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2014 electricity rise blocked
21 December 2013

This piece from todays El Pais holds out some hope for us all next year......

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Friday that the government would soon be reviewing electricity rates after Spain’s anti-trust authority, the CNMC, invalidated the result of a wholesale auction that took place on Thursday and would have meant a huge hike in consumers’ bills.

“The government is working on a procedure to fix an alternative price to that of the auction,” Rajoy told a news conference. “The matter will be resolved before the end of the year.”

Rajoy reiterated that in no case would the result of the auction be applied to what Spanish consumers pay for their electricity. “The government believes the rise was excessive and unjustified,” he said. “The CNMC thinks the same and for that reason we have annulled it. The important thing is that the outcome of the auction is not passed on to bills.”

The Industry and Energy Ministry has to decide over the course of the next few hours whether to formally throw out the result of the wholesale auction on Thursday after the CNMC in the early hours of this morning informed the ministry that it could not “validate” it because of doubts about the reliability of its outcome. The CNMC does not have the powers to declare the tender null and void.

The price of electricity increased by over 25 percent at the tender, meaning that electric bills were set to rise by 10.5 percent next year. The government is also planning to raise the so-called regulated component of consumer bills – which covers the cost of transportation, distribution and rate premiums paid to renewable energy producers – by one to two percent. As a result, consumers, already struggling to make ends meet in an environment of falling wages and high unemployment, would have seen a hike in their electricity bills next year of between 11 and 13 percent. The wholesale component accounts for about 45 percent of the typical electricity bill and the remaining 55 percent the regulated component.

The Industry and Energy Ministry on Thursday formally requested that the CNMC launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the auction on the grounds that there may have been collusion among energy companies.

Source was today's El Pais

 



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Paramount a ‘go-go’
20 December 2013

TWO MAJOR Spanish entertainment and tourism projects were in the news this week. The bad news for Spain, where unemployment stands at 27%, is that US casino operator Las Vegas Sands has pulled out of the $30 Billion EuroVegas project, which included six casinos, 12 hotels, shops and services. Directly and indirectly the project was expected to create up to 250,000 jobs and the news comes as a major blow to the employment sector. Meanwhile, locally the good news from Premursa Theme Park S.A., the company behind the Paramount Theme Park, is that they have finally received all the necessary paperwork and that construction on the park will begin in earnest in January 2014.

Ferrovial Agromán S.A. is to construct the first phase of the Paramount Theme Park in Alhama de Murcia, for a total of 52 million euros. The contract includes the implementation of the second phase of the Theme Park’s construction, which will take place simultaneously with the first phase. Premursa has also awarded the access, urbanization and construction works access of the hotel, leisure and commercial complex named ‘LifeStyle Centre’ to CHM Obras e Infraestructuras S.A. for an amount of 20 million euros.

The preliminary land clearance required prior to the start of building the access roads, urbanization and construction works is progressing as scheduled with the thinning and clearing of the land, a task that involves the removal of all vegetation cover. The thinning and clearing work covers 133 hectares, the equivalent of approximately 2,500 football fields, and involves an action plan focused on sustainability in order to keep alive most of the plantation, consisting of about 35,000 trees, all of them citrus: lemon, grapefruit, orange and mandarin. 

By doing this, an estimated 25% of the trees will be sold as ornamental trees to both domestic and international markets once they are extracted, pruned, transplanted in tubs and moved into a garden centre. Another 25% of the trees will receive care and pruning work, maintaining them on-site for their reuse in the plantations, that are part of the project’s development. Damaged and exhausted trees will be turned into firewood for sale. Murcian company Viveros Ceres is performing the thinning and clearing work.

There is also news that Paramount may be investing in a 10% stake in the project, as well as providing the necessary licences and theme park building knowledge, however, this has yet to be officially substantiated as we went to press. Paramount Theme Park is expected to be divided into differently themed zones, each with movie inspired themes, such as Star Trek, Titanic and Mission Impossible. The ‘Lifestyle Centre’ is planned to eventually have two five-star hotels, three of four-star status and a number of three-star hotels. The resort will also feature themed shopping malls, bars and restaurants, theatres, a 3,000-seat conference centre and an open-air auditorium to accommodate 15,000 people. The project is expected to create at least 20,000 jobs for the region.

Read it here 



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EASYJET flights available for travel between 15th September 2014 – 25th October 2014
19 December 2013

From Easyjet's Facebook page at 8:45am today.......

We’re pleased to announce that our flights for travel between 15th September 2014 – 25th October 2014 are now available to book. 

So make sure you get in early for the best choice of flights and prices: http://goo.gl/6DgUrc



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Do as a Spanish policeman says or .......
19 December 2013

Policeman jailed for a year for blowing off a man's testicles with a stun grenade after dropping it on his lap when he refused to get out of his car

A policeman has been jailed for a year and ordered to pay his victim €168,000 (£140,000) after blowing off a suspect's testicles with a stun grenade.

The Catalan officer had been tasked with arresting two extortionists with a history of violence when the incident happened.

As the men were experts in martial arts and owned two dangerous dogs, his squadron's commanding officer had allowed him to use stun grenades if needed.

The devices are designed to disorientate the victim by causing temporary loss of hearing and balance when detonated a short distance away.

But when one of the men refused to leave the car, the Barcelona Mosso D'Esquadra officer threw the stun grenade into his lap, it was reported by The Local, which translated an article by Spanish daily 20minutos.

The blast blew away the 25-year-old's left testicle and caused him to lose most of his right one, leaving him infertile.
Sentencing the officer on Tuesday, Spain's supreme court said the incident in 2008 had been an act of gross negligence.

It also ordered that he be suspended from his post.

The case comes a month after it was reported how Swedish police had used stun greandes to subdue a mother who refused to hand over her five-month-old son.

Read more: here



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British government stepping in to help British families under threat of demolition.
18 December 2013

Thousands of homes belonging to British families living in Spain are under threat of demolition.

Planning permission granted by local authorities can be overruled by the regional government, leaving the owners with no building and no compensation.

Now the British government is stepping in to try to help.

WATCH VIDEO, click on 'BBC' below.

Source BBC

 



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Spotify to offer 'free' mobile service to Android and iOS
17 December 2013

Good news for music lovers. If you have an Android smartphone or an Iphone, you can now access millions of songs, legally for free. All you need to do is download the spotify app. Available now, full playlist options available in the new year.

This can be downloaded from google play store or itunes.

For radio lovers you can also download 'tunein radio' which has music from most countries, with all genres - great free app available itunes & google play.

......

Spotify is to extend its "free" ad-supported music service to mobile devices.

Smartphone users will be able to build playlists of songs and then hear them played back in a random order. Tablet users will have more control, letting them select specific tracks.

The Swedish firm also announced it was expanding to a further 20 countries, taking its total reach to 55.

Experts said it needed to make the moves to combat growing competition.

Until now Spotify has offered a free-to-use product only on PCs, and had restricted its mobile apps to paying subscribers.

But its founder, Daniel Ek, said bringing a free service to Android and iOS devices would tempt more people to eventually switch to the premium version where they could access higher-quality audio, no adverts and the ability to listen to songs offline.

"Our very clear mission is getting more people to access and discover more great music," he told a press conference in New York.

"Along with more free users there will be more subscribers, and that means more revenue back to the industry."

The firm is dropping the 10-hours-a-month cap it previously placed on long-term users of its free services........

Read the rest here



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Sabadell (ex Lloyd's) NON RESIDENTS a/c as from 15/3/2014
15 December 2013

We are NON RESIDENTS who currently bank with Lloyd's, who have been taken over by Sabadell, as all who bank with Lloyd's currently will be well aware.

We currently have an ordinary basic current a/c (NOT the EXTRA a/c where you currently pay 25€ annually). 

On OUR a/c we have to keep 600€ in it generally then we just pay for a debit card annually, currently 9€ plus we paid 16€ each for the last non residents certificate (payable every two years) 

A letter with the form below arrived a few days ago, they know the a/c we currently have & this is the one they intend changing us to, from 15th March 2014 unless we say otherwise.

Obviously, what we need to find out is what bank will be cheaper for us, if any! We only need to pay a few direct debits monthly plus annual commitments such as car tax & community fees. We use the ATM for cash withdrawals when in Spain. We have no mortgage. 

We will be in the UK till end of February so, obviously, we can't go into other banks there to enquire.

Here is the form, 

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Carol singing in Torrevieja..were YOU there? (Video)
15 December 2013

The English Carols in the Plaza of the Constitution brings together hundreds of neighbours, especially British.

Click on the 'play' on the video in the link below then click on the square with an arrow on in the right lower corner to open it to full page.

Source:  Informaciôn.es

 

 



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Thousands of Brits with holiday homes in Spain and France may be banned from renting them out to tourists
14 December 2013

Hundreds of thousands of Britons with holiday homes in Spain and France could be prevented from renting them out to tourists.

Controversial laws set to be passed could also add hundreds of pounds to the cost of breaks for millions of travellers from Britain.

They will no longer be able to pay cheaper rates direct to owners but will have to stay in apartments, villas or hotels operated by major firms.

Meanwhile, thousands of second-home owners could end up trying to sell up as the changes make it too complicated and costly to keep the property going.

In France, a crackdown on holiday lets in the capital Paris as well as Lyon and Marseille is expected next week. If the new law is a success, the rest of the country could follow suit.

In Spain, the authorities are expected to ban unlicensed rentals next spring.

Ryan Levitt, of holiday rental website housetrip.com, warned: ‘This law is closing the door to working and middle-class families who want to book a break to Spain at an affordable price.
‘Instead of being able to share a whole house with friends, you face being stuck with your kids in a cramped hotel room.’

An estimated one million properties in Spain are owned by Britons. Many are inhabited all year round by  expatriates but hundreds of thousands were bought as holiday homes.

Until recently, it has been relatively simple for British owners to rent out their properties in the two countries.
But under the new rules, those with second homes in Spain will need a licence from the local council, which could incur a fee.

Read more at source: DM



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Alicante Christmas Markets and Activities
13 December 2013

There are lots of exciting things to do and see in the city of Alicante during Christmas time. You can visit Santa's Grotto in the Parque de la Ereta half way up Monte Benacantil on top of which is the Santa Barara Castle, skate on the temporary ice rink, visit the nativity scenes or enjoy a festive market!
 
Christmas Craft Market
The Christmas Market will be located along Avenida de Federico Soto, the main road from the marina to the Plaza Luceros. The stalls will be open everyday from Friday the 1st December 2013 until Monday the 6th January 2014, except Christmas Day and New Years Day. They will be selling a selection of goodies but mainly figurines for nativity displays.
Everyday December 1st – January 6th 10:00-15:00 and 17:00-23:00
Closed on December 25th and January 1st
 
Christmas Sweet Market
A number of stalls selling a selection of Christmas sweets, dried fruits and cakes will join the Christmas Market along Avenida de Federico Soto from the 20th to the 24th December.
Friday 20th – Tuesday 24th December 10:00-23:00
 
Christmas Nativity Market
There will be some 50 craft stalls in the Plaza de Gabriel Miró from the 19th to the 23rd December. These will be accompanied by live music, activities and games for the children, a living nativity complete with some of the animals that Mary and Joseph shared the stable with.
Thursday 19th 17:00-21:00
Friday 20th – Monday 23rd 11:00-14:30 and 17:00-21:00
 
Nativity Scenes
The Municipal Belen is situated in the Plaza de la Montaneta from the 16th December 2013 until the 8th January 2014. The other is the Panoramico Belen, this is located inside the Town Hall and open at the following times:
Tuesday 3rd December – Monday 6th January
Monday-Friday 09:00-14:00 and 17:00-20:00
Saturdays and Sunday 09:00-13:00
 
Casa de Santa Claus
You can visit the house of Santa Claus in the Parque de la Ereta located half way up Monte Benacantil on top of which is the Santa Barara Castle. There are activities and games children (5 minutes costs 1€ per child), music and of course the opportunity to see Father Christmas (free). For more information take a look at the official website.
 
Ice Skating
The temporary ice skating rink is located in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It costs 5€ for 45 minutes skating on the 390 m2 rink.
Thursday 12th December – Tuesday 7th January
Monday - Friday 10:00-14:00 and 16:00-22:00
Saturday and Sunday 10:00-22:00

Source: Eurotourguide



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Airport dual carriageway planned
13 December 2013

THe busy N-338 access road to Alicante–Elche airport is to be turned into a dual carriageway in a multi-million-euro project announced by the government this week.

Read more in Costa Blanca News, out today.

Source: CB News on FB

 



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Speeding growth for AVE
13 December 2013

THE NEW Madrid to Alicante high-speed AVE train has experienced passenger growth of almost 50% since launching in June 2013, while some other long distance rail links have floundered. Official statistics published by the Ministry of Economic Development states that high speed lines and long distance trains along the east-Mediterranean corridor, which connects Madrid with different Castilian cities and eastern coast, lost 28.2% of travellers during the first nine months of the year, from 4.47 million in the same period of 2012 to 3.21 million in the current year while the Alicante route has proved to be one of the most popular.

The official data verifies the commitment and positive uptake by the public and especially the business community to the newest high-speed route operated by the Valencian department of Renfe. With new routes planned into Murcia and other zones, coastal towns such as Torrevieja are presently looking at possible ways to connect to the AVE line, which takes just over two and half hours to transport passengers between the capital and Alicante. 

Nationally, through September, Renfe carried a total of 19.03 million passengers on its trains and long-distance AVE, representing an increase of 12.1% over the same period last year. The increase is related in part to new tariffs that came into effect in February 2013, involving an average 11% reduction in the price of all tickets, plus discounts that could be as high as 70% when a booking was made well in advance.
If the AVE and long distance lines maintain this volume of users for the remainder of the operating year, they will end 2013 with a record high rating, exceeding 25 million passengers. 

The Councillor for Infrastructure, Isabel Bonig, said that the Mediterranean rail corridor is a major positive for the Region while stressing; "meeting deadlines on our new lines enables companies to plan their commercial strategies and rely on rail travel.” She insisted that "the basic infrastructure for constructing new lines for both Valencia and the rest of Spain will run on schedule, with most of the planned work completed in 2015. In addition, the restructuring of the circulation times of the lines will be improved. For example, the trip from Valencia to Barcelona is reduced to two hours and twenty minutes while the connection from Alicante will only be one hour.”

Source: RTN



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More overseas pensioners must prove they are alive
07 December 2013

More British pensioners living abroad will be forced to prove they are alive in order to keep their state pensions, the government has said.

The Treasury says it loses millions every year by paying pensions to friends and relatives of the deceased.

The Department for Work and Pensions sends "life certificates" to those who have retired abroad, which they have to get countersigned.

But only 14% of overseas pensioners currently have the certificates.

Continue reading the main story here >> Source: BBC News 



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Knights... filed for bankruptcy ?
06 December 2013

Maybe in Malaga only?

BOE PDF

 

Googled translation as follows..

Saturday November 23, 2013
IV. Administration of Justice COURTS OF THE TRADE
Section IV. Pag 59268
The Commercial Court No 2 of Malaga, in compliance with the provisions of article 23 of the Bankruptcy Act, announces:
1st That the procedure number 959/13, by order of 10/25/13 has filed for voluntary bankruptcy debtor Insurance Knight, SA, with CIF A-29265089 and registered in Lance del Sol building, Portal 1-1-A, Fuengirola, whose center of main interests has in Malaga.
Two. ° That the debtor retains the powers of administration and disposition of its assets, but subject to these intervention of the Bankruptcy Administration.
Three. ° That the creditors of the bankrupt should be made aware of the Insolvency Administration existence of their credits in the manner and with the data expressed in Article 85 of the LC.
April. ° That has been appointed Insolvency Administrator Don Jose Fernandez Sergio Gomez, with contact phone 95 222 46 82.
Creditors may direct credits and any request or inquiry having the Insolvency Administration, to the following email address: sergio@lopezdeuralde.es
Well as to the following postal address Street Casas de Campos, No. 3-6 - Right, 29001.
EI deadline for this communication is one month from the publication of this edict in the "Official State Gazette".
May. ° That the creditors and interested parties appear in the proceeding must do so through Assisted Attorney and Lawyer (Article 184. LC).
Malaga, October 28, 2013 -. Judicial Secretary.
ID: A130064174-1



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Overseas home owners to pay tax on UK property sales
05 December 2013

Autumn Statement: Overseas home owners to pay tax on UK property sales.

Foreign property owners will pay tax on any gains in value on UK properties they own, under changes to capital gains tax announced by the chancellor.

Under the current system, only second home owners who are UK residents pay the tax, which is typically levied at 28%, on any rise in value when they sell a property.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, said the current system was "not right".

The tax change will come into effect from April 2015.

The move had been expected after the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said last month that the government was considering the change,

The new tax follows fears that foreign buyers of second homes are contributing to a housing bubble in London, where property prices are rising far faster than in the rest of the country. Values have risen by more than 10% in a year.

Continued here

 



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Learn about healthcare entitlements in Spain
05 December 2013

Benefits, pensions and health expert at the British consulate, Martyn Standing is giving a talk on healthcare rights in Spain on Wednesday, December 11 at 12.00 in the Casa de Cultura on Calle Carretillas in Pilar de la Horadada.

The conference is aimed at British expats and nationals spending long periods of time in Spain.

Read this on the Costa Blanca News Facebook page.



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Trafico to crack down on fiesta drink drivers
05 December 2013

SPAIN HAS some of the lowest tolerances in Europe for alcohol consumption and driving. Depending on such factors as your weight, amount of alcohol drunk and when and how much you have had to eat; just one or two glasses of beer or wine can set your levels right at the limit. 

With the festive season about to kick off this weekend, Guardia Civil in Mazarron received a lot of negativity from residents because of an unannounced, intense drink driving campaign during last week’s fiesta. The Guardia intend to keep up the intensity with planned sobriety checkpoints at known fiestas throughout Murcia, with the next clampdown designated for Totana.

Last week, Government delegate, Joaquín Bascuñana said “a new advertising and publicity campaign will be launched and that they will inform the mayors of local municipalities of possible alcohol tests that will coincide with important events or holiday celebrations.” Bascuñana is still receiving criticism over the controversial checking of more than a thousand drivers in Bolnuevo after the fiesta of the pilgrimage of the Virgen del Milagro, which resulted in 30 sanctioned drivers.

The delegate stressed that the action, which he warned, “will expand to other municipalities, although tax collection is not a factor.”

However Spanish driving associations have heaped scorn on such ‘non revenue development’ issues after an expose on Spanish Television last week in which Guardia Civil agents and documentation confirmed that some agents were being put under pressure to write tickets and fabricate offences in order to raise revenue, or else risk a drop in wages. These fabricated offences did not involve drink driving but were for such offences as mobile phone use, eating, drinking or smoking while driving and not having the correct documentation. For drivers without a Spanish Driving Licence, these result in on-the-spot fines, sometimes car impounding, with little if any chance of redress. 

Spain has traditionally had a very poor record when it comes to drink driving and the high rate of accidents and deaths associated with this serious offence. The message is clear: don’t drink and drive, as road checks over the next month will be intensified and the reason for such a high profile campaign is to protect both the drivers, their passengers and innocent victims from drunk drivers.

Source: RTN

 



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New fast train service brings Barcelona closer to Paris
03 December 2013

There will be five fast trains a day between Barcelona and Paris from the 15th December, making Barcelona more attractive to a wave of wealth creators deserting France in favour of more business-friendly destinations.

 

It has been possible to travel by TGV / AVE fast train between Barcelona and Paris since January, but the journey involved a change of trains, and took seven hours and twenty five minutes. Now Barcelona and Paris just got closer.

From the 15th December 15th you won’t have to change trains, cutting the journey time down to six hours and twenty five minutes. City centre to city centre, taking the train will not take much longer than going by air.

There will be five fast trains a day, and the cost of a ticket will vary between €59 and €170, say Spain’s Renfe and France’s SNCF national rail companies, who will run the service jointly. Tickets have been on sale since the 28th of November.

There will also be services to Toulouse taking three hours, and Lyon in five hours, without having to change, but all with stops along the way.

Some trains will go onto Madrid after Barcelona. The service will link seventeen cities in Spain and France, running on the two biggest fast-train networks in Europe................

Continue reading here 



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Torrevieja bus pass
03 December 2013

Bus Pass renewal for 7€

THERE REALLY is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’ or in the case of Torrevieja, a ‘Free’ Bus pass but this may come as close as it gets! It’s not cheap to offer a unique free transportation system to residents, but Torrevieja had done so for many years, at least until the crisis hit in 2011 and they had to issue a charge for it, for the first time. The ‘free card’ cost early adopters €35 in 2011 causing a mixture of concern, derision, confusion, long lines and even money changing hands, as those wishing to use the Bus service for free, had to also pay this nominal charge.

In the first year of operation, 2011, Torrevieja residents, who were registered in the city and on the padron, applied for more than 8,000 cards. For 2013 the charge for 12 months of bus travel around the City of salt is an unbeatable 7.00€. In essence, bus travel is free and you just pay for a nominal administration and printing charge.

Those holding cards or wishing to pick up one for the first time, should head to the offices of the Department of Transportation (inside the old Town Hall) during business hours 7:45am to 2:00pm bringing with you an up to date copy of your padron, passport, nie and copies of everything. As is the way of doing things in Spain, first go to Sabadell Cam Bank and pay your 7.00€ into account number 0081 1444 98000 1065910 and go with your receipt of payment to the office of Transportation in the old Town Hall with all your documentation, smile for camera and you will receive your pass, usually while you wait. Everyone wishing for a card must go to the office in person, as a photo will be taken of each and every applicant.......................

Continued here.

 

 



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