"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
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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 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.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
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.
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
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…
“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?
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.”
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.
'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."
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
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
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.
Fri Jul 25, 2014 - 13:50
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.
La Opinion de Málaga reports the arsenal of war weapons found in Málaga was used for their sale and international trafficking.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Lionel Messi may have just been named the most valuable player at the World Cup in Brazil but that is unlikely to soften the blow of having to pay Spain's largest tax bill
Lionel Messi may have just been named the most valuable player at the World Cup in Brazil but that is unlikely to soften the blow of having to pay Spain's largest tax bill — a whopping €53 million ($71 million)On top of that €53 million, the FC Barcelona star could also have to pay an extra €3 million on undeclared advertising and sponsorship earnings for the years 2007 to 2009.
The huge sum paid by Lionel Messi this year covers taxes on his salary, as well as on his assets and advertising deals. It also includes €22.4 million in outstanding tax for 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Over the past seven years, the Argentina captain has paid more than €100 million to Spain's tax office, Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported.
This amount has increased proportionally to the player’s income.
According to the business magazine Forbes, Lionel Messi earns more than €48 million a year from salary and sponsorship, making him the fourth highest-earning athlete in the world.
He’s also the highest-paid football player with a €20 million annual salary, ahead of Real Madrid’s player Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last year, Lionel Messi and his father were accused of defrauding the Spanish tax office of over €5 million ($7 million) but cleared the tax debt before a court appearance.
Named 'businessman of the year', José Mestre headed Barcelona's biggest port container operator before being charged with smuggling 186 kilos (410lb) of cocaine.
Named 'businessman of the year', José Mestre headed Barcelona's biggest port container operator before being charged with smuggling 186 kilos (410lb) of cocaine. The Local looks at his fall from grace and takes a sneak peek at his impressive mansion, Barcelona's most expensive.
Fifty-seven-year-old Mestre was once the toast of the town, his company Tercat managing two container terminals at Barcelona’s busy port.
In June 2010, just months after receiving the accolade, Mestre was arrested after Catalan police found 186 kilograms camouflaged in one of his scrap metal containers, Spanish national daily El País reported.
Police surveillance found Mestre had been holding talks with an international drug ring for several months.
Four years on, Spain’s High Court found him guilty of drug trafficking, sentencing him to 12 years in prison and slapping him with a €14.6 million ($19.76 million) fine.
As the tycoon turned drug villain is not yet behind bars, he’s taken the time to try to sell off one of his most prized possessions: a 2,500sqm (27,000 square feet) property described as “an architectural jewel from the 1920s”.
The money raised via the sale will be used to pay off Mestre's obligations, including mortgages he holds with banks.
Spain’s biggest home sale and rental website Idealista has posted an ad for the opulent property, located in Barcelona’s Pedralbes neighbourhood,The €30 million mansion is split into two buildings, which have a wine cellar, gym, garage with space for 12 vehicles, pool, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms and even a watchtower.
100 firefighters backed by planes and helicopters battled a blaze in scrubland near the town of Bustares in the central province of Guadalajara, east of Madrid, the regional government said. The blaze, which was accidentally started by a beekeeper, forced the evacuation of 140 people from two villages, it added. The wildfire has destroyed around 200 hectares of land, including part of the Sierra Norte national park. More firefighters aided by water-dropping aircraft fought another blaze raging near the town of Cogolludo, also in Guadalajara province. This fire, accidentally sparked on Wednesday by a combine harvester, saw 40 people evacuated from two villages. The blaze has so far destroyed over 800 hectares of scrubland and pine forest. High temperatures, strong winds and low humidity levels were fuelling the two wildfires, officials said.
The TOWIE cast returned to Marbella last night as The Only Way Is Marbs made a typically explosive comeback.
And if the TV show has got you itching for a holiday to the Spanish resort, Lauren Pope has given us an exclusive run-down of her favourite nightspots.
The TOWIE beauty is a huge dance music fan and is currently promoting the show’s first ever CD; The Only Way is Marbs: Marbella Anthems.
Stars from the show including Lydia Bright and James 'Diags' Bennewit attended the The CD’s launch party at The Brickyard in Essex on Friday.
Lauren Pope's holiday tips: TOWIE star picks out her best nightspots exclusively for Travel Mail readers
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Day and night: The terrace at luxury beach club Nikki Beach stays open until late
Lauren said: 'I’ve loved working on this album - from the track selection to the mixing, it’s been an amazing experience.
The local mayor announced the new legislation today after a video surfaced last week showing sex acts being performed by a young British holidaymaker at a club night called Carnage. The resort’s reputation has been steadily deteriorating for years, but recent revelations about bars and clubs where tourists are encouraged to get drunk and engage in sexual behaviour in public proved the tipping point. Manuel Onieva, the Mayor of Calvia, a region including Magaluf, said the new law was an expression of his “total rejection and anger at the activities which were carried out in a video which is currently on the social media circuit.” In an attempt to clean up seedy bar crawls, any company wanting to operate one in the area will now need to apply for a licence through the town hall. In order to be granted a licence they will have to “prove their responsibility and show that they have the appropriate civil insurances in place,” the mayor said.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
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.”
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.
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.
'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
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.
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
MARBELLA taxi drivers have warned the council about the rising growth of the pirate taxi industry and are threatening a strike if something is not done about it.
MARBELLA taxi drivers have warned the council about the rising growth of the pirate taxi industry and are threatening a strike if something is not done about it. More than 150 cars stopped outside the fairgrounds for two hours to protest the situation about the amount of unauthorised vehicles which abound every summer in the town. “There are around 40 private individuals and companies endangering the livelihoods of the 316 legal taxi drivers in Marbella,” commented one driver at the two-hour protest. David Piquer, spokesperson for the taxi association of Marbella commented that this situation repeated itself every summer and the association was now asking for a sit down with the mayor in order to discuss the situation and find a remedy that would work for everybody. “We just want to be listened to and have our petitions taken into account by the council,” added Piquer. The petition, which summarises the association’s concerns along with the licence number plates of the rogue cars and photographs of their drivers, has been handed in to the council. One of the main bones of contention between the taxi association and the council is the Puerto Banus area which, according to one demonstrator, the police know about but have not taken any action on.
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Travellers are being advised to power up electronic devices in hand luggage as part of new security measures introduced at UK airports.
The move comes as the US stepped up its airport security, although the Department for Transport (DfT) said there was "no change to the UK threat level, which remains at substantial" - the third of five possible threat levels. So what has changed and what will it mean for passengers? What are the new restrictions on charging devices in your hand luggage? Passengers passing through airport security will have to prove their electronic devices are powered up by switching them on.
What gadgets are included? As well as mobile phones and laptops, the DfT guidance includes devices such as electrical shavers, hair-straighteners and cameras or any other camera equipment. No complete list has been provided but the general advice applies anything "with a battery", so other items such as handheld games consoles and e-readers could also be checked. What will happen if my device cannot be switched on? The government guidelines say passengers carrying devices which they cannot switch on "face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft". Passengers would then have to choose between charging the device if possible, leaving it behind (see below) or not getting on their flight. What will happen if I leave an electronic device? Some airlines have outlined ways customers can get their devices back. British Airways said passengers could either keep devices at airports for customers to collect or have them forwarded to another address, at the airline's expense.
Virgin Atlantic has said likewise. EasyJet said it was seeking clarification from the government on the new regulations and had not, so far, issued any specific instructions to passengers. Can I charge my device at the airport? To avoid the risk of missing your flight or having your device taken away, make sure it is fully charged and check that the airport you are travelling from has a charging point. If for any reason you have a device with a flat battery, charging points are available near security in most airports - so if you have enough time before your flight you should be able to charge it up.