Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Suspicion of attempting to smuggle drugs arrests in Morocco

The Cyprus Foreign Ministry has confirmed that five Cypriots have been arrested in Morocco on suspicion of attempting to smuggle drugs out of the North African country. The Cypriots – whose ages are still unknown but are said to be over “18 years of age” – were arrested last week as they attempted to leave the country and are said to be looking at criminal charges relating to drug trafficking. Although the exact amount was unconfirmed, sources yesterday suggested that the group attempted to smuggle 15 kilos of hashish out of one of the country’s airports. “We can confirm that five Cypriots have been detained in Morocco and we are liaising with our Embassy in Paris, which is also responsible for Morocco, in an attempt to stay in contact with the individuals,” Ministry official Petros Kestoras told The Cyprus Daily on Tuesday. “We are as yet still unaware as to the exact amount of illegal substances they are said to have reportedly attempted to smuggle. We are also unaware of the exact substances. We do know that criminal procedures are ongoing and that the five individuals are obviously in police custody.” Morocco is one of 32 countries that impose capital punishment for offences involving the illegal importing, exporting, sale, or possession of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. But there has only been only one execution since 1983, and it happened in 1993. A total of 198 people were sentenced to death between 1956 and 1993, although there was an 11 year lull in executions between January 1982 and August 1993. The issue over capital punishment is a hot topic in Morocco. Officially, the stance of the current government is for "de facto" abolition but the Ministry of Justice has declared that terrorism is still an obstacle to "de jure" abolition. Figures from the US State Department claim that – until 2010 - a total of 104 inmates were on death row. According to a United Nations report, Morocco is a major source for cannabis, of which several hundreds tons reach mainly European markets every year.

Cannabis cultivation is concentrated in the underdeveloped region of the Rif in the North, for which the Government has adopted a national five-year development programme. In addition to the significant illicit trafficking of cannabis resin, the country is affected by growing international trafficking of heroin and cocaine and by related organised crime, including money laundering. As the main supplier country, “Morocco has long been a popular route by which drugs enter Europe”. It is a transit point for the ‘hashish’ consumed in Europe, but also of other illegal drugs principally coming from Latin America and East Asia.

The coast of Spain is the most common landing point of the drug, and to a less extent France, United Kingdom and other European countries Back in December 2012, Spanish police seized eleven metric tons of hashish smuggled from Morocco on trucks with tanks rigged to hide the drugs. Thirty five people were arrested in what was described as the breakup of a major smuggling ring that fed the European market.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

King Mohammed VI Pardons 277 Convicts on Eid Al-Fitr

King Mohammed VI Pardons 277 Convicts on Eid Al-Fitr
Rabat- King Mohammed VI granted his pardon to 277 convicts to mark Eid Al-Fitr, the Justice ministry said in a press release. 
The detained beneficiaries of the pardon are:
- 242 prisoners had their prison terms reduced.
The other beneficiaries of the pardon are 35:
- Six prisoners benefited from pardon over their imprisonment term or remaining prison term.
- Three inmates benefited from pardon over their prison terms and fines.
- 26 inmates had their fines annulled.
Pardon is granted to a number of prisoners by King Mohammed VI on the occasion of religious and major national celebrations, notably at Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

French al-Qaida recruiter arrested in Tangiers

Moroccan authorities have announced the arrest in Tangiers of a French citizen of Algerian origin for recruiting fighters for al-Qaida to travel to Syria and Iraq. The statement issued by the Interior Ministry late Sunday described the suspect as a veteran member of the international terror network. It said he had fought in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bosnia and is charged with raising funds and manpower for fighting in Syria. The suspect arrived in Morocco on July 21, traveling via Tunisia and Libya and was arrested on Saturday in the North African kingdom's main container port of Tanger-Med. He allegedly was recruiting for the al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front. While Morocco has experienced few terrorist attacks, it is a major source of recruits for conflicts in Mali, Syria and elsewhere.

Is the deadly Ebola virus on the way to the SPAIN threw illegal immigration?

Spreading: The latest outbreak of ebiola has scientists worried

Infected: The location of Ebola cases
Deadly: How the virus takes hold
A fast-spreading virus that liquifies internal organs and kills six in 10 victims.
Ebola is the stuff of nightmares – and horror movies.
academics have even talked about it being responsible for the Black Death plague epidemics of the Middle Ages which killed millions across Europe and Asia.
Now doctors across Spain have been sent letters warning them to to look out for Ebola Hemmorrhagic Fever, one of the most deadly and infectious diseases in the world.
It has killed hundreds in the world’s worst outbreak. Experts now fear it could spread beyond the borders of West Africa. More than 1,200 people have caught the virus and over 670 in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have died as a result.
On Friday a man died after flying 1,000 miles from Liberia to Nigeria, heightening concerns international air travel could speed up its spread. And experts admit the virus could find its way to Britain.
Cambridge University’s Dr Peter Walsh, a lecturer in archaeology and anthropology and Ebola expert, says: “It’s possible someone infected will fly to Heathrow having infected other people sitting next to them or by using the toilet.

“This strain of Ebola is probably the second most deadly virus in the world after canine rabies. If you get canine rabies, you’re going to die, but we also have vaccines for that.
“This is worse than anthrax, but there are vaccines and treatments for anthrax, too.”
There is currently no cure or vaccine for Ebola. Even the front-line doctors have started falling victim to the disease they are trying to treat.
Last week a Liberian medic, Dr Samuel Brisbane, died after contracting the disease and Kent Brantly, a US doctor from a medical charity working in the region, has fallen ill with the disease.
The infection, spread via bodily fluids, begins with symptoms including a fever and sore throat then develops to vomiting, diarrhoea and profuse internal and external bleeding.
Victims may die of multi-organ failure within days of first contact with the bug. Some strains can kill up to 90% of sufferers.

The body deals with potential outbreaks and Dr Brian McCloskey, its director of global health, said: “There is the recognition this is a problem that is not under control… At the moment its preparatory thinking rather than alarm.”
PHE also has a phone line telling doctors what tests to do on patients who may have symptoms.
The disease was first documented in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, and was named after the river that runs through the country.
It is known to be carried by bats but usually only affects people, and primates such as monkeys, living near the creatures on the edge of the tropical rainforests.
Although conspiracy theorists will tell you that Ebola – along with Aids – was man-made, developed in a lab as a weapon by the CIA and tested in Africa, where it escaped into the wild.
However ludicrous this sounds, Dr Walsh believes the virus does have huge potential as a weapon.
He says: “The bio-terror people are worried about somebody weaponising Ebola and being able to deliver it in an aerosol form.
“In that case it could be seriously nasty, because it would be just as deadly – but this way they’d have a means to really spread it.”

GettyUndated file picture of an electronmicrograph of the Ebola virus
Little bug: A magnified image of the Ebola virus

The first report of the current Ebola outbreak was in south-east Guinea in February, and infections levels steadily grew.
These are the first cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.Health experts from the World Health Organisation are trying to educate Africans on the dangers of burial rites, such as touching and washing dead bodies, which may increase the spread of the disease.
Efforts to contain Ebola have also been hampered in areas of Sierra Leone where a distrust of Western medicine and belief in faith healers have seen locals ignore attempts at isolating infected patients.
Dr Walsh believes medics should start using vaccines for Ebola even though they are in the early stages of development.
He says: “They haven’t been licensed for human use but they work very well on lab monkeys.
“If we have the technology to save these people why aren’t we doing it? The answer is that it’s Africa.”

Lionel Messi to be prosecuted for alleged tax evasion

A Spanish court will push ahead with prosecuting the Barcelona forward Lionel Messi for alleged tax evasion despite a recommendation from the public prosecutor the charges be dismissed. The prosecutor argued in June that Messi’s father Jorge was responsible for the family’s finances and not the four-times World Player of the Year. However, the court in Barcelona has decided that Lionel Messi could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies that were allegedly used to evade taxes due on income from image rights. The judge in the case ruled that the case against both Messis should continue. Argentina’s Messi and his father were accused last year of defrauding the Spanish state of more than €4m (£3.1m) by filing false returns for the years 2006 to 2009. They have denied wrongdoing.   One of the world’s highest-paid athletes, Messi earns just over $40m (£23.5m) a season in salary and bonuses, according to Forbes magazine, as well as about $23m from sponsors. The magazine has him as the fourth top-earning athlete behind the boxer Floyd Mayweather, Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball player LeBron James.

Third of holidaymakers fall victim to crime in Spain

A new study shows that one in every three Irish people robbed while on a foreign getaway believe they, or a travelling companion, "looked like a tourist" when targeted by thieves. Men are more likely to be robbed with a map in hand or camera around their neck with 33pc of those targeted admitting they were an obvious target for opportunistic thieves, compared to 25pc of women. Overall more than one in every 10 Irish people (12pc) admitted to being robbed while on their holidays in the study by AA Ireland. Men are more commonly targeted than their female counterparts while abroad.

Spain is the holiday destination where most Irish people are robbed with a third of those surveyed revealing they had been robbed there, followed by France and Italy – three of the most popular places for Irish people to holiday. Of the 3,000 holidaymakers surveyed, more than one in every 10 (12pc) said they had been pick pocketed while only slightly less (10pc) said they had items stolen from their accommodation. Another one in 10 had their bank card stolen while the same number revealed they were targeted on public transport. Only 3pc said they were mugged or had their passport or bags stolen. Nearly three out of four (72pc) reported they have never been targeted by thieves while on holidays.

AA Ireland spokesperson Miriam O'Neill said it was important to "blend in" with the locals as much as possible to avoid being targeted. "It's a question of being conscious of your surroundings and making you and your belongings as inaccessible as possible. I'd always advise travellers to know what's covered in their travel insurance too," she said. The majority of robberies are opportunistic, the survey reveals. However, one couple were raided after culprits punctured their tyre then posed as good Samaritans before robbing them. Another person said they were almost robbed by a woman with a baby strapped to a fake arm, leaving her actual hand free to pick pocket.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Cubans Get a Dose of Surrealism at Dali Exhibit

Art appraiser Alex Rosenberg has spent decades hanging the forbidden fruit of Cuban art in New York galleries. This week, he opened the minds of Cuban art lovers by exhibiting a collection of the work of the surrealist painter Salvador Dali (1904-1989) in Havana. It is the first time a major collection of the Spanish-born surrealist has been shown on the island. The exhibit is entitled “Memories of Surrealism” and opened at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Rushkinoff cough vodka gives British holidaymakers inexplicable cough

THOUSANDS of British tourists have voiced their concern about developing an inexplicable cough after drinking a cheap brand of vodka in Mallorca. Its low price has turned Rushkinoff into the preferred vodka brand served in bars and restaurants on the island. It is also the vodka of choice for most holidaymakers enjoying a night out on the town since a one-litre bottle can be bought for as little as €3. The strange cough – nicknamed ‘the Rushkinoff cough’ – has people talking on social media. In fact, a Facebook page called ‘I got the Rushkinoff cough’ has already received as many as 12,000 likes.

Tourists affected by the cough have taken to travel websites, including Trip Advisor, to both warn other holidaymakers and complain about the cheap vodka brand. “Avoid it if at all possible! By the end of the holiday I had stopped buying vodka drinks when out because my throat could not take it. I lost my voice… I spent a week at home with a wicked cough and I could hardly speak.” said Rebecca M on Trip Advisor.

An English Literature student at Glasgow University said: “It was about €3 or €4 for a bottle and we presumed it was ok because it is served in all the bars. On the day we left, my throat started feeling scratchy and it got progressively worse. During the next week, I had a really sore throat and a hacking, rasping cough. It sounded like a smoker’s cough but I do not smoke.”

two sisters running a bakery in a desert

The land in Los Monegros in Aragon in northeastern Spain, is almost as arid as a desert. In the 1960s, it was one of the backdrops chosen for spaghetti western films.
Yet for two twenty-something Spanish sisters, it has become the perfect place for their farming and bread-baking business.
Ana Marcen, the elder of the two, says she had no previous experience in agriculture.
"I studied Greek and Latin and used to work in an orchestra as a singer."
Her younger sister Laura used to work as a waitress and studied engineering.
Their business idea grew out of something their uncle told them - that in times gone by, the bread in this part of Spain tasted different.
It was a flavour he missed.
From seed to loaf
'For the seed we grow, the climate is perfect', two sisters explain why they started a bakery and are growing wheat in a Spanish desert.
The sisters say their uncle was "a very curious person, he used to ask himself why bread didn´t taste any longer as it used to."
They discovered that a type of wheat seed, known as Aragon 03, had been the secret behind the region's distinctly-flavoured bread.
They found an elderly couple who still had a small quantity of the Aragon 03 seed. The Marcens bought two bags of the seeds - and from that their business has grown.
The concept of their business is to control the entire bread-making process.
They grow the wheat, mill the flour and bake the bread, muffins and other bakery snacks.
"Unlike other traditional bakeries that just sell organic products, we control the whole process", says Laura.
A combine harvester in a wheat field
Los Monegros may be very dry - but the Marcen sisters' wheat is well-suited to these conditions
'You must be mad'
They set up their business in 2007, just before Spain's economic and financial crisis hit.
They were able to get a bank loan of €250,000, ($335,000; £200,000) which they think would be harder to come by in today's post-recession climate.
In the first year, their business lost lots of money, but by the third year they broke even.
Now, seven years after they first started farming and baking, they own two bakeries and sell their products in eight others.
Whatever profit they make, they reinvest in their business as they want to expand and sell online.
"Many people told us we were crazy for trying to run a business like ours in a (dry) place like this. But we found out that the seed we grow is perfect for this climate", says Laura.
"People think that there is no life in Los Monegros, but in reality the region is rich in plants and wildlife.
"As my uncle used to say, you have to bend your knees and look closely. For example, I see opportunities where others don't."
A man buying baked goods in the company shop
The niche product has a loyal clientele which has been the key to the business turning a profit
Family idea, family business
From the very start, this was a family-run business.
Their father Daniel harvests the crop, their mother Mercedes, works in one of their shops, and their younger brother, Jesus, mills the flour and bakes the bread.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Spain: Royals' plane food budget to double

The Spanish Ministry of Defence has doubled its catering budget for a fleet of seven planes carrying Spanish royals, ministers and other senior officials, it seems. The government's congressional record has said the annual budget is going up to 133,000 euros (£105,000) from 65,000 euros the year before, news website 20minutos reports, adding that it's not unusual for officials to end up exceeding the budget. The website suggests the final bill for 2014 could come in at around 414,000 euros. Trays of peeled seasonal fruit, sirloin steak, Segovia suckling pig and Bilbao sea bass are among the 29 dishes on the menu - although it's reported that alcohol hasn't been served on board since 2012. Prices will be capped for some individual items - for example, the government won't pay more than 35 euros for a kilo of pecorino cheese - and some of the most expensive items have been taken off the menu altogether. The new budget comes amid a defence department review of the fleet's maintenance procedures following two recent breakdowns, and may consider renewing some of the aircraft in the fleet.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Guardia Civil has found the largest arsenal of weapons ever seen in Spain on the Costa del Sol

The Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Guardia has led the investigation, which has uncovered hundreds of firearms, many dating from the war.
Sat Jul 19, 2014 - 07:26
The operation called ‘Yedra’ has so far seen the arrest of three Spaniards who have been sent immediately to prison by the judge two weeks ago, but more people are thought to be implicated and the investigation continues open. One of the arrested has a record for drug trafficking.

Photo Guardia Civil

A case of money laundering in the Churriana area is thought to be linked to this case.

Now the Guardia Civil have the unenviable task to try and identify the origin of all the weapons, most of which were found in a location in Mijas.
All types of weapons have been found in varying condition and with the corresponding ammunition.

The Guardia Civil Department of Arms and Explosives Inspection, has catalogued several types of shotgun, assault rifles, submachine guns, machine guns and an important number of small weapons

The size of the case has led the Guardia Civil to contact other barracks across Spain to create a multi-disciplined group to extend the investigation, in which Interpol is also involved.

The weapons are believed to be linked to specialists in international terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking. 

A man has been injured during a robbery in Fuengirola

The man, who manages a currency exchange bureau, was in a supermarket carrying a briefcase when suddenly a man approached and tried to take it.
Wed Jul 23, 2014 - 19:11
During the struggle the victim threw the suitcase several metres in an attempt to get it away from the robber, but the two men clashed again and the attacker brought out a knife and stabbed the man.


Police think the attacker was waiting for the man, and thought the suitcase contained the day’s takings.

The attacker made his escape but most of the event was capture on the supermarket’s cameras, and police are inspecting the tape to try and identify the attacker.

The injured man is recovering in hospital but is not seriously hurt.

Ten people have been evacuated following another fire in Mijas

Ten people have been evacuated following another fire in Mijas The fire started in the area known as El Hinojal 11.25 this morning and was declared under control at 1pm Thu Jul 24, 2014 - 14:25 The ten were evacuated as a precautionary measure during the extinction of the fire. Three helicopters, an earth carrying plane and another coordinating plane, were used in the air, with ground support.

The controversial sex on the dance floor bar in Magaluf has been closed for 12 months

The controversial sex on the dance floor bar in Magaluf has been closed for 12 months The Calvià Town Hall said it has had enough of these sorts of activities and has notified the owner of the Playhouse bar, in Calle Martín Ros García in Magaluf, and those responsible in the Carnage Magaluf company that the bar will be closed for a year and a fine of 55,000 € must be paid. Fri Jul 25, 2014 - 13:27 The Town Hall justified their decision after a Local Police investigation which confirmed the controversial video, which was released at the start of this month, was recorded in the bar.

Police are keeping watch on five drug traffickers trapped on a ship in Málaga

The initially eight drug traffickers were released by the National Court following the reform, carried out by Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón which considered the Spanish Court is not competent to judge a ship seized in international waters.
Fri Jul 25, 2014 - 13:50
Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the reform of Universal Justice Law it could be the drug traffickers involved could now be prosecuted in the Spanish Court, and for that reason the police are keeping watch.

The Mayak in Málaga Port

The vessel was intercepted last March when 30 nautical miles SE of Málaga. The 63.5 metre long ‘Mayak’ was constructed in 1968 and was flying the Sierra Leona flag. The investigators call this type of ship the mother ship, because they receive and supply drugs to other smaller ships which bring the drugs to the European coast.

When customs boarded the ship, she had been loaded up just an hour before and eight crew were caught red-handed introducing the bales of drug into the bodega.


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