In real life, I am an ancient historian, and was a university lecturer in Classics & Ancient History specializing in rhetoric, law and politics before moving to Tenerife. I’ve been here now for ten years that have gone in an astonishing flash, after finding Higher Education had become little more than a processing factory for successful graduates who would be in debt for decades, or unsuccessful ones who were set up by the system to feel like abject failures after being encouraged to aspire to a level of education that was simply beyond them. Tenerife was our holiday home from home before 2004, and the obvious place to choose to retire. It is a sub-tropical haven with a pretty much year-round Spring climate and a language and culture both exotic and familiar. For anyone who wants to stay in Europe but in a place with a buzz, and who has rheumatoid arthritis, like me, and so needs steady humidity and kind temperatures, it is just about perfect.
I live with my husband in a tiny 200-year-old Canarian cottage on the edge of a mountain village a kilometer above the west coast. Our garden is full of flowers and trees, and lizards who now clearly consider us protection and food source combined. We have to resist constant demands for more egg mayonnaise, and shuffle them out of the way as they run at us for more banana now please! One thing I love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, something I think expatriates’ bodies simply need, and in Spring the air is heady with blossom scent from fruit and almond trees, and in autumn it’s a glorious relief to see autumnal colour and falling leaves while watching the mist rolling up the barranco like a steam train! Here’s a view from up here that I never tire of, looking out over the sea to the light show over La Gomera that is different every day. The “blessed isles”. Yes, indeed!
Over the last decade, I have spent quite a bit of my time indulging my interest in houses and homes, particularly interior design but also architecture – ancient architecture was always one of my favourite sidelines in work. My main fields, however, of rhetoric, law and politics have been the launchpad for considerable research into modern Spanish law and politics. If I see this website as having any function beyond that of personal enjoyment, it is as a source of advocacy for anyone thinking of moving here, or actually living here and struggling with bureaucracy and legalities. Ideally in such a place, people would be stress free and fulfilling their ideal of “living the dream”, but all too often it turns into a nightmare. I hope this site is helpful to anyone looking for accurate up-to-date information about what is happening here as well as a straightforward guide to the legalities and bureaucracy involved for resident and visiting foreigners, and their rights and responsibilities.
Please investigate the tabs across the top of the page. They lead to information and advice on being legal, owning property or living here – there are also a few private sales for those looking to buy property – as well as questions and answers on a wide range of related topcis. There are links to pages on everything from the rights of consumers generally to those of patients in the health service in particular, and from keeping dogs to donating a body to science! Under “Useful Stuff”, you’ll find some Spanish vocabulary, links to jobs available for English speakers, books written about Tenerife, essential places to visit, readers’ photos, how to stay safe in heat and water, and a full calendar of “what’s on” with links to detailed information about events.
Below on this page are the latest of regularly-updated posts about news and events; for earlier items, just look to the right and click on the main news link or on a particular date in the calendar (just hover over a date and it will show you the posts made on that day). The right hand column also has buttons to “follow me” on Facebook, Twitter or by RSS feed; a search box to help locate news items or information of interest; links to recent comments made by readers (please do express opinions or ask questions – just click on individual headlines to find the comments box); and the latest news from the BBC and in English from El Pais. The final tab at the top of the page is to Links and Laws, a whole range of legal, official, practical and inspirational resources for anyone with an interest in this wonderful island I call home.
COPYRIGHT: Apart from press releases or where expressly stated otherwise, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or the source I quote and the copyright is protected and reserved. Readers are welcome to take text without permission as long as they expressly name and provide a link to this site. If anyone wants to use anything without crediting me in this way, please ask first.
Latest news and events in Tenerife
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They pay their IBIs, and might think that the council should provide the service, but frustration has finally got to the residents of Palm Mar and they have taken matters into their own hands. Fed up with litter and dog mess left by the irresponsible and uncaring, and even worse, Arona Ayuntamiento’s lethargy and uninterest, a small but growing group of currently around 20 residents has been organized.
The group is using Facebook’s Palm Mar Group (HERE) to update all the residents on events and future schedules, and chairman Peter Clarke says that the first meeting was held at Clouseau’s on Sunday, 28 September, with the next meeting at El Mocan on Saturday, 26 October. Peter says he would also like to thank Paul, Mark, Tess, Sue and Jan for their wonderful efforts this week.
Good luck to them. They shouldn’t have to do it, but sometimes needs must, particularly for motivated and responsible residents. Here are some photos from that FB group.
Update 1 October: Plebiscite or no, oil exploration will start around the end of November, Industria minister José Manuel Soria said on breakfast television. On the issue of Madrid’s stance on the “referendum”, Soría said that it was still not absolutely clear what the regional government was intending, but if the Canarian Parliament passed a motion for an unconstitutional referendum, the national government would take action – as it would in any other area.
Thoughts mught turn to the current major controversy about the proposed independence referendum planned in Catalonia, with the government saying that this weeks ruling from the top Constitutional Court that such a referendum would be illegal could end result in the regional president being sent to prison. Could the same happen in the Canaries? Is this why lame duck President Rivero is calling for a plebiscite, rather than a referendum proper?
Oil exploration, anyway, is set to start regardless of the politics, with Soría saying that Spain’s unemployment figures and poverty levels do not allow the luxury of the country turning its back on such an opportunity.
Update 4 September: Canarian president Paulino Rivero has announced in parliament this morning that the “consulta popular” on oil prospecting will take place before 30 November. The vote will not be a referendum, but a plebiscite, since it will not be legally binding but is intended to determine the opinion of Canarian residents. Even so, Madrid has forbidden it, but the vote will go ahead, says Sr Rivero, regardless.
Update 11 April: As expected, Madrid has now debated and formally vetoed Canarian President Paulino Rivero’s plans for a referendum, saying it would be unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. In response, Coalicion Canaria’s Claudina Morales accused Industria minister Soría of acting out of nothing but sheer self interest. She said in Parliamentary session that Soría knew he would never now be Canarian president, that his conservative party would lose the next general election, and that he was therefore feathering his nest and setting up future employment with Repsol, the company set to carry out the exploration and drilling.
In the face of demands for her to retract her words, she was backed up by nationalist group leader José Miguel Barragán. Feelings are running high on both sides, but the end result will be that any referendum that the Canaries might yet hold will be deemed not just illegal but also constitutionally disobedient, and would run the risk of Madrid taking legal action against the islands.
Original post 12 February: A huge row has blown up between the Canaries and Madrid over oil prospecting off the eastern islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. The president of the Canaries, Paulino Rivero, has proposed a referendum in these islands as to whether oil exploration by Repsol should proceed. The national government, however, and in particular the Industry minister, José Manuel Soria, himself a Canarian, has said that such a referendum would be illegal because the decision on whether to go ahead is not within the jurisdiction of the Canaries – the people or their government.
Canarian minister Fernando Ríos has retorted by supporting the regional president, saying that the proposed consultative exercise is “legal and profoundly democratic” because it is backed by national laws governing autonomous regions, as well as the Spanish constitution itself, and Canarian government legislation. Sr Rios said said that minister Soria’s comments are nothing but an attempt to shore up support for the national government, and to deny the Canarians – of whom he is one – a voice.
Some will no doubt see the Canarian president as posturing for political gain given that he has been losing support for his re-election bid in his own party, while others will welcome any attempt to get the region a say in something that many see as a vital issue for the Canaries. It would indeed be interesting to see whether the Canaries as a political voice would be swayed more by environmental arguments than economic ones. Whether the people will have a chance to express that view is another matter entirely.
Adeje’s Fiestas Patronales start this Saturday, 4 October, and from next week there will be a whole range of events on offer until 19 October. The full list of events is HERE from the Ayuntamiento, and has been translated into English by Clio O’Flynn of Radio Sur Adeje English Time HERE - Clio says that timings are correct at the time of going to press and she will post any changes on the Adeje English Time Facebook page HERE. The “big” night, for most, will be Monday, 13 October, when there will be the traditional fiesta parade of the town’s icon of the Virgin Mary, followed by fireworks and entertainment. Adeje’s fiestas patronales end on the 19th with the local romería in Calle Grande, a traditional procession not to be missed.
Update 29 September: I was there today, this is a really good arts and crafts fair/market with some special stalls. There is sculpture from Peru, leather from the Andes, chess sets from Morocco, jewellery from Argentina, and that’s without mentioning ceramics from Portugal or silverware from Barcelona, let alone some fantastic stalls from the Canaries themselves. If you were in any doubt, give it a go … check out official photos HERE.
Update 26 September: This major arts and crafts fair is all set now for its opening tomorrow. The above picture released by the Cabildo shows the extent of the fair. This is a big one!
Original post 17 September:The 3rd Feria Tricontinental de Artesanía will be held between 27 September and 5 October in the carpark area on the sea front between the Conquistador hotel and Parque Santiago 1. The major fair has been organized by the Tenerife Cabildo and Arona Ayuntamiento and preparations, including the huge tents of more than 2,000 square metres, are already well underway.
The artisan fair brings together arts and crafts from three continents – Africa, America and Europe, particularly Spain and Portugal. The previous two fairs have attracted over 100,000 visitors, and organizers say that they hope this time will be even better for the more than 200 artisans who will be displaying at the fair. Entry is free, and doors open between 10am and 9pm.
Update 29 September: Here’s the masterclass. Hope he does it again some time!
Update 27 September: Starmus bids goodbye to Tenerife today with a final day’s events in the Adán Martín auditorium in Santa Cruz. The hall is already filling for talks by Stephen Hawking and Alexei Leonov – the above picture has been released by the auditorium itself. There’s a live stream of the event HERE.
Last night the Magma Centre rocked at ear-splitting level to Rick Wakeman, joined on keyboards throughout the concert by his son Adam, current keyboard player for Ozzy Osbourne’s Black Sabbath. Rick explained that Adam had a break in his schedule and was delighted to join his father for the Starmus concert. Rick also said that he had been coming to Tenerife since 1985 but had never performed here before. That was well and truly set to rights last night, not least with the final piece of the set, Yes’ Starship Trooper.
As fantastic as many of the audience clearly found the concert, however, the universally acknowledged highlight was Brian May, who came on stage to give a guitar masterclass just over midway through the concert, switching to acoustic guitar for a rendition of Queen’s 39 – a piece written, he explained, from the perspective of a space traveller who returns, as Einstein forecast, in a short time to find that time has moved on much more on Earth. May also returned to the stage to play out the Starship Trooper finale. He might have been buzzing at how successful Starmus had been, but that will have been nothing to the buzz and memory that the audience will have had from hearing this music legend, and now Dr of astrophysics, perform.
Here are a couple of photos from last night … hasta la vista, one might say …
Quick link for Starmus programme HERE.
Update 24 September: Today’s conference talks were the last real lectures of Starmus 2014, at least in the south – there’s a major day of talks on Saturday in the Santa Cruz auditorium, including Alexei Leonov and Stephen Hawking’s second lecture. Today could have been a bit of a let down after the fireworks of Dawkins and Hawking yesterday and Monday, but that was very far from the case!
First up was Charlie Duke, astronaut from the Apollo 16 mission, and the only one at the conference, I believe, who has been on the moon, and it was indeed incredible to contemplate sharing the conference hall with someone who is amongst just a handful of people who have stood on a world other than our Earth! Charlie’s talk of the Apollo 16 mission and the moon landing was fascinating and inspiring, but he digressed at the end to share his views on Christianity and astrology . The juxtaposition of a scientific talk by an astronaut who’d been to the moon with the espousal of religion and a Christian interpretation of the zodiac was bemusing, and given that Richard Dawkins was in the front row of the audience, somewhere on a line from brave to, um, let’s say moonstruck!
The second talk was by Harold Kroto, chemist and Nobel Laureate. His talk was about Carbon in Nano and Outer Space. A bundle of laughs, some might think … but they’d be right! This was no dull talk, and this was no ordinary Nobel Laureate. They are generally humble and normal people, I’ve found from the few I’ve come into contact with, but Kroto is something else. This is a man who loves jokes and puns, who loves – and draws – graphics and cartoons, a man who loves wine, and play! A graduate of Sheffield, Harry – or rather, Sir Harold! - is now emeritus professor at the University of Sussex where he spent most of his career, and Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry at Florida State University. His lecture ranged from cartoon images, to wine, to the need for lack of pressure, to the essential nature of play, and of course to his discovery of C60, the first fullerene molecule to be discovered, and the reason for his Nobel prize. If any talk encapsulated Brian May’s dictum about the interrelated and interdisciplinary nature of studies into humanity and its place in the universe, the underlying ethos of Starmus, it was Harold Kroto’s, and the delegates clearly recognized this, giving the Laureate chemist a standing ovation.
After coffee, astronaut Walt Cunningham took the stand, and gave an utterly inspiring talk about his involvement in the Apollo 7 mission and about the Apollo programme overall. Cunningham took as his theme not space, nor the moon, but the nature of adventure itself. He ranged from political correctness to the risk-averse nature of business and society today, something which would have meant the Apollo programme had literally never got off the ground. He said that future generations would not thank us for the caution and care we’d taken, but they would thank the Apollo teams who were prepared to die in the name of adventure, fearing nothing as much as failure. Exploration of any sort, he explained, was not about avoiding risk, but managing it, and at times it is just necessary to do what’s right, regardless of what’s safe! Another talk that was pure inspiration: Brian May must have been buzzing!
Today’s talks were rounded off by particle physicist John Ellis who, in a summary of particle physics, discussed the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. Using a snowfield analogy, he described photons as skiers, electrons as walkers with snowshoes – a bit more mass and so slower, and large mass particles as hikers, sinking as they tried to walk in shoes. The Higgs Boson, he explained, was a snowflake in this scene! But what a snowflake! It explained nothing short of mass itself, and reaction to its discovery could validly be described as “mass Higgsteria”!
Delegates are tonight off to the Teide Starmus party, a stargazing expedition with guided tour of the Añaza observatory. This will be followed tomorrow and Friday by excursions to both Tenerife and La Palma observatories, with VIP guests and speakers having a round table discussion on La Palma which will be beamed back for the delegate audience in the Abama. Friday evening is, of course, the event that many are anticipating avidly, the Sonic Universe concert in the Magma Centre with Brian May and Rick Wakefield.
Update 23 September 10pm: Today’s Starmus transferred to the Magma Centre for the highlight lecture by Stephen Hawking. First, though, there was a visually stunning talk by Brian May, indulging – as he put it – his new passion for producing 3D photographs. In a talk that ranged from the Victorian introduction of stereoscopy to May’s own innovations, the audience was given a guided tour of the solar system in 3D photos. Apart from Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon in absolutely clear 3D, the conference was also given a sneak preview of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as seen from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta satellite. Not only was the shape of the comet surprising – it is more like a deformed peanut than the dumbells originally thought – stereoscopic magic applied to Rosetta’s pictures stood the audience right on the comet itself. Utterly mesmerizing and visually unforgettable!
Brian May was followed by John Mather, an astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate, who looked at travelling in space and time with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a collaboration of scientists from 17 nations which is set to be launched nearly 1m miles into space to study the formation of stars and galaxies. If the audience thought that the Magma conference hall was full, however, it had another think coming as there was standing room only after the coffee break for Stephen Hawking.
The professor was given a rock star’s entry, as the big screen on the stage lit up and lighting swirled above creating a starry night effect as the famous wheelchair was brought on stage. Throughout his talk, you could have heard a pin drop, and if the audience was rapt during Richard Dawkins lecture yesterday, the hall was on tenterhooks today. Even “hello, can you hear me” got rapturous applause, and although the scientific detail of the lecture would have been over the heads of many, if not most, of the audience, the professor has clearly mastered the technique of using humour and everyday language to get his point across.
A scene from Star Trek’s holodeck was played where Stephen Hawking was playing poker with Einstein and Data, and a rather grumpy Newton. Of course Hawking won the argument, and the game! He told a story about attending a conference in the Vatican, and hearing the Pope say that it was fine to debate the universe – after the moment of creation, but not before – and hoping His Holiness never found out that that was precisely the nature of Hawking’s talk at the conference! To those who found the whole subject baffling, mystifying and mind-bogglingly difficult, he quoted St Augustine: when asked, ‘what did God do before he created the universe?’ St. Augustine said “he was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions”!
After some of the more detailed science some might have had sympathy with St Augustine’s questioner, but Hawking clearly has an understanding of how much, or little, ordinary brains can absorb. Suffice to say, perhaps, that he drew an analogy of the start of time with the south pole. Thinking of the earth in isolation as a sphere, he asked “what is below the south pole”. Clearly the answer is “nothing”. This is how one should envisage space-time, he explained: the point at which it all began expanded out in all directions, in all space, creating time as it went. There can be no before – but by the same token, there is no start either. It’s the sort of stuff that one can rationally understand, for a split second before it slips through comprehension, leaving just as much confusion as before. Enough, perhaps, just to have been in the man’s presence, and to have glimpsed the possibility of understanding for a split second.
It’s not only Prof Hawkins who has the human touch. Yesterday’s conference has been reported by the Daily Mail, an article submitted by a reporter who used the precious time with perhaps the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and rationalist, Richard Dawkins, to ask whether one of the conditions he thought necessary for alien life might be the need to have sex: the article is HERE.
Meanwhile, I leave today’s conference with a major criticism of the Magma Centre, whose ethos seems to be that delegates will do as they’re told, stand in the blazing sun without shade until the centre is ready to admit them, and may not have any water to drink until break time. I could go into considerable detail about the disgrace that the Magma Centre produced today, but it would detract from the excellence of the conference and the general organization, and that is not to be contemplated. Anyone thinking of organizing a conference in Tenerife, however, might do well to compare the superb offering of the Abama Hotel to the appalling and arrogant treatment by Magma management of delegates – some Nobel laureates – who had paid to attend a conference and were treated to the worst kind of hospitality the Canaries is capable of.
Update 23 September: Starmus got underway yesterday with organizer Garik Israelian at the opening ceremony. Starting as it is clearly intended to go on, famous names and faces filled the stage, with legendary Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space, wishing the conference well – Alexei Leonov will be addressing the conference in the Santa Cruz auditorium on Saturday.
With just five minutes warning, Israelian had prevailed on Richard Dawkins and Brian May – two men he said had inspired him enormously in their different ways – to give a brief welcome address. Unscripted, Dawkins said that Starmus had brought together scientists and astronauts, both explorers of a type, using the same techniques, one in space and the other in the mind, both seeking to enlighten human understanding by exploration. In terms of exploration, he said that astronomers used observatories as symbolic eyes, humanity’s eyes.
In terms of symbolism, there was ltitle more symbolic, said Brian May, than the gathering together of all those representative of humanity’s striving to the future – science, humanitarians, musicians, and those who inspired, and all gathered in a “mad and wonderful enterprise” which could not have happened without the genius of Garik Israelian. The two have known each other for some time, with Israelian mentoring May’s PhD thesis and their mutual friendship and respect was very clear to see. Each of these speakers was given the most enthusiastic of welcomes, but perhaps the most emphatic was a standing ovation for Professor Stephen Hawking, who gives the first of two talks today – the second is on Saturday in the Santa Cruz auditorium.
The first panel comprised talks from Nobel Laureate Robert Wilson on the postgraduate research which won him a Nobel prize in 1978 for the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation. He was followed by David J. Eicher, editor in chief of Astronomy magazine, who talked about how astronomy is presented in the media, and how the demographic is ageing – where are new astronomers coming from, and what image will they have of the discipline, he asked, if everything is either dumbed down or sexed up?
After coffee, the hall was rapt for Richard Dawkins’ wonderings about what alien life might look like, and what the necessary or inevitable conditions might be, if we were ever able to reach it. That it existed was effectively taken for granted, but might it have eyes? What sort of ears? It might have to be “intelligent”, but did it actually have to be conscious? Could it even have wheels … ? Today’s session was rounded off by Katerina Harvati’s paper on early humans and their contemporary Neanderthal competitors, looking to the past, as she said, and our origins, in a different way to astronomers but a way which, none the less, provided glimpses into our own humanity and our place in the universe.
And that was just the first day! The Abama hotel provided a gorgeous backdrop for an event which has brought together a stellar array of names the like of which Tenerife rarely sees! Brian May, who gives his paper today, said in his introductory welcome that the conference could not have happened without the genius of Garik Israelian, a genius witnessed by the 800 or so people present for the start of the second Starmus – the first, two years ago, attracted 60! The organizers were clearly blown away by the support and enthusiasm that the conferences are generating, and Brian May said the reaction to the second Starmus had been an “amazing response”, and he urged everyone to ”enjoy this great moment”.
Update 22 September: Today’s the day. One of the most illustrious gatherings of the international intelligentsia is already convening in the Abama Hotel for a week of talks and events as the Starmus conference gets underway. I’ll post reports and photos as the conference proceeds.
The original post with the build-up, arrangements and organization information is HERE.
The Canarian Government has today finalised its evaluation report into the new tourism law, the Ley de Renovación y Modernización Turística de Canarias, said spokesman Martín Marrero, who confirmed that the principal conclusion was that the law had been successful in its effects. The report will now be submitted to the Canarian Parliament. Once we hear what Parliament itself hears, we will know the detail of what changes might be made, but anyone hoping for wholesale changes, or for the law itself to be revoked, overturned or otherwise emasculated, will be disappointed to hear that the general theme of the report is that the political evaluation of the new law is that it has represented a positive move for Canarian tourism.
Adeje Ayuntamiento has unveiled a 5* project for El Puertito, on the coast below Armeñime. The council says that the plan will fully respect the natural value and environment of the area, protect the residential zone and underwater reserve, but will create up to 1,000 jobs while bringing 21st century tourism to this part of the borough.
Mayor Fraga announced that only 31% of the land in the area may be used for building (with some 50% in total in the public domain) and that plans will protect the environment and local residents: the project will integrate their houses into the plan and, where possible, follow the lines of the house designs in the port which is part of the natural value and charm of the area. The mayor said that one of the non-negotiable conditions with the developers of this new project has been that the small hamlet of around 30 residents is protected. Another precondition was the strengthening of the marine reserve, an environmental marine project that has been developed since 2011.
The project envisages an extension of the beach area, the creation of natural spaces with a wooden pathway, lakes, stepped pools, green zones and gardens as well as a road design that will be as unobtrusive as possible. The images above give a reasonable artist’s impression of the finished design. The initial investment is currently estimated at €25 million with employment for 250 persons over the next 2 to 3 years. In the long term the developers, Filip Hoste (responsible for projects such as Baobab Suites), say they will create 750 jobs with an overall investment of €180 million over 5 years. During this time the plan is to build leisure, commercial and beach zones, as well as the construction of 5-star accommodation. When the project is concluded it is estimated that 1,000 new jobs in the tourism sector will have been created.
The new plan will also include new high tension pylons, water sanitation installations and much improved telecommunication networks, as well as new access routes to the zone following the coast, and the creation of parking spaces. The developers have also designed a 5 kilometre pathway and a 4 kilometre bicycle lane circling the zone.
Update 24 September: The poor man who died at Playa del Camisón has been identified by family in the comments below as Victor Goodwin, a British holidaymaker. The comments speak for themselves, and clearly there will be some coordinated action following this tragedy to get answers at the very least.
Original post 20 September: A 35-year-old man died shortly after 2pm this afternoon after drowning at Playa del Camisón in Los Cristianos. Emergency services were initially called out with reports from Arona Policía Local that a bather had disappeared at the beach, but after the poor man’s was found by bomberos, paramedics and beach lifeguards could do nothing other than confirm his death at the scene.
Update 23 September: The restrictive abortion law is dead, and the minister responsible, Catholic conservative Gallardon, has now resigned. Some will see it as a victory for women and choice; others will applaud the “democratic response to popular demand”; others, however, will see it as blatant political expediency in dumping a law that caused outrage in its attempt to drag Spain back to the 19th century. Vote, it seems, might matter more than any woman’s rights.
Update 13 July 2014: In response to the new abortion law Spain is introducing, unique in Europe for its restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, a new pressure group is being formed to enable women in Spain to terminate their pregnancies abroad. The Red Federica Montseny (link HERE) say that they would prefer not to have to have done this, but consider it a necessary response to the “aggression of the new abortion law”. The idea is simple, they say: if the government puts too many obstacles for women who want an abortion, they will be forced to do it in another country.
The new web page run by volunteers is being finalized and will be submitted next week. It will provide information about abortion in countries where there are collaborators for the scheme. For now, the network covers Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London and Vienna. Paris, Bordeaux and Stuttgart have shown interest in joining the project. It seems to me quite ironic that a policy move that takes Spain back to the 19th century will be undermined, perhaps fatally, by internet technology of the 21st.
Update 20 December 2013: As you’ll see the last post, below, was dated July 2010. What you won’t see, because I’ve edited it, is that the title was “Abortion on demand available for all women over 16 in Spain from today”. That is no longer the case. Now we have a conservative government, and a new abortion law has just been approved. A tough one.
Under the new law, the seemingly personal campaign of Justice minister Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, abortion is only allowed in cases of rape or threat to mother’s health. Previously women could have abortions on demand up to 14 weeks’ gestation, and up to 22 weeks if serious deformations had been detected in the foetus. Sr Ruiz-Gallardón denied that women would be criminalized for seeking abortions – as had been the case before Zapatero’s socialist reform of the legislation – and said that his new law would defend both the life of the unborn and women’s rights. Some women might find that claim a bit hard to process …
The new law will now work its way through parliament where the government’s majority makes it almost impossible that it will face any problems.
Update 5 July 2010: The new abortion law comes into force today. It has been challenged and opposed several times in the Constitutional Court since last September but from today, 25 years after the first abortion legislation in Spain, abortion is to all intents and purposes freely available on demand to all women over the age of 16. C24H
Original post 26 September 2009: It has been a controversial and tortuous process, opposed by Church, conservative party, pro-life groups, et al, but at last the abortion law reforms have been passed by the Spanish cabinet. Abortion will be free and on demand for any woman over 16 up to week 14 of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks of gestation in cases where the life or health of the mother is jeopardized, or where serious abnormalities have been detected in the foetus. In this latter case, two doctors must agree that an abortion is to be provided.
No doctor need give permission for abortions under 14 weeks, however. These are to be truly “on demand”. The only proviso is that the mother has received, at least three days before the abortion, information about the rights and availability of help she would receive should she decide to continue with the pregnancy. The socialists are really proud of this legislation, which will bring them into line, they say, with enlightened policies elsewhere throughout Europe. El Dia
A free diving fisherman (sorry, I don’t know what that is – the Spanish is “pesca submarina a pulmón”) died just before lunchtime today in Playa Paraiso. The 30-year-old died of cardiac arrest, a known symptom of cold water shock, at 11.40am in Playa del Pinque. Emergency services say that they pulled the poor man from the water unconscious and that despite resuscitation efforts carried out by paramedics and a fellow fisherman, efforts for over 40 minutes, finally they were unable to revive him and he was declared dead at the scene. This is the ninth drowning, the sixth fatality, in Tenerife’s waters this month alone. Please do read THIS about cold water shock and undertow if you’re thinking of swimming in the sea here.