Terra Natura


Spain´s gross domestic product rating has received a much welcome boost, after the inclusion of prostitution, drug trafficking and other illegal activities have added 9 billion euro, according to the latest statistics. The information released by the National Statistics Institute reveals the 9 billion euro came from a combination of drug trading, prostitution, illegal weapon sales and gambling, and contributed an additional 0.87% to GDP in 2013. The most beneficial activity to the country was apparently drug trafficking, which was worth 0.5% of GDP, followed by the illegal sex trade, worth an additional 0.35%. The contributions also resulted in a reduction of the country´s debt ratio, down from 98.9% to 96.4%, according to the Bank of Spain.


According to an Australian travel agency, Phil Hoffman Travel, Spain is set to get a bigger boost of tourists in 2015, along with Greece, and an increase in holiday makers heading to Brazil ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. Ahead of its travel expo at the Adelaide Convention Centre, the company released its top 10 journeys for 2015, based on market research and inquiries over the past six months.


The Terra Natura animal park in Benidorm has received a new resident this week, a Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), which it hopes to match up with the current crocodile in the park in a breeding program. However, the 2 metre long and 50 kilo weight addition is still too young at the moment, so it is hoped that the relationship will blossom over the next few years when it reaches sexual maturity.


The government has extended the ban on agricultural and other intentional fires until the 15th of October, in order to continue to try to reduce the risk of these fires getting out of control. The ban, which also came into force early this year, would normally be lifted at the end of September.


According to a study by the University of Valencia, only 10% of the regional population will be able to speak the native language of Valencia by the year 2050. Clara Miralles Vila, who compiled the data, says that the language will soon disappear altogether, unless there is a policy change.


The European Commission has announced legal action against the Spanish government, on account of the country failing to adopt the required security protocols in 20 Spanish ports. A deadline for implementation of the European Directive was set at 2013, but Spain has failed to adopt the security plan which aimed to provide protection of ships and port facilities, providing continental uniformity in combating potential terrorist attacks. The Commission has filed a case with the European Court of Justice, which have said that Spain will be summonsed to appear at a date to be confirmed.


A report released to coincide with the post summer return to school and work reveals that 70% of the population of Spain suffer Computer Visual Syndrome, which causes Itching, redness, dryness and blurred vision, according to the Catalan college of opticians. Endless hours in front of computers, tablets, phones and the TV are to blame, with many people spending more than 10 hours each day staring at a computerised display.


The secretary of state for security, Francisco Martínez, has met with the deputy director of America´s CIA, Chris Wood, in order to address issues and expand bilateral cooperation between Spain and the US in the fight against terrorism. At the same time, Martínez attended a conference supporting the global fight against child pornography on the internet.


After a new law came into force this week which allows dogs to travel on Barcelona´s underground metro train system, so long as they are accompanied by a human companion, the animal rights and welfare group El Refugio has asked that the same allowance be extended to the network in Madrid.


Macroeconomic improvements and increased consumer confidence are to be reflected in industry sales, according to the analysis by Anged, which represents such retail giants as El Corte Inglés, Ikea and Carrefour.


A new system of monitoring the weight of Iberian pigs at slaughter houses was implemented on the 1st of October. The system is now in place in 50 abattoirs, and so 97% of all pigs who are about to be killed will be weighed, with cameras recording the process, to ensure that the minimum standards are met before they are killed and turned into meat for human consumption. Pig farmers have applauded the new regulations as a way of standardizing their output.


The cable car ride at Barcelona´s Montjuïc, one of the main transport-based tourist attractions in the city, was cancelled this week, after heavy rains caused a landslide that blocked the main access road. A funicular replacement bus service was put into operation.


Hardly a surprise at the end of the summer season but the unemployment figure in Spain has increased in September, the second month in a row, after six continual months of decline in the build up to summer. With the 19,720 people added to the jobless queue in September from the previous month, the total of registered unemployed workers is now 4.45 million.


In a cash transaction that offered no specific price details, Los Angeles based Karlin Real Estate, a subsidiary of investment firm Karlin Asset Management, has acquired a huge property portfolio in Spain and Portugal from Redevco, the family office behind Dutch retailer C&A, including five Spanish retail properties all fully leased to affiliates of Dinosol Supermarkets, one of the largest supermarket groups in Spain. To date, Karlin’s European portfolio totals 2.2 million square feet of office industrial and retail assets, with plans to invest up to 1 billion dollars in European commercial real estate assets, through both its debt and equity platforms. Redevco´s main tenants include Primark, Zara, H&M, Carrefour and Starbucks.


The Terra Natura animal park in Murcia has this week been celebrating some new arrivals, after the birth of four tiny Meerkats (Suricata suricatta), one of the smallest mongooses that exist in the world. The babies weighed in at just 100 grams, approximately, in the fifth occurrence of captivity births in the Murcia park.


A man believed to be a German national and in his 70´s, died on Thursday having apparently drowned at a beach in La Manga del Mar Menor. The incident occurred at around 4pm on the beach at playa de las Sirenas. Lifeguards assisted two other German bathers to try to save the man, the latter two also having to be treated for Immersion syndrome, but nothing could be done to save his life.


Deliveries of the Eurofighter Typhoon to Spain, as well as Germany and Italy, have been halted, after the discovery of a manufacturing fault on the rear fuselage of the aircraft. Britain, the fourth nation involved in the program, is continuing to accept aircraft, as a Ministry of Defence spokesman said operation of the combat jet is unaffected by the problem. The issue is expected to be resolved “soon”, once “negotiations relating to commercial factors” are concluded.


Although September is notoriously wet in the area, this year, Torrevieja recorded three times the normal September rainfall, concentrated largely on three days. As the weather front has mostly been moving along the coastline, in a north-easterly direction, the dreaded Gota Fría has been avoided, for now, whilst temperatures have also been 2 degrees higher than normal, on average. Although a considerable inconvenience at the time, the rain is seen as welcome to many as the region was facing one of the worst droughts in decades.


President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, and the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, have signed a deal worth around 3 million euro, aimed at boosting b-lateral business cooperation. Li Keqiang said that “Chinese companies are highly encouraged to invest in Spain”, as the Chinese government attaches great importance to its relations, whilst urging continual expansion of bilateral trade to accelerate growth. He also mentioned that the two countries should strengthen cooperation in areas such as energy, finance, biological medicine and the aerospace industry and he recommended that Spain provide more legal and policy guarantees, as well as visa measures, to promote this.


Technology company Hewlett-Packard has announced that their offer of a free subscription to their HP DataPass broadband service has now been extended to Spain. By purchasing a Pavilion 360 laptop or an HP Slate 10 Plus, 8 Plus or 7 Tab Ultra tablet, you will now get access to 200 MB per month of free mobile data for 24 months, via a pre-loaded app and without any commitment to remain with any network operator.

Meanwhile, around the rest of the world and beyond…


Patrons at a restaurant in Port Allen in Lousiana, America, are able to partake in a 10% discount on the menu, so long as they are armed when they are dining. The restaurant owner says that the plan was originally to thank law enforcement officers for the work they do, but then other gun-carrying customers started to demand the discount too.


A satellite launched in 2009 to map gravity has discovered that there has been a change in the last five years which scientists claim is directly related to climate change. As the icecaps of the Antarctic have reduced over the last five years, the gravity of the earth has reduced exactly matching the collapse of the ice sheets. It is not believed that gravity will reduce so much that we will all float away, but the data does help to monitor the destruction caused by a lack of real sustainable planetary respect.


A grandmother from Bosnia has appeared in local papers, who are reporting on her unusual gift, the fact that she is sable to cure eye ailments, by licking the patient’s eyeballs. Her brother was the first to be cured when he was a child, after he had a splinter in his eye, reluctantly he agreed to be treated and was cured. Now, Nana Hava claims to be able to treat everything from eye splinters, ocular hypertension to conjunctivitis, and, offering some reassurance, she says, “I always make sure I wash my tongue in alcohol before and after an eye licking”.


Iconic red telephone boxes are making a comeback in London; although this time they are being painted green and offer the opportunity for mobile phone users to charge their devices. Charging is free in the “Solarbox”, so long as the user absorbs a string of adverts, in a scheme that won the designers, Harold Craston and Kirsty Kenny, second place in the Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

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