AN estimated 23 of the 64 properties on the Mirador Monte Pedrera urbanisation in Denia are occupied by squatters and neighbours say that the situation for those dwelling legally is becoming increasingly difficult. In a recent incident a private security guard on patrol had his arm broken and residents say they have received death threats as well as physical and verbal intimidation. Property has also been damaged, cars scratched and wheels punctured while there have been break-ins and attempted burglaries.

To add insult to injury the squatters have tapped into an illegal electricity supply using street lights, something the urbanisation is picking up the bill for, currently around €20,000. The “wave of people” moved in around two years ago almost overnight according to reports. Legal residents have held meetings with the police and town council but say that little or no action has been taken.

THE latest initiative from Javea’s municipal market is called “La primera al Mercat” and hopes to encourage people to take advantage of the Friday evening opening to buy their first food purchase of the weekend. If you want to sample anything, much of the produce will be able to be consumed at one of the markets bars, accompanied by a glass of wine or beer. The new campaign starts this Friday at 5pm and then every subsequent Friday from the same time. There will also be regular special events such as children’s activities and music.

STAFF at the children’s ward of Denia Hospital showed off their new uniforms today, the result of a competition for kids across the Marina Alta. The challenge for the 8 to 12 year age group was to design new coats and smocks for staff to make them more “child friendly” in appearance, something that helps put the younger patients at ease. The winning drawings were by Lluna Bertomeu and Ruben Perez, both aged 9, who were at the presentation ceremony and received their prizes. The contest was organised by Marina Salud and the jury included hospital staff, artists and designers.

THE problem of how to dispose of human remains has always been a sensitive one, with culture, religious beliefs, superstition and pure squeamishness all playing a part in the process around the world. One thing is for sure, it is something that will happen to us all one day, with Washington set to become the first US state to legalise a relatively new form of dispatch  – human composting. As the name suggests, the body is allowed to break down naturally in special (organic) earth and then “reintroduced” to the land without the environmental damage caused by normal burial or cremation. Many environmentally conscious people think it is ironic that one of the most damaging processes for the planet happens after your death. For example Nina Schoen, 48, an activist for the change in the law said “I don’t want to leave a toxic footprint when I go”. 

However the process may need a serious re-branding to convert some people, not least with the name. “I think the vision that some people have is that you throw Grandpa out in the backyard with the food scraps” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen who supports the bill. The process actually allows bodies to break down naturally and faster than “conventional” burial and with far less of a carbon footprint than cremation. Human nature means that many people are particularly averse to change in the sensitive area that is the burial process.  Cremation took years to become accepted and religious belief in particular pushed against it until the church started confirming that the body is just a vessel for your soul, if you believe in that sort of thing.

ONE of the hottest stories on social media this week concerned a student who ate free at KFC every day for a year by pretending to be from the fast food chains head office. The cheeky scammer was travelling around South Africa, wearing a suit and arriving in a chauffeur driven limousine which was piloted by a friend who is actually a chauffeur – borrowing the vehicle of course. He had knocked up some form of ID backing up his story and would then enter the outlet saying he needed to test for “the quality assurance of the food”. He would even go to the kitchen and take official looking notes while picking out his free samples.

Staff said they were always on their best behaviour when the man arrived, afraid of falling out of favour with the important employee from head office. He has now been identified as a 27 year old student at the KwaZulu-Natal University and police have confirmed he has been charged with crimes of obtaining goods by deception. Social media users offered the man their support with comments such as “Not all heroes wear capes” and simply “I salute you” both posted on Twitter. KFC has not commented, although many think that the free publicity may be worth the price of the hundreds of buckets of complimentary chicken consumed by the unnamed fraudster.

THE US is a country where the Christian evangelical right are holding increasing sway on legislation, with probably the most graphic example being this week’s banning of abortion in Alabama. Never the most progressive of the US states, lawmakers in the Deep South region passed the law by 25 votes to six, not even allowing exemptions for rape or incest. Asked if a 12 year old girl who was raped by a relative and became pregnant would have to have the child, supporters said that was indeed the case.

All of this is seen as the lead-up to a challenge of the famous 1973 Roe versus Wade ruling which effectively legalised abortion in the US. A number of other states have already severely limited terminations using the “heartbeat law” where it is illegal when a foetal heartbeat can be detected. This is usually around six weeks and far too early for many women to realise they are pregnant. Supporters said “our bill says that a baby in a womb is a person” while detractors said “the bill criminalises doctors (who face up to 99 years in jail for carrying out the procedure) and is telling women what to do with their bodies”.

Hardly known for his religious convictions until he saw it as a path to the presidency, Donald Trump has now surrounded himself with evangelical Christians such as Vice President Mike Pence. 25% of Christians in the US now classify themselves as evangelicals, who take the word of the Bible literally, both Old and New Testament, from Noah’s Ark to the creation of the Earth by God in seven days 6,000 years ago. Unlike more mainstream Christianity they see it as their mission on Earth to convert people to their belief system, including by legislation if necessary such as the new laws in Alabama.

JAPAN is usually quite conventional when it comes to new property constructions, but a building that was a prison until just two years ago is now set to be converted to a luxury hotel. The complex is in the city of Nara on the island of Honshu and was built at the beginning of the last century.  The red brick Romanesque structure is the last example of such architecture left standing and was a juvenile detention centre until 2017 and an adult prison before WWII. The city attracts a lot of foreign visitors and is famous for its Buddhist temples and parks while wild deer roam the streets. The luxury hotel could attract more tourism and also cash in on the existing visitors.

QUIQUE Dacosta, the Denia based three Michelin starred chef, is set to open his first restaurant outside of Spain next month, with London being his chosen location. “Arros QD” will stay true to Dacosta’s Valencian roots with rice being the star of the menu, especially paella. The 1,000 square meter establishment is located on Eastcastle Street in the super posh area of Fitzrovia and will be able to seat 140 customers over two floors. Although the rice will, of course, be coming from Valencia the chef also plans to use the best ingredients “from the orchards, farms and markets of Great Britain”.

JAVEA Town Hall have announced that the summer kids workshops will once again be running in July and August this year. Open to children on the padron born between 2007 and 2015 inclusive, the school is a combination of education and fun with various activities depending on the age group. The Department of Social Services has said that families have until 31 May to apply for financial assistance with the workshops. Circumstances will be looked into on an individual basis and will include such criteria as being unable to look after young kids during the summer months due to commitments such as work. The Social Services Department is on the second floor of the Social Centre, open weekdays 9am until 2pm.

SUNDAY June 2 has been confirmed as the date for Javea’s inaugural Jornada Solidario. The event features seven different forms of exercise, yoga, pilates, cardio, zumba, aerobics, hit and capoeira all led by experienced teachers. Each session takes 45 minutes, starting with the “hit” class at 9am and continuing until the final session at 1.30pm. The price to take part is €8 in advance (€10 on the day) with all proceeds going to Aspanion, the association of children with cancer in the Valencian Community. Advance tickets can be purchased from the Decuero shop at Plaza de la Iglesia.