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News August 1st

Local reportage from around the Island

 

August 1st 2007

Suicide Pact
  A Hungarian couple were found dead on Wednesday morning, close to the caves of es Cuieram in San Vicente.  The discovery was made by a Swiss hiker at around 11a.m.  On seeing the two bodies he immediately went to the caves in the area to find help.  Staff there phoned local police in San Juan, who were soon on the scene.
  The body of the woman had started to decompose and it was estimated that she had died around 48 hours before being discovered.  Investigators were immediately called to the macabre scene, and the bodies were taken away for forensic studies. 
  The body of the man was found hanging from a tree, while the woman was found at the base of the same tree with her hands tied behind her back.  Doctors later revealed that the woman had died from strangulation.  This led police to suggest that she had in fact been murdered by her partner, who then, 24 hours later, took his own life.  They know that the couple had been staying in the Abrat Hotel in Cala des Moro for the last month.  Hotel staff reported that the couple had not been seen for the last few days.
  Police found details of a mystic ritual on the computer of the man in the couples´ hotel room, which pointed to the fact that the deaths were, in some way, part of a suicide pact between the two.  However, the signs of violence on the body of the woman were somewhat confusing, and led police to believe that she had to be "somewhat forced to live up to her side of the bargain."  It was believed that the man, after murdering his partner, went back to his hotel to change before returning to the scene and hanging himself.  The suicide pact was given further credibility after it was revealed that a letter signed on 22nd July had been found amongst the woman's possessions which nominated an heir if anything was to happen to her, whilst on holiday in Ibiza.  For the time being the police were not ruling out the involvement of a third party, but said that at this stage it looked unlikely.    

AROUND THE ISLAND

Extraction Begins
After a week of deliberation, patiently waiting for the appropriate weather conditions, and for the right machines to arrive from around Europe, the fuel extraction from the sunken ship, Don Pedro, began on Saturday.  The work is being carried out by a team of professionals from Holland, South Africa and Spain, all working for the Dutch firm, Wijsmuller Salvage.  The technique that is being used is known as hot-tapping, and involves connecting several valves to the side of the boat, which then perforate it and slowly extract the liquid.  The work continued successfully over the weekend and, although slow, was going according to plan.  The team in charge of the removal of over one hundred tonnes of fuel includes thirteen divers, two rescue divers and a salvage engineer.  The work is calculated to last several weeks.
Meanwhile, on the affected beaches the clean up operation continued all week.  Whilst the water has been declared pristine, work is now taking place to clean the sand which has become soiled by the fuel.  Several machines have been put in place that extract the sand from the base and transport it to huge containers.  The sand is then separated, sinking to the bottom, whilst the fuel floats to the top.  The worst affected area remains Talamanca, where, although the beach continues to be open, the huge containers being used for the separation are making it difficult for tourists to relax on the sand.  So far over 135 tonnes of sand have been cleaned. However, it remains to be seen how long the clean up operation is going to last. 

"Blackouts" Expected
All four of the major mobile telephone companies have warned of the possibility of a break in service this summer.  The mass arrival of tourists and the lack of antennas on the island will mean that lines become saturated very quickly, causing temporary problems.  However, all four of the big companies, Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and the recently assimilated Yoigo, have underlined that the "blackouts" will be short, and will not affect the majority of telephone users. 
According to a spokesman for the four companies the problem will continue until more antennas can be installed.  Carols Cernuda claimed that Town Halls were unwilling to install more antennas due to the negative public response which they would receive.  He continued that the situation was becoming farcical, with residents demanding a better telephone service, but then complaining when antennas were erected.  He stressed that all of the antennas installed in Spain were well within European regulations, and posed no threat whatsoever to public health.

Agro-Boom
The president of the Association for rural tourism in San Juan, Antoni Mari, has revealed that, in general, the rural hotels on the island are having a good season and one that is comparable to last year.  He continued by saying that although May had been quite slow, June had picked up considerably and that July and August were completely sold out.  He said that his only concern was the very short duration of the tourist season. However, he saw no end to this in the near future.  He confirmed that it was very difficult to survive on just four months of occupancy, and implored the authorities to try and change the current situation by offering subsidies to the low-cost airlines to fly here outside of the profitable months of June-September.
The president of the association for Rent a Car was making similar noises later in the week.  He revealed that the entire flotilla of cars (nine thousand in total) would be rented out during the entire month of August, but that in general the season had been very short.

Immigration Fears
The arrival of two boats, packed with immigrants to the shores of the Balearic Islands, has sent alarm bells ringing at the Govern.  It is feared that the increase in surveillance across the southern coast of Spain has driven the boats towards the Balearics, where the lack of security means a higher chance of success.  The boats, which arrive from North Africa packed with immigrants looking for the riches of Europe, are extremely high risk, and have been the cause of many deaths over the last few years.  The arrival of immigrants in this way is commonplace in the Canaries, where it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants now living on the islands.  The main problem is that for every boat that does arrive safely, there are many that encounter difficulties during their journey due to the size of the boat, the extreme weather conditions encountered, and an excess of people on the small, open boat.    

Duff Anyone?
On 20th August, Ibiza will hold the European and World launch of a new beer that is set to triumph the world over.  The Mexican, Rodrigo Contreras, came up with the idea to make Homers favourite tipple, Duff beer, whilst sitting on his sofa watching the popular American cartoon series, "The Simpsons".  The beer which has been made world famous by the likes of Homer Simpson, Moe the barman and Barney Gumble, has finally been bottled and is ready for its world premiere. 
Contreras has had to be patient during the six year project.  First, he had to wait until the three hundred and sixty other Mexicans who had enquired about registering the product, officially declined the option.  Surprisingly, the author of the series "The Simpsons", Matt Groening, had only registered Duff in the United States and Australia.
Then began the expensive process of making sure that it was not all just a publicity stunt, and that people were actually buying the beer for what was, in fact, inside the bottle and not just on the label.  The beer was initially launched back in 2006, but having predicted sales of 10,000 cases in its first month of operation, Contreras received orders of 260,000 in the first week.  It soon became apparent that he had to reassess his entire project and the launch was put back. 
Details of the launch are currently a closely guarded secret, but will be made public over the coming weeks.

Air-Con Drop
The moderate temperatures enjoyed so far this summer have led to the reduction in the sale of air-conditioners.  The research group, GFK Custom, revealed that sales in air-conditioning units fell by 28 per cent, although the situation was helped by the fact that those bought were of a high quality (i.e. expensive), therefore limiting the overall damage to the commercial centres.

Pay Rises
The mayors of Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia, Lurdes Costa and Vicent Mari, will be the highest paid heads of the various municipalities, after new salaries were agreed on Monday.  They will both be paid 60,000 euros per year gross, for their complete dedication to the job.  In the case of Costa this is 13,000 euros more than her predecessor, while Mari has put up his salary by 5,000 euros.  The two are closely followed in the wages league by the mayor of San Jose, Josep Mari Ribas, who will receive 54,000 euros per year.  It is difficult to compare with his predecessor, Jose Serra Escandell, as the former mayor only worked a staggering twenty hours per week in charge of one of the biggest municipalities on the island.  The mayor of San Antonio, Jose Sala, is next with a gross of 45,000 euros per year, for 80 per cent exclusivity to the job.  The mayor of Formentera is the only head who has decided to freeze his salary, and will receive 37,000 euros per year.  The mayor of San Juan, Antoni Mari Mari Carraca, has yet to decide on the new wages of his team, but it is again intended that none of them, including the mayor, will dedicate all of their time exclusively to the municipality.
The salaries of all the Councillors also took a rise, with the highest being seen in Ibiza Town, with an unprecedented 20 per cent rise.  The Councillors working full-time for the municipality will receive between 50,000-55,000 euros gross, depending on their responsibilities. 

Impressive Figures
According to the latest figures released by the Institute of National Statistics, Ibiza and Formentera were in third position in Spain for the percentage of hotel occupancy in June.  The sixth month of the year was a good one in general for the Balearic Islands, with the autonomous region finishing top of the list.  Of all the tourist areas in the country, Santa Eulalia came tenth with an overall occupancy of 82 per cent.  

Drug Arrests
Two Moroccan men were arrested last week after police found nineteen kilos of hashish in the boot of their car.  Police had searched the car after it had been stopped in a routine control.  The officers recognised the men as fitting the description of two suspects accused of several robberies on the island.  They decided to search the car and, whilst they did not discover any stolen items, they did find twenty hashish tablets and large amounts of cash.  The two were both arrested and are awaiting trial. 
On the same day, in Denia, police arrested two youths as they tried to board the ferry to Ibiza with 1,220 ecstasy tablets.  The drugs had been hidden in a variety of innovative places including a yoghurt pot, a fridge and the underpants of one of the men.

More Details
The British man arrested last week, after running over and killing a pensioner on the road to San Juan, has been granted bail while he awaits trial.  He admitted to police that he had drunk five "copas" before getting behind the wheel, but felt that he was okay to drive.  He also confessed to having been speaking on his mobile phone at the time, as well. 
Meanwhile, neighbours in the area pleaded for the road to be widened to avoid similar accidents in the future.  A neighbour said that technicians had visited the region several times and that plans had been drawn up.  

Free Textbooks
The minister for Education, Barbara Galmes, announced that the Govern Balear, now run by PSIB-PSOE, would keep its electoral promise and offer free text-books to all pupils.  However, she said that it would start at some levels and eventually be filtered through to all year groups.  She advised all parents to keep their receipts when buying books for their children, and continued that the exact measures would be announced before 15th August.

Greenpeace Claims
The invasion of jellyfish is, according to Greenpeace, a global problem and one that has to be urgently solved.  A spokesperson for the group, Maria Jose Caballero, said that the current problem has been caused by over-fishing of red tuna and swordfish which both feed on the same food as the jellyfish.  The lack of turtles is also seen as a major problem.  Caballero claimed that a fully grown turtle would eat up to one tonne of jellyfish per week. 
Global warming is also to blame.  The creatures would not normally enter the Mediterranean coasts until much later in the summer, (late September/early October), due to the cold temperature of the water.  However the warmer seas are encouraging the jellyfish to migrate to the coast far earlier, and reproduce in greater numbers. 
The problem, according to Caballero, although urgent, will take time to fix and she urged for the process to be started soon. 
Their claims came on the day that swarms of jellyfish were reported in es Cavallet, es Codolar and Cala Carbo. 

Top Concerns
The high cost of housing is the number one concern of residents on the island.  In a survey undertaken by Gadesso, into the socio-economic feel of the island, concerns over immigration were in second place, with economic worries in third.  This differs from a study undertaken last month in Spain as a whole, where terrorism was the number one worry for most Spanish people. 
The majority of the population on the island claimed that tourism was the most important sector of the economy, and the shortening of the season was high on most people's list of concerns.  

Emergency Descent
A plane run by the company, Flightline, and chartered by Budget Travel had to return to the airport in Ibiza after a broken window caused the air-pressure in the cabin to drop.  The plane had taken off from Ibiza on course for Dublin, when after half an hour, a sudden drop in cabin pressure forced the pilot to make an emergency descent to balance out the pressure.  He then decided that it would be best to return to Ibiza, and half an hour later the frightened passengers arrived at the airport.  The company was quick to play down the incident, and said that it was a minor issue and that the pilot had not wanted to take any risks.  They denied that the plane had been forced to make an emergency landing, pointing out the fact that the plane was flying over Reus airport at the time of the incident and if an emergency landing had been necessary, they would have made it immediately.  The passengers resumed their journey the following day aboard an Iberia flight.

Helpful Advice
Police are distributing leaflets amongst tourists on the island with useful information about how to avoid being the victim of petty crime.  The leaflet, in six languages, advises tourists to always keep an eye on their handbags and valuables, keep wallets and handbags close by in areas with large crowds, and to only take the very essential to swimming pools and beaches.  They advised everyone to make use of the safety deposit boxes available in most hotels, and to keep passports locked away at all times.  They also warned against "street games" that practically always end with the client being cheated, and "make it rich quick" scams that are becoming more popular on the island.
The police have also edited a DVD for hotel employees, to show the typical tactics used by thieves within the hotel.  These include pretending to be members of staff in order to enter into rooms.  

Gas Go-ahead
The contract was finally granted on Tuesday for the gas line that will connect the Balearics to the mainland and enable homes in Ibiza to connect to natural gas.  The line had been the source of much debate by the previous Govern, who were studying the possibility of bringing the gas via cables.  This led to a delay of two years in the project.  However, last week saw the contract eventually granted to the Spanish firm, FCC, and the Italian company, Saipem, for a total of 250 million euros.  According to a joint statement, the work is to begin in September of this year and is due to be completed by 1st July 2009.  The entire project will eventually cost around 490 million euros.

IBIZA TOWN

Rubbish Problem
Neighbours have made an official complaint to the Town Hall of Ibiza for the lack of rubbish collection in the sa Penya area, especially over the weekend.  The situation was described as alarming by one particular neighbour, who said that the lack of cleanliness was leading to other problems. 

Rolex Gang
Police last week arrested two Italian youths in Ibiza Town whom they believe are part of the "Rolex" gang.  The gang has been operating on the island for several years, and prey on drivers and passers-by, stealing expensive brand watches such as Rolex.  However, the crimes have become more violent over the last year.  Police were called to calle Ramon y Cajal near to the port area after complaints from neighbours about a group of individuals using threatening behaviour.  On seeing the police the five youths tried to run away. However two were caught by police and, despite their violent behaviour, were successfully arrested.  Police became aware that the youths may be linked with the crime syndicate, after they noticed one of the youths sporting an expensive Rolex watch that had been reported stolen earlier in the week.       

Café Botino
The Town Hall has inaugurated their new cafeteria located on the third floor of the Can Botino building in the old town.  The cafeteria will be open all year round, and affords spectacular views across the port area of the capital.  It is hoped that the cafeteria will provide a service to visitors to the area, as well as workers in the Town Hall.

Cruise Increase
The total number of cruise ships which docked in Ibiza during the first six months of the year compared to 2006 has increased by 32 per cent to forty-five ships.  The actual number of passengers also increased by 18.47 per cent, to 28,451 people.  This was actually the least of all the three main islands, with Mahon (Minorca) registering 36,656 arrivals, and Palma (Majorca) 381,312 cruisers.  The news was extremely positive, and it was estimated that the positive figures would continue during the rest of the year.   

SAN ANTONIO

Drinking Clampdown
The Town Hall of San Antonio announced plans on Thursday to crackdown on the drink problem within the town centre.  Having forbidden the consumption of alcohol out of glasses on the streets, the Interior Councillor, Jose Ramon Serra, said that he had ordered police to clampdown on the sale of alcohol from supermarkets after midnight, which is, in theory, illegal.  It is hoped that this will prevent the consumption of cheap drinks late at night, and mean that those who want to drink will do so in the relatively controlled atmosphere of a licensed bar.  He also said that the police would be clamping down on the sale of specially reduced drinks and other offers that do not comply with authorised prices, and encourage the consumption of vast amounts of alcohol in a short space of time.  Serra said that the measures were being to taken by the Town Hall to try and clean up the bad image that has been cultivated over the last few years.  

Court Backing
The courts in Palma have backed the decision by the Town Hall of San Antonio to shut the restaurant, El Ayoun, in San Rafael.  The authorities took the excessive measures after numerous complaints from various neighbours in the area.  The establishment had a licence for a restaurant only, but was also working as a bar with the corresponding loud music.  The interior Councillor, Jose Ramon Serra, revealed that the restaurant would be able to reopen simply as a restaurant, but would not be allowed to operate as a bar.  He said that San Rafael was a quiet town, and that licences for music bars would not be granted. 

SAN JOSE

Demolition Delays 
Disagreements between the owners and the constructors of the sa Caixota buildings in San Jose have temporarily halted the demolition of the building.  In September 2005, after heavy rains, the newly built structure in es Cubells partially collapsed, due to subsidence in the mountainside.  The constructors had initially been warned that the possibility of such a tragedy existed.  However they believed that they had taken the appropriate measures to avoid such a catastrophe.  Fortunately the buildings were all empty at the time as they were still several weeks away from being completed.   It was agreed that the buildings affected would be demolished, allowing new ones to be put in their place.  However the on-going dispute between the parties has meant that the work has been put back.  Meanwhile, neighbours have warned of further damage being caused this autumn, if the heavy rains come again.  The situation has not been helped by technical experts who have advised against the demolition, stating that the ruins are now acting as a support for the entire building, and that their removal may cause even more damage. 
The situation has been further complicated after the constructors presented the owners of the apartments with an invoice totalling over one million euros for sanitary work carried out on the properties.  They say that because the demolition has not yet taken place, then the apartments are still considered liveable, an argument which the owners lawyer, Jose Luis Rois, denies.   

New Hope
The president of the residents association of Cala de Bou, Eusebio Garcia, has called on the newly elected Town Hall to create more public spaces and parks.  Cala de Bou has suffered greatly over the last few years with mass globalisation.  However while residential properties have been built all over the area, there has not been much thought given to the 6,000 residents now living in the area when it came to building schools, parks and sports centres.  Cala de Bou was actually the area which swung the vote towards the PSOE and finally ended the reign of Jose Serra Escandell, the man who had been mayor for the last 24 years. 
Garica said that the association was very happy with the change of Town Hall, and revealed that most residents had felt abandoned by the previous legislation.  He revealed that he had already had several meetings with the new Councillors and had high hopes that things could be improved soon.

Non Payment
The Councillor in charge of the purse strings in San Jose, Paquita Ribas, has delayed payment of several invoices in order to maintain the liquidity of the Town Hall.  In one of their last meetings in power, the PP, knowing that they had been voted out, agreed to pay several invoices that would have left the institute bankrupt.  Ribas confirmed that all debts would eventually be paid, but confessed that it would take a while longer. 

School Extension
The plans for the extension to the infant school, L´Urgell, in San Jose have been released.  The project includes six new classrooms of 50 square metres each, a staffroom and storerooms, amongst other things.  The total extension will be 831 square metres and will cost just over 920,000 euros. 

SANTA EULALIA

Doggy Poop
On Thursday, Vicent Mari, the mayor of Santa Eulalia, announced heavy fines for dog owners who do not clean up after their animals.  In the press conference after the weekly meeting he said that he was determined to punish the irresponsible behaviour of some dog owners.  He warned that new laws, with fines of up to five hundred euros, were imminent.  He said that a clean municipality did not necessarily mean cleaning more, but littering less, and he said that all citizens had their part to play.  He warned that canine owners who leave home without the trusted plastic bag to clean up after their pooches, would be punished.

Environment Friendly
The mayor of Santa Eulalia, Vicent Mari, has said that the protection of the environment is top of his priorities for the next four years.  His statement was applauded by all parties, and seen as a giant step for a Town Hall that over the last decade has been submissive in the construction of new buildings.  Mari said that the island had to find the right balance, and admitted that after the recent construction boom, it was now time to take stock and "let the island breathe".

Siesta Complex
It was agreed on Thursday by the Town Hall of Santa Eulalia to improve the access roads to the Siesta complex.  The plan includes building a four-metre pavement, increasing the size of the road, and the building of a cycle-lane.  The plans were originally agreed back in 2005, but were delayed for various reasons.  However, they have now been given the rubber stamp and will go ahead soon.  

FORMENTERA

Consells  Meet
Tuesday saw the first meeting between the Consell of Ibiza and the Consell of Formentera in the transfer of power over to the smaller island.  Formentera formed its first Consell in May, which will eventually have complete control of the island.  Xico Tarres emerged from the meeting happy with the start that had been made, but said that it was going to be a long, hard process and he would be happy if it was all completed within the next ten years.  He confirmed that these matters should not be rushed, and reminded all those involved that the Consell of Ibiza took twenty-five years to eventually become what it is today. 
The new president of the Consell of Formentera, Jaume Ferrer, agreed with Tarres and said that the transfer of power should be done slowly and correctly.  He claimed that at the moment the island did not have either the adequate personnel, or buildings, to administer from within. 

CRIME & INCIDENTS

Diving Tragedy
On Friday, police in San Jose discovered the body of the diver who had gone missing late on Wednesday afternoon.  Borja Quesada Abad had been visiting the island with friends when he decided to go diving, alone, in the es Porroig area, San Jose.  He was an expert diver and practiced the sport regularly.  He did not have an oxygen tank with him, as that afternoon he was free-diving without any aids.  His friends reported him missing five hours later after they became worried when he had not returned to their boat.  Police immediately launched a search operation, aided by a special dive team.  The search took place from 9p.m.-1a.m. on Wednesday and resumed again on Thursday morning at 7a.m.  However all hope faded when at 10.45a.m. the body of the diver was discovered at the bottom of es Porroig, at a depth of twenty-eight metres.
This is the first death of a diver in waters around the island so far this year, although the body of the French diver missing since 17th July in Formentera is still to be located.       

Cliff Fall
A woman was badly injured on Friday as she fell from rocks in Punta Galera, San Antonio.  The injured woman arrived at the popular area accompanied by her husband.  At around 1p.m. she lost her balance while close to the edge of one of the larger rock faces.  She fell around four metres to the base of the cliffs.  The emergency services were immediately called, and the Red Cross eventually had to evacuate her by sea, having first immobilised her and placed her on a stretcher.  She was then taken to a waiting ambulance at Club Nautico and rushed to Can Misses.  Hospital staff confirmed that she is in a stable condition. 

 

Saw-Mill Fire
A fire in the saw-mill at Ca na Negreta on Tuesday led to the Santa Eulalia-Ibiza road being closed.  The fire started at 5.30p.m. due to reasons that are still unknown.  The saw-mill was closed at the time and the owner was told of the fire by neighbours.  He was quickly on the scene, and attempted to reduce the fire himself.  The fire brigade quickly arrived on the scene and immediately closed the road as they attempted to quell the flames.  Fortunately the fire started well away from the main store rooms, which prevented it from spreading.  The fire chief, Miguel Sevilla, said, after the flames had finally been extinguished, that they had been fortunate that the fire had not spread throughout the saw-mill.  He acknowledged the quick work undertaken by the owner of the mill in abating the fire, and the fact that the wood which was burning was of a very high density which meant that the fire was very slow burning, allowing the fire truck to arrive just in time. 

Can Tomas Crash
Three people were injured in an accident on the San Antonio-Ibiza road on Monday, two of them seriously.  The accident occurred at 5p.m. at the Can Tomas roundabout between a Seat Cordoba and a Fiat Panda, the first driven by a young Spanish tourist and the second by a German holiday-maker.  Police were immediately on the scene and have launched an investigation into the accident.  However it appears that the Spanish driver, due to excess speed, did not have time to stop and drove into the back of the other car.  Both cars were destroyed in the incident.  The Spanish driver also failed a breath test at the scene of the accident. 
The German driver was the most seriously injured and on Monday night underwent emergency surgery to various head injuries at the private Vilas hospital.  Fortunately the operations were all a success, and the injured man is recovering well.   

Fag-End Fire
Avid Ibiza Sun reader Christine Hurst received a shock last week after a blazing fire in the campo came periously close to her home at km.16 on the San Jose road.  She was alerted to the danger after smelling smoke whilst in her garden and rushed out with a hose, after alerting the emergency services (112).  Police were quickly on the scene, followed by fire crews.  They helped maintain the blaze, before firstly a fire-plane and then a fire-helicopter arrived to extinguish it.  Police were unsure of how the fire started but said that it could have been caused by a lit cigarette that had been flicked out of a passing car!  
Please be careful when disposing of lighted-cigarettes, as the next time there may not be anyone around as quick-witted as Christine.

NEWS FROM THE MAINLAND

The Loner Arrested
After a meticulously run operation which involved both the Spanish and Portuguese police, Jaime Jimenez Arbe, the most wanted criminal in Spain was arrested in the north of Portugal by local police officers.  The man, known as "the Loner", was arrested as he attempted to rob a bank in the Portuguese town of Figueira dea Foz.  Arbe is wanted for around thirty robberies in Spain, as well as the murder of three people, including two police officers.  He was classed as extremely dangerous by the authorities.  The interior minister, Alfredo Rubalcaba, who was coincidentally in Portugal on official business at the time, said that the arrest had come after weeks of careful collaboration between Spanish and Portuguese police. 
Arbe was being held in a local prison cell one hundred and ninety one kilometres from the capital, Lisbon, while a judge decides on the next course of action. 

Defence Leak
The former secret service agent, Roberto Florez Garcia, was arrested in Tenerife last week accused of leaking classified information to foreign intelligence agencies, which could have included the Russian secret service.  According to the head of the Spanish secret service, (CNI), Alberto Saiz, national security was never put at risk as Florez only ever had very limited information, and none of it was of a very delicate nature.  However he admitted that the arrest was a blow to the service, and did not rule out more arrests as the scandal grew.  Florez worked for the CNI for twelve years between 1992 and 2004, after previously serving in the Guardia Civil.  He was described as a brilliant man, who had always carried out his work with the utmost professionalism.  Investigations were continuing into exactly what type of information was leaked and to whom.

Power Cut
The failure of a high tension electric cable in Barcelona led to 90 per cent of the city suffering a power cut last week.  The incident occurred at around 11a.m. on Monday morning in the Llobregat area of the city.  The power failure of the cable led to a knock-on effect, which produced short circuits in several other power stations.  In total 350,000 families and businesses were left without power for most of the day, with 110,000 not regaining electricity until the following morning.  The power cut caused chaos on the streets, as traffic signals failed, as well as in various hospitals, leading to the cancellation of all operations.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Professional Shortage
The Chamber of Commercial Business has warned that a lack of qualified personnel is holding back the Balearic economy from potential growth.  The president of the chamber, Joan Gual, said that the situation was placing some companies in a difficult position, as they were having to turn down work due to a lack of qualified staff.  The shortage has also affected the hospitality industry, which is finding it harder and harder to contract qualified professionals, which is having a marked affect on the service offered. 

Subsidy Claims
The minister for Social Affairs, Jesus Caldera, has announced that 18,000 families have so far requested the payment of 2,500 euros which, from 16th July, is available to all parents who have a newly born child.  According to the minister this accounts for practically 100 per cent of the children born.  The new subsidy will be paid in a one-off payment, and will be available to all those families whose yearly earnings are below 60,000 euros a year (98.91 per cent of all families).  It is said that the subsidy could benefit up to 480,000 families this year alone, and will cost in the region of 1,200 million euros a year.  This payment is separate from the 100 euros per month that a new family will receive.    

August Rentals
A recent survey has revealed that the most expensive place to rent an apartment in Ibiza during August, is Cala Tarida.  A fifty square metre property will cost around 3,720 euros for the busiest month of the year.  This is followed by Santa Eulalie, where a similar sized property will set you back 3,000 euros.  However these prices were well behind the most expensive in Spain, which can be found in the Guipuzcoanan area of Hondarribia, where apartments are rented for an average of 5,083 euros.  Valencia was also near the top of the list with prices in the areas of Saler, Alboraia and Cullera all above 4,500 euros for the month.   

Economic Growth
The economy of the island grew by just over 3 per cent during the first six months of the year, a few points below the national average.  Growth was helped by the continued recovery of the tourist sector, and continued advances in construction.  The figures were described as positive by the director of economics at Caeb, Vicent Tur, who said that Ibiza was well on the road to recovery, and he expected results to be not too dissimilar by the end of the year.

Low Pensions
Pension levels in the Balearics are below the national average, according to recent statistics.  The average pension on the islands is 609 euros, far below the national median of 674 euros.  Only Galicia, Extremadura and Murcia have lower levels.  At the other end of the scale, Pais Vasco and Asturias have the highest levels with 800 and 840 euros per month respectively.

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