Local Daily News 9th May

Espionage is behind one in three complaints of digital gender violence in the province

About 36% of the complaints about digital gender violence that the Spanish Observatory of Computer Crimes (OEDI) has dealt with in the province are related to cases of mobile espionage; that is, they have their purpose in the interception of telecommunications. A similar percentage is recorded for threats and coercion. This was determined in a recent study by this body, registered in the Ministry of the Interior, which collaborates with the State Security Forces and Bodies and with the administrations to raise awareness about the main computer crimes, and help victims of cyberbullying or who have suffered identity theft cases.

Precisely the OEDI opened last Friday in Elche its first permanent headquarters in the province, since to date the forensic computer scientists that make up the observatory carried out early attention sessions on an itinerant basis through municipalities such as Bigastro, La Vila, Villena, Aspe, San Vicent del Raspeig or Elche.

Of the hundred cases that the OEDI has known in the last year, the report highlights that three out of ten victims have assessed as “high risk” that the aggressor is using spy applications to follow their steps or other types of control. In 67% of cases, digital violence has been carried out by the ex-partner, in almost 16% of situations it is unknown who attacks the victim, in 8.5% of the time that violation has occurred through social networks while the couple, friends and family environment hardly represent a threat, according to said report.

WhatsApp, with 30%, is the main means used by aggressors to attack their victims as well as to unleash threats and coercion, while the Google account is the second medium, followed by Facebook and Instagram, according to this OEDI study.

This report, with data from January 2021 to April 2022, also shows that the most vulnerable age range is between 26-40 years, a range where almost four out of ten victims who have gone to the point of early attention offered by the Observatory are found.

In line, adults between 41-50 represent the second most affected group, followed by those under 65. Less than 2% of the attention has been to minors, and only 19.5% in the group between 18 and 25 years.

Salvador Samper Alenda, computer forensic expert and president of the OEDI, points out that the trend of threats and coercion, as well as the interception of communications, is increasing and “the answer is the way of life, our way of life has become fully digital life, and relationships are in digital media.

For this reason, it understands that a comprehensive approach must be taken to protect the victims. From the Observatory they coordinate with the relevant authorities, such as the police or departments of Equality or Social Welfare, to evaluate the cases, since the victims “do not bring medical records with fractures but they are being attacked.”

In this phase, it is detected if they may need advice from computer forensics to analyse the level of vulnerability, with answers that the victim needs, to avoid re-victimization, the professional points out.

Between these phases, the experts are responsible for preserving evidence in the cloud that the victim receives and that can be deleted from a terminal as audio threats, so that the Observatory can provide an expert report that gives more guarantees to the evidence it provides. the victim in court so that they are not challenged by doubts about the veracity of the documents.

“The aggressors should stop presenting screenshots, conversations that are sent from Whatsapp, photographs, audios, which are provided without reports as the victims are presenting, in court, it should stop being admitted in court,” laments Samper.

On the other hand, the experts are not only in charge of tackling the problem, but also of the digital safety of the victims through advice and weaning from possible bad practices such as setting low-security passwords, or repeating the same on all social networks.

The Observatory has its own digital escort system which ensures those affected that the aggressor will not be able to enter their digital life, thus preventing theft of email accounts or usurping their identity on social networks.

Days after the alleged espionage, among many others, of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, through their mobile phones with the Pegasus system, became public opinion, many citizens are on alert in case they can suffer a similar phenomenon on a small scale.

However, computer crime experts point out that “now that it is affecting higher bodies, it is being given the importance that we have been referring to for many years. It’s like when something happens to a famous person, but there are many victims, and there are 10,000 software variables and variables to monitor and spy on,” Salvador Samper Alenda, president of the OEDI, points out to this newspaper.

Torrevieja uses the abandoned Alto de la Casilla park as a dump for tons of pruning and algae

 The Torrevieja City Council is using the abandoned green area of ​​the Alto de la Casilla Tourist Viewpoint to accumulate tons of vegetable waste from pruning and algae. Municipal vehicles and Acciona collection trucks are using around 25,000 square metres of the esplanade of the enclosure daily as an improvised waste transfer plant. The use of this area allows lower costs when it comes to eliminating them in authorised plants and also in their transport. There is no administrative trace in the City Council that supports the operation of this site for the use that is given to it, nor of the municipal decision, which endorses it, which would require authorizations from the regional administration in any case.

The landfill is located next to the checkpoint of the Operational Reinforcement Group (GRO) of the Local Police, the variant of the N-332 and the avenue of the Valencian Courts. Tons of pruning are piled up on the viewpoint and it also functions as a drying shed for algae, which Acciona removes from the beaches on a daily basis. Its accumulation in the sun serves to reduce its weight and the damage that seawater and salt can do to transport vehicles. A use that was already launched during the previous municipal mandate. Also the garbage collection trucks of the Acciona company carry out the same function. Some remains of organic waste, such as garbage bags, also appear in the images and videos captured. On the ground there is no signalling of the activity.

It is a very discreet place, with no visibility from the road, perfect for this type of “transient” activity, since the discharges do not accumulate in the place. The main access is closed, but the ramp that leads to the upper esplanade is open and any neighbour from the surrounding urbanizations can pass through, who have been waiting for decades for the construction of the green zone that, government after government, they continue to promise when they approach the elections. Those 25,000 metres are classified in the General Plan of Torrevieja as a green area (14,593 square metres) and equipment (12,866) of the La Hoya S-20 sector. Two urban classifications of the land that are incompatible with the use that is being given to it at the moment. In the public information on decrees and adjudications of the City Council there is no documentary trace that supports its current use.

A waste transfer facility of this type requires a project, licence and authorizations from the administration as known by the Torrevieja City Council for the case of the enclosure that had to be closed in La Marquesa in 2012, although in that case it was also used to accumulate organic waste.

Torrevieja Red Cross increases its services to be able to attend to refugees

Torrevieja has been one of the cities in the province of Alicante that has received the most people from Ukraine. Torrevieja Red Cross has been there, as always, to lend a hand. Since the beginning of March, due to the invasion of Ukraine, they have been forced to increase services due to the increase in demand.

The first visits to the Torrevieja Red Cross offices were to ask for help in terms of temporary protection procedures and general information on health cards, schooling for minors, accommodation and then help to meet basic needs. Now, as time has gone by, the needs have been changing and the families that have stayed behind need help to cover these basic needs.

“We are trying to serve all people and we continue to do so, serving all families and people who are in a vulnerable situation here in Torrevieja,” explains Lara García, the local technical director of Cruz Roja Torrevieja. “We have had to increase certain services due to the increase in demand, such as, for example, the reception service, we have had to reinforce it with volunteer translators because this is the gateway to the Red Cross to provide that first attention, we have also increased the number of Spanish classes that we are offering, we have gone from having three classes to having seven in order to make it easier for people who have just arrived to have a basic knowledge of the language and to be able to defend themselves more autonomously. And then the attention to the coverage of basic needs for families that are in a situation of vulnerability”, Lara details.

Red Cross Torrevieja has served some 300 families from Ukraine from the beginning of March to the first week of May. There are 300 requests that, transferred to different users, are more than 700 people who have been attended and helped thanks to the Torrevieja Red Cross.

Effects of the pandemic: the highest death toll from ovarian cancer since the 1980s

Every year around 150 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the province, a disease that this Sunday marks the international day. Some figures that the pandemic is not going to help reduce, according to the specialists.

The diagnostic delays that have occurred over the last two years in the case of cancer, and which in the first wave reached 20% according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology, are affecting a type of tumour that is already in itself it is very difficult to catch in time, since the symptoms are silent and are confused with other health problems. Upset stomach, swollen belly, irregular periods or back pain are some of the signs of the disease. The pandemic has made these types of symptoms go more unnoticed by Primary Care doctors, overwhelmed by covid, and by patients, who do not consider it a sufficient reason to go to the emergency room or consult with the doctor.

“Although ovarian cancer is not a common tumour, it is one of the most deadly. Five-year survival is only around 30%”, explains Beatriz Sánchez, an oncologist at the General Hospital of Elche and a specialist in gynaecological tumours and hereditary cancer.

According to the latest figures on mortality offered by the National Institute of Statistics, in 2020, 85 women died from the disease in the province of Alicante, the highest figure since the 1980s. Currently, ovarian cancer is among the top ten types of cancer with the most cases detected in women each year and the sixth with the highest mortality in the female population, behind breast, colon, lung and uterine and cervical cancer.

The cause of this high mortality must be sought precisely in the delay with which patients arrive at the diagnosis, in many cases months after visiting doctors for a checkup. “In 70% of cases when we detect it, it is already in an advanced stage and spread to other organs, especially the stomach. It is very rare to detect it in the initial phases”, says Nieves Díaz, head of Oncology at the Hospital de Sant Joan. “Attempts have been made to improve the diagnosis, with studies in which a large population has been taken into account, but which have not been effective in improving survival,” says Beatriz Sánchez.

Although at the moment there are no short-term advances that allow an earlier diagnosis of the disease, hope comes by the hand of treatments, which are allowing an increase in survival. In fact, according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology, in recent years it has increased by 9% compared to the 2008-2013 period. Advances that are also taking place thanks to a better understanding of the biology of this aggressive tumour. “We are no longer satisfied with calling the disease ovarian cancer, today we know that there are different cellular components and that makes the difference in terms of prognosis and treatment,” says Beatriz Sánchez. The future, therefore, goes through more personalised treatments, aimed at the tumour that each patient has.

“Before, a sample of the tumour was taken, analysed under a microscope and you put a label on it. Now there are molecular advances and drugs that are more targeted to the characteristics of the tumour cells are used”, adds the oncologist from the General Hospital of Elche.

Until a few years ago, chemotherapy was the only option for patients with ovarian cancer. Hospital Oncology services now have three new oral drugs that have managed to increase the survival of these patients. The so-called PARP protein inhibitors (olaparib, niraparib and rucaparib) are the drugs that have caused a change in the paradigm of ovarian cancer treatment.

Between 15% and 20% of ovarian cancer cases of the most frequent variety have certain inherited genetic alterations behind them and it is in these tumours that more advances in treatment are being produced.

The risk of ovarian cancer is increased if a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) has had or has ovarian cancer. The risk also increases the more relatives have ovarian cancer.

As with most tumours, the risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. Ovarian cancer is rare in women under the age of 40, and most ovarian cancers develop after menopause. Half of all ovarian cancers are found in women age 63 and older.

On the occasion of the international day of this disease, and given the difficulty of having a technique or method for the early detection of ovarian cancer and its identification in its initial stages, the SEOM recommends that the possible affected women go to their gynaecologist when they appreciate any possible symptoms of the disease. The most frequent symptoms are progressive abdominal swelling or distension, repeated and persistent sensation of fullness with food, even with small amounts, pelvic or abdominal discomfort or inappropriate vaginal bleeding.

In addition, it is important to avoid risk factors for cancer at a general level, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption, or those linked to an unhealthy lifestyle (obesity, sedentary lifestyle). In fact, some studies have already shown the causal relationship between obesity and different types of cancer, including ovarian cancer, so prevention measures must continue to be used to avoid all those tumours that may be avoidable.

There seems to be a relationship between this tumour and childbirth. There is a lower risk of ovarian cancer among women who have had children compared to those who have not. Breastfeeding also appears to offer greater protection because it reduces a woman’s exposure to high levels of oestrogen.

There are three types of ovarian cancer. The most common is epithelial carcinoma, which affects the epithelial cells, which line the ovary. This type is the most common, representing between 70-90% of all ovarian tumours. Second are germ cell tumours, which affect the germ cells, which are inside and form the ovules. Lastly, stromal tumours, which affect the stromal cells, which produce female hormones.

Covid reduces life expectancy in Alicante to 82.6 years, the lowest since 2012

The pandemic has left multiple consequences on the population, and one of them is the reduction in life expectancy. According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics, corresponding to the year 2020, the longevity of the inhabitants of the province of Alicante is 82.55 years, the lowest since 2012, when it was 82 years. It is the first time since the National Institute of Statistics collected this information that life expectancy has fallen back to the levels of a previous decade. In 2019, the last year before the pandemic, Alicante had exceeded 83 years of life expectancy for its population for the first time. However, the reduction in 2020 compared to the previous year was 0.79%, the largest in the historical series.

The most affected by this reduction are women, who have seen their longevity shorten by 0.84%. Compared to 85.80 years in 2019, their life expectancy has shortened to 85.08, almost a year less. It is the lowest figure since 2013, when the expected longevity was 84.90 years. With regard to men, the expectation is also reduced, although somewhat less. Of the 80.66 years they could expect to live before the pandemic, the figure has been reduced to 80.07, 0.73% less. The data is the weakest since 2012, when hope did not reach 80 years for men.

Mortality rate data has also worsened compared to pre-Covid years. The elderly have been some of the most affected by the pandemic. In fact, all five-year age groups over 75 have regressed to their mortality rates of a decade ago. In people between 75 and 79 years old, the mortality rate was 28.96 per 1,000 people, the highest since 2015. In 2019, the rate had been the lowest in history for this age group: 24, 98 deaths per 1000 people.

The same happens in the following age groups. Among people aged 80 and 84, the rate increased from 49.66 per 1,000 people in 2019 to 53.12 in 2020. It is the first time since the National Institute of Statistics collected this information that this index has increased by more than 3 points in this age group in the province.

Only newborns saw their mortality rate reduced. In people under one year of age, the mortality rate was 1.96 per 1,000, the lowest in history. However, it is the only age group with a positive result in this regard. Children also saw their mortality rate rise, from 0.03 per 1,000 in 2019 to 0.05 in 2020 in the 5-9 age group. The group with the highest percentage increase is that of 10 to 14 years. The mortality rate has gone from 0.02 to 0.07 from 2019 to 2020. However, the rise only implies a return to the 2018 value.

It is in young adults where the increase in mortality begins to be more significant. In the age group of 20 to 24 years, the mortality rate increased by more than 50%, from 0.16 per 1,000 people in 2019 to 0.25 in 2020. The mortality rate is the second highest of the decade, something that also happens in people between 30 and 34 years old, where it has gone from 0.33 in 2019 to 0.44 in the first year of the pandemic.

Not only has life expectancy at birth been reduced, but it has been reduced at all ages. A person between 20 and 24 years of age could expect 63.52 more years in the year before the pandemic. Now, this expectation has been lowered to 62.88. In people between 50 and 54, a longevity expectancy has gone from 34.30 years before covid to 33.76 now. In general, the loss in life expectancy is between 0.7 years in the youngest and 0.2 among those over 90 years of age.

Despite the decrease in life expectancy, Alicante is slightly above the national average, which is 82.33 years. Before the pandemic, the province was below; Alicante had a life expectancy of 83.21 years while the national average was 83.57. In fact, it is the first time since 2010 that Alicante has a higher life expectancy than Spain. In addition, it is also above the regional average, which is 82.36 years.

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