Local Daily News 31st July

Orihuela obtains 3.6 million to renaturalize the river

The Ministry’s Biodiversity Foundation has awarded a grant of 3.6 million euros, of the European Next Generation funds, for the restoration of river ecosystems and the reduction of the risk of flooding in urban environments. Specifically, it is the project “Reflow my river”, the acronym for “Restoration of River Ecosystems and Strategies for the Mitigation of the Risk of Floods in Orihuela” in Spanish, which the previous government team requested in February, to provide vegetation to 5 .02 hectares of meanders, restore 10.4 kilometres of riparian forests, plant 53,630 new trees and 122,892 herbaceous plants.

“Orihuela has a problem with the river in times of flooding, and based on the emergency and hydrological plans, it is ideal to propose that recovery of the old meanders of the river for spillway areas in cases of floods”, recalled the former councillor of the Environment, Dámaso Aparicio (PP), who has also expressed his satisfaction that the project has gone ahead. In addition, he has added, the objective is also to make use of the municipality’s groves that are in disuse in order to laminate a large amount of water and reduce the risk of floods. This would be the case upstream (El Arenal area), the centre (Barrio de San Pedro) and the district of Molins, where use will be made of the floodplain to gain response capacity and time in the event of an emergency.

Finally, the mayor has insisted on the importance of “continuing to act in the river to achieve the restoration of the riparian forest that eliminates the reeds that cause so many problems when the avenues arrive and at the same time gain green expansion areas for the enjoyment of citizens, while reducing the risk of flooding”.

The province of Alicante needs 15,000 workers in order to not stop construction

The province’s Public Works association launches a call for help. The lack of qualified labour, the absence of generational change and the uncontrolled increase in the prices of raw materials threaten to block the recovery of the construction sector that after ten years of paralysis sees the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to funds that arrive from Europe to the Generalitat, Provincial Council and Town Halls.

A rain of millions that can be left without taking advantage of one hundred percent because the companies do not have personnel to take on the projects. A report from the Federation of Public Works (FOPA) calculates that the sector would need to incorporate 15,000 workers to take on the projects, and demands urgent measures from the Administration, according to Javier Gisbert, president of FOPA. An immediate one, such as the speeding up of visas to be able to hire foreign workers, and a second in the medium term, incorporating a modification of Vocational Training to give qualifying titles to boys and girls so that in six months they could join the works and continue their preparation. The current data is devastating: 80% of the workers in the sector are over 40 years old because young people reject the work.

Javier Gisbert warns that “the problem is serious and is linked to the rise in the prices of materials, but right now it is true that the Administration is responding after years in which it was almost a custom that only 30% of the those budgeted and tendered. Right now there is money and, for example, the Generalitat is taking out a lot of works from schools through the Edificant Plan, but we see ourselves overwhelmed and without people, and that right now construction is a sector that pays well and is not as hard as it does a few years, since, for example, we work with a lot of prefabricated material”, explains Gisbert. The data, devastating: in 2007 in the works of all Spain there were 345,000 workers under 25 years. A figure that in 2021 fell to 50,000, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

“Spaniards do not want to work in construction when there is room for all profiles, and although we have always had foreign labour, now it is not easy either. I remember a few years ago when we hired many workers from Poland, who now don’t come anymore because conditions in their country have improved,” says Gisbert.

As for the medium-term works at risk of being lost or being carried out by construction companies from outside the province, in the event that the Alicante companies fail to find sufficient personnel, the construction of the schools and institute of the Edificant plan stand out, the congress centre of Elche and the port of Alicante, the Benidorm bullring, the expansion of the Marina Baixa hospital or even participating in the mega-project for the Sagunto battery factory.

The serious crisis that affected the sector in 2007 caused many of its workers to be forced to retrain in other sectors such as the hotel industry; some retired and others, foreigners who became unemployed, returned to their countries of origin. The direct consequence is that, to this day, the sector does not find qualified professionals to erect facades (caravisteros), walls (partition walls), formworkers, plasterboard installers, welders or assemblers of plumbing and electricity installations.

On the other hand, construction companies are also shaken by the lack of energy control. A rise of 178% in electricity, 50% in iron and steel materials, 40% in ceramics, 20% in copper, 17% in wood and 55% in aluminium. These unstoppable unbearable price increases, estimated at around 30%, as reported this week by the National Confederation of Construction, which ensures that the Government is not doing anything on its part to make revisions in the prices of public works.

The Government approved two decrees to allow a review of public contracts. However, the conditions and the interpretation made by the Ministry of Finance will mean that around 90%/95% of the works in progress will not have any possibility of applying price revisions. Only railway and hydraulic infrastructures, highways and industrial buildings have some possibility.

One of the vaguest aspects of Royal Decree Law 6/2022 is defining in which periods awards can be reviewed. After an interpretation by the Ministry of Finance, the works must be in a state of processing from January 1st to December 31st, 2021 and have been completed after the publication of the standard.

This procedure has generated a lot of controversy and the CNC plans to cast a private vote. This excludes all infrastructure whose construction has begun after the start of 2021 or those that have been completed before the Decree is issued. Also, to those whose execution period is less than 15 months, which, according to the employers of construction companies, account for 80% of the contracts. In 202, 6,679 works were tendered in Spain, of which 5,307 have a duration of less than 12 months.

From the association they assure that “priority is being given to those contracts that are being delayed and harming those who made an effort and finished their executions on time.” In addition, they believe that these last two regulations have only generated delays in works, abandonment of projects, paralysis in the sector and closure of small regional construction companies. To this we must add the silence of the Administration, since it is the companies that have to make a claim before certifying the end of the work, with the addition that they do not receive a response to apply these reviews either.

A detainee in Benidorm for “love scams” through social media

Love scams on social media from Benidorm. Agents of the National Police have arrested a man of Guinean nationality in the tourist city for allegedly belonging to an organised group dedicated to this type of scam and known as “romance scam”. The suspect, along with another arrested in Pamplona, ​​would be part of a group organised to commit these cyber scams and to which a fraud of more than 20,000 euros is attributed, as reported by the General Directorate of the Police.

Following the money from the transfers made by a woman who was a victim of the network from Dublin has led the agents to establish the real identities of two of the people who hid behind false profiles and with whom they managed to dazzle their victims so that they might make bank transfers that could help their romance stop being virtual and they could see each other physically. As there are no borders on the internet, the victims were both Spanish and from other European countries. The names of these two suspects are those that were behind the accounts detected in Spain to the alleged members of the network.

The victims of this type of scam are, for the most part, elderly people, who are alone at home, without any job and with little social life. The scammers, who operated nationally and internationally, made their victims believe that they had a long-distance romantic relationship with them. Pretext with which they managed to make economic transactions that would enable the meeting between the two in a short space of time. The excuse was often fictitious trips, or alleged medical treatment. On many occasions, these facts were not even reported because either they did not even feel deceived into believing that the sentimental relationship existed; Or they were ashamed of what happened.

The investigation began in September 2021 following a complaint sent by Interpol in Dublin, where a woman reported that she had been the victim of a romance scam. In this case, an unknown person contacted her through a false profile through a social network. The man even made him believe that they had a romantic relationship. Abusing the trust that existed between them, the man asked her for money on numerous occasions, and she felt harassed by the immediacy that he required. The clue that the Police had was that two of the transfers made by the victim were destined for a Spanish bank account.

From the analysis of that account, the agents obtained the connection IP addresses of the fraudulent movements, which were geolocated both in Spain and in Italy. In addition, the ownership of the account was in the name of a citizen of Nigerian origin residing in Barcelona. The investigators observed that other bank transfers that had been issued by Spanish citizens and for high amounts appeared in that same account, a circumstance that the Police considered suspicious.

The investigations then focused on other potential Spanish victims who could have been scammed with the same modus operandi. The agents confirmed the existence of transfers to this and other Spanish bank accounts opened by members of the organisation. They also detected money transfers through a well-known company dedicated to this activity. From the analysis of these new accounts, the Police verified that the connection IPs of the movements, this time, were only geolocated in Spain, providing their ownership. All of them belonged to Nigerian citizens with addresses in Alicante and Pamplona.

The Police assures that the detected fraud affects victims from different European countries and that it would amount to more than 20,000 euros. The fact that many of the victims have not wanted to report has made it difficult to determine at this point how much the scam would amount to.

A key exhibition in Elche that gives details of the Lady of Elche, or Dama d’Elx

“We do not claim the Lady because it is 125 years since her discovery, we have been saying it for so many anniversaries… the Lady is ours by feeling, by identity, by love, for everything. Four generations later we continue to sigh and yearn for her to come soon to Elche”.

This is how direct the message has been that the president of the Royal Order of the Lady, Mari Carmen Pérez Cascales, has launched this Friday to all the people of Elche from La Glorieta, where from this July 29th and until August 11th you can contemplate an exhibition on the occasion of the commemorative acts of the discovery in La Alcudia.

Dozens of guests have attended the inauguration, who have learned in a very didactic way and through 24, 2 x 1.20 metre marquees the history of this iconic piece of Iberian art, and even more so in an iconic place considering that after its discovery It was exhibited on one of the nearby balconies and the neighbours were then able to contemplate it, as was recalled at the meeting.

In these panels, the user will be able to go back 23 centuries to learn, chronologically and with the poetic prose produced by Luis Maestre and the designs by Javi Amat, both from Grupo Antón Comunicación, as the common thread, the history of a unique piece.

Alejandro Ramos, who was also among the attendees, has collaborated throughout the narrative to provide details that may be largely unknown to the general public. The objective of the exhibition is to rediscover the bust and delve into other lesser-known aspects and the importance they have had in turning this iconic profile into the best known in the entire Iberian world.

“We are celebrating, it is a birthday but also an opportunity to vindicate, to once again understand Elche’s bond with his Lady, and the emptiness that her not being here means”, highlighted Tomás Mayoral, director of INFORMATION, opening the turn of interventions to present this sample. In line, he has highlighted that he hopes with this exhibition, with which multiple entities collaborate, “it will serve to remember the link and show it to new generations, and in some way keep alive the demand that the Lady be in Elche”.

For his part, the mayor, Carlos González, has asked the central government and the Minister of Culture, Miquet Iceta, in particular, “to be brave and avoid pressures of a technical nature, to be brave as José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was and Carmen Calvo, that these resistances overcome because technically it is possible and doing it does justice”, alluding to the refusal of the temporary transfer of the bust to the city for a year when in 2006 it could be brought when the circumstances seemed to be the same.

The councilor from Elche has highlighted the good work with the sample because, in addition, “it is presented at a critical moment, in the midst of the commemoration of the 125th anniversary and the longing for the return.”

The chronicler of the exhibition, Luis Maestre, pointed out only a few days ago that perhaps more is unknown about the Lady of Elche than is known. From her origin, what she was and why. That halo of mystery with which she has always identified is also part of this exhibition, which is also about creating uncertainties. Why is she called Lady of Elche? Nobody named her after her? why? Questions like this are resolved in the exhibition, others, on the other hand, remain unanswered or have as many as the viewer wants.

The exhibition has the support and collaboration of the Generalitat Valenciana, the Alicante Provincial Council, the Elche City Council, the Miguel Hernández University of Elche and Elche Cultural, as well as other organisations.

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