JAZZING UP 4G
Spanish mobile phone operator Jazztel is the latest to launch the high speed 4G internet service to its customers, switching on the option this week. Jazztel confirmed earlier in the year that it was working with Orange Spain to complete the work needed to launch 4G services. Orange has since made a 3.4 billion euro cash offer to acquire 100 percent of Jazztel’s shares, but the company decided to continue with the launch of the 4G offer to its 1.7 million customers before the deal goes through.
CARRY ON UP
The sales of new cars rose 17.4% in November, the 15th consecutive month of growth, according to the motor industry association ANFAC this week. During the month, 65,122 new vehicles were sold, partly due to the government backed subsidy scheme to replace older cars on the roads. The October figure was 26.1%, whereas between January and November there were a total of 781,868 vehicles sold, an overall increase of 18.1% on the same period last year.
RUBBER SIDE UP
Deliveries of new motorcycles in the Spanish market stood at 7,813 units in November, representing an increase of 25.4% over the 6,231 units delivered in the same month of 2013, according to data from the trade association representing bike sellers. In the first eleven months of 2014, sales totaled 104,001 units, up 19.3% compared with 87,150 units sold in the same period last year. Meanwhile, registrations of small scooters decreased 11.7% in November to 978 units, with a total of 13,607 units registered so far this year, up 4.3% on the same period of 2013. The sale of quads and tricycles also increased.
According to a survey conducted by the travel website Skyscanner study, in which 2.5 million internet users were quizzed, Spanish tourists are showing an increased interest in holidaying in Asia and Central America. The results show an increasing interest in exotic destinations over the last three years, although Europe is still the leader in terms of reservations, with the UK, Germany, Italy and France tying with the US for second place.
Spain is topping the choice for international tourists, according to the latest data from an international survey. TripTrist Travel Planners say that tourists should consider the popularity of European Countries when planning their 2015 travel packages to Europe, where Spain tops the list followed by Italy and France, with Malta, Cyprus and Croatia on the Mediterranean being the interesting choice for popular, yet smaller countries.
DOLL FACTORY CLOSES
Andalusian souvenir manufacturer Muñecas Marín, renowned for its flamenco and bullfighter dolls, is shutting down. A drop in sales and strong competition from Asia has finally forced the closure of an iconic company that was founded in 1928. In its heyday, the Chiclana-based firm’s assembly lines produced as many as 350,000 figurines a year. At the end just four employees were left on staff.
CRY ME A RIVER
Officers from the local police of Orihuela and Rafal, accompanied by fire fighters, successfully rescued a puppy that had fallen down agricultural water storage well in the town of Rafal this week. Residents from the town who were walking nearby alerted the emergency services after they heard crying coming from the well. The police immediately attended and isolated the water flow to prevent the dog from drowning, before the fire fighters joined them and carried out the rescue.
The Spanish government has pledged 120 million euro to help poorer countries deal with the ever increasing global threat of climate change. The Green Climate Fund has said that with Spain´s donation, they now have 9.7 billion dollars from 22 nations, slightly short of their 10 billion dollar target set out by the European Union, but over 5 billion short of the 15 billion dollars asked for by the developing nations.
NO LIGHT RELIEF
According to the FACUA consumer group, household energy bills in Spain now cost 14.4% more than they did at the start of the year, with each home having an additional 8.39 euro added to their monthly expenses.
More than thirty of Torrevieja’s local police officers gathered across from the Town Hall last Monday as the council was holding it’s monthly plenary. Many were dressed in white in reference to the prosecutions which have been the subject of protests. They also sounded claxons and whistles as they claimed that the mediators who are currently arbitrating their claims with the Council, “have thrown in the towel”.
LA MATA PROMENADE
The Provincial Coastal Service has started work on the eroded Pedestrian Footpath along La Mata promenade, which will use funding from the budgets of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment amounting to 234,668.60 euros. The work will be completed by late January.
WORLD AIDS DAY
Last Monday staff from the Red Cross were manning information tables throughout Orihuela on the occasion of World AIDS Day. Volunteers from the organization distributed brochures and material showing how to tackle the virus and prevent infection. The campaign aims to reduce cases affected by the disease, which continues to be a problem in Spain.
FABRA FINALLY JAILED
Eleven years after the case first broke, Carlos Fabra, a former Castellón Popular Party (PP) boss, who has fought off numerous corruption probes over the years, was admitted to a Madrid prison on Monday to begin a four-year sentence on four counts of fraud worth nearly €700,000. Fabra was unable to satisfactorily explain the origin of €3.3 million that showed up in his and his ex-wife’s bank accounts.
PODEMOS PUBLISHES MANIFESTO
New leftist party Podemos unveiled the first outline of its economic program for the 2015 general elections on Thursday, making it clear that it was renouncing at least two of the more radical proposals from its European campaign earlier this year. Measures relating to non-payment of public debt and the creation of a minimum wage for all citizens were both left out of the 60-page document.
The Competition Supervision Authority has this week ordered the main mobile telephone operators, namely Telefónica (Movistar), Vodafone and Orange, to share the 4G network with so called “virtual” operators who use their networks, so as to ensure wholesale 4G network access for users.
DEPARDIEU, DRUNK AT WW1 EVENT
French actor Gérard Depardieu appeared to be “drunk” at a First World War memorial of the, at the Centro Cultural Flagey in Brussels on Sunday, according to French newspaper Le Soir. Depardieu, who says that he can consume up to 14 bottles of alcohol in a day, interrupted the ceremony three times, after which the event organizers decided not to continue with the five remaining readings. Depardieu moved to Belgium last year to escape the French Tax system.
The number of unemployed registered with the Public Employment Services (formerly INEM) stood at 4,512,116 people at the end of November, 14,688 fewer than in the previous month, its best November figure since 1996. In annual terms, the number of unemployed has fallen by 39,515, representing a decrease of 7.04%.
The head of the Alicante Food Bank, Juan Vicente Peral, has said that his stocks, collected under the slogan ‘Hunger unseen’, is estimated to have reached 450,000 kilos, although the exact count will take some time because there are still donations to be collected from a number of associations and affiliated institutions. This will ensure that about 25,000 people in the region without jobs or benefits will be guaranteed a plate of hot food this Christmas
The Valencia regional government has put a contract to tender for the supply, transportation and delivery of official ballot boxes for the regional elections on the 25th of May next year. The deadline for interested businesses to submit their proposals is the 2nd of January, with a maximum financial amount of 520,876 euro and 7 cents, including IVA.
Spain´s National Commission of Markets and Competition has announced that it has conducted raids on several precast concrete manufacturers, looking for evidence of possible price fixing agreements between the companies. A number of successful prosecutions have occurred over the past few years in the sector, with this new investigation being a continual process.
The World Health Organization this week officially declared that the Ebola outbreak in Spain is now over, whilst also commending the country on its “diligence” to end the transmission of the virus. The report declared that on the 2nd of December, 42 clear days had passed since the since the most recently tested healthcare worker proved negative, and as there have been no further cases since that worker was confirmed to be negative for the Ebola virus, the outbreak is over in Spain.
THIRD STORE FOR POUNDLAND
British chain Poundland is bringing its everything-at-£1 stores to Spain. The offer is changing to everything at €1.50 and the name to Dealz, but the concept remains the same: a range of well-known brand products sold at a single fixed price. The firm unveiled its third Spanish store in Madrid this week, after opening branches in Torremolinos and Alicante in July. The plan is to set up 10 outlets in the space of a year, with the creation of 500 jobs.
Whilst living under the recent threat of drought, a study by the National Federation of Irrigators in Spain reveals that farmers have reduced their yearly consumption of water for irrigation by 20%, saving some 1,200 cubic hectometres per year. The report praises Spain as the global leader in water saving for agricultural use, along with Israel.
The storms that battered the Canary Islands last week have caused considerable damage to banana plantations, with around 4,500 plots affected, thus representing damage to 30% of the total acreage. In addition to the damage to banana crops, 25% of La Palma’s avocado plantations have also been affected.
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