Fewer birds

A total of 25 ornithologists from the Balearic environment ministry and the environmental group GOB counted the aquatic birds at the natural park of S'Albufera, which at this time of the year is the home to many migratory birds. They were helped by an Ibanat (Balearic Nature Institute) helicopter. The ministry reported that the number of birds counted was 10'467, nearly 4'000 fewer than January last year. However, the number of species observed was the same as last year, 48. A ministry spokesman said that one of the causes could be the large shoals of carps in the park which have caused a drop in the quality of the water. GOB spokesman Antoni Muñoz said that birds should be counted in other wetland areas of the Balearics over the next few weeks to confirm this theory or formulate others. He added that major variations in the number of birds can be affected by the weather conditions in the northern countries from where they come. He added that it was important to count the birds at S'Albufereta, where there are no carps.

Patrol wanted

THE socialists on the town council want a policeman on the beat in the neighbourhood of the cloister of San Vicente Ferrer and the town hall. A spokesman said that they had received many complaints from neighbours and the parents of children who use the library, claiming that they are being “terrorised” by gangs of young people. Councillor Julià Ramon said that a police patrol in the area was needed, not only because people could use the library in peace, but also because of the value of the cloister to the heritage. He added that a policeman could also provide information for both residents and visitors, as well as guarding the buildings, especially as the cloister is now being restored. But councillor Antoni Frau, who is in charge of the police, said that a patrol had been dispatched to the area for a fortnight “and it would seem that the gangs have dispersed”. He added that it was difficult to set up regular foot patrols, but the council wanted to do so and was working on the problem.

Land purchased

THE Balearic government has purchased the Aviation Colony of Son Angelats from the defence ministry for five million euros and it will now be ceded to the Soller town council for the construction of sports facilities and an industrial estate. The land covers an area of 70'000 square metres. Part of the land may also be ceded to the ministry of the interior, for the construction of a Guardia Civil barracks. Mayor Carlos Simarro expressed his satisfaction at the agreement, which opened the doors to economic development.

Children protest

NEARLY 800 pupils at the Berneguer d'Anoiea school, backed by the headmaster and teachers, staged a “sit-in” in the playground for an hour yesterday, in protest at the lack of heating in the classrooms. Student representatives said that the heating never reached the classrooms on the second and third floors and they were forced to wear their coats and gloves in class. They added that nothing had been done to remedy the situation and so they had decided to stage the protest. The pupils did not chant slogans or wave banners during the protest, which was held in silence. School head Maria Gener confirmed that the heating did not work well and did not reach the second and third floors, even though it was overhauled 14 months ago.