Related Posts with Thumbnails

Monday, 8 September 2014

'Hatchet' Gerard Kavanagh shot dead in Costa del Sol pub

Gerard Kavanagh was shot dead in a bar on the Costa del Sol Notorious gangster Gerard “Hatchet” Kavanagh was gunned down by two masked assassins yesterday as he relaxed in a Spanish pub.

The 44-year-old was riddled with up to nine bullets by the hitmen, who burst into the Costa del Sol bar in Elviria, near Marbella, just before 4pm Irish time on Saturday. A source said: “The shooting had all the hallmarks of a professional hit.” Terrified gangster Kavanagh tried to flee after spotting the assassins coming through the door of Harmons Irish Bar in Elviria, a 20-minute drive east of Marbella. But it was too late for the doomed crime boss, who fell to the ground in a hail of bullets surrounded by a pool of his own blood. A burnt-out BMW X3 was discovered nearby shortly after the shooting, which happened in broad daylight around 4pm Irish time. Spanish police were last night carrying out a forensic search of the vehicle to see if it was used as the getaway car. A source said: “The gunmen were wearing balaclavas and were dressed from head to toe in black. “The shooting had all the hallmarks of a professional hit. It looks like they picked a time when they knew the bar wasn’t going to be busy. “It is believed the victim was trying to flee when he was shot because many of the nine bullets he took hit him in the back.”

Notorious Irish gangster Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh shot dead in Costa del Sol bar  A police spokesman said: “A fatal shooting has occurred near to Marbella. We are investigating.” Witnesses to the shooting told last night how the gunmen shot their victim in the back as he talked with a mystery woman – and finished the job off as he tried to run for his life. One said: “He was sat on a chair in a pair of green swimshorts talking to a woman I’d never seen before. “The men rushed up to him from behind and shot him two or three times in the back and, as he tried to run for the safety of the bar, finished the job off with a shot to the back of the head. “They turned him over to see if he was dead before fleeing. It was absolutely horrific. “The police took the dead man’s black Audi away and undertakers removed his body around 8pm.” Another said: “The killers left the engine on their getaway car running. “I’ve been told it was found burnt out at a supermarket just down the road.” A pal, who asked not to be named, said: “The dead man was lying face down just inside the door of the bar when I saw him. “He was dressed in just a pair of shorts and there was a lot of blood.” Harmons bar is sandwiched between two restaurants in a pretty, tree-lined square just off the N340 dual carriageway running along the Costa del Sol, which was once dubbed the Road of Death because of the number of accidents along it. The bar was closed last night after the horror shooting. A woman who answered a side door said: “Sorry we’ve got nothing to say. We’re not going to speak.” The owner of a neighbouring bar said: “I don’t want to say anything. This is very bad for business.” Kavanagh’s body was taken to the Costa del Sol State Hospital for X-rays last night to determine exactly how many bullets were in his body. Kavanagh, from Ben Bulben Road in Drimnagh, West Dublin, was a senior member of the notorious Kinahan gang, controlled by godfather Christy Kinahan, who is based on the Costa del Sol.

The gang is involved in drug debt collection, drug dealing on an international scale and is suspected of ordering several executions in Crumlin-Drimnagh feud. Kavanagh was jailed for four years in 1996 when he was just 25 for dealing heroin in the Crumlin area. Back then his defence had argued that Kavanagh was only before the court as he had developed a drugs habit forcing him to work as a courier for gangs. The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told that he was involved in a chain of drug distribution headed by drug barons. Following his sentence, Kavanagh paired up with Tallaght gangster Paul Rice, who was jailed for 10 years in July 1995 after pleading guilty to the robbery of a bank in which shots were fired. Together they rose to the top of the drug ladder before Kavanagh packed up and moved to Spain where he was reported to be supplying most of Tallaght and a large area of Drimnagh with illegal drugs. He has been living in Benalmadena for almost a decade with his wife and two children where his daughter is a star of the show-jumping circuit and his son is a professional boxer. Security sources say that the shooting has now raised fears for the safety of the Kinahans.

The scene of the shooting is near to the luxury Don Carlos Hotel, which this weekend is hosting the 19th US-Spain forum. The Spanish ambassador to the USA and the American ambassador to Spain were among guests who opened the three-day event and security had been stepped up significantly in the area. Kavanagh was jailed for four years in March 1996 after he was caught with €3,500 worth of heroin and cannabis. In court, Detective Eamonn Maloney said that Kavanagh was “a major figure in drug supplies in the Crumlin, Drimnagh and Dolphin’s Barn areas of Dublin for some time”. He was forced to flee Ireland after he was targeted by anti-drug vigilantes and the Crininal Assets Bureau.

Read more »

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Irish man shot dead in suspected gangland murder in Spanish bar

Irish man shot dead in Spain was a well-known criminal who closely associated with some of the biggest drug dealers in Ireland and who gardaí believe was the intended target of a botched murder bid last month. The dead man, in his 40s and from Dublin, was singled out in a bar on the Costa del Sol on Saturday afternoon by two masked gunmen who fired at least nine shots, most of which are believed to have hit the victim.

The victim tried to run to safety when he saw the gunmen coming for him but collapsed on the premises when wounded. He was unresponsive when the emergency services later arrived at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. The murder occurred just before 5.30pm local time at an Irish bar in Elivira, on the outskirts of Marbella. A BMW the gunmen are believed to have been driven to and from the scene in was later found burnt out by Spanish police.

Read more »

Sunday, 31 August 2014

SCARFACE MURDER:A man identified as Amsterdam crime boss Samir B. was murdered in Benahavis, Marbella

A man identified as Amsterdam crime boss Samir B. was murdered in Benahavis, Marbella in Spain on Wednesday. image: The 36-year-old, also known as “Scarface,” was killed in the Spanish town near Marbella on Wednesday afternoon, Het Parool reports.


News reports speak of a gangland execution. Samir B. was in the Monte Halcones mall in the picturesque mountain village around 2.00pm when he was shot multiple times in his back and head by two assailants. He was apparently shot on his way out of a storefront in the shopping center. Witnesses called the authorities, but the emergency services could do nothing to resuscitate him.

The Dutch-Moroccan victim from near Sloterdijk in Amsterdam West has been named in connection with sizeable drug deals. writes that he was the largest drug dealer in the city, and he actually marked his cocaine blocks with his own stamp. B. had relocated to Spain a few years back, but apparently his hold on the Amsterdam underground remained. Het Parool writes that B. had a long career in the underworld of Amsterdam West. He grew to be one of the biggest crime bosses in the city.   In June 2010 he was arrested there and extradited to the Netherlands, in connection with the death of 12-year-old Danny Gubbels in Breda; the boy died when someone opened fire on his parent’s trailer and B. was named. He was released after only a few days in prison here, for lack of evidence.   His execution in Benahavis is being investigated by the local police, as well as the Spanish military police force, Guardia Civil, and national police agents. Earlier this month, another of Amsterdam’s criminal leaders, Derkiaoui van der Meijden, was also killed in Amsterdam Oost.

Read more »

Monday, 25 August 2014

240 kilos of cocaine have been found in the hull of a yacht in Huelva

240 kilos of cocaine have been found in the hull of a yacht in Huelva Agents from the National Police, in collaboration with the United States DEA, have arrested six people; four in the province of Huelva and two in Madrid in the three searches carried out as part of the same operation. The investigation started at the beginning of April, when large amounts of cocaine has been arriving in Europe by sea, carried out by an international organisation. Further investigations revealed the head of the organisation is a Spaniard, who lives in Colombia, and who had returned to Spain recently, presumably, to coordinate a consignment of the drug. The rest of the organisation are all Colombian, and had the job of providing logistic support on land for the reception and extraction of the drug.

Read more »

Marbella boxer ring return after trainer shot

MATTHEW MACKLIN, the Marbella based boxer, whose proposed fight against Argentine fighter, Jorge Sebastien Heiland in a WBC eliminator on August 30 was postponed after his trainer, Jamie Moore, was shot in Marbella, is set for a swift ring return. His opponent is as yet unnamed, however, Macklin is expected to undertake his 36th professional bout next month on September 27, on the Felix Sturm - Paul Smith WBA middleweight ‘Super’ title fight undercard in Kiel, Germany. If as expected Macklin wins, the three-time world title challenger expects to be returning to Dublin for the Heiland fight on November 15. Macklin, hopes the Heiland fight will bring him a fourth shot at a world title, as promoter Eddie Hearn looks to guide him to the big title that has eluded him so far.

Read more »

Irish teenager being held on attempted murder charge in Costa del Sol

An Irish teenager is in custody on an attempted murder charge after a violent street fight on the Costa del Sol. The 17-year-old was part of a group of four Irish holidaymakers who got into a row over a girl during a night out in the upmarket resort of Puerto Banus near Marbella. His brother allegedly punched a friend unconscious before the teenager kicked him in the head as he lay on the ground. The victim was rushed to the nearby Costa del Sol Hospital before being transferred to a specialist centre in Malaga so he could be treated for “life-threatening” head injuries.

Doctors have told police he cheated death because of the rapid medical attention he received. The altercation happened around 3am on August 14 in a street a short walk from Puerto Banus port named after singer Julio Iglesias, who owns a house in mountains a short drive away. Investigators say they believe the four men, who had been out drinking together, rowed over a girl. Local police made the arrests at the scene after witnessing the assault from a distance. The injured man, who like the other three Irish holidaymakers involved has not been named, is now being treated in a normal ward after spending several days in an induced coma in intensive care. Police from a specialist anti-violence unit based in Malaga have led the investigation.

A youth court judge remanded the teenager to a young offenders’ institution after quizzing him in a closed court session. His brother, whose age is not known, has been released on bail but is thought to have had his passport taken away from him so he cannot leave Spain. A trial date has yet to be set. The Irish teenager is expected to be held for custody for several months before he is released ahead of trial. A source close to the case said: “The judge quizzed him on an attempted murder charge because medical experts who examined his alleged victim concluded the consequences of the assault could have been much more serious if he hadn’t received rapid medical attention.”

Read more »

Friday, 22 August 2014

Climate change is gradually turning Spain into a fire zone

Spain’s changing climate and economy fuels wildfire risks.Climate change is gradually turning Spain into a fire zone – and a change in the economic climate is inflaming the situation.

The combined forces of climate, economic and social change are leaving Spain increasingly exposed to the damaging and costly effects of wildfires.

A research group reports that a mix of factors is behind the rise in both the numbers of forest fires and the areas of land scorched over the last 40 years.

Vanesa Moreno, a researcher in the geography department at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, and colleagues studied the pattern of fires in Spain from 1968 to 2010.

Although Spain, like much of southern Europe, is expected to become more arid with global warming, and although some Mediterranean vegetation is adapted to − and even benefits from − natural fire outbreaks, the picture is not a simple one.

In the moister Atlantic north-west of the country, there are two fire seasons − at the end of winter, and in the summer. In the Mediterranean region, fires are more frequent in the long, hot summer.


Read more »

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fire in Benahavis

A fire has broken out in Benahavis, near Marbella. This photo was taken on the road between Estepona and San Pedro. The cause of the fire is still not yet known, but follows in the wake of a serious fire in Los Montes de Malaga exactly a week ago. The fire in Los Montes devestated 260 hectares of natural park. So far this year there have been 20 such fires in Malaga Province, which experts say is within the average range of annual fires.

Read more »

Saudi prince's convoy in Paris attacked by gunmen

Heavily armed men have attacked a convoy of cars belonging to a Saudi prince, stealing 250,000 euros (£200,000; $330,000), police say. The convoy was heading through northern Paris on its way to Le Bourget airport late on Sunday evening when it was raided, reports say. The gunmen seized a vehicle carrying the money and documents, later releasing the driver and two others. The convoy was said to have come from the Saudi embassy. No-one was hurt. The gunmen, reportedly armed with Kalashnikov rifles, targeted a Mercedes mini-van at 21:15 (19:15 GMT) on the northern ring road, or peripherique, at Porte de la Chapelle, on the edge of Paris.

The motorcade, belonging to a Saudi prince, was targeted by eight people in two separate vehicles who pointed their guns at the driver of the Mercedes, forcing him to stop, French media reported.

The men then drove the vehicle away with the driver and the two other Saudis inside. No shots were fired but the Saudis were later freed and the vehicle eventually found burned out.

"In the vehicle there was roughly 250,000 euros in cash and official documents from the embassy," police union spokesman Rocco Contento told BFM TV news.

Read more »

There has been a weekend of terror for immigrants in Tangiers

Immigrants who are waiting in Tangiers to cross into Spain have been attacked and their homes ambushed. The NGO’s at the scene fear the aggression against the Sub-Saharans will force them to try to cross the Strait to escape whatever the weather conditions.

The problem started on Friday near the Tangiers airport. The Sub-Saharan’s were told a bus was going to Spain and some 20 women and their children took up the offer. But the bus took them to a local dance festival of African culture called Twiza which was being held in Tangiers for some days. When they realised they had been fooled they returned home, and met a group of Moroccan men armed with machetes and sticks who started to hit them.

Five of the women suffered stab wounds and others suffered abuse. Spanish volunteer, Helena Maleno, was among them and believes the violence is being organised by criminal groups. She was sexually molested by one of the men. She said the Moroccans speech was always the same, ‘We want to clear up here, go to Spain’. Last year an immigrant died when he fell off a wall during a police raid, bringing charges of murderers against the police amid violent scenes as you can seen in the video below.

Read more »

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ebola Alert In Alicante After Man Taken Ill

An ebola alert has been activated in Alicante, Spain, after a young Nigerian man was admitted to hospital with fever and vomiting. Spanish health authorities activated alert protocols after the man showed "several symptoms" of the disease.

The alert comes a week after a Spanish priest who contracted ebola while working in Liberia died in hospital in Madrid. The man was taken ill in the eastern city of Alicante Father Miguel Pajares was the first European infected by a strain of the virus that has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa.

He was airlifted from Liberia to Spain on August 7 after becoming infected while working for a non-governmental organisation there. The 75-year-old was flown to Europe for treatment with his co-worker Juliana Bohi, a nun who has since tested negative for the disease. Elsewhere, 17 ebola sufferers have fled a Liberian clinic raided by looters who stole blood-stained sheets - sparking fears the virus will spread.

Read more »

Saturday, 16 August 2014

ISIS terrorists discovered in Morocco

MOROCCAN anti-terror services working in collaboration with Spanish police officers have broken up a jihadist terror cell in Morocco. In total nine members of the cell, reported to be linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), were detained on Thursday in the three Moroccan cities of Fes, Tetouan and Fnideq. The terrorists were working to recruit new members to the cell with the objective of sending them off to fight in the conflicts currently underway in Syria and Iraq.

It is believed that some of the group made frequent visits to the Spanish city of Ceuta, located on the north coast of Morocco, with the intention of converting people to their cause and raising financial aid. The Spanish Interior Minister has linked those arrested with ISIS, and confirmed that they had received training in the use of weapons and the manufacture of explosives with the goal of participating in suicide attacks or travelling to conflict zones in the Middle-East.

It has also come to light that there were plans to carry out a terror attack on Moroccan soil. Computers and other data-storage devices used by the jihadists are currently being examined for evidence of concrete plans. The investigation remains open within the three cities, with police from both nationalities continuing to work together. Government sources commented that the operation reflects on the excellent relationship that exists between Spain and Morocco when combating terror in the region.

Read more »

Luggage thieves caught at airport

THE Guardia Civil have arrested two people under suspicion of stealing suitcases from distracted airport passengers. Within the Guardia Civil brief of the Safer Tourism Plan which has been put in place to prevent theft from tourists visiting Malaga, the officers at the airport have caught two people who were taking national flights with only hand baggage and then taking advantage of distracted tourists arriving at the baggage carousels to steal their luggage while they were looking away. On several occasions they also, allegedly, pick-pocketed passengers as well as taking their hand baggage while they were retrieving their check in luggage. Investigating officers calculate that they have stolen around €21,000 worth of luggage and wallets.

Read more »

Former boxing champ shot in Marbella to be released from hospital

FORMER boxing champion Jamie Moore, who was shot in Marbella, is to be released from hospital today. The 35-year-old, from Walkden, was shot in the leg and hip while in the Spanish town, where he was training Birmingham middleweight Matthew Macklin. Mr Moore, a former European light-middleweight champion, did not suffer permanent damage in the attack and was transferred to his local hospital at Salford Royal.

Tweeting about his release from hospital, Mr Moore said: “Being discharged from hospital today, still a way to go before I’m back 100 per cent but I’m making quick progress.” He added: “Big thanks to the doctors and nurses at Salford Royal who’ve looked after me over the last four days, they’ve been absolutely brilliant.”

Read more »

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ebola outbreak vastly underestimated

The death toll from the world's worst outbreak of Ebola stood on Wednesday at 1,069 from 1,975 confirmed, probable and suspected cases, the agency said. The majority were in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, while four people have died in Nigeria. The agency's apparent acknowledgement the situation is worse than previously thought could spur governments and aid organisations to take stronger measures against the virus. "Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," the organisation said. "WHO is coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshalling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, agencies within the United Nations system, and others." International agencies are looking into emergency food drops and truck convoys to reach hungry people in Liberia and Sierra Leone cordoned off from the outside world to halt the spread of the virus, a top World Bank official said. In the latest sign of action by West African governments, Guinea has declared a public health emergency and is sending health workers to all affected border points, an official said. An estimated 377 people have died in Guinea since the outbreak began in March in remote parts of a border region near Sierra Leone and Liberia. Guinea says its outbreak is under control with the numbers of new cases falling, but the measures are needed to prevent new infections from neighbouring countries.

"Trucks full of health materials and carrying health personnel are going to all the border points with Liberia and Sierra Leone," Aboubacar Sidiki Diakit president of Guinea's Ebola commission, said late on Wednesday. As many as 3,000 people are waiting at 17 border points for a green light to enter the country, he said. "Any people who are sick will be immediately isolated. People will be followed up on. We can't take the risk of letting everyone through without checks."

Read more »

Arrested for allegedly throwing two suitcases of cocaine out of a hotel window

Poice have established that a 39-year-old Irish man who was arrested in Spain after allegedly throwing two suitcases of cocaine out of a hotel window is a criminal who was previously targeted here in a proceeds-of-crime case. The suspect, who remains in custody in Valencia, has been named as Philip Grendon from Greenfort Drive, Clondalkin, and also with an address at Spiddal Road, Ballyfermot. Grendon's brother, Brian, is a member of a major west Dublin drugs gang who have been constant targets of gardai for 15 years. Already this year, officers based in Ballyfermot have been involved in the seizure of more than €1m worth of drugs from this crew who are considered one of the most organised and longest-established in the country.

The bizarre incident for which Grendon was arrested in Valencia happened last Friday just before 10pm at the four-star Tryp Valencia Oceanic Hotel. Police are said to be working on the theory that the alleged drugs trafficker, who had checked into the hotel a few hours earlier, confused noise from other guests entering and leaving their rooms with a rival gang trying to steal his drugs after suffering a paranoia attack. It is alleged that Grendon also removed ceiling tiles in his room, along with an air vent in an apparent attempt to hide the stash.

The 55kg of cocaine in the cases would have an estimated street value of more than €3.8m in Ireland. Sources who know Grendon say they are "surprised" that he would be trusted by a gang to be in charge of such a huge drugs haul. "Philip was always known to be a paranoid individual, but if what the Spanish police are saying is true, this is taking paranoia to a whole new level," a senior source said. Grendon's younger brother is convicted heroin dealer Brian Grendon (37), who was jailed for six years in December 2002 after he was busted with almost €2m worth of heroin in Palmerstown, west Dublin, the year before. shootings Brian Grendon was previously described in court by a senior detective as being linked to a gang who had in the past "used fatal shootings of anyone who compromised their business".

Philip Grendon appeared in court in Dublin in February 2012 when gardai prosecuted him under proceeds of crime legislation. Some of his associates were targeted by gardai as part of Operation Jumbo in 2002. They included murder victim David McCreevy (23), who was shot dead in Tallaght in 2002.

Read more »

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Spain to probe cigarette smuggling Crime.


EU's anti-fraud office on Monday urged Gibraltar and Spain to launch legal action after it found signs that organised crime was behind a rise in cigarette smuggling in southern Spain, AFP reports. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) made the recommendation after completing a probe it launched in August 2013 at the request of Madrid into a sharp rise in cigarette smuggling across the border between Gibraltar and Spain between 2009 and 2013. "The OLAF investigation has raised a number of concerns regarding the link between a significant increase in the size of the Gibraltar market for cigarettes over the past four years and the subsequent increase of cigarette smuggling across the frontier," a spokesman for the anti-fraud office said. "The concerns include indications of the involvement of organised crime," it added. "The OLAF final case report, and recommendations to initiate judicial proceedings related to the findings of the report, have been sent to the Spanish General State Prosecutor and to the Gibraltar Attorney General." Widespread cigarette smuggling between the tiny, low-tax British territory of Gibraltar to Spain is a major irritant in their frayed diplomatic relations. Smugglers buy the cigarettes in large volumes in Gibraltar at a price much lower than is charged in Spain, where the government in 2012 increased the sales tax to help plug a gaping public deficit. Spain in August introduced stringent border checks at its border with Gibraltar, leading to lengthy queues for motorists, in what it said was a move aimed at clamping down on cigarette smuggling.
But Gibraltar argues the stepped-up border controls are in retaliation for the installation of an artificial reef in its waters that has prevented Spanish boats from fishing there. Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo welcomed the anti-fraud office report and said the territory wanted to work together with Spain to investigate the cigarette smuggling. "We wish any necessary investigations in this and in all areas to be carried out jointly between the competent Spanish and Gibraltar authorities in a genuine spirit of cooperation," he said. The government of Gibraltar said cigarette smuggling was already being brought under control thanks to the "draconian" measures it introduced in January. These include the introduction of searches of vehicles crossing into Spain and giving customs and police officers greater powers to fight smuggling. The Spanish government meanwhile said the anti-fraud office's report "justified" its "work in the fight against fraud and the underground economy". Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty. London says it will not do so against the wishes of Gibraltarians, who are staunchly pro-British.
Read more »

First Spaniard dies of Ebola

confirmed by the Madrid's health department that a 75-year-old Spanish priest, Miguel Pajares has died in Madrid’s Carlos III hospital from Ebola. The Spanish priest who was recently repatriated from Liberia, Africa last Thursday had been in isolation in Saint John of God hospital in the capital of Monrovia. It is known that he contracted the Ebola virus from the Director of the Hospital after a visit. The director is also known to have died. Miguel Pajares was being treated with an experimental drug ZMapp which is designed to fight the deadly virus, but failed to respond to the medication.

The drug ZMapp is a treatment that is made by a private US company and is still in intensely early stages and had previously been only tested on monkeys. In a statement the health ministry said that the drug arrived to the hospital late on Saturday evening to treat the 75-year-old. The drug ZMapp though in very early stages, was only allowed by the Spanish drug safety agency under “exceptional importation” to be used in the use of a non-authorised medication because of an incident where a patient’s life is in danger.

Read more »

Expats could be forced to return home under new government tax proposals affecting rental property in the UK.

  The plans, forwarded by the Chancellor George Osborne, would see the removal of personal tax allowance privileges for overseas residents who also claim income in the UK. If the Chancellor goes ahead with the plans, couples drawing a government pension could also face a £4,000 (€5.000) cut in their yearly income, forcing many to return home. UK government pension plans are only taxable in Britain, meaning that former civil servants living abroad could see a rise in their tax obligations.

Under the current system, expatriates and EU nationals have UK-earned income offset with a personal tax allowance of £10,000 (€12.570), but the planned reforms could jeopardise those expats who live under a carefully considered budget. Up to 400,000 expats could be affected by the proposals which would inject the treasury with an extra £400 million (€503 million) a year.

Read more »

Threat of EBOLA as 224 african immigrants rescued off Spanish coast

Maritime rescue vessels picked up a total of 224 people from 23 dinghies in the Strait of Gibraltar on Monday morning.  Both men and women, believed to all be Sub-Saharan Africans, are reported to be in a good state of health. They are currently being moved to Tarifa where they will be attended to by Red Cross volunteers.

Read more »

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Spain: INTERPOL Targets Trafficking Of Stolen Vehicles

In an INTERPOL-supported operation in Spain targeting the trafficking of stolen vehicles, nearly 20 vehicles were recovered and some 15 individuals arrested. Led by the Spanish National Police, Operation Paso del Estrecho (which means ‘crossing the straits’), was conducted from 28 July to 1 August at the port of Algeciras in southern Spain, a known route used by organised criminal networks to smuggle cars stolen from throughout Europe into North Africa.

With the assistance of INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) unit, police monitored car ferries leaving the port en route to Morocco, with some 5,000 vehicles screened against INTERPOL’s SMV database. INTERPOL coordinated the deployment of 28 experts from seven countries to support the operation. The experts are members of the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) Task Force, comprising police and private investigators who support member countries with operations targeting the theft and trafficking of motor vehicles. The INTERPOL SMV database contains more than 7 million records submitted by 128 member countries. In 2013, countries searched the database more than 125 million times, resulting in 117,000 positive hits. “Operation Paso del Estrecho was very important because it allowed us not only to detect and recover stolen vehicles from Spain and other European countries, but also to obtain crucial information that will allow us to continue our investigations into the organized crime groups dedicated to illegal vehicle trafficking,” said Ángel Arroyo Morales, Head of the vehicle crime investigation unit of the Spanish National Police Central Squad of Organized Crime. “There is no doubt that with strong cooperation between INTERPOL and police across Europe and beyond, we will continue to recover even more stolen vehicles before they can be used for criminal purposes,” he concluded. In addition, 15 people were arrested during the operation, including one Ukrainian and two Spanish nationals arrested in connection with a major investigation of the Central Squad of Organized Crime of the Spanish National Police.

They are suspected of being the masterminds behind a vast trafficking ring transporting stolen luxury cars between Spain and Ukraine, via Poland and Moldova. The stolen vehicles seized came from various European countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, demonstrating the transnational character of this crime. “The trafficking of stolen vehicles is a crime that knows no borders. The only way to effectively combat the organized criminal networks behind this crime is therefore through coordinated joint actions, as evidenced by this successful operation,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis, Glyn Lewis. Operation Paso del Estrecho is an annual initiative conducted by Spanish police in Algeciras – a major gateway between Europe and Africa which sees approximately 4.8 million people and 1.3 million vehicles pass through each year – to prevent stolen vehicles from leaving the country and to identify and disrupt the criminal groups responsible for the illicit trafficking. Highlighting the links between organized crime and the trafficking of stolen motor vehicles – which are often used in the commission of other serious crimes – is a key part of INTERPOL’s global Turn Back Crime campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of these hidden links, and of the very real effect these crimes can have on people’s daily lives.

Read more »

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Major crime gang link as Matthew Macklin’s coach survives assassination attempt

Former European boxing champion Jamie Moore is under armed police guard in a Spanish hospital after he was shot in the legs in Marbella at the weekend. 

Moore is currently based in Spain with his wife and two children where he is training Irish boxer Matthew Macklin at the MGM gym in Puerto Banus ahead of his upcoming fight in the National Stadium on August 30. Moore was shot in both legs and the foot when the gunman targeted him after he left a party on Saturday night but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. “Just to let everyone know Jamie Moore is still in hospital but he should be ok,” Macklin tweeted last night. “He was shot in his legs but the doctors have said there shouldn’t be any serious or permanent damage done.”

The coach and well-respected Sky Sports pundit who has no involvement in crime agreed to become Macklin’s coach last year, but gardai sources have indicated that “special surveillance plans” are in place for the upcoming fight. The villa where Moore was shot is owned by boxing manager Daniel Kinahan, a key member of the Christy Kinahan crime syndicate which operates a sizeable crime operation on Spain’s infamous Costa del Crime. Nicknamed the ‘Tipperary Tornado’, Birmingham-born Macklin has no involvement in crime but has been photographed in the company of major gangsters Gary Hutch and Daniekl Kinahan at major events.

Read more »

Monday, 4 August 2014

Former British and European champion boxer Jamie Moore has been shot in Marbella

Former British and European champion boxer Jamie Moore has been shot in Marbella - apparently in both legs.

Moore, the former European light-middleweight champion, was in Spain working at a gym owned by boxer, Matthew Macklin, who he is training.

It is understood the 35-year-old Moore, from Walkden, Greater Manchester, has now left hospital after treatment.

Moore, highly regarded in the sport, was on the verge of a WBC title shot, in 2009, but decided to quit the sport in 2010 on medical grounds.

Moore is a former two-time British light-middleweight champion and Commonwealth champion.

A source told the Manchester Evening News: "It would appear he was out and about, not at the gym, when he was shot."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed that a British national had been shot over the weekend.

Moore was helping prepare Mackin for a fight in Dublin later this month against Argentinian, Jorge Sebastian-Heiland for the WBC international midldeweight title.

As well as a working as a trainer Moore has worked as a TV commentator.

He is a friend of former boxer, Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton, who told the Manchester Evening News 'battler' Moore would bounce back from the attack.

He said: "I'm devastated by this news. Jamie is a great pal of mine and my thoughts are, of course, today with him and his family.

"He's a great battler and if anyone's going to pull through in hospital it'll be him."

Moore has spoken at several charity events and fundraising dinners for boxers' whose carrers have been cut short by injury.

Moore won a legendary fight with Macklin in 2006 at the George Carnell Leisure Centre in Davyhulme in what was dubbed the 'fight of the year'.

He won 32 of 37 bouts with 23 being knockouts.

Moore boxed an an amateur before turning professional in 1999.

One of Moore's most memorable moments came last year in a three-round knockout victory over Michele Piccirillo for the European belt.

He will also be remembered for his domestic fights with Matthew Macklin, Michael Jones and Ryan Rhodes.

Local Spanish police are investigating the shooting and are likely to alert Britain's National Crime Agency.

So far there have been no arrests.

Read more »

High Alert in Casablanca Airport After Death of Woman Returning from Mecca

Morocco’s Mohammed V international airport is under high medical alert since a 76-year old woman died immediately upon her return from Mecca. Within the first hours after her death, Moroccan authorities feared the death was caused by the Ebola virus. But a statement from the Ministry of Health said the woman suffered from an acute “pulmonary edema.” It is unclear, however, whether this statement will dispel people’s fears regarding the safety of the 30,000 Moroccans who will go to perform pilgrimage next September. Last June, following the emergence of Ebola or Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus in Saudi Arabia, Morocco recommended its pilgrims to cancel their planned trips to Mecca this year. The Moroccan Ministry of health advised Moroccans who decide to go ahead with their pilgrimage to put on masks, which are offered for free by Moroccan authorities.

Read more »

Ebola terror at Gatwick as passenger collapses and dies getting off Sierra Leone flight

Airport staff tonight told of their fears of an Ebola outbreak after a passenger from Sierra Leone collapsed and died as she got off a plane at Gatwick. Workers said they were terrified the virus could spread globally through the busy international hub from the West African country which is in the grip of the deadly epidemic. The woman, said to be 72, became ill on the gangway after she left a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers on board. She died in hospital on Saturday. Ebola has killed 256 people in Sierra Leone. A total of 826 have died in West Africa since the outbreak began in February. Tests were carried out to see if the woman had the disease. The plane was quarantined as ­officials desperately tried to trace everyone who had been in contact with the woman. Airport workers faced an anxious wait to see if the woman had Ebola. One said: “Everyone’s just ­petrified. “We’ve all seen how many people have died from Ebola, especially in Sierra Leone, and it’s terrifying.”

Read more »

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ebola virus a threat

"The risk to UK travellers and people working in [affected countries] of contracting Ebola is very low but we have alerted UK medical practitioners about the situation in West Africa and requested they remain vigilant for unexplained illness in those who have visited the affected area. "It is important to stress that no cases of imported Ebola have ever been reported in the UK and the risk of a traveller going to West Africa and contracting Ebola remains very low since Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person." BBC global health correspondent Tulip Mazumdar said the West African outbreak had been going on for four months. In that time local people had been looking after the sick and carrying out burials, which could actually help to spread the virus, she added. Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment. The outbreak - the world's deadliest to date - was first reported in Guinea in February. It then spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola virus disease (EVD) Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage Fatality rate can reach 90% Incubation period is two to 21 days There is no vaccine or cure Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery Fruit bats are considered to be virus' natural host

Read more »

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Colombian cocaine smuggler gets 15 years

A federal judge in Tampa sentenced a cocaine smuggler on Friday to more than 15 years in prison. U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. sentenced Luis Alberto Urrego-Contreras to 15 years and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. In January 2005, Urrego-Contreras, who was known by the nickname “Bacon,” bought a Beechcraft King Air airplane from a St. Petersburg business. He bought the plane on behalf of Colombian cocaine trafficker Fabio Enrique Ochoa-Vasco, according to the federal court. In June 2005, the plan was for the plane to fly from Venezuela to Colombia to retrieve 2,000 kilograms of cocaine. But when the pilot saw the Colombian Air Force was monitoring the Colombian airstrip, the pilot flew back to Venezuela where the pilot and co-pilot were arrested, according to the federal court. In October 2010, Urrego-Contreras was arrested at the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, according to the federal court. He agreed to speak to agents where he identified Ochoa-Vasco in several photographs and others involved in the smuggling conspiracy, according to the federal court. Urrego-Contreras told investigators that he was paid $50,000 to $100,000 for each cocaine load. He admitted to investigators that he was responsible for 1,000 kilograms of cocaine that was flown from Colombia to Mexico and later distributed in the United States by Ochoa-Vasco, according to the federal court.

Read more »

La Opinion de Málaga reports the arsenal of war weapons found in Málaga was used for their sale and international trafficking.

La Opinion de Málaga reports the arsenal of war weapons found in Málaga was used for their sale and international trafficking. 148 firearms have been impounded, with 55 grenades of different types, more than 160 ammunition cartridges of different calibre, three anti-tank mines, an artillery rocket and a heavy mortar. One of the detained spoke of the arms sale in a book.

Read more »

Renfe in Costa del Sol hit by lack of drivers

Six lines to Fuengirola and Alora have been cancelled due to a lack of train drivers. The termination will affect almost 1,500 people. The drivers union says that many more drivers are needed to keep the services going. On the other hand, Renfe said that part of the problem is that driver absenteeism has gone up by 10%. The company also added that they were doing their best to ‘urgently resolve the problem to get things back to normal as soon as possible’. However, they gave no guarantee or target date on this. The drivers union believe that Malaga requires at least eight more drivers and that Renfe simply need to employ more. They point out that there are 500 unemployed drivers they could hire tomorrow and that they paid €22,000 to take the training course. They also warned that under these current conditions, problems are set to continue all summer long.

Read more »

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Airbus's folding saddle seat could be the cattle-class future for cheap flights

Airbus's folding saddle seat could be the cattle-class future for cheap flights As Airbus files a patent for a new space-saving design to jam many more economy class passengers in.

If you thought low-cost air travel couldn't get any more bleak, then Airbus has a treat in store for you. The aeroplane manufacturer has now filed patent for the what looks like a human battery-farm, but is in fact the future of budget flights: racks upon racks of folding saddle-seats for even more passengers to be jammed onto aeroplanes, packed in knee-to-rump.

While some airlines have already removed their folding tray tables and squeezed leg-room down to brutal knee-capping levels, Airbus have gone one step further, doing away with the idea of proper seating altogether. In their ultra-economy vision, seating aisles will instead take the form of long horizontal poles, from which bicycle-like saddles and small back and arm rests will pivot out, on to which humans will be placed, skewered together like table-football players.

“The design of the seats has to be optimised so that they present the smallest possible bulk,” says Airbus, explaining that the saddle-style seat has been developed “in order to reduce the distance needed to accommodate the legs of passengers between two rows of seating devices.”

Read more »

Gas reps detained for defrauding the elderly

THE Guardia Civil have arrested two representatives of a ‘gas company’ who were thieving in people’s houses when they went to make their inspections. The victims, always elderly, would get a phone call a few days before the inspection; during the phone call the representatives would always inquire as to the age of the people in the house. The victims would be informed that two representatives would visit the house to make sure that everything conformed to standards and was safe.

They would charge €356 for this service and, when the victims would go in search of the cash, the reps would follow them to find where they hid their money and then go back later, while their colleague distracted the elderly person, and steal whatever cash they could find. Investigations began when a complaint was made to the Guardia Civil, by an 84-year-old man, who claimed that after a gas inspection he was left €3,000 short - this was money he had been saving in order to buy a hearing aid. Police rapidly identified and arrested the two individuals who made the visits as well as the woman who would make the preliminary phone calls and the appointments. Investigations into the matter are ongoing as the police suspect that there are a lot of victims who have not yet spoken up about the matter. All three are out on bail until their case goes to court.

Read more »

THE Local Police in Benalmadena are one of the most tech savvy forces on the coast.

They regularly use the social networks to inform the public about crimes ranging from drug dealing to paedophilia and have an open communication policy on their Twitter account (@policia_benalm).   They tend to shy away from using institutional language and communicate in the same manner as the rest of the users of the social networks. #avoid accidents - grab a cab is one of their usual Saturday night reminders to the general public to avoid drink driving.   Benalmadena Local Police opened their Twitter account last year in April principally to send out press notes and official information but they soon realised that the system had enormous possibilities and started to send out messages about cyber bullying and domestic violence, as well as the usual warnings not to drive drunk.   Because they are a local force they can send messages which directly relate to the residents of the municipality on local matters like which roads are fluid, where there may be any problems around the town or if there may be a wave of pick pocketing going on.  

Police headquarters in the town commented that the decision to use the social networking site, which is not used by any of the other Local Police forces in the area - not even in the capital, was not an easy one as there are many ‘trolls’ online who can hack into an account and ruin it.   They decided to take the risk anyway as they thought it would heighten their profile with the public, which it has done, and help them to improve their image of helping the community rather than just handing out parking tickets.   In other Costa del Sol policing news, the Malaga police force are ageing, with no replacements in sight.   Currently, the average age of a local police officer in Malaga is 45.   Malaga Council is said to be concerned about the ageing force as, due to cutbacks, there has been no ‘new blood’ since the recession started.   Although the council is aware of the problem, they have stated that they are not going to do anything about it for the moment as they do not have the budget to remedy the generational handover needed.   The number of police officers on the roster in 2003 was 980, but the force now has only 924 officers. Of these 924, 40 per cent are over the age of 45 and another 130 have had to be given light duties due to physical problems.  

Due to the budget cuts the council has decided to ‘in the short term’ open up another 30 places, the same as they did when a similar problem happened with the fire brigade in 2008.   Francisco de la Torre, mayor of Malaga, has commented that even though experience is a good thing in a police officer, there is a need for a younger generation to take over in order to bring the average age down. He underscored the fact that all police officers over the age of 50 are given light duties unless they can pass a stringent, yearly, physical test.

Read more »

British family recount moment forest fire forced them to flee Spanish hotel in Costa del Sol

'It was like Pompeii': British family recount moment they were forced to evacuate Spanish holiday apartment as raging forest fire sent hot ash raining down on them Family arrived at resort and were unpacking when they were forced to flee Clarks were alerted when Spanish porter looked up at hillside and swore Hot ash rained down and smoke obliterated the sun Eight-year-old Isla screamed that the family was going to die

Read more »

THE Costa del Sol hospital has announced that it will be closing three operating rooms in the afternoons in July and four in August.

THE Costa del Sol hospital has announced that it will be closing three operating rooms in the afternoons in July and four in August.   Ana Corredera, spokesperson for the PP health department, commented that the works being done to expand the hospital have also been blocked for more than two years.   Corredera went on to underscore the fact that there would be no reduction in the number of beds available during the summer but that, due to the reduced budget this year, the summer reinforcements, brought in to cover the four-fold increase of the population, would be “minimal.” The PP spokesperson added that, in her party’s opinion, the delays in the expansion were due to bad local government by the PSOE.

Read more »

Costa Del Nightmares

Costa Del Nightmares (4×60’), which wrapped filming in Spain last week, has been pre-sold in 110 territories, including BBC Global (Africa, Poland, Asia), FX (India), Planet TV (Slovenia), SIC (Portugal), TV Joj (Slovakia), ABS (Philippines) and VTM (Belgium). The show follows Ramsay as he tries to help expat Brits living on the Costa Del Sol to turn around their struggling eateries

Read more »

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Bolivia nationalized the company that runs the three largest airports in Bolivia because the government claims the company did not invest in improving the airports.

Servicios de Aeropuertos Bollivianos SA (Sabsa) is a division of Spain's Abertis Infraestructure SA but Sabsa is also partly owned by Aena Aeropuertos SA based in Madrid. Bolivian president Evo Morales said that the privatization of Sabsa in 1997 was equivalent to "robbery" and "looting". He claimed that since that time the company's profits have been exorbitant and investments "ridiculous".

Read more »

real estate company Reyal Urbis filed for insolvency after failing to renegotiate debt with its creditors.

Spain's property market crash claimed another victim on Tuesday, as real estate company Reyal Urbis filed for insolvency after failing to renegotiate debt with its creditors.


The move takes the property developer, which had 3.6 billion euros ($4.8 billion) of debt at the end of September, closer to becoming Spain's second-largest bankruptcy after Martinsa Fadesa, which defaulted on 7 billion euros of debt in 2008.

Dozens of property companies have collapsed in Spain, where house prices have fallen around 40 percent since their 2007 peak. With the country locked in a deep recession, analysts expect prices to fall further still.

Spain's banks were crippled by the property market bust, eventually requiring the state to agree a European bailout for its lenders of almost 40 billion euros last year. Indebted property firms have asked banks for debt relief but patience is wearing thin among lenders saddled with soured property assets.


Reyal Urbis is 70 percent owned by construction magnate Rafael Santamaria and its creditors include Santander, BBVA, Bankia and Banco Popular.

The company, which valued its property portfolio at 4.2 billion euros in June 2012, said it would continue to operate as permitted by Spanish insolvency laws.

Its insolvency petition now goes to court and its fate will be in the hands of a judge.

Reyal Urbis said Santamaria would remain at the helm of the company and he still hoped Reyal Urbis could reach a deal with its creditors, given "the good will of all negotiating parties".

The company had until Feb. 23 to reach a debt restructuring deal with the banks or file for insolvency. Sources close to the matter told Reuters on Friday that creditors had rejected the company's 3.6-billion-euro proposal.

Trading in the company's shares was suspended on Tuesday, Spain's stock market regulator said. The stock had plunged 99 percent since June 2007 to close at 0.124 euros on Monday.

At the end of 2011, Reyal Urbis owned some 888 finished homes in a country where over a million homes lie empty. The company also had 8 million square metres of land for development and 237,000 square metres of commercial property, including offices, shopping centres, industrial property and hotels.

Read more »

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ms Sandiford to be executed for drug trafficking.

A British grandmother has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling almost 5kg of cocaine into Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May last year after she tried to enter the Indonesian holiday island with illegal drugs worth £1.6 million hidden in her suitcase.

Local prosecutors had called for the 56-year-old housewife to be jailed for 15 years. But today there were gasps in the Bali courtroom when a panel of judges announced Ms Sandiford would be executed for drug trafficking.

As the shock verdict was announced, Ms Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, slumped back in her chair in tears before hiding her face with a brown sarong as she was led out of the courtroom.

Read more »

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Read more »

Monday, 10 December 2012

Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger. We've all been there, finishing a whole bag of chips out of boredom or downing cookie after cookie while cramming for a big test. But when done a lot — especially without realizing it — emotional eating can affect weight, health, and overall well-being.

diets arent the answer emotional eating

Not many of us make the connection between eating and our feelings. But understanding what drives emotional eating can help people take steps to change it.

One of the biggest myths about emotional eating is that it's prompted by negative feelings. Yes, people often turn to food when they're stressed out, lonely, sad, anxious, or bored. But emotional eating can be linked to positive feelings too, like the romance of sharing dessert on Valentine's Day or the celebration of a holiday feast.

Sometimes emotional eating is tied to major life events, like a death or a divorce. More often, though, it's the countless little daily stresses that cause someone to seek comfort or distraction in food.

Emotional eating patterns can be learned: A child who is given candy after a big achievement may grow up using candy as a reward for a job well done. A kid who is given cookies as a way to stop crying may learn to link cookies with comfort.

It's not easy to "unlearn" patterns of emotional eating. But it is possible. And it starts with an awareness of what's going on.

Read more »

Tuesday, 4 December 2012



You may be lost in the addiction to busyness if…

  • Your usual response to “how are you?” is “so busy”, “crazy busy” or “busy but good”
  • You spend time worrying about how busy you are going to be tomorrow
  • You get angry when your spouse or friends aren’t as busy as you
  • Your busy life keeps you up at night thinking about everything you didn’t get done
  • You make a point of letting people know that you stay at the office after hours
  • You check email several times a day
  • You zone out during conversations thinking about everything you have to do
  • You volunteer for things you don’t care about
  • You spend time complaining about how busy you are
  • You make list after list to make sure you don’t forget anything during your busy day
  • You allocate time each day to clean your desk or organize your stuff
  • You regularly eat in your car
  • You use a phone in the car because “it’s the only time you have to talk”
Read more »

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Griselda Blanco, gunned down in Medellin, Colombia Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown

Florida Department of Corrections

Griselda Blanco in 2004.

The convicted Colombian drug smuggler known as the “Godmother of Cocaine,” Griselda Blanco, 69, was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding assassin in Medellin, Colombian national police confirmed late Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

Blanco spent nearly 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders before being deported to Colombia in 2004, the Herald reported.

Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown, and one shot her twice in the head, the Herald reported, citing a report in El Colombiano newspaper.

Family members said Blanco had cut her ties to organized crime after returning to her country, the BBC reported. Police said they were investigating the motive.

Blanco was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia and set up many of the routes used by the Medellin cartel after she was sentenced in the United States in 1985, the BBC reported.

Investigators told the Herald that they estimate conservatively that Blanco was behind about 40 slayings. She was convicted in connection with three murders: Arranging the killing of two South Miami drug dealers who had not paid for a delivery, and ordering the assassination of a former enforcer for her organization, an operation that resulted in the death of the target’s 2-year-old son, the Herald reported.

Three of Blanco’s husbands were killed in violence related to drugs, the Herald reported, and one of her sons was named Michael Corleone, a reference to “The Godfather” movies.

Blanco is credited with originating motorcycle assassinations, the Herald reported.

“This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” filmmaker Billy Corben, who with Alfred Spellman made two “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries, told the Herald. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”

Read more »

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Major wildfire in Malaga leaves elderly Briton dead and his wife missing

One person was confirmed dead and another missing on Friday night after a major wildfire Affected Municipalities of the Coin, Alhaurin el Grande, Mijas, Marbella and Ojén, in Málaga province. The victim is a British man aged 78 was found Whose charred body in the area of ​​Las Blanquillas, inside the city limits of Ojén. His wife has not yet been found. Meanwhile, a couple in late fifties was taken Their hospital with burns to 60 percent to of Their Bodies. Both lived in a detached home inside the Marbella residential estate of El Rosario. A mother and her two children were found hiding inside a cave in Ojén and taken to hospital to be Treated for smoke inhalation. Five other people Were Also Evacuated from Their Homes. The fire was Extending to the Sierra de las Nieves even as the chief of the firefighting department Málaga, Manuel Marmolejo, Announced That a new front had opened up and Reached the area of ​​Juanar, where two hotels had to be Evacuated. Marmolejo said Extending the wildfire was with "great virulence." The blaze Began around 6.50pm on Thursday and soon extended to a perimeter of Between 50 and 60 kilometers, said Marmolejo. An Estimated 1.000 hectares of land Have Been Affected.

Read more »

Friday, 31 August 2012

Marbella eight urbanisations has been evacuated. 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.

The village of Ojen and eight urbanisations in Marbella have been evacuated. 4,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.


The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon and has affected Coín where some 60 homes have had to be evacuated. The fire was still burning overnight so the terrestrial fire fighters continued to work overnight, according to the fire fighting Infoca.
The extinction of the blaze was complicated by the strong hot wind known locally as the ‘Terral’.
Three of the four fronts were brought under control just after midnight.

The fire is also affecting Alhaurín El Grande and Mijas where homes have been evacuated in the Entrerrios area, according to the Junta de Andalucía.

The Barranco Blanco urbanisation in Coín is close to the fire, and there were fears that non-forestry zones could be affected.

In Calahonda there are flames in the urbanisation between Calle Cristóbal Colón and Residential Princess Park. The upper zone of Calahonda is being evacuated.

Two people have been seriously injured with burns. They were in the urbanisation El Rosario where five homes have been affected by the flames. The two injured were taken to the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella a 4.30am this morning. One of them has burns to 50% of their body.

The AP-7 Motorway was for a time overnight for a while.

The Mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, has confirmed that several urbanisations have been evacuated, including La Mairena, Elviria, the area of Las Chapas and Molinillo where the fire is concentrated and continues to advance.

The Hotel La Cala Resort has also been evacuated of its 200 guests.

Those evacuated have been told to go to the sports centre in La Cala, the sports centre in Las Lagunas or the Mijas Hippodrome.

Between 25 and 30 families have been evacuated from Alpujata on the outskirts of Monda.

13 airborne fire fighting planes were brought in on Thursday afternoon from Málaga, Córdoba and Granada, and they have resumed their work at first light.

Land forces totalled 99 fire fighters distributed in seven brigades, three reserve brigades, five fire engines, five operation technicians and four environmental vehicles.

The fire continues out of control on one front and the Mijas Town Hall has told the residents of la Atalaya to urgently leave their homes. A level 1 has been put in place and that indicates that the prevision for the fire could affect non-forestry assets.

350 firefighters are at the scene this morning and the fire fighting planes have returned to work.

Read more »

Numerous homes have been burnt out and others seriously affected in Ojén and Marbella. The urbanisation La Mairena has flames affecting several properties.

The situation is particularly difficult in the upper part of Calahonda where residents have been evacuated and there are flames in the urbanisation between Calle Cristóbal Colón and the residential complex Princess Park.

Some 3,000 residents of El Rosario in Marbella have been evacuated, and German couple in their 60’s have been seriously hurt. Marbella Ayuntamiento says they were surprised by the flames and now have burns 40-50% of their bodies. 

Those affected by the blaze are being first treated in the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella, and then many suffering burns are being transferred to Málaga to the Specialist Burns Unit in the Carlos Haya Hospital.

People have been sleeping in sports centre in Monda and Marbella and municipal buses have been laid on as transport.

The Junta delegate in Málaga, José Luis Ruiz Espejo, has said today that he suspects the fire could have been started deliberately given its rapid propagation. He said the technicians suspected the fire was man made from the start.

Ground fire fighters worked through the night facing difficult terrain and totalled 99 fire fighters distributed in seven brigades, and three reserve brigades, five fire engines, five operation technicians and four environmental vehicles.

At first light this morning the 17 fire-fighting planes returned to the air.
Five planes which drop earth, four large capacity helicopters, five transport helicopters, two amphibian planes, and a plane for coordination and vigilance.

More than 250 professionals from fire fighting organisation INFOCA are working this morning in Mijas, Marbella, Alhauin de la Torre and in Coín where the fire started.

The Mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, has confirmed that several urbanisations have been evacuated, including La Mairena, Elviria, the area of Las Chapas and Molinillo where the fire is concentrated and continues to advance.
Between 25 and 30 families have been evacuated from Alpujata on the outskirts of Monda.

The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon and has affected Coín where some 60 homes have had to be evacuated. The fire was still burning overnight as so the terrestrial fire fighters continued to work over night, according to the fire fighting Infoca.
The extinction of the blaze is being complicated by the strong hot wind known locally as the ‘Terral’.

Three of the four fronts were brought under control just after midnight.

The fire is also affecting Alhaurín El Grande and Mijas where homes have been evacuated in the Entrerrios area, according to the Junta de Andalucía.
The Barranco Blanco urbanisation in Coín is close to the fire, and there were fears that non-forestry zones could be affected.
The Hotel La Cala Resort has also been evacuated of its 200 guests.

Those evacuated have been told to go to the sports centre in La Cala, the sports centre in Las Lagunas or the Mijas Hippodrome.
13 airborne fire fighting planes were brought in on Thursday afternoon from Málaga, Córdoba and Granada, and they resumed their work at first light this morning.

The fire continues out of control and the Mijas Town Hall has told the residents of la Atalaya to urgently leave their homes. A level 1 has been put in place and that indicates that the prevision for the fire could affect non-forestry assets.

Read more »

A huge wildfire is approaching the wealthy resort of Marbella on Spain's Costa del Sol, where the authorities have evacuated thousands of people.

Flames reached the Elviria area on the edge of Marbella early on Friday.

About 1,000 people have been evacuated from the edge of Marbella, about 3,300 from Ojen and others from a camp site at Alpujata, Spanish media report.

They include at least 300 British expats sent to evacuation centres, the UK embassy told the BBC.

Marbella is famous for its up-market hotels and villas - it is a favourite haunt of wealthy foreigners.

Overnight the fire spread rapidly through a 12km (eight-mile) coastal strip, not far from holiday resorts.

Two people have suffered serious burns and some homes have been engulfed by the fire.

The Costa del Sol is one of Spain's most popular holiday destinations and home to a large British expatriate community.

The British embassy says it is working closely with the Spanish authorities and consular staff have been deployed to assist those affected.

Spain Costa del Sol map

Much of Spain's countryside was left tinder-dry this summer by a prolonged heatwave. There have been major wildfires in northern Catalonia - near the Pyrenees - and on La Gomera, in the Canary Islands.

The wind speed has dropped since Thursday and the air is more humid, so there are hopes that the Costa del Sol blaze can be contained soon.

More than 250 firefighters are battling the fire, helped by 17 aircraft dropping water to douse it, Spain's El Pais news website says.

The fire started on Thursday afternoon in the Sierra Negra area of Coin, near Malaga and has now affected an area of some 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres).

Part of the AP-7 highway was cut temporarily, but other roads are unaffected. It is not yet clear how many homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Read more »

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.

It was pretty much all the money Bozena Oracz had after a working life as an accountant: the equivalent of $15,000. She placed it in a fund investing in gold, with the hope of paying for her daughter's studies and getting treatment for a bad knee.

Those dreams were dashed when she discovered she had fallen victim to an elaborate fraud scheme that has left thousands of Poles, many of them elderly, facing financial ruin.

The so-called Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989. The extent of wrongdoing is still murky, but it seems to have some elements of a pyramid scheme, meaning the financial institutionused funds from new clients to pay off older clients rather than investing them.

Consumed with anger and desperation, 58-year-old Oracz traveled last week from a small town near Warsaw to a law firm in the capital to consider whether, after losing 50,000 zlotys, she should risk another 3,000 zlotys ($920; €730) on the fee to join a class-action lawsuit seeking to recover some of the losses.

"This was a lot of money to me — it was my savings," Oracz said, fighting back tears. Now retired and living on a small pension, she sees no way of building another nest egg. "My pension barely covers my needs," she said.

The affair has raised questions about the effectiveness of Poland's justice system and government because authorities failed to act against the scheme despite red flags from regulators and the criminal record of its young owner. Scrutiny has also focused on the prime minister due to business dealings his son had with those running the scheme. The scandal has even touched democracy icon Lech Walesa, who fears it could tarnish his good name.

Prosecutors say investors lost about 163 million zlotys ($50 million; €40 million), a number that has been mounting as more and more victims come forward. Any law suits could take care years to go through the courts, with no guarantee of their outcome.

"People are desperate," said Pawel Borowski, a lawyer preparing the class-action suit that Oracz is considering joining. "In most cases the clients lost life savings or sold family properties to make investments."

The financial institution, Amber Gold, promised guaranteed returns of 10 to 14 percent a year for what it claimed were investments in gold. Many of its clients were older Poles who grew up under communism and lacked the savvy to question how a financial firm could guarantee such a high return on a commodity whose value fluctuates on the international market. The promised returns compared well to the 3 to 5 percent interest offered by banks on savings accounts — earnings essentially wiped out by the country's 4 percent inflation rate.

"These were people with a low level of financial education," said Piotr Bujak, the chief economist for Poland at Nordea Markets. "They think it's still like in the old times, where everything was guaranteed by the state. They underestimated the risk."

Amber Gold launched in 2009, opening branches in city centers alongside respected banks, with white leather sofas and other sleek touches that conveyed sophistication and respectability. It bombarded Poles with convincing advertisements. Some early investors got out with their expected gains, adding to the fund's credibility.

The company, based in Gdansk, capitalized on gold's allure while playing on people's anxieties in unpredictable financial times. "We are dealing with a loss of confidence in the entire financial system and an urgent need for safe investments," one ad said. "The environment for gold is perfect."

Amber Gold drew in 50,000 investors over its three years of operation, though the company's founder, Marcin Plichta, said there were only about 7,000 at the time of liquidation.

Soon after Amber Gold began operations, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority put it on a "black list" of institutions that operate like banks without authorization. There are 17 other such black-listed institutions in operation, but the regulators lack the authority to shut them down. This has sparked a debate in the government and news media about whether courts should be more aggressive in intervening.

According to prosecutors, the company did use some of its money to invest in at least one legitimate business: It was the main investor in budget airline OLT Express. It was this investment that brought Amber Gold down — when the airline filed for bankruptcy, Amber Gold entered liquidation and its scheme of investments unraveled. Its bank accounts were blocked and it was unable to return the money of thousands of its customers.

Plichta was charged this month with six counts of criminal misconduct.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right government went into damage-control mode when it emerged that the leader's son, Michal Tusk, had done PR work for the airline. Tusk said he had warned his son against doing business with Plichta but that ultimately he son makes his own decisions.

Leszek Miller, the head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance, asked how Tusk could warn his son against involvement in the airline but not warn the thousands of Poles who invested in the fund. Miller has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal.

Public discontent is also centering on the justice system because Plichta, 28, has past convictions for fraud, and many Poles are asking why authorities — aware of his criminal record — didn't stop him sooner. Born Marcin Stefanski, he took his wife's last name to distance himself from his past crimes.

The country's top prosecutor, Andrzej Seremet, admitted Monday that prosecutors were negligent in failing to heed multiple warnings since 2009 about Amber Gold from the financial supervisory body. He announced personnel changes in the office he blamed for mistakes.

The affair also has an unlikely connection to the Solidarity leader and former president, Lech Walesa, because an Oscar-winning director, Andrzej Wajda, was relying on money from Amber Gold to produce a film about Walesa's struggle in the 1980s.

Walesa came out publicly to make clear he is not involved in any way, saying he doesn't want his name "dirtied."

Many of the unlucky investors are not only furious but wracked by shame and guilt.

Engineer Andrzej Malinowski, 61, put three months of salary — 25,000 zlotys ($7,660; €6,100) — into Amber Gold. He made the investment without consulting with his wife, sensing that there was some risk and that she would not have agreed.

Now he is so shaken and embarrassed that he doesn't want to talk about it, leaving his wife, Danuta Malinowska, to help unravel the mess.

"He saw that gold was going higher and higher so he believed that maybe it would be a good deal," Malinowska said. "Now he has so much guilt that I am trying to help — contacting the lawyer, filling in the forms, writing to the prosecutors. But the justice system is very ineffective. I don't believe we will be getting any of this money back."

Read more »

Monday, 27 August 2012

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales new leader is emerging at the head of one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels.

  • Mexico Drug War Zetas_Plan.jpg

    This undated image taken from the Mexican Attorney General's Office rewards program website on Aug. 23, 2012, shows the alleged leader of Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias âZ-40.â (AP Photo/Mexican Attorney General's Office website)

Mexico's Violent Zetas Cartel Sees New Leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales A split in the leadership of Mexico's violent Zetas cartel has led to the rise of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a man so feared that one rival has called for a grand alliance to confront a gang chief blamed for a new round of bloodshed in the country's once relatively tranquil central states.

Trevino, a former cartel enforcer who apparently has seized leadership of the gang from Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, is described by lawmen and competing drug capos as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire, a practice known as a "guiso," or "cook-out".

Law enforcement officials confirm that Trevino appears to have taken effective control of the Zetas, the hemisphere's most violent criminal organization, which has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico's war on drugs, though other gangs too have repeatedly committed mass slayings.

"There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops," said Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who was posted in Mexico until last year.

"Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don't think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld," Miles said. "When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano."

The rise has so alarmed at least one gang chieftain that he has called for gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight Trevino Morales, known as "Z-40," whom he blamed for most of Mexico's violence.

"Let's unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country," said a man identified as Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, in a viedo posted Tuesday on the internet.

A Mexican law enforcement official who wasn't authorized to speak on the record said the video appeared to be genuine,

"He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion," Gomez is heard saying on the tape. "We are inviting all the groups ... everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him."

Trevino Morales has a fearsome reputation. "If you get called to a meeting with him, you're not going to come out of that meeting," said a U.S. law-enforcement official in Mexico City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

In two years since Zetas split with their former allies in the Gulf cartel — a split in which Trevino reported played a central role — the gang has become one of Mexico's two main cartels, and is battling the rival Sinaloa cartel.

Now the Zetas' internal disputes have added to the violence of the conflict between gangs. Internal feuds spilled out into pitched battles in the normally quiet north-central state of San Luis Potosi in mid-August, when police found a van stuffed with 14 executed bodies.

San Luis Potosi state Attorney General Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubias told local media that a 15th man who apparently survived the massacre told investigators that both the killers and the victims were Zetas. "It was a rivalry with the same organized crime group," Garcia Covarrubias said.

The leadership dispute also may have opened the door to lesser regional figures in the Zetas gang to step forward and rebel, analysts and officials said.

Analysts say that a local Zetas leader in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, "The Taliban," was apparently trying to challenge Trevino Morales' leadership grab, and that the 14 bullet-ridden bodies left in the van were The Taliban's men, left there as a visible warning by Trevino Morales' underlings.

The Taliban's territory, Zacatecas, appears to have been a hot spot in Trevino's dispute with Lazcano. It was in Zacatecas that a professionally printed banner was hung in a city park, accusing Lazcano of betraying fellow Zetas and turning them in to the police.

Trevino began his career as a teenage gofer for the Los Tejas gang, which controlled most crime in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas, officials say.

Around 2005, Trevino Morales was promoted to boss of the Nuevo Laredo territory, or "plaza" and given responsibility for fighting off the Sinaloa cartel's attempt to seize control of its drug-smuggling routes. He orchestrated a series of killings on the U.S. side of the border, several by a group of young U.S. citizens who gunned down their victims on the streets of the American city. American officials believe the hit men also carried out an unknown number of killings on the Mexican side of the border, the U.S. official said.

Trevino Morales is on Mexico's most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that the Zetas are inherently an unstable cartel with an already huge capacity for violence, and the possibility of more if they begin fighting internal disputes. "I think the Zetas are having problems, and there is no central command," he said.

The Zetas have been steadily expanding their influence and reaching into Central America in recent years, constructing a route for trafficking drugs that offloads Colombian cocaine in Honduras, ships it overland along Mexico's Gulf Coast and runs into over the border through Trevino Morales' old stomping grounds.

Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse, notes that "personality-wise they (Trevino Morales and Lazcano) couldn't be more different," and believes the two may want to take the cartel in different directions. The stakes in who wins the dispute could be large for Mexico; Lazcano is believed to be more steady, more of a survivor who might have an interest in preserving the cartel as a stable organization.

"Lazcano may be someone who would take the Zetas in a direction where they'd become less of a thorn in the side for the new political administration," Logan said in reference to Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to take office as president on Dec. 1. "In contrast, Trevino is someone who wants to fight the fight."

Referring to Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a member of the rival Sinaloa Cartel who died in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, Logan noted, "Trevino is someone who is going to want to go out, like Nacho Coronel went out, with his guns blazing."

Read more »

Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.


Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

A "privileged" racing driver has been jailed with 11 other drug smugglers. Crown Court heard he was head of a gang moving drugs from Eastern Europe along the M4 corridor to London, western England and south Wales.

Kilby was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

Raids on properties

Kilby was jailed in June but his conviction, and those of the rest of the gang, can now be reported following the conclusion of another trial.

In an undercover operation between Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, officers seized 3kg of cocaine as it was being ferried between London and Cheltenham in October 2010.

Another 1kg of the drug was intercepted in Cheltenham in February 2011 and 2.5kg was discovered in raids on properties in Cheltenham, Staverton, Bristol and London in July 2011.

The gang of 12 drug dealers from Gloucestershire, Bristol and London received sentences of between 18 years and four years seven months.

It can now be reported Kilby, who was jailed in June, and Vladan Vujovic, 43, of Grange Road, London were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both were jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Kilby racing in the 2009 Castle Combe Saloon Car ChampionshipKilby built and raced cars with the company he owned, Ajec Racing

Richard Jones, 42, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, was sentenced to 15 years for the same offence, and Mark Poole, 47, from Portishead, was sentenced to nine years seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police said Kilby sourced the drug in London from an East European criminal gang, which included Vujovic.

Vujovic ran a baggage handling company at Heathrow Airport and was said to receive the cocaine before it was distributed around the South West and Wales.

Kilby is the former husband of Flora Vestey, daughter of Lord Vestey, and was owner of motor racing firm Ajec Racing which was based in Staverton.

He was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

'Well-connected socialite'

In a separate charge, Kilby also pleaded guilty to stealing money from the charity Help for Heroes and was sentenced to 10 months, to run concurrently with his 18-year sentence.

He organised a charity race day at Gloucestershire Airport in July 2010, but failed to pass on between £3,500 and £4,000 in proceeds to the charity Help for Heroes.

Det Insp Steve Bean, from Gloucestershire Police, said Kilby was the main man.

"He portrayed himself as a well-connected socialite and businessman, whilst indulging his ambition as a minor league racing driver.

Drugs wrapped in plastic packagesPolice seized 6.5kg of drugs during the operation

"Despite a privileged background, the reality was that his lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains of drug dealing.

"He continually lied and blamed others in an attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy.

"He displayed an air of arrogance and thought he could get away with it because he didn't get his hands dirty."

The majority of the gang were jailed in June, but reporting restrictions meant it could not be reported until now, after the sentencing of the remaining gang members.

Others members of the gang to be sentenced were:

  • David Chapman, 29, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years.
  • William Garnier, 31, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced six years and eight months.
  • Garry Burrell, 46, from Easton, Bristol, and John Tomlin, 28, from Newtown, Gloucestershire both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and were sentenced to six years and six months and four years and six months respectively.
  • Timothy Taylor, 40, from Bristol was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years and seven months.
  • Brian Barrett, 48, from Keynsham was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
  • Scott Everest, 39, from Clevedon was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for seven years.

Jonathan Tanner, 45, from Warminster was sentenced to 18 months for possession with intent to supply of cannabis, but was cleared of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Darren Weetch, 38, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 16 months.

Officers also worked with Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police during the operation.

Read more »

Link within

Related Posts with Thumbnails