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Training courses begin for Corvera International airport staff
28 January 2011

Read about it here



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Spanish press say Paramount land deal has been agreed!
28 January 2011

The Spanish daily La Opinion have today published a piece that claims an agreement has been made by Jesus Samper & the Proyectos Emblematicos group to buy the land on which the Paramount Murcia leisure park is to be built.

Read about it here & see links to maps on that page.



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ANDY GREY SACKED
26 January 2011

ANDY GREY SACKED

That'll teach him, sexist git!



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Smoking inspections to be intensified
23 January 2011

Taken from the Costa Blanca News this week

Numerous knock-on effects as smokers step outside to light up

Spain's regional governments are recruiting more inspectors to police the new anti-smoking laws. Meanwhile, the legislation introduced on January 2 continues to produce side-effects.

The director general of Public Health, Ildefonso Hernández Aguado, said last week that sanctions were already underway and activity would be increased this month.

He said that all the country's regions were following procedures properly and that fines would be issued promptly.

Read more in this week's Costa Blanca News edition (buy it!)

 


 



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Petition started in Valencia to debate Spain's new smoking law
19 January 2011

Taken from The Coastrider

There has been growing opposition reported from Spain’s bars and restaurants to the extended smoking ban which came into force on 2nd January, banning smoking in all closed public spaces. It’s a move which has been criticised by many in Spain’s hostelry sector, and some ten or so bars in the Valencia region are understood to have flouted the new law and are allowing smoking on the premises.

Three bars in Valencia have now followed the example of the Asador Guadalmina in Marbella to allow smoking on the premises and Spanish newspaper, El Mundo indicates that efforts are under way to collect enough signatures for a debate on the matter in the region’s parliament. The minimum number of signatures needed for that to take place is 500,000. Other cases of bars ignoring the law have been reported in Madrid.

In Andalucía, the hostelry sector has called an urgent meeting for later this month to discuss what they have described as the ‘catastrophic’ situation. Sources at the F.A.H. Andalucía Hostelry Federation quoted by Europa Press claim that some bars have lost up to 50 percent of their customers and that many will have to choose between closing or rebelling against the legislation.

In Vigo, Galicia, the EFE reports the case of a man who has taken his revenge on the Town Hall after local police fined him for smoking in a bar by reporting the council to the health service. He said in his complaint that there are no ‘no smoking’ notices on display either in the local police station or in the town planning offices.

But in Montellano, Sevilla province, a 3-star hotel has come up with a way to make the smokers amongst its guests a little happier. They’ll get a 10 percent discount on their hotel bill, plus a free welcome drink after arriving when they light up their first cigarette outside the door to the hotel.
Tomás Prieto, manager of the Hotel La Posada, told Europa Press that they plan to continue with the offer throughout 2011.

In a separate protest, a group of bar owners in a Chiva, Valencia have warned that each of them will sack one member of staff if the government refuses to discuss any change to the new anti-smoking legislation. The bar owners have set up a platform to discuss possible protest measures against the law. They had their first meeting last Monday where it is reported that they concluded that if there is no debate on changes to the law by the end of the month, each would sack one of its staff. Rodrigo Arroyo, a bar owner from Valencia City, was also at the meeting. He complied with the new legislation until 6th January, but now displays ‘Smoking Allowed’ signs after losing 60 percent of his customers during the time he enforced the ban. He told the press that some bar owners are prepared to go as far as starting a hunger strike if there is no further debate on the law in parliament.


 



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Santander bank rocks!
16 January 2011



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Smoking ban fetches mixed results
13 January 2011

Taken from the RTN

smoking-large.gifSmoking ban fetches mixed results



SPAIN IMPLEMENTED the new smoking ban on 2nd January this year, so far producing mixed results.  Thanks to a very understanding government, who no doubt suffered hangovers on New Year’s day, the official 'Prohibido Fumar' commenced on January 2nd, giving the country time to adjust to its new lifestyle.
 
Visiting restaurants, coffee shops and supermarkets, the overall consensus so far has been a lack of interest, with more interest in “the sunny weather” holding out.  Joanne of Ricardos in Guardamar claims, “The weather seemed to change the same day as the ban and with everyone staying outside we have not yet seen a difference in trade.”  Another nearby restaurant had a different opinion of the smoking ban.  Mario Perlaza of El Raso Restaurante stated, “We did not allow smoking indoors before and all smoking was outside only.  For us nothing has changed.”
 
Moving further afield, I visited a quaint bar in La Marina where a group of residents were enjoying coffee.  Amongst them were Phyllis Hone, a smoker and Rita Cable, a non-smoker: “I don't mind going outside,” declared Phyllis, “It's nice to stretch your legs every now and again and I've always had to do it as the smoker amongst us.”  Rita however was one of the first encounters I found that felt a change since the ban: “It's nice not to be sitting in smoke.  In a place like this (Bar Stop) it’s so small it gets smoky very quickly.”
 
One notable point that has come to light so far is that the worse hit appears to be the Spanish establishments.  Cafetería Varo's in Benijofar, located in the high street and on the corner to the Tuesday market, has felt the hit hard:  “Far worse,” was the immediate response I received when I asked if there had been any effect on business in the cafe. “Consumption has dropped and people don't stay.  They can't smoke inside and it is cold outside so they come in, have a coffee and go.”
 
All establishments are now required under the new law to hang the traditional ‘PROHIBIDO FUMAR’ clearly visible to patrons, even nightclubs.  Cine y Copas, one of the largest night clubs after Bacanal has had to clean up and clear out as night goers can no longer smoke inside.  One party goer’s opinion was very clear as he held out his shirt: “Smell – nothing!  Normally you can't see the ceiling, there is so much smoke.  At least now I don’t smell when I get home.”
 
Smoking has been a lifelong tradition in Spain where in the past it was permissible to smoke even while in surgery.  However, there is still the loophole of electronic cigarettes whose sales have gone through the roof in the last couple of months.  According to records kept by pharmacies, sales have increased from the monthly average of 400 units sold per month to over 2,000 in the run up of the smoking ban. 

Other products selling out include nicotine patches and gum for those attempting to stop with the introduction of the ban.  One example is Flore Poloni who has been trying to stop for years and with the ban has been given the final incentive: “I stopped two weeks ago.  I want to stop for my children.  Also, I work in a restaurant and I can't smoke there now either.”  Casa Blanca is an international restaurant and according to Poloni, is another not to have felt any affect yet as 90% of the customers sit outside taking the sun and the sea.

There are those however, that are already bucking the system.  La Bohemia in Alicante has already received its first fine for allowing smoking indoors.  With a sign hanging outside ‘PERMITIDO FUMAR’, it is no wonder that Local Police dropped by, catching both staff members and members of the public lighting up.  La Bohemia has since been fined €600 and any member of the public that caught at the time €30 each. €600 is the minimum fine that can be given to an establishment; it can reach as high as €10,000 for this infraction.  Fines for individuals start at €30 but are discretionary.
 
Reaching out to the public, Facua have set up a website so that if one feels an establishment is not following the new regulations, they can be reported at www.facua.org/es/camp.php?seccion=2 You will be asked to provide personal details but these are for the use of the investigation only.
 
With a further cold snap around the corner, perhaps the reality will be felt harder as consumers rush home out of the cold and not to the coffee bars.

 



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HOW TO DENOUNCE ESTABLISHMENTS WHO WON'T OBSERVE THE SMOKING BAN!
06 January 2011

 Denounce   >> https://www.facua.org/es/camp.php?seccion=2

or  here taken from The Leader newspaper (see below for those of you who won't click on links).

Let us ALL denounce the culprits! 

Following on from our recent reports about smoking being banned in public places across Spain, we thought it might be a good idea to clarify a few points so that there can be no confusion. 

Firstly, the law is quite clear in that it states that smoking is banned in the interiors of all public places, for example bars, restaurants, museums, shops, shopping centres, in other words, any building where the public may congregate. There are no exceptions to this rule.

The community based organization www.nofumadores.org, have compiled a simple model of procedure, should you see a person breaking the rules. Firstly, they suggest that you simply ask that the person stops smoking. Failing this, the suggest asking a person responsible for the establishment to enforce the law, and finally, should neither of these options seem viable, you can report the individual and premises for a violation of the law, for which fines can range from 30€ to 600,000€, depending on the severity of the case and the number of complaints raised. 

In the first few hours of the law coming into force, the Spanish consumer association FACUA had already received 300 such complaints of violations of the law by venue owners, all of which will be investigated. 

So, if we first have a look at where smoking is not allowed, that will allow us to see where you can smoke. 

It is illegal to smoke…

…in any enclosed public building, such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs, museums etc. There is no exception to this rule.

…in airports and transport stations, except in designated smoking areas.

…on public transport, which includes open top buses.

…inside hospitals, schools and children´s playgrounds, including those found inside parks. 

However, you are allowed to smoke…

…outside university campuses.

…in open roofed arenas.

…in designated smoking areas in nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals and prisons.

…inside uncovered terraces of bars and restaurants, so long as they have only two walls and a roof at the most.  

Smoking is also not generally allowed inside hotels, but a hotel is allowed to designate up to 30% of rooms as smoking rooms, but they must always be grouped together and separated from the none smoking rooms. 

So now you should be able to go about your daily life, clear in the knowledge that the law is there to protect individuals and minors from the dangers of smoking, both actively and passively, and that the government has taken the steps to bring Spain into line with the rest of Europe.  

Tobacco advertising has also been outlawed as part of the new legislation, and it is hoped that by not glamorizing smoking, it will lead to a longer lifespan of the population and a cleaner, smoke free world for all.



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Bus route from Alicante airport to Torrevieja is on the cards.
05 January 2011

Taken from The Coastrider  today

It has been a long time coming but after what seems like a lifetime of requests it appears that at long last there will be a bus service established between Alicante airport, El Altet, and the city of Torrevieja. The announcement was made last week by the mayor of Torrevieja Pedro Hernández Mateo and councillor Tomas Arenas. The mayor said that the Valencian parliament has approved a draft resolution establishing the route and a new regular service between the two points. There will now be a period of public consultation where interested parties can make their comments before a final decision is taken.

The service has long been argued for with Torrevieja being a popular tourist destination particularly for foreign visitors and residents arriving at Alicante. It is intended that the new service will operate 365 days a year with 12 round trips daily between the two points. The route that has been suggested is not that of the N332 coastal route but that of the AP7 motorway on the grounds that travel times should be more predictable especially during the busy summer period when traffic congestion is high along the coast road. It would also be an express coach with no additional stops between the airport and Torrevieja.

No decision appears to have been reached on the exact times of the service but the mayor said they will be arranged to coincide with the busiest and most appropriate flights arriving at and departing from the airport. One newspaper has quoted the price for each trip to be around seven euros which seems to be amazingly good value but a final price would depend on who was awarded the contract and the conditions that are attached to it. It is intended that the service will operate between 7.30 am and 10.30pm in the winter months but be extended to midnight during the summer. When questioned about the start date for this new service the mayor was unable to say for certain but hoped it might be in place for the early summer this year but emphasised that it depended on regional administration.



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