December 2015 News Headlines

Record number of tourists in 2015

Dec 31st
Numbers of tourists have shot up in Spain in the past year, with 64.6 million visitors from abroad – nearly one and a half times the country's population – having travelled there between January and November 2015. This translates as a rise of 4.8% on the same 11-month period in 2014, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE)'s FRONTUR survey. Last year's 61.7 million was already a record, but consistent increases in foreign visitor numbers have been seen in the past few years. The majority came from the UK thanks to its newly-recovered economy, with the nearly 15 million Brits visiting Spain representing a 4.1% increase. For full story see:ThinkSpain

Marina Alta Padrón loses 26,500 in two years

Dec 31st
For the third year running, the registered number of residents in the Marina Alta has fallen by around 12.7%. The figure for Xàbia has fallen by 1386 to 27,681. Only 11 of the 33 of the municipalities have shown growth, among them being Benitatxell, which is up by 31. From: La Marina Plaza

Valencias forgotten "library" of 375,000 books

Dec 31st
The Valencia Government has brought to light a warehouse full of 375,000 books published at taxpayers expense over the last 20 years and never sold. These include 65,000 copies of a book of recipies "with the only explanation that the introduction was signed the then Regional Minister for Agriculture", 35,000 copies of notebooks for the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) costing some 90,000 euros, and 1,500 books about the sculptor Julio González 'of which only ten have been sold because they each cost 300 euros ". In addition, the Valencia city council pays €4500 a month to store them. The plan is to distribute the books, in lots of 60 worth around €1,300 to municipal libraries in the region. So far, this program has received 244 requests from a total of 552, and 94 have already received their quota. From: Las Provincias

Prescription charges for pensioners axed in the Comunidad Valenciana

Dec 31st
Pensioners and their dependants earning less than €18,000 a year before tax will no longer have to pay prescription charges in the Comunidad Valenciana. The left-wing team now leading the Valencia regional government has put aside €41 million to cover the shortfall once State pensioners get their regular medicine free of charge. he free prescriptions will benefit 403,334 State pensioners. For full story see: Think Spain (Ed's note: I hope this isn't an "Innocent's Day" joke !)

Better protection for whales - and for the Gulf of Valencia

Dec 31st
The European Commission has recognised the migratory corridor of whales and dolphins along the Mediterranean coast from Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearics and supports its designation as as a specially protected zone (SPAMI). This will make any future projects to explore for oil or gas in the area much more difficult. From: Las Provincias

Cantabria's 200 forest fires out as Asturias keeps watch over last eight

Dec 31st
While the UK news is obsessed with flooding, Spain burns. Cantabria is practically free from forest fires after a week with more than 200 burning across the region, whilst neighbouring Asturias still has eight out of the 160 raging all at once over Christmas. For full story see: ThinkSpain

80% of Spanish youngsters till living with parents

Dec 31st
In Spain the average youngster doesn’t leave home until the age of 28.9 years. Spaniards leave home before their Italian, Greek or Croatian counterparts, but later than the European average of 26.1 years, and far from Sweden, where young people become independent at the age of just 19.6 years on average…to buy a house right now, young people would have to commit 60% of their salary – double the level recommended by experts. Given that 38.7% of youngsters in Spain are currently unemployed, the chances of being able to leave the family home are remote. For full story see: El Pais in English

2015 - 4th hottest year in History

Dec 20th
This year will go down as one of Spain’s hottest in history. According to figures compiled by the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), the annual average temperature in the country up until November 30 was 16.5ºC – about 0.8ºC higher than the average between 1981 and 2010. Aemet states that 2015 is the fourth hottest year on record in Spain – only last year, 2006 and 2011 saw higher average temperatures. Spaniards are also experiencing one of the driest periods on record. This autumn has been particularly dry, with 18 percent less rainfall than other years. Aemet said the autumn of 2015 has been the fifth driest on record after those of 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2013. This summer was also the country’s second-hottest since 1961 and included the longest heatwave ever recorded. For full story see: El Pais in English

German startup challenges traditional banks in Spain

Dec 20th
A German startup is offering Spaniards the chance to avoid the hassle of long queues and awkward opening hours of Spanish banks and do everything on a smartphone - and in English. Users can sign up for an account within eight minutes, using a video chat function to verify their identity - no need to go to a physical bank and no need to send in forms by mail. "A Spanish citizen can open a German bank account and they don't have to travel here to do it," the spokeswoman said. “With the technology we have now it can be done, so why shouldn’t it be?" Users receive just one piece of physical mail - their MasterCard. Transactions are tracked in real-time through an app and cards can be blocked and unblocked by the user at any time. There are no fees to hold an account, or to make a foreign transaction. Clients' money is protected by the German Deposit Protection Fund.For full story see: The

The end of commercial fishing from Xàbia Port ? A distinct possibility.

Dec 20th
The six construction companies hoping to manage and re-organise the Port want the whole dock to be for yachts and money-spinning leisure boats, hence they do not want fishermen. According to newspapers published Friday (Levante and Xàbia al Día), each fishing boat owner has been offered between 500,000 and one million euros to leave its berth and it seems the owners are willing to listen to offers. In a recent poll they empowered their president, José Serrat, to continue negotiations with the construction companies. If they take up the offers this means the end of Xàbia as a fishing port, and its conversion to a marina. Xàbia has one of the few remaining ports in the area which includes a traditional fishing fleet. This and its fish market and promotion of "fish from the bay" have been a unique tourism selling point, much defended by various Town Hall administrations over the years. Now there is the distinct possibility that the fishing fleet will be bought off, and the character of the port changed forever. From LaMarinaPlaza

Xabia gives financial assistance for educational and cultural institutions

Dec 11th
Xpabia has renewed several agreements to provide funding to educational and cultural institutions in Xàbia, totalling €105,154 . Most of the financial assistance has been approved for the UNED centre in Dénia which will receive a grant of 82,220 euros. Similar to the UK's Open University, UNED is a distance learning and research university founded in 1972 which has its headquarters in Madrid but has campuses in all the autonomous communities of Spain and combines traditional onsite education with distance learning programmes. Other educational institutes receiving municipal aid are the 'Escuela de Pintura Mediterránea' (13,962 euros) and the 'Institut d'Estudis Comarcals de la Marina Alta' (1,500 euros). In addition, the 'Asociación de Barques Tradicionals' receives 1,782 euros. For full story see: Javeamigos

Car hits two wild boar on the Carretera la Guardia

Dec 30th
A car with two occupants hit two wild boar on the Ca. la Guardia near Ca. Rossinyol. One of the pigs was killed outright, the other had grave injuries while the car passengers were uninjured (though the car was a mess). The drought could be a reason why the pigs have come down from the hills to find food and water, the vacant building plots forming ideal refuges with swimming pool water nearby. From XAD: Embiste a dos jabalies..

Three Public works contracts awarded

Dec 15
Xàbia Town Hall has awarded three contracts relating to public roads which will begin early in the new year. Two of them are reurbanisation projects the cost of which will be borne by a treasury surplus from Alicante. The first, estimated at 164,000 euros, will develop a section of the Avenida Augusta undertaken by the local company Excavaciones Mayte. This same company will replace pavements in the Avenida Arenal between the new roundabout and the junction with the calle Saint Etiene. It is budgeted at 58,000 euros funded by the Provincial Government. Pavasal has been awarded the asphalting of six streets in the area of Balcon al Mar, an investment in road renovation amounting to 85,000 euros. Once the contractual procedure is completed, only the signing of the contract remains. According to the Department for Town Projects, directed by Paco Torres, it is expected that the work begin shortly after the holidays. Full story on: Javeamigos

CREAMA HQ to be in Xàbia

Dec 6th
The " Consorcio para la Recuperación Económica y de la Actividad de la Marina Alta" (creama) - the Marina Alta consortium for economic recuparation and activity, has decided to base its HQ in Xàbia, and they will also hold executive committee meetings in the town. The initial budget for next year will be €937,000 based on funds provided by the collaborating municipalities: Benissa, Calpe, Dénia, Gata de Gorgos, Pedreguer, Pego, Teulada-Moraira and Xàbia. There will be added financial support from SERVEF and the European Social fund. From XAD: Xabia sera...

More Spaniards emigrating

Population ageing and shrinking

Dec 6th
n the first half of 2015, 50,844 Spanish citizens left the country, representing a 30% rise from the same period in 2014, according to figures released on Friday by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE). By comparison, less than half that number, 23,078, returned to Spain after living in another country. Spain continues to lose population. The total number of residents shrank by 26,501 individuals and was 46,423,064 on July 1, 2015, nearly 0.06 percent less than at the beginning of the year…A higher death rate, coupled with net emigration, yields a country that is losing population and with a higher average age. For full story see: El País in English

Javea renews agreement for collection of old clothes for the Third World

Dec 4th
The Ayuntamiento de Xàbia has reaffirmed its commitment to the selective collection of used clothing and textiles throughout the municipality by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) called 'Humana Fundación Pueblo para Pueblo'. Mayor José Chulvi and Humana CEO Elisabeth Molnar signed a new two-year agreement which maintains the ten-year relationship and commits the NGO to make annual financial contributions to projects determined by the Departments of Services, of the Environment and of Social Services. With the proceeds made through the management of the used clothing and textiles, Humana finances and develops programmes to protect the environment in Spain and provide assistance to the Third World in the fields of education, agriculture and rural development, community development, renewable energy and energy efficiency and the fight against communicable diseases as well as assistance in emergency situations. They also support social welfare programmes in the municipalities where Humana is present. For full story see: Javeamigos

Valencia fishermen catch plastic - to make up-market clothes

Dec 3rd
Since July Spanish fishing boats have been picking up plastic waste in the Mediterranean which will be recycled into polyester fibres that will be used to make a high-end clothing line. "We want to present the first fashion collection made with yarn and fabric that come from garbage found at the bottom of the sea in June in Florence," said Javier Goyeneche, 45, the president of Ecoalf, ( the Spanish company behind the venture. Ecoalf says it will be the first company to make clothes from recycled plastic waste found at sea and it has signed on 200 fishing boats in the eastern region of Valencia to act as scavengers. The company, which employs 18 people and posted a turnover of €4.5 million ($4.8 million) this year, already sells its jackets and backpacks made from recycled waste in upscale shops such as Harrods in London and Bloomingdale in New York. For full story see: The

Three big Christmas trees in Xàbia to attract the tourists

Dec 3rd
The Departments of Economic Development and of Fiestas have got together to create a festive ambiance across the town and create a special programme for the children such as the collection of letters by not only the Three Kings but also by Father Christmas. The town is to be decorated, not only to bring the festive spirit to its residents but also to encourage visitors to come to Xàbia during the Christmas period. Three Christmas trees are being erected in front of the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia, in the Paseo del Tenista David Ferrer in the Arenal and on the promenade along the Playa de la Grava in front of Bar Clavo. These trees will be around eight metres tall with natural pine branches and will be illuminated. for full story see: Javeamigos

San Antonio Lighthouse goes out - for a while

Dec 3rd
The Cabo de San Antonio lighthouse was extinguished for the first time in 60 years for two nights while a new system to control the light remotely was installed. System will enable the generator to be started and will report any faults remotely. Over the coming months other lighthouses along the coast will be similarly equipped, the last being the Cabo de la Nao lighthouse, which although the newest has the oldest optics which were recycled and remounted from the previous building. From Las Provincias

Police catch Sea-Urchin poachers

Dec 3rd
Xàbia's local police recently launched a special surveillance to keep a lookout for the illegal fishing of sea urchins (Erizos del Mar / bogmarins). The harvesting season lasts from December 1st until February 28th, fishermen have to use traditional techniques and are only allowed to take two dozen specimens. A few weeks ago police caught two divers who had each collected around 300 urchins. The animals were retruned to the sea one at a time in the hopes that they would survive. The fine for poaching is €600 Euros. Local restaurants have been asked to cooperate by buying their sea urchins from legal sources. From: La Marina Plaza

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