Local Daily News 16th June

Companies are revolting against the lowering of the electricity price, claiming it to be insufficient: they demand more aid and less taxes

The mechanism designed by Spain and Portugal to lower the price of electricity has been launched in the midst of the perfect storm caused by high temperatures and compensation for combined cycle plants, which has meant that consumers have not noticed any reduction in their bills. Hence, the disappointment has spread among the companies in the province, which, after warning that they are in a limited situation, demand other types of measures such as tax reductions or aid. Among them, those promised more than two months ago by the Generalitat for gas-intensive firms, which still have not arrived.

The long-awaited reduction in electricity rates is going unnoticed. Despite the fact that the electricity market has the price of gas limited to 40 euros per megawatt hour, this Thursday the total price has risen again to 258 euros, 15% more than the previous day, after the electricity auction stayed at 170 euros and the compensation would skyrocket to 88. This compensation for combined cycle power plants varies every day depending on the price of the gas price and the volume that is necessary for electricity generation, which increases, especially, in hotter days due to increased consumption. The result is that, at least for the moment, these factors are eating the reduction announced by the Government.

And the truth is that this disappointing premiere has been received with disappointment by the different economic sectors of Alicante, starting with the industry. One of the most disappointed is the metal industry, a great consumer of energy, which sees how all the hopes that it had deposited in this measure are being diluted like sugar in water. The president of the provincial employers emphasises that they were not informed about the compensation that the combined cycle plants had to receive, and that the result is a reduction that will have a much smaller impact than expected. In this sense, he advocates making changes in the composition of the energy mix and enabling aid for some companies “that we do not know how long they will be able to resist”.

The president of the Association of Textile Entrepreneurs of the Valencian Community (Ateval), Pepe Serna, another sector highly affected by the rise in energy prices, expresses himself in similar terms, who after acknowledging that they did not have much hope placed on the measure, claims that the Generalitat to speed up the granting of aid for gas-intensive companies. “More than two months have passed since the announcement, and that disappoints companies,” he lamented.

For her part, Marián Cano, president of the Valencian footwear association (Avecal), indicates that any initiative that tends to reduce costs is welcome, but, she adds, “what we ask is that they be of depth, and this, for the moment, it’s not being.” Thus, she calls for measures such as those implemented by other countries, consisting of a reduction in electricity taxation. José Antonio Pastor, general director of the Spanish Association of Toy Manufacturers (Aefj), also warns of the delicate situation in which the firms in the sector find themselves, recalling that a third of the cost of their articles is related to electricity.

The Hosbec hotel management, on the other hand, points out that it is early to make assessments. However, its general secretary, Nuria Montes, indicates that, no matter how much the price of electricity falls, “in no case will it compensate for the impressive rise we have suffered”. Also the Alicante trade federation (Facpyme), through its president, Carlos Baño, recalls that since February they have been supporting rate increases of up to 60%, for which, it highlights, “we need help. We will not get tired of saying it”.

Mortality reaches a record figure in the province during the second year of the pandemic

The second year of the coronavirus pandemic has left a record number of deaths in the province of Alicante. Specifically, in 2021, 18,453 people died, 898 more than the previous year, according to the figures for the natural movement of the population published this Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics. This is the highest number of deaths since information began to be collected in 1975. In the first year of the pandemic, in 2020, 17,555 people lost their lives in the province.

The Carlos III Health Institute already collected in its weekly reports an excess of deaths, initially attributable to the coronavirus. Last year, the institute, dependent on the Ministry of Health estimated that excess mortality for the province of Alicante at 1,711 people. Most of these deaths have occurred in the elderly and especially in the 75-85 age group, where the pandemic has wreaked its greatest havoc.

The positive part of the figures that the National Institute of Statistics has published this Wednesday is that after six consecutive years of falls, the birth rate has stopped its downward trend and has increased in the province of Alicante during the year 2021. It does so very slightly, just 31 births more than in 2020, but a streak of six continuous years with decreases in the number of births is broken.

Throughout last year, 13,365 children were born in the province, according to figures published this Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics. We are still far from the record number of 20,202 births that came to be in 2008, before the economic recession broke a years-long upward trend. Since then, the birth rate has been in gradual decline in the province, with a slight respite in 2014. Since that year, the province had only chained declines.

Comparing the birth and death data, it can be seen how, for the fifth consecutive year, the natural balance, that is, the difference between those who are born and die, is negative. More people are born in the province than die and the range is getting wider.

The sociologist at the University of Alicante and dean of the Faculty of Economics, Raúl Ruiz, believes that this trend should not worry us. “Apart from the vegetative balance, we must also think about the contribution of immigration that compensates these figures” and allows the population of the province to continue growing. For Ruiz, the fact that our society is getting older must be viewed with good eyes. “Beyond the challenges posed by unwanted loneliness, disability and dependency, we must think that the ageing of the population is a collective success and an indicator of the development of societies.”

Yes, the sociologist from the University of Alicante claims measures to try to increase the birth rate in our country, which has one of the lowest numbers of births per woman in the European Union. “We have to find a way for families to reconcile work and family,” he adds.

The geographer from the University of Valencia, José Vicente Sánchez, also warns that we are far from the replacement rate, which is reached when each woman has an average of two children. “The socioeconomic pattern is repeated and the birth rate continues to be typical of a Western society, where it is difficult to reconcile and couples choose to have fewer children.” In the province of Alicante the average number of children per woman is 1.22.

The Valencian Community registered a total of 35,627 births in 2021 (134 less than in 2020, a decrease of 0.4%) and 49,733 deaths (1,184 more than the previous year, an increase of 2.4%), which represents a negative natural balance of 14,106 people. In addition, the number of children per woman at the end of 2021 was 1.22 in the Valencian Community (1.19 on average in Spain) and life expectancy at birth was 82.2 years (83.1 in Spain), according to the statistics of natural population movement.

A seven-year-old boy drowns in a swimming pool in Cabo de las Huertas

A seven-year-old boy has drowned in a swimming pool in an urbanisation in Cabo de las Huertas in Alicante after his hand got caught in one of the bottom drains, whose protection grid was loose. Neighbours and two local police officers who have come to the emergency have jumped into the water to rescue the minor and have not been able to free him until the power supply has been cut and the suction system of the sewage treatment plant has stopped working, according to police sources. After taking him out of the pool they tried unsuccessfully to revive the little boy and unfortunately the SAMU ended up certifying his death.

The National Police has opened an investigation to clarify the circumstances of the drowning and have collected testimonies from residents of the urbanisation who have indicated that it is “negligence” on the part of the maintenance company, since the grid of the drain was “gnawed and deteriorated”.

The tragic accident occurred around 2:45 p.m. yesterday in an urbanisation on Calle Oceano, in the Residencia Bulevar Cantalar. There were three children bathing in the pool and the lifeguard was not there at that time because at 2:30 p.m. she began her break. One of the minors has had his hand trapped in a sink and as the sewage treatment plant is running he was not able to remove his arm due to the suction.

The alarm was immediately raised and the first two local police officers who arrived at the urbanisation, as well as neighbours, jumped into the pool to get the minor out. A neighbour of the urbanisation who is a doctor has also gone to the pool and in the end the agents have been able to free the little boy’s hand when the sewage treatment plant has stopped.

At the scene of the accident, in addition to the first two agents who have jumped into the water, three other Local Police patrols and two Fire Department crews have appeared with a defibrillator and instruments to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as an ambulance from the SAMU and another Basic Life Support and members of the National Police.

Until the arrival of the health services they have been trying to revive the little boy and then the SAMU medical team has continued, but all the efforts deployed have not allowed, unfortunately, to save the boy’s life.

Once the death of the minor has been confirmed, members of the Alicante Judicial Police Brigade and the Provincial Scientific Police Brigade have appeared in the urbanisation to investigate the circumstances in which the minor’s drowning occurred.

A short distance from the sink where his hand got caught was a loose protection grid. These grilles are normally screwed on, so the reason why they were loose will now be investigated, something that residents of the urbanisation have blamed on the maintenance company for being deteriorated. The Fire Diving Unit was also going to appear at the scene to verify the condition of the sinkhole where the unfortunate drowning occurred.

Shortly after six in the afternoon, the removal of the body of the child, born in December 2014 and of Brazilian origin, was authorised.

A daughter of the woman arrested for killing her son in Bigastro says that a day before she had already left him unconscious

The story offered by a minor of 8 years of age, daughter of the woman arrested for killing one of her two-year-old twin sons and mistreating the other in Bigastro, has revealed that the day before death she left the minor unconscious by strangling him with a towel, sources close to the case have explained. The little boy, according to the testimony collected by the Social Services and provided to the Civil Guard, was later able to regain consciousness, but it has probably already caused him some injury. In fact, the preliminary autopsy report shows that the minor has numerous head injuries with internal bleeding and pulmonary edema.

This 8-year-old minor, daughter of a previous relationship of the detainee, is the sister of the twins and lives with her father, although last Friday she was with her mother, who does not have custody but had authorised a regimen of visits.

The arrested mother, 32, of Albanian nationality, had no criminal record until now, but when her twins were born, she was taken out of custody because of her drug addiction problems. The babies tested positive for cocaine at birth and a court withdrew custody of her for a year and returned it to her when she showed that she had been rehabilitated, at least apparently, according to sources close to the investigation.

The arrested woman has not recognized before the agents of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard of Guardamar that she killed her son and this Wednesday she has been transferred to the Court of Instruction number 2 of Orihuela, whose head has decreed her entry into provisional prison, communicated and without bail, according to the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) of the Valencian Community. The case “is initially open for crimes of homicide / murder with respect to the deceased minor and injuries in the field of family violence with respect to the other minor”, according to the information provided by the TSJ.

The death of the two-year-old child occurred last Saturday night in Bigastro. The emergency telephone number received a call at 9:15 p.m. from the mother shouting that one of her twin sons, 27 months old, was not responding and had lost consciousness after hitting his head on a table. The woman was alone with her children in a home on a central street and the health services and agents of the Bigastro Local Police and the San Miguel de Salinas Civil Guard initially traveled there. The health personnel tried to revive the little boy without success and certified his death just 20 minutes later.

The Judicial Police Team of the Civil Guard of Guardamar went at ten o’clock at night to carry out the ocular technical inspection at the home and detected contradictions between the mother’s statement and the first signs observed. The removal of the corpse was carried out shortly after one in the morning and in a first examination bruises and bruises were already observed on the child’s body. They also examined his brother and found that he also had bruises and similar injuries, so he was examined at a hospital and fractures were found.

Investigators suspected the accidental blow initially alleged by the mother, who also stated that the deceased minor had also fallen while playing in the park and that he was fighting all day with her brother. Radiological tests confirmed that the minor had been the victim of habitual ill-treatment, presenting several fractures and other injuries. The autopsy concluded on Tuesday that his death was violent and the mother was arrested. The Institute of Legal Medicine of Alicante has sent samples to the Institute of Valencia for a more exhaustive study of the injuries.

The minister defends multilingualism in the Vega Baja as a guarantee of "equal opportunities"

First visit of the new Minister of Education, Raquel Tamarit, to Vega Baja, where she has reiterated that her department is going to continue with the implementation of multilingualism that her predecessor, Vicent Marzà, began in a region where the project has generated great controversy and it has even provoked demonstrations against it.

“The line is going to be the same, since it is being shown that it works because it trains all the students”, she stated. Next, she stressed that “as a ministry we must ensure that any child, wherever they live and regardless of their situation, has the same opportunities.”

These declarations were made at the CEIP Manuel Riquelme in the Orihuela district of Hurchillo, where he was able to learn first-hand about the educational innovation project “Educating for the future, transforming the school”, as well as other inclusive education programs promoted by this college. The mayor of Orihuela, Carolina Gracia, who has accompanied Tamarit, has stated that with this matter “an attempt has been made to generate a lot of debate; however, projects such as those of this centre, one of them to learn both languages, make it clear that the little ones learn and enjoy at the same time, thanks to a quality, dignified education that enriches them as people”. In addition, she has thanked the previous minister for “her educational work in a region like this”.

The reactions have not been long in coming. The PP regional coordinator for Vega Baja, María Gómez, has lamented that Tamarit maintains “the linguistic imposition” in the region, a policy that “has the rejection of the educational community and that has not been agreed with anyone.” In this sense, she added that “we hoped that there would be some minimal change with education in the classroom, but today we have had a forceful response: we already know that parents are going to continue without the freedom to choose the education of our children”.

However, Gómez has added that “it is good news that he approaches this region shortly after assuming his position, since Marzà was not even seen.” For this reason, she has extended her hand to “dialogue and agree on educational policies that affect Vega Baja.”

Tamarit will return to the region next Monday to follow up on the Edificant Plan, the project for which the ministry makes the investment and the town councils carry out the works of new centres or extensions and improvements to existing ones. Precisely, the Vega Baja is the region of the Valencian Community where the Consell has invested the most, according to sources close to the department.

At this point, she stressed that 44 million euros have already been executed and another 46 million are underway. In addition, “we are awaiting an extension of the Edificant Plan”, the councilor has advanced, which will translate into twenty more actions up to 185 million throughout the Vega Baja.

Once again, another thank you to the ex-conseller: “The line that he started has been shown to work, making it possible for the region to dignify its centres in collaboration with the city council,” Tamarit said. For his part, Gracia has influenced the 23.8 million euros for improvements in the educational facilities of Orihuela: “The Edificant has come to stay as a model to speed up the works”, he assured, despite some problems recently detected such as at IES Thader.

However, the PP regional coordinator has recalled that “the saturation of educational centres in the region is the order of the day”, especially in the coastal municipalities, where “the number of students is constantly growing. We have towns like Torrevieja or the area of ​​the Orihuela coast where more centres need to be planned as urgently as possible”, concluded Gómez.

The Ministry has invested around 96,400 euros in this course in educational innovation projects that are carried out in 32 schools and institutes of the Vega Baja, which “is at the forefront of inclusion and educational innovation in our regions”, Tamarit has emphasised, which has highlighted that the teaching staff has increased by 1,100 teachers in the last seven years.

The non-teaching staff that attends to diversity (Special and Early Childhood educators, physiotherapists and sign language interpreters) and the specific Special Education classrooms in ordinary centres have also increased. In this way, Vega Baja has 15% more non-teaching staff for inclusion support this academic year compared to 2019, since it has gone from 105 to 121 professionals, as well as 25 specific classrooms, three more than in the 2018-2019 academic year.

All this, the Minister continued, has made it possible to “carry out this revolution in educational methodologies”, such as the results that the Hurchillo school is reaping, “a pioneering centre and a model to imitate”.

Lastly, he thanked the CEIP Manuel Riquelme teaching team for their “work, effort and enthusiasm in opening new paths in our classrooms, becoming a benchmark not only for Vega Baja but also for the entire Valencian educational system and at the state level.” Not surprisingly, this year it has just received two new national awards: Educational Excellence in Social Response and the best Public School 2022 in Comprehensive Education.

In addition to Tamarit and Gracia, the general director of Educational Inclusion, Raquel Andrés; the territorial director of the Conselleria in the regions of Alicante, David Vento, and the Councilor for Education, María García.

Callosa launches a “Land Bank''

The locality has a total of 1722.81 hectares of agricultural land destined mainly to the cultivation of citrus fruits and herbaceous crops, which represent 68.80% of the total area of ​​the municipality. Of this area, 84.54% is cultivated or partially cultivated, adding a total of 1,456.41 hectares . The abandoned agricultural land represents 15.46% of the arable agricultural area, with a total of 266.40 hectares .

In the territorial analysis of the municipality and the characterization of the agrarian parcel, it is worth highlighting the large number of parcels categorised as “cultivated” with a total of 1416 parcels, which predicts that agricultural activity in the municipality remains very active despite the limitations that agriculture has as an economic activity.

The Councilor for Agriculture, Trino Grau, has indicated that “Callosa de Segura shows a high micro-parceling of agricultural land, with an average area of ​​0.58 ha per parcel, of which most of them are cultivated. The plots with the smallest area show a tendency to abandonment in all the cadastral polygons analysed, so the strategy for the recovery of agricultural activity in the territory will be aimed at the recovery of the plots with the largest area. This allows a greater profitability of the crop by concentrating all the production in the same plot and saves labour costs compared to the owners who have several separate agricultural plots in the territory and of smaller extension”.

The implementation of initiatives that stimulate and facilitate the recovery of abandoned land, accompanied by regulations and taxation that enhance it, is considered a necessary option to solve the problem associated with the abandonment of farmland.

The Land Bank is a free service of the City Council of Callosa de Segura for the owners of farmland, who due to different circumstances cannot cultivate it, and for land claimants.

It is a useful tool to facilitate generational change in the field. To register or demand land and collaborate with the Land Bank, it can be done through the forms available on the City Council website.

The Land Bank will be managed through the Rural Development Agency Buscatierras, which works with the town councils in the activation and management of the Land Banks. It currently works in seven Autonomous Communities, the Valencian Community, Castilla la Mancha, the Murcia Region, Andalusia, Extremadura, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

The implementation of a Land Bank increases job and business opportunities related to the agricultural sector.



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