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Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Search for Jeffrey Hodgson

Ibiza Local News

The family of Jeffrey Hodgson, a British tourist that disappeared on 8th July 2001, have returned to the island this week to initiate a fourth search since their son's disappearance four months ago.

10,000 posters in English and Spanish offering £1,000 (approximately 260,000 pesetas) compensation to anyone who comes forward with information about Jeffrey's whereabouts, are being distributed all around the island.

"As long as Jeffrey is missing we will be returning to the island. Until his body is found we will not accept that our son is dead", said Jeffrey's father.

The 38-year-old, who has a mental age of 12 and suffers from epilepsy, went missing from a hotel in Cala Llonga after discovering that he was in Ibiza instead of the Costa Blanca, the families usual holiday destination.

Even though the Spanish authorities organized various search parties (including sniffer-dogs and helicopters) in the days following Jeffrey's disappearance, the family doesn't think that enough effort has been made by the local police to find their son.

Hodgson's family has now set-up a website in three languages hoping for some information. If you, or any of your friends know anything about the disappearance of this young man, please contact the family on the following website: www.wheresjeffrey.org or inform the local police.

Terrorist fears hit Ibiza

A false alarm at Ibiza's airport caused the evacuation of flight IBE 1763 destined to fly to Barcelona at six o'clock on Monday 15th October.

As the 138 passengers were boarding the plane, a French woman overheard two men of Arabic decent say: "They don't know what is waiting for them, they are all going to die on this plane".

The French passenger, fearing that the two men were terrorists, alerted the stewardess who informed the captain of the plane.

The crew made the decision to evacuate the plane immediately and postpone the Barcelona flight.

The Tedax unit (special bomb squad) from the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards) accompanied by various police officers and the captain of the Policia Local (Local Police) searched the plane and the passengers luggage and arrested the two men who were Belgium's of Arabic descent.

The two men, originally feared to be part of a terrorist organization, were submitted to interrogation by the local police officers.

The police then revealed that the two men were not terrorists and had decided to play a joke on the other passengers, thinking that no one would understand their comments as they were speaking French.

After a three-hour investigation to confirm that the two men were telling the truth, all the passengers, except the two suspects, were allowed to board their flight once again. Flight IBE 1763 departed from Ibiza airport at 10:30pm, four and a half-hours late.

It was later revealed that the two suspects worked in the baggage-handling department for the Belgium airline ‘Sabena'.

'Sabena' has since released a statement declaring that the two employees have lost their jobs as a result of the incident.

'Sabena', which is going through an economical crisis as a result of the September 11th tragedies in the United States, condemns the comments made by their two former employees as "cruel and disrespectful as well as giving the company a bad image".

On Wednesday 17th a spokesperson for 'Sabena' said: "The two men will be put on the passengers 'black list' and in future they will find it very difficult to fly as companies will not accept them as passengers".

On the same day, a flight from Palm to Stuttgart (Germany) had to be grounded at the German airport when a stewardess discovered a suspicious powder on board the plane.

The fear of anthrax caused the LTU plane to be grounded for many hours until it was confirmed that the powder didn't contain anthrax.

1st January is looming and so is the Euro

If you have been shopping recently in the bigger stores on the island you will have noticed price labels in Euros with a small equivalent in pesetas hidden in the bottom corner. If you feel confused, don't worry you are not alone.

Already Ibicencan businesses have started to consider where they will stand after the peseta is replaced by the Euro.

The CAEB (Balearic Business Administration Company) has already started working out the pros and the cons of the new European currency.

CAEB has discovered that one of the most negative aspects of the introduction of the Euro is the amount of money that each business will have to spend on new computer programmes and courses in order to accustom their staff to the new currency.

Accountancy systems that work with decimals will be a priority for all businesses.

The short period of time when the peseta and the Euro coexist will also cause extra expenses to businesses, according to CAEB.

Although it may all seem very confusing at the start, the CAEB assures us that the Euro will have a general positive effect on the Balearic economy.

A natural cure

PharmaMar, a company in charge of locating and extracting "ecteinascidea turbinata" (ET-743), a micro-organism found in the sea just off Formentera (which has been proven to prevent the on-set of tumours) have in the past eight months recovered a total of 20 tons of ET-743.

PharmaMar's director, Santiago Bueno says: "Even though it isn't easy to extract the substance, the results will definitely be worth while".

In order to increase the growth of the micro-organisms, special production techniques are being used to increase the sea's temperature by 1 degree.

PharmaMar is expecting to extract 20 tons of 'ET-743' each year between March and October, as this time of year seems to be the most productive.

"Ecteinascidea turbinata" will be on the market by 2002.

Aigua, agua and water

A study done by the water company Meri Iberica, with the collaboration of Sogesur (one of the main water supply companies on the island), revealed that the mains water supply system of Ibiza Town is losing a lot of water, some 700,000 litres a day.

San Antonio, Santa Eulalia and Formentera all suffer from the same problem. The environmental councillor Fanny Tur has assured Ibiza residents that "the figures are not alarming, as it is impossible for a water supply system not to lose any water".

Fanny Tur also made it clear that, even though Ibiza loses 700 cubic metres of water daily; this figure doesn't exceed the 15% legal water loss.

"High water pressure and day to day use causes the mains system to lose high quantities of water but now, after this study, we all realise how much water we are actually losing, each Town Hall will be forced to take action".

The Consell Insular (Island Council) has decided that periodical studies on Ibiza's water system will now have to be done to insure that the already high figures don't increase any more.

Louise Wright