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'Real News from All the Canary Islands'

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​Canary Islands President Visits Fire Affected Areas of Gran Canaria

Canary Islands President Visits Fire Affected Areas of Gran Canaria

Fernando Clavijo, President of the Government of the Canary Islands visited areas affected by the fire that occurred last September at the summit of Gran Canaria to see the work of environmental restoration and the fight against erosion being developed in this region.

During his visit, Clavijo thanked the effort and dedication of all the workers and volunteers who work daily to preserve this natural environment, the Gran Canaria Biosphere Reserve and to restore its splendour. The President explained that an initial amount of half a million euros had been allocated for all these actions, and subsequently increased to 664,000 euros for reforestation and erosion control works, aid for the repair of public lighting, reservoirs, irrigation pipes, damage to home and agriculture, such as vineyards. Specifically, the municipality of San Mateo has received a grant amounting to 81,533 euros, and the municipality of Tejeda a grant of 32,584 euros.

In total, 72 workers of the public company Gesplan linked to the Ministry of Territorial Policy of the Canary Islands Government have worked at environmental restoration that was to end in mid-January, but this was then extended to 22 February. This work has allowed for the removal and treatment of burned forest biomass, restoration of rural infrastructure, natural roads and greenways.

The President acknowledged that there remained work to be done to continue this restoration, and hopes that all administrations will continue to collaborate, such as the Gran Canaria Government and the Government of Spain.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Police Arrest Suspects of Stealing Oranges and Avocados in Gran Canaria

Police Arrest Suspects of Stealing Oranges and Avocados in Gran Canaria

A report by the Guardia Civil published this week says that five people have been arrested for allegedly stealing oranges and avocados from farms in the north and centre of Gran Canaria on six separate occasions.

A specialist team within the Guardia Civil known as the ROCA team investigated these thefts from farms in the Valsequillo, San Mateo and Galdar areas from different farms. One of these arrested is a 38-year-old man, who is a resident of Valsequillo and without a previous police record, and is accused of stealing avocados from a farm in this municipality.

In the municipality of San Mateo, oranges were stolen from a farm in January, and three young people were arrested, who are residents of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and without previous police records.

This intervention by the specialist team of the Guardia Civil managed to recover around 50 kilos of the stolen fruit, which was returned to the owner.

These arrests also involved two robberies in the municipality of Galdar in December 2017 when avocados and other fruits were stolen from two local farms, and a 38-year-old resident of Galdar was arrested on suspicion of this robbery in January this year, who is reported to have numerous police records. 40 kilos of avocados were recovered from this investigation and arrest. In addition, a 53-year-old man and also resident of Galdar was arrested for allegedly stealing avocados from a different farm in this municipality.

This report from the Guardia Civil also notes the potential danger from member of the public who might consume these stolen fruits without relevant health reports, as they could be covered by toxic substances used to control common pests during growing periods, and these chemicals could cause harm to those consuming stolen oranges or avocados. The police recommend that fruit should only be purchased from authorised establishments, and that local residents in these municipalities have given significant help to the police to help arrest those suspected of robbery and to return stolen fruit to the farms that have reported robberies.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Tourists Damaging Sites of Cultural Interest in Gran Canaria

Tourists Damaging Sites of Cultural Interest in Gran Canaria

The Government of Gran Canaria through collaboration with several municipalities across the island has started a study to coordinate and organise the huge influx of visitors to areas of natural and tourist interest on the island, such as the case of the Caldera de Bandama or Roque Nublo with better public transport.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Councillor of the Environment told a press conference this week that the Caldera of Bandama will be a focus study to measure the volume of visitors, to identify how the surroundings have deteriorated or been damaged and to analyse the possibility of providing better and more regular bus transport for visitors to reduce the use of cars.

In the case of Roque Nublo, the Transportation, Tourism and Environment Department is considering organising a circular bus transport circuit with four stops in Tejeda, Artenara, Cruz de Tejeda and Ayacata, so that visitors can access these important sites by using public transport.

This press conference also indicated that at the base of Roque Nublo there will be an information booth and toilet facilities installed, so that visitors would have minimal services and improved care. Also, the purpose of the circular bus route will be to provide transport for hikers who make routes through combinations of trails.

Other places of tourist interest, such as Tilos de Moya, Caldera de Bandama and Degollada de Becerra, will have specific personnel available to give information and advice to tourists, such as about the Biosphere Reserve of Gran Canaria, the Nature Classroom of Inagua and the Nature Classroom of Laurisolva.

Other initiatives include renovating forest houses with little use that could serve as a refuge for mountain hikers and for rural tourism. There are also plans to create a long-distance path from La Palmita in Agaete to the Lighthouse at Maspalomas, which will have public and private facilities for walkers and hikers to spend the night during the trip.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Objectors to New Gas Supply Told to “Calm Down”

Objectors to New Gas Supply Told to “Calm Down”

The Minister of Industry of the Canary Islands Government, Pedro Ortega this week asked those objecting to implementing piped gas in Gran Canaria to stay calm in the current debate of the future of energy across these islands.

Ortega said “I think that in these things we must wait for the waters to calm down for there to be serenity” following a letter sent by the National Commission of Markets and Competition by the Gran Canaria Government which questions the wisdom of the piped gas project announced by Canary Islands Government President, Antonio Morales.

Pedro Ortega said that the Gran Canaria Government is “confusing the Granadilla gas dossier with that of the propane gas, and these are two completely different dossiers, which has caused confusion.” This argument about the introduction of piped gas also included claims that the “sun tax paid by the Canary Islands like those in peninsular Spain was removed in the state budget”. Ortega also says “The Canary Islands were exempt from the sun tax”.

The Canary Islands Government claims that it is continuing to implement the use of renewable energy sources, especially with wind turbines and photovoltaic energy, as well as geothermal energy, as part of the energy mix of these islands.

However, objectors to the introduction of piped gas into the homes of Canary Islands residents at a time of reducing the use of carbon fuels across the world, appear to be unconvinced of this new initiative from the Canary Islands Government.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Hotel Industry Workers Receive Their Diplomas

Hotel Industry Workers Receive Their Diplomas

Over 40 professionals of the hotel industry have received their accreditations of professional skills at the IES Faro de Maspalomas in Gran Canaria. These credentials will give them clear qualifications in the hotel and tourist sector.

This diploma award ceremony was attended by the Vice President and Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Canary Islands Government, Cristobal de la Rosa, and the Infrastructure Director of the Regional Executive, Hector Suarez.

This initiative is intended to increase the level of education for hotel workers, and to link education, employment and tourism. This programme was launched by Hecansa and has enabled hospitality employees to have a professional certification after many years of working in the hotel sector, and now recognises their skills with a diploma.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Hackers Target Companies in the Canary Islands

Hackers Target Companies in the Canary Islands

Several companies in the Canary Islands have been swindled in amounts that in some cases exceed one million euros by hackers who have managed to access the email accounts of senior managers to order transfers of large sums of money to remote bank accounts.

The Policia Nacional has launched a warning this week to companies operating in the Canary Islands about the so-called CEO Scam and also known as the Business Email Compromise Scam, following complaints from several companies that have lost large sums of money.

This scam is reported to be perpetrated by international criminal organisations that hack email accounts of top managers of companies to cause fund movements by deceiving other employees who have access to bank accounts. Usually, an employee receives an email from one of their bosses or even the director of the company, and they are asked to collaborate to carry out a confidential and urgent financial operation.

If victims do not realise that the message comes from a scammer, they are deceived into revealing confidential information of the company, such as the balance of bank accounts, and this is followed by requests to urgently transfer funds to another bank account.

The police report that these scammers appear to know there could be an ongoing acquisition or merger operation that affects the company, and take advantage of these times of change to change the identity of a supplier, contact the financial department and inform the company of a new bank account where payments should be directed.

This scam is also completed successfully when the boss they are impersonating is not accessible, because they are on a trip or busy with internal meetings or professional conferences.

The report from the Policia Nacional advises companies to avoid this type of deception by establishing new protocols of action regarding money transfers and introduce a double verification system before executing sensitive orders. Other recommendations include security measures for communications, such as caution when opening any email from strangers, valuing the business information that is published on the networks, keeping software of the equipment used by the CEO updates and paying special attention to connections through open Wi-Fi networks.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Job Satisfaction in the Canary Islands is Lowest in Spain

Canary Islands Least Attractive Community to Work

El Monitor Adecco produces quarterly measures of potential satisfaction of work opportunities across Spanish regions, and reports this week that Cantabria, Navarra and the Balearic Islands are the best communities to work in, while the Canary Islands take the last place in the survey.

Cantabria takes first position with 6.4 points, and this autonomous region has increased its attraction for work opportunities with a 14% increase from last year.

The Balearic Islands have grown by 1.1% and takes third place with 6.2 points and displaced the Community of Valencia, which now ranks fourth place with 6.1 points.

These findings produced by Barcelo y Asociados researchers takes into account consideration of five fundamental areas of work environment for people, such are remuneration, job security, employment opportunities, professional development and work/life balance based on data from the National Institute of Statistics.

Workers in the Canary Islands remain in the last place for job satisfaction in Spain, but these islands have increased its score by 4.3%, and has 4.6 points. Also, the Canary Islands is shown to have the second lowest average salary in Spain, but this situation has improved in recent years.

Last year, average wages rose on the Canary Islands by 1.4% to reach record highs of 1422 euros per month, but allowing for variations in inflation, the purchasing power of this average salary has fallen by 0.1%.

However, the Canary Islands is the second region that has most reduced long-term unemployment with a 40% improvement, and cut the average time an unemployed person expects to return to work by 2.2 months, and now is 16.1 months and the shortest period in the last six years.

Last year in the Canary Islands, the number of people employed in highly qualified jobs (1000 new jobs) has increased by 0.5% and the average or low employment jobs by 44% (44,500 new jobs).

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Old School in Gran Canaria to become New Multifunctional Health Centre

Old School in Gran Canaria to become New Multifunctional Health Centre

The old school of Los Salesianos de Guia in Gran Canaria will become a multifunctional health centre, and with the expansion of the Tarazona Health Centre, will cover the current demand for health needs of the northern region of the island.

This project will have an investment of over 30 million euros, and is reported to be the largest budget the island government has ever allocated to this municipality.

Following the agreement with the Bishopric to transfer the school grounds to the Island Government, it expects to tender the works this year to convert the former school of Los Salesianos into a residence and day centre in response to local demands that had collected over 16,000 signatures.

This new health centre and social care centre means that 150 places will be created for elderly residents in north of the island. However, there is also investment planned for economic development, such as work to create 70 new parking spaces and enhance the Open Commercial Zone of Guia and the agricultural market.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​New Footbridge for Las Palmas to Connect Port with Las Canteras

New Footbridge for Las Palmas to Connect Port with Las Canteras

The City Council of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has just awarded the contract to construct a footbridge to enable tourists from the port area to access Las Canteras Beach called the Atlantic Wave Port to Tecyr Construcciones y Reparaciones Company for an investment of 2.3 million euros.

Javier Doreste representing the City Council of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria said that this is an important project that should be completed during the summer of 2018 and will improve connections and accessibility between the port and the city, and will specifically help to facilitate access for cruise ship passengers who arrive in the port, but often do not enter the city.

This new footbridge will bring these tourists to the great attractions of the capital city, such as Las Canteras Beach, the district of La Isleta and the Mercado del Puerto. Architects Javier Haddad and Ramon Checa are responsible for the design chosen by public contest, and this will create a pedestrian walkway of a curved outline of 283 metres in length, and will connect the Plaza Mayor Manolo Garcia, located next to the Mercado del Puerto with the northern end of the Sanapu Pier in an aerial route over the GC-1.

This footbridge will be built with a metallic structure, covered by steel sheet with concrete slabs that will serve as the basis for the foundations for the structure. This footbridge will be around 6 metres wide and will normally have a height of around 3 metres, but reach over 5 metres when crossing the GC-1.

The City Council will install 100 square metres of solar panels that will generate the necessary electricity from low consumption LED lights that will be placed along the footbridge. The surface of the footbridge where people and bikes can circulate will have a slope of around 6% and will respect accessibility guidelines. The Canary Islands Development Fund will finance this project.

The designers of the project opted for an idea inspired by the naval industry, discarding screws in the structure and using steel as the main material, since that guarantees 15 years of good health of the footbridge without problems of conservation or maintenance.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​More New Buses for Gran Canaria Passengers

More New Buses for Gran Canaria Passengers

The Global bus company announced this week at a meeting in Ingenio that it is purchasing 15 new buses at a total cost of 3.5 million euros. These buses will come equipped with the latest technologies to increase safety for passengers, such as automatic emergency braking.

Since 2016, 96 vehicles have been added by Global to replace its oldest vehicles, and this renovation has been financed by Gran Canaria Government.

During his speech, the General Director of Global, Victor Quintana said this was needed to promote messages and strategies that spread the values and benefits of public transport, such as energy efficiency and sustainable development.

This meeting was attended by the Mayor of Ingenio, Juan Diaz, the Minister of Transport and Mobility of Gran Canaria Government, Juan Francisco Trujillo Marrero, the Managing Director of the Single Transport Authority of Gran Canaria AUTGC, Miguel Angel Perez del Pino and Councillor for Transport and First Lieutenant of the Mayor of Ingenio, Juan Rafael Caballero.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Canary Islands Exploring Potential of Underground Geothermal Energy

Canary Islands Exploring Potential of Underground Geothermal Energy

The Tenerife Government is proposing that the Spanish Government undertakes drilling exploration to identify the potential of geothermal energy in the Canary Islands, and the only region in Spain where this could possibly exist, but requires around 20 million euros to explore the subsoil.

This motion is presented with the support of all political groups represented in the Tenerife Government, but similar initiatives are being simultaneously presented in Gran Canaria and La Palma, because these three islands specifically have previously made joint efforts to evaluate the geothermal potential of the Canary Islands with direct involvement, but with little success in support from the Spanish Government.

It is suggested that three drilling sites should be sufficient for Tenerife geothermal energy exploration with a third of these costs covered by the island government, one third covered by a private initiative that has an interest, and the need for state aid to cover the final third of costs.

Nemesio Perez, scientific coordinator of Involcan, explained this week that the Division de Vulcanismo y Medio Ambiente del Instituto Tecnologico y de Enbergias Renovables (ITER) or the Division of Volcanism and Environment of Technological and Renewable Energy Institute, and the Volcanic Energy Centre have carried out previous projects to search for geothermal resources of high temperatures of more than 150º C or enthalpy in Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Iceland, Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand and Rwanda.

The special case of the Canary Islands is remarkable as this impact of renewable energy source could produce virtually emission-free and continuous production at all hours every day, as well as allowing improvements in the security and stability of the existing electric power supply.

In Tenerife, there are five mining areas or domains of over 100 square kilometres for geothermal exploration including Guia de Isora, Santiago del Teide, Garachico, Icod de los Vinos, Arona, Adeje, Vilaflor, San Miguel de Abona, Granadilla de Abona, Arico, Fasnia, Guimar, Candelaria and Arafo.

IGME or the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain has widely studied the Canary Islands for its great geothermal potential due to active underground volcanic activity between 1970 and 1980 with favourable results, and was considered the only region of Spain with high enthalpy geothermal resources was the Canary Islands. However, over the last 20 years no progress has been made in geothermal research in these islands.

This demand by the Tenerife Government on behalf of all the Canary Islands said that there is already necessary and sufficient support from public and private entities that is needed for geothermal energy to contribute to strengthening the energy mix of the Canary Islands, and the geothermal research techniques and methods, and efficiency of these plants have evolved remarkably over recent years, and now allow the exploitation of previously unviable deposits, which has renewed interest on a global scale for generating electrical energy with this system.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Red Cross Provides First Aid Care for Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival

Red Cross Provides First Aid Care for Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival

The Red Cross has organised a team of 300 first aid responders to be ready for any incidents during Carnival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria this week. These will also be supported by 1300 Policia Local officers and over 100 local street cleaners to make sure everyone is safe, healthy and that streets are cleaned up afterwards.

This team has already been working to provide the support needed for such a big Carnival event and will continue until these events come to an end. There is a medical post set up close to Santa Catalina Park in Calle Eduardo Benot, which will have 15 professional health workers, such as doctors, nurses, health personnel, a psychosocial team and a rapid intervention team, as well as 90 volunteers who will observe the area to determine if any intervention is needed from ambulance teams with advanced life support equipment.

In the main Carnival parade on Saturday 17 February and at the burial of the sardine on Sunday 18 February the number of first aid responders will reach 150 people with human, mechanical and nautical resources to guarantee everyone’s safety – except for the sardine who will be buried.

The police are also planning to create a space within this medical centre to support people who are victims of gender violence and for people who consume too much alcohol during the night parties of Carnival. Of course, many people in Las Palmas will be dressed in many different costumes this week, and there could be many doctors and nurses who may just be there for the party!

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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UK Government to finally deliver on pledge to give back British expats the right to vote

The government publishes its response to the consultation on the votes for life policy statement and commits to deliver a lifelong vote to British expats

The government will today (8 February) restate its commitment to ending the current 15 year time limit on British expats registering as overseas electors.

As well as removing a time limit on the right to vote for UK citizens living abroad, the government intends to enfranchise any British expats who was previously resident or registered to vote in the UK. This is part of the government’s wider ambition to strengthen the foundation of democracy and continually increase voter registration by ensuring every voter’s voice is heard.

Combined, these changes will mean millions of UK citizens overseas will be eligible to register to vote. British expats – under existing laws – have the lowest level of voter registration of any group.

The government published the policy statement “A democracy that works for everyone: British citizens overseas” in October 2016 asking for views on its detailed plans to introduce votes for life. It set out how it would scrap the rule that bars British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting in UK Parliamentary Elections, as set out in the government’s manifesto.

The response to the consultation about the votes for life policy statement will be published on GOV.UK today, ahead of the second reading debate in the House of Commons on 23 February of Glyn Davies MP Private Members’ Overseas Electors Bill.

The policy statement attracted a range of responses from the electoral community and the public.

Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith said:

Participation in our democracy is a fundamental part of being British, no matter how far you have travelled from the UK. It is right that we should remove the 15-year time limit on voting rights of British citizens living overseas and allow those who previously lived in the UK the chance to participate in our democracy.
Expats retain strong links with the United Kingdom: they may have family here, and indeed they may plan to return here in the future. Modern technology and cheaper air travel has transformed the ability of expats to keep in touch with their home country.
Following the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we need to strengthen ties with countries around the world and show the UK is an outward-facing nation. Our expat community has an important role to play in helping Britain expand international trade, especially given two-thirds of expats live outside the EU.




You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':
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​Gran Canaria Hits New Record for Tourist Numbers

Gran Canaria Hits New Record for Tourist Numbers

A press release from the Gran Canaria Government confirms a new historical record for the number of tourists visiting during 2017, and these 4,587,000 tourists represent an increase of 8.6% and 363,900 more visitors than 2016.

This press release also states that in just two years, the number of people choosing Gran Canaria as their holiday destination increased by 23% and reflects 870,000 more visitors.

Gran Canaria has experienced the highest growth in the arrival of foreign tourists during 2017 with 10% or 360,000 more international visitors than in 2016, and has served to mark a new historical figure with more than 4 million international visitors.

The Scandinavian market has been of significant importance in 2017 for Gran Canaria and overcome the previous barrier of one million tourists from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark and now stands at 1,030,000 visitors from these countries. This shows an increase of 9.7% and 91,300 more visitors compared to 2016.

Germany contributed 1,011,000 tourists with a 5.5% increase, and UK tourists increased by 52% with 300,000 more visitors in three years.

The French market continues to grow with 8.8% increase and 108,000 more French visitors, and has quadrupled in the last seven years. Italian tourists represent a doubling of tourists over the last six years, and 19.26% increase or 17,900 Italians more in 2017.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Weather Conditions in Gran Canaria to Get Considerably Worse

Weather Conditions in Gran Canaria Today to Get Considerably Worse

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment and Emergencies of Gran Canaria Government issued a statement today that the weather conditions on the island will get considerably worse during the day. He said that although all roads are now open, there are very strong winds and at the Pico de las Nieves the temperatures have fallen to very low levels of 1ºC.

The problem today is that four weather phenomena will occur at the same time with wind, rain, waves on the coast and snowfall, and snow could even fall in the area of Las Lagunetas in the municipality of San Mateo.

Rodriguez explains that snow and ice sheets on roads could close many roads from Las Lagunetas to higher regions, and that many local residents could find themselves to be isolated.

Residents are asked for maximum cooperation, because it is dangerous to drive in these conditions, and although snowfall can attract a lot of interest to enjoy this unusual phenomenon in the Canary Islands, it also currently presents a very dangerous situation.

Local residents in northern regions and higher open spaces in Gran Canaria are also asked to remove pots with plants and other ornaments near to windows, as wind speeds could exceed 100 kilometres per hour, and branches of trees could fall and landslides could block roads. Therefore, maximum caution is needed for all residents, and people should avoid driving until the weather conditions improve.

Fishermen are also asked not to go out on boats as sea conditions are currently potentially dangerous, and the public are asked not to park their cars in dry ravines, as these ravines could flood with the heavy rains expected in these regions. Currently, there are over 500 government employees working to maintain the security of the island and its residents.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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