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Are you fit enough to work at home? Heavy shopping bags, high shelves.

According to a study carried out by Ofyde and presented by Emakunde, housework "is something between difficult and laborious, with a high risk of aches and injuries in the medium and long term."Last year. the High Court of the Basque Country (TSJPV) ruled against allowing Juana Mo-reno, a housemaid, permanent sick leave. The judge alleged that "many daily chores* do not require physical exertion," and that "those Jobs that require physical effort are moderate and are done with the aid of mechanical means."The results of the study have been sent to various bodies, including the TSJPV, unions, the Industrial Relations Council and the bar association*.Six women from Bizkaia, with an average age of 47, were chosen to take part in the study. The chores were selected by the group, being the ones they did most regularly in their work. Before starting, the group went through fitness       checks to make sure they were in good health. The chores were carried out at home and in a laboratory.The tasks included i roning, maki ng and unmaking beds, cleaning windows, hoovering*, hanging out clothes, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning work tops and kitchen cupboards, and doing the shopping.So as not to "exaggerate the results," as research head Txema Garcia explained, the workers spent less time carrying out the tasks than normal. For example, only 30 minutes ironing with no heavy garments, and a maximum of 4 kilos shopping in each hand done at shops within 100 metres. Ana Alberdi, in charge of research for Emakunde, pointed out that one in ten women in employment work in the home, and that of these, some 80% do not have a contract. Is any other work so badly under-valued? ( F )



   Bizcaya was the historic territory that suffered the worst effects of the storms that hit Europe at the end of December. Winds of up to 140 kph caused chaos and disruption throughout the Basque Country and Navarra. In Bizcaya the cost was particularly high as four people died in accidents related to the gales*. In Bilbao two pedestrians were crushed* by a crane* that collapsed    and in Barakaldo a metro worker was killed when a hut* fell on him. Another person was killed in Sestao when the wind pushed him in front of a car. In Donostia a pensioner was killed as she was going to celebrate mass. Across the region trees blocked roads, trains couldn't run and airports were closed. More than 200,000 families in the Basque Country didn't have electricity for various hours. (E)


Iker in the B.A.C.* and Naiara in Navarra. These were the first two babies of 2000 who made their families' NewYear's Eve celebrations unforgettable. Both mothers gave birth just seconds after midnight. The parents of Iker were especially fortunate as they also received 2,000 euros from the BBK. (E)

For the third year running,* the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz has been chosen as one of Spain's cleanest cities.The "Green flag - sustainable city" prize is awarded to councils which have worked positively with respect to the separation, treatment, recycling and elimination of urban waste* as well as programmes to inform and educate people. If a city wins this prize five years consecutively, it wins a 'gold mention.' The winning cities are decided by the Independent Consumer Association and the INC. Two other Basque towns, Zarautz and Du-rango, were also awarded prizes.Gasteiz city councillor Jose Antonio Pizarro said, "Vitoria council is proud that over 200 workers who keep* the city clean have been awarded this prize. The award will make us work harder in our obligation to the environment." (f)

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