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News September 5th

Local reportage from around the Island

 

September 5th 2007

Football Mourns
Spanish football was plunged into mourning on Tuesday after the death of the Seville player, Antonio Puerta.  The 22 year old left-back, who made his international debut last year, collapsed on the field during a friendly between Seville and Getafe on Saturday, after suffering a cardiac arrest.  He was revived on the pitch and managed to leave the field of play on both feet.  However, he collapsed once more in the dressing room and although he was again revived, he suffered two more cardiac arrests in the ambulance on the way to the Hospital Virgen del Rocio, in Seville.  He was stabilised on arrival but remained in a critical condition.  After he made a slight improvement on Monday, by Tuesday his situation had deteriorated rapidly and he was pronounced dead on Tuesday afternoon. A statement from Dr. Francisco Murillo, head of intensive care at the hospital, confirmed the death.
"We regret to announce that the patient, Antonio Puerta, died at 14.30 p.m. (local time) as a consequence of post-panoxic encephalopathy and multi-organic dysfunction provoked by the cardiac arrest,"
Puerta, whose girlfriend is pregnant, had been a member of the Seville first team for three seasons, and spent 14 years in total with the Andalusian club he joined as a boy. He was capped for the national side in October of last year and had an extremely bright future ahead of him.  He had been part of one of the most successful Seville sides in history, which included winning the UEFA cup for the first time, Puertas making a huge contribution in the semi-final against Schalke 04, scoring a goal.  
His body was held in waiting on Wednesday, before his burial on Thursday, to give time for the thousands of Seville fans to pay their respects.  The Seville team, who were due to play their champions league qualifier on Wednesday night in Greece against AEK Athens, flew home after the game was postponed by UEFA.

AROUND THE ISLAND

Brits Recover
Airport figures released last week have showed that the British market has made a dramatic recovery, after seven years of falls.  For the first seven months of the year a total of 652,077 Brits came to the island, 7.8 per cent more than in 2006.  British tourism on the island has been slowly declining since the high of 2000.  This trend was bucked last year with an increase of 5 per cent.  However the figures this year have come as a surprise, as the number was predicted to stagnate over the next few years.  The statistics underline once again the importance of British tourism to the island, and once again puts the Brits top of the pile. 
The figures also revealed that the British, German, Spanish, Italian and French markets account for 95 per cent of tourism on the island, with the Germans second on the list with 306,220 tourists arriving between January and July.  This is followed closely by the Spanish market with 300,000 arrivals, although this figure will be boosted by the amount of Spanish tourists that arrived by boat.
The president of the Hotel Federation, Roberto Hortensius, said that the figures were great news for the island, and reconfirmed data that he had received from his members which showed that occupancy had risen this year.  He continued by saying that the recovery of the British market had been key to the general increase on the island, a rise that has been complemented by the ongoing growth within the Spanish market. 

Parents to Sue
The parents of William Hall, the 22 year old man who died last year after being struck in the neck after a fight in the car park of a discotheque, are to sue Can Misses for medical negligence. 
The youngster, who was on holiday with his parents, was taken to hospital in August last year after receiving a blow to the head, which resulted in the arrest of three men.  The victim was released from hospital soon after the incident.  He returned to the hospital the following day, after the pain and bleeding had not gone away, but died soon after of a massive haemorrhage.  A year after his tragic death, his parents have decided to take matters further, after a medical report in the UK claimed that Hall would have had a 95-98 per cent chance of surviving, if he had received immediate medical attention.  The report, by an English surgeon, claimed that the levels of haemoglobin in the victim’s blood should have warranted Hall being kept under observation for at least 24 hours.
The incident occurred in the car park of DC-10, after the victim mistakenly got into a car thinking that it was a taxi.  Three Spanish youths tried to get him out of the vehicle, and this was when he was struck heavily in the neck area.  The three men involved were arrested several days after the incident.        

Salt Problems
Production in the salt mines located in ses Salinas is set to fall dramatically for the second year in a row, after the rains of early August.  Salinera Espanola confirmed last week that production had been seriously affected by the early rains, but that the exact impact would not be known until the end of this month. 
The key period for the production of salt is between the months of June and September.  The mineral has a 110 day crystallization period in which the absence of rain is key.  Any bad weather during this period will affect the amount of salt that is finally produced.  A normal season will see between 45,000-50,000 tonnes of salt produced during the year.  This fell to 39,500 tonnes in 2006 and is set to plummet yet again this year. 
The main clients of the salt are the Faroe Islands and Denmark, who buy around 25,000 tonnes each year which they use in the salting of fish.     

Police Problem
The lack of policing which seriously affects the island every summer appears to have no short term solution, after it was revealed that just eight people had been accepted onto a course to train new officers.  Of the 20 people that originally tried to get on the course, just eight have the necessary qualifications required by state law, which includes further education studies.  It was hoped that a total of 35 people could have been trained on the course, but the number will actually fall well below this figure.
The various Town Halls on the island asked for 45 temporary recruits this year, but only received 17 due to the lack of qualified officers.   

Flight Frequency
The delegate of the Air Nostrum group, who operate planes between the Balearic Islands, Carlos Bartomeu, has promised that from next winter his company will keep the same amount of planes running throughout the winter as they operate during the summer.  The statement was made after a meeting with the president of the Govern Balear, Francesc Antich.  Bartomeu confirmed that Air Nostrum would maintain the ten planes that connect Palma to Ibiza all through the winter, and that they would also maintain from 2008/9 the Mao-Ibiza flight that runs four times a week.  He claimed that agreement would still need to be reached over the prices of the tickets, but said that everything was being done to ensure that they would remain as low as possible. 
Transport between the islands is high on the list of priorities for the new Govern, and they are determined to find the right balance of price and frequency that would benefit the island’s residents.   

 

August Occupancy
Hotel occupancy during the first 15 days of August was similar to 2006 with an average of 94.6 per cent on both Ibiza and Formentera.  The big winner was Cala Tarida and Cala Vadella who, after a poor 2006, have recovered and this year had the highest occupancy of any area with an average occupancy of 96.43 per cent.  This was 5.4 per cent higher than last year. 
The figures were slightly affected by a lower occupancy during the first five days of the month, but from 6th August most hotels were 100 per cent full.  The president of the Hotel Association, Roberto Hortensius, said that August had been a very positive month, and that the forecast for September was very good with occupancy expected to reach 80 per cent.   

Wet August
Ibiza enjoyed its wettest August for more than 25 years, according to figures released by the Balearic meteorological centre.  At their measuring station in es Codolar, a total of 86.7 litres fell throughout the month, 68 litres more than the average over the last 20 years.  This was the highest August rainfall recorded since the 92.7 litres that fell in 1981. 
In total there were nine rainy days, interspersed with 15 days of clear sunshine (more than ten hours).  However, what was even more unusual was the fact that these days were interspersed randomly, and not consecutive as normal, with rainy days randomly following days of bright sunshine.
The amount of rain and cloud during the month also affected temperatures, with the highest temperature recorded on 29th with a high of 31.1o.  The lowest was on 22nd with the thermometers dropping to a cool 16.8o.     

More Fines
The Consell Insular’s clampdown on businesses breaking the law continued last week, after several establishments were fined for various offences.  The biggest was handed out to Cala Vadella resort, for operating as tourist apartments without the necessary permission.  They were fined a hefty €60,000.  A smaller fine (€30,050) was handed out to the agro-tourism hotel, Can Pere, for a similar offence. 
Much smaller fines ranging from €2,000-€4,000 were in turn handed out to Café California (San Antonio), and Rodeo Fun Park (Cala de Bou), for operating as restaurants without the appropriate licences, DC-10 for not observing their limit on capacity within the bar area, and Cap Llentrisca for organising an illegal “fiesta”.  

Water Use
According to statistics released by the European Commission, Spain uses the most water per head of any country within Europe.  The average citizen in Spain uses around 250 litres of water per day.  This is a figure that can be doubled when talking about tourists, putting Spain at the top of the water user’s league.  The Union demanded changes and said that education was the key, enabling people to change their habits. 

Extinction Threats
The bird species known on the island as fumarell has been placed on the endangered list, in a new report by specialists.  Naturalist, David Garica, revealed that Ibiza and its surrounding islands were the number one breeding spot for the funarell in the Western world.  However, a number of factors, including the destruction of their natural habitat, the increase in tourist resorts within coastal areas, and a rise in their primary predator, the seagull, have meant that numbers have fallen over the last five years.
The birds, which are distinctive due to their dark colour and small size (they weigh just 25 grams), spend most of their lives at high sea and only come to the islands to breed.  The lack of human contact could also be their saving grace, according to Garcia, who commented that if their breeding habitat could be protected then there was a real chance of saving the species from extinction.    

Operation Increase
Can Misses Hospital carried out 0.2 per cent more operations last year than in 2005.  However, the amount of predetermined operations, which required the patient to stay in hospital afterwards, grew by 25 per cent (1,452 operations in total).  This was the highest increase of any of the hospitals within the Balearics.  This was in stark contrast to a fall of 7.1 per cent in the number of emergency operations which had to be carried out last year.
In total there were 43.6 operations carried out for every 1,000 residents, again below the Balearic average of 51.5 per 1,000 residents.  However, the increase in the number of predetermined operations led to further calls for a larger hospital to be built, a project that the new Consell looks set to undertake.  

Mobile Help
A total of 149 women within the Balearics possess a mobile telephone that links them directly to police, in case they are attacked by violent ex-partners.  The new measures were introduced last year as part of attempts by the Government to reduce domestic violence in Spain.  In total, 7,400 women all over the country have been given this special mobile phone, with the highest number of women in the Madrid area (1,427).  The phone is offered voluntarily to all women who have suffered domestic violence, and who believe that they continue to be under threat.  The phones also incorporate a special emergency button which lets officers know if someone is in danger, without the need to call.  

Cancer Sufferers
Last year a total of 40 cases of child cancer were discovered in the Balearics, according to the Association of Parents of Children with Cancer.  At present there are a total of 380 children receiving treatment, a figure which has led to the association to demand a new hospital unit for this treatment, an activity centre and a residence for those recovering from treatment received.  

Road Protestors
Two ministers at the Consell Insular were part of eleven “anti-motorway” protestors called before the judge on Monday, to answer questions about the incidents which occurred in June 2006.  The case centres on the day that the diggers came to destroy the only entrance/exit of a house located close to the newly built road.  The anti-motorway representatives staged a sit-down protest which ended with the arrest by the captain of the Guardia Civil, Fructuoso Jimenez, of all eleven members.  The group, which includes the now roads minister, Albert Prats, and the minister for Town Planning, Miguel Ramon, declared in front of the judge that they had merely wanted to defend the owner’s right to an entrance/exit to his home, and that they had intended to talk to both the police officers present and the workers carrying out the project.  However, neither turned out to be responsive, and the group decided to carry out the sit down protest until they were carted away by officers after orders from the captain. Arrests that they claim were illegal, and for which Jimenez had to face the judge the following day.
Jimenez was interrogated by the judge the next day for a total of three hours.  He insisted several times that he had only made the arrests after receiving orders from his superiors in Palma, and having considered the protestors a risk to the machines which were working in the area at the time.  He added that he had seen all of the arrested people at several other protests, and that, in his opinion, they were not there to protect the entrance road but to stop the building of the airport highway.

Seaweed Invasion
Bad weather during the last week of August left several beaches on the island unusable, due to enormous deposits of seaweed.  High winds and rough seas brought tonnes of seaweed to the beaches of ses Figuretes, Playa den Bossa and Talamanca.  All three of these beaches were affected in June when the vessel Don Pedro sank off the south-easterly part of the island, spilling some of the fuel on board. 
The environment minister, Joan Rubio, said that his administration was dealing with the situation, and that on Tuesday six machines were working on the three affected beaches (two on each) in order to try and clean up the algae as quickly as possible.  During the day, the trucks on to which the seaweed was loaded made a total of 55 journeys to the waste disposal tip with an estimated total of 400 tonnes. 
The arrival of the seaweed had a considerable affect on most of the businesses located on the beaches and, having been affected by the fuel leak, it seemed like rough justice to most.     
The problems continued throughout the week, and on Thursday seaweed covered in fuel had been washed up on es Cavallet beach.  This caused the beach to fly the red flag during most of the day, and for emergency crews to be sent to the beach to collect the seaweed that had also created a very bad smell in the area.  The Town Hall of Ibiza was quick to point out that there had not been another fuel leak and that very little had, in fact, been washed up.  By Saturday they had collected a total of 2,049 tonnes of seaweed from the beaches affected.  
However the response of the administrations was criticised by restaurant owners in Playa den Bossa, who claimed that by the weekend there was still a great deal of seaweed remaining on the beach.  They said that at times there had only been one machine working in the area, and that the stench of the seaweed had kept people away. 

Building Tax
The Govern Balear is studying the introduction of a new law which it is hoped will be brought out next year in which those building on land defined by the Town Hall as rustic will have to pay an additional tax.  The amount has still not been confirmed but will be in the region of 0.5 – 1.5 per cent of the building costs.  The money will be used for environmental causes. 
The plans are still in the very early stages of development, but they have already been criticised by the opposing PP party.  The mayor of San Antonio, Jose Sala, said that he could not understand why those building on rustic land were now having to pay the price for the mass agglomeration around the towns.  He claimed that it should be the other way around, and that constructors building inside the urban zone should be taxed more. 
The mayor of Santa Eulalia, Vicent Mari, remained cautious over the plans and said that he would need to study them more before making any comment.  However, he said that initially he thought that they would not make any serious money and simply pay for the administration costs of collecting the tax. 
The Govern seemed determined to continue with the plans, one of several they have to try and raise funds for environmental projects.  However, they will be sure to tread carefully after the fiasco of the eco-tax, which saw them voted out of the Govern within two years of introducing it.          

Deadly Virus
The Agriculture and Fisheries ministry at the Govern Balear was put on red alert last week, after the discovery of three dead dolphins on the shores of Valencia.  The ministry was immediately sent emergency procedures that would need to be carried out if any similar incidents were found in the Balearics.  It is feared that the deaths of the animals was caused by the deadly virus, “morbilivirus”, which resulted in the demise of thousands of dolphins in 1990.  The disease is highly contagious, and attacks the nervous and respiratory system of the animals. 
The outbreak in 1990 caused thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean, and it was feared that it would have an affect on numbers for decades.  However, just ten years later, numbers were back up and it appeared that the mammals had grown immune to the disease.  Unfortunately it appears that there are now a new generation of unimmunised dolphins which could now be endangered by the disease.  The marine department in Valencia revealed that the virus signified no risk to human health, but that the accumulation of dead dolphins in the sea would.        

IBIZA TOWN

Tourist Information
A total of 27,409 visitors have used the three tourist information centres so far this year based within the capital.  The most popular has been that housed in Vara de Rey, where a total of 8,019 people passed in May, 6,968 in June and 6,700 in July. The new centre which was opened in ses Figuretes is also proving popular, and has attended to 1,607 tourists in its first month open.  According to ages, 28 per cent of those who visited the centres were aged 56 and above, with another 28 per cent being between 20-30.  The councillor for Tourism in Ibiza Town, Vicent Ferrer, said that the three centres had been a great success and that he was sure that the good work would continue.

Taxis Happy
The president of the taxi association in Ibiza Town, Jose Serafin, proclaimed he is happy with the controls that were so far being undertaken by police.  Serafin originally called for all the associations to go on a one day strike, after one of their members was assaulted by an illegal taxi driver.  However the strike was called off at the last minute after both the Consell and the Town Hall agreed to step up security measures against the pirate taxis.  This has resulted in far greater security, especially outside the larger nightclubs and around the principal taxi ranks across the island.  A joint effort by both the local police and the Guardia Civil has seemed to have had an immediate effect, and has included several road blocks to screen drivers.  Serafin said he was happy, although he would continue to monitor progress. 

Street Brawl
A woman was slightly injured when a parasol fell on her head after a fight broke out in a restaurant in Ibiza Town.  The incident occurred at around 2.30a.m. when two Moroccan men, fascinated by two Harley Davidson motorbikes parked in the street, sat on them and started to take photos.  The owners of the bikes then shouted across to the men that if they wanted to sit on them they should ask first.  Insults were then hurled between the two parties, and this is when one of the Moroccan men took a stone and threw it at the two bikers, who then got up and took chase.  The Moroccans tried to hide in the terrace of a pizza restaurant but were caught by the bikers, who started to hit the men.  The Moroccans defended themselves by throwing what they could at their attackers including chairs, tables, glasses and ashtrays.  It was at this moment that the parasol fell and hit one of the clients of the restaurant on the head.  She was later taken to Can Misses but released after a few hours.
Several police officers quickly arrived on the scene and all four men were arrested and taken into custody, while an investigation was launched.

Hotel Delayed
The Ibiza Gran Hotel, the five-star hotel being built close to Botafoch Marina, is to open next winter, according to an announcement by the owners.  The hotel which was originally due to open this April, has suffered a series of setbacks and delays over the last two years, and will not eventually be complete until at least November 2008.  The hotel, which will have cost €60million to complete, will contain 157 suites, as well as a convention centre, a casino, a spa, a business centre, an art gallery and several restaurants and bars.

SAN ANTONIO

Crime Falls
On Friday, the mayor of San Antonio announced a reduction of 23 per cent in the amount of crimes committed during July.  He revealed that his administration placed a great deal of importance on safety within the municipality, and these results were fruit of that work.  The central governments representative to the island, Jose Manuel Bar, said that the results were a compliment to the joint work carried out by the local police force and the Guardia Civil. 
The drop in crime figures were complemented by an increase in the amount of arrests by 52 per cent.  This, according to the mayor Jose Sala, had made criminals have second thoughts about committing a crime within the municipality.  The figures were complemented by an increase of 93 per cent in arrests for drug offences within the town.  

Repair Laws
The Town Hall of San Antonio is to introduce a new law which will oblige property owners to keep their buildings in good order.  The law, which is to be launched at the end of the year, will give the administration the right to fine those proprietors whose buildings are kept in a poor state of repair, aesthetically not pleasing, and present a risk to public safety.  The councillor in charge, Josefa Costa, said that the main purposes of the law would be to ensure people were safe in rented properties, and that the beauty of the town was not thwarted by poorly maintained buildings. 
Costa revealed the fines would vary between €300 and €3,000 and that people would be continually fined until they made the necessary repairs.  If this did not happen, then the administration would have the right to put an embargo on the building or even confiscate it.    

Micro-Bus
The Town Hall has accepted a proposal from the PSOE run opposition party to study the introduction of a micro-bus which would service the town centre and in specific link the new bus station on the outskirts of town with the port area and taxi rank.  The mayor, Jose Sala, said that the proposals would be discussed further in future meetings but that he was in favour of the plans.  However the project would involve agreement from both the Consell Insular and the Govern Balear, because they would both partly fund the project.
The leader of the opposition party, Laura Carrascosa, said that the proposal was vital to ensure that San Antonio became a first class destination which encouraged quality tourism and offered the appropriate services. 

SAN JOSE

Road Delays
The road leading from Avenida Sant Agusti running up towards the institute of San Agustin will be completed by the end of the year, claimed the new Councillor in charge of the project, Pere Ribas.  The road has encountered numerous delays, and is already exactly a year over its original deadline.  However, unforeseen problems will mean that part of the road will have to be dug up again in order for the electrical company, GESA, to finish their work. 
The road, which now includes a pavement on one side and a cycle path on the other, still has electrical poles either on the cycle path or in the road making it dangerous for both cars and bicycles.  Ribas said that he had personally made contact with GESA, and hoped that the work of connecting underline cables and removing the posts would be finished by the end of this year.  However, he claimed that the problem was, to a certain extent, out of his hands but that he would continue to put pressure on the people concerned to ensure that the work would be completed as soon as possible.        

Permission Delays
The councillor in charge of planning at San Jose Town Hall has described the situation of his department as chaotic, and called for more personnel.  The former PP-run planning department of the municipality had come in for much criticism over the last ten years, after a series of odd decisions and long delays in permission being granted.  The new man in charge, Josep Antoni Prats, claimed that when he arrived in May the average waiting list for building permission for minor work was up to two years.  He said that this situation was clearly not acceptable, and that it had been caused by a lack of personnel.  He claimed to have already reduced the waiting time slightly, but said that he would need one more architect, a quantity surveyor and possibly a lawyer, to enable the department to work at its full capacity.

SANTA EULALIA

Civic Centre
The mayor of Santa Eulalia, Vicent Mari, revealed that he would sit down with the president of the Consell Insular, Xico Tarres, this month to discuss plans for a new Civic centre within Jesus.  The Town Hall wants to move all of their current installations which are dotted around the area to one building, to ensure that the public receives far better service. 
Mari revealed that there were two pieces of land favoured by the Town Hall and that they were in talks with the owners of both.  He did not rule out the forced repossession of either of the pieces of land, if an agreement could not be reached.  It is hoped that the new centre will include an auditorium/conference room for 200 people, an indoor swimming pool and a kindergarten. 
Mari said that he had arranged a meeting with Tarres this month to discuss the project and come to an agreement, so that when the plan was presented it had a far higher chance of being approved.  

Law Enforced
The mayor, Vicent Mari, confirmed that the new law concerning the disposal of dog excrement would start to be enforced from this week.  As the number of dog owners within the municipality increases, so the amount of dog excrement on the streets has grown.  He revealed that a police officer had been assigned the duty of ensuring that the law was complied with.  People would, at first, be warned and would then be prosecuted with fines starting at €100 for first time offenders, rising to up to €1,500 for repeat offenders.  These fines would be doubled if the situation was not solved over the next year.  Mari said that the problem had now grown out of control and added that the solution was simple for owners; – always leave the house with a plastic bag.      

Escoles Obertes
The Town Hall of Santa Eulalia has announced a new programme which will open schools up for extra-curricular activities.  The project called “Escoles Obertes” will begin this month, to coincide with the recommencement of the schools and colleges and will cost €129,000 in its first year.  The project will enable parents to leave their children in school outside normal hours, so they are able to partake in various after-school activities.  The programme will be run by 15 monitors in all the colleges and schools within the municipality.  The activities will be wide ranging, and will include sports, social, environmental and cultural studies.  It will also give children a chance, according to a spokesperson for the Town Hall, to interact with other children and improve their social skills. 

FORMENTERA

Consell Budget
The new president of the Consell in Formentera, Jaume Ferrer, met with the president of the Govern Balear, Francesc Antich, and the economy minister, Carles Manera, on Tuesday to try and thrash out a deal for the funding of the recently formed Consell on the island.  After a meeting that lasted the entire morning, Ferrer emerged triumphant claiming that they had reached a verbal agreement which all parties were happy with.  More importantly, he had secured the money to get the Consell working in the short term.  Although he did not want to reveal figures, saying that nothing had been signed, he did unveil that there would now be four full time ministers working in the Consell, one more than was at first thought.   

CRIME & INCIDENTS

Road Death
An Italian tourist became the eleventh victim of the year on the roads of Ibiza and Formentera, six of which have come during the month of August.  The 27 year old man was driving a Suzuki Jimmy on the airport road when the accident occurred.  The victim, who was alone in the car at the time of the accident, lost control of the vehicle as he entered the Can Frigolas exit around kilometre 3,300, due to the high speed at which he was driving and to possibly being distracted by something.  The driver subsequently lost total control of the car which overturned on the exit road.  The emergency services were immediately called but were unable to save the man’s life. 
This latest victim takes the toll in 2007 on the two islands to eleven, after the death of a motorcyclist in Formentera last week. 

Bus Collision
A woman cyclist was badly injured after she was knocked off her bike by a bus, in Avenida Espana on Tuesday.  Witnesses reported that the woman came out of a side street and collided with the bus, whose driver did not see the victim because his view was blocked by a car which was double-parked.  However, passengers on the bus claimed that the driver had been warning the cyclist for several kilometres that she was riding too close to the bus.  These witness statements were later denied by the family of the victim, who said that she had joined the road and been hit almost immediately.  After the initial collision, the bus drove over the cyclist’s leg.
The emergency services were soon on the scene and the 52 year old woman was immediately taken to the Vilas private clinic.  Early medical reports said that although the injuries were serious they were extremely hopeful of saving her leg.

Eroski Robbery
The spate of August robberies continued last week after the Eroski supermarket in Can Negre, on the San Antonio-Ibiza road, was raided on Saturday night.  At around 10.20p.m, just after two of the four cashiers had left the building, two masked men entered the supermarket.  They were dressed in military boots, camouflage trousers, long-sleeved shirts and gloves.  They did not appear to have any firearms or knives, although one was holding a crowbar.  They ordered the two cashiers to lay on the ground and while one of them guarded the two girls, with threats that he was going “to split their heads open” if they looked up, the other went to the cash registers and the safety-deposit box.  They spoke in Spanish, without any accent.
The man guarding the cashiers received a text message on his mobile phone, which has led police to believe that there was a third man involved outside the supermarket, in a getaway car.  As the men left, they spayed the girls in the face with a pepper-spray, police think to ensure that they could not later identify the getaway vehicle.  The men stole €25,000 in the hold-up.   
This robbery was followed by a mugging on Thursday in the new port of Ibiza.  A worker from the port was on his way to the bank when a man came up from behind him, and snatched the bag he was carrying.  Before he had time to react, the assailant had run to an accomplice who was waiting on a moped and they both made their escape.  The victim was on his way to the bank at the time of the attack, and had a total of €60,000 in cash in the bag.  This led police to believe that the thieves knew exactly what they were doing, and had possibly been watching the workers at the port for some time. 

NEWS FROM THE MAINLAND

Immigration Controversy
The storm over the legalisation of immigrants, which was undertaken within Spain in 2003, took another turn as the foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, claimed that the legalisation of thousands of immigrants at the start of their term in office had been a complete success, and a model which other European countries should follow.  The comments followed a statement by the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, claiming that the president of the Government, Jose Luis Zapatero, admitted to him that the legalisation amnesty had been a mistake, and that it had put the country in all sorts of problems.
Although there was no official word from Zapatero, his foreign minister claimed that the amnesty had been a success.  He explained that those who were legalised in the process included those working within the country “without legal contracts”, helping the country both socially and economically. He said it was a policy that had been approved by many European countries as the way forward.       

Tourist Prices
A study carried out into tourist trends over the last ten years at the University of San Pablo, revealed that Spain was finding it hard to compete with emerging destinations on both price and quality.  The most popular tourist destination in the world remains France, with Spain in second place.  However the study claimed that severe price increases over the last five years were now making it impossible for Spain to compete with emerging countries such as Turkey and Croatia.  Ibiza was labelled in the study as the most expensive island in the country. 
However it continued by saying that Spain was unique in the fact that it could offer a wide variety of activities and places of interest, as well as sun and sea, including the Guggenheim and the Alhambra.  

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