Spanish News October 2016

Bull-Fighting Protest In Madrid

This year's protest against the now-banned Toro de la Vega bull-killing 'festival' is now aimed at animal cruelty and bull-fighting in general, from Madrid's Puerta del Sol square.

Organised by the pro-animal political party PACMA, which very nearly amassed enough votes in June to earn itself a Parliamentary seat, the 'Mission Abolition' campaign is backed by Spanish celebrities, including actor Dani Rovira, reporter Julia Otero, and author Rosa Montero.

In previous years, the demonstration saw thousands of animal-lovers snapping lances in half to call for an end to the bloodthirsty 'show' in Tordesillas (Valladolid province, in Castilla y León), but the Toro de la Vega has been 'frustrated', rather than outrightly banned by the regional government as it has passed legislation outlawing killing of bulls outside a designated bull-ring.

The Toro de la Vega involves crowds surrounding a loose bull out in the countryside and hurling spears at it to earn 'points' and once it is floored, is left to bleed slowly to death, meaning by definition the 'spectacle' cannot go ahead without a drastic change in the rules.
This time, instead of breaking lances, protesters wore black headscarves to signify mourning for mistreated and murdered bulls.

"We want to highlight the success of the ban on the Toro de la Vega – it is indubitably a point of reflection," said PACMA's spokeswoman Laura Duarte.

Spanish Passengers With 259 Reptiles In Suitcases

Three Spanish passengers were arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport with a total of 259 live reptiles in their four suitcases.
10 of them had died en-route from an undisclosed destination in México when they were transported illegally to Spain via The Netherlands. The creatures included lizards, turtles and snakes, many of them endangered species including the Chuckwalla lizard which is only found on the Mexican island of San Esteban. Their total market value was said to be around €80,000.

All surviving creatures were taken to a rescue centre or safari park for proper, expert care.

The passengers were arrested and charged with breaking Dutch laws covering flora and fauna transporting and also with animal cruelty as the creatures had been squashed into airless suitcases for a long-haul flight.

Grim Statistics For August On Spanish Roads

A total of 120 people were killed in road accidents in August alone so far and 786 since the start of the year.

Despite traffic police reinforcements to tackle the end-of-August exodus that usually hits the highways over the last weekend of the final month of summer, far fewer cars were on the road than in a typical year, authorities say, but the death toll is now higher than for the whole of August 2015, when 113 people lost their lives in 31 days.

Five people perished, including a cyclist who fell off on a road in the province of Salamanca, Castilla y León, and a 42-year-old motorcyclist who veered off the CV-800 in Xixona (Jijona), in the province of Alicante. Another six were killed in as many accidents, including a 34-year-old man who was hit head-on by a car on the wrong side of the A-67 motorway in the Santander direction in Barreda, with the driver at fault seriously injured in hospital.
Another man aged 48 was killed and a second badly injured when the deceased's lorry cabin veered off the A-7 motorway in Paterna (Valencia), smashing into a concrete wall and then overturning. An entire family was killed in a crash on the road from Alcúdia to Artà in Mallorca.

PP Regional Vice-President Resigns After Being Caught Driving Three Times Over The Alcohol Limit

Deputy President of Castilla y León, Rosa Valdeón has resigned after being caught drink-driving. Ironically, 56-year-old Valdeón is a qualified doctor, surgeon and ex-director of the regional health authority.

She was involved in a non-fatal crash with a lorry and the driver called the police suspecting she may be under the influence.
Her first reading came out at 0.76 milligrams of alcohol per litre of breath exhaled and the second at 0.72. The lower reading is always the one taken officially, but this did not help Valdeón since the maximum permitted by law is 0.25. Valdéon says the high reading would have been because she had taken a tranquilliser along with 'two small beers', or the equivalent of a pint.

Couple Married 37 Years Ago Reunited With Wedding Ring Found By Benidorm Diving Instructor

A diving instructor from Benidorm who found a wedding ring on the sea floor has traced the owner, who lost it over 20 years ago.
Jessy came upon the ring, a man's gold band, in August and launched an appeal and Agustín from Zaragoza came forward. The couple went on a day trip to Benidorm in 1996, and Agustín lost his ring.

Brits In Racing Cars Caught At Twice The Speed Limit

British and Canadian drivers nearly doubling the speed limit in souped-up McLaren racing cars on a Navarra highway have been fined €600 each.

Only three have been caught, since another four were going so fast that the police speed trap was unable to register them.

In the space of seven seconds, as many McLarens shot past, all close together, on the single-carriageway NA-132 from Estella to Sangüesa. The speed limit is 90km/hr and the three drivers who were caught were driving at 163, 167 and 171km/hr.

The seven sports cars had come from the Los Arcos race circuit and were not designed for general road use and caused considerable alarm among residents because their powerful engines give off a roaring noise way above safe decibel levels for public highways.
Although the cars have foreign registration numbers, it is thought the three drivers caught are residents in Spain. Two of them have lost six points from their driving licences and a third, thought to be the Canadian, was issued with an extra fine for not holding a licence valid for driving in Spain.

Halogen Light Bulbs

These are now gradually being withdrawn from sale in a bid to promote LED energy-saving bulbs. Halogen Light Bulbs will now no longer be manufactured and from 2018 can no longer be sold.

The move has come from a European Union directive which seeks to reduce energy consumption by scrapping the power-guzzling halogen bulbs which come in at around 50W each, as opposed to 3W or 5W for their LED equivalents

LED bulbs, which now come in many shapes and sizes and can easily be used to replace halogen ceiling spotlights, last up to 30,000 hours – three times that of a standard light bulb – and are often even brighter. Although they are more expensive to buy, the amount they save on electricity still means they cost less long-term.

According to the European Commission, replacing all standard light bulbs, including halogen bulbs, with LED versions saves the average household in the EU a total of €115 per bulb from the time it is fitted to the moment it needs to be replaced.

Halogen bulbs only last 2,000 hours and use around 10 times as much electricity.