Local Daily News 16th November

20% more money for Christmas lights in Alicante

The Alicante City Council invests 20% more money this year in Christmas lights to reach more neighborhoods, according to the government team yesterday. The annual budget for the different fiestas has been readjusted after the cancellation of events due to covid and “it has been decided to increase the Christmas lighting with that money,” which will be turned on on Thursday. This translates, explains the bipartisan, into a reinforcement of 10% more streets with arches and garlands in the city “to reach more neighborhoods”, maintaining the same contract, with an annual budget of 343,000 euros. In total, more than 2.3 million light bulbs integrated in 780 arches and garlands will shine at Christmas, spread over a hundred streets and squares.

97% of the lights, whose assembly began in September, are already installed, “and there are only a few adjustments to be completed.” New decorative elements are incorporated such as the giant bauble that is already installed at the beginning of the Paseo de la Explanada, in front of the Plaza del Mar, adding to the gift box in the Plaza de Ruperto Chapí, next to the Teatro Principal, standing at 5 meters tall and with 16,000 led lights, through which you can walk; and the giant bauble in the Montañeta, which is five meters in diameter and made up of 17,000 led lights. All three are already installed, waiting to be turned on. There will be a fourth element whose location has not been decided.

The 18 meter tall conical Christmas tree will also be illuminated on Thursday, decorated with white and gold lights, in a different location than in the past, at the intersection of the Esplanade and the Rambla. The giant nativity scene that was mounted in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in 2020 will be located at this point this Christmas, which moves the Christmas tree to the Canalejas area. With an aluminum structure and 54,756 led lights, it will have a light output of 2,820 watts. The City Council will inaugurate the lighting on Thursday, at 7:00 p.m., coinciding with the previous Christmas and Black Friday shopping campaign “as a measure to support local commerce and an incentive to attract the public.”

La Palma volcano claims its first victim since the eruption began

A 72-year-old man has died while clearing away ash from his home in the town of Los Llanos de Aridane, which was evacuated due to the volcanic eruption on La Palma, in Spain’s Canary Islands. Sources close to the Volcano Prevention Plan (Pevolca), which is managing the crisis, reported on Saturday that the victim was a resident who had been authorized by emergency personnel to return to his home in order to clean up ash, which has been piling up across the island since the eruption began on the 19th of September.

Pevolca sources reported that the man was noticed to be missing on Friday, when other locals who had also been granted permission to enter the exclusion zone had left the area. The victim’s body was found in a property in the Corazoncillo neighborhood, which is on the border of Los Llanos de Aridane and El Paso. Civil Guard officers were investigating whether he died after falling from the roof while cleaning up ash, or if his death was caused by other circumstances.

In a press release, Pevolca said that the work of clearing away ash must be carried out within the established norms. “Residents must only enter the exclusion areas under the established protocol: with exhaustive control from local councils, only cleaning up those rooftops that can be reached to clear away ash and always with the proper self-protection measures,” it stated. Councils must keep a record of all the people who are going to clear away ash off rooftops, designate an official to oversee the matter and pass on all information to the Civil Guard.

“Professional cleaning staff are working at all times,” explained Pevolca director Miguel Ángel Morcuende on Saturday. “But it is evident that this is not enough and it is clear that many locals want to clean their roofs,” he said, explaining that this could be done “following the protocols.” Morcuende expressed his condolences for the family, and indicated that the cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is done. He added that the victim may have been asphyxiated after being “buried by the ash on the rooftop.”

On Saturday evening, Civil Guard officers also located a foreigner who had gone missing while hiking near the exclusion zone, according to a press release from the police force. The hiker had become lost and called emergency services by telephone for help. An operation began to determine the man’s location, but at 3am rescuers lost contact with the hiker, possibly because his cellphone battery died. After searching for hours, the hiker was found: he had minor scratches, but was otherwise in good health. As of Monday, the volcano in La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja natural park has been erupting for 57 days, making it the longest eruption seen on the island in 343 years. According to the National Geographic Institute (IGN), a longer eruption has not been recorded since 1678, when the San Antonio volcano erupted for 66 days. The new volcano on La Palma, which is located in the Canaries archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, has now overtaken the eruption of El Charco volcano in 1712, which lasted for 56 days.

But according to authorities, there are signs that the eruption is easing. At a press conference on Sunday, María José Blanco, the director of the IGN, said that the downward trend of key indicators “gives the impression that the system has increasingly less energy.” These indicators include a drop in sulfur dioxide emissions, which are used to measure the strength of an eruption, and a fall in tremors, which affect the volcano’s magma chamber. Seismic activity in intermediate depths has also decreased as has the ground uplift. But Blanco warned there was not “just one way to interpret” the data.

According to Blanco, more time must pass before the downward trend can be confirmed. “Right now it is true that several values are on either a stable or downward trend. But this has to stay this way over time. In the specific case of sulfur dioxide, although the levels are high, they are lower than other days. It has to fall a lot more in order for us to say that it is a really low level,” she said.

In the meantime, the volcano continues to wreak havoc on La Palma. More than 20 earthquakes hit on Sunday, including a 4.7-magnitude tremor that was felt by all the island. In a press release on Sunday, Pevolca stated that earthquakes of similar sizes could be recorded over the next few days.

The lava from the volcano has now swallowed up more than 1,019 hectares of land and destroyed 1,460 buildings, according to the land registry. Most of the lava is being channeled down the southernmost flow, which reached the banana plantations of Las Hoyas more than a month ago. Since then, it has not advanced, even though it is receiving the most molten rock.

The number of people who attend treatment for alcohol addiction grows by 15%

In the first six months of the year, the number of people who have started treatment to overcome their dependence on alcohol has increased by 15% in the province of Alicante, according to figures from the Ministry of Health. Of the 1,574 patients who have started treatment in the Addictive Behavior Units of the Valencian Community, 496 are from the province of Alicante.

In addition, according to a study released yesterday by the Ministry of Health on the occasion of the world day without alcohol, the Valencian Community is the autonomy where people begin to drink at a younger age. Specifically, at 16.2 years of age, young people in the Community began to taste alcohol. 

The study by the Ministry of Health also reveals that 60% of young people in the Community have tried an alcoholic beverage in the last month and 25.8% have gotten drunk. Both figures are above the national average. Three out of four adolescents also participate in what is known as binge drinking, which basically consists of bingeing on alcohol in a short time to reach a state of intoxication sooner. 22% of adolescents also confess that they have been to a “botellón” (public drinking party), according to figures from the Ministry of Health. Beer is the most consumed drink in the country, both by men and women.

In the alcoholology units, they began to notice an increase in cases of alcohol abuse after the end of the lockdown, in the first wave of the pandemic, and the trend has been maintained over time. The causes, as in the 2008 crisis, “are linked to the panorama of insecurity in which we live”, explains Bartolomé Pérez Gálvez, head of the Alcoholology Unit at the Hospital de Sant Joan.

The Ministry of Health recalls in its report that alcohol is, by far, the psychoactive substance most consumed by the general population at all ages. Consumption is decreasing as age increases, but “the problem is especially worrying among young people and minors, who are also more vulnerable to its effects.”

The increase in cases of alcohol abuse in the Valencian Community has occurred both in women, with a 25.73% increase, and in men, who have experienced an increase of 26.97%. In this sense, according to the ministry, alcohol consumption also has a gender perspective. Although in the population as a whole, alcohol consumption is higher in men, among secondary school students women consume more, “indicating the importance of reinforcing this perspective in preventive programs aimed at minors.”

On the other hand, according to the Indicator of Admission to Treatment in Addictive Behavior Units, during 2020 care for alcohol consumption represented 25.44% of the total number of patients treated for consumption of addictive substances. It should be noted that, compared to 2019, they have decreased by 27%, but it is from 2021 that an increase in people who suffer from a problem associated with the abusive consumption of alcohol is appreciated.

Experts recall that alcohol consumption not only affects the consumer, as it has a strong impact on other people, such as family, friends, as well as consequences in the work environment. In addition, it has serious repercussions on the health of consumers.

Alcohol use is a causal factor in more than 200 diseases and disorders. Specifically, it is associated with the risk of developing health problems such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcoholism, and can trigger diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, some types of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

One of the key points that the Ministry of Health is reinforcing is the early detection of alcoholism. To do this, it has drawn up a protocol, which has been made available to primary care health professionals, “since they are the gateway for every citizen to the health health system”, as recalled by the Ministry of Health. The objective of this program is to detect dependence on alcohol as early as possible through a motivational interview carried out by health personnel, so that, if a problem is detected, treatment can be initiated.

On the other hand, the General Directorate of Public Health and Addictions in coordination with the 87 Units of Addictive Behaviors is working in more than 300 municipalities of the Valencian Community.

In 2020, a training program was carried out for 25 technicians to carry out preventive strategies among the adolescent population on the abusive consumption of alcohol. Likewise, information campaigns are being carried out, both in the municipalities and in the educational centers, on the risks associated with alcohol consumption, as well as the importance of establishing healthy habits.

Prison for two young men for stabbing a man and robbing two others in Alicante

The Alicante guard court yesterday decreed the entry into prison of two 18-year-olds detained by the National Police at eight in the morning last Sunday after allegedly committing two robberies with violence and stabbing a man in the back in the Rambla.

The police intervention took place after receiving a call communicating that there was a person with a stab wound on the Rambla. The attackers had fled and the National Police mobilized the service patrols to assist the victim and search for the perpetrators of the stabbing.

The victim told the officers that he was walking along the Rambla when two young men approached him and stabbed him in the back for no apparent reason. The authors of the crime then told him “next time it will be your face” before running off to avoid being caught.

While the patrol cars of the Citizen Security Brigade came to the emergency, a new robbery with violence took place in the vicinity, at the exit of the TRAM stop where La Rambla meets Avenida Alfonso el Sabio. The same assailants approached some people at the exit of the TRAM and demanded they be given all of their money while holding a knife. “Don’t be foolish and give us what you have, we have already stabbed someone else this morning,” they told the victims.

In the middle of this violent robbery with violence, the young thieves noticed the arrival of some Police vehicles and tried to flee, disposing of the knife. While one patrol retrieved the knife the other patrol pursued and arrested the suspects, two young Algerians, just 18 years old.

The two young men were taken to the police station, where it was found that they were allegedly involved in a third assault on a man at seven in the morning on Alcalde Suárez Llanos street. The victim explained to the Police that he was going down that street when two young men approached him, they stood one on each side and after asking for a cigarette and saying that he did not have they began to reprimand him and beat him until they managed to throw him to the ground.

Once on the ground, they continued with the beatings and left with the jacket and the victim’s wallet. This man had to be treated for injuries to one eye, forehead and nose caused by the punches.

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