News in brief


The Supreme Court has ruled that an insurance company does not need to pay out a €60,000 life insurance whose holder had died after playing a friendly game of paddle. His insurers refused to pay out claiming that the man’s death, caused by a pulmonary thrombosis after he damaged his knee, was “not an accident”. Although the family initially won the backing of a local court, the insurance company appealed and the Supreme Court last week ruled against the family. “An accident is defined as a sudden violent act against the will of the victim, and this was a medical issue” ruled the court.


Six pedestrians were killed by cars last year in Roquetas, and as a result the council had started a survey to improve pedestrian safety across the town. One of its first reports has suggested extending the time traffic lights stay red at pedestrian crossings so that crossers do not have to rush. A recent experiment by Granada city council has had favourable results and so Roquetas has decided to imitate it. Red lights at pedestrians crossings will thus be extended to 90 seconds. But opposition party IU claims the city council is having a knee-jerk reaction without properly studying the consequences.


The opposition parties in Roquetas de Mar have presented an eight point plan against wild camping in the town. The plan is based on by-laws passed by other coastal towns across Andalucía. Mayor Gabriel Amat had dismissed wild camping concerns in the previous plenary meeting by saying that he had no power to do anything about it, something the opposition parties say is simply not true. Wild campers, mainly motorhomes which park on the beaches and seafront of the town, have caused many complaints over the last year, as well as concern over where they are emptying their chemical toilets.


A new campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues is to be launched across the region, and the province’s different associations are planning a busy calendar of events during 2016. A new training and certification course for home helpers will be launched soon, as part of a campaign to help the vulnerable and their families understand the help on offer. And associations have banded together to help get vulnerable people into employment via a number of new training schemes being launched across the province. Almería will participate in the new Andalusian mental health observatory (OSMA) which aims to help early diagnosis of mental health issues.


Albox city centre is to become an open commercial centre until new plans drawn up by the city council to revitalise the area. Shops will be encouraged to move to the centre under the new plans, the local chamber of commerce is onboard and streets will be modernised to encourage shoppers. As part of the plans, plans are afoot for the plaza de abastos to become an entertainment and shopping centre at the heart of the town. Mayor Rogelio said he was very excited about the new plans and looked forwards to obtaining the necessary certifications from the Junta de Andalucia.


Ecologist grouping Equo Almería has demanded that the regional government clarify its position on the cochinea plague that is affecting the chumberas (pricky pear cactus) of the province. The regional government has refused to intervene in the plague, as the chumbera is an invasive species. However, Equo says that this is no reason not to give clear advice to land-owners who are concerned about the plague, and that the Junta should decide upon a clear policy. Chumberas in scenic locations should be protected, say the ecologists, who add that the simplest way of clearing the cochinea fly from the cactus is by spraying the leaves with soapy water under pressure.


The opposition PSOE party has submitted a 10 point plan to Almería city council on improvements in the El Alquián area of the city. The main point is to improve access to the popular beaches there, as over parking and dangerous pedestrian access cause many accidents in the summer. Another suggestion is to improve road lighting around the football stadium, where a number of night accidents have recently occurred. The PSOE have also demanded better cleaning, maintenance and security patrols for the area, which it says is becoming “neglected and run down”.


Vera city council has awarded its golden sun (sol de oro) city prize to the Vera Playa residents association (asociación de Vecinos residentes en la playa de Vera). The award was presented to association president José Hernández at a ceremony held at Madrid’s tourism fair FITUR last weekend. The prize was awarded for the hard work of the association in creating a community on the beach. Mayor Feliz said that “although Almería is a province drowning under a sea of plastic, places such as Vera Playa help remind us that before the plastic there was the sun, and that Vera is a town of sun, beach and tourism”.


A warehouse in Almería was raided by police on Monday who discovered it contained 1,885 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The owner of the warehouse, located in Viator, was arrested by officers. The warehouse was fully equipped as a greenhouse, with automatic watering and heating systems being installed. The warehouse had an illegal connection to the local electric network. There was also a small laboratory where the plants were processed into the narcotic for later sale. Officers discovered the plantation after making arrests of small time drug pushers who admitted the location of their supplier.


The Consejo Consultivo de Andalucía (CCA), which issues guidelines for public bodies in the region, has awarded compensation of €208,626 to a woman who left arm was paralysed during a routine operation in Almería’s Torrecardenas hospital. The woman had checked into the hospital in May 2011 for the removal of a lipoma from her neck, but the surgeon damaged the nerves in her left shoulder. The hospital recognised that it had caused the problem, but denied responsibility. The regional health service eventually offered a compensation package which has now been agreed by the CCA. The woman, who worked as a farmhand, had asked for €230,000 in loss of earnings.

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