On May 10 and 11 in Villajoyosa on the Spanish Costa Blanca there will be a festival called Festum Aloris . In 2012 the Hispania Romana Association signed its first ever agreement with Villajoyosa town hall .Both agreed to carry out joint activities to publicise both Roman culture and the town of Villajoyosa with recreations of its Roman past .
Villajoyosa possesses the remains of the Valencia Community´s only known Roman military camp which was constructed around 75BC during the Sertorian War , according to the Historic Heritage Councillor Pepe Lloret .
This is the third edition of the Festum Alonis and this event has now established itself along with others in Tarragona , Sagunto and Merida . The title Festum was chosen because it is as close as one can get to the words fiesta , feast or fete and so the general public will understand its meaning .
Events such as these are becoming a very important part of culture tourism and they are very popular with tourists generally .
The most common cause of death in wild animals in the Valencia region is by being run over by humans .This type of death makes up almost 67% of the overall deaths .
During 2013 there were 1600 cases of death to wildlife caused by human infrastructure or activity , according to the environment department .
Mammals were the worst affected , making up 43.8% followed by birds with 39% .Being run over made up 100% for amphibians , 90% for mammals , 89.2 for reptiles and 29.6% for birds . In the case of birds the most common cause of death was by drowning ( 63% ) with mammals at 36.4% .
Fishing as a ” sport ” affects animals and birds and turtles are the main ones with mammals ( whales and dolphins ) at 8.3%.
Cases of electrocution affected birds 95.6% while collisions with wind turbines caused 72.8% with 26.5% of bat deaths being caused in this way .
Shooting affected only birds and all of those poisoned were mammals . There were 62 cases of protected wildlife being killed , 11 of which were categorised as vulnerable species .Of these 46% were run over , 38% killed by fishing and 6% were electrocuted .
The public hospital called La Fe , in Valencia on the Costa Azahar , fitted its first mechanical heart recently and the patient was discharged from hospital last week .
The patient was just 51 and suffered a very serious heart condition which would not have been suitable for a regular heart transplant .He had been prescribed drugs and fitted with a pacemaker to no avail . HeartWare is the most advanced device of its kind being used .La Fe is the first public hospital in Spain to fit such a device .
It is now hoped that more devices like this can benefit patients throughout the region which might mean fitting 10 a year . The operation took 5 hours and 10 people were involved in the surgery . The heart is not removed for this operation .A small machine is fitted in the lower left hand side of the heart and plugged into the aorta . It performs the pumping action of the heart and is connected to an external computer by a cable leading out from the abdomen .
A specific unit has been set up to monitor this patient on a daily basis . The patient has already said that his quality of life has improved .He had difficulty performing just simple tasks .In the USA the survival rate after this sort of surgery is 80% after 2 years .
In the Valencia region unregisterd lettings on the internet will be a major target for a campaign to target illegal tourism .According to the Regional Director for Tourism the inspections will be widespread and numerous .
The type of properties being advertised are apartments or holiday homes which are offered at cheap prices . He labelled this type of activity as disloyal competition and underground lodging .
The regional authorities have pointed out that these landlords do not pay taxes and the properties do not undergo the compulsory safety and hygiene inspections , nor do they have insurance to cover any accidents which might take place when guests are using the accommodation .
The Valencia region Association of tourist accommodation ( APTUR ) has estimated that 50 % of the tourism lets in the region are illegal .Unregisterd tourist guides and travel agencies will also be targeted .
Last week the Valencia Regional parliament passed the new five in one land law .It has met with a very mixed reaction from those who have been fighting the previous allegedly abusive land laws .
The new laws draw together the previous legislation which governs planning , development and environmental protection . It has been said by one councillor that this will smooth the path for construction companies by simplifying planning law and reducing their legislative burden . She also said that it will increase judicial security in the development process as well as boosting transparency and the rights of property owners in relation to developers .However how this would come about was not expalined .
She also said that development plans would be fully adapted to public contract law which has been agreed with the EU and the Spanish national government .
The President of AULN in Lliber , where home owners have been subject to an illegal building programme , said that his association took part in the public consultation process and that he feels that because they had two architects advising them , they should be better off . They feel that the new law will help them get a town plan put in place which can change land status for the benefit of the house buyer .
The President of AUN was more sceptical and felt that some might benefit but not to count on anything . He still feels that there are developers out there who will try to get away with building in areas where building ought not to take place .
The National Police in Alicante on the Spanish Costa Blanca have arrested a gang of organised criminals who have been arranging bogus marriages between Spaniards and foreigners living illegally in Spain .
In total 65 people were arrested , 43 men and 23 women . Two properties in Elche were searched . Among those who were arrested were 4 Post Office employees and the secretary and ex-secretary of an unnamed Justice of the Peace Office .
This gang falsified documents such as identity cards , passports and driving licenses as well as laundering money which they sent to Colombia .The arrests were carried out in Benidorm , Alicante , Elche and Aspe .
It appears that suspicions began last November when it was suspected that a number of these marriages had taken place in the Justice of the Peace Office in Aspe . The gang arranged all of the documentation and also arranged for people to impersonate the bride or groom in order to register on the Padron .In Aspe five couples had paid for an arranged marriage .
The gang was run by two married couples and every member had a specific task to carry out .It has been estimated that they have sent out of the country around 90,000 euros .55 of those arrested were Spanish , one from the Dominican Republic , 9 from Colombia and one from Ecuador .
The Spanish National Police have arrested four men on charges of exploiting disabled people .It is alleged that disabled people from Romania have been encouraged to come to Spain in the belief that they would have a better life .Once in Spain all of their documentation has been stolen from them .
They have then been forced to beg on the streets of cities and also in Benidorm on the Costa Blanca . The gang would drop these people off at strategic points in Alicante and Benidorm and they would have to beg from 8am to 11pm every day .
Their daily target was 80 euros and if they did not achieve this then they were beaten .They were visited by members of the gang who would then take any money that they had been given .
At no time were they fed or given drinks and most had to rely on the kindness of local cafes and restaurants .They were then taken to a building in Alicante to sleep .When raided the police found 10,000 euros in cash , obtained by begging .
The four arrested have been remanded in custody and the ” beggers ” have been taken into the care of Social Services .
Last year in Spain , 6000 passports were lost or stolen .Now the British Embassy in Madrid has asked visitors to Spain this Easter to protect their passports .
If a passport is lost or stolen then it takes time to replace it .You need to acquire an Emergency Travel Document in order to return to the UK and it also costs money .One of these documents costs 95 pounds .
There is a video on YouTube which helps people to protect themselves while on holiday and it is simply called ” Enjoy Your Holiday “.People who have lost thir passports share their experiences of the time , money and frustration that they had to go through .
The advice is that you should keep your passport in a special bag close to your body , never leave in a handbag and never leave in a car .These little books have special value to the criminals in society . If the passports for a family of four are lost or stolen then that is going to cost 400 pounds .
In just 4 months last year the British Consulate assisted almost 600 British nationals from London and the South East .This was the largest number but all regions had people in the same situation .
Bag theft is the largest cause of stolen passports in Spain , followed by thefts from cars , pickpocketing and thefts from apartments and villas .
The Murcia regional director of farming has warned that crops in inland Murcia are at great risk because of drought conditions which are prevelant at the moment . These are crops which have no access to irrigation .
The regional director visited farms in Mula , Albudeite and Campos del Rio with representitives from the Farmers Union .
The CAOG union has already submitted a comprehensive report to the regional government on the damage which has already been caused to these crops because of a lack of rainfall .
According to the report around 80% of the cereal crops in Murcia region might be lost if it doesn´t rain soon .
Moreover 40 to 70 % of the almond harvest and 50% of the grape and olive harvest could be at risk . The trees have blossomed but the fruits cannot grow because they need water .This of course usually meand increased prices for the consumers .
The Spanish government is about to increase inheritance tax as part of its new fiscal reforms .It will be imposing a minimum limit of 4 % inheritance tax in order to eliminate some of the enormous differences that exist between the 17 autonomous regions . This will have a huge effect on the Valencia regional government .
Up to August 2013 the Valencia region had a discount of 99% but when the economic crisis took hold this left a hole in revenues .The discount was then reduced to 75% and this did go some way to easing the financial pressures .
Now all regions will have to impose a 4% minimum on inheritance tax but they will not be allowed to increase it to suit their needs .A panel of financial experts have stated that the tax should be set at a level that oscillates between 4 and 11 % to bring parity between regions .
The panel has also said that the amount that the individual inheritors should be allowed before tax should be between 20,000 and 25,000 euros per person .It should also be rated at three levels , reduced , medium and elevated .The reduced level of between 4 and 5% should be applied to inheritance between spouses , direct line descendents and adopted family members .
In Alicante province for the month of March there was a ray of hope that emplyment was improving . The number of registered unemployed in Alicante Province dropped by just over 3000 , down 1.3% .An additional 4,700 people are paying social security payments and just over 1000 of these are self employed .
Alicante saw the third best figures in Spain , behind Barcelona .Compared with 2013 there are almost 15,000 fewer unemployed in the province , down 6.4% and 11,000 more people are paying social security .
Most of the new jobs are in the service industries , followed by construction .There are still over 2000,000 people registered unemployed in Alicante and 108,000 no longer receive any kind of social security .
Across Spain the fall in unemployed was 16,000 which is the best figure in 8 years , when the PP government came into power .Labour reforms were brought in by the PP and this means that 89% of new contracts are only temporary . The CCOO union has stated that those reforms mean that employment is seasonal and it is precarious . They noted that in 8 years 128,000 jobs have been lost in Alicante Province .The UGT union reminded everyone that the rate of unemployment in Alicante province is still 30% way above the national average and for youngsters up to the age of 24 that figure is 67% .
Terra Mitica is the theme park in Benidorm on the Spanish Costa Blanca .It re-opened its doors to the public on April 11 for the 2014 season .
This year the park is opening two new shows to the public .These are the Oriental Dance Spectacular La Jaima de Saqqara and Neron .
A spokesperson for the park has said that this year the new ” mapping ” technique used will see images created by shining lights over three dimensional objects and other structures , converting them onto a huge screen .
Last Thursday the theme park was opened especially for 3000 Portuguese students who were staying in Calpe and they were given a free run of the place .
The official opening on the 11th was carried out by the singer Xuso Jones .The park will be open every day until April 27 and then it will be open from Thursday to Sunday until the middle of June when it will once again open every day until September 12.That is the signal for weekends only until November 2 .
Over the Easter holiday there will be thousands of visitors to the Valencia region and consequently they are placing a plan of action in place just in case there are any forest fires .A special surveillance operation will be put in place from April 17 to 28th .
The councillor for Government and Justice has stated that as there has been very little rain over the winter the countryside is like a tinderbox ready to be set alight .There have already been 150 fires in the first three months of the year and they have destroyed over 400 hectares .
The surveillance teams will be on call for 24 hours a day and will have almost 5000 personnel and a 1000 vehicles at their disposal . There will also be five special helicopters and seven planes to act as water carriers .120 regional police officers will be out on fire watching patrols.
The councillor called on all residents to be vigilant and to take responsibility for the countryside around them .The system that the councillor has outlined is in addition to those services offered in each of the three provinces .
Many of the fires which happen are started deliberately by arsonists while others are often pure accidents and others are caused by sheer stupidity and lack of thought .If everyone thought about their actions and were educated to take care of the countryside than the number of fires would be greatly reduced .
The ferry company Balearia is asking Denia council , on the Spanish Costa Blanca , to build thir new bus station at the port end of the town .The bus station is due to leave its present site . The opposition parties on the council are saying that this idea is ” nonsensical “.
Balearia runs the ferries which cross from Denia to Ibiza , Formentera and Mallorca .It is also contemplating running cruise liners .A bus station near the harbour would be convenient for those in the town and for those coming off ferries .
Those opposition parties say that the area lacks facilities and that it is difficult to access .The present bus station is in an extremely difficult position in the town and so in the opinion of many people this new idea would be a great improvement .
BLOC thinks that the best place for any bus station is at the entrance to a town .This harbour site is near the beaches and also near all facilities . The council favours a site which is just the opposite of this .They have earmarked the area where the Monday market is held .The area near the railway station was also mooted as an option and that would make sense considering how difficult it is to get to Valencia from Denia . The present location is a nightmare for parking and down narrow streets .
An 88 year old woman from Santander was staying in a flat in Benidorm when she was reported missing . Now her decomposed body has been discovered on a beach in Villajoyosa on the Spanish Costa Blanca .
Her family in Santander were quite happy for their mother to stay in Benidorm as she was both physically and mentally capable of caring for herself .
Her son used to call her every day and when he failed to touch base with her one day he contacted his son in Elche to check up on his grandmother .When he arrived she was not at home .One of the neighbours and a lady who cleans the apartments had last seen her at 9.30 that morning .
The police were informed and her family from Santander came down to Benidorm to help look for her .Her body was discovered by a woman in Villajoyosa .It was found floating in the water and was badly decomposed .
The police say that there was no sign of violence and they think that she may have fallen in the water .A post mortem will be carried out to ascertain the cause of death .