April 2016 News Headlines

Benitatxell's Biomoscatel wine part of EU Erasmus programme

April 30th
The Benitachell Biomoscatell project has been selected to be part of the Erasmus + Learning for Biodiversity project aimed to improve biodiversity in vineyards, and more specifically in organic farms. This initiative is co-funded by the EU. About 50 farmers will be involved, preparing documents on how to increase biodiversity while still maintianing production and quality. The project will run until September 2018 . From XAD

"Brexit" fears for Valencian agriculturalists

April 26th
The possibility of the UK leaving the EU has raised concerns among Valencian agriculturalists. The Comunidad exports €400 million worth of agri- products to the UK, each year - citrus fruits, wine and fresh flowers being highlighted as areas at risk. In total the UK imports €2,952 million worth of Valencian goods, and is the fourth largest EU market for Valencia behind Germany, France and Italy. (From Levante Print Edition)

Veterinary drug could cause major drop in vulture numbers in Spain, new study confirms

April 25th
According to a new study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology on Monday and analysing the potential effects of the use of veterinary diclofenac in Spain, the approval in that country of the use of these two new veterinary drugs containing diclofenac – Diclovet and Dolofenac – could jeopardise the viability of Europe’s most important breeding population of Griffon Vultures. Veterinary diclofenac is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic medication used on livestock. Vultures are exposed to the drug – toxic to them but not to livestock – when they feed on carcasses of animals previously treated with it. Diclofenac causes kidney failure and death in vultures within a few hours of consumption. The approval of the two new drugs in Spain is especially threatening not just because Spain is home to more than 95% of the European breeding population of the Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus (about 26,000 pairs), but also because other threatened scavenging birds such as the Red Kite Milvus milvus, Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus and Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus also breed here. All of them are susceptible to the effects of veterinary diclofenac. For full story see: Birdlife.org

Sports tourism brings over 10m foreign tourists to Spain

April 25th
Sports tourism in Spain has exceeded 10 million visitors, growing by 9.57% annually. Spanish tourists spend EUR 595 million on sports-related travel. Catalonia is the community with the largest supply of sporting venues, shows a recent research. The study entitled 'Sports Tourism in Spain 2014' shows that a total of 10.3 million international tourists arrived in Spain for sporting purposes in 2014, representing a 9.57% increase over 2013. According to the study, of all the tourists arriving in Spain for leisure, 16.9% did so with sports tourism as an underlying reason. For full story see: Tourism Review

Madrid plans fines of €751 and up for leaving dog droppings on the street

April 23rd
Dog owners in Madrid who fail to pick up after their pets face a fine of up to €1,500 if caught. The plan will be rolled across two areas — thus far unnamed — that local authorities have deemed the most faecally challenged, with police patrols watching for offences. For those who resist paying their fines, or can’t pay, Mayor Carmena has suggested that city councillors allow the option of instead working on a street or neighborhood cleanup crew at weekends. For full story see: Marketwatch Other Spanish cities have already adopted similar “scoop-the-poop” measures to tackle careless dog owners. In the Madrid dormitory town of Brunete, inspectors were sent out to monitor offenders, then mailed the droppings back to dog owners as a warning. Another town filmed owners who let their dogs foul the pavement, while a third location organized volunteers along the lines of “canine patrols” to inform offenders. The town of Xàtiva, in Valencia, has even gone so far as to create a DNA database of dogs registered in the municipality to identify them through their excrement, with the owner paying both a fine and the cost of the DNA test. Some Catalan towns are following that example. From El Pais in English

Balearic Islands to charge tourist tax from this summer

April 23rd
From 1 July this year, each tourist over the age of 15 who stays in a holiday home, hotel, hostel, B&B or even on a cruise shipwill be charged between 0,25 euro and 2 euro for each night of their stay. Therefore, this will apply to all tourists staying in Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera. With this new initiative, also dubbed ‘the ecotax’ the Balearic regional government hopes to generate approximately 80 million euro a year, double the amount collected in Cataluña, who brought in this tax at the end of 2012. The money will be used to create a sustainable type of tourism and to conserve the environment and natural spaces within the islands, although the exact use of the money will be decided by a specific commission made up of political institutions and social agents. For full story see: Expatica

New guided tourist route in the Old Town

A new guided tourist route has been debuted this week which will be available in several languages. The new tour is entitled 'La Villa Nocturna - Vicencias del Siglo XIX' which offers a guided route around the historic centre of Xàbia after dark and is complemented by traditional Valencian dancing and sound effects. The intention of the tour is to explore to golden age of the raisin industry, discovering the architecture of the stately homes that were enriched by the booming international trade, such as the Casa del Bolufer, the building currently housing the municipal museum and the Casa de Tena as well as the key elements of the production of the prized fruit such as the ruirau. The route will be debuted in English on Tuesday 25th May whilst it will be available in Spanish on Monday 27th June. Fulls story on: Javeamigos

Brussels blocks €1,122 million of EU regional development subsidies to Spain because of irregularities

April 24th
The European Commission has blocked 1,122 million euros in European subsidies to Spain after detecting serious deficiencies and irregularities in the control carried out by the bodies that manage the application and justification of these projects. This amount corresponds to the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), with which Europe finances infrastructure and development initiatives in transport, energy, environment and research. In some cases the suspensions were started in 2013, others in 2014 and remain unresolved despite Brussel's insistence. The latest annual report of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO), which manages the funds, notes that Spain is the country with most procedures of interruption or suspension of payments. The European Commission sent a delegation of auditors to Spain last June with the specific objective of evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of procedures for correcting deficiencies and irregularities found. The problems affect 22 of the 23 operational programs, ranging from technical issues of justification of expenses to irregularities in public procurement. From El Pais

Milagros Lambert proclaimed 'Hija Predilecta' of Xàbia

April 23rd
Artist Milagros Lambert Kostrinksi is to be handed the keys to the city after the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia voted unanimously to appoint her as a 'Hija Predilecta' - 'favourite daughter' - in an extraordinary plenary session. Milagros Lambert becomes the second person to be honoured in such a way after tennis player David Ferrer. The businesswoman, artist and editor was born in Xàbia on April 19th 1930 to a family of French artists based in Portitxol. For full story see: Javeamigos

Xàbia aims for €5 million EU grant for Integrated Sustainable Urban development

April 20th
Xàbia Town Hall has begun the participatory process to develop a strategy of sustainable, integrated urban development (EDUSI). A project, the main objective of which is to improve the quality of life of towns in an integrated manner (from social cohesion and the fight against poverty to the promotion of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability). Xàbia hopes to qualify for the EDUSI ERDF financing line of European funds which will be awarded to projects selected in a forthcoming meeting and the Town Hall has begun to find ways of channelling the opinions and ideas of individuals and social groups with a view to the elaboration of a local project dubbed "Fent Xàbia". The departments of economic development, citizen participation, new technologies, urban planning and social services have formed a promotional and impulse team along with technicians who advise them throughout the process. The first thing to do is to coordinate a system that involves citizens, since involving them is essential to define what kind of city people want. On Monday 25 April there will be an open, informative meeting to explain the project and ask for the people's cooperation. This will be at 8 pm in the meeting room of the Soler Blasco Museum.

Throughout the month of May there will be two open workshops to which certain groups will be invited. These will take place in the Casa de Tena. The intention is to choose projects that are a priority for the people and to include them in the project, which the municipality will present to apply for the European grant. This is an opportunity to move forward towards a model of a smart, sustainable and inclusive city. From Press Release.

For more about the background to this project see: EDUSI Integrated sustainable Urban development

The Spectre of drought once more hangs over the Marina Alta

April 20th
Aquifers are in worse shape than last year and the water reserves of the region are still in freefall according to CHJ, which bodes summer at least as difficult as the previous. So far this hydrological year, Aemet notes that it has rained half of what would be considered normal. The good start of the current hydrological year 2015-16, which began on October 1 with major rainfall in month and in the following November, was no more than a mirage. Since then, it has hardly rained except for some isolated episodes, we are having a very dry spring and aquifers are at a level worse than the same time last year while many communities of irrigators are beginning to have a hard time. The experts suggest that regional municipalities of the region should opt for collaboration and not be tempted to make war on each other as happened in the summer of last year. From La Marina Plaza

Mayor Chulvi stands firm in face of protests to allow "Bous embolats" bull running

April 20th
The statement appeared on Mayor Chulvi's Facebook page: Following my decision against animal cruelty,supported by the Town Hall Councillors and my personal commitment to ban the practice of fire bulls and the boxed bulls at our fiestas; a demonstration by the Xàbia Taurine Cultural Association (association for bull related fiestas) is planned on 1st May. They are at liberty to express their point of view, but this will not affect our decision. For full details about the Bull running controversy, see in depth article on Javeamigos

Tender period for new auditorium announced

A new auditorium for Xàbia has taken another step towards reality with the announcement that the tender period for bidding for the drafting of the basic design and execution of the new building is soon to open. And council officials hope that construction next to the Conservatorio de Música could begin in early 2017. The Governing Body of the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia has approved the basis of the contract which is worth around 93,000 euros. Interested parties will also need to provide health and safety studies as well as details of the proposed project management team. The tender should also include technical solvency assurance as well as a list of principle services or similar work carried out in the past five years. For full story see: Javeamigos

Spain wins two EU heritage conservation prizes

April 12th
The European Commission and Europa Nostra have announced the winners of the European Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. The 28 winners belonging to 16 countries have been rewarded for their exemplary achievements in the categories of conservation, research, dedication to heritage; education, training and public awareness. Among the winners are two important projects in Spain: the rehabilitation of the Caminito del Rey in Ardales (Malaga) and the restoration of six churches in Lorca (Murcia). The jury of independent experts evaluated a total of 187 projects submitted by organizations and individuals from 36 European countries. Citizens around the world can also vote online for the Public's Prize, thus supporting any/s of the winning projects of their own country or in another European country. From: Revista de Arte

Police to check up on abandoned plots

April 12th
Since last year, new laws have been in force in Xàbia to discourage residents from abandoning the upkeep of vacant urban plots and rural land that they own in a bid to reduce the risk of fire as well as infestations of mosquitos and rodents. The local police will inspect all plots of land that in poor condition and denounce the owners who will be required to clear the land immediately. Failure to obey with the order will result in further action being taken. For full story see:Javeamigos

Taxman turns attention to property rentals over the Internet

April 12th
Spain’s Tax Agency is targeting the owners of apartments who placed rental ads last year – including those on specialized websites such as Airbnb – in a crackdown on unreported income. With the 2015 income tax drive now officially underway, taxpayers who use the new online tax filing program, Renta Web, may find the following message on their computer screen:“According to data in the Tax Agency’s power, you have placed property rental ads in various media, including the internet.” The note is a reminder that any income from such rentals must be declared, in the same way as income from foreign pension schemes or other foreign assets. For full story see: El Pais in English

School run on foot - Xàbia inaugurates three "pedibus" routes for school children

April 7th
As of Friday 8th April, three special 'Pedibus' walking routes will be available for children attending CEIP Graüll, CEIP Vicente Tena and CEIP Trenc d'Alba as well as Colegio Maria Inmaculada. The groups will be accompanied by parents and volunteers who will help make the way safe for the kids. The walking routes will continue every Friday until the end of the school year. This 'Pas a Pas, Camins Escolars Xàbia' projects aims to promote walking to school as a safe, sociable and healthy alternative to riding in the car, and to reduce traffic jams near the schools. For full story see: Javeamigos

Comunidad Valenciana - second lowest unemployment in Spain

April 4th
Dring March, unemployment fell by 7,637 people, a decrease of 1.63% as compared to the previous month, and second only to Catalonia. I annual terms it fell by 48,952 (9.59%) with a total number of unemployed at 461,644. March's decline was associated with the Easter holidays and Fallas fiestas. from : El País

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