National News February I

Catholic Conspiracy Theory
According to Demetrio Fernández González, the bishop of Cordoba, UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, hopes to increase the number of homosexuals throughout the world by 50 percent within the next 20 years. That’s interesting, coming from the man wearing a dress!

It appears that the barmy bishop is clinging to similar statements recently made by the equally mad cardinal Ennio Antonelli, who is the ‘family minister’ of the Vatican, no less.

Of course, the bishop of Córdoba gave no details of exactly how UNESCO would achieve their goal, but he did say, “There are various programs to help further the ideology of equality of sexes that have been created and are already to be found in our schools.”

The conspiracy theory also suggests that humans would no longer be born as a man or woman, but would “change their sexes as the whim takes them,” warned the bishop.
Having seen the Catholic Church’s take on all things sexual over the last few years, such as child abuse, condoms and homosexuality, I hope you wont mind if I don’t take the bishop’s words as gospel.

Bunch of Bankers!
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the Banco de Valencia against a customer, who took out a loan of 120,000 euros after being told by the bank that he had inherited 4.6 million euros. As it turned out, the bank had made an error and the inheritance only amounted to 4,600 euros. The decision by the Supreme Court upholds an earlier decision by the Provincial Court in Madrid who declared the loan invalid.

It was in 2002 when the original errors were made and started with the French bank BNP contacting the Bank of Valencia to inform them that their client (known only as AM) had inherited 4.6 million euros from his father who had bequeathed him a stock portfolio.

Rather surprised by the amount of the inheritance, AM requested that the bank check again with their French counterparts, who duly confirmed that AM was now a multi-millionaire worth around 4.6 million euros. On the basis of this information AM requested a 120,000 loan to get a few things done pending the arrival of his money.
It wasn’t until a few months later that the French bank notified the Bank of Valencia that there had been an ‘error.’ However, the banks were already trying to shift the blame onto AM by saying that he should have realised there had been an error after seeing the amounts bequeathed to the other heirs.

All a bit unfair on poor old AM you would think… well the court took that view as well, and duly found on behalf of AM.

Dangers of Smoking
The Spanish press is full of stories concerning the strict new smoking regulations now being enforced throughout the country. This story from Bilbao caught the Ed’s satirical eye and he gave me the task of finding out more.

As per the new rules, José Miguel Santofinia, our 44-year-old unlucky smoker, stepped outside his local bar and lit his cigarette, accompanied by his girlfriend and two other companions. Unfortunately for the group, recent high winds had made the masonry on the building above them unsafe, and in continued strong gusts, a section broke free and plummeted down onto the group.

José’s friends suffered minor injuries, but the unfortunate José took quite a blow, which resulted in him having to receive 20 stitches, “I was not unconscious, but I can’t remember much about the incident. I knew I had been hit and managed to get back into the bar, the next thing I was in an ambulance,” he said.

Joking about how the new Anti-Tobacco Law is supposed to improve people’s health, “The Anti-Tobacco Law has sent me a rock, but I feel I’ve been born again,” he claimed.
José also remembered the 31-year-old woman, Ana Isabel, who was killed in a similar incident last October, and whilst he hopes his story will, “promote tighter controls around older buildings,” he also remembers just how lucky he has been when thinking about Ana, “I think of what happened a thousand times a day, and each time I feel more fortunate,” he concluded.

Barcelona Boat Race
(DD) The 25,000-mile non-stop Barcelona World Yacht Race got underway in the only way it could start from Spain, to the sound of three extremely loud rockets exploding overhead. Unfortunately, nobody had warned the skippers and their crews that the three loud bangs were the prelude to a firework display and not distress rockets and several skippers were reported to have fouled their oilskins.

Despite the inclement weather, hundreds of people turned out to see the craft on their way on New Year’s Eve, and some of the 14 competitors have already crossed the equator at the time this is being written.

The race started without the record-breaking sailor, Alex Thomson, from Hampshire in England who should have been aboard the Hugo Boss boat, but after the birth of his first child, Oscar, it was discovered the baby had a heart condition and needed tests to ascertain the exact problem and treatment, at which point Alex made the decision not to join the race.

The teams continue on their way, either hugging the African coast or opting for the deeper water out to sea… both options giving the skippers possibilities and perils, but hopefully no more loud bangs until the one they hear on crossing the finish line. Good luck and safe sailing to them all!

Franco Baby Snatch?
The Public Prosecutors of Cádiz and Málaga have opened the way for investigations into some of the most bizarre and obscure accusations against the Franco regime.
The cases centre around the belief that poorer parents were told that their babies had died during childbirth or soon after, only for the healthy babies to be given to the rich friends and associates of the Franco regime.

In Cádiz, for example, investigations will now commence into 14 complaints of such crimes, and even if the end result shows that some or even all of the babies did indeed die during birth, at least the families can be satisfied that the matter has been investigated and should show, through clinical records and statements, exactly what happened to the babies.

Málaga Prosecutors are taking up the case of Isabel Aguera, who believes that her sister did not die in the Civil Hospital in 1970, but was given up for adoption or given directly to a wealthy family connected with Franco.

Domestic Deaths
The last of 2010 was Yolanda, just 24-years-old. Before her was Rosa Mariá, Montserrat, Johanna, Julia, Maria Dolores… the list continues to a total of 71 names of women who were murdered by their partners or ex-partners. That’s one every five days. Incredibly, this is not the highest number of female deaths during the last decade due to domestic violence, which infamous honour belongs to 2008 that saw 76 such deaths.

The depressing figures are all the more disappointing because there was a 25% drop in 2009 with 56 cases, of course that is 56 too many, but it was generally felt that Spain was beginning to get grip on this problem.

It all makes depressing reading, but one survey showed that 13.1% of male adolescents admitted to having been violent towards their girlfriends. “This is where we must make every effort to educate people,” pointed out Teresa San Segundo, Professor of Civil Law at the UNED, and specialist in gender violence. “Many people follow the same behaviour pattern as the previous generation, but at this age education and guidance is still possible, which becomes much more difficult into adulthood.”

During 2010, six males under the age of 30 were arrested for murdering their partners, the bulk of offenders being aged between 30 and 50. There were also nine pensioners.
Of the 71 murders, 12 offenders committed suicide and a further 16 attempted to take their own lives without success. Why can’t they just top themselves without taking the life of someone else beforehand? Or is that an inappropriate question? Oh well, too late if it is!

As a footnote on this subject, it should be pointed out that 35% of the murdered women were of a nationality other than Spanish, and some of the press have mentioned that it is hard to speak out on this subject without stigmatizing foreigners. However, four out of ten attackers were foreigners, and there is an argument that some of these murders are directly related to cultural differences with societies where machismo is still law.

Having said that, the remaining six out of ten are still Spanish killers and in a country that has long since struggled with the problem of high levels of violence by it’s male population against women. String ‘em all up by the plums I say!

The Train in Spain
Spanish freight transport is in a bad way, some commentators have even said it’s on the verge of collapse. Better late than never, up pops the Ministry of Development with a small budget and lots of big words about a 10-year plan, based on a public-private collaboration and the support of autonomous communities to refurbish Renfe Goods and get the company back on track (pardon the pun.

The hope is to attract funds from the private sector and combine that with public money to save the plummeting business and turn it into a profitable concern, as well as making it environmentally friendly.

The aim is for the program of reformation to not only focus on investments in infrastructure, but to get the business making profit that can be reinvested into the company. This is reflected in a target of 10% of the money required by 2020 and to achieve up to 40% savings, depending on the amount of usage.

The Ministry is also in talks with SNCF, the French version of Renfe, to make the transition of trains between the two countries much easier, and even to have a common stock of wagons and locomotives and the lowering of fees currently charged to use the French system.

Deregulation, investment and privatization, will hopefully be enough to save Renfe Goods after years of being allowed to sink into disrepair and financial ruin. There is even talk of opening up better links to ports and so called ‘freight corridors’ via speed rail, the first allegedly between Madrid and Valencia.

Nappy Theft
Three naughty, nappy thieves were arrested in after being spotted helping themselves to the contents of a parked lorry containing 17,000 baby nappies.

All the action occurred at around 3.30 am when the police were informed that a theft of merchandise from a lorry was in progress in the town of Biure d’Empordá (Girona).
The thieves had cut open the ‘curtain’ side of the truck and were offloading the contents into a van, which then made off towards Figueres. It was at this point they were spotted by the police, who gave chase, stopping the vehicle quickly they managed to arrest one of the suspects, but the other two ran off and were later arrested nearby.

All three detainees, Isidro B.O., 40, David M.L.L., 27 and Thomas H.S., 38, are all residents of Badalona, and are detained on suspicion of theft and the two that ran off are also charged with resisting arrest.

The stolen nappies, which amounted to three pallet loads, were all recovered and taken to the police station. The three suspects may be making a request to borrow some of the nappies when they appear before a judge in Figueres in the near future.

Cross Border Revenge
(DD) Around 30 years ago there was a murder in Salobreña that was alleged to have been committed by a German who had travelled from Germany to commit the crime, before heading straight back home.

Along similar lines, the National Police have arrested a 47-year-old man who is the alleged perpetrator of the death of a German citizen, who was stabbed to death on November 5th. It is believed the motive for the killing was the online and telephone friendship that had developed between the alleged killer’s wife and the now perforated man from Berlin.

It is alleged that on November 5th, the accused flew from Madrid to Berlin, then rented a car at the airport in which he went to the home address of the aforesaid friend, buying a large knife on the way, just in case their chat didn’t go too well.

The killer’s wife, back in Madrid, knew nothing of all this until she received a call from the police as German detectives had discovered that the victim had some sort of relationship with an Austrian woman who was a resident in Madrid. The police in Madrid interviewed the woman and her statements led them to believe that her husband was involved in the crime and he was subsequently arrested.
The husband was transferred to Berlin and is still in custody there pending further enquiries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *