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Friday, 1 August 2014

Christy Kinahan was celebrating today after being told he will not face trial in Spain on drugs and arms trafficking charges.Police said at the time the gang he is said to have led owned property worth 500 million euros in Brazil and 160 million euros in Spain.

Posted On 10:11 by Land Bike 0 comments

 

Christy Kinahan was celebrating today after being told he will not face trial in Spain on drugs and arms trafficking charges.

The underworld boss feared he would be prosecuted for the crimes after a high-profile police raid on his Costa del Sol home in May 2010,

But a judge investigating the Irishman and a gang of alleged accomplices including his two sons has decided to drop the allegations.

Kinahan, who was hauled back to a court in Estepona yesterday for further questioning, is now being probed only on suspicion of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

 

 

 

The dramatic decision, which a state prosecutor decided not to appeal against, will be seen as a major blow for the Spanish police and politicians.

Former Home Secretary Alfredo Rubalcaba branded the Kinahans a “mafia family” when Christy and sons Christopher and Daniel were arrested during a series of dawn raids on the Costa del Sol.

Nearly a dozen suspects were arrested in the UK and Ireland as part of the same Europol-coordinated police operation.

Rubalcaba, who has just been replaced as leader of Spain’s main opposition party, even linked the alleged gang ringleaders to a string of murders when he reacted to news of the arrests during a visit to Poland.

He said at the time: “This was an operation against an important, well-known mafia of organised crime, which has operated in different countries and which is being linked to various murders and with a number of crimes from drug trafficking to people trafficking.

“It is a mafia family relatively well-known in the United Kingdom, a little less known in Spain, but they are established on the Costa del Sol.”

Investigating judge Maria Carmen Gutierrez Henares is understood to have binned her drugs and weapons trafficking probe after finding no evidence linking Kinahan and his alleged accomplices to the crimes.

Christy and his sons and alleged right-hand man John Cunningham will remain on bail along with the other suspects while the secret court probe continues into the money laundering and criminal gang membership allegations.

 

Daniel Kinahan, front wearing shades, carries his mother's coffin
 

 

Sources close to the long-running case predicted last night it could take at least two more years to reach trial - and the number of defendants in the dock would be a fraction of those originally arrested.

One insider said: “All the suspects including Christy Kinahan have been called back to court over the last three weeks to give evidence behind closed doors.

“Most said they had nothing to add to earlier statements.

“Christy KInahan attended court yesterday/on Wednesday but managed to get in and out of the building without anyone cottoning on to the fact it was him.

“He’s not surprised the drugs and weapons allegations against him have been dropped but he’s obviously very relieved.

“The judge took her decision around the same time she called the first of the suspects in for further questioning.

“Their defence lawyers are confident the money laundering charges are not going to prosper either.”

Another well-placed source added: “The suspects weren’t asked a single question about drugs or weapons.

“Most declined to add anything to their original statements.”

More than 20 people including the Kinahans were arrested on the Costa del Sol more than four years ago as part of Operation Shovel.

Christy, arrested at his luxury apartment in a private development near Estepona, spent six months on remand in jail before being bailed.

Armed officers sealed off a residential street after his detention before marching him into court.

Police said at the time the gang he is said to have led owned property worth 500 million euros in Brazil and 160 million euros in Spain.

The suspects had a fleet of expensive cars seized and bank accounts frozen

Christy Kinahan feared he would be prosecuted for the crimes after a high-profile police raid on his Costa del Sol home in May 2010. But a judge investigating the Irishman and a gang of alleged accomplices, including his two sons, has decided to drop the allegations. Kinahan, who was hauled back to a court in Estepona on Wednesday for further questioning, is now being probed only on suspicion of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

The dramatic decision, which a state prosecutor decided not to appeal against, will be seen as a major blow for the Spanish police and politicians. Kinahan and sons Christopher and Daniel were arrested during a series of dawn raids on the Costa del Sol, while nearly a dozen suspects were arrested in Ireland and the UK as part of the same Europol operation. Investigating judge Maria Carmen Gutierrez Henares is understood to have binned her drugs and weapons trafficking probe after finding no evidence linking Kinahan and his alleged accomplices to the crimes. Christy, his sons, and alleged right-hand man John Cunningham, will remain on bail along with the other suspects while the court probe continues into money laundering and criminal gang membership allegations. Sources close to the long-running case predicted last night it could take at least two more years to reach trial – and the number of defendants in the dock would be a fraction of those originally arrested.

One insider said: "All the suspects, including Christy, have been called back to court over the last three weeks to give evidence behind closed doors. "Most said they had nothing to add to earlier statements. "Christy attended court on Wednesday but managed to get in and out of the building without anyone cottoning on to the fact it was him. "He's not surprised the drugs and weapons allegations against him have been dropped, but he's very relieved. "The judge took her decision around the same time she called the first of the suspects in for further questioning. "Their defence lawyers are confident the money laundering charges are not going to prosper either." Another well-placed source added: "

The suspects weren't asked a single question about drugs or weapons." More than 20 people including the Kinahans were arrested on the Costa del Sol more than four years ago as part of Operation Shovel. Christy Kinahan, arrested at his luxury apartment in a private development near Estepona, spent six months on remand in jail before being bailed. At the time police said Kinahan had property worth €500m in Brazil and €160m in Spain.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Spanish police arrest 27 car dealers in ‘rollback fraud’ crackdown

Posted On 23:59 by Land Bike 0 comments

THE Spanish National Police have arrested 27 used car dealers for the oldest trick in the book: dialing back cars’ distance gauges to sell them at a higher price. The investigation was launched after a man bought a car in Toledo thinking it had 87,000 kilometres on it, only to find out it actually had traveled 207,000. Now, some 48 falsified cars have turned up in five provinces, hailing from 24 separate dealerships. But those are only the ones that got caught. Authorities have reported that only a small percentage of falsified cars ever get discovered by their owners.


Christy Kinahan was celebrating today after being told he will not face trial in Spain on drugs and arms trafficking charges.

Posted On 23:30 by Land Bike 0 comments

 

Christy Kinahan was celebrating today after being told he will not face trial in Spain on drugs and arms trafficking charges.

The underworld boss feared he would be prosecuted for the crimes after a high-profile police raid on his Costa del Sol home in May 2010,

But a judge investigating the Irishman and a gang of alleged accomplices including his two sons has decided to drop the allegations.

Kinahan, who was hauled back to a court in Estepona yesterday for further questioning, is now being probed only on suspicion of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

 

 

 

The dramatic decision, which a state prosecutor decided not to appeal against, will be seen as a major blow for the Spanish police and politicians.

Former Home Secretary Alfredo Rubalcaba branded the Kinahans a “mafia family” when Christy and sons Christopher and Daniel were arrested during a series of dawn raids on the Costa del Sol.

Nearly a dozen suspects were arrested in the UK and Ireland as part of the same Europol-coordinated police operation.

Rubalcaba, who has just been replaced as leader of Spain’s main opposition party, even linked the alleged gang ringleaders to a string of murders when he reacted to news of the arrests during a visit to Poland.

He said at the time: “This was an operation against an important, well-known mafia of organised crime, which has operated in different countries and which is being linked to various murders and with a number of crimes from drug trafficking to people trafficking.

“It is a mafia family relatively well-known in the United Kingdom, a little less known in Spain, but they are established on the Costa del Sol.”

Investigating judge Maria Carmen Gutierrez Henares is understood to have binned her drugs and weapons trafficking probe after finding no evidence linking Kinahan and his alleged accomplices to the crimes.

Christy and his sons and alleged right-hand man John Cunningham will remain on bail along with the other suspects while the secret court probe continues into the money laundering and criminal gang membership allegations.

 

Daniel Kinahan, front wearing shades, carries his mother's coffin
 

 

Sources close to the long-running case predicted last night it could take at least two more years to reach trial - and the number of defendants in the dock would be a fraction of those originally arrested.

One insider said: “All the suspects including Christy Kinahan have been called back to court over the last three weeks to give evidence behind closed doors.

“Most said they had nothing to add to earlier statements.

“Christy KInahan attended court yesterday/on Wednesday but managed to get in and out of the building without anyone cottoning on to the fact it was him.

“He’s not surprised the drugs and weapons allegations against him have been dropped but he’s obviously very relieved.

“The judge took her decision around the same time she called the first of the suspects in for further questioning.

“Their defence lawyers are confident the money laundering charges are not going to prosper either.”

Another well-placed source added: “The suspects weren’t asked a single question about drugs or weapons.

“Most declined to add anything to their original statements.”

More than 20 people including the Kinahans were arrested on the Costa del Sol more than four years ago as part of Operation Shovel.

Christy, arrested at his luxury apartment in a private development near Estepona, spent six months on remand in jail before being bailed.

Armed officers sealed off a residential street after his detention before marching him into court.

Police said at the time the gang he is said to have led owned property worth 500 million euros in Brazil and 160 million euros in Spain.

The suspects had a fleet of expensive cars seized and bank accounts frozen


Russia enacts 'draconian' law for bloggers and online media

Posted On 23:15 by Land Bike 0 comments

A new law imposing restrictions on users of social media has come into effect in Russia. It means bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country's larger media outlets. Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users' information. One human rights group called the move "draconian". Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote The internet is the last island of free expression in Russia” Hugh Williamson, Human Rights Watch The law was approved by Russia's upper house of parliament in April. It includes measures to ensure that bloggers cannot remain anonymous, and states that social networks must maintain six months of data on its users. The information must be stored on servers based in Russian territory, so that government authorities can gain access.


Joaquín Cortés dances into La Sala Marbella

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In the early hours of last Sunday morning, Superstar Spanish dance sensation Joaquín Cortés - the man whose stunning contemporary flamenco dancing and choreography has earned him the accolade of one of the top 10 dancers of all time - headed to La Sala, Puerto Banús to relax and enjoy a little down time with his dancers, musicians and entourage following a performance of his latest stage show, Gitano at the Tennis Club of the 5-star hotel Puente Romano on Marbella’s Golden Mile.

One of the entertainment highlights of the summer, the charismatic Cortés delighted crowds with his innovative flamenco choreography, modern stage sets and a smouldering performance that left women swooning and shouting out his name as his forceful, exhilarating dancing led him to remove his Armani jacket and tie and strip down to his soaked black shirt. Immediately after the event, Joaquín Cortés and his retinue were found enjoying drinks at La Sala Restaurant and Bar in Puerto Banús, the most happening venue in Marbella. The party started straight after the concert and Cortés and friends were royally entertained with live sax, bongos, violin and trumpet, and a spread of delectable La Sala signature dishes and drinks. Despite the rigours of the night’s performance, many of the professionals couldn’t resist dancing sevillanas almost ‘til dawn. Cortés appeared to be in his element throughout, and commented, “La Sala is awesome!”  Many of Cortés’s fans clamoured to the venue to catch a glimpse of the star, following him from his show to La Sala. Other celebrities to be spotted recently at La Sala include footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and girl band Little Mix.  For further details and reservations contact La Sala on Tel: 95 281 4145 info@LaSalaBanus.com


Marbella Michelin stars

Posted On 13:52 by Land Bike 0 comments

MARBELLA is preparing to turn itself into the capital of haute cuisine by hosting the presentation of the Michelin Guide 2015. Campaign promoters have been working towards Marbella hosting the event, which will take place on November 19, for four years. The presentation of the Michelin Guide at the Hotel Los Monteros could have an economic repercussion on the area of as much as €10 million according to Maria Asenjo, director of OAK Power (the organisation which has been lobbying for the presentation to come to Marbella). Asenjo explained that the dream began four years ago when there was a meeting of chefs who have Michelin stars at El Lago. "From that day we knew that we had to get it" explained Asenjo. She then went on to comment that the competition had been stiff and that she and her team had spent more than 600 hours dedicated to bringing the presentation to Marbella. Dani Garcia, local Michelin starred chef and head of gastronomy for the event, said that Marbella should be proud of itself for having achieved this honour.


Super Rich Foreigners soar by 21% in demand for homes over 500,000 euros

Posted On 13:43 by Land Bike 0 comments

The demand for housing over half a million euros, from which granted Spanish citizenship if foreign buyers increased by 21% in the last three months , according fotocasa.es . The search for these homes are especially located in Madrid, Catalonia, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country and Valencia. These areas coincide with the preferred regions of foreigners to settle. Given the realized purchases, foreigners purchased a flat in 2013 spent on average 381,860 euros . The more money spent on the purchase of property were Russians (678,424 euros), followed by Germans (338,716 euros), Belgians (346,728 euros), English (190,633 euros) and French (171,644 euros). On the other hand, the area claimed by foreigners investing in Spain is the coast of Alicante, which arouses interest especially the British and the Russians.


A woman who works as a professional sex toy tester rakes in £15,000 a year having 15 orgasms a week - all in the name of work.

Posted On 11:42 by Land Bike 0 comments

A woman who works as a professional sex toy tester rakes in £15,000 a year having 15 orgasms a week - all in the name of work.

Cara Houiellebecq has an office crammed with more than 2,000 toys that she test drives for adult companies - before being paid to review each one on her blog.

The mother-of-two from Lincoln, who became an erotic blogger five years ago, spends seven hours every week testing the toys.

 

 
Now that's a niche job! Cara Houiellebecq is a professional sex toy tester - and rakes in £15,000 a year from brands who send her their products to review
 
 
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Now that's a niche job! Cara Houiellebecq is a professional sex toy tester - and rakes in £15,000 a year from brands who send her their products to review

The 33-year-old has sex toys delivered to her door four or five times a week and the toys have now become part of her everyday life.

Speaking about her job, Cara said: 'Toys have always been a part of my private sex life - it gave me the idea to start writing about my sex life and I had the idea to start testing sex toys.

 

 

 

'It’s a great job, I’ve worked in a bank before but I’d never go back to that now - it’s never boring.'

Cara started her own blog with her toy reviews and began to get more and more hits. 'Gradually my reviews became more and more prolific and I was noticed by a sex toy company who wanted me to work for them,' she said.




Aqwa Mist, the ultimate Puerto Banús super club is proud to announce their latest coup, cementing its reputation as the hippest dance venue in Southern Spain.

Posted On 07:23 by Land Bike 0 comments

Sunday 3rd August 2014

Top Recording Artist & Dancer to Play 1 of 3 European Sets in Marbella this Summer

Aqwa Mist, the ultimate Puerto Banús super club is proud to announce their latest coup, cementing its reputation as the hippest dance venue in Southern Spain.

Chris Brown, one of the world’s hottest and most-talked about R&B and hip-hop stars will be performing a one-night-only set at Aqwa Mist on Sunday 3rd August.

The Award-winning American musician, whose video for his recent track Loyal has had 100 million views, will be rousing the club’s party crowd with a unique, one-off performance in Europe this summer. The talented 25 year-old, will be playing some of his best tracks live to the thrilled public of Chris Brown fans in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The self-taught musician was discovered at 13 and by age 14 had developed a prolific recording career. His first album, entitled simply Chris Brown, debuted at number two in the Billboard charts. With six studio albums under his belt before the age of 25, among the accolades awarded to Chris Brown to date are the American Music Awards, BET Awards and two NAACP Image Awards.


Ryanair plans to launch budget flights to the Middle East and Russia

Posted On 07:17 by Land Bike 0 comments

Forget the Costa del Sol, Ryanair announces plans to launch budget flights to the Middle East and Russia CEO Michael O'Leary said airline wants to use Cyprus as a base Will allow carrier to fly to destinations including Israel and Jordan Has put in bid for Cyprus Airways but is 'not particularly interested'


SHOCK WEATHER FORECAST: Hottest August in 300 YEARS on way as jet stream BOILS Britain

Posted On 00:13 by Land Bike 0 comments

SHOCK WEATHER FORECAST: Hottest August in 300 YEARS on way as jet stream BOILS Britain BRITAIN will roast in the hottest August EVER with temperatures set to hit an unbearable 100F within weeks.


Ebola: UK border staff 'unprepared' says union leader

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Border, immigration and customs staff feel unprepared to deal with people coming to the UK with possible cases of the Ebola virus, a union leader says. Immigration Service Union general secretary Lucy Moreton said her members needed more information on the threat. Almost 700 people have died since the first case was detected in west Africa in February. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said the UK government is taking the current outbreak "very seriously".


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Savile charity 'to fight against payouts for victims'

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A charity set up by Jimmy Savile is to challenge a compensation scheme for victims of the sex attacker. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust will take its case to the Court of Appeal later this year, victims' lawyers said. It wants to overturn an agreed scheme, under which the Savile estate, which is separate to the trust, the BBC and the NHS are liable to compensate victims. Liz Dux, who represents 176 of the late DJ's victims, said her clients would be "angry and disappointed" by the move. The charitable trust controls £3.7m and is a separate entity to the Savile estate. Ms Dux said the estate had its own pot of funds, which is where its share of payouts are to come from. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough” Liz Dux Abuse lawyer She said she could therefore not understand why the charity trustees were taking the legal action. "For one, it's going to mean that more precious funds that should have gone to victims are being spent on legal costs, which is exactly what the settlement scheme was designed to avoid," she told the BBC. "And secondly, the charitable trust is not even responsible for compensating victims - that is for the estate to do." Unrestricted access Savile is said to have abused more than 200 people over a 60-year period. Last month, investigators found the ex-BBC DJ sexually assaulted victims aged five to 75 in NHS hospitals over decades of unrestricted access. The High Court approved a compensation scheme for victims earlier this year. The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust was granted leave in mid-July by the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. Victims' lawyers were informed by the court last week. The appeal is expected to take place between September and January, Ms Dux said. Under the agreed settlement scheme, abuse victims will be able to claim against the BBC, the NHS and the Savile estate. 'In the dark' Ms Dux said all three bodies agreed they would make payouts and that claims to the BBC and the NHS would not deplete the estate's available funds. "The victims, the Savile estate, the NHS and the BBC are all acting on the same side. We all want and support the approved scheme," she said. "The scheme is a pragmatic and sensible solution to what will otherwise be protracted and hugely expensive litigation." The abuse lawyer added: "The charitable trust offered no explanation then as to why it objected to the scheme and even now we and the victims remain in the dark. No money can be paid from the charitable trust to compensate victims. "The victims deserve redress and closure. They have suffered enough. We urge the Court of Appeal to back the original scheme as previously agreed so this process can move towards a much-desired conclusion." Ms Dux said the Savile estate had funds of about £3.2m last year, but had probably been "haemorrhaging" money in legal fees.


British airlines are on alert for cases of the deadly virus, after tests revealed a man died in Nigeria from the disease, having been allowed to board an international flight from Liberia.

Posted On 08:46 by Land Bike 0 comments

 A British man has also been tested for the Ebola virus, putting doctors on red alert that it could be on its way to the UK. A spokesman for Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) will be notified if it is confirmed the patient is suffering from the Ebola virus. In Nigeria health officials said today, they are in the process of tracing 30,000 people at risk of contracting the disease after coming into contact with a Liberian man who died on Friday. Meanwhile, the British man was taken to hospital in Birmingham after complaining of feeling ‘feverish’ on a flight back to the Midlands from West Africa. He had been travelling from Benin, Nigeria via Paris, France when he became unwell on Monday. However, after undergoing a number of tests he was given the all-clear for the virus which has already killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and infected more than 1,200 since it was first diagnosed in February. In another scare, medical staff at Charing Cross Hospital in London became concerned a man in his twenties had caught the virus this week. But his symptoms were quickly confirmed as not being linked to the bug and doctors ruled out the need for an Ebola test.


Ex-policeman on Azelle Rodney murder charge

Posted On 08:33 by Land Bike 0 comments

A former policeman is to be charged with murdering a man who was shot dead after a car was stopped by officers in north London nine years ago. Azelle Rodney, 24, was travelling in a car that was stopped by police, who were looking for a group they believed were on their way to an armed robbery. An inquiry last year chaired by Sir Christopher Holland ruled there was "no lawful justification" for the shooting. The CPS has now made a decision to charge the man, identified only as E7. The former police marksman will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing on 10 September. 'Waited a long time' Mr Rodney was shot six times - in the arm, back and head - in Edgware in April 2005. He was travelling with two other men when officers stopped the car and opened fire. His mother Susan Alexander said: "I am very pleased at the CPS's decision to prosecute the officer who killed my son. "I have waited a long time to see this day and hope this prosecution will lead to justice for Azelle. "Whilst I am disappointed at the decision not to prosecute the commissioner in relation to the failures which were found by Sir Christopher Holland regarding the planning and control of the operation, his report makes clear that there were significant failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police and we deserve an immediate and unreserved apology for those failures."


Ebola virus a threat

Posted On 01:59 by Land Bike 0 comments

"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


Massive increase in Brits abroad drug arrests

Posted On 01:27 by Land Bike 0 comments

DRUG arrests of Britons in Spain have soared, with an incredible 68% increase on the previous year. In total, 708 Brits have been arrested overseas on drug charges already this year – a shocking 173 of which were in Spain, according to the UK’s Foreign Office. A worrying trend is the reported rise in the use of a party drug named ‘Cannibal’ – due to its tendency to dramatically increase aggressiveness. It is apparently being distributed widely in parts of Spain, including the Balearics. A British man was arrested in Magaluf, after biting beachgoers while high on the drug. The rapid rise in drug-related arrests is due to a serious crackdown on dealers launched by police this year. The second-largest number of drug arrests involving Britons last year was in America, with 102 cases.


Forest fire in Casares

Posted On 01:16 by Land Bike 0 comments

FOREST fire raged today near Casares. The fire was very near the site of Manilva’s Roman baths, inland from Sabinillas. Three helicopters and an aircraft were sent by Infoca in response, and emergency services rushed to the scene. A second fire station was reported to have sent emergency response teams as support.


EU Must Investigate CIA European Prisons Case

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EU member states should carry out a thorough investigation into CIA-run prisons in Europe, where the inmates were subjected to torture, Russian diplomat Konstantin Dolgov said Monday. "Human rights activists are reasonably demanding the government of Poland to finally conduct an effective investigation into secret CIA prisons on its territory. Similar steps should be taken by other EU member states on which territories CIA torture camps operated," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative for Human Rights wrote on his Twitter page. Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated an international treaty to protect human rights by hosting secret CIA prisons on its territory. The case was filed by two men who charge they were taken to a secret CIA black site in a Polish forest and subjected to torture before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay. An investigation into the detainees' treatment was opened in Poland in 2008 but is still not concluded – a situation that has been condemned by the UN's anti-torture body. Poland is one of a number of European countries accused of hosting secret CIA prisons. Meanwhile, Romania, Bulgaria, and Lithuania also have had allegations made against them for being part of the CIA black site network.


Suspicion of attempting to smuggle drugs arrests in Morocco

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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.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Lionel Messi to be prosecuted for alleged tax evasion

Posted On 21:33 by Land Bike 0 comments

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

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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.


There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day…

Posted On 00:05 by Land Bike 0 comments

“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day…” Ernest Hemingway Of course Papa Hemingway burned his candle at both ends, but in Spain, anyone would. It is spectacular, and the food was a revelation: the sheer quality of ingredients, the vibrant colours and freshness, the simplicity of the cooking — I’m not talking molecular gastronomy here. I had gone not expecting much, just paella and tapas. Pardon my provincial ignorance. Just tapas?


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Rushkinoff cough vodka gives British holidaymakers inexplicable cough

Posted On 23:47 by Land Bike 0 comments

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

Posted On 23:14 by Land Bike 0 comments

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 shopThe 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.


Spain: Royals' plane food budget to double

Posted On 00:46 by Land Bike 0 comments

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.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

TOWIE hunk took to Instagram with a series of snaps from his latest holiday in Ibiza.

Posted On 10:12 by Land Bike 0 comments

Tom Pearce is seriously enjoying the windswept look [Instagram]
Tom Pearce is seriously enjoying the windswept look [Instagram]

Earlier today the TOWIE hunk took to Instagram with a series of snaps from his latest holiday in Ibiza.

As if Marbella wasn't enough, James Argent's pal made sure he had extra time out from filming to enjoy a lads holiday.

And judging by these photos the Essex boy had a whale of a time – soaking up the sun on a yacht.

The TOWIE star's boys holiday turned out slightly different... [Instagram]

The TOWIE star's boys holiday turned out slightly different... [Instagram]

Tom also jumped at the chance to show off his tanned and toned six pack whilst making the most of his drama-free getaway compared to Marbella.

But what first looked like a lads holiday then seemed to involve a lot more bikinis than Grace Andrews might have hoped.

"Team Photo @ Blue Marlin Ibiza," the cheeky chap added.

Just adding to the TOWIE drama, eh Tom.

James Argent's pal seemed to be having a lonesome party on the yacht [Instagram]
 
James Argent's pal seemed to be having a lonesome party on the yacht [Instagram]


Six Russian oligarchs – possibly including Putin himself – are building a €19 million mansion inside the walls of one of the world’s most exclusive residential estate – Marbella’s own Zagaleta.

Posted On 09:53 by Land Bike 0 comments

 

Six Russian oligarchs – possibly including Putin himself – are building a €19 million mansion inside the walls of one of the world’s most exclusive residential estate – Marbella’s own Zagaleta. Putin is rumoured to have visited the area a number of times over the last few years. Marbella town hall statistics revealed that there has been a significant increase in Russian expats and holidaymakers over the last year. In that time, two Russian magazines and a radio station have opened, as well as various businesses entirely geared towards the Russian enclave.


Spanish economic recovery in danger as Europe considers Russia action

Posted On 09:27 by Land Bike 0 comments

Spain’s already fragile economy could be teetering on the brink as the EU decides whether to impose sanctions against Russia. A crackdown on Russian investment and assets in Europe would badly hit Spain, which has seen a large influx of Russian capital over the last few years. It comes after the UK government openly accused Russia of arming and supporting the Ukrainian rebels who shot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet last week, killing 295 people. Britain is now pushing for EU sanctions to freeze the assets of Putin’s wealthy group of ‘cronies’ – many of whom have financial connections with the Costa del Sol – unless Putin cooperates with a Flight MH17 probe. But Spain is joined by Italy, Finland and France in its reluctance to impose strong sanctions – in part because of strong economic ties with the country.


Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich says reading an interview in which Noel talked about quitting drugs is what made him give up taking cocaine.

Posted On 08:09 by Land Bike 0 comments



Ulrich says in the interview with the mrror that he was using cocaine up to around ten years ago but, when reading about Gallagher's own experiences with the drug, decided he wanted to stop."I loved the social elements of cocaine. I loved the danger of it," he said. "Then, about 10 years ago, I read an interview with Noel Gallagher, in which he said, 'I just stopped doing cocaine'. I thought that was really cool. It felt so fresh, so honest, so pure - I love that side of him. I've never had an addictive personality, so I woke up one day and said, 'Enough'."In fact, Ulrich says he only began taking cocaine in order to be able to drink more with his bandmates. "In the early days, I'd always get drunk way faster than the other guys," said Ulrich. "I realised that if there was a little bit of cocaine involved I could stay up longer, instead of ending up face down in the corner, passed out three hours before the party ended."


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