Work on the "irregular" extra floor at the old school of the nuns of charity was stopped by Manacor town hall.


Zoning disaster
Rentals zoning is a disaster, said the leader of El Pi Jaume Font. His words were spoken against the background of the mixed reception that the zoning had received and his party's promising showing in the latest opinion poll: if standing to gain only one more parliamentary seat can genuinely be described as promising. Still, and as we noted, Font could prove to be the kingmaker at the next election. A more natural alliance for El Pi would be one with the PP and Ciudadanos rather than with the left, but everything appears to be up for grabs at this stage.

Font takes issue with the parties of the left in the government over rentals, and so do many mayors. Mainly they are from the right or centre-right (such as El Pi), and their views were made known to the Council of Majorca at a meeting on Wednesday. The Council intimated that there might be a reconsideration of criteria which determine so-called "saturation" and that therefore mean restrictions, and there is also a possibility that the Council will alter the rules for protected rustic land.

One mayor from a left-wing administration who had changed his tune was Pollensa's. Miquel Àngel March had initially expressed his satisfaction with Pollensa town having been classified as saturated, but last week he said that the town was not. Pollensa, as with other town halls, now have a period of time during which submissions can be made to the Council about the zoning.

Pollensa was the location for a meeting led by the rentals association Aptur, at which its president suggested that rentals will be an election issue. Although it won't be held until May next year, the poll didn't vary much from one in summer 2017. If the election were to go as the poll indicated, the biggest losers would be Més and Podemos, with PSOE and the PP "stuck in neutral" and the C's being the biggest winners.

Catalan division
The government, meanwhile, was suffering another slight crisis, this time over Catalan. Two nursing associations added their voices to those already opposed to new rules on the use of Catalan in the health service. Soon after, President Armengol announced that the Catalan requirement is to be "withdrawn" (at least in part). As Armengol's PSOE control the health ministry, this was interpreted as an issue over which the government was divided; Més were not happy.

Palma's terraces
It has been clear that the parties governing Palma have not always been on the same page. One matter that has divided them has been the new bylaw for the public way. A controversial aspect of this has to do with bar and restaurant terraces. Under the bylaw, some 500 terraces in the city (slightly under a third of the total) could be affected by having their size reduced or by being eliminated. The bylaw is the work of Podemos at the town hall.

Snow in Majorca
Following what had been some fine and warm January weather, winter reappeared and covered the Tramuntana with snow. It was, though, hardly any great surprise. February is historically when Majorca has experienced its heaviest snowfalls, and what fell on Friday was nothing of any great consequence.

Sexual abuse cases
A teacher was arrested following allegations of sexual abuse at a school in Palma. He appeared in court and was released on charges. Meanwhile, the former parish priest in Selva, Antoni Cano, was acquitted of the sexual abuse of a twelve-year-old girl. The court gave credence to both the defence and the prosecution cases but decided that there was a lack of evidence.

Nuns and mussels
Just to prove that cases of building irregularities touch every part of Majorca's society, nuns in the Manacor village of Son Macia were in trouble with the town hall over the flouting of a building licence. An entire floor had appeared on their old school when the permission had only been for work to be done to the roof.

And we learned, courtesy of a group of researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands, that sun creams which contain titanium can affect mussels and cause oxidative stress. This is an issue which is magnified in the Balearics because of all the tourism. The mussels, however, appear to be able to adapt.


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