Spanish Armed Forces Promotes Its First Female General

It is over 30 years since Spain first allowed women to join its Armed Forces. Now a female soldier has been promoted to General for the first time in the country’s history.

Patricia Ortega, 56, is a Madrid Polytechnic agricultural engineering graduate who completed her training and exams in March to become a General. She started at Zaragoza General Military Academy in 1988, a year after finishing university and the first year when women were allowed to enlist. She continued her training at the Armed Forces High Polytechnic School, specialising in electrical and construction engineering, after passing out from Zaragoza.

Patricia is currently based at the National Technical Aerospace Institute, having risen through the ranks as Lieutenant Colonel and then Colonel.

Daughter, granddaughter and sister of soldiers, married with three children, Patricia says she had always wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps. The last time Colonel Ortega took part in a public engagement with the military was on March 8th 2018 – International Women’s Day – to mark the 30th anniversary of ladies being allowed to join the Forces. At the time, as a Colonel, she was the highest-ranking woman within the national Force.

Mercadona’s ‘Top’ Moisturiser 

The firm which makes one of the top-rated moisturising creams in Spain – a €5 supermarket own-brand variety – has won a legal battle with an élite cosmetics company over ‘plagiarism’.

Mercadona’s Sisbela range of day and night face creams, which is exactly the same product as an €85 version retailing under a different name in independent shops, includes a variety called the Diamond Revitalizante. The national patents’ office refused to allow the cream to be retailed under this name, in case of ‘confusion’ with the Catalunya-based Natura Bissé’s Diamond Extreme.

Sisbela has not had to advertise since it was found to be identical to the vastly more expensive brand Alain – except the scent – when it caused a similar furore to Lidl’s €2.99 Cien Q10 formula, found by a consumer association to be more effective than leading brands retailing at up to €225 a pot.

Court Rules In Favour Of Julio Iglesias’ ‘Secret Son’

A court in Valencia has ruled that veteran crooner Julio Iglesias is indeed the father of a local man born out of wedlock in 1976 – but the singer intends to appeal the verdict.

Javier Sánchez Santos, 43, appointed a private detective in Miami, Florida, where Iglesias and his son Enrique Iglesias have lived for many years. Julio, 75, has refused to provide DNA samples for the court investigators, leading the judge to rule that he is in fact Javier’s father in the absence of these. Javier’s mother María Edite had never hidden from him that he was the result of a fling with the singer, although Iglesias’ lawyer Fernando Falomir says they ‘only met once’ at a high-society party.

Javier said in 2017 that he was not concerned about his biological father’s fortune or about any possible inheritance, did not hold any grudges about Julio’s rejection of him and just wanted ‘closure’ and to know where he came from. 

Completely Intact Roman Sarcophagus Found In Granada

A Roman sarcophagus completely intact and sealed up has been described as an exceptional find and unprecedented. It is being opened by experts at Granada’s Archaeological Museum and historians believe the body inside it may be almost perfectly preserved.

The ancient coffin is made of lead and has been tightly closed, with no way for air to enter it since the Roman era, meaning once it is opened, it could be one of the few chances the world ever has to see first-hand what people from over 2,000 years really looked like.

Archaeologists have dated the sarcophagus to between the second and fourth centuries BC and expect to find personal items and valuables inside it along with the deceased. This completely unique finding was made in the Plaza de Villamena in the Alhambra Palace city when builders were carrying out works on a basement.

Although it is thought to be only the second sealed-up Roman sarcophagus ever to be found, no documentation exists about the first one, which is believed to have been discovered in 1902. To date, it is not known what was found inside it, or even whether it actually existed and was not just a rumour.

Opening the sarcophagus will be a delicate operation that cannot be carried out in a hurry, and studying and documenting what is inside it will take several months, meaning the exciting historical mystery will continue for some time. Depending upon the contents, they may be displayed in the Granada museum once the work is completed.

First Beer Museum In Spain

Spain’s first-ever beer museum is now open in the far north-western region of Galicia. Its founders hope the MEGA museum will become a world-renowned attraction. 

Estrella beer comes from Galicia and gives the museum its name: Mundo Estrella Galicia – MEGA. The six-point star on an ale bottle depicts the number of steps required in making beer.

Visitors start by entering a giant atrium and then walk into a huge revolving beer glass. They are given a wristband at the entrance so they can personalise their visit in their chosen language and which allows them to see virtual-reality footage of the history and manufacturing of beer.

According to the information in the museum, beer was invented over 10,000 years ago and it originated in the Middle East. Some of the earliest real ale masters were based in Egypt, a country where, ironically, beer is now only available in major tourism hotspots and carries a fairly hefty price.

Panels in Spanish, English and the Galician regional language take visitors through the ages of beer, particularly the Mediaeval era when ale was the drink of choice for monks. The tour ends with a beer-tasting session of five very different varieties and the opportunity to take part in an ale-making workshop.

Recent research carried out in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha has found alcohol-free beer has several health benefits, including protecting against neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and also improves insulin levels in patients with Type II diabetes.

Best Places To Buy Fruit And Veg

A leading consumer organisation in Spain has revealed the top outlets for buying fruit and vegetables nationwide, based upon a study of 35 supermarkets, 10 fruit shops, 10 local markets and 12 hypermarkets in the provinces of Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona and Sevilla. Each of the 67 retailers reviewed was given a mark out of 100, with points awarded for appearance and flavour, information provided about the item on sale, variety, level of customer service, and price.

The OCU focused mostly upon the most-purchased year-round items – salad tomatoes, nationally-grown bananas (from the Canary Islands), Conference pears, Golden Delicious apples and large strawberries.

Weekly markets and municipal indoor markets scored highest for flavour and appearance, but their wares were found to be the most expensive and, despite legal requirements, not all of them displayed full information about the produce offered. Except in Barcelona, fruit shops or straight-from-the-farm fruit and vegetables were the cheapest. The cheapest fruit and vegetables in supermarkets were found in Lidl, Eroski, Alcampo, Día and Vidal, in that order, coming in at less than €10 for a typical weekly shopping basket, whilst Hípercor, Bonpreu and Condis were the most expensive, at €12 and €11.50 respectively. Alcampo, Hípercor and Carrefour were the supermarkets with the widest variety on offer.

The highest-scoring store was Ahorramás, gaining 84% of available marks, followed by Aldi and MÁS in joint second with 82%. Municipal indoor markets and El Corte Inglés department store were joint fourth with 76%, and Condis and Mercadona joint sixth with 70%.

Joint eighth were Alcampo, Vidal and Bonpreu with 69%, and Lidl and Carrefour were joint 11th with 67%. Consum was 13th with 66%, Caprabo 14th at 62%, and Día and Hípercor joint 15th with 58%, just slightly ahead of 17thplaced Eroski with 57%. The remainder, in descending order, were high-street fruit shops (56%), Covirán (55%), Supersol (50%) and El Jamón (47%).