Local Daily News 26th January

The ITV concessionaires of the Community announce that they will stop giving appointments on February 25th

The Association of Concessionary Entities of the Valencian Community for the Technical Inspection of Vehicles (AECOVA-ITV) has requested this Wednesday an urgent meeting with the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig in the face of the “imminent chaos” that they assure will entail the reversal of the public management service. The concessionaires argue their request on the need to know a “realistic roadmap” before the end of some concessions that in some ITV the concession ends on February 25th and in others on March 3rd.

According to the association, the ITV will stop giving appointments as of February 25, at which time they warn that “the arbitrary decision taken from the Consell will cause technical problems”, since at the end of the contract appointments will not be able to be provided for the users, “nor will the productive capacity or the available personnel be known”.

Likewise, they have criticised the “ignorance” received from the Administration, as they maintain that the extension necessary to make a “calm transition” has not been extended and that the Minister of Economy, Rafael Climent, has given them “a sit-in as a group”.

For this reason, AECOVA demands that Ximo Puig “take the initiative” to make Climent “reconsider” his decision and indicate a “realistic roadmap” for the reversal of the ITV centres, since the situation is “irregular and incomprehensible ” and they want to know what are the obligations of the concessionaires.

As indicated in a statement, in the hospitals that have passed to public management by the Consell del Botànic a year before making the reversal, the appropriate regulations were already issued, while the case of ITV “is unknown” in the absence of a month.

AECOVA affirms that it is “unfeasible” that appointments be available on February 25 or March 3 and that the service be provided, because for the moment the public service “is not qualified to assume the management, despite the fact that it is their obligation to facilitate this service oriented to Valencians”, and offers to dialogue and agree.

A murderer is sought for two missing persons

The Civil Guard requests citizen collaboration to find Juan Miguel Isla, a 58-year-old man, married with children, who disappeared in Manzanares (Ciudad Real) on July 22. He had travelled the previous afternoon from Playa de San Juan, in Alicante, where he lived with his partner, to that town in La Mancha.

The man was going to collect 50,000 euros in cash from the sale of a family farm. He was accompanied by an intermediary with whom he had met in a nearby town, La Solana, to collect the money.

Investigators have released a video with the latest images of the missing person’s car, a Renault Clio, leaving Manzanares on the N430A road towards the town of Membrilla, in case any witness remembered anything.

As CASO ABIERTO, Prensa Ibérica’s investigative and events channel, has learned, this intermediary, the last person who was with Juan Miguel before the earth swallowed him, is being investigated for another disappearance, which occurred three years earlier in the same town of the province of Ciudad Real.

A slot machine businessman from Vitoria, based in Manzanares, Jesús María González Borrajo, 55, disappeared on June 19, 2019 after selling two high-end Mercedes to an acquaintance of his for 14,000 euros each. In that transaction, according to the sources consulted by this outlet, the same man who three years later would help Juan Miguel Isla to sell his family’s farm acted as an intermediary.

The man, known among the residents of the area as a kind of “finder” who intercedes in “transactions for the sale of cars, houses and weapons”, is the link between the two disappearances, that of Jesus and that of Juan Miguel.

For Jesús’s family there is no doubt: “both cases are connected, we believe that the perpetrator of both disappearances could be the same, that he himself has removed them from the middle,” explains his lawyer, Dionisio Muñoz.

After his disappearance, Jesús María’s brother discovered that the businessman had received, shortly before he lost track of him, several promissory notes worth 28,000 euros that he had to collect on dates close to the day they stopped hearing from him, the day his phone went off. “Those promissory notes were kept in a drawer in Jesús María’s house. He disappeared before being able to collect them, however he had already delivered one of the cars to the buyer,” says the lawyer.

“Jesus’ brother knew from the beginning that something bad had happened to him, he had bought a plane ticket to Paraguay, where he also had business, and he had to travel just when the earth swallowed him,” adds the lawyer. .

The Civil Guard is conducting raids in Manzanares this week to search for the second missing person, Juan Miguel Isla. They focus on a field area where the signal from his mobile phone was lost.

Members of the UCO, USECIC, Seprona and the canine unit of the Armed Institute have joined the operation. They look for his body and any clue that reveals what happened to him, although, as in the case of Jesus, the main hypothesis is that someone has hurt him. Maybe the same person.

Avian flu outbreak at Spanish mink farm sets off global alarm bells

It’s like a script for a disaster movie that everyone has already seen. Europe is going through the most devastating bird flu epidemic in its history, with more than 50 million poultry slaughtered in one year. At the beginning of autumn, seagulls and gannets killed by this virus appeared on the beaches of Spain’s northwestern Galicia region. Days later, in early October, American mink began to die of hemorrhagic pneumonia on a fur farm in Carral, a few minutes’ drive from the city of A Coruña. Mortality in this outbreak exceeded 4% in a single week.

A scientific study now suggests that the avian flu virus jumped from wild birds to mink and mutated on the farm, beginning to spread from mammal to mammal but failing to infect mask-wearing farm workers. This outbreak has set off alarm bells across the planet. The Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans, who traced the origin of the Covid pandemic for the World Health Organization (WHO), has issued a warning on her social media accounts: “We are playing with fire.”

The British doctor Jeremy Farrar, an expert in emerging diseases who was recently appointed chief scientist at the WHO, has also alerted about the recent outbreak in Spain on his social media. “The greatest risk of a devastating flu pandemic is avian or animal flu that infects intermediate mammals, and evolves to mammal-to-mammal and human-to-human transmission with little or no human immunity,” he said on Twitter. Farrar, who correctly alerted the world to a strange pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019, is now urging authorities to prepare vaccines and treatments for each type of animal flu.

Mink are susceptible to both bird flu and human flu, so these animals can act as a mixing vessel in which viruses mix and more lethal versions emerge, warns the study, which was led by Montserrat Agüero of the Central Veterinary Laboratory of Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture and her Italian colleague Isabella Monne, from the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe).

The culprit in the Galician outbreak is a highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, with an unusual mutation called T271A, a disturbing characteristic that was already present in the swine flu virus that caused a pandemic in humans in 2009. Regional health authorities decided on October 18 to immediately cull the 52,000 mink on the farm, located outdoors and with easy access to wild animals.

Virologists’ worst nightmare would be the leap to humans of a deadly flu virus. The WHO had already warned in 2019, before Covid, that “the world is not prepared for a pandemic of virulent and rapidly transmitted respiratory pathogens.” The institution then said that a pandemic such as the 1918 flu could kill 80 million people, “causing panic, destabilising national security and seriously affecting economy and trade.”

The virologist Elisa Pérez, an expert in emerging viruses at Spain’s Animal Health Research Center (INIA-CISA), is very concerned. “It’s pretty scary. In Europe there had never been such an outbreak in mink before, there were only a few cases described in China. We had never had such a big scare,” she warns. Pérez would like for all mink farms to be shut down as soon as possible. “What else needs to happen?”

Before the Covid pandemic, there were around 2,900 fur farms in the European Union, producing 27 million mink pelts each year, according to official industry figures. After the coronavirus outbreaks in hundreds of farms in 2020, some countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, ordered massive culls and closures. A report by European authorities estimated that there were 755 mink farms left in operation at the start of 2021, mainly in Finland, Poland, Lithuania and Greece. In Spain, that crisis caused some security measures to be implemented, such as mandatory face masks for workers.

Bird flu is spreading around the world. The virus has already settled in South America, a team of scientists from Argentina and Peru warned last week. On the Peruvian coasts, 22,000 wild birds died in just one month, especially pelicans and boobies. On January 9, a nine-year-old girl from a village in Bolívar (Ecuador), admitted to intensive care after being in contact with chickens, became the first human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Latin America. The WHO warned last Wednesday that the diversity of flu viruses that are jumping from animals to people is “alarming.”

In Spain last year there were 37 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry, the last two in a farm with 150,000 laying hens in Guadalajara and in another with 1,500 geese in La Cistérniga (Valladolid), according to figures provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. Two workers at the Guadalajara farm became infected with the virus without developing symptoms. In the Carral outbreak, the 11 employees who were in contact with the mink remained in isolation for 10 days, despite having tested negative for avian flu.

The virus is easily transmitted between birds, but only rarely does it pass from bird to human. Between people it has not yet managed to jump effectively, although the outbreak in mink in A Coruña suggests that the virus is capable of mutating and adapting rapidly to jumping from mammal to mammal.

The epidemiologist Matthew Baylis, former director of The Pandemic Institute in Liverpool, has also reacted to the analysis of the Galician outbreak. “Two years ago I wrote about the risks of mink farming for Covid. And now we see even greater risks for avian influenza, as mink provide a wonderful opportunity for the virus to adapt to mammals. This is where the next pandemic may come from,” he tweeted. “Is anyone heeding the warning sign? Clearly not.”

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