Look back at 2018

Brexit, Me­tami­zole and Man o'War were some of the main is­sues of last year

Costa Levante News - - FRONT PAGE -

JAN­UARY

Hos­pi­tal chaos in flu epi­demic A FLU epi­demic swept through Al­i­cante prov­ince, col­laps­ing hos­pi­tal A&E de­part­ments and forc­ing the post­pone­ment of sched­uled op­er­a­tions. Flu reached epi­demic sta­tus with 105 cases re­ported for ev­ery 100,000 res­i­dents in the past week (a flu epi­demic is when cases sur­pass 55 per 100,000). While lo­cal health cen­tres at­tended to twice the usual num­ber of pa­tients with flu, pneu­mol­o­gists warned that the virus was more ag­gres­sive than the pre­vi­ous year and called on all risk­group res­i­dents to get vac­ci­na­tions. Padrón alarm THE LAT­EST fig­ures pub­lished by the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Sta­tis­tics (INE) were def­i­nitely not good news for two of the Costa's most im­por­tant towns. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Al­faz del Pi had lost 3,100 peo­ple from its Padrón, al­most all of whom are for­eign res­i­dents. Al­faz of­fi­cially had 18,394 in­hab­i­tants, its low­est num­ber in the past 10 years. A year be­fore, it had 21,494. Al­faz coun­cil did not agree with the fig­ures, as wa­ter con­sump­tion and rub­bish col­lec­tion fig­ures had re­mained un­changed. An ap­peal and lo­cal reg­is­tra­tion cam­paign saw INE re­con­sider and in De­cem­ber it an­nounced the num­ber of res­i­dents had sur­passed 20,000.

La Nucía was in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion, hav­ing reg­is­tered a loss of 2,000 res­i­dents in one year. In­vest­ment boost for Vega Baja hos­pi­tal A TO­TAL of €5 mil­lion was be­ing stumped up by the re­gional gov­ern­ment for a re­fit of Vega Baja hos­pi­tal in Ori­huela. Re­gional pres­i­dent Ximo Puig made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing a visit to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. UK MPs de­bate Costa death On JAN­UARY 9 in Par­lia­ment in Lon­don, Han­nah Bardell MP posed a ques­tion to Sir Alan Dun­can, cur­rent Min­is­ter of State for Eu­rope and Amer­i­cas, re­gard­ing the mys­tery death of Scot­tish hol­i­day­maker Kirsty Maxwell in Benidorm the pre­vi­ous year and is­sues con­cern­ing the later in­ves­ti­ga­tion. A week later, a ju­di­cial break­through came for her fam­ily when the in­ves­ti­gat­ing judge ac­cepted their lawyer's ap­peal for po­lice to lo­cate and an­a­lyse the clothes that she was wear­ing the day she fell to her death from the bal­cony of a 10th­floor hol­i­day apart­ment in Benidorm. Po­lice sources later stated her clothes had been de­stroyed. Span­ish lawyer Luis Miguel Zu­ma­quero, act­ing for Kirsty Maxwell’s hus­band and her par­ents, also re­versed a de­ci­sion deny­ing them the right to get po­lice to re­veal what work they did to iden­tify po­ten­tial wit­nesses. Costa Fi­es­tas take on Madrid A GROUP of 'fes­teros' rep­re­sent­ ing the Moors and Chris­tians fi­es­tas in Cal­losa d'en Sar­rià were part of a huge Costa fi­es­tas pa­rade held in Madrid's fa­mous Puerta del Sol square dur­ing the Fi­tur tourism fair. Drug smug­gling ring to the UK smashed PROP­ER­TIES in Ori­huela and Mur­cia were the head­quar­ters of an in­ter­na­tional drug gang that smug­gled hashish and mar­i­huana from Spain into the UK, the Guardia Civil re­vealed. The prop­erty in Ori­huela Costa was owned by an Ir­ish­man, sus­pected of co­or­di­nat­ing the trans­port of the drugs to Bri­tain with an ac­com­plice based in Mur­cia city. A Guardia Civil spokesman ex­plained that the gang was made up of six men aged 42 to 69 – three Spaniards, a Bri­ton, an Ir­ish­man and a Swede. Miss­ing Brit found THERE was a happy end­ing for Bri­tish hol­i­day­mak­ers Robert and Carl Dixon, who were re­united af­ter Robert went miss­ing for sev­eral days. He had been dis­ori­en­tated and fell some seven me­tres down a cliff face at the Tio Ximo cove in Benidorm's Sierra He­lada. Fa­ther and son were to­gether again af­ter Robert left Vil­la­joyosa hos­pi­tal where he had to un­dergo surgery due to the in­juries he sus­tained in the fall. Vic­tory for Bri­tish buy­ers A BRI­TISH cou­ple won a court bat­tle against the ad­min­is­tra­tor in the bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings of con­struc­tion com­pany Sol­era El Tram­polín in Gea y Truy­ols near Sucina in Mur­cia re­gion. The pen­sion­ers were in a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion, as the ad­min­is­tra­tor had asked a Mur­cia court to evict them and write off the money they paid for their home more than 10 years ago. They had com­mit­ted to pur­chase an off­plan de­tached villa in Sol­era El Tram­polín ur­ban­i­sa­tion in 2005 for €180,402. The cou­ple sold their home in the UK to start pay­ing for the prop­erty in Spain, hand­ing €71,600 to the builder in 2005 and an­other €6,000 in 2008 and 2010.

FE­BRU­ARY

Dog saves Jávea fam­ily A FAM­ILY of restau­ra­teurs in Jávea are only alive to­day be­cause their dog warned them their apart­ment was on fire just in time for them to get out. Ta­nia, 22, and her 27­year­old part­ner were sound asleep in their Primer Mun­tan­yar flat above La Masía de la Sal fam­ily­run eatery when a TV set burst into flames in the lounge at around 06.00. Lola, a Ger­man Shep­herd cross with 'a bit of Bel­gian Shep­herd in her', be­gan bark­ing and scratch­ing the bed­room door. They must be mad! 'THEY must be mad' was the main com­ment made by many ex­pats who were among the hun­dreds that de­fied the cold Fe­bru­ary weather on Satur­day to see the Car­ni­val de­scent of the River Bul­lent in Pego. Con­sid­er­ing many par­tic­i­pants ended up fall­ing in­side the freez­ing river, on­look­ers were prob­a­bly right! Big chill grips the costa COLD weather brought deep snow to in­land ar­eas of Al­i­cante prov­ince and Mur­cia. Parts of Spain ground to a halt this week as two me­tres of snow fell in As­turias re­gion and driv­ing snow caused the op­er­a­tors of Madrid’s Bara­jas air­port to close the run­ways on Mon­day. In Al­i­cante prov­ince, the au­thor­i­ties were forced to shut the road lead­ing to Font Roja Nat­u­ral Park in Al­coy. Votes for all EX­PATS would win a “life­long” right to vote in Bri­tish elec­tions af­ter a wide­rang­ing con­sul­ta­tion on its key votes for life strat­egy, the gov­ern­ment promised. Down­ing Street un­der­lined a com­mit­ment to scrap­ping the cur­rent 15­year time limit on UK cit­i­zens abroad tak­ing part in the demo­cratic process. The joint an­nounce­ment by the Cab­i­net Of­fice and Min­is­ter for the Con­sti­tu­tion Chloe Smith came ahead of the sec­ond read­ing de­bate in the House of Com­mons sched­uled for Fe­bru­ary 23 for MP Glyn Davies’ Pri­vate Mem­bers Bill ‘Over­seas Elec­tors’. Shop­ping days lim­ited THE LAW reg­u­lat­ing Sun­days and bank hol­i­days on which shops and shop­ping cen­tres in the Va­len­cia re­gion can open were dra­mat­i­cally changed by the re­gional gov­ern­ment, which backed an agree­ment signed by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of traders and con­sumers asso­ciations, trade unions and cham­bers of com­merce. The agree­ment was a se­ri­ous set­back for shops and shop­ping cen­tres in Tor­re­vieja, Ori­huela Costa, Fines­trat, and coastal dis­tricts of Pi­lar de la Ho­radada, Benissa and Al­faz del Pi, which had been al­lowed to open ev­ery Sun­day and bank hol­i­day all year be­cause they were awarded the sta­tus of busy tourist zones (ZGAT) . Brexit talks BRI­TISH Con­sul Sarah­Jane Mor­ris, to­gether with Vice Con­sul Sara Mun­ster­hjelm, con­sular staff and ‘Br­ex­pats in Spain’ re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tive Richard Hill, em­barked on the sec­ond round of ‘Brexit up­date’ for ex­pat Bri­tish res­i­dents north of Al­i­cante. The ex­er­cise was to in­form Bri­tish na­tion­als who are res­i­dent in Spain of the facts and progress of ne­go­ti­a­tions Hunter sen­tenced for shoot­ing pet dogs A JUDGE in Benidorm has sen­tenced two men to prison for killing one pet dog and in­jur­ing an­other af­ter they shot them whilst hunt­ing. Vi­cente MB, aged 77, from Murla, and Emilio MS, aged 74, from Benigem­bla, shot the Bre­ton dogs from less than 20 me­tres away in Novem­ber 2014. Ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence, the owner of the dogs was car­ry­ing out main­te­nance to a wa­ter pump on his pri­vate land, ac­com­pa­nied by his two dogs ­ Lola, aged eight, and her puppy Kika, eight months. Match fix­ing rocks lo­cal foot­ball SIX of the 31 sus­pects ar­rested in con­nec­tion with a match­fix­ing net­work in Span­ish foot­ball were from the Mur­cia re­gion. Na­tional Po­lice re­ported that the sus­pect games were played in the sec­ond divi­sion (Se­gunda B) and third divi­sion last sea­son and dur­ing the cur­rent cam­paign. A court probe was launched in March last year af­ter a com­plaint was made to the po­lice. Ac­cord­ing to EFE, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­cov­ered an or­gan­ised net­work ‘which was al­legedly set up to fix matches around the coun­try for the ben­e­fit of il­le­gal bet­ting’. The pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor lead­ing the case noted that they were con­nected to Chi­nese cit­i­zens who were the ‘prin­ci­pal fun­ders’ of the bet­ting scam. Banks let off the hook BANKS in Spain sighed in re­lief af­ter the Supreme Court ruled in their favour re­gard­ing mort­gage con­tract clauses that obliged cus­tomers to pay the mort­gage tax stamp duty (Im­puesto de Ac­tos Jurídi­cos Doc­u­men­ta­dos). Had the na­tional court ruled in favour of cus­tomers, as many pro­vin­cial courts had, banks would be fac­ing a stream of de­mands that would have amounted to mil­lions of eu­ros in pay­outs. The mort­gage tax stamp duty is­sue was ad­dressed again later on in the year. Snow hit Va­len­cia re­gion HEAVY snow fell in the Va­len­cia re­gion, lead­ing to the clo­sure of roads and schools. The worst of the weather af­fected Va­len­cia prov­ince and Castel­lón, while snow fell in the moun­tains of Al­i­cante prov­ince. With freez­ing air chan­nelled down from north­ern Eu­rope, snow hit large swathes of the in­te­rior of the re­gion when a low pres­sure crossed the coun­try from the At­lantic and the two weather sys­tems col­lided. In­vis­i­ble speed cam­era ac­quired NEW mo­bile speed cam­eras were be­ing tested by the Guardia Civil and the DGT na­tional traf­fic au­thor­ity – and were set to be up and run­ning over the fol­low­ing weeks. The Velo­laser can be at­tached to

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