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Local Daily News 18th November

Footwear and agri-food maintain the export rhythm while metal and textiles fall

The province is maintaining its positive trend in exports, although with some sectors already showing signs of exhaustion. The latest data published by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce reveal that companies from Alicante sold 1,721 million euros abroad during the third quarter, which represents an increase of 15% compared to the same period of the previous year. But not all activities have had the same dynamism. While footwear and agri-food companies have managed to maintain their pulse, metal and textiles, on the other hand, have begun to experience setbacks, in what could mean an advance in the slowdown that all economic organisations have been forecasting for the final stretch of the year. Furthermore, it so happens that exports from Alicante are the ones that have increased the least in the Valencian Community.

After the worst moments of the pandemic, exports from the province of Alicante undertook a dizzying recovery that led them to break one record after another from 2021, in a dynamic that is still maintained. And it is footwear, oddly the sector that had the most difficulty returning to the pre-covid figures, that is pulling the hardest. Shoe companies, specifically, sold 346 million euros during the third quarter of the current year, which represents an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year. The agri-food sector also continues to lead, with an increase of 12% that has led it to reach 289 million. Likewise, plastic companies maintain positive trends, with a growth of 10% that has placed foreign sales at 106 million euros, as well as toys, which, with 46 million, have improved their results by 13%.

But not everything is positive, since there are other sectors that, after having staged more than notable growth up to now, have reversed their trajectory during this last quarter. The most significant of them, due to its weight in foreign trade, is metallurgical, which, with 252 million euros, has experienced a decline of 3%. Textiles have accompanied it in this descending line, in this case by 4%, which has left its sales abroad at 41 million.

Both activities attribute these falls to the complicated economic context that is being experienced internationally. The president of the Federation of Metal Entrepreneurs of the Province of Alicante (Fempa), Luis Rodríguez, points out that “we have been anticipating the arrival of a more than complicated autumn for some time now. Issues such as the exorbitant costs of energy and raw materials, the tightening of credit conditions, as well as the lack of certain materials as a result of the break in the value chain, have led companies to reduce both their profit margins and their investments”. All this, he adds, has brought with it a loss of competitiveness that portends “a very complicated end of the year.” Rodríguez also complains about the slowness in the authorization of the Next Generation funds, an injection of money that, he believes, “would help to recover business activity.”

The president of the Spanish Intertextile Council (CIE) and the Association of Textile Entrepreneurs of the Valencian Community (Ateval), Pepe Serna, expresses himself in similar terms, who points out that “inflation, the increase in the price of the shopping basket and the rise of mortgages mean that families have less and less money to spend, and if they had it, they have invested it this summer on vacation. In the end, we do not produce basic necessities, so they can give them up”. Serna also warns that the forecasts about the arrival of a notable slowdown in the economy “may be beginning to come true.”

The data published by the ministry, on the other hand, also show that the Alicante province is the one that has least increased its exports during the third quarter within the Community. Valencia, specifically, has grown by 28% to reach 5,063 million euros, while Castellón has grown by 30%, which has allowed it to reach 2,580 million.

Despite everything, and taking as a reference the evolution of exports since the beginning of the year, the balance continues to be positive. And it is that the 5,289 million euros sold by Alicante companies abroad throughout the first nine months of the year represent a growth of 18% compared to the same period last year and a new historical record.

Alicante will have a child and adolescent mental health day hospital to tackle the increase in pathologies

The Ministry of Health is weaving a mental health network to meet post-pandemic needs, especially among children and adolescents, which involves the opening of three reference day centres in the Community. The first will be in the province of Alicante for 30 patients between 8 and 18 years of age; and its opening will take place throughout 2023, endowed with sufficient human resources, from psychologists to psychiatrists and social workers, to respond to a “very important need in the post-pandemic, in which child and adolescent mental health disorders have increased”.

This has been revealed by the Minister of Health, Miguel Mínguez, who has presented this Thursday the budgets for his area for 2023 at the Consell headquarters. According to Mínguez, the negotiations for the purchase of some facilities on Avenida del Hogar Provincial 10 in Alicante are so advanced that they allow him to publicise a resource that will be developed on a landscaped plot of 4,000 square metres, of which half of the constructed area will be, as explained by the minister, meets the conditions for the start-up of the day hospital quickly once the procedures are completed. It is in the surroundings of the Provincial Home of the Diputación.

One of the factors that leads the Generalitat to promote this type of facility is the concern of families and the school community about the increase in suicide attempts at very early ages, hence the Mental Health Plan that will be deployed in 2023, “very ambitious and transversal, which is also the responsibility of the Ministry of Education because the majority of children and young people of this age are in the schooling stage and it is good that the teachers detect some behaviors and situations, just like the families, and that have specific access to health resources”

“It is important that as soon as possible we start up a more intense attention than the child care that is provided in outpatient clinics of health centres, where there are psychiatrists, but these are day centres that have to have special characteristics,” added the representative of the Council.

The progressive increase in suicide attempts detected both in specialist consultations and in emergency services in the province in young people between 15 and 29 years of age mainly results in an increase in demand that now multiplies care by four provided by mental health professionals, taking the pre-pandemic as a reference. The head of Psychiatry at the Doctor Balmis Hospital in Alicante estimated at 3.5 and 4 times the volume of consultations, both outpatient and in hospital emergencies that are dispensed in this centre and in the Hospital de Sant Joan. Dr. Enrique Pérez considers that it is a “serious problem” in the infant-juvenile range.

Pérez considers that with this day centre a structure that the province of Alicante has never had is launched. “With the serious situation that young people are experiencing, we think about how we could have been without this resource. It is absolutely inalienable, and a very complete and well-endowed resource. What I don’t know is if it will respond to all the needs we have in this moment because some 30/40 places are made available”. The head of Psychiatry at the Doctor Balmis Hospital in Alicante, however, appreciates that the wickers are being put in place since in the future it is planned to open a second day centre in the province.

The facilities that the Generalitat is about to buy have a health licence and the procedure has already reached Heritage. It is also linked to the Ministry of Education, which provides educators; and he has confirmed that the staff is hired to enter as soon as the premises are available, which is progress at a time like the current one with a shortage of professionals.

The day centre will be completed with a second care offer, a child and adolescent intervention team in the Sant Joan health department that will also work in Alicante. “With all this, the response capacity is the greatest we’ve ever had,” said the doctor.

The minister, for his part, points out that this centre will have, in addition to the care impact, special resources because the complex that is in purchase negotiations brings together three buildings that can complement the children’s and youth day hospital with other mental health functions after In the post-pandemic phase, “an increase in depressive syndromes, anxiety and irritability has been observed in the entire population, but what has attracted attention is that the problem is greater in the child and adolescent population. Hence, the Mental Health Plan must be strengthened , very sensitive to the detection and treatment of patients at these ages”.

Benidorm will be the scene of the English "BeniCon"

Benidorm will be the scene of the “BeniCon” dedicated to the successful series ‘Benidorm’ of the British channel ITV. And it will be from this Friday until Sunday, although not to record new episodes, but to celebrate a meeting with the fans of this ‘sitcom’ that lasted for ten seasons from 2007 to 2018.

The creator of the series, Derren Litten has organised this event. The cast of actors and actresses, as well as the technical team, will participate in this first fan meeting. For the occasion there will also be an exhibition of costumes, decorations and memories of the programming, a karaoke at the local Neptune’s and a gala night at the Benidorm Palace.

The convention will take place at the Meliá hotel during the three days from ten in the morning to six in the afternoon with an exhibition of costumes and props, questions and answers to the creatives and the team that worked on the series. It will also be a great opportunity to take pictures with the fictional characters who are present at the event.

The meeting will also include contests, costumes, theme bars and location searches. Likewise, additional trips will be made to places in the series such as ‘Peacock Island’ and Fuentes del Algar. The highlight of the meeting will be the Gala Meeting Show at the Benidorm Palace, a show that will be presented by Derren Litten, creator and writer of the series.

The organisers have ventured that the event will be a success since all the reservations for it have already been sold for several weeks.

‘Benidorm’ was a British comedy series created by Derren Litten that had ten seasons from February 1st, 2007 to May 2nd, 2018 with notable success. The series began to be broadcast on the ITV channel and narrated the experiences of a series of British tourists staying at a hotel in the city. The hotel hosts British tourists who don’t know each other, but who have parallel histories.

The series was highly acclaimed by British critics to the point of receiving two National Television Awards, and nominations for the British Comedy Awards and the BAFTA Awards. It reached an audience of almost eight million viewers in its fourth season, although it never dropped below 4.5 million.

Elche incorporates "smart" litter bins

In real time they tell where they are, when was the last time they were emptied, cleaned and repaired. This is how the “smart” bins that have arrived in Elche work. Garbage bins are monitored by GPS and transfer information to wristbands worn by cleaners. A useful system to notify if they have disappeared.

The Carrús neighbourhood has begun to incorporate litter bins with this technology. “One of the objectives of the new cleaning service Elx Verda i Neta is to increase the supply of bins and digitise their management,” said the mayor of the area, Héctor Díez, who presented the initiative this Thursday together with the manager of the UTE, Alberto Bleda.

The councillor has reported that Elche currently has some 3,500 litter bins in neighbourhoods and urban centres of districts, 3,487 belonging to this service, which means one litter bin for every 67 inhabitants. According to Díez, during the first year of the new service (it started in May 2020), 150 litter bins have been incorporated in the tourist areas, the historic centre and Arenales del Sol promenade and 150 more in the accesses to the beaches. Now, coinciding with the second year of the contract, the City Council is making an investment of 50,000 euros to incorporate 400 new litter bins.

The mayor has pointed out that on the one hand, those that are in poor condition will be removed and on the other, new ones will be created to guarantee that there are units at all intersections on public roads. “These works began weeks ago in the districts of La Hoya and La Marina and today, they begin in the Carrús neighbourhood. This is a task that is going to be carried out year after year, replicating that investment and reaching all the neighbourhoods and districts with an urban nucleus”, he said.

In addition, the cleaning service has incorporated an electric vehicle for washing the bins that will allow them to be sanitised on the spot, without having to travel and in a sustainable way. “It is a 100% electric vehicle and, in addition, it recycles the water it uses in each wash,” added Díez.

Torrevieja: Anti-corruption requests another 12 years of disqualification from the mayor Gómez for commissioning a shock cleaning plan of €188,000 without a contract

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor requests in an indictment 12 years of disqualification from public office or employment for the Councilor for Procurement and Urban Cleaning of Torrevieja, Carmen Gómez, for an alleged crime of prevarication after commissioning a shock cleaning plan without a contract in the summer of 2019. The works were carried out in July and August of that year despite written warnings from the supervising engineer of the service to the councillor that carrying them out without a contract was irregular.

This request is in addition to the 11 years of disqualification for prevarication that the Prosecutor’s Office has recently requested for another procedure in which the councillor is being investigated: orders for work materials for an employment workshop without a contract.

The Anti-Corruption indictment is dated more than a year ago, but it has been made known now when the procedure has reached the Provincial Court. Neither the mayor, deputy mayor and responsible, in addition to the areas of Personnel and Parks and Gardens, nor the mayor Eduardo Dolón (PP) had come to report on this procedural situation in which she finds herself. Nor recently, when they assessed the indictment on the employment workshop.

Gómez questioned yesterday in statements to this newspaper that the Anti-Corruption indictment on the shock plan is being released now, just after the prosecutor’s request on the employment workshop was made public and he wondered if the presumption is respected of innocence.

According to the investigative proceedings and the abbreviated procedure order of the magistrate of Court Number 2 of Torrevieja, the Councilor for Procurement commissioned the shock plan being aware “of the arbitrary nature of her behaviour and that with her attitude she flagrantly violated the legislation on administrative contracting. The commission without a contract generated payment rights to Acciona of 188,000 euros, because the works were carried out effectively in July and August 2019.

The same investigation, promoted by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Pablo Romero, indicates that the mayor carried out the orders without obtaining previous reports that would prove the need for the service, nor if there was a budgetary allocation to deal with their payment or if the prices proposed by Acciona were according to market or not.

The City Council technician in charge of supervising the provision of garbage collection and street cleaning warned the councilor on several occasions that she should not continue, “since it had to be submitted to a public tender taking into account the amount of the service”.

Despite these alerts, the work was carried out at a political moment in which the Popular Party had just retaken the municipal government and wanted to fulfil its electoral promise to reinforce cleaning during the summer, a period in which the most complaints occur in the city ​​by the state of the streets. The initiative for this shock plan was presented by Eduardo Dolón y Gómez at a press conference and it was indicated that the initiative was supported by an adjudication procedure.

They were provided by Acciona from July 3rd, 2019 to August 31th, 2019. Generating a right of credit from the winning company of 99,682.53 euros (VAT included), in the month of July 2019 and 89,147, 13 euros (VAT not included) corresponding to the month of August 2019.

Acciona addressed the City Council on several occasions to clarify how this benefit was to be paid without receiving, according to the procedure. The investigation also highlights that Councilor Gómez commissioned the work without a contract despite the fact that she had held responsibility for the Urban Cleaning and Contracting area during the previous term and “therefore was aware of the terms of the contract for the solid waste collection service and the limitations that it imposed.



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