RESPIRATORY DISEASES l BETWEEN 25 and 30 percent of Primary Health Care consultations in Majorca are related to respiratory diseases, according to the director of the Caubet-Cimera Foundation, Alvar Agusti, who said that 10 percent of people over 40 (60'000) suffer from some form of chronic lung disease, while five percent of the entire population (some 50'000) suffer from asthma. According to Agusti, the Foundation is working with Ib-Salut on the development of various research projects to examine the health of the population, with the aim of publishing the results in order to improve the treatment of patients suffering from respiratory illnesses. Both institutions will finance the substitution of Primary Health Care professionals who participate in this project, the Foundation giving two thirds of the budget (42'597 euros) and Ib-Salut giving the other third (21'362 euros) for the hiring of replacement doctors.

SALES EVALUATION l PIMECO (the Association of Small and Medium Sized Businesses) yesterday expressed their satisfaction that some 75 percent of people who went to the sales in Palma made a purchase, a proportion which dropped on the rest of the island, where less than half of all shoppers (48 percent) made a purchase. PIMECO said that, in spite of the big discounts in prices, there had been no appreciable increase in the number of people going to the sales, which remained about the same as in previous years. This was the finding of a study made by PIMECO during the first days of the sales, when they interviewed 400 shopkeepers selling fashion, shoes and accessories in 51 towns on the island. The study reveals that there is a recovery in the market. The average amount spent has risen by 35 percent in Palma and by 15 percent in other towns on Majorca.

GAINING IN POPULARITY l THE Balearic television channel IB3 ended last year as the fourth most popular television station in the Balearics, beating TV3 and Channel 9, according to its director general Maria Umbert, speaking during a Board meeting. The debates and the afternoon were the slots where their viewing figures has increased most, according to Umbert. The opposition directors on the Board took the opportunity to again question the channel's information model. The socialists tried, without success, to force a debate about the election of the director of the channel. Jose Hila and Sebastian Lora maintained that the director should be elected by consensus of Parliament. According to the socialists Umbert should resign and choose another person “with more of a balanced view” to tackle the electoral campaign.

CIVIL REGISTER OVERSTRETCHED l THE Civil Register in Palma is “at the limit of its staff and material capacity” to accommodate the “flood” of nationality records which have been demanded in the last few years by people applying for Spanish passports, according to the judge who presides over this public office, Julio Lopez-Bermejo. The Civil Register in Palma has two civil servants assigned to the production of nationality records (2'112 in 2006), the same amount of staff which they had in 1995 when there were 429 people applying for Spanish passports. Lopez-Bermejo said that a dozen civil servants were needed in this department to keep up with the demand and process requests with “speed and efficiency”. According to High Court sources, an increase in personnel has been repeatedly requested from the Spanish Ministry of Justice and they are “reasonably confident” that there could be at least three more civil servants working in this department within a month.

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