May 2015 News Headlines

Another fire on the Montgó

May 25th
Seems to have started just before 7.00pm in the area behind Nova Xàbia. There seem to be several foci of fire. Luckily not much wind this evening (Ed)


A quick response from the Valencia fire-fighting service saw six air facilities, 2 brigades and 2 fire-engines in action. After sunset the planes withdrew and 4 brigades and fire-engines stayed to complete extinguishing the fire. Three houses were evicted as a precaution. From Xàbia al Dia

José Chulvi returned as Xàbia mayor with absolute majority

May 25th
Yesterday's municipal elections saw a result which had not been predicted by anyone. Mayor José Chulvi was re-elected with an absolute majority of 14 of the 21 council seats (59.99% of the votes); The Xàbia Democractica / Ciudadanos alliance won 4 seats with 16.88% of the votes, followed by the Partido Popular (2 seats, 11.14%) and Compromis (1 seat, 7.56%). The total number of votes cast was 9538, a 58.62% turnout, two points lower than in the 2011 elections. From XAD: Chulvi.... For official results table see: 2015 municipal elections

Benidorm installs pioneering Wi Fi on the beach

May 21st
During the months of July and August Benidorm will launch a pilot project of free wifi in a section of the Levante beach and the viewpoint of El Castell. In addition to providing free Internet access will provide feedback on peoples' tastes, interests and habits which will help the design of marketing strategies and promotions. The scheme, promoted by Cellnex and the Fundación y Nuevas Tecnologías, has already been employed successfully in Barcelona and Palma de Majorca. From La Marina Plaza

Restriction on numbers of carrier bags for consumers

May 21st
NEW European Union rules could reduce the numbers of plastic carrier bags used in member States even further, according to a report by Eroski Consumer, part of the Spain-wide supermarket chain which originated in the Basque Country. The directive of April 29, number 2015/720, says the 28 countries must either reduce the number of carrier bags each person is allowed to take home from the supermarket, or limit the number given out without charge. For full story see: Think Spain

El País and the Guardian initiate sharing of climate change content between global media

May 21st
An unprecedented alliance of news publishers including the Guardian, El País, Le Monde and China Daily have agreed to share climate change content to raise awareness in the runup to the next UN summit. More than two dozen publishers from around the world – from the Sydney Morning Herald to India Today and the Seattle Times – have agreed to scrap licensing fees for climate change content so that members of the alliance can freely republish articles. The initiative, called the Climate Publishers Network, aims to create a global pool of content to provide a resource for publishers to widen coverage ahead of the UN climate change summit in Paris in December. From: The Guardian

The plague of pine beetles has killed 1.5 million trees in the Valencian Community

May 2oth
The Ministry of the Environment estimates that around one and a half million trees in the Comunidad Valenciana have already been destroyed by infestations with the pine shoot beetle, Tomicus piniperda. The trees have been made vulnerable to attack by the continuing drought, which reduces the ability of pines to make protective resin. Control efforts are to remove dead and dying trees, and use chemical traps to capture the adult beetles. As up till the middle of May, the Valencian Governent had removed some 120,000 pines, most in Valencia province. The only real solution to the problem however, is a return to normal rainfall patterns. From Las Provincias Print Edition.

16,272 Xàbia residents called to the polls on Sunday

May 20th
The Town Hall official data show that 16,272 residents are elegible to vote in Municipal elections on Sunday. Five parties are standing to compete for the 21 seats: Compromis per Xàbia: headed by Vicent Colomer, the Xàbia Democrática/ Ciudadanos por Jávea Coalition haeded by Oscar Anton, the Partido Popular headed by Tere Ern, the PSOE headed by José Chulvi and Ciudadanos led by Juan Carlos Generoso. The electorate is comprised of 12,483 Spanish citizens, and 3,789 foreign residents.
Last time there was a 60.8% turnout.

Valencia pays the high price of corruption

May 14th
With public debt levels of around €40 billion – equivalent to 40 percent of its GDP – the regional government of Valencia is only able to pay its bills thanks to financing from a special fund set up by the central government….A child born in Valencia today comes into the world owing €100,000, while around a third of the region’s population, spread across the three provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón, lives close to the poverty line…“In no other region in the developed world are so many politicians facing investigation or trial for corruption." For full story see: El Pais in English

Forest Fire in Val de Ebo and Pego

May 14th
High winds and very high temperatures fanned the flames of a forest fire in Val de Ebo on the Solana de Garrofar today. The fire started at around 10.45 am seems to have originated as a result of burning stubble. The flames forced the CV-714 road to be cut. A total of 14 aerial firefighting planes and helicopters and ten fire engines are involved and villas in Pego have been evacuated beacuse of the smoke. By mid-afternoon, the fire, affecting a rugged area near Pego, was still not under control. From: El Pais The fire burned 1715 hectares and was the most important in 20 years, extending all the way to Adsubia (Vall de Gallinera). From: Levante Ed's note: The "refugio" on the walking route between Pego and Val d'Ebo was destroyed.

Valencia on red alert for heat

May 14th
The arrival of an area of low pressure into Galicia has lowered thermometers across much of Spain after the country suffered its hottest May day in 30 years on Wednesday. The exception is the Valencia region, which on Thursday is expected to face the worst of the high temperatures that have been affecting the country since last Saturday. The Aemet state weather agency has issued a red weather alert – the highest on the three-level scale – for Valencia province, warning that temperatures could reach 42ºC in coastal areas and 38ºC inland. The region’s other two provinces, Alicante and Castellón, are on orange alert – the second-highest level – with temperatures of 39ºC expected. The unseasonal hot weather is the result of a body of hot, dry air moving in from Africa that will cause thermometers to rise “between seven and 15 degrees more than usual, practically across the entire Iberian peninsula,” according Aemet spokeswoman Ana Casals. For full story see: El Pais in English

Lighthouses into hotels ?

May 6th
An article in El País describes the national project to turn lighthouses into hotels, including Xàbia's Cabo de San Antonio Lighthouse, a project which has received much criticism . Quote: "The majority of Spain’s lighthouses have been computerized and are no longer manned by keepers, which means they are empty. Since the government announced its plans in 2014, it has received requests to convert around 20 of them into hotels… Opposition to the plans has come from some environmental groups, which note that many of the sites are located in highly protected areas. Civic associations have also criticized the plans for closing off the lighthouses to local community use…However, concerns have been raised as to the economic viability of the conversion projects. David Moré, a respected scholar who has studied Spain’s lighthouses, says the idea of turning them into hotels comes from Scandinavia. “But the lighthouses there are much bigger; in Spain I don’t think they will be viable,” he says, pointing out that most Spanish lighthouses only have two keepers' residences, and that the original building needs to be respected. “In short, the economic interests of the Ports Authority have taken precedence over technical criteria,” he concludes. For full story see: El País in English

Driving and parking fines go up 80% during Spain's financial crisis, three-quarters of which are issued by town halls

May 5th
Parking and driving fines increased in number by more than 80% during the main 'crisis years', according to a study by motor insurer Línea Directa. Between the years 2000 and 2006, a total of 16 million fines were handed out, compared to nearly double – 29 million – from 2007 to 2013 inclusive. And a survey contained within the study shows 92% of drivers – 24 million in Spain - consider parking and traffic fines to be 'a clear way of making more money, since they do not believe driving standards can have got worse to such a degree or car-owners have suddenly become more careless about parking, and they also refer to the fact the amounts charged for parking fines have rocketed – from around €40 in 2006 to between €200 and €300 in 2012. For full story see: ThinkSpain

Xàbia schools ask permission to change school hours

May 1st
The Trenc de Alba and Port de Xàbia schools have asked to be able to change their schooling hours to 9.00am non-stop until 2.00pm, so that they are in line with the Graúll and Vicente Tena schools which for then past year have been using these hours in a regional pilot scheme. The education sector has seen the benefits of this schedule in the reduction of absenteeism, academic improvements, the reconciliation of work and family life and family satisfaction. The Town Council unanimously supported their request, which be passed on to the Valencia Department of Education. From Press Release and last year's report in Las Provincias

Spain has the world’s most competitive tourism industry

May 7th
Spain has the most competitive tourism industry in the world, a global study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found. For the first time the country has come out top of a list of 141 nations analyzed in The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, issued every two years by the same organization behind the Davos Forum. The report takes into account 90 individual indicators measuring elements such as a destination’s natural and cultural resources, its health and hygiene conditions, its travel infrastructure, its security levels, its price competitiveness and its adaptation to new technologies. For full story see: El Pais in English. Report can be found on World Economic Forum

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