Spain Still World Number One For Blue-Flag Beaches
Spain’s beaches may have lost 28 of their blue flags for 2019, but the country continues to hold the record for the highest number of these prestigious kitemarks in the world.
The provinces of Málaga and Huelva have lost eight blue flags apiece, including the former’s famous Cabo Pino in Marbella and the province of Cádiz has lost its quality indicator for it’s well-known Zahara de los Atunes, whilst that of Almería has also lost one.
A total of 50 beaches were unable to keep their blue flags, but 25 were awarded to those which did not have one in 2018. Only three regions saw their blue flag totals rise: the Comunidad Valenciana, which is once again the region with the most, at 150, gained one for the province of Valencia and three for that of Alicante, two of which are in Dénia; the Spanish-owned city-province of Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast gained two, taking its total to four, and another of Extremadura’s ‘inland beaches’ gained a flag, giving the region three. Catalunya, despite losing three this year; all in the province of Barcelona, has the second-highest number of blue-flag beaches in Spain, at 120, closely followed by Galicia at 119, which has lost five this year, one in the province of Lugo and four in that of A Coruña. Andalucía has the fourth-highest number of blue-flag beaches, at 98, but is also the region that lost the most. It failed to renew 18, but gained a new flag for the province of Granada.
The blue flag award requires beaches to meet extremely stringent and exacting standards covering cleanliness, water quality, safety, waste management, superior facilities and environmental management.
The Black Hole Of Andalucía: History Seen Through A Spanish Telescope
This is one of the greatest breakthroughs in space science – the publishing of the first image of a black hole – and our own knowledge of these gigantic, terrifying, bottomless pits has grown considerably as the incredible phenomenon gathers more internet searches and social media followers.
Spanish scientists were key in creating the footage and, if you’ve ever been skiing in the Sierra Nevada, you’ll be stunned to know that the powerful telescope used is based just metres from the piste.
Albert Einstein, with his theory of relativity, first proposed the idea of a black hole in the early 20th century as a point of no return from which nothing, not even light, could escape, which nothing could live inside and from which nothing could be transmitted outside, which cannot be seen – only its shadow, created when light disappears inside the hole – or the ‘Event Horizon’ – itself.
Stephen Hawking developed the theory of black holes in the 1970’s, and from his work, we know that these are the final evolution stage of super-massive stars: when a star is dying off, it folds in on itself and its mass squeezes into a much smaller surface, becoming what is known as a ‘white dwarf’ and, if this process of extreme gravity continues, it folds inwards further and further until it becomes a hole.
The open point of the hole, or ‘Event Horizon’, draws all matter towards it like a magnet – rather like an open aeroplane door, sucking out anyone or anything inside the craft. Only super-massive stars form this dark well in space when they die and are 10 times the size of our sun. The black hole the image is based on is 3,000 times the size of Planet Earth.
Although nothing can live inside a black hole, or get out of it, a new hypothesis coined by the Corpuscular Physics Institute in Valencia nearly three years ago threw another slant on the fate of anything drawn inexorably into its centre: that they may be a gateway to other parts of our universe and whatever gets into the middle of them may simply end up in another galaxy. Our nearest super-massive black hole is believed to be around 3,000 light-years away from Earth.
An Earth-sized telescope and a giant jigsaw puzzle
An historic photograph created and released on April 10th involved a network of eight observatories around the globe and focused on the super-massive black hole in the centre of Galaxy Messier-87, or M87, some 53.3 million light years from our planet – a gigantic galaxy situated in the (relatively) nearby cumulus of Virgo, the CSIC explains. Radio antennae from across the planet were connected, creating a virtual telescope as big as the Earth itself, in order to generate enough zoom-power to see the outer part of the hole. This would still not have a wide enough base to capture the hole in its entirety; instead, different photographs taken over four days by the different telescopes, all functioning as one single radio-telescope, were slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle using an enormous computer.
Andalucía’s part in the discovery was played by one of the eight telescopes, the IRAM 30m in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the Granada province. In practice, the picture is not of the ‘black hole’ itself, since these do not emit any type of radiation that would make them visible; the huge image created is of the ring of light around it being sucked into its centre.
Picasso Painting Found
A Picasso painting stolen 20 years ago has been found in Amsterdam by Dutch art investigator Arthur Brand, who says its disappearance means the thieves were ‘unable to sell it’.
Busto de Mujer (‘Bust of a Woman’) was owned by Saudi Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik, who bought it from Pace Gallery in New York in the 1980’s. When it was stolen from his yacht in France in 1999, it was reported to be worth €4 million. He had offered a €400,000 reward for its safe return, but after giving up all hope of its ever being recovered, he received a €4m payout from his insurance company. Its value is said to have multiplied more than six times in the last two decades. Sheikh Abdulmalik will be offered it back, on the condition he refunds the €4m received as a claim payout.
Busto de Mujer is a cubist portrait of painter Dora Maar, who was in a relationship with Málaga-born artist Pablo Picasso during the 1930s and 1940s.
Spanish Shipwreck Embargoed
A Colombian court has embargoed the Spanish galleon San José, sunk by British pirates near Cartagena de Indias in the 18th century, in response to an appeal by a US treasure-hunting firm which is claiming the rights to 50% of the goods on board.
Colombia has a law in place dating back to July 2013 which requires ‘submerged heritage’ to be ‘protected, recovered and made visible’.
This legislation covers ships and their artefacts sunk in Colombian waters, plus anything on board, irrespective of the cause of sinkage, but does not include raw materials such as pearls, corals, precious or semi-precious stones, sand or wood, nor ‘catalogued tangible goods’ which ‘would have had an exchange or monetary value’, such as coins and gold ingots. The San José was loaded with gold sent by the Viceroy of New Granada, silver from Perú, and precious stones. It had set sail for Spain, but had not even left the New World when, on June 8, 1708, it was attacked by British pirates and sunk by cannon-fire.