miércoles, 9 de enero de 2013

Madrid deputy mayor dismissed in wake of Arena tragedy


The Popular Party mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, reshuffled her city cabinet on Wednesday in line with her interpretation of the Madrid Arena tragedy, throwing out her all-powerful number two, Miguel Ángel Villanueva.
The decision relegates Villanueva — who had been singled out for his alleged links to the promoter of the Halloween night party at the venue, where five young women died in a human crush — to the lowly position of councilor.
To salvage some honor, Villanueva had the removal rebranded as a voluntary move. “I hope my resignation contributes to providing some much-needed serenity in a moment such as this,” he explained in a news conference.
At the same time, Botella demoted security chief Fátima Núñez by just a single notch — she will now head up the Carabanchel district — while Núñez’s boss, environment department head Antonio de Guindos, effectively escaped unscathed.
Núñez had been responsible for the municipal police and Samur emergency medical service, one of the most-criticized aspects of the city government’s response to the tragedy.
Meanwhile, De Guindos has received calls for his resignation for his role in the tragedy from both Socialist opposition leader Jaime Lissavetzky and the families of the victims. The families have even gone so far as to demand an official investigation into him. The public prosecutor has not ruled this out, but says it is still “premature.”
De Guindos, who is brother of Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, was, however, stripped of his responsibility for security, which Botella had placed under the aegis of the environment department to save costs after she became mayor at the end of 2011.
Lissavetzky and Union, Progress and Democracy councilor David Ortega demanded Botella “clarify and explain” her motives for Villanueva’s “dismissal or resignation,” and called on her to resign.

Málaga mourns child killed at Kings Day Parade


The southern city of Málaga observed the first of two days of mourning on Sunday, after a six-year-old child was run over by one of the floats that formed part of the traditional King’s Day parade.
The youngster, named as Miguel R. M., was at the event with his parents and older sister. He managed to slip free from his parents, and, along with several other children, ran out on to the route of the parade to collect the candy that was being thrown down from the float.
Unlike the other two children, Miguel was able to make his way underneath the float, and was run over by one of its rear wheels. Despite attempts at the scene to revive him, he died just a few minutes after the accident happened.
The accident has called in to question the safety measures taken at such events. The mayor of Málaga, Francisco de la Torre, said on Sunday that “logically, all of our safety protocols will be revised.” Speaking after the funeral of the child, he stressed that “the parade met all of the relevant safety regulations.”