Harrison Jones

Harrison Jones

SWEEPING green reforms will be discussed this week, as attempts to be more environmentally friendly turn up a notch in the Balearic Islands, according to reports. 

Plastic waste and non-recyclable materials will be phased out entirely under the regional government’s draft proposals, while food and drink outlets will be forced to serve tap water. 

If implemented, the new legislation would see countless plastic items banned completely over the coming years. 

With plastic bottles seen as particularly harmful, single-use bottles will be banned imminently. Even vending machine owners will be obliged to install a source of free drinking water nearby - or sell reusable bottles. 

The law, called the Waste and Soils Polluting Bill, aims to increase recycling rates by up to 50 per cent in two years and cut waste by up to 10 per cent. 

Single-use plastic objects - including plates, trays, straws, cutlery and coffee cups - will be heavily restricted, before the majority become prohibited entirely by January 2020, if the plans are implemented.

Selling standard plastic bags would be banned by January 1, 2019. Outlets would instead be encouraged to provide reusable bags instead. 

Mallorca has a serious problem with plastic waste, which blights beaches, waterways and the environment. 

Worldwide, plastic in the ocean is leading to the deaths of sea creatures who ingest tiny particles of the material.

Scientists believe that plastic is now so widespread in the oceans that it will remain in the food chain for decades and could affect human health. 

Plastics also often trap animals and impact tourist hotspots. 

In October, Spain became the 32nd country to sign up to the UN Clean Seas campaign, which aims to ‘turn the tide on plastic.’ 

Plastic use globally continues to grow dramatically, with some eight million tonnes being discarded into the oceans each year, according to the UN. 

On Tuesday, the European Union announced plans to make every piece of packaging reusable by 2030. 

From 2020, the proposed laws would prohibit the use and distribution of certain types of lighters, razor blades, cartridges and printer and photocopying toner. 

The broad-sweeping legislation reportedly ranges from cotton buds and lollipop sticks to building demolition.

Companies caught flouting the new regulations will be heavily punished by fines of up to €1.75 million - for very serious infringements - according to reports. 

Serious offences would incur charges of up to €300,000 and slight infringements would result in fines of between €300 and €9,000.

Companies that produce waste will also be obliged to send the government a study of how they are minimising their waste every four years. 

The first draft of legislation will be published in the coming days.

 
 

CIRCO PARIS has given three big cats to an Alicante rescue centre and pledged not to use wild animals in future performances.

The group is reportedly the third circus in a year to voluntarily deliver big cats to the Villena centre, which is the largest of its kind for exotic animals in southern Europe. 

Specialists from the recovery facility, who undertook the delivery in the Salinas de Villena mountain range - between Alicante, Albacete and Murcia - have expressed shock at the condition of two lions and a tiger.

According to a report, the head of big cats for the facility, Pablo Delgado, said that the “painful conditions in which animals are present, especially the two lions, are something sadly common in circus rescues.”

The cats’ claws had reportedly been removed - a relatively common practice in the industry - while their cage floors were so slippery they were unable to walk. 

One lion’s tail was also reportedly missing, and handlers are alleged to have not had the required qualifications to care for the animals.

The new facility, Primadomus, is the Spanish headquarters of the AAP Foundation. It opened its 24 big cat enclosures in May 2016. 

On their website, the facility wrote: “due to its vast space and natural environment, the terrain is very suitable for permanent housing,” noting that some animals are impossible to relocate. 

Their move follows months of negotiations between officials from the circus - also known as Circo Francia - the authorities and animal welfare organisations.

Other animals previously with the circus - including a pony and bull - are reported to have been rehoused in other facilities. 

 

VILLAREAL are set to receive the most money ever paid for an African player, according to reports.

Cedric Bakambu will become the continent’s most expensive footballer in history if he signs for Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, in a deal worth an eye-watering €73.5 million (£65 million).

Bakambu has reportedly already completed a medical.

The Spanish club set a release clause of €40 million for the DR Congo striker, but the fee has risen significantly because of taxation rules.

Bakambu has scored 14 goals in all competitions for the Spanish side and won La Liga player of the month in October. He is currently La Liga’s seventh top goal scorer.

The 26-year-old has previously played for Bursaspor and Sochaux. He played for France at youth level but switched to the Congo as a full international, and has a strike rate of nearly one in every two games.

The deal eclipses the €54.5 million (currently £48 million), for Guinean midfielder Naby Keita, who will join Liverpool from RP Leipzig in July 2018.

Liverpool also bought African stars Mo Salah and Sadio Mane for big money.

The previous Chinese record transfer was €68million (currently £60 million), which Shanghai SIPG paid Chelsea for Brazil midfielder Oscar.

A 22-year-old man was stabbed three times in the Spanish capital ahead of Atletico Madrid’s game against Sevilla.
Ignacio Racionero – arrested over the death of Real Sociedad fan Aitor Zabaleta in 1998 - has been arrested this morning in connection with the stabbing.
Emergency services say the victim, named as Fernando, was rushed to La Paz Hospital after the incident, near Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
They add that he sustained leg, arm and back injuries during the altercation near the Las Musas metro station. Further reports suggest he has had an operation but his condition is not life-threatening.

 

According to reports Fernando was wearing a shirt with ‘Frente Atletico’ written on it, suggesting he was part of the club’s notorious ‘ultra’ fans. But reports today suggest that his alleged attacker was also an ultra, and was arrested at 3.10am this morning (Thursday).
Witnesses of the attack reportedly told Spanish media that two Atletico fans were talking about football near a bar when another man, without saying a word, came from behind and stabbed Fernando three times.
It is being widely suggested that the attacker acted alone.
Racionero has reportedly spent time in jail for robberies and was among 20 accused of the stabbing of Aitor Zabaleta.
Ultras are a hardcore group of supporters who have been known to turn to violence.
Madrid’s Emergency Services said on social media: "Civil Protection has stabilised and taken a 22-year-old male in a serious condition to the La Paz hospital after he sustained three stabbed wounds, in the thigh, arm and back."
Sevilla won the Spanish Cup match 2-1, courtesy of a Joaquin Correa strike and an own goal from Miguel Moya. Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa scored for the hosts.
The second leg of their quarter-final tie takes place on Tuesday January 23.
Elsewhere in the Copa Del Rey, Espanyol shocked city rivals Barcelona 1-0, with Lionel Messi missing a penalty.
Meanwhile, Valencia came from behind to beat 10-man visitors Alaves 2-1.
Out of form Real Madrid travel to Leganes tonight.

MALLORCAN rapper Valtonyc - who was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for offensive lyrics - says he will have his appeal heard by the Spanish Supreme Court later this month.

The country’s highest court will reportedly meet on January 30 to consider the sentence, which was handed out for allegedly glorifying terrorism, humiliating victims, slander, inciting violence and serious insults to the monarchy in songs.

Valtonyc, real name Josep Miguel Arenas Beltran, was sentenced by the National Court in February last year.

At the ruling he was told that his songs glorified the terror groups ETA and GRAPO, incited hatred and showed contempt for terror victims.

Valtonyc, in his mid-twenties, was also fined €3,000.

His lyrics include the phrases "The king has a date in the town square, a rope around his neck", and "police whore, bitch monarchy, see if ETA puts a bomb ", according to translated Spanish reports.

The artist’s case is well known across Spain and has gathered support from a number of popular politicians, including Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias and the Mallorcan politician Biel Barcelo.

Born in Sineu, the rapper’s defence revolves around freedom of speech but he also says the case is a political since he is a radical leftist.

In court, he reportedly said he was only a poet and that his lyrics were only metaphors not intended to humiliate victims.

The court said freedom of expression is “limited” when it conflicts with other freedoms.

Comparing his alleged crimes with the actions of others, Valtonyc is reported to have previously said: “only the poor go to jail."

THE Catalan parliament is being sworn in amid continuing confusion about who will become president.

A number of representatives were absent from the opening, including the deposed president, Carles Puigdemont, and jailed vice-president, Oriol Junqueras.

That has reduced the pro-independence majority, but they can still scrape together a workable coalition.

There is now a period of two weeks to nominate a president.

Some independence supporters remain hopeful that Puigdemont could be sworn in as president over video link.

But lawyers for the Catalan parliament council have said that ruling while in exile would go against the Spanish constitution. The Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has also spoken out against the idea.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium when Spain dissolved the regional parliament and called snap elections. The national government’s move came after an unauthorised independence referendum prompted the regional government to declare independence.

Various politicians were arrested, and some – including Puidgemont – had warrants issued for their arrest.

Unlike some colleagues, Junqueras was denied bailed.

Last month’s election failed to provide a decisive result, with separatists retaining a slim majority in parliament, but not taking over 50% of the result.

A pro-unity party, Ciudadanos - led by Ines Arrimadas - won most seats.

Arrimadas has said she would “love” to become president and does not expect the pro-independence parties to come to a workable agreement.

Earlier today, Roger Torrent, 38, from Junqueras’ ERC party, was elected speaker.

He beat a Ciudadanos rival to become the youngest person to ever hold the office. 

IRELAND and Spain are set to be connected by a direct passenger ferry service for the first time.

Freight companies hope that the new routes can also ease trade fears post-Brexit.

Brittany Ferries say they will sail from Cork to Santander and back twice a week, on a boat with a 50-50 split between freight and passengers. They add that they will have space for around 500 passengers and 200 cars.

The “no-frills… Spanish theme” crossings are expected to take 26 hours and depart on Wednesdays and Fridays (returning on Thursdays and Saturday). Prices are yet to be announced. 

Sales are expected to begin at the end of the month, before services set sail at the back end of April, according to the company. The link will reportedly run between April and November.

Santander, in Northern Spain, is a short drive from Bilbao and San-Sebastian, at the tip of the country, near the French border.

Cork-Santander-Map.jpg

ROUTE MAP: Brittany Ferries’ updated list of services ©Brittany Ferries

The newly chartered Connemara ship will also serve Cork to Roscoff, France, with a weekly return trip.

The company say passengers will have access to a small shop, café-bar and passenger lounges. The ship will be dog-friendly, they add.

The inclusion of freight means that the Spanish can bypass Britain when transporting goods between the two countries, which could be beneficial following Brexit.

There are fears that the British ports could be hit by severe customs queues following the country’s withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019.

“This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, offering haulage companies a direct route to Spain and passengers a far greater range of holiday options from Cork,” said Hugh Bruton, general manager of Brittany Ferries Ireland.

“As a destination so-called green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities. It hosts sweeping sandy beaches, snow covered mountains just an hour from the port, fabulous food and offers visitors a welcome as warm as the Spanish will receive when they join us in Ireland.”

Welcoming the service, Captain Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager at the Port of Cork, added: “We are delighted that our long term customer, Brittany Ferries, has committed to this new service which will see an increase in tourism and freight. 

“The option for freight carriers to bypass the UK land bridge will be seen as very attractive, as Brexit uncertainty continues. We have no doubt that both exporters and importers will make this a viable service.”

Chief executive Christophe Mathieu said: “Green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities, whether they travel with us from the UK or Ireland.

“However, this new route will also present more options to freight companies operating throughout Ireland, Spain, Portugal and southern France.”

Last year, there was two million visits to Spain from Ireland, according to reports. 

SPAIN is expected to be named the world’s second most popular tourist destination, according to the United Nations (UN).

The country seems set to replace the United States of America in second place, behind France.

The UN’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says the final count will be published in spring, but it expects Spain’s estimated 82 million visitors to take it past the USA.

In 2016, Spain welcomed 75.3 million visitors, 17.8 million of them from Britain. That put the country just behind the US, who recorded 75.6 million visitors, while France’s 82.6 million total meant it easily came first, according to the UNWTO.

But France was far behind the USA - who easily beat Spain into second place – on international tourism earnings.

inf_tourismearners_2017_july-01.png

©UNWTO

The UNWTO said that Europe saw an 8% increase in international arrivals on last year, primarily from tourism to the Mediterranean.

There was a 13% growth in Southern and Mediterranean Europe, the organisation added, labelling the figures “extraordinary”.

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, claimed last week that tourism numbers have soared, adding that wages in the tourism industry have grown significantly.

But the country is not necessarily united in hailing the arrival of more tourists.

In Barcelona, tensions have been rising for years about the impact of tourism on the city. Anti-tourism demonstrations - which highlighted the impact on the local housing market, among other things - have been some of most notorious of those that took place around Europe last year.

Rental bikes and tour bus tyres were reportedly slashed in the city.

Mallorca and San Sebastian are some of the other prominent Spanish locations for anti-tourism protests.

But this does not appear to have put tourists off coming to Spain.

And nor do security fears, following the terror attack in Barcelona last August, or the Catalan crisis, though this was blamed for a drop in visitor numbers to the region.

Worldwide, international tourism grew by 7% to reach a total of 1.3 billion, according to the UNWTO.

The organisation’s Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “International travel continues to grow strongly, consolidating the tourism sector as a key driver in economic development. As the third export sector in the world, tourism is essential for job creation and the prosperity of communities around the world.

“Yet as we continue to grow we must work closer together to ensure this growth benefits every member of every host community, and is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals”.

A SPANISH family of seven have allegedly been scammed for €10,000 after turning up to their Airbnb rental in New Zealand only to find it was a false listing.

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the family are one of a number to lose significant amounts of money through a scam.

Police reportedly say there is little they can do because the scam revolves around victims going off the website and paying by international bank transfer to a third party.

Users normally pay through the popular travel accommodation company’s site.

Gabriel, Irati, Anabel, Leiree, Inigo, Amaia and Michael Ros reportedly arrived in Auckland to practice their English ahead of a full time move from Barcelona.

But when they turned up at their third Airbnb of the trip, they found the listing had been faked and were left on the doorstep with their suitcases.

When parents Gabriel and Anabel tried to book the Takapuna home they were told their credit card details were invalid and to instead transfer funds to a Spanish bank account, according to the report.

The booking, from September 6 to the end of November, cost them roughly €10,130.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, daughter Ros said her parents were “sad and worried” and had spent years saving for the move.

“Thankfully we have enough money to stay... but imagine if this happens to a family that doesn't have the money. We were thinking of going back to Spain because of this, but then we met very lovely people and the community that helped us.”

The paper says another group were also scammed for thousands of Euros by the same scam. 

Guardia Civil officers have reportedly saved the life of a 65-year-old Swede in Torrevieja, who was found unconscious and bleeding in his own home. 

According to Spanish media reports, the man was found bleeding from the mouth after a neighbour had expressed concerns about his welfare. 

Having confirmed that he was not in hospital, police were authorised to enter the property. 

Firefighters accessed the front of the building before the man was found lying on the floor in a worrying condition. 

The neighbour who phoned police reported their concerns because they had not seen the man in three days, despite music playing and lights being on inside the house.  

Police entered the Torrevieja property in the early hours of Monday morning, within two and a half hours of the initial report being made.

A Guardia Civil source told Diario Informacion: “it has been possible to save the life of a man of Swedish nationality who lived in Spain, who was transferred urgently by the health services to the Hospital of Torrevieja.”

No further details are known about the man’s condition and his identity has not been disclosed. 

 

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