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Local Daily News 23rd November

Alicante will have four new parks to collect and reuse rainwater

The mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, alongside Hidraqua, announced the creation of a Water Intelligence Center in Alicante, where citizens will be able to know in real time the situation of the integral water cycle service in the city and the construction of four new floodplains in the city to improve wastewater management. Luis Barcala took advantage of his speech at the opening of a conference on water to underline that “Alicante perseveres and strengthens its alliance with Hidraqua to promote the Water Intelligence Center, a space open to the public, which can be used to witness live how the integral water cycle service in our city is planned in real time”. Barcala, along with the rest of the municipal spokespersons, received Vice President Teresa Ribera at the City Hall.

“The initiative is part of the strategic plan to digitize municipal management and recruitment of new technology companies that we call Alicante Smart City and Alicante Futura and we intend to make it a reality by the end of next year in one of the municipal spaces included in our digital development strategy, also applied to water management,” explained the mayor.

In the last 20 years Alicante has reduced per capita consumption by 43%, improving distribution networks and reducing the risk of leaks. “In this city we are proud to have turned Aguas de Alicante, together with our partner Hidraqua, into a mixed company that is the oldest example of public-private collaboration in the world with almost 120 years in existence,” highlighted the first mayor.

Luis Barcala also referred to the success of benchmark facilities in the water cycle such as the network of anti-stream collectors or the floodplain of La Marjal, an example of a regulating infrastructure for avenues capable of developing a Mediterranean ecosystem for citizen enjoyment. In addition, Barcala valued the Zero Dumping Plan in the bay which, with an investment of 130 million euros, will allow all the reclaimed water in the Monte Orgegia and Rincón de León treatment plants to be used for agricultural irrigation, as well as parks and gardens, green areas to which 1.2 million cubic meters are already allocated per year, reaching 70% of them. The objective is to build floodplains such as those of the successful La Marjal park on San Juan beach to optimize the management of rainwater and also avoid the effect of the waterspouts in the city that have caused so much damage and that have been minimized in the San Juan beach area thanks in part to the park’s containment effect, which absorbs a large part of the rainwater, also allowing its reuse, something that is intended to be copied in the other parks announced by the mayor.

Located very close to the coastline, on San Juan beach, the Inundable La Marjal park was built between April 2013 and March 2015, with the aim of storing the torrential rainwater that historically had caused major flooding in the zone. It proved in a very short time to be more than an effective infrastructure against floods, becoming a magnificent place for citizen recreation and an ideal habitat for both resident species of birds, as well as for those migrating to Alicante.

Puig wants to demand the covid passport in the hospitality sector before the December bank holiday

The president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, has announced that the obligation to present the covid passport within the hospitality sector will be implemented in the Valencian Community before the Constitution bank holiday, as the experts claimed.

Puig has indicated that at the moment the proposal that will be sent to the TSJ is being finalized in order to obtain the endorsement of the court to implement this certificate. Having the approval of this court is essential to avoid what has happened in other autonomies, where the Justice system has ended up overturning the proposal. Without going any further, this Monday the Supreme Court of the Basque Country has rejected the possibility of forcing people to be vaccinated to access hospitality and leisure businesses.

The Minister of Health of this autonomy wanted to impose its obligation when accessing “leisure and dance activities” such as discos or show rooms from 10 at night and also in restaurants with more than 50 diners, but, by two votes to one, the Contentious-Administrative Chamber has overturned their arguments.

The Generalitat has not yet specified in which areas of the Valencian Community the obligation to be vaccinated to access them will be implemented. Puig has repeated that it will be in closed spaces “where there is more possibility of contagion and where wearing a mask and distance is more complicated.” For its part, from the Business Coordinator of Leisure and Hospitality of the Valencian Community, its president Lalo Díez asks for speed to implement this measure as soon as possible after a meeting that they have held this Tuesday with representatives of the Ministry. “There is talk that it will start working before the bank holiday weekend and there are still many edges to be polished, including informing people and training the personnel who have to request the document.” Diez also demands that the Ministry provide them with means of verification, “because people can present false documents and we have no way of verifying it.”

On the other hand, and in order to avoid contagion in the most vulnerable population, nursing homes will not allow visitors to have contact with users if they do not document that they have the full vaccination course. The same requirement has also begun to be required by some centers for companions to take care of residents on their outings. In both cases, it will be necessary to show the covid-19 passport to the professional of the center who has to authorize the visit or departure. The measure complies with the resolution of the 14th of September, 2021 of the Ministry of Equality, which establishes the Anticovid Action Plan in residences for dependent elderly people and day centers. In the case of the Elda Health Department, an area that includes most of the municipalities of Alto and Medio Vinalopó, the requirement to have the complete vaccination course responds to the increase in the incidence of infections in recent weeks. For this purpose, from the residences themselves, the relatives and friends of the residents are provided with the email address where they can download the supporting document on their own mobile phone. Regarding the visits inside the center, most continue to be carried out in open areas, after taking the temperature and identifying data of the visitors. New professionals hired and users who enter for the first time are also being required to provide a complete vaccination certificate.

A car runs over a woman in the urban area of Catral

A traffic accident in the urban area of Catral has resulted in two injuries, one of them a young woman who was run over.

The accident happened after the collision of two vehicles, one of them hit the woman, knocking her down. The CICU mobilized a Basic Life Support unit to the site. The Local Police of Catral also collaborated.

The medical team assisted the injured and requested the intervention of the SAMU because the woman that had been run over could have suffered a possible head injury.

The SAMU transferred the victim to the Vega Baja Hospital in Orihuela, where one of the drivers in the SVB has also been transferred.

In Spain, a wave of protests over price hikes puts a damper on economic recovery

Following the crisis caused by the coronavirus, the Spanish economy is expected to post two years of strong growth that will take it back to pre-pandemic levels. And the foundations seem more solid now than after the previous financial crisis: the labor market shows 20 million people in employment for the first time since 2008; the European Union has rolled out a recovery package set to bring €70 billion to Spain, and interest payments are down despite growing debt thanks to the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program.

But that’s where the good news ends. According to Brussels, Spain is the only EU country where economic activity will not return to pre-pandemic levels before 2023. Meanwhile, the energy and supply chain crises are affecting citizens and pushing inflation up to levels not seen since 1992.

The recovery seems to be right around the corner just when people’s patience has reached its limit amid a blend of different realities and expectations. This is taking the form of growing street unrest: truck drivers have called a three-day strike over Christmas to complain about rising diesel prices; metal workers in Cádiz have been putting up street barricades to protest inflation spikes that are cutting into their salaries; auto workers have called a demonstration in Madrid on Monday over factory shutdowns caused by car chip shortages; consumer associations have already organized several marches against rising electricity bills, and even hairdressers have been staging sit-ins to demand lower value-added tax rates. The common thread is the rising cost of living and, for the self-employed, of running a business.

A three-day trucker strike has been called for December 20, 21 and 22, right in the middle of a key sales campaign. The fact that the stoppage has been announced well in advance, however, indicates there will be enough time for industry representatives to sit down with government officials and hammer out a deal to prevent a move that would be ruinous for business.

Carriers will bring several complaints to the table, including the introduction of the Eurovignette, a road toll system, in several European countries; the need for safe rest areas, and above all the steep rise in fuel prices. Only large transportation companies are managing to pass this cost on through higher fees. As for self-employed drivers, who make up the majority, they are paying the higher cost without any offsetting measures.

The Spanish labor union CC OO was planning a protest on Monday in front of the Industry Ministry in Madrid. Union leaders said they want measures against “the perfect storm” affecting the auto sector, which contributes around 11% to Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP). It is a similar message to the one conveyed by Anfac, the carmaker industry association. “We have all the same problems as the rest of the industry, and what’s more, the added technological and regulatory pressure to change products and manufacturing plants,” said Anfac director general José López-Tafall.

Consumer groups have been staging small protests for months, but the issue of rising electricity bills has now escalated to the point where dozens of associations and around 1,800 people showed up for a march in Barcelona around two weeks ago. While not a huge number, it is enough to worry the government because of the issue’s potential for creating widespread citizen discontent.

So far, the executive’s tax cuts have come up against price hikes in the global markets for natural gas and carbon dioxide emissions. In Spain, household electricity prices in October were 63% higher than a year earlier, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). And even energy-intensive industries that benefit from other types of contracts have noticed the hike and warned the government that, unless it offsets these costs, many small companies run the risk of going under. Sidenor, a metalworks company in the Basque Country, last month announced a 20-day closure of its plant in Basauri due to soaring energy costs.

Rural Spain is up in arms again. After protesting on the streets of several regional capitals in early 2020 over the low prices that intermediaries pay for their products, growers and breeders are planning new marches in December. “The hikes have been brutal and they affect everything,” said Miguel Padilla, secretary general of COAG, Spain’s largest industry association.

Production costs have grown across all parameters for farming and breeding operations over the past year: electricity has gone up by 270%, tractor diesel by 73%, fertilizer by 48%, water by 33% and seeds by 20%, according to industry data. And while consumers are paying more to reflect these hikes, producers have not seen a similar increase in what they are paid by intermediaries. “There needs to be a fairer distribution of the value of goods in the food chain,” said Padilla.

While no date has been set for the protests, industry leaders said some of them might coincide with the transportation strikes between December 20 and 22.

In the northwestern region of Galicia, which produces 40% of Spain’s milk, dairy farmers say they are being “strangled” by soaring production costs. The Unións Agrarias union has estimated this rise at 25%. Representatives from Agromuralla, a group that has staged tractor protest rallies around the city wall of Lugo, said they are now paying twice as much for electricity. Dairy farmers note that supermarket customers are paying more for their milk cartons yet they themselves are being paid the same, while incurring in higher production expenses. “All we are asking for is compliance with the Food Chain Law, which says that no link in the chain may charge less than what it costs to produce,” said Félix Porto of Unións Agrarias.

The province of Alicante adds 535 cases in three days, the maximum in two months

The Ministry of Health notified 535 new cases of coronavirus in the province, detected over the last three days. The figure is the highest corresponding to a start to the week in almost three months, since the last time a higher figure was registered was on the 30th of August. The rising curve of infections is also reflected in that the positives are 33% more than those of the previous Monday. The accumulated number of affected in the Alicante regions since March 2020 amounts to 191,905.

Likewise, hospitalizations have reached the maximum of the last two months. Yesterday there were 96 people admitted to the different health centers of the Alicante demarcation, 12 more than last Friday. This strong increase has had its projection in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), but not with the same intensity. There are 24 patients in this situation, three more than at the end of last week.

There has been a death in the province of Alicante, with which the fatalities of the pandemic in the province are already at 3,030. The accumulated number of deaths in the Valencian Community since March 2020 is 7,891.

As of yesterday there were 6,632 active cases throughout the Community, 958 more than last Friday. There has been no outbreaks in recent days with ten or more affected in the province, but there have been two in the rest of the autonomous territory, one in Valencia with 14 cases in the educational field, and another in Benicarló, with 13 patients and of social origin.

The appearance of seven cases in the municipal nursery school of Guardamar del Segura last week has led to the closure of the facilities as a preventive measure, reports D. Pamies. 148 boys and girls between the ages of 0 and 3 are enrolled in this center.

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