Local and Inland News

Gibraltar Customs officers attacked while on patrol

Customs officers were making a routine patrol of the frontier fence on Monday when they spotted a group of four men in hooded tracksuits near it.

In an unprovoked attack, the men began to throw stones at the officers before fleeing across the fence into Spain where they continued throwing stones and other objects. The Gibraltar Defence Police marine section which came to their support also came under attack. No-one was injured in this incident.

Meanwhile, in unrelated incidents, HM Customs seized over 58,500 cigarettes (292 cartons) and four Spanish registered vehicles in different areas. Four Spaniards were arrested in connection with the seizures and charged under the recent amendment to the Tobacco Act which provides for the offence of concealing cigarettes in a vehicle.

Town turns out to bury Paco de Lucía

The whole of Algeciras turned out last Saturday to bury its most famous son  - world famous guitarist Paco de Lucia who died of a heart attack at his home in Cancun, Mexico on February 26th.

He was 66. His death cast a shadow over Andalusia Day celebrations across the region on the 28th. His remains arrived in Madrid late Thursday night and were taken to the National Auditorium where his friends and admirers paid their last respects on Friday. Crown Prince Felipe was among the hundreds of people who had started queuing as early as 6 am.

The coffin was then taken to Algeciras where it arrived just after midnight on Friday and was installed in the Ayuntamiento's plenary meeting room, covered in the Spanish and Andalusian flags. People not just from the town but from all over Andalusia started paying their respects at 3 am. Shortly after noon, the funeral service was held at the Nuestra Señora de la Palma  church before the coffin was carried to the town's old cemetery where his father and mother are buried. De Lucia had spent little time at his home town since he became famous more than 40 years ago but he had  expressed a wish to be buried next to his parents. 

Mayor José Ignacio Landaluce (PP) thanked the public for the "great affection, admiration and respect" they had shown in their "last tribute to the greatest guitarist of all times" and declared two days of official mourning. He called the musician's death an "irreparable loss for the world of culture and for Andalusia".

A very special musician
Paco de Lucia became famous for a series of flamenco albums in the 1970s, but he also crossed over into classical and jazz guitar. He also worked on films by Spanish director Carlos Saura, notably appearing in his 1983 version of Carmen, which won a UK Bafta award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1985.   Paying tribute to a "very special musician", fellow Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco Pena, 71, said: "Once in a while someone comes along in a musical discipline who changes everything, who sees things that others have not seen up to that point, and Paco de Lucia was one of these people. After   him, flamenco radically changed and the proof is that so many young people have taken his lead and now flamenco is full of that virtuosity."

De Lucia was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez on December 21st, 1947, the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez, who was of Gypsy origin. He took his stage name in honour of his mother, Lucia Gomes. He started playing the guitar from the age of five. "My family grew up with the Gypsies," the guitarist was quoted as saying in a 1994 article in Guitar Player.

"My father and all my brothers played guitar, so before I picked it up, before I could speak, I was listening. Before I started to play, I knew every rhythm of the flamenco. I knew the feeling and the meaning of the music, so when I started to play, I went directly to the    sound I had in my ear." At the age of 18 he recorded his first album in Madrid. One of the great musical partnerships of his life  was with the singer Camaron de la Isla, who died in 1992. The two   men recorded albums in the 1970s, which inspired a New Flamenco movement.
In 2004, Paco de Lucia was awarded Spain's prestigious Asturias Prize for Art as the "most universal of flamenco artists". The jury said at the time: "His style has been a beacon for young generations and his art has made him into one of the best ambassadors of Spanish culture in the world." Among those he worked with outside Spain was British guitarist John McLaughlin.

Largest ever attempt to storm Ceuta

Early on Tuesday morning, between 1,000 and 1,200 people launched a massive assault on the double fence separating Ceuta from Morocco but Moroccan security forces drove them back without reported incidents.

This was the largest single attempt of its kind since desperate migrants first employed the tactic of rushing the border fences in Ceuta and Melilla en masse.

The Madrid government delegation in Ceuta said that this assault had involved around 90 per cent of the total number of migrants camped out in the nearby mountains, where some remain for months or even years waiting for their chance to reach European soil. 

A week earlier some 200 migrants successfully climbed the fences at Melilla, leaving another 300 on the other side. Many were wounded by the razor wire on the fences but that did not stop them from running jubilantly through the streets of the enclave.

Once they are in, the migrants know they stand a good chance of being transferred to the mainland, where they may wait for months to be deported, although a    large percentage of them manage to avoid deportation, thanks to Spain's lenient laws. 

The razor wire is not a huge problem for people planning an attempt to enter Europe. Guardia Civil sources said: "The sub-Saharans, who even know the shifts and timetables of the Civil Guards, know exactly which sections have it."
A government spokesman said the razor wire had been installed in the places where the most attempts are made." But the migrants, who know exactly where it is, simply try elsewhere.

Shops opt for Sunday opening

More than 120 shops have joined Malaga City Hall's attempt to encourage shops to open on Sundays and holidays when cruise ships are docked in the port.
Known as "Málaga Cruise Shops", only 20 shops had joined when the initiative was launched at the beginning of last September, a number which rose to 40 in October.
A City Hall spokesman said the latest figure surpassed all expectations. He said since then the news had got around that the income of the shops taking part had risen considerably, encouraging other stores to join.
Last year, there were 66 Sundays and holidays and 31 cruise ships in all docked at the port on those days.
This year, the shops which join the initiative will be asked to open from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm on those Sundays and holidays when cruise   ships are in the port.
City Hall will prepare pamphlets and maps which will be emailed to the ships 24 hours before they dock at Malaga to be made available to the holidaymakers.

Charity auction reminder

Animals in Distress's next Charity Auction will be held on Friday, February 7th, starting at 7.00 pm at the Hiedra Restaurant which is just inside the entrance to the Poligono Rosa on the A404 Alhaurin el Grande to Coin road.
People wishing to enter items for sale should let A.I.D. know 24 hours before the auction. Bring your items between 5 pm and 6 pm to be logged in by Chris and his helpers. A 15 per cent commission will be deducted from the sale of each item, which goes to the charity. Donations of bric-a-brac, furniture, jewellery, etc. are welcome.
For further details call Chris on 528 239 174 and Joe on 626 942 427.     A.I.D. is a registered charity No. 7974.
For details go to its website www.animals-in-distress.eu

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Issue 272 April 16th 2014


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Living and working in Spain