Spanish News September 2016

Banks In Spain Adjust Strategy Post-Brexit

Spanish banks have analysed their financial future in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the European Union and the uncertainty which currently reigns until Article 50 is triggered and the results of negotiations between Britain and the other 27 EU nations are known.

Banco Santander, which is present in the UK after buying out Abbey National in 2004, says its shares have lost 10% since the results of the referendum were made known.

Morgan Stanley estimates its average profits across its branches will shrink by a typical 18% by the end of 2018.

Bankinter expects the next few months to see ongoing market volatility, especially as many UK fund managers have locked in investments in property in response to the flood of requests for reimbursement.

Galicia Woman, 56, Arrested For Causing Forest Fires

A woman who started 15 forest fires in the north-western region of Galicia has been caught whilst attempting to ignite another seven.

In just over a month, she has single-handedly wiped out 22 hectares – 220,000 square metres or around 55 acres – around the town of Cerceda (Coruña Province). The seven fires she was trying to start when she was caught had just begun to ignite. Six of them were put out by forestry brigadiers whilst another was extinguished by a local resident. All seven of them were close to residential homes, potentially sparking a multiple tragedy.

International Paedophile Racket Targeting 'Socially-Vulnerable' Children

A paedophile racket targeting children all over the world - mostly in Asia - has been busted with seven arrests across Spain and over 80 victims identified, of whom at least eight have been physically assaulted.

The gang targeted children from poor backgrounds and dysfunctional families in Barcelona, Valencia, Tortosa (Tarragona Province) and parts of Morocco, showing them heterosexual underage pornographic pictures and videos they had made on trips over a 15-year period to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia - the islands of Bali and Java - Singapore, Kenya, Tunisia, France and the Czech Republic.

All the young victims were aged under 13 and the shocking footage was shown to try to 'groom' them and convince them to take part in the gang's operations. The children were encouraged to perform sexual acts on other minors and given alcohol and drugs to reduce their inhibitions whilst they were filmed and photographed.

Police found over 28 web domain names which had been used to distribute over a million videos and photos, and at least 1,000 DVDs which were ordered online and posted or sent in downloadable format.

Drivers On AP-7 Fined For 'Excessive Load' On Roof-Rack

Police in Catalunya have fined a driver because his car was 'clearly overloaded' with the roof-rack piled high. The occupants said that they were heading for Barcelona to catch the ferry to Morocco. Once it was considered to be safe to continue, they were fined €200.

Wolf-Hunting

Conservation charities are in uproar over a recent law change in Castilla y León allowing up to 143 wolves to be hunted annually until 2019.

Ecologists in Action and the wildlife association Lobo Marley ('Marley Wolf') are among those who call the new rules 'indecent and criminal'. The annual total of 143 would clear the entire centre-northern region of wolves. Well over half of those killed by hunters will be from Portugal, a country which enjoys huge sums in European Union conservation funds for controlled breeding programmes to increase its wolf population.

The 143 wolves which can be hunted are in addition to those killed by forestry agents or by farmers shooting them to protect their livestock, which account for at least another 50.

The 'licence to kill' goes against Spain's national laws on conservation and also breaches EU rules, the charities say.

Renaissance for Iberian Imperial Eagles

Endangered Iberian Imperial Eagles have been on the verge of dying out since the mid-1980s, but controlled breeding programmes have led to a sudden population explosion in the Doñana National Park, which lies across the far southern coastal provinces of Cádiz and Huelva.

In just one season, 15 chicks have been hatched alive and are growing healthily, says the Spanish conservation charity BirdLife.
They hatched in four nests, with three in each, and another two with one and two respectively, after six of the park's nine breeding couples successfully reproduced this spring.

Some of the cause of the Iberian Imperial Eagle's decline has been a struggle to find food – a carnivorous species, it mainly eats rabbits, but they are usually pipped at the post by the Iberian Lynx. BirdLife has been providing 70% of the Imperial Eagles' diet, by hanging dead rabbits high up in trees so they can be reached by birds, but not by ground-roaming creatures such as the Iberian Lynx, who are given food separately by other conservation groups.

Iberian Imperial Eagles work in pairs, meaning both parents bring back food for their chicks.

Richest And Poorest Towns In Spain

The commuter town of Pozuelo de Alarcón in the Greater Madrid region, about 15 kilometres north-west of the city is the wealthiest, and the port town of Torrevieja in the far south of the province of Alicante, bordering on that of Murcia, is the poorest. Torrevieja's mean average household income – one-fifth of that of the richest town in Spain – is just a few euros under €14,000 a year and is the only town with earnings of typically less than €15,000 annually.

The largest city in Spain is Madrid, with a total of 3,141,991 inhabitants and the second-largest, Barcelona, is home to 1.6 million and the country's third city, Valencia, is a long way behind with just 786,000. Murcia has 400,000 or more inhabitants.

Swimming Pools Double The Value Of Property

According to calculations by estate agency analysts - a typical home in Spain with a pool can cost around €407,704, compared with €193,525 for one without. Only 22.7% of properties on the market have one.

These figures vary vastly by area, size and type of home, and nearby facilities, but generally, figures show that homes with a pool tend to sell for twice as much as those which do not have one, or do not have access to a communal one on the same complex.

Owning a private pool on an estate not subject to 'community charges' or not part of a freehold complex still involves maintenance fees - cleaning, topping up, checking and altering the chlorine levels and fixing leaks, replacing pumps and so on usually involve specialist knowledge and hard, manual labour, which can cost a typical €700 or so a year by paying a pool company.

Health Authorities Reduce Price of Medicines

Over-the-counter prescription medicine has gone down in price saving Spanish households up to €14.6 million a year.

A total of 11,735 different pills have been reduced in pharmacies and the other 2,744 are administered in hospitals. Many medicines can be bought without prescriptions in registered Farmacias.