Jose Valentin

Jose Valentin

This is the word that is used when we believe dogs have the same feelings and emotions as humans and that they understand our language. A mistaken belief, of course. Dogs are not small, fur-clad human beings. They are canines. True, they are man’s best friend and companion because their natural instincts and hierarchical society blends into our own ,and because  they show loyalty and devotion to the hand that feeds them.

As we have seen in the chapter on wolves, this bonding between man and dog happened thousands of years ago when both man and wolf lived similar nomadic lives as hunters roaming the country to seek food.

The dog´s adaptation to our way of life was assisted and accelerated by man using selective breeding to develop the most desirable features, first to work for us and then to turn them into pets.

Even so, there remain of course fundamental differences between us and our dogs. To take just one example, dogs live totally in the present moment.

They do not worry about the past.  They do not dream about the future.

They are not endowed with imagination or feel grief, hate, jealousy or greed or other emotions that bedevil our human society. They do have a high sensory ability which is often mistaken for a kind of sixth sense.

They will understand that certain words like Sit, Stay, Down require the right reaction if they are to be rewarded with a tit-bit or praise. They will understand whether your tone of voice and your facial expressions are good or bad when you are talking to them, in whatever language, but they will not understand longer phrases.

We often attribute human emotions to dogs when, in fact, they are reacting instinctively. We assume our dog is happy to see us when we return home and it looks pleased and wags it tail. All it is doing is reacting in the same way a wolf puppy reacts when the pack returns with food from a hunt.

It behaved in the same way when it was feeding from its mother along with the rest of the litter. It is true the dog is enjoying a pleasurable experience but it is not please in human terms.

Another example of anthropomorphism is when we believe our dog is “sulking” when it returns home from a stay in kennels, or is grieving over the death of a member of the family. In the latter case, what it will be feeling is the loss of a higher member of the “pack” and the anxiety caused by no longer knowing its position in the family hierarchy. It will also be confused by the vibrations of distress it picks up from the family. Once the “pack” has settled down again, the dog will

make a quick recovery, for it lives in the present and doesn´t mourn the past.

So please do not attribute dogs with human emotions. Try, instead, to understand their simple canine minds, which are untroubled by so many of our emotions.

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PERHAPS the most ambitious real estate deal in Spanish history has been put on the backburner after Madrid rejected new plans to build a mega-hotel and leisure complex. 

Powerful American outfit the Cordish Group said it was “completely shocked” by the decision, which came after months of torturous negotiations over a proposed new ‘Integrated Development Centre.’

Cordish claim to have already secured €2.2 billion worth of funding for the project, which would create an estimated 56,000 jobs. Executives say they have met every single one of Madrid’s demands. 

The megacomplex was to be built on a huge 134-hectare space, flush with casinos, hotels, shops, ski slope, cinemas, and even an artificial beach the size of five football pitches. 

Negotiations were wrought with tension over taxes, development permits, casino regulations, environmental concerns and financing. Cordish CEO Joseph Weinberg says he is still unclear why the deal was suddenly rejected.”

The main hiccup appears to have been over the casinos. The city government insisted that gambling not be the primary attraction, apprehensive about creating a mini Las Vegas. 

Cordish drew up a blueprint whereby casinos would only account for 10 per cent of the total space. But a government analysis of the business plan found that casinos would account for more than 60 per cent of the complex’s total income.

Bathroom blitz

August 02, 2017

WITH the average person spending 92 days (over their lifetime) in the bathroom, it’s a room that gets a lot of use in our homes.

It’s also a room that is often neglected when it comes to decorating, as many of us prefer to lavish money on our living rooms and kitchens.

If your loo could use a freshen-up, here are three easy and low-cost ideas to rejuvenate your throne room. 

  • Paint the tiles

Before you start, ensure that you clean them thoroughly with a solvent (detergents leave behind residue that will prevent the paint from adhering to the surface). Once dry, apply a coat of sealant. When ready for painting, ensure you use enamel or special paint for tiles which is quick drying, mould-resistant, washable and most importantly, completely waterproof.

  • Lay Vinyl Flooring

Tiled floors are great but require maintenance to keep them looking at their best. Vinyl floor coverings can be a better option for some. Calculate your floor space in square metres and allow an additional 10 per cent. Try to choose a vinyl that is at least three millimetres thick for durability.

  • Wallpaper it

If your bathroom is small, you can choose to make one wall a feature instead of doing the whole space. 

Make sure the paper has a vinyl layer for easy cleaning and waterproofing.  Measure the length and height of each wall to be covered (subtracting doorways and windows from the total). Multiply the length and width to get the total in square metres/feet. Add the area of each wall for total area and increase this by 15 per cent to account for waste. European standard rolls cover 29 square feet (2.7 square meters). There are several calculators available online where you can add your measurements and they will calculate how many rolls will be required.

NO longer content with dominating the motoring mass market, Volkswagen has set its eyes on classier rivals, who sell less cars but have cornered luxury buyers.

The brand's latest coupe, the Arteon, is set to hit European showrooms in autumn 2017 with prices beginning at a hefty €45-50,000.

That puts the Arteon on a direct collision course with BMW, Audi and Mercedes, who have traditionally had little to fear from the scandal-hit German giant.

It is a marked change in direction for the 'people's car' as Volkswagen translates to. News last week that the VW Golf supplanted the Ford Fiesta as the UK's best-selling car seemed to confirm that Volksawagen had secured its enormously profitable position among the motoring gods.

The challenge for Volkswagen is convincing the public to accept the Arteon as a truly premium car, comparable to the Mercedes C-Class coupe and other established vehicles. Many might be inclined to consider the Arteon merely a fancy upgrade on a budget-friendly model. Buyers being asked to fork out more than €50,000 may play it safe with other German cars.

Sensing this, the Arteon comes complete with a range of new and different features to distinguish it from the competition. It has full safety marks, limited self-driving technology, and a crash system which anticipates impact and secures seats and seatbelts in the safest positions accordingly.

There is constant monitoring of steering and braking, with the system able to safely take over driving, flick on the indicators and take the car to the side of the road if it detects the driver is unresponsive.

A TOTAL of 22 vehicles have been seized in Ourense, in Galicia, north western Spain.

The DGT took the vehicles from repeat road safety offenders. Although seemingly extreme, the action was taken on account of the severity of the repeat offences. The public prosecutor said each of the owners would have potentially had their vehicles seized for accumulating at least three consecutive convictions in a two year period for various crimes, such as drink and drug driving, or driving without a valid licence.

Of the vehicles seized, 19 have been scrapped. The remaining three are being held as evidence on account of continued investigations being carried out.

The Guardia Civil arrested 362 people in Ourense in 2016, all for serious offences against road safety. The majority were related to alcohol with 204 drivers arrested for driving whilst over the alcohol limit.

As well as clamping down on offenders, it is hoped it will enhance road safety for users. Last year, across the Spanish road network system, there were 1,038 fatal incidents in which 1,160 people lost their lives. A further 5,067 people needed hospital treatment as a result of a traffic accident.

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FRIDAY December 23, saw the culmination of many weeks work by the TM Lions as the winning tickets in their Grand Christmas Raffle, sponsored by Paichi Garden Centre, were drawn at their fund-raising shop, The Lions Den. The lucky winners were as follows:

1st Prize. Ticket No 01490.Tanja Wiersma (€250 Pepe la Sal supermarket vouchers).

2nd Prize Ticket No 00817. Pamela King (€150 Paichi Garden vouchers)

3rd Prize Ticket No 01266. John Snell (€100 Paichi Garden vouchers)

4th Prize Ticket No 02106. Alan Lewis (€50 Pepe la Sal supermarket vouchers)

5th Prize Ticket No 00735. Tony Robson (€50 Pepe la Sal supermarket vouchers).

As ever, Teulada Moraira Lions would like to say a big thank you to everyone who was good enough to buy tickets and support this annual event, which always provides a very welcome year-end boost to the Lions’ charity coffers, and also to Paich Garden Center, Moraira, who, as in previous years, were generous enough to sponsor the Raffle.

The supervolcano Campi Flegri, or “burning fields” in Italian, which is located near Naples, is showing signs of activity after lying dormant for almost 500 years.

The 12 km-wide cauldron is releasing increasing amounts of carbon monoxide and boiling mud. Small tremors can also be felt around the area.

The region has only had two major eruptions, 35,000 years ago and 12,000 years ago.

A “smaller” explosion occurred in 1538: it lasted eight days and formed the Monte Nuovo mountain.

The Campi Flegri has become restless over the past 60 years, most notably in 1983-84 when the ground surrounding the mountain rose by almost 6 feet.

In 2012, Italian authorities raised the threat level from green to yellow, meaning that the area requires scientific monitoring.

An hour’s drive from the infamous Mount Vesuvius, the supervolcano is said to have contributed to the demise of Neanderthals in Europe.

The area is now a regional park, filled with hot springs and geysers as well as being home to more than 500,000 people.

Scientists say it is impossible to predict exactly what is going to happen in the region but many fear the worst.


IN an operation undertaken jointly between the Guardia Civil and National Police, a group of eight criminals have been arrested in Madrid who allegedly passed themselves off as fake police officers and stole money and valuables from tourists.

According to a statement issued by the Guardia Civil, the eight men who are said to be from Iran and Pakistan are accused of committing at least 21 robberies on visitors who were driving to or from the city to the airport in hired cars.

The group used fake insignia on their cars and after forcing drivers to stop, produced fake identification and said that they were checking for drugs and counterfeit bank notes. As soon as they searched the vehicles and discovered anything of value, they rushed off, leaving the tourists angry but bemused.

After undertaking raids on a number of properties, the combined force of officers confiscated six vehicles and seized more than €1,000 in cash as well as jewellery, cell phones and false identification.

AN INTERNATIONAL consortium of newspapers which includes The Sunday Times and El Mundo have reportedly joined together to obtain access to reports being held on website ‘Football Leaks’ which were apparently obtained by hackers who targeted various sports agents around the world.

It is alleged that Jose Mourinho arranged for large volumes of funds to be syphoned out of the UK and Spain whilst he was manager of Chelsea between 2004 and 2007 and Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013 and their eventual destination was the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

The chairperson of the UK public accounts committee, labour MP Margaret (Meg) Hillier reportedly responded to a Sunday Times approach by confirming that the claims should be investigated and she will be speaking to the head of HM Customs and Revenue in committee shortly when she will raise the matter for comment.

In addition to Mourinho, it is claimed that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who played for the current Manchester United manager has also used his position to send funds from Spain to a British Virgin Islands established company thus allegedly cheating the Spanish tax agency of funds.

Both Portuguese born individuals are represented by agent Jorge Mendes and in a statement he has rejected all allegations of wrongdoing on their behalf and has stated that they are both compliant with all tax rules in both Spain and the UK.

The sums involved in moving money via Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the BVI are quite significant and may amount to as much as €75 million, with the lion’s share supposedly coming from Ronaldo.

Considering that the Spanish authorities have been so determined recently to prosecute a string of Barcelona players including Messi and Neymar, it will be interesting to see whether this latest information will make them include Real Madrid in their review.

In the meantime, as the BVI is a UK Overseas Territory with a British appointed governor and with an obligation to act in accordance with instructions received from Whitehall, then it should not be that difficult for the Foreign Office and Treasury to get to the bottom of its involvement (if any) in these alleged activities.

Whatever the result of these accusations, it would appear that there are plenty of additional revelations to come about other sporting stars over the next few weeks.

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