The horrific events in France continued to dominate the pages at the start of the week. Sunday’s front page carried photos of the march in Paris in support of the freedom of speech, while on the inside pages Humphrey Carter spoke with Antonio José Bibiloni (“Bibi”), the caricaturist who draws for “The Bulletin”, about those events. “It is in no way going to make me or anyone stop drawing caricatures. In fact, I know that more political cartoonists have already come forward offering their services to the media, and I think this will spark a boom as caricaturists fight back with their pens and pencils to defend their right to the freedom of speech.”
Among several letters to the editor on the subject on Tuesday, Mike Lillico noted that he had expected that there would have been a big turnout in Palma for a show of solidarity but that he had been wrong. He doubted if there were more than 500. “A poor show of support from Majorca” was his conclusion. By contrast, though, on Thursday a letter from Mathilde, who is French, expressed her thanks for the coverage the paper had given events in France and for messages of kindness she had received from people in Majorca. “I love Majorca even more today for having made me felt so special being French.”
Humphrey Carter was a particularly busy fellow last week. As part of the media day for Team Sky at their Alcudia hotel training base last Sunday, team boss Sir Dave Brailsford had arranged for the assembled journos to go out for a ride. They got rather more than they had bargained for. “What I had expected was going to be a leisurely hour’s cycling turned out to be a full-on three hours’ worth of demanding and punishing cycling.”
Nevertheless, led by the “best team principal in the world”, it was an unmissable experience. During the week there were features on the top riders and names with Team Sky: Sir Dave himself on Wednesday; Nico Roche and Ben Swift on Thursday; Chris Froome on Friday. Of Froome, Sir Dave said: “Chris can certainly give the team what (Sir Bradley) Wiggins did. He’s the talisman of the team and all the riders are behind him”.
Ryanair and winter flights
The winter-flights issue made a return to the pages on Thursday. Ryanair’s commercial director David O’Brien was in Palma, outlining plans for the airline’s future and observing that if Palma wanted more winter flights to and from the UK, landing fees would need to be reduced during the off-season.
He noted that the airports authority, AENA, appeared to be “incapable of distinguishing between summer and winter” with operating costs the same all year round, which is not the case with competitor destinations such as Greece and Turkey. Jason Moore in the Viewpoint suggested that Ryanair (and indeed any other airline) needed to be made an offer on fees in order to “get the ball rolling” during the winter.
Responding to this, on Friday Tom Leeming, in a Letter to the Editor, provided a highly detailed and informative explanation of what airlines are required to pay for to use any airport, and so not just Palma’s, while Andrew Ede in the Week In Tourism column looked at how the partial privatisation of AENA (which David O’Brien had described as a “mess”) and a potential change to the way airport revenues are accounted for could add obstacles to fee reduction in the off-season.
Police corruption allegations
Tuesday’s front page offered a distinct sense of here we go again. Some months after arrests of police officers in Calvia on corruption allegations, officers in Palma were detained as part of a long-running investigation into corruption claims involving Playa de Palma.
The Chief of Palma’s Police and the councillor for citizen security were both called to give evidence in front of the investigating judge. By the end of the week, three officers who had been placed in custody were released having been able to meet bail demands.
Saints in Majorca
Very much happier news was reflected on yesterday’s front page. The “big party” in Majorca for the saints Antoni and Sebastià had begun, while on Friday there had been some very special news for Majorca with the announcement that Father Junipero Serra, the Franciscan monk from the town of Petra who had founded missions in California in the eighteenth century, was to be canonised by Pope Francis later this year.
The president of the Friends of Juniper Serra, former US consular agent to the Balearics Tumi Bestard, said that this was “magnificent news for the Balearics”, while Maria Salom, the president of the Council of Majorca, said that the island should feel “very proud”.
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