Madrid, Aug 11, 2019 (AFP) - A huge fire raging on the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria has sparked the evacuation of hundreds of people and seen the arrest of a man suspected of lighting the blaze, authorities said Sunday. Around 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) have so far been destroyed in the fire, which erupted Saturday in the western municipality of Artenara near the provincial capital of Las Palmas.
Some 1,000 residents evacuated overnight have not yet been allowed to return to their homes, emergency services said in a statement on Sunday. Police said they had detained a man for allegedly starting the fire by using welding equipment. Fire fighters battling the flames seemed to have the upper hand by Saturday evening but a change in wind direction worsened the situation overnight, Canary Islands president Angel Victor Torres told Spanish radio COPE on Sunday.
More than 200 fire fighters, including an emergency military unit deployed only for worst-case scenarios, were trying to bring the situation under control, he added. Ten water bomber planes and helicopters have been mobilised to help contain the fires before the sun went down and winds picked up again. He said three areas remained of major concern, including one where the fire proved particularly difficult.
The mountainous landscape of the volcanic island, a part of which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in July, has been complicating matters, Torres said. Spain, the world's second most popular tourist destination, is frequently plagued by huge forest fires because of its arid climate in summer.
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2019 13:14:29 +0200 (METDST)
Madrid, Aug 6, 2019 (AFP) - Spanish police on Tuesday were investigating vandalism targeting rental cars on the holiday island of Majorca by a far-left group which regularly stages summer protests against mass tourism. Arran, a far-left youth group, posted a video on social media showing two masked activists smashing windshields of rental cars with a hammer at night in Palma, the capital of the island, as well as spray painting the vehicles and puncturing their tires.
The group, which in recent years has carried out similar protests in the Balearic Islands as well as Barcelona and Valencia, argues rental vehicles are polluting and a symbol of the "saturation" of the island with visitors. Police opened an investigation after receiving a complaint from a car rental company, a spokesman for the Balearic Islands police told AFP. Only one complaint has been filed so far but police are "investigating to see if there are any other people affected," the spokesman added. In the video posted by Arran at least two cars are shown to be damaged. The group campaigns for the independence of the "Catalan Countries" encompassing several Catalan-speaking regions of Spain and France, including the Balearic Islands.
Majorca is the largest of the Mediterranean Balearic Islands, which received just under 14 million visitors last year, mainly from Germany and Britain. Spain, the second most visited country in the world after France, has seen a rise of anti-visitor sentiment in tourism hotspots such as Palma and Barcelona. Critics complain that mass tourism strains infrastructure such as roads, public transit and water supply and drives up the cost of housing and pollutes the environment.
In July Arran put up a large sign in a building in the centre of Barcelona that read: "Tourism kills the city". In 2017 masked members for the group forced a sightseeing bus in Barcelona to stop and then slashed its tires. Tourism accounts for over 10 percent of Spain's economic output -- and up to 45 percent in the case of the Balearic Islands. "Thank you very much to the tourists who use rental cars to visit the paradise we live in, and revitalise our economy" the former conservative head of the regional government of the Balearics, Ramon Bauza, wrote on Twitter in reaction to the Arran video.
The Junta [governing body] has closed a water source in the municipality of Darro (Granada) after confirming that it has been the source of infection of a serious outbreak with about 90 cases of gastroenteritis that has affected adults and children, although only 4 of them have had to spend a night in hospital. Sources from the Ministry of Health have reported that the outbreak of acute gastroenteritis initially reported by Ideal newspaper on Wed 24 Jul 2019, was detected on 17 Jul 2019 and that after confirming its waterborne origin, the source in which the causing bacteria were localized has been closed.
The Junta has carried out "exhaustive analyses" that have confirmed that the public water supply network is "in perfect condition", so it has conveyed a message of tranquility to the population, which can consume this drinking water without any risk to health. Following the suspicion that the outbreak of gastroenteritis was waterborne, the Public Health Epidemiology Unit and the Health Protection Unit of the Northeast Granada Area launched an action protocol.
After different controls of the municipality's public supply network, it is concluded that the controls of drinking water during that period had been satisfactory. In a statement, the Board has pointed out that it is "customary" among the residents of the town, about 1500 inhabitants, to drink from this source of untreated water.
[Knowing whether the patients had fever and whether the symptoms were primarily vomiting or diarrhea would be useful in speculating about a potential etiology of the cluster. It is also possible that the outbreak could be due to more than one pathogen. - ProMED Mod.LL]
Aragonese health authorities have confirmed a measles outbreak in the province of Huesca, more specifically, by a contagion that occurred in the emergency department of the Barbastro Hospital, which in turn had its origin in a patient who returned from Romania with measles.
So far, 3 cases have been confirmed, including the patient considered to be the "index case," the traveller who, after returning from Romania, "coincided in the observation room of the emergency department of the Hospital of Barbastro with the other 2 cases."
The same sources have indicated that none of these 3 patients had a history of vaccination.
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2019 16:07:07 +0200
Barcelona, July 26, 2019 (AFP) - A weekend strike by ground crew at Barcelona airport, Spain's second largest, has already forced the cancellation of over 100 flights, Spanish airline Vueling said Friday. Hundreds more flights could eventually be affected in peak season by the walkout, the government has warned.
Vueling, a subsidiary of British group IAG which also owns Spain's flagship carrier Iberia and British Airways, said it has already cancelled 112 flights to and from Barcelona this weekend. "To try to cause minimal inconvenience to our customers, we have been forced to plan the early cancellation of some flights," said Vueling.
But the strike of 2,700 Iberia ground crew called for July 27 and 28 could be even more far-reaching, Spain's public works ministry warned on Thursday, given Iberia workers "serve 27 companies in the airport of Barcelona." "It could affect around 1,000 flights," it said in a statement.
The ministry has established a minimum service of 54 percent for international flights and 32 percent in national connections. The ground crew are on strike to denounce a "lack of personnel" and "abuse of extra hours", particularly during peak season in July and August. Iberia said the strike was "disproportionate" and slammed that it "is taking place during critical days" when those coming back from their July holidays coincide with those going for August.