The red palm weevil continues to wreak havoc to the palm trees in Elche and the town council is now asking the Valencia regional government for more manpower and more money to combat this insect scourge .
It is the PP that rule the council in Elche and they have agreed a motion together with the Partido de Elche .It says that many palms outside the famous Palmeral plantations are affected and because of the economic crisis their owners are abandoning them because of the cost .This increases the possibility of the plague getting worse .
It is the privately owned infected palms that they want the regional government to fund .They need to be cut down and burned . The PP are also saying that even the Palmeral is not safe as it has not been checked since 2005 .They are also saying that the previous Socialist council did nothing to protect the palms .
The reply of the socialists is that the national government as well as the regional government ought to be funding this project .It is thought that 50% of the weevil problem is concentrated in Elche .The PSOE also say that they were funding the fight against the weevil when it was actually the sole responsibility of the regional government .
Last weekend there were torrential downpors across the Costa Blanca towns .This left streets under water from Alicante to Gandia on both Saturday and Sunday .The rainfall reached 132 litres per square metre or 5 inches of rain .It affected both Alicante and Valencia provinces .
One of the worst hit places was Callosa while Altea and Confrides were also badly affected too . Thunder and lightening left Pego without power at around 9pm on the Saturday night , just when it is needed .Thunder and lightening went on through the night in most places .
Javea had 23 litres of rain per square metre and Alcoy 24 litres .Gales of 78 kph were recorded in Javea and led to widespread chaos and some damage .Gandia and Denia has waves of over 5 metres in height and both ports were closed to marine traffic .
Inland there was snow and between 2 and five inches fell in various places , all above 600 metres above sea level .
On December 15 there will be the start of a train service from Alicante to Paris by high speed train and it will take 11 hours to get there .
This is the beginning of the Spain -France AVE high speed train service and will permit travellers to travel from Barcelona to Paris directly .This part of the journey will take only 6 hrs and 25 minutes and will take place twice daily and cost just 59 euros one way .
En route the train will stop at Narbonne , Montpelier and Nimes . All of this is possible from Alicante as the Costa Blanca Euromed train will take travellers from Alicante to Valencia and then on to barcelona .
The journey is much slower than by plane but it is more comfortable and more scenic .Also there are no restrictions on the amount of luggage that you can carry .The train also takes you into the centre of the city .
At the moment there is a service from Alicante to Montpelier but this will stop on December 15 when thew other one begins .
Her Majesty´s Ambassador to Spain is just 4 weeks into his new post and now Simon Manley CMG has made his first visit to Alicante Province .
He met with people who are supporting British expats on the Costa Blanca , such as representitives from the Royal British Legion and Age Concern .There were also invited members of the media at the reception in Benidorm .He was accompanied by Paul Rodwell the British Consul in Alicante .
In a speech the Ambassador stated that Spain was one of the most important consular posts and dealt with 14 million British holiday makers each year and around 800,000 who are resident in Spain .
The Ambassador announced the launch of new Facebook and Twitter pages in an attempt to make them even more accessible to the general public .These pages will provide information and the feeling is that the better informed you are then the fewer problems you will have .
This of course is not a substitute for the public services they provide from the consulate offices in Alicante but it is a very special extra to aid the general public .
A 29 year old who has recently suffered breast cancer and beaten the disease was horrified to hear that she was unable to renew her driving license .The Alicante woman went to a clinic for a medical examination to renew her licence and confessed that she had had cancer in her breast but was now cured and fully recovered .
To her amazement the doctor told her that she required a letter from her oncologist proving that she was welland that her treatments had been completed more than 3 months previously .She was also told that she would be required to renew her licence every three years rather than every ten .
Naturally the young woman was outraged .She had struggled to regain her health and found it very emotional to deal with her illness but her delight in her recovery was then blighted by this assessment She and most others are unable to see the connection between cancer and driving a car .
The Catholic Spanish charity organisation , Caritas , has issued figures to say that the number of homeless people in the Alicante province has increased by 21% in 2013 .
There are now twice as many women living on the streets and triple the number of young people aged from 18 to 25 than were registered a year ago .
Caritas is helping 2000 of the 3000,500homeless people with the rest being helped by other charities . Caritas has explained that many of these people are in this situation because the banks have evicted them from their homes .
He went on to explain that when you live in such conditions you are more prone to diseases and infections and this increases your social exclusion .
Many are non -registered foreigners who have no medical cover and 60% have no SIP card .The life expectancy of such people is 20 years lower than for the normal population .
The head of the local fishing guild in Calpe on the Spanish Costa Blanca has complained of the trawlermen being persecuted because of constant inspections .Consequently the fleet of 14 has not sailed recently .It is not the inspections themselves but the severity of them which is causing the problem .
The inspections by the Spanish Navy patrol boat can last up to 2 hours and take place between 9am or 10am when the trawler is at its busiest . It has been described as being similar to closing down a factory when production is at its busiest . As well , the Guardia Civil boat will also check the trawlers .
These checks even want the captains to tell them the exact weight of their catches , down to the last gramme .They also check the size of the fish and if they are half a centimetre smaller than they ought to be then the trawler is fined .
The boats have just started to go out again after the close season but they are not earning anything because prices are as low as they have ever been and some fish do not find buyers .Recently 230 boxes out of 2000 did not sell .
Last May Alicante City´s Rabasa Plan was annulled by the courts and the project , which included an IKEA store in the city´s Rabasa district , was flawed with irregularities according to several judges .
Evenso Alicante still wants IKEA and it seems that IKEA still wants to come to Alicante city .They also prefer the Rabasa site to any other on offer .
It appears that the council might have solved the problem with a Strategic Territory Enactment ( ATE ) which has eliminated the 13,000 homes but allows an IKEA store .
IKEA and a shopping centre would occupy 300,000 square metres of the 2.3 million square metre site .Another 120,000 square metres would be allocated for restaurants , offices and other commercial buildings .A further 140,000 square metres would be used for a Technology Estate and could be used for an exoansion of Alicante University .
The regional government is now considering this new plan and there are hopes that it will be accepted this month . Naturally the council lives in hope as its acceptance will mean 90 million euros in building permit fees and other taxes plus an annual 4 million euros in IBI bills and other taxes .The centre would also provide about 9000 jobs .
This year the Maroc Challenge starts in Javea on the Spanish Costa Blanca .The cars are all being registered on Friday before the drivers drive off to Almeria where they will embark for Nador in Morocco .
There are people competing from all over Europe , including Italy , France , Ukraine ,Denmark and Portugal ..The vehicles that hope to take part will all be on view on the Arenal beach promenade for visitors and local residents to look at .Their journey is 200 kilometres over tracks , side roads and just desert .
This is a low cost rally for those drivers who have no sponsorship or other financial backing .All of the cars must be at least 16 years old and even souped up run abouts are amongst those entered for the race .
There is a charitable side to the race too as the cars carry all sorts of things to distribute to the villages along the route .The rally has drawn many visitors to Javea which has boosted tourism at a time of the year when things are slack .
Teresa de Avila lived from 1515 to 1582 and she lived at a time when women had very little or no public life yet this woman was a reformer , thinker and religious mystic .
She was born into a family where the father was a reader and who read to his daughter .It is said that he filled her imagination with stories of adventure and romance .
She became fascinated by stories of the crusades against the Muslims and at the age of around seven she did run away in search of martyrdom .Then on her return she attempted to live as a hermit in the garden of her parents .She finally became a nun at the age of 18 , against her father´s wishes . She joined the Carmelite order in Avila .
In 1558 she experienced some strange experiences in which she had a vision of hell , followed by other heavenly visions including one of the resurrected Christ .
She also became a reformer and brought the Carmellite
The specialist magazine ” Wine Spectator ” has named a Spanish wine as ” Best in the World ” .The winning wine is from Rioja , the Imperial Gran Reserva 2004 from the CVNE winery.It is the first Spanish wine to top the list .
This year the Wine Spectator has analysed 25,000 wines , testing quality , price , availability and what theycall the emotional factor .
Second on the list was a Bordeaux , the 2010 Chateau Canon -La Gaffeliere . The third was Evestad´s 2010 Domaine Serene from Oregon USA .
The Spanish winner made 4000 crates and it gained 95 points out of 100 .Consequently it is readily availavle and costs the equivalent of 45 euros in the USA .It seems that this is not considered expensive . The judges say that it has a balance between tradition and modernity , whatever that might mean .
The Spanish wine is made with Tempranillo , Mazuelo and Gradano grapes and matured in barrels of American and French oak .The winery was established in Haro , La Rioja in 1879 and has belongrd to the same family for 5 generations .It is called the Wine Company of Northern Spain .
Haro is a small town of some 12,000 people and is known for them having all of the town with electric lighting in the streets in 1890´s , not long after Paris or London .
Two more roads in Altea on the Spanish Costa Blanca , are to have cycle tracks .Work has started on a 1.3 km section of the Avenida Juan Alvado del Algar and ought to have been finished early in December .
The cycle lanei s costing 20,000 euros and will link up with another part of the green corridor in Altea . It will begin at the Avenida de la Nucia roundabout and continue along a 400 metre stretch of Camino del Algar .It will then cross the river and connect with the existing green corridor and cycle lane .
The track will be out of action on Tuesday mornings when the open market takes place .However this new section now provides access to the coast as well as the Barranquet , La Lloma and L´Horta districts , furthering town hall plans for a 10 km cycle lane , providing safe access for cyclists .They are asking all cyclists using the facility to follow the rules and regulations which will make it safe .
The vice president of the Valencia regional government has announced that the city of Valencia has not been included in the 2014 calendar for the Formula One Grand Prix. Everyone sort of knew this but now it is official .If something dramatic happens somewhere else then of course there is always a chance that things could change .
No date has yet been given for the printing of the final calendar but whenever it is published Valencia will not appear there and will confirm the cancellation which has been made between Bernie Ecclestone and the regional government . It appears that there will be no penalty payment either .A few weeks back the president of the Valencia region met with Ecclestone in London to thrash out a deal .This failed to materialise and it is alleged that Ecclestone told Fabra that he would prefer to have just one race in Spain and for that to be in Valencia .
The Grant a Wish foundation has made a donation of 700 euros to the Franciscan Refuge in the Spanish town of Gandia .The money is to help the round the clock care of caring for the poor and needy .
Three Brothers , with volunteers , run the refuge and when the founder of Grant a Wish visited Gandia to present the cheque , she called the three men , ” very special people ” .The charity also presented 300 euros to the Philippines Disaster Fund .
In Gandia all of the men who are taken in have a role to play if they are able to do so .There are daily tasks such as cleaning and washing , ironing , growing food and caring for the animals in the small holding .The refuge attempts to be as self sufficient as it can .Religion and nationality are not thought about .
It is a Catholic refuge and daily services are held but there is no pressure to attend ..Places are provided on the needs of the individuals .There is also unity in the church denominations too with Anglicans also helping out with volunteers .The Roundabout Charity Shop in Javea is one charity that helps the refuge on a regular basis .
The Padron is the municipal register and local councils receive funding from central government for its expat residents as long as they sign on before december 31 .
Sadly too many expats do not sign on and consequently the local council has no funding allocated to them . Councils are also being asked to prove that people who have signed on are still resident .Madrid does not want to give out funds for non existent residents .
This extra money and these figures also have an effect on other services such as health and education and the police .The expats also benefit in that once on the padron it permits access to education , social services and certain other fiscal rights .
Both Javea and Calpe on the Spanish Costa Blanca have admitted that they have a big problem with people not signing on to the Padron .People might still be living where thwey have always lived but now Madrid wants proof and without that proof they could remove over 4000 people from the lists in Javea .That would amount to 600,000 euros .Each resident is worth 162 euros to the council .It may not seem much but it all adds up .
Calpe has a potential cut of 1.5 million euros .The Census Office has already told them that .They are already running a campaign asking people to either renew their Padrons or to sign up for the first time .