The eighteen accused in the Nóos trial.

11-01-2016Ultima Hora

The trial
After the protracted lead-up - it had been some eighteen months since she was indicted - the King's sister finally came to court. The Nóos trial started in Palma on Monday. Security was tight, as our photos on Tuesday revealed, though there was a small protest. "Fewer Bourbons and more work" was one cry from the gaggle of Republicans outside the temporary courthouse. The intense interest in the opening day of the trial was not matched during the week. The first month will be mostly devoted to claims and challenges from defence lawyers on behalf of the eighteen accused, with a key challenge being on behalf of Princess Cristina. Should she stand trial, given there are no state prosecution charges against her, only the private ones of Manos Limpias?


A government decree
A report on Sunday was to signal the week's uproar. It was all to do with a regional government decree that suspended or in effect quashed provisions of three laws of the previous government regarding tourism, farming and land. Essentially, the decree was about one thing: planning permissions. The builders in the Balearics were the first to voice their anger. A Tuesday report criticised the fact that they had only found out about the decree via the media, while the president of the builders' association was voicing concerns regarding the impact on the construction industry, which had only recently moved out of technical recession. By Saturday the same president was warning of a return to recession because of the decree. In different comment pieces during the week, the government's policy was described as being confused and vindictive.


Yet more on the tax
While the decree will have an impact on the abilities of hoteliers to expand existing sites, the hoteliers were naturally also unimpressed by the government's determination to "urgently" push the tourist tax through its parliamentary process. Inma de Benito, the president of the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, was reported on Tuesday as saying that her federation "will exhaust" all legal means of obstructing the introduction of the tax. Meanwhile, the association that represents holiday rentals, Aptur, had revealed that 70% of private tourist accommodation would escape the tax because it isn't registered.


Drought and then rain
The increasing threat of a drought because of the lack of autumn and winter rain had inspired the farming sector to set up a special committee to monitor the situation. As well as this report on Wednesday, there was a further one which revealed that Emaya, the public services agency for Palma, had been buying in water because of the decreasing capacity of the two Tramuntana reservoirs which provide a good part of the city's water needs.

The prayers of farmers, Emaya and others were being answered by Friday. A cold front and rain moved in, leading to advice against heading into the higher parts of the Tramuntana mountains because of snow (and also high winds). The dry and warm weather that had endured for several weeks seemed at an end, but the change was, as noted on Thursday, potentially risky for almond trees and their blossom. This had been coming out much earlier than usual, but with colder conditions the trees are threatened as they have already adapted to warmer conditions.


Sant Antoni fiestas
The two days of the Sant Antoni fiestas have fallen over this weekend, and the build-up to last night's events was all over the paper last week, with talk of demons, bonfires, pine-tree climbing in Pollensa and also - something of a reality check - increased security measures for key Sant Antoni locations, such as Manacor. An aspect of Sant Antoni is the barbecue or, as Andrew Valente in an informative Thursday feature told us, the torrada, the Majorcan word for a barbecue. Andrew also looked at the cuisine most commonly associated with Sa Pobla, the town at the centre of Sant Antoni celebrations. This is the espinagada eel dish that is only really eaten over the days of the fiestas.

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