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FOUNDATION and Years 1 & 2 of Xabia International College enjoyed their fun Sports afternoon on Tuesday April 28.
The kids were cheered on by parents who also took part in their own race, a hilarious three-legged event.  
The Year 2 children did a wonderful job of looking after the younger ones - and they were more interested in waving to their parents than winning the races!
The highlight of the afternoon was the dressing up race when everyone had a laugh - even though the boys weren’t that impressed!

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Open Air classes

STUDENTS of the Municipal School of Painting in Finestrat took their easels, paints and canvas out of the classroom and into the open, to the foot of the scenic Puig Campana mountain range – a first for the class.
Tutor Gemma Llinares said the aim was to bring the painter closer to nature to better visualize and capture the mood.
Councillor for Culture Nathalie Maertens came out to observe the group at Font del Moli.
The session was deemed a great success and the next open air class will take place on the beach at La Cala Finestrat, where the green and hilly landscape will be replaced with sea and sand. 

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TEENAGER Nicolle York has been crowned winner of Costa Blanca's Got Talent.

The talent competition at the Emerald Isle, La Florida, has been running since January and attracted dozens of entrants from across the Costa Blanca.

Semi-finalists were given two weeks to perform their own version of 'For Once In My Life' by Stevie Wonder plus a number of their own choice. Nicolle chose to sing and play the keyboard to ‘Jar of Hearts’ by Christina Perri, giving two faultless performances beating well supported large bands and seven others to the title, €2,500 and the trophy.

The 16-year-old from Javea is currently studying for her A-Levels including music.

The Emerald Isle's annual X-Factor competition was re-named The New Costa Blanca’s Got Talent competition this year, open to both amateurs and professionals, offering up to €4,000 in prizes. It is sponsored by The Emerald Isle and Laura Ashley, Zenia Boulevard, in association with Sunshine FM. 

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FESTIVITIES began on Wednesday April 29 for the 2015 Fiesta Rosa in Benitachell, including the opening of a Photographic Exhibition by Vicent Ferrer in the Municipal Library and a concert with local schools taking part in the Santa Maria Magdalena Church.

The celebrations will continue throughout the week until Sunday April 3 and will feature bull running, traditional folk dancing and the popular ‘Night of Verbena’ dinner.  

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THE Guardia Civil has dismantled a network of arms trafficking, seizing 99 firearms and more than 21,000 cartridges, one of the largest seizures of ammunition made in Spain.

The Taronja Operation was part of PICAF, a comprehensive plan for the control of small firearms, targeted at breaking up operations that redistribute weapons via the internet. 
Seven people were taken into custody in a number of locations throughout Spain.
Amongst the arms seized were weapons designed for warfare including 11 assault rifles and14 submachine guns as well as an enormous haul of small weapons and equipment used to recondition weaponry.

Links between the network and terrorism have not been ruled out.

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THE Orange Grove Camper Park in Albir has been ordered to close after three years despite a running battle with the local council and its nearest neighbours to stay open, confirmed Orange Grove owner, Birmingham expat Michelle Baker.

Michelle said: “In the end it was a discrepancy over the size of the land that led to the closure. Our land deeds say we have more than the 5,000 square metres required but the land registry lists the property at a few metres under that.

“Even though we have paid to have the land measured properly to prove it is more than 5,000 metres, until we can get it changed officially we’re not allowed to stay open. So we have to close and lose our income over a few metres of land.”

Michelle feels the Orange Grove has been unfairly victimised by its neighbours, many of whom signed petitions and sent letters to the council stating the road was too small to accommodate the extra traffic and the site was noisy.

Michelle pointed out that all of Orange Grove’s customers are mainly over 50- not rowdy youngsters - and most are in bed by 9pm. The rest of the small community disagrees, however, complaining of excessive noise, unsightly litter and dog mess.

“We certainly signed a petition to ask that the camper site be moved elsewhere,” said one resident, who declined to give her name. “We have a right to complain about noise and litter. The site was always untidy, rows of gas bottles left outside in the sun, noisy music late into the night… and our complaints were met with rudeness and threats.”

Locals called the campsite ‘an aggravation’, far from the friendly enclave described by Michelle Baker, complaining their letters to the mayor never prompted a reply.

Another neighbour said: “Mrs Baker accuses us of exerting political influence to get the site closed.” (PP Mayoral Candidate Maite Huerta is actively involved in clamping down on illegal businesses in the area.) “However, the decision to close the site comes from Valencia!”

Michelle and her family are faced with tackling the legalities that led to the closure of their business. She said. “Instead of being applauded for providing a service, and creating employment, we have found ourselves victims of a political war. Mayor Vicente Arques told us, ‘I applaud any small business that creates employment and I will do everything I can to help you reopen.’”

The May 24 elections will prove crucial to the future of the Orange Grove Camper Site, whether Arques wins a third term as mayor or Maite Huerta achieves a PP victory.

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ALICANTE has allocated €10,000 of funds through the Red Cross for immediate emergency care to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal. The quake, registering 7.8 on the Richter Scale, struck near Kathmandu and the latest figures put the death toll at more than 4,400 people.

Helicopters were working to rescue up to 150 mountaineers stranded on Everest above an ice fall caused by the earthquake and UNICEF said nearly one million children in Nepal were severely affected as it warned of water-borne and infectious diseases.

President of the Provincal Council of Alicante, Luisa Pastor, explained that the objective of the aid was to contribute to the work being developed by Red Cross on the ground, assisting the local authorities in the search and rescue of victims and administering aid and first aid to the injured. The amount contributed is being processed immediately and corresponds to the amount requested by the NGOs to co-ordinate aid.

The council has decided to reserve another €20,000 in case it is required in the future for new humanitarian or emergency contributions.

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THE financial crisis has affected cleaning services in Valencia over the last four years, according to a new report by the OCU consumers’ organisation.

The report found that Valencia was the city that had worsened the most where cleanliness was concerned.

City councils across Spain were asked for details of cleaning budgets and services and more than 5,825 surveys carried out to find out what people on the streets thought about the cleanliness of their cities.

The results put Valencia down as the fourth worst city in the country with marks of just 39 out of 100 (20 less than in 2011, when it was 27th on the list) while the national average was 54 out of 100.

While in 2011 Valencia Council spent €51 per person, this has been reduced to €34 for this year and although four years ago there was one municipal cleaner for every 817 inhabitants this has now fallen to one per 1,642.

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THE National Police have made four arrests - two in Benidorm, one in Ponteverde, Galicia and another in Madrid - for inciting violence against people with disabilities.

The four suspects are accused of composing, performing and publishing offensive, discriminatory and xenophobic statements and were aged between 21 and 37.

However, sources would not divulge whether the pair who were arrested in Benidorm were part of the gang or if they were engaged solely in sharing offensive material of a violent nature via social media.

ONCE, a registered charity Spanish foundation founded in in 1938 to raise funds and provide services for the blind, filed a formal complaint with the National Police after hearing and viewing an offensive and inciting music video online accompanied by lyrics that expressed the desire to threaten and kill the disabled. Other specific groups under attack were the gay community, the church, the monarchy and also those with Down’s syndrome.

A total of 30 videos were discovered through a known website, which led to police enquiries and to the eventual arrests.

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BENIDORM City Council and the Tourism Foundation have refused permission to MTV España to film a second series of the Spanish reality TV show Gandia Shore, which premiered in October 2014.

The programme is an adaptation of the American show Jersey Shore that has been copied across many countries including Britain.
The Department of Tourism has made the decision to decline Magnolia TV’s application to film in the resort during the peak holiday months of July and August. It is felt that the subject matter of Gandia Shore could be “counterproductive” to the image and brand of the resort.

Tourism officials would rather attract younger tourists through more successful and positive formulas such as the Low Cost Festival, rather than an image that could portray the resort as a place associated with “uncontrolled conflict among the young,” as might have been the case, they said.

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