Homes & Gardens
Adventure & Sports
Success at Last
To the surprise of many the Health Minister, Vicenc Thomas, confirmed on Monday that the new hospital would have the facilities necessary for radiotherapy treatment. The comments came during an interview with Radio Ibiza, with the minister promising he would do all he could to ensure the unit was up and running from the day the hospital opens.His remarks follow a lengthy campaign by campaigners, which included a petition signed by 40,000 residents and visitors to the island, all of whom had demanded the unit for cancer treatment be included in the hospital which is to be built next to Can Misses.Radiotherapy is the use of high energy x-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat disease. Since the discovery of x-rays over one hundred years ago, radiation has been used more and more in medicine, both to help with diagnosis (by taking pictures with x-rays), and as a treatment (radiotherapy), one of which includes cancer. The treatment can be given either as external radiotherapy from outside the body using x-rays, or from within the body as internal radiotherapy. It works by destroying the cancer cells in the treated area. Although normal cells can also be damaged, they can usually repair themselves.Normally side effects are fairly mild ensuring treatment can usually be given as an out-patient. However as islanders usually have to travel to Mallorca to receive treatment it often involves lengthy stretches away from home.
However this was not the only good news as Thomas revealed the future hospital would also have a department dealing with hemodynamics, a neurosurgical unit, a vascular surgical unit and maxillofacial surgery.
Hemodynamics, meaning literally "blood movement", is the study of blood flow or the circulation. All animal cells require oxygen for the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide, water and energy in a process known as aerobic respiration. The circulatory system functions to transport the blood to deliver O2, nutrients and chemicals to the cells of the body to ensure their health and proper function, and to remove the cell wastes. Hemodynamics is an important part of cardiovascular physiology dealing with the forces the heart has to develop to circulate blood through the cardiovascular system. Adequate blood circulation (blood flow) is a necessary condition for an adequate supply of oxygen to all tissues, which, in return, is synonymous with cardiovascular health, survival of surgical patients, longevity and quality of life. To medical staff these hemodynamic forces demonstrate themselves as blood pressure and blood flow.Neurosurgery is the surgical discipline focused on treating those central and peripheral nervous systems and spinal column diseases receptive to surgical intervention. Modern neurosurgery has benefited greatly from advances in computer-assisted imaging. As one of the most research-oriented specialities of medicine, the scope of neurosurgery has expanded as new diagnostic techniques allow surgeons to perform more complicated surgeries. Some of the most recent and innovative advances have been radio-surgery using the gamma knife for tumour treatment and endovascular surgery for the treatment of aneurysms.
Vascular surgery is a speciality of surgery in which diseases of the vascular system (arteries and veins) are managed by medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is surgery to correct a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. Most surgeons are usually initially qualified in dentistry and have undergone further training.
All of these procedures have until now been available at the private hospital, la Policlinica Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
Thomas continued that he was currently looking at legal proceedings to try and speed up the expropriation of the land needed for the building of the new hospital. Although all of the land owners have now agreed terms with the Town Hall of Ibiza, the municipality’s Land Use Plan still needs to be approved before work can begin. He continued that the aim was to begin building in October, although the Town Hall remained confident the Plan would be approved by then.Meanwhile Island President, Xico Tarres, expressed his delight at the decision, claiming the island would finally get the hospital it deserves. His delight was matched by that of the president of AECC (the Spanish Cancer Association), Lali Costa, who said she was delighted at the news, but would be even happier when the new hospital opens up with the unit.
AROUND THE ISLAND
The new Insular Land Use Plan (PTI) which is to be produced by the Island Council will not prohibit the building of golf courses, but will restrict them significantly. The plan, which will hopefully be released by the end of the year, will ensure golf courses are able to be built in areas classified as rustico, although the new plan will mean no courses will be able to encroach on land which is protected or areas of natural beauty, something which was not forbidden in the old plan released in 2005.
The island councillor in charge of the Plan, Miquel Ramon, has also tightened up rules on what can be built adjacent to courses, ensuring it would be difficult to build homes or even a hotel. Courses will all still need a municipal permit, permission which can be denied if the Town Hall believes the impact in the area will be too great.
The rules concerning marinas will also be tightened, with the Balearic Government recently promising that no such projects would be approved whilst it was in government.
During the press conference Ramon revealed that in 2008 there had been a total of 125 cases of disciplinary action opened compared to 97 in 2007, and just 34 in 2006, a clear sign his department was clamping down on those abusing the current building legislation.
However, Ramon’s stance on the golf courses drew criticism from GEN, the environmentalist party, who demanded his resignation claiming he was now in favour of courses being built.
On Wednesday more than 200 medical staff at Can Misses protested outside the main entrance against the new legislation which obliges all staff working in the public health sector to speak Catalan. The new regulation, which was passed by the Balearic Government the previous week, gives all staff three years to pass their level B exams in the language.
There were similar scenes across the region, with 2,200 people marching in Palma. Here the protesters were joined by PP representatives, Miguel Jerez, and Carmen Castro. Jerez claimed the new legislation introduced by the Govern did not make sense, and they were creating a problem which simply had not existed beforehand.
Jose Maria Tugues, the head of medicine at the hospital, said a doctor who could speak Catalan was a great asset and should be cherished, but it was wrong to make language a requirement, and value it ahead of medical qualifications. To this degree around 40 doctors sent letters to Ib-Salut, the Balearic Public Health Service, threatening to quit if the legislation was not changed.
The spokesman for the Balearic Medical Union, Nacho Fernandez, confirmed the introduction would lead to many doctors moving to other areas of Spain where there were far more attractive offers. Although he refused to contemplate strikes at this stage, he reaffirmed that his union would not rest until the new law had been abolished.
In response, the Health Minister, Vicenc Thomas, claimed those organising the protests were linked to the PP-opposition party (Popular Party), with their sole aim being to disrupt the sector and create an anti-Government movement.
Despite the news last week that tourist numbers were down during the first two months of the year in comparison to last year, it seems those who are coming are spending more money. The National Institute of Tourist Studies announced at the beginning of the week that tourists spent a total of €312 million in the Balearics during January and February, a rise of 9.4 per cent on last year, the highest increase of any of the autonomous regions within Spain. This works out at an average of €891 per tourist during their stay, and €99 per day. This figure includes accommodation which makes up the bulk of the figure.
The rise was put down to the German market which had improved dramatically across the region, but especially in Mallorca.
In Spain as a whole, foreign visitors spent a total of €5,117 million, a fall of 6.9 per cent from 2008, and this despite an increase in the length of the average stay which hit 9.4 days, two per cent more than last year.
Low cost airline, Ryanair, further increased its presence on the island by announcing it would be starting, with immediate effect, a daily connection with Girona, on the outskirts of Barcelona. The Girona-Ibiza flight will leave at 10.20 a.m., with the plane returning in the opposite direction at 11.55 a.m. In addition the company announced customers residing on the island would now be able to receive their resident’s discount when booking a flight.
The speed radar on the Ibiza-San Antonio road has caught on camera a total of 5,043 vehicles breaking the speed limit in its first 41 days in operation, an incredible 123 per day. However, it seems most are obeying the speed limit considering 5,525 cars per day use the road.
Hotel occupancy this Easter will reach 85 per cent, according to statistics released last week. The figure is one of the highest in Spain, although it only calculates the occupancy of those hotels which have opened for the holidays. The average in the Balearics will be 75 per cent, a similar figure to that recorded in the country as a whole.
The Irish pop group, U2, have set a new record in Barcelona after tickets for their June concert at the 90,000 capacity Camp Nou football stadium were sold out in just 54 minutes. Fans were able to buy both online and via the telephone for the first leg of the group’s 360º tour, making it the fastest selling event in the history of the stadium.
The Transport Minister at the Balearic Government, Gabriel Vicens, confirmed on Wednesday that he had reached a verbal agreement with the Spanish Ministry for Industry which would guarantee the island at least one boat a week carrying hazardous products. The move comes after Can Misses reported the situation was becoming critical, and that during three weeks last August the hospital had run out of oxygen which had forced them into raiding island stocks.
At a press conference Vicens said he hoped the agreement could soon be put in writing, and that this would solve the problem.
The trip will be made by the Acciona ferry company and see them come to Palma twice, and Ibiza and Menorca once a week, each time departing from Barcelona.
Office to Open
The Minister for Public Administration, Elena Salgado, announced on Wednesday a Foreigners’ Office (Oficina de Extranjería) would be opened on the island by July. With more than 33,000 foreign residents the minister agreed the facility was more than justified. She said an agreement had been reached with the Social Security office to use space in their Casa del Mar office in paseo Juan Carlos I, the road leading down to es Botafoc. She continued that the office would have a total of six staff members, but all would have the latest technology at their fingertips and that foreign residents would be able to carry out all of the paperwork necessary.
Santa Eulalia is the municipality most in debt per capita, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Economics. With total debts of €12.9 million, the figure means the debt per citizen, of which there are 30,364, is €426.22. Next on the list is Ibiza Town, which, although boasting far more debt, amounting to €15.1 million, also has a larger population of 46,835, ensuring debt per head is substantially lower at €323.98. They are followed by San Jose with debts of €6.3 million averaging €255.81 per head, San Antonio with €3.7 million worth of debts meaning €178.16 per head, Formentera with €1.2 million debts calculating at €140.26 per head, and San Juan bringing up the rear with just €500,000 of debts, averaging €101.30 per head of population.
The highest in the Balearics is the Mallorcan municipal of Calvia with debts of €1,405 per capita, almost three times the national average of €556.
The Island Council is by far the most liquid on the list of Councils within the Balearics with debts of just €7.8 million, with its Mallorcan counterpart heading the list with money owed hitting €123.8 million.
The falls in the number of people out of work recorded in January and February did not materialise last month as unemployment rose by 0.9 per cent. With 9,728 people looking for work the Employment Minister, Joana Barcelo, said the latest figures were a clear sign the crisis was “still very much here”.
This is the first time unemployment has risen in March for 16 years. One would have to go back to 1993 for the last time there were more unemployed in February than March.
The numbers proved what most had feared, according to the general secretary of the Workers Union CCOO, Felipe Zarco, that the season would be starting late and only minimal staff would be employed at the very beginning.
In the Balearics in general there were a total of 75,153 people out of work, 1.06 per cent higher than the previous month.
However, on a national scale the situation appears far worse, with 123,000 new people added to the already lengthening unemployment lists, 3.5 per cent up on February. In total there are 3,605,402 adults out of work in Spain, with not one of the 19 autonomous regions bucking the trend, and Balearics the least affected.
The prospect for the future did not look too bright either, with the Bank of Spain predicting unemployment would rise to 19.4 per cent during 2010.
The Island Council increased the Ibiza - San Jordi - Airport bus service last week, which will now run every 20 minutes in each direction. The price has gone up slightly and will now cost €3, except for airport workers who will continue to pay the old fare. The first bus from Ibiza leaves at 6 a.m. with the last at 12 midnight. Meanwhile buses will leave the airport at 6.20 a.m. and run every 20 minutes until 12.20 a.m.
Start It Up
The Island Council revealed work has restarted on the civic and social centre being built in San Mateu. Building was halted last October after the company carrying out the work “disappeared”. This left the administration no alternative but to board up the building to ensure no undesirables entered. Island Councillor Patricia Abascal said the majority of the structural work had been completed but that the windows and doors needed finishing, as well as other small details, including the electrical installation. The company which has taken over the project, FCC, now has just four months to complete the job before the centre is handed over to the Town Hall of San Antonio which will then decide what activities will take place for the residents of the village.
The Town Hall began the seizure of all boats moored illegally in the bay towards the end of the week. With the full backing of the Coastal Authority, the administration printed a list of names of vessels which needed to be removed or confiscated, on Wednesday in both the Diario de Ibiza and Ultima Hora. It included 42 boats which would be removed by force, and held by the authorities if they were not shifted by their owners.
The moves come as the Town Hall attempts to get serious in its clean-up of the bay. It also coincided with the annual voluntary clean-up of the San Antonio coast by the general public which this year involved the removal of several boats which had sunk during the bad weather last winter.
The Coastal Authority confirmed it would take charge of removing these vessels, although the process would be taking place over the next few days.
The new building planned by the Port Authority in San Antonio will be built on the site of the old structure, after plans were approved last week. The building, opposite Club Nautico and next door to Pussycat Bar, will cost a total of €600,000 and take up 400 m2 of space, which is exactly the same as the existing property. However, this does not include the demolition costs to the present structure which are estimated to be in the region of €400,000.
Currently the building contains several offices and an apartment, but the new port headquarters will be dedicated solely to office space and will include a meeting room. A spokesman for the project said the new building would ensure the Port Authority were able to give a comprehensive service to both users and tourists. He continued that the only change to the current building would see the ground floor reduced somewhat, at the request of the Town Hall, to ensure the pavement can be enlarged.
The project has been designed by the office of Torres and Planas, who are also responsible for the design of Club Nautico which is set to be rebuilt over the next 18 months.
The deputy mayor of San Antonio, Joan Pantaleoni, on Thursday announced that the Town Hall had finally received authorisation from the judge to enter the Cretu house and start demolition work. He revealed that municipal technicians would be sent to the house within the next few days to “check out the state of play”, as they wanted to do their very best not to cause any unnecessary damage to furniture, etc. He continued that the Navarra based company, Erri-berri SL, had been contacted, and would be coming to the island with the necessary equipment after the Easter holidays.
The Town Hall now has three months to carry out the work, although Pantaleoni remains confident it will be finished well before that cut-off date.
The trial of the former mayor of Santa Eulalia, and several keys members of his party, including the deputy mayor Vicent Riera, began on Monday. Vicent Guasch is accused of giving permission to an illegal urbanization in ses Torres, Jesus.
The former mayor, in his defence, claimed he knew very little about planning legislation and relied on experts within his administration, a claim refuted by the prosecution team who claimed that after 23 years in office he should be well aware about the do’s and don’ts of building legislation.
However, the mayor continued claiming that his advisors had told him that the Land Use Plan (PDSU), which they had been using for the last twelve years, was still valid despite being annulled by a court of law in 1997 during a case involving an individual landowner. The existing plan was therefore used to grant property developer, German Vazquez, permission to build a development close to Jesus. However just months after work had begun, the project was stopped.
The mayor admitted his administration was scared of receiving compensation claims if they stopped using the plan. This was confirmed by the Town Hall’s legal councillor at the time, Jose Maria Roig Vich, who revealed he had advised the mayor to continue using the plan because failure to do so would have meant paying compensation claims of “Cretu” proportions.
Meanwhile, the former president of the Island Council, Pilar Costa, claimed her administration had warned the Town Hall on numerous occasions during 2001 and 2002 that the PDSU plan would have to be scrapped. She said the council had acted because the evidence against the Plan being legal was substantial. This is also why work was stopped on the ses Torres development just months after it had begun. She continued that she had maintained numerous conversations with Riera, and had even offered him technical staff from the council to try and resolve the problem.
If found guilty Riera faces fines of up to €120,000, and a ban from holding any type of public office for 12 years.
Centre Ruled Out
The day-care centre planned for San Carlos has been put in doubt after the Island Council rejected the Town Hall’s plans. In a press conference on Friday Mayor Vicent Mari explained that his administration had bought a total of 5,300 m2 of land in the village which it had given to the council for the construction of a day-care centre and kindergarten. However, the plans have been rejected, with the island councillor for social care, Patricia Abascal, explaining there were still places available at the Can Blai centre just two kilometres away, which meant the council preferred to build a new installation in either Puig den Valls or Jesus, where it was more needed.
Mari also took the time to criticise the Island Council, and in particular President Xico Tarres, for his lack of help in beginning the second phase of the Congress building. Tarres has, on many occasions, promised to help find the funding for the second stage of the centre which will cost in the region of €36 million. However so far nothing has been done, with the president claiming both parties would firstly need to sit down and talk, much to the frustration of Mari.
The Town Hall of San Juan unveiled their new municipal website last week. Mayor Antoni Mari Carraca said the site would offer information about the area in abundance, and that interactive visits to many areas including coastal parts were available. Maps, trails and leaflets could also be downloaded in PDF format. He continued that he was determined the site would be updated regularly, and realised its importance for travellers who are currently booking more and more independently via the internet. Those wishing to visit the site can see it at – www.santjoandelabritja.com, although it is not yet available in English.
CRIME & INCIDENTS
The wife of the man accused of sexual abusing his four daughters has been released from prison until the start of the trial. The judge explained that a psychological analysis had revealed the defendant was suffering from serious psychological problems which had clouded her capacity to understand exactly what had been taking place. Having already been in prison for a year, the judge decided she should not remain there any longer, and ordered her immediate release, although she has been forbidden from approaching her daughters, and will have to report to a magistrate every 15 days.
The police investigation began back in April 2008 after the eldest of the children, then 22 years of age, revealed to police that she had been sexually abused by her father, and a friend of his, and that she believed the same was happening with her three sisters, all between the ages of 15 and 21. The father was immediately arrested, and although he denied the charges, has remained in prison ever since. Ten days later a 63-year-old Frenchman was also arrested accused of sexually abusing the four girls.
The investigation is still continuing, although it is hoped a date will soon be set for the trial.
A 65-year-old man remained in intensive care on Monday after an accident in the centre of Santa Eulalia on Saturday. The incident, which occurred at 4.40 p.m., began when the victim ran into a woman pedestrian whilst on his Harley Davidson motorbike. Both were treated at the scene, with the 69-year-old woman suffering injuries to her leg. However, it was the man who came off far worse with severe injuries to his head and face, forcing doctors to send him to the intensive care unit of the private hospital la Policlinica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario where he remains.
The search for the missing German sailor was called off on Tuesday after Maritime Rescue said the chances of finding recently retired, Peter Wunscher, alive were zero. The 66-year-old victim was travelling with his 30-year-old son and two family friends from Andratx (Mallorca) to Ibiza when they were hit by a wave which threw all four people into the sea. The son managed to climb back on board and lower the ladder for the two other crew members. However, Wunscher, who was the only one not wearing a life-jacket, was swept away from the boat. They immediately contacted the emergency services but the search, which was hampered by the weather on Monday, proved unsuccessful.
The three Romanians accused of attacking a group of German tourists with metal poles from a beach parasol have been temporarily released after the trial was yet again suspended. After one of the victims could not make the hearing in February the case was put back two months. However, once again one of the victims failed to show up, and a video link could not be set up in time.
The public prosecution demanded the three defendants remained in prison, or, at the very least, paid bail of €8,000. All have been behind bars since the attack on 23rd September in es Canar. However, the judge decided they should be freed, without bail, until a new trial could be arranged.
The latest crime figures for the Balearics surprisingly showed it had the highest level of crime in Spain. With 43.27 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants the figures released by the Spanish Home Office clearly showed crime levels were on the increase.
The stats were released just days after a separate study carried out by Madrid University which showed 55 per cent of residents in the Balearics felt safe. However, whilst violent crimes remained few and far between on the islands, there was a marked increase in anti-social behaviour and vandalism. The study went on to reveal the majority blamed increased unemployment on the rise in petty crimes, including burglary.
By modern day standards Ibiza is an extremely safe place to holiday. This is a weeks worth of news and so its effect is magnified. Please do not fret while you are here - you are quite safe!!
If you have any stories for our incidents section then call or fax 971-348-271 or e-mail on: email@example.com
Back to top