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Live News From Spain As It Happens

Keep up to date with all the latest news from Spain as it happens. The blog will be updated constantly throughout the day bringing you all the latest stories as they break.

'Super-surgeon' Pedro Cavadas refits child's toes after fairground accident
15 January 2019

SPAIN'S world-famous 'super-surgeon' Dr Pedro Cavadas has successfully reimplanted a four-year-old boy's toes ripped off when he became trapped in a fairground ride.

The child's foot end up wedged into the traction of a mobile staircase at the Christmas fair in he Rabasa neighbourhood of Alicante and, despite attempts by four adults to free him, continued to be jammed in the contraption until it was taken apart with a screwdriver.

Two of his toes were literally hanging off and, knowing of Dr Cavadas' prowess with refitting severed limbs and transplanting new ones, the child's father immediately took him to the hospital in Manises, near Valencia airport, a trip of over two hours by road.

Dr Cavadas (pictured) and his team successfully reimplanted the toes and repaired the tendons and veins of these and other parts of his foot damaged in the horrific accident.

According to Manises hospital, the operation went well and the little boy remains in observation.

The fairground ride in Rabasa was initially cordoned off and inspected, but passed all mechanical checks, and has now reopened to the public.



Like 0        Published at 13:46   Comments (0)

Nursery school wins case against 'anti-vaccine' parents after denying son's enrolment
15 January 2019

A JUDGE in Barcelona has upheld a nursery school's decision not to enrol a child whose parents opted not to vaccinate him in line with a dangerous new trend sweeping the USA and gradually creeping into Spain and the UK.

The playschool, based in an undisclosed location in the Maresme district of the province, was hit with legal action at the end of May after the family claimed its right to freedom of ideology was being violated by their son's being barred from nursery school due to their beliefs.

According to the council, which runs the Kindergarten, the parents claimed their values should be respected in the same way that no public service or business is permitted to discriminate against any citizen on the grounds of their religion, even though the decision not to give their child the essential infant innoculations is not based upon faith grounds.

Judge Laura Mestres Estruch said no violation of ideology was present, since nobody had 'forced' the parents to vaccinate their child – although stressed that these innoculations are obligatory in 'certain neighbouring democratic countries' on pain of civil or even criminal action being taken against the caregivers.

She added that those parents who decide not to vaccinate their children nevertheless benefit from the protection against potentially fatal childhood diseases afforded by the 'remaining 95% of the population' who do take up these free jabs for their kids.



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Home values rose at 'fastest rate in 10 years' in late 2018
14 January 2019

HOME prices in Spain are rising at the fastest rate in a decade, according to a leading quantity surveyor – although they still remain far more affordable than at the height of the housing boom in 2007.

According to figures by valuers Tinsa, the average residential property rose in price by 5.8% in the final quarter of 2018 – the highest increase seen per three-month period since 2007, a time when a typical home in Spain was worth €2,044 per square metre.

Prices are lower now by around a third – at €1,337 per square metre – although regional variations are vast, with per-square-metre prices differing by several hundred per cent just a few streets apart.

Home values reached rock bottom in the first quarter of 2015, Tinsa reveals, but have since gone up by an average of 11.7% and are now worth around the same as in the first three months of 2013.

Although 11 provinces in Spain registered a drop in price year on year between the final quarter of 2017 and that of 2018, these falls were in general less than 5%.

Madrid has seen the greatest percentage increase in the last quarter, at 10.8%, followed by the Comunidad Valenciana at 7.8%, Asturias and Castilla y León at 7.4%, and Aragón at 7.3%.

And the Greater Madrid region also boasts the highest prices in Spain as at the end of 2018, although these vary across towns and, in the capital itself, across neighbourhoods.



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De-privatised toll motorways free overnight from midnight on Monday
14 January 2019

GOVERNMENT-BAILED out toll motorways will be free of charge to use from midnight tomorrow (Monday) every night until 06.00 in the morning, as the ministry of public works confirmed towards the end of 2018.

From 06.01 on Tuesday morning (January 15), toll prices on these motorways will be 30% lower.

Spain's previous government began the process of 'buying back' motorways run by ailing toll companies, and the new socialist cabinet, which came into power in June, continued to see the plan through.

Both governments had announced buy-backs and non-renewals when toll company franchises on most of Spain's pay-per-use motorways expired, with the next ready for de-privatisation being the AP-7 between Silla, just south of Valencia, and San Juan, a few kilometres north of Alicante, on January 1, 2020.

From midnight on Monday, the AP-7 Alicante ring-road and, a few kilometres further south, between Cartagena (Murcia) and Vera (Almería) will be free of charge overnight and 30% cheaper by day, along with the AP-36 through Castilla-La Mancha, between Ocaña (Toledo province) and La Roda (Albacete province), the M-12 between Madrid city and the airport, and four of the outer Madrid link roads or 'radial' highways.

The 'radial' roads connect the capital city to motorways heading in all directions across the country – the R-3 joins the A-3 Valencia trunk road at Arganda del Rey; the R-4 connects to the A-4 Cádiz motorway at Ocaña; the R-5 links to the westbound A-5 referred to as the 'Extremadura motorway', at Navalcarnero, and the R-2 merges into the A-2 Zaragoza motorway at Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha).



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Spanish diet is the healthiest on earth – it's official
14 January 2019

A MEDITERRANEAN diet has long been hailed as one of the most healthy on earth, even though it is said to be in decline in Spain and is far less likely to be the régime of choice in inland areas, where red meat – including all the fatty bits, and even tripe – are more likely to be served up for the family dinner than grilled fish and salad. But Spaniards are still, statistically, the European race which eats best – in fact, fewer people in Spain die from conditions caused by a poor diet than anywhere else on the continent.

Yet another great reason to up sticks and move to the land of Cervantes and cerveza, along with its beautiful countryside, stunning monuments and mild, sunny climate – albeit the latter seems a distant memory at the moment, with an Arctic front sending temperatures down to around -12ºC inland and an early-morning 4ºC on the coast.

It's no myth – Spain's diet is the best if you want to live long and healthily, and that's a scientific fact; at least, according to extensive research by the Martin-Luther Universität in Halle-Wittenberg and Friedrich Schiller Universität in Jena, both in Germany, carried out over more than a quarter of a century between 1990 and 2016 in every country in Europe recognised as such by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 51 in total.

Over this time, diet, lifestyle, preferences and availability of foodstuffs, along with trends for more international, hitherto lesser-known ingredients and 'superfoods', have changed dramatically, but the results of the research – published in Science Daily – remain constant, according to the team.



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Snow hinders traffic in Mallorca, Basque Country and La Rioja
11 January 2019

SNOW has blocked several 'B-roads' across the country as Spain shivers in the grip of an Arctic front which has forced temperatures down to low single figures on the Mediterranean and double figures below zero inland.

Last night (Thursday) was the coldest so far this winter, with the record low for Spain being registered in Molina de Aragón (Guadalajara province, Castilla-La Mancha) at -12ºC.

The Aran Valley in the Pyrénées, part of the Catalunya province of Lleida, registered -10ºC in the early hours of Friday.

On the east and south coasts, traditionally the mainland areas with the mildest winters, late-night temperatures hovered around 8ºC to 10ºC, but the coldest part of the day this week has been at around 07.00 or 08.00 – just as most commuters are heading for, or getting up for work – when the mercury has been falling to between 3ºC and 5ºC.

Traffic authorities in Mallorca have warned drivers to put their snow chains on if they plan to travel along the Ma-10 in the Sierra Tramontana mountain range, since the 15-kilometre stretch between Mirador de Ses Barques and Sa Calobra is coated in a thick blanket of white.



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PP and Ciudadanos strike deal with Vox to govern Andalucía
10 January 2019

ANDALUCÍA'S regional presidential candidate has struck a deal with far-right outfit Vox to enable him to govern in coalition with centre-right Ciudadanos, signalling a complete about-turn in strategy for the southern territory.

Juanma Moreno of the right-wing PP is joining forces with Ciudadanos, given that no party obtained an outright majority in the recent regional elections, ending the socialist reign with Susana Díaz as Andalucía's president for two terms of office.

To ensure he is voted in during the in-house elections, Moreno needed a guaranteed 'yes' from Vox who, with 12 seats out of 110, has become the first far-right party to gain a foothold in government anywhere in Spain since General Franco's fascist dictatorship.

Although apparently a cause for concern, it is not thought Spain will feel much influence from the alt-right movement, given the very small number of seats Vox holds in just one of 19 regional Parliaments – those of each of the 17 self-governing territories, plus the two city-provinces of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast.

Ciudadanos has been harshly criticised by its newest member at national level, former French prime minister Manuel Valls – who was born in Barcelona – for agreeing to a governing pact with the far right, but Ciudadanos Andalucía insists that of Vox' 37 proposed measures, 23 were already in its own manifesto.

Vox sparked outrage among women's groups when its list of conditions for supporting the PP and Ciudadanos included abolishing regional domestic violence and equality laws and legislation banning discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, but after a round of meetings with Moreno and his team, has agreed not to uphold this aspect.

The party also agreed to ditch its proposal to deport 52,000 immigrants and to 'celebrate' the Christian reconquest in the late Mediaeval era which saw the Moors thrown out of the country after 500 years of residence.



Like 0        Published at 13:28   Comments (1)

€500 notes to be withdrawn from circulation
10 January 2019

CENTRAL banks in Eurozone countries will start to withdraw €500 notes from circulation from January 27, except in Germany and Austria.

They will remain legal tender, even though the Central European Bank (BCE) stopped minting them from the end of 2018, but if banks on the high street receive any, they are required to send them to the main bank of the country wwhich will return them to base.

Until a few years ago, Spain was the country with the most €500 notes in circulation in the Eurozone, but they have become extremely rare – in fact, they now only represent 2.4% of all the banknotes in use worldwide.

The €500 note was colloquially known as the 'Bin Laden' – meaning everyone knew they existed, but very few had ever seen them – albeit in Spain, sightings until around a decade ago were very frequent indeed.

€100 and €200 notes – green and yellow respectively – were also a regular sight in Spain and often even handed over by bank branches when ordinary residents plundered their savings accounts.

But these have also become rare, partly because it has always been extremely difficult to use them except when buying goods or services of at least their denomination, given that shops and petrol stations often put up signs warning they could not guarantee being able to give change for payments made with them.



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Arctic winds force temperatures down to -10ºC inland and 1ºC on the Med
09 January 2019

A MASS of Arctic air is set to bring night temperatures down to as low as -10ºC across the country between today (Wednesday) and Saturday at least, according to the State meteorological agency, AEMET.

Even on the Mediterranean and south coasts, traditionally the parts of the mainland with the mildest winter temperatures, the mercury is expected to plunge to 1ºC or even to freezing in the early hours.

Inland parts of the warmer east and south are bracing themselves for nights dropping to -4ºC, and many town halls are already setting up temporary shelters for the homeless.

North winds will firstly hit the Catalunya area and gradually spread to the rest of the mainland and Balearic Islands, initially bringing relatively high humidity with it, but which will transform into a much drier climate.

Night and early-morning frost and ice are expected in inland areas, especially in the north and centre of the country, with thermometers plummeting to -5ºC in the central plains and areas of high altitude – even falling into double figures below zero in isolated pockets.

Daytime temperatures are not expected to rise above 5ºC in the northern half of the mainland, and will peak only briefly at between 12ºC and 14ºC on the Mediterranean.




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British-made ice-cream nut allergy warning
09 January 2019

HEALTH authorities in Spain have warned of an 'undeclared presence of nuts' in strawberry ice-cream cones from the UK distributed in shops in the Comunidad Valenciana.

According to the Spanish Consumer, Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AECOSAN), part of the ministry of health, the product – branded Ice King – does not carry a warning label that it 'may contain nuts', but traces have since been picked up.

AECOSAN has urged anyone with a peanut allergy to avoid consuming it, and if they have it in their house, to return it to the point of sale.

Manufactured in Britain and sold in the UK, Ireland and the eastern region of Spain, among other locations, the Ice King strawberry ice-cream batch in question carries a sell-by date of November 2020.

British consumer authorities raised the alarm, which was immediately passed onto their counterparts across the European Union thanks to its rapid-alert system, RASFF, covering human and animal foodstuffs.

Once AECOSAN received the alert, it triggered Spain's inter-regional version, the National Food Alert Network (SCIRI), sending an immediate warning to all health and consumer authorities in every one of the country's 17 autonomously-governed regions.

The ice-cream is safe to eat for anyone who does not have a peanut or general nut allergy, but those who do should avoid doing so.



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