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Wine-tasters compete for trophy



Collective suicide and the Erika oil disaster are not the causes - the mammals were mutilated

The parador - a state owned luxury inn* -in Argomaniz was the scene last month of the semi-finals of the Sumiller 2000 trophy. The winners of the competition will compete in the final in Madrid in July, along with winners from other wine regions in Spain. The best noses in Euskadi and La Rioja spent four hours analysing the colour, bouquet* and taste of 54 wines from the Rioja region. Sixty people competed, including twelve women. Of the winners, two came from La R-ioJa, six from Bizkaia and one from Gipuzkoa. Antonio Garcia, Euskadi Wine-tasting Association president said that to be a good wine-taster, "A lot of practice, knowledge and affinity" was necessary. Apart from choosing the best wine-tasters, the twenty best wines from bodegas in La Rioja and Alava were also judged.* These will also compete in Madrid. According to Garcia, Rioja wine has a good chance of doing well, as it is one of the few areas where the original grape - tempranillo - is still conserved. (E)

  Since 1986 dead dolphins have appeared with regularity along the French coast of the Bay of Biscay. In 1997, 900 bodies were found, but it is estimated that this represents only 10-20% of the total dead.
  Anne Colette is head of the French Sea Mammal Research Centre in La Rochelle. She says the dolphins' bodies are found in a mutilated condition. This is because of the pelagic nets used by fishermen in areas where the dolphins eat. Colette says that collective suicide is not the reason, and the recent disaster with the petrol tanker Erika is not to blame* either.
  Esteban Olaizola, Hondarribia Fishermen's Association president, says that the appearance of the dead dolphins coincides with the start of the anchovy fishing season. He says the French fishermen usually open the stomachs of the lacerated cetaceans to make them fall to the bottom of the sea. But the bad weather has made this Job impossible, and the French fishermen could not hide the killing.
  Greenpeace campaign director Richard Aguilar says the dead dolphins are just the tip* of the iceberg. "The nets used cause great destruction in Cantabrian fishing areas."
  Spain prohibits the use of certain non-selective fishing techniques, but in France they are accepted, certain types of net will be prohibited by the European Union in 2002 -although France does not agree with the decision. While we wait for firmer fishing regulations, the problem continues.
  The situation is so bad that Olaizola suggests fishing should be prohibited south of the 46th parallel. A drastic solution? (I)  



www.euskadi.net/euskara has it all!
   The Department of Culture of the Basque Government presented last month a web site that contains all kind of information about the Basque language. The sites provides anyone interested in knowing more about the oldest language in Europe various options. It includes a list of publications, videos and CD-ROMs in Basque, a description of the Governments linguistic
   policy, a data base about the socio-linguistic map of the language and different tools* such as dictionaries and spelling checks. The site is part of the Basque Government's plan to encourage* the use of Basque in new technologies. The visitor can read the information in one of four languages, Basque, Spanish, French or English. (E)

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