchild of El Bulli-trained chemist Pere Castells, and can turn a 14% alcohol bottle into an 8% bottle in just five minutes – without compromising on taste. Bars and restaurants are the main market for the first 1,000 units of the €3,000 machine, which Castells eventually intends to sell to the public. The inventor, who worked with El Bulli owner Ferran Adria for 10 years, unveiled his contraption at the BBVA Bilbao Food Capital event.

A SIX-MONTH chorizo ban at Spain’s biggest carmaker has dramatically cut employees’ cardiovascular health risks. Some 600 workers were used as guinea pigs in a study that forced staff to ditch mortadella and sausage sandwiches for healthier alternatives.

Spain’s biggest car firm swaps sausage sandwiches for sardines In a clampdown on company canteens, staff swapped the highly processed meats for whole grain sandwiches with hummus, sardines or avocado.

Star struck

JUST an hour’s drive from Valencia lies one of the 15 best places on the planet to go stargazing. Aras de los Olmos, a tiny rural village of 400, was declared a Starlight Reserve by UNESCO in 2017 due its lack of light pollution and stunning night skies. And the views have not gone unnoticed: in 2018 the village received more than 5,000 visitors from Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, according to Valencia’s Councilor for Tourism, Angelina Andres Vicente. The village years ago changed its street lighting to orange, monochromatic LEDs that slashed the light pollution streaming into the night sky. The town is also home to the headquarters of the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Valencia (UV), the oldest active university astronomical observatory in Spain, founded in 1909. For over a century, scientists have been viewing comets, eclipses, galaxies, constellations and the rings of Saturn from the observatories in the village. And now thanks to the prestigious Starlight Reserve accreditation, the beauties to the naked eye observer have been recognised as well worth a visit.

The initial health ban was then extended to incorporate physical exercise and emotional support. Hospital Clinic de Barcelona and conducted the research, which began in April 2018. A total of 300 staff at Seat’s Zona Franca de Barcelona factory and a further 300 at its El Prat site were medically examined before and after the study. El Prat staff were offered health advice, while researchers trialled several health programmes with the Barcelona group. Each participant was given five litres of virgin olive oil a month and 30 grams of nuts a day, in a bid to encourage them to follow the Mediterranean diet. Workers were also supplied with vouchers for healthy supermarket produce and had seasonal menus drafted for them. The outcome was a huge decrease in triglycerides, the main component of body fat, while Seat employees’ ‘weight and waists’ also shrunk. “This study has achieved an impact at the metabolic level through the Mediterranean diet,” said IrsiCaixa director, Bonaventura Clotet.

Dear Jennifer: Why do I need travel insurance and will Brexit make any difference?


y advice would be to always take out travel insurance, because accidents and illness can happen at any time, and you could find yourself with a very large medical and repatriation bill. We can provide travel policies, which cover loss of luggage, special cruise ship insurance, medical and repatriation insurance up to £10 million with over 200 pre-existing medical conditions covered for free. Europe-only cover, or worldwide cover is available for both short and long trips. The travel cover is available for vacationers up to 85 years old. The company that I have selected to work with has over 20 years’ experience and is extremely secure. You can pay in either sterling or euros. With regard to Brexit, the likelihood of the EH1C remaining in place is very optimistic. But if, as I think, it will be withdrawn, then travel insurance becomes even more vital – even for those travelling to the UK. When opting for a travel insurance company, please make sure they are Brexit friendly. This means that if they are a British company, make sure they are allowed to sell their product in a European country. Many aspects of travelling are going to change, as the British will no longer have all the benefits when travelling in Europe. For those driving, it will be necessary to have a Green card and for the vehicle to comply with the traffic laws in the country that you are visiting. When we are on holiday, we tend to relax more, and this, of course, is when accidents occur. It is important to know that you have the protection you may need, which will allow you to fully relax and enjoy your holiday. For more information or a quotation, please contact one of my offices or visit my website.

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Star search

Alicante conquers the Valencian region with 16 Michelin stars - find a restaurant near you

ALICANTE has been crowned the gastronomy king of the Comunidad Valenciana with 16 Michelin stars. Costa Blanca cuisine outshone Castellon province – which kept a meagre 2 stars – and Valencia province – which held onto 9 – at this year’s ceremony for the Michelin Guide Spain & Portugal 2020. The Seville-based event held last month saw Alicante gain one new star, at the Tula restaurant in Javea, and Denia’s DELECTABLE: A Michelin starred WINNERS: The Tula chefs golden child Quique Dacosta increase his meal at Tula El Xato in La Nucia hangs onto its chef José Manuel Miguel brings his expeMichelin star accolades to five thanks to Michelin star in its iconic boderience from the culinary Mecca of Paris his new Valencia-based Els Poblet. ga-turned-restaurant beside the local to the Marina Alta with three set menus The list of Alicante’s star eateries inchurch. Head chef Cristina Figueira conthat will ‘steal your heart’, according to cludes: tinues the family-run business with over the new Michelin Guide. Menu: €45-89. Quique Dacosta in Denia, the only restau100 years of history through her tradiWith stunning views of the Peñón de Ifrant in the entire Comunidad Valenciana tional, rice-based dishes. Menu: €54-70. ach, Orobianco in Calp keeps its Michewith three Michelin stars. A pioneer, viAt La Finca in Elche, head chef Susi Diaz lin star under the guidance of the Italian sionary chef, Dacosta will mix traditional also presents an exquisite menu based Ferdinando Bernardi. After Gamba de Denia rice-based upon the traditional rice dishes of the Vascouring the world indulgdishes with surprises like lencian region. The Michelin Guide 2020 ing his passions, Bernaredible roses. Menu: €210 “At El Rodat describes the seamstress-turned-chef’s di brings his expertise in per person. sensation with these words from we don’t sleep, pastries and baking to the culinary BonAm in Javea holds onto Mother Theresa: Marina Alta, while servits two Michelin stars with we dream,” “Let no one ever come to you without ing up the best of Alicante the experienced Alberfeeling a little better and happito Ferruz at its helm. Its says head chef featuring Denia’s iconic leaving er.” Menu: €79-119. red prawn and Santa Pola’s menus feature dishes ‘full of El Monastrell in Alicante rounds off the Nazario Cano Caridean shrimp. Menu: the Mediterranean nuances province’s haul of Michelin stars at its €55-95. of sun, salt and fine weathMarina-side premises. María José San El Rodat in Javea also reer’, according to Michelin Román won over this year’s inspectors tains its star with a menu that relies Guide. Seasonal menus capture the eswith a Mediterranean menu celebrating strongly on the port town’s local fisheries. sence of the changing weather, and curthe traditional saffron, virgin olive oils “At El Rodat we don’t sleep, we dream,” rently take full advantage of local mushand exquisite fruits of the sea. says head chef Nazario Cano, with a cuirooms, truffles and the Spanish hunting Menu: €66-115. sine that materialises its high ambition, season. Menu: €75-135. according to the MiL’Escaleta in Cocentaina also keeps its chelin Guide 2020. two stars with a menu rooted in AlicanMenu: €85-140. tina tradition. “Women who sucAt Kiko Moya’s baby, expect to find fidceed in the kitchen eos, cured prawns, and the unique ‘rice are often raised by squares’ of Valencian rice – sticky or dry the passion of their – served on a rectangular iron tray and mothers and grandfinished in an open oven. Menu: €50mothers,” reads the 125. Michelin entry for Audrey’s in Calp retains its one star Casa Pepa in Ondawith a gastronomic homage to Audrey ra. Head chef AntoHepburn’s iconic star role in Breakfast nia Ballester likewise at Tiffany’s. The restaurant headed by aims to celebrate the Rafa Soler seeks to blend Mediterannean memory of previous heritage with the world’s finest culinary owner Pepa Romans, styles. Menu: €55-89. with a menu that Beat in Calp also holds one star with its ‘cooks with emotion’. STARRY EYED: Chef Mediterranean-style cuisine situated in Quique Dacosta Menu: €45-85. the plush The Cook Book hotel. Head

Cruising to the top

AN expat-run travel agency on the Costa Blanca has built itself up to be one of the leading cruise tour providers in Spain. Falken Tours, via its Spanish-focused arm Cruceros 24, was recognised as providing the most groups to MSC Cruises – the world’s fourth largest cruise company. A special award was provided to Falken Tours owner Olaf Falkinowski at this year’s MSC Cruceros All-Star 2019 ceremony in Barcelona on November 20. “There are other agencies that have 2000 agencies and we just have four, so it’s especially amazing to get this prize,” Olaf told the Olive Press. “We’ve been nominated many times for the recognition, but have never won before.” Olaf said due to the smaller size of his business, which operates out of offices in the Costa Blanca, his company can tailor trips to suit both international and Spanish clients. “Bigger agencies won’t offer transfers to and from the cruise ships, or offer extra addons,” Olaf added. The company offers exclusive cruises through the Med, Canary Islands, Northern Europe, Caribbean, South America, Atlantic and even around the world. Contact for more information.

ularly in 6 to 12 weeks following the ave a first treatment. Multiple areas , with can be treated in one session,


December 5th - December 18th 2019

Live long but DON’T prosper Spain may rival Japan for life expectancy, but its retirees are among the most depressed SPANIARDS live longer but more unhealthy lives than their European neighbours, experts have found. The State of Health report presented at the EU, is only the second of its kind to be carried out, after the first in 2017. Spain comes out top for life expectancy, with an average of 83.4 years, putting the country behind only Japan globally. This is almost three years longer than the rest of the EU, which has an average life expectancy of 80.9.

Helping hand Optical chain joins the campaign to collect food for those in need

Specsavers Ópticas has today launched a campaign to collect non-perishable food for those in need across all six stores on the Costa Blanca. It has joined the Operación Kilo Campaign, which is organized by Spain’s Federation of Food Banks (FESBAL) and operates nationwide through a network of 55 food banks. FESBAL distributes food via charities and associations to help the most vulnerable people in society and is currently supplying food to 1.5 million people. Specsavers Ópticas will be collecting food for them until the end of the year. The Specsavers Ópticas stores on the Costa Blanca are collaborating with the food bank for the Alicante province (Banco de Alimentos Alicante) to ensure the food donations get to those people who really need them. They are particularly in need of the following non-perishable foods and toiletries – oil, tinned foods, baby food, nappies, formula milk, toothpaste, deodorant, bath gel, shampoo and soap. These products can be dropped into Specsavers Ópticas in Javea, Calpe, Benidorm, Torrevieja, Guardamar and La Zenia until the end of the year. Visit www. to find your nearest store. The directors of these six opticians are asking for donations of food and toiletries in return for their free eye test and encouraging anyone who recently had a free eye test to also join the collection and bring in some food to donate between the 25th of November and the end of the year.

Find out more about the important work the Spanish Federation of Food Banks is doing on their website or follow the Banco de Alimentos de Alicante on Facebook to keep up to date with all their campaigns @ bancodealimentosdealicante

Part of the explanation lies in the extraordinary average life expectancy of 86 years for Spanish women, while for men it is just 80.4. Yet despite the seemingly positive news for Spain, the country has a poor record for the health of over-65s. In this age group, 21% have trouble washing or dressing, while 40% have symptoms of depression, compared to the EU averages of 18% and 29% respectively. Spaniards are also currently grappling with higher childhood obesity rates, increased numbers of women smoking and a lack of facilities to train new doctors. An estimated one third of the deaths in Spain are caused by preventable risks like food, tobacco and alcohol. The 67,000 Spaniards who die a year from smoking is slightly less than the EU average, however Spain’s 32,000 alcohol-related deaths are slightly above average. Furthermore 20% of Spanish teenagers are overweight or obese, higher than the European average of 17%.

The wobbles You may think that loose teeth can only be solved by dentures, but Karan Sud Dental’s fibrebond technology can save you the time, effort, pain and cost

SUFFERING with loose teeth? You may have been told you will now need dentures or implants. But this is not actually the case, especially with regards to the front teeth. At Karan Sud Dental, in Calpe, we use fibrebond technology to splint loose teeth together and replace missing teeth. This innovation uses a resin-based fibre, placed behind the affected teeth, that can strengthen them without having to pull them out and allows you to keep your teeth for much longer. Dentures are bulky, and affect both taste and function. They also can jeopardise the health of remaining teeth. Dental implants in the anterior region - or front teeth - are also very complicated. They involve surgery, and take a lot of time, effort and expense. With fibrebond technology, however, you can save on all of these things, as well as pain. If you have mobile or missing teeth, please call us to see if you’re a suitable candidate for this innovative treatment.

Dr Karan Sud British dentist Calpe

“Very pleased with my new dental treatment from Karan and the team. My teeth were loose, but this treatment solved the problem completely. I am usually very nervous around the dentist, but the procedure was pain-free and the aftercare was easy and exceptional. Well done.”

Glenys Cook

For more information visit Tel: (+34) 965 837 553 - 24h emergency: (+34) 602 612 688 Clinica Britannia, Avda Ejercitos Españoles 16, first floor, Calpe

ealth & Beauty


ook better in the buff: Get your sexy back without giving up everything you love Big price to pay HEALTH APPOINTMENt


December 5th - December 18th 2019

By Jeremy Kenton

Back to the drawing board

Looking sexy, svelte or built by BPT but additional treatments loving their truSculpt iD NEW report in your clothing is one thing. may be required for optimal results. In aA separate study has revealed that 18 million overLooking better in the buff is a runners and yoga enthusiasts sculpting results. of individuals who had weight and the obese Spaniards add a hefty 20% onto the Jeremy Kenton is bemusedwhole by the latest aide relieve back pain toppingbeen the list.designed to help other ballgame. Clothingthat’s “TruSculpt iD is a very procedure, 100 percenthealth said bill. national According to board- exciting new development in they were satisfi - even low-cut necklines, shorted, would get billion is spent on battling the condiA huge €2.8 ‘Government support’ conjures up shorts orbars dropping ings do non-surgical have their uses: as being certified flask plasticof surgeon tight-fi tting teesyour - cansandwiches, body such contouring. it done againtions, and would referamount to 7% of the Government’s total which Walter Bernacki, stolen MD for images of child benefits or unemploy-hide yourtea andand copy of the Olive Press,’re flaws accentuate Thescaffolding. lower abdomen and love a friend for truSculpt And annual iD. budget. of more Ohio favours. Plastic Surgery your assets, but when are any handles be treated in just a everyone felt In better in - or39.3% out ment assistance – but in this case the not doing youryou back Theyinhave alsocan created condusion Spain of 25-64-year-olds are overweight, Central Ohio, nowhere - or way these single 15-minute comfortable of - their clothes. strange metal poles allegedly aiding nude, there’s The space between metal bars,“The newest about their intended design among the with obesity rates at 21.6%. non-surgical body contouring to hide anything. treatment session. Our patients So, if you’re thinking about back pain sufferers in Alicante have left rather than having an actual seat, residents of Alicante. compared to the UK, where 35.6% of adults is Cutera’s truSculpt If you want to look better been very pleased with the looking into That a newis kind of citizens scratching their heads. means that your spinesystem is suspended “Is it forhave someone with hemorrhoids?” overweight that uses radiofrequency are not Far iD bodycommentator, sculpting results“isthey personalized are body sculpting and 28.7% are obese. The latest statisSevere sciatic pain is usually due to naked, you without anyalone. downward compression. asked one it tocan check tics for (RF) technology from it. More and creates more people with this innovative to Spain drastic were published in the report Approach compression affecting the nerve roots But, this the added problem ofto target theand sizeachieve of your overhead luggage?” without resorting destroy fat inasked your another toaobesity are intocausing healthyyou living and –permanently system,”– says Dermatologist measures, find truSculptand iD bariatric surgery. where they exit the spine. to slump even though both valid uses. trouble (think muffiAnother n tops Jeff t these days.a The rey S. Dover, MD, the FRCPC The pain can be excruciating and cangetting fithey have reargood support bar spots for your wondered whether polesprovider near you by searching 15to of that there in the ability to walk and the com-news isupper finally and love handles) - in just were beatSkincare the dust Physicians out of car mats, comfortable minutes with no Chestnut Hill, MA. something you can do about provider. pression effect of sitting often increasCardiovascular disease also causes for pole dancing, street-side yoga posiit that doesn’t involve giving downtime. We have found that By and large, people are es the pain. known as claudication, where tions the treatment works on all skinor for bicycle racks – or perhaps up carbswhat andissweets, doing So, the concept of municipal benches legcrunches crampsor through circu-and physiques, to tie up your horse, cart or donkey? types, sizes excessive havingdisturbed for back pain sufferers is medically invasivelation literally stop theincluding patient in their clear the new benches are functionindividuals It’s who cosmetic surgery. very sound, allowing patients to rest in Fullytracksone-third and they cannot walk. al – just perhaps not for the intended previously not considered of were between buying bread or waiting for an Alternatively, with this candidates disturbedfor circucause. body contouring Americans opt for minimally osteopath appointment. the pressure the metal poles I wonder whether they could do with invasivelation, fat reduction or bodyofprocedures.” However, in hot weather, metal poles,sculptingmay actually to aggravate claudicasome padding, or disposable paper What’s more, truSculpt treatments look the though cheap to produce, are not thebetter intion, rather than help. towels fat to wipe the rain off, making the buff , according to iD produces an average most inviting material to rest on – they I also of wonder sometimes if there them ofmight 24 percent, and more user-friendly. a new survey 500 men and reduction visible improvements seen these improvements, if you are not particularly pleasant in cold or further caused when people areLacking women be from Cutera,injuries Inc. And 6 tometal 12 weeks following those who exercise the regularly damp weather either. fall through gaps ininthe bars! findthe yourself walking through the rst treatment. Multiplestreets areas of Alicante with a back problem, are most likelywetobecome have atooficritical, In other words, as you slip between the Before the railbody-sculpting treatment, with can be treated in one session, I would advise you stay

Let there be light SURGERY can be a scary, complicated and painful intervention. Which is why Clinica Britannia is a pioneer of non-invasive forms of treatment to heal its patients of their ailments. And to this end, the 22-year-old clinic has now added a new form of light therapy to its armoury. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses a light source and light-sensitive medication to destroy abnormal cells. On their own, the medication and light source are harmless, but when the medication is exposed to the light it activates and removes nearby cells. Diseases that can be healed by PDT include anal fistulas, hidradenitis suppurativa and macular degeneration as well as cancers such as lung, skin, esophageal and mouth cancer. The treatment can also improve pre-cancerous conditions such as actinic keratoses, Bowen’s disease, basal cell carcinoma and Barrett’s esophagus. Clinica Britannia is a British medical

on the move – but if you have to rest, probably find something a little more supportive and comfortable. I do wonder if the designer of these scaffolding poles has ever suffered from back pain?! www.osteopath-kenton.

and dental centre established in Calpe in 1997. English, German, Russian, French and, of course, Spanish are also fluently spoken by the staff. You can always contact them in case of emergency 24/7/365. With no waiting lists, Clinica Britannia has at your disposal the best surgeons and anaesthetists under the supervision of a consultant physician.

Come and visit us. We will inform you. CLINICA BRITANNIA, 16 BIS (next to 16) FIRST (not Ground) Floor, Ejercitos Españoles Av Tel 965 837 553 - 24H 607 255 755

December 5th - December 18th 2019

Lost for words In a new monthly column on the trials of learning Spanish, Charlie Smith (a French speaker from ‘up north’) makes a lasting impression on his first profesora My language-learning journey didn’t start in Spain but some 1,200 miles away in the rain-battered classrooms of Rochdale and Oldham. For some reason, pupils at my secondary school (think Grange Hill on steroids) were forced to take German or French. So from Year 7 I was grappling with the ‘language of love’ in a classroom where no love was lost dodging flying chairs and stationary, ploughing through battered textbooks that doubled as goal posts for football practice and dictionaries covered in the kind of graffiti that created dividing lines between friends. By the time Spanish hit the school, I had already scraped a C in GCSE French and vowed never to learn a language again. But six years later, I walked out of Malaga Airport, having booked a one-way ticket from Manchester to come and work for the Olive Press. And as I stood, sweating in a ridiculous parka coat – which I later realised you do need on the Costa del Sol – it was clear a bit of Spanish would probably


come in handy. Nor was I getting anyFirst there was the bus where with my neighticket office to negotiate bours – three elderly – handing over euros with Andalucian women, one pleading eyes only gets part-deaf, one extremely you so far. Then there was rude (though one of them the grumpy driver, later on seems nice). M e r c a d o n a , After trawling the web for later still the local clases de español really exciting – some of which charge bit: the Span- €40 an hour – I came ish bar. across Millinguals in EsOn the advice tepona whose website ofof a mate back fers Spanish classes and home, I im- ‘an intensive Andalusian mediately got experience’. stuck into the It immediately conjured Coffee Break up visions of my three Spanish pod- abuela neighbours hurlcast. Its 20-minute seg- ing gazpacho at each othments took me from the er. But the price was good two words I knew, hola so, cold soup-slinging and gracias (seaside, off I riously), to hunwent to meet Abuela dreds of sentencCarola, poes and potential tentially my neighbours conversations. I new teacher. hurling also explored the Let’s just gazpacho at apps Memrise say our first each other and Duolingo to meeting varying levels of could have success but mangone betaged to pick up a lot over ter... several months. I don’t know what ‘Oh I thought everything had fi- my God I’m so sorry, I nally clicked when I trium- can’t believe I just acciphantly finished a phone dentally caught the cable call (entirely in Spanish) from your wireless router with a cafe-owner who around my chair leg and charged her customers pulled it off the wall and for ice (Cent-imental, pg smashed it’ is in Spanish. 40, Issue 326) - only to be Maybe she’ll tell me next asked by our Andalucian time... graphic designer: “Why are you speaking Mexican?”

Tis the season

GetTING ConnectED By Loraine Gostling

As the dreaded ‘C’ word rears its festive head, Loraine Gostling reminds us that C also stands for Charity

The ‘C’ word is just around the corner and, for the past couple of weeks on Javea Connect, the annual appeals have started to help those whose lives do not have the same twinkly, fairy-lit, jingly-bell excitement as ours when dreaming of December 25. The group has been full of posts asking for everything from toothbrushes to mobile phones. The problem is: how does everyone get their share of support? I must admit, I don’t have the answer to this, but what I do know is one particular group of hard working volunteers have not had any social media presence at all. I am talking about the Cruz Roja or, as we Brits know them, the Red Cross. This year, they lost their only real British fundraiser, a lovely lady called Sandy Tsalikidis. Sandy would work day and night, making sure every local child whose family is on the poverty line received at least one present of their choosing (up to a value of €25,00). Unfortunately, Sandy had to return to the UK and the Red Cross appeal has disappeared. So, after a request from Sandy, we have pulled something out of the Christmas sack and organised a fundraising night at SeeMontgo, Javea, on December 19th. We will have a fun quiz, perhaps a few games of Bingo and a raffle. If you can make it, please do, or if you wish, please consider a donation via Santander Bank, Account No. 0049 3894 95 2814217469, quoting San-

Farm Flash

Charlie Smith

dy’s Christmas 2019 Appeal. I cannot end this week’s column without mentioning all the other appeals going on right now, as there are so many people working their stockings off to make Christmas sparkle for others. If you wish to give a little, or a lot, please look on the Javea Connect group where, you will find how to help several charitable associations such as Make a Smile, It’s All About the Children, The Fransican Shelter for Men in Gandia, and the Women’s Refuge in Pedreguer. If you need more information, please email me at Thanks for reading the rather more serious column this week, and rest assured I will be back in a fortnight with something a little punnier!

By Susan Weeding

Rescuing - its a risky business

Dramatic rescue of a badly beaten horse requires two armed police and an ambulance on standby, writes Susan Weeding FORGET what you’ve heard. The Spanish police do care for animals. My husband Rod has been there on the front line with Policia Nacional, their weapons drawn, ready to defend the freedom of a starving horse. This was the case with the incredible rescue of Diplomat. It was in San Javier this time, where someone tipped off the authorities to a skeletal horse trapped by a piece of rope to a fence behind someone’s house. Rod got the call and turned up flanked by four police officers – two with guns ready – and followed by an ambulance with two paramedics. One of the armed agents guarded Rod’s trailer, while the other stalked down the track to where Diplomat was locked behind the iron fence. A police officer carrying bolt croppers cut through a chain on the fence and sliced through the wires so we could get him out. The agents were nervous – the owners of the horse were gitanos, gypsies, and very violent people. The problem with them is they make threats to the local police, saying ‘we know where your daughter goes to school’.

Let’s just say the paramedics were called in for a reason. Fortunately, this time they weren’t needed. Diplomat went straight into the trailer and the team disappeared as quickly as they could back to the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre in Rojales. Diplomat was a handsome devil, a stallion, but it was obvious he’d been bashed around. One of his hips couldn’t move freely from a blow or an accident, so I imagine he was given to the gypsies to use him for breeding. Because despite his deformities, he’s still the most handsome horse you’d ever seen. And now this handsome beast lives his days out in the air, 24 hours a day. He’s the kind of horse that makes all the mares go ‘oooh, look it’s Diplomat!’ He ignores them, though, to be with his best friend Mystery – another strange horse we found tied up to a rubbish bin behind the rescue centre, hence Mystery. How wonderful he’s had a chance to shine here, because he had no life when we found him in that terrible state, tied to a fence and beaten around. And all thanks to the police. This is risky business: we get a few death threats from the gypsies too, because they know where all these horses go. But the police will come in an instant to help us out, because they too know where these horses go, and how lucky we are to see them given a second chance.

OP Puzzle solutions

Quick Crossword

Across: 1 Images, 5 Sickly, 8 Florida, 9 Afar, 10 Bomb, 11 Regulate, 12 Tore, 13 Fee, 14 TASS, 16 Bacteria, 20 Iran, 21 Soon, 22 Illegal, 23 Statue, 24 Shrewd. Down: 2 Mafioso, 3 Goodbye, 4 Skier, 5 Spangle, 6 Crawl, 7 Least, 13 Fertile, 14 Trigger, 15 Swallow, 17 Adopt, 18 Tenet, 19 Atlas.



Nadal’s Spain overturn Great Britain and Canada to clinch sixth Davis Cup title in Madrid


TWO of Spain’s sporting heroes, Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut, have overturned Canada to win the Davis Cup on home soil. Around 12,500 tennis fans packed into Madrid’s Caja Magica arena to witness the country’s sixth title in the competition. Nadal’s emotional victory (right) over Denis Shapovalov, 6-3, 7-6, saw Spain clinch its first Davis Cup since 2011. The 33-year-old made it 2-0 against the Canadians, after Bautista Agut, 31, had put the Spaniards 1-0 up against Felix Auger-Aliassime. Bautista Agut’s 7-6 (3), 6-3

Get stuffed SPAIN’S returning football manager has slammed his predecessor after sacking him for ‘disloyalty’. After taking up Spain’s top footie job for a second time Luis Enrique said he ‘did not’ want Robert Moreno again as his number two.

If you have a sports story, or call 0034 951 273 575


December 5th - December 18th 2019


ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE MOTORCYCLE BREAKDOWN COVER Breaking down at the roadside, at night or in bad weather can be an unsettling experience. There’s nowhere to wait in relative comfort and warmth will help arrives. And if you don’t have quality breakdown cover, you could be there, stranded, for some time.

victory in an hour and 49 minutes was made even more remarkable, given that his father had died three days earlier. "When you have this moment it is difficult to describe with words - so many feelings, so many emotions you have never felt," said Spain captain Sergi Bruguera. Enrique cited Moreno’s proposal to manage the national team until after Euro 2020, and then work as the new manager’s assistant. “I do not want anyone like that on my staff,” said Enrique, who confirmed he had ‘rejected’ Moreno’s ‘ambition’. Moreno took the helm temporarily in March, after Enrique’s daughter Xana became ill with bone cancer and then died in August.

He added: "Unbelievable. Imagine Roberto yesterday was at the funeral of his father, now he is here giving everything - the mentality, the spirit, giving everything for his team. "Rafa, he is out of this world, I don't know if he is an alien or what. Not one day we went to sleep before 3am this week." Spain progressed to the finals after knocking out a Great Britain side left without Andy Murray due to injury. Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez beat Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8) to set up a final against Canada, after the semifinal score had stood at 1-1. TheOlivePress-256x170-CAR-4.indd 1

IN SAFE HANDS Our roadside assistance experts can usually fix your bike at the roadside, allowing you to continue with your onward journey as soon as possible. And if you’ve simply ran out of fuel, then they can tow you to the nearest garage, simply let our customer service staff know of the situation when you call. TRAVEL ASSISTANCE Motorcycle insurance form Línea Directa starts from just €77 and comes with two types of additional breakdown cover: Urban Travel Assistance or Total Travel Assistance. Both include emergency repairs

on-site, free towing service and transport of rider and passenger to either their home address or destination. For more information, simply call our English speaking hotline on 902 325 325 and we’ll come to your rescue. Our breakdown assistance covers motorbikes, scooters, mopeds and all types of powered two wheelers. Wherever your two wheels take you, Línea Directa has you covered.


902 123 282

We hope the information provided in this article is of interest. If you would like to contact Linea Directa please call 952 147 834. More information about Linea Directa online at * Fu l l y co m p re h e n s i ve o f fe r v a l i d fo r n e w c u s to m e r s o n l y. G u a ra n te e s u b j e c t to cove r, re p a i r a t a p p rove d g a ra g e, a n d co u r te s y ve h i c l e av a i l a b i l i t y. S u b j e c t to co n d i t i o n s. O f fe r e n d s 3 0 / 1 1 / 1 8 .

2/8/18 17:01

THE average Spaniard knows around 400 people, according to a new study. Social circles ranged from a few dozen to up to 2,000, depending on factors such as age, education, income and membership of sports clubs and/or organisations.


Taste of home POMEGRANATES from Elche are being sent out to its citizens residing in other EU countries.

Bare breasts RADICAL feminists staged a topless protest against a far-right march in Madrid, which was marking 44 years since the death of ex-dictator Francisco Franco.

Flash in the sky A BRITISH Airways flight to Gibraltar was forced to land in Malaga after the plane was struck by lightning.

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Seven degrees



Vol. 1 Issue 19

Your expat

voice in Spain

December 5th - December 18th, 2019

Fine mess SPAIN’S traffic regulator has come under fire after a motoring organisation claimed the country’s 90 km/h speed cameras are issuing ‘illegal’ fines. Automovilistas Europeos Asociados (AEA) slammed the national agency after unearthing laws that allow drivers to exceed the top speed limit by 20km/h when overtaking. Art. 51 of the law permits the rule-bending – however Spain’s Direccion General de Trafico (DGT) has not programmed its speed cam-

Mixed signals

Spain’s traffic authority in hot water over thousands of ‘illegal’ speeding fines

eras accordingly. An AEA statement said cameras on motorways were wrongly fining ‘anyone’ travelling above the speed limit without acknowledging overtaking is permitted to 109km/h. There are 84 motorway speed cameras across Spain that have been included in

the statement as issuing the allegedly illegal fines. AEA said it was aware of sanctions being imposed on any driver exceeding 90km/h on the N-122 in Zamora, in Castilla y León. The group affirmed the same for speed cameras in León, Guadalajara and Albacete. They added the most active

Fake it till you make it SOME things get worse before they get better. This is the thinking behind the 300+ fake dog turds that have sprung up in Benissa as part of a campaign to keep the town’s streets clean. Through colourful flyers attached to the foul artefacts, the ‘today is a sh*tty day’ initiative aims to rattle public consciousness as a new raft of fines for dog fouling come in. It comes as a Benissa government report revealed €35,000 is spent cleaning up dog poo each legislature.

and potentially offending camera – at KM49.2 on the AP-6 in Madrid – caught 22,551 drivers in the first half of 2019 alone. The DGT insisted it was ‘not aware’ of the irregularity but it will investigate ‘in the next few days’. Speeding in Spain can result in a fine from €100500, withdrawal of 2-6 points from your license, withdrawal of your driving license and even prison sentences – depending on how fast the driver is going.

NEW road markings in a Costa Blanca town have come under fire after photographs surfaced of a T-junction reading ‘SOTP’ instead of ‘STOP’. The translation flop was spotted on Camí Montanya Llarga between the towns of Jalón and Benissa last week. Eagle-eyed observers soon uploaded photographs to social media, with one simply writing ‘?????????’. “Ah…… that didn’t go according to plan did it?” wrote one commentator, while another wrote simply ‘hilarious’. The English imperative STOP is widely used across the world in non English-speaking countries. Signs bearing the word are common in European Union (EU) countries such as Germany, France, Portugal and Spain. South American countries tend to opt for the Spanish imperative ‘PARE’ or ‘ALTO’.

Profile for Olive Press Newspaper Spain

Costa Blanca Olive Press - Issue 19  

Costa Blanca's original English language investigative newspaper

Costa Blanca Olive Press - Issue 19  

Costa Blanca's original English language investigative newspaper