Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon.

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GLASSES shoot across tabletops, busty vamps serve blood-red cocktails, and twisted locals raise a toast to an image of Aleister Crowley. Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon. The bar is situated in a maze of narrow, winding streets in the ancient ‘Old Town’ district. Stepping outside for a Marlboro, I scan my surroundings. It’s a chilly, moonlit night and the streets are deserted. Strain your ears, however, and you’ll hear muffled voices coming from dark balconies. It’s like a scene from Interview with the Vampire. As I re-enter, the room falls silent. A cross-eyed chap stares at me… well, I think it’s me… it’s hard to tell. Had my gothic guy-liner run, or had he caught a whiff of fresh meat? In this insular atmosphere, I feel as welcome as Gary Glitter at Tivoli World! Forget fruit machines and pool tables, it’s ouija boards and tarot cards that keep these punters amused. A little weakened, I seize a newspaper and hide in the corner. Alongside ads for ‘Black Angels’ and ‘Colombian Swallowers’, the classifieds are swarming with clairvoyants. I’m shocked! Isn’t Spain supposed to be a God-fearing country? But the truth is, up until the Inquisition (1478), Iberia was a hotbed of magic and sorcery. With the coming of Catholicism, however, mystics – including ‘witches’ and ‘healers’ were round-up and executed. For survival’s sake, Spaniards severed their ties with the ‘other side.’ Today, however, there is growing evidence that Spain is returning to its supernatural roots. Church-going is down (just 14.4%), and stories of Satanism are everywhere. In March 2011, an Almerian church was littered with satanic scrawls. Investigators claimed that the site had been used for a “black mass.” Tenerife’s Arona Cemetery has also been targeted by sinister cults. In 2008, graves were desecrated and animals sacrificed during “bizarre nocturnal rituals”. For sceptics, it’s easy to blame rebellious youth or drug-addicts for these atrocities. However, as someone who’s experienced dark forces – first hand – I try to keep an open mind. It all started in 2001 when I was filming a documentary at Devon’s Berry Pomeroy. In the castle grounds, I indivertibly captured an inhuman figure on camera.  Whilst replaying the footage to BBC colleagues, the office computers went wild. In 2009, I moved my family to a 15th century cottage on the West Pennine Moors. Unbeknown to us, our ‘dream house’ was built on a Quaker burial site. During our six-month stay – we endured stamping noises, icy chills and orbs zipping round the lounge. At night, the constant thumping would deprive us of sleep, and we’d trudge into work like a couple of zombies. However, my most recent spooking occurred right here in Andalucia. One evening, I watched a can of Asturiana cider move sideways, hover and then drop off the table! Earlier that day, an old drinking buddy had been buried in Devon – was this his final ‘chin-chin’? Whatever it was, it scared the bejesus out of my missus and she hasn’t slept properly since. Two weeks on, and we’re sitting in Oculto, trying not to blush at orgy paintings. After some Dutch courage, I enquire about a séance at the bar. A black-toothed midget points towards a battered wooden door. Timidly, I wander down the corridor and knock on wood. It’s opened by a raven-haired gypsy. She’s both beautiful and grotesque: Penelope Cruz’s mum meets the Bride of Chucky. Without speaking – she beckons me in with a long, black talon. With low ceilings, purple walls and an absence of windows – the room is claustrophobic and unsettling. Under flickering candlelight, the Victorian death portraits seem to eyeball you from the walls. But it’s the cold air and fetid stench that’s really sending shivers down my spine. The woman glides over to a monolithic Ouija board and orders me to sit. She lays out a clutch of cards, including The Hanged Man, The Fool, The Stig, Jeremy Clarkson, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Boy George. Okay… I lied about Boy George – but it’s all the scary ones! Suddenly, my stomach churns and I shout ‘Stop!’ I apologise for wasting her time – but I’ve got the heebie-jeebies. A floating cider is hardly The Ring – so why risk opening a fresh can of worms? I chat to Jose, a Pepe Reina lookalike in his late 20s. Around us, weirdoes chuck darts at an image of the Pope (only joking….it’s Desmond Tutu!) Jose is erudite and speaks fine English. Over Osbourne brandies, I pose the question: “So….Are you a Satanist?” “Of course”! Jose replies: Usually, I’d grab my coat, but by now, I’m immune to the madness. After dispelling myths of “priest-beating” and “baby-eating”, Jose insists that Satanists are “Perfectly normal.” Apparently, the only difference is they choose “indulgence over abstinence’, and prefer “vengeance” to forgiveness. Oh…..and they enjoy kinky sex and coke-snorting – but hey… so does the cast of Skins. By 1am I’m craving a Horlicks and a late night snack. I thank Jose and wish him a “hell-of-a-life.” We leave Occulto and hot-foot it to the Corredera for a greasy kebab. After filling our faces, we clamber into a taxi. We’re only 10-minutes from the hotel – but I’m bloated on beer and lamb offal. Back at the room, Jose’s words haunt me. Having spent the last five hours binge-drinking, ogling rude pictures and eating crap – could I be accused of “indulgence”? If Christianity equals modesty, chastity and turning the other cheek, what about all those times I’ve bought designer togs, belted a thug or lusted over lesbians? Perhaps I’m more Satanic than I thought? By bedtime, I’d seen no demons, virgin sacrifices or people snacking on goats’ head soup. This said, not everyone was as friendly as Jose, and the yokels at the bar seemed quite menacing. I’ve yet to decide whether Satanists are ordinary folk – daring to be different, or psychopaths to be avoided at all costs. I DO know, however, that pentangles are not for me. For one – I like animals too much to put their heads on sticks – and secondly, I root for the “goodies” when it kicks off on Buffy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at Occulto and found the experience enlightening. Whatever they are (or aren’t), there’s a pub full of them in Cordoba, and if you ever feel like taking a walk on the wild side, you know where to head.


Body found in boot of crashed car on Alicante motorway

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Firemen called out to an accident on the A-31 Alicante-Madrid motorway early on Monday found an unidentified body in the boot of a car which had crashed into the central reservation at Sax and then burst into flames. The body was partially burnt but appears to be that of a man. Reports indicate that the deceased had been tied up and gagged. No other occupants were found at the site and the Civil Guard are now trying to identify the victim and the cause of death.


Two British tour operators who come to Spain go bust

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Two British tour operators who bring tourists to Spain have gone bust. Romano Travel ceased operations on October 26, a day after Airborn Limited. Romano Travel specialized in package holidays to Spain and Turkey and had been operating for 30 years. There were no more than half of dozen or so pending bookings from the Buckinghamshire firm which was fully protected with an ATOL licence and was a member of ABTA. Airborn Limited operated as Airborn Direct and Holiday Hero, and was based in Romford, Essex. It sold packages to Spain, Cyprus and Turkey, and sold its products to other operators. The CAA says there are many clients who have purchased flights with the firm using a credit card, and these flights should be operating normally. If in doubt passengers can confirm with the airline.


Spain no longer the main destination for Brit's second homes

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A new survey carried out by the HomeAway holiday rentals company and real estate group Savills International has concluded that Spain is no longer the first choice among the Brits for their second residence. 1,700 British property buyers were questioned. More Britons now prefer France because of its better economic stability and the moderation in its house prices. 40% of Brits who buy in Spain later rent out the property, sometimes obtaining an income of as much as 34,500 € a year, but 24% still say that Spain is the place they have chosen for retirement. Despite the change away from purchasing a second home, Spain continues to be the most popular holiday destination for the Brits. In France, Italy and Switzerland the British purchasers usually opt for restored old properties, while in the United States, Cyprus and also in Spain and Portugal, they tend to go for more modern or new constructions.


Malaga on the Mediterranean coast, in the Southern Spanish region of Andalucia, was the city you avoided

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The city of Malaga on the Mediterranean coast, in the Southern Spanish region of Andalucia, was the city you avoided. An industrial port encircled by a tired ring of Franco-era low-rise apartment buildings, it was always the city tourists dashed by on their way to Torremolinos or Marbella further down the Costa Del Sol.

Being out of favor from the 1970s onwards – when torrid overbuilding ruined the Spanish coast – has served Malaga well, and the tired city around the old port has gone through a revival in recent years: The pedestrian-only squares and streets are washed clean, filled with a mix of fashionable shops selling Ermenegildo Zegna suits and Omega watches, and old men hawking lotto tickets and blanched Andalucian almonds wrapped in paper cones—all in the shadow of the city’s baroque cathedral where the 17th century choir stalls are carved from mahogany and cedar.

The city is still no great beauty, but its unpretentious charm stems from the fact it remains a middle-class working port. The first night I arrived I dined on a plate ofpata negra (thinly-cut slices of cured ham, with a rich marble of fat, made from black pigs that feed on acorns) and some grilled sea bream served with French-cut beans. As I drank my copa de vino tinto, contentedly observing the town’s life from the sidewalk café, a guitar-banging gypsy dashed by, twitchy as a heroin addict, followed by an old man selling to local tapas bars the snails slowly crawling the walls of his white bucket.

Two newly-opened institutions have greatly contributed to Malaga’s cultural revival. The crowd-puller is the Picasso Museum, and I am sure it is a lovely collection, but, in all honesty, I couldn’t bear to see yet another second-tier Picasso Museum. (The Spanish painter, for all his greatness, would have benefitted considerably from being a little less prolific.)

My interest was, however, very much piqued by the new museum housing the collection of Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszon.

The Thyssen family, dating back to the 17th century, famously made their fortune supplying the industrializing German state with steel. But they were also great collectors of art, and the late Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza aggressively added works to his father’s stacks of Old Masters until the family’s 1,600-strong collection became the second largest private art collection in the world, second only to the British Royal Family Collection.

Ranging from Hans Holbein to Edward Hopper, the collection was originally housed in the family’s Villa Favorita in Lugano, Switzerland. (The Thyssen family left Germany for Switzerland in the 1930s.) In the mid 1980s, however, the Swiss unwisely barred the baron from expanding his museum at Villa Favorita—they were unimpressed he wanted to show more of his collection to the public.

Enter Spain. In 1985 the baron married his 5th wife, Carmen Cervera, a former Miss Cataluna, just as his battle with Swiss small-mindedness was heating up. The Catalan beauty was instrumental in getting her husband to move his art collection to more flexible Spain, where it now sits in its own museum next to the Prado in Madrid.

But Baroness Carmen Thyssen herself began collecting in the late 1980s, all under her husband’s tutelage, and she focused on Andalucian art of the mid-19th to early 20th century. It was this collection, critically praised throughout Spain when it was first exhibited in the late 1990s, which was squirreled away in the newly-converted palace called the Museo CarmenThyssen Málaga.

The mid-19th century Andalucian works in the collection were largely painted for middle-class European tourists of the day who wanted to return to London and Paris with reminders of their Andalucian holidays. So the first floor of the museum is devoted to these so-calledColumbrista painters, and provides a panoply of chocolate box scenes of idealized Andalucian landscape romanticism: sultry gypsy dancers and battling bandoleros in mountain caves and young fishermen wooing flower girls.

But as the 19th century progresses, so does the sophistication of the paintings. Two paintings in particular stayed with me long afterwards: the dark Columbrista painting of 1851 by the Frenchman, Alfred Dehodencq, painted for the duke occupying the Palace of San Telmo. It’s of a procession through the town during Holy Week. Hooded monks, like an all-black vision of the Ku Klux Klan, are the candle-carrying advance guard of the Mater Dolorosa, and they walk a gauntlet of rapturous women in black mantillas. Powerful stuff.

Later, in 1867, the Spaniard Mariàno Fortuny Marsal painted a bullfight with quick, almost impressionistic brushstrokes that seems to foreshadow what is yet to come in the art world. Called Exquisite Realism, or the Précieux Style, the intense brushstrokes of the “Bullfight” give a blurry sense of speed and movement at the breath-holding moment when a gored picador is carried dying from the ring and another picador is trying to weaken the bull with the hard thrust of his lance. It’s hard to tell who is going to live or die, and it’s a very modern work, in a 19th century way.


Five arrested for road rage attack in Madrid

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National Police have arrested five people, two of them underage, for a brutal road rage attack in a tunnel on the M-30 motorway in September. They were taken into custody after they were identified on video footage from security cameras in the tunnel. The aggressors were travelling in two vehicles on the evening of September 17, and were seen on film chasing another car into the tunnel, speeding ahead and cutting across it to bring it to a halt. The eight occupants of the two cars are then seen getting out of their vehicles and dragging the three people travelling in the third car out onto the roadway. They are beaten and kicked, and their car is vandalised. Some personal items were also stolen and one of the victims was stabbed in the back. The reason for the attack was because the victims had criticised their assailants for a dangerous manoeuvre a few kilometres previously. The Interior Ministry released news of the five arrests this week, and said the search continues to locate the three other suspects involved.


32 arrests in luxury car scam in Spain

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National Police in Spain have arrested 32 people accused of stealing 25 vehicles worth over a million € from counties such as Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, to be sold on in Spain. The sale of the vehicles were helped by official dealers and the gang even had the collaboration of workers at several ITV/MOT centres which issued certificates to say the vehicles had no signs of being manipulated. The Ministry of the Interior says that the gang was made up mainly of Hungarians, Romanians and Spaniards, and the vehicles were sold on with false documents in dealers in Madrid, Santander, Tarragona, Castellón, Valencia, Alicante, Cuenca, Almería, Córdoba, Jaén and Granada.


Spain's first private airport goes bust

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Spain’s first private airport has closed. The Ciudad Real Airport was opened in December 2008, considering that it could act as a Madrid overflow for residents in the south, but that just has not happened. The very last flight, operated by Vueling and with just 45 passengers, took off for Barcelona on Saturday at 2,45pm. The airline lasted less than a year at the Ciudad Real airport which has been dogged by bad luck from the start. It had problems with the environmental agency in 2005 as it is located in a special bird protection area, there were complaints that as much as 50% of the building works were illegal, it needed a continued supply of capital, and the intervention of the Bank of Spain in the CCM Castilla La Mancha savings bank revealed more irregularities. The airport closes with the company, CR Aeropuertos, owing its creditors more than 290 million €. It opened with debts of 1.7 million, and a poster declaring ‘Our dreams take off’, can still be seen in the Cuidad Real City Hall. The airport had hoped to attract seven million passengers a year, and managed to attract the airlines, Air Nostrum, Air Berlin and Vueling, with the attraction of a AVE high speed train station at its door, and one of the longest runways in Europe, but the facility never attracted more than 500,000 travellers in the first year. It was not long before some flights had more crew than passengers. There has been a rash of private airport projects in Spain, started during the economic boom, and there were six projects in total in Cataluña, Aragón, Valencia, Murcia, Andalucía and in Ciudad Real. Only one has opened, and today, has now closed for business.


Man stabs three people to death in Valencia

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A man has stabbed three people to death and injured another two in a hamlet close to Valencia. It happened in Castellar-Oliverar to the south of the city on Friday night at about 9pm. A 48 year old is reported to be very seriously hurt and is in the intensive care unit of the La Fe Hospital. Another 44 year old man has injuries to his back and head, and is stable in the General Hospital. Two of the dead are father and his 13 year old son, while the third is a female pensioner. 33 year old local resident and neighbour to the dead and injured, named as J.P., has been arrested in connection with the triple homicide. Municipal sources say the man carried out his attacks in several flats connected to the stairway of his block after ringing the door bells. A local policeman then saw the man in the street, covered in blood, and asking what had happened. It seems that the case is linked to a dispute between the neighbours, and it is still unclear if the attacker is related in any way to the victims. Several neighbours have described him as ‘a normal man’ who was married and had a young daughter and who had never caused any problems.


Gang ringleaders: Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)

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Mehmet Sirin Baybasin (left) and Paul Taylor (Pic: PA)


A GANG of drug dealers planned to flood Britain with £4 billion of cocaine - arranging the plot from a phone box.

The Liverpool and London-based gangsters were planning to smuggle 40 tonnes of cocaine from South America by sea, hidden inside tins of fish and wooden pallets.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the drug would be bought at a "wholesale price" and then sold to other dealers who would dilute it and sell it on.

If all the cocaine had made it to the streets of the UK and it was cut before being sold, the court heard it could have been worth around £4 billion.

The head of the Liverpool operation used a phone box in Old Hall Street, in Liverpool city centre, to arrange the deal with his London counterpart.

But the gang were being watched by undercover officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

Phone box on Old Hall Street Liverpool used by a drug dealer in one of the biggest ever cocaine rings

The phone box on Old Hall Street used by one of the drug dealers

The group was led by Mehmet Sirin Baybasin, 48, of Fairfield Crescent, Edgware, north-west London, who was jailed for 30 years at a hearing last week after he was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine.

The court heard that Baybasin was one of a total of 24 defendants brought to justice as part of the Soca investigation and that he was "at the top of the pyramid".

Judge David Aubrey QC said the offences had "at their core the evil and pernicious trade of drug dealing" and were indicative of the gang's "desire for the good life".

He said he was satisfied that the amounts they were talking about were not "pie in the sky" and that the wholesale value of 1,102lb (500kg) of uncut cocaine alone was worth a potential £17 million


Fresh appeal launched to find man living abroad accused of murdering Nantwich man

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NEW appeal has been launched to capture a man wanted in connection with the murder of a Stapeley market trader. Christopher Guest More, 33, of Lymm, near Warrington, is one of 10 individuals wanted in the latest campaign being run by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). He is suspected to have been part of a gang involved in the torture and murder of market trader and cannabis farmer Brian Waters, who was killed in a barn in Tabley, near Knutsford, in June 2003. Three of his alleged accomplices, Otis Lee Matthews, James Stuart Raven and John Godfrey Wilson, received life sentences for their part in the brutal attack. More is also sought in connection with the attempted murder of Suleman Razak and for the alleged false imprisonment and assault of other victims present during the incident. It is believed he fled to Spain just 24 hours after the incident. The appeal is part of crime charity Crimestoppers’ ‘Operation Captura’ campaign, which is trying to locate wanted criminals abroad. Crimestoppers’ regional manager Gary Murray, said: “This extremely heinous crime saw an individual lose their life and the person responsible needs to be tried for their actions. “I’d urge anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on our 0800 555 111 number or use our online form on our website – we guarantee your anonymity.” Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Smith said: “Eight years on, we still remain determined and committed to finding and arresting Christopher More for his alleged involvement in the brutal murder of Brian Waters. “Cheshire Police will not close this case until the family of Brian Waters sees justice done.”


Boland launches new radio station on same frequency as Heart

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HEART FM bosses have denied any bad feeling after controversial DJ Maurice Boland took over their coastal frequency for a new radio venture. The self-styled ‘Mr Marbella’ has left the station and plans to launch his new business later this month. “As far as we are concerned he can have it, it was an amicable agreement,” owner Pat Jay told the Olive Press. But other sources have revealed that there has been ‘considerable tension’ over the fallout, which left Heart FM ‘retrenching’ back inland. “There have been various issues and Pat and husband Lee have been left shattered,” said a friend. Now Boland, 62 – who was sacked from his previous job at Talk Radio Europe (TRE) after an alleged affair with a teenager – is setting up a studio at Estepona’s Kempinski Hotel. According to sources, he has managed to acquire a retail space to work out of and claims to have some big backers. “He has been approaching presenters at other radio stations, but is not offering a lot of money,” said a source.


Thousands of Telefonica clients disconnected for 5 hours

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THOUSANDS of Telefonica clients on the Costa del Sol were left without service for five hours. The problem, which affected clients in Marbella, Ronda, Casares and Estepona, last Friday was due to a fault with a commutation network system, and also caused minor problems in Malaga City. According to Telefonica, it affected 20 per cent of communications in Malaga province, however, it did not affect clients with smartphones, which account for 65 per cent of clients in the province. Consumer group Facua said compensation for this can amount to the average of the amount charged over the past three months or five times the monthly tariff calculated proportionately by the time the problem lasted.


Four Brits in court in Palma this week on drug offences

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gang of four young Britons are to appear in the Palma Provincial Court next week accused of trafficking in ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine in Eivissa. The two main accused face seven years in prison for a crime against public health., while the prosecutor is calling for six years in prison for the other two. The case dates back to July and August 2009, and the drugs were found in the suspects homes.


Mijas town hall ‘picking on’ foreigners to raise funds

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MIJAS Town Hall is ‘cynically’ targeting foreigners in a new crusade against tax debts. In a bid to replenish its empty coffers, the bankrupt town hall has launched a campaign to track down errant taxpayers, most of whom are expats. According to PP Councillor Mario Bravo, there are more than 1,200 taxpayers who collectively owe a total of 1.24 million euros. “There are foreigners who have two given names and one surname (unlike the Spanish system), and when they file documents we are never clear on which is the given name and which the surname,” he said. In particular, he insisted it was Britons – who make up the majority of foreigners in Mijas – who are causing the chaos. He blamed this on a lack of a DNI-style document, the fact that British passport numbers change when renewed, and that ‘British women take the surname of their husband when they get married’. Several municipal workers are now set to trace the 1,243 taxpayers in arrears so that ‘we can remind them they forgot to pay their taxes’. But rather than a reminder this seems to be sending out a clear message that foreigners are being targeted to replenish the council’s coffers. “I think it is discriminate,” said Frank Bowles, 79, a retired journalist and member of the La Cala Lions club. “We all know that people have to pay taxes, but the point is that they have always thought that we, the foreigners, are rich and we can help to pay for all the poor Spaniards, but that is not correct. “The truth is these so-called ‘poor Spaniards’ have money,” he added. “They were the ones who originally sold the land to the foreigners and became wealthy off the back of it.” Meanwhile local Danish green party activist Pia Brunn said: “They are clearly trying to raise money as quickly as possible, although I find it very surprising that they would be targeting foreigners and I hope this isn’t the case.” English photographer Paul O’Connell insisted the move was a continuation of a recent purge on expat businesses in Mijas. “There has been a heavy-handed purge against foreign-owned bars. “It is an unsubtle approach to getting money as the town hall is bankrupt with massive debts and it needs to get some of this back. “It certainly doesn’t endear relations between the town hall and foreigners. It only creates more resentment.”


Gardai in Spain for 'Fat' Freddie handover deal

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DUBLIN detectives have travelled to Spain to negotiate the handover of gangster 'Fat' Freddie Thompson. Sources say that gardai are spending a number of days with their Spanish counterparts examining evidence against Thompson. "This is standard procedure in a case like this," a source said. Thompson is due to appear before the High Court today where he is expected to apply for bail after being remanded in custody on Friday when he was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant. laundering Spanish authorities want to extradite him to Spain and they allege that Thompson operated as a bodyguard and chauffeur for the Christy Kinahan drugs organisation, which was targeted in a massive international police operation in May, 2010, known as Operation Shovel. Spanish authorities say that the Kinahan organisation is heavily involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and money laundering through a complex network of companies. Sources have revealed that in the weeks before his arrest, Thompson had fallen out of favour with the Kinahan mob -- organisation who his gang has been sourcing drugs from for over a decade. A European Arrest Warrant has also been issued for Thompson's close pal Gary Hutch (30) but gardai have not been able to find him. The Herald has previously revealed that Thompson's arrest warrant contains explosive details about a phone call tapped by Spanish police in December, 2009, between 'Fat' Freddie and Hutch in which the two criminals discuss firearms. The warrant also alleged that 'Fat' Freddie and Hutch travelled together to Portugal in November, 2009 and Amsterdam in May, 2010, to organise drug shipments. The warrant also states that Hutch and Thompson lived together in Spain and were "right-hand men" of Daniel Kinahan -- the son of Ireland's richest drugs trafficker Christy Kinahan. Also mentioned on the warrant is Ross Browning (27) from north inner city Dublin who is alleged to have collected a major Irish criminal from Malaga Airport in May, 2010, in a car which was also regularly used by the notorious criminal Hutch. violence Browning was one of around 30 people arrested by police investigating Kinahan's drug organisation last year. He was released without charge after being questioned for a number of days by Spanish authorities. Since being sent to Cloverhill Prison on Friday, Thompson has been placed in the protection unit in the jail because of fears that he may become a victim of a feud related attack or that he may orchestrate violence within the prison. It is understood he has had no visitors in jail.


Spanish town rushes to wed gays before election

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Spanish town is offering gay couples fast-track marriages before a likely November election win by the conservative Popular Party, which opposes same-sex marriage. The mayor of the small southwestern town of Jun, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, said he offered the service across Spain after hearing from gay couples fearing a change in the law after the November 20 vote. “People are very afraid, they are starting to realise that there could be a real change and they will lose a hard-fought right,” the Socialist mayor told AFP. “I felt it was important to reassure people and find a way so that people who want to get married could do so,” he said. Rodriguez said the town had received 52 requests from same-sex couples wanting to be married in the past week after he announced on Twitter he would offer speedy gay marriages before the general election. The town of just over 4,000 residents carried out just 11 same-sex marriages during all of 2010. The wedding applications are handled entirely online in about five days, complete with marriage certificate delivered by e-mail. The mayor said he had made the town’s park available for wedding ceremonies but the vast majority of couples opt for the electronic marriage and would not need to set foot in Jun. Under Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain has been on the vanguard of Europe in terms of gay rights. In 2005 — a year after Zapatero was first elected — Spain passed a law to allow same-sex marriages, making it only the third member of the European Union after Belgium and the Netherlands to do so. The law, part of the ruling Socialists’ aggressive agenda for social reform, also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each other’s property. Since then more than 20,000 gay couples have tied the knot. The conservative Popular Party, which is riding high in the polls, has appealed the gay marriage law to Spain’s Constitutional Court. Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy has pledged to reform the same-sex marriage law if elected but as the general election has neared he has stressed that any legislative action will come only after the court issues its ruling. Polls show two-thirds of Spaniards back same-sex marriage, one of the highest levels of support in Europe.


Choose your petrol station carefully in Malaga Province

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UP to €4.50 can be saved be choosing the cheapest petrol station to fill up. The average price per litre for unleaded petrol in Malaga Province is now up to €1.34, 13 per cent more than the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce and the highest in the whole of Spain. Diesel is €1.29 on average, 16 per cent more than October 2010. The cheapest place to fill up with 95 octane is Distreax-22, Velez-Malaga, at €1.29 per litre. The most expensive place to fill up with 95 octane is E.S. El Torcal, Villanueva de la Concepcion (Malaga), at €1.38 per litre. The cheapest place to fill up with diesel is Galp, Antequera, at €1.24 per litre. The most expensive place to fill up with diesel is Cepsa, Manilva at €1.31 per litre.


¡Ole! Spain drives legality into mobile services with Sybase 365

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Spain was one of the first countries to start to lay down laws relating to old non-registered pay-as-you-go SIM cards for anti-terrorism reasons i.e. you MUST tell the authorities your name and address and get a new SIM if you had one of the old anonymous ones. Following on from this "mobile legality" theme, news this week bubbles of Sybase subsidiary company Sybase 365 working with Spanish mobile operator Yoigo. The two firms have joined forces to offer registered SMS, a new service allowing companies to send customers confirmation text messages with the same legal standing as registered mail. According to Sybase, "Officially certified by the Spanish Real Casa de la Moneda (The Royal Mint of Spain) the Sybase 365 and Yoigo service recognises an SMS confirmation as legal proof of delivery of important documents and information. These certificates can then be used as evidence in judicial proceedings in Spain for enterprises wishing to demonstrate correspondence with their customers. This will enable companies and their customers to resolve disputes in a timely manner, avoiding the cost of court proceedings." With registered SMS, financial institutions, utility companies and enterprises will be able to use SMS where previously they would have used registered mail. Developers working to build in legally approved services into mobile (or desktop for that matter) applications should perhaps take note of Sybase 365's suggestion that an SMS provides a number of advantages over registered mail including five times better response rate over traditional mail and is read 288 times faster than email. "No other communication medium has the ability to reach more people than SMS, said Howard Stevens, senior vice president, global telco and international operations, Sybase 365. "Consumer acceptance and enterprise adoption of the mobile channel is fuelling the growth in volume, availability and sophistication of mobile services and the registered SMS services we're launching confirms this trend."


Catholic Church Child Trafficking Network

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Spain is reeling from an avalanche of allegations of baby theft and baby trafficking. The trade began at the end of the Spanish civil war and continued for 50 years – hundreds of thousands of babies are thought to have been traded by nuns, priests and doctors up to the 1990s. This World reveals the impact of Spain’s stolen baby scandal through the eyes of the children and parents who were separated at birth, and who are now desperate to find their relatives. Exhumations of the supposed graves of babies and positive DNA tests are proof that baby theft has happened. Across Spain, people are queuing up to take a DNA test and thousands of Spaniards are asking ‘Who am I?’ Katya Adler has been meeting the heartbroken mothers who are searching for the children whom they were told died at birth, as well as the stolen and trafficked babies who are now grown up and searching for their biological relatives and their true identities.


Spain’s property bust is only getting worse.

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Cranes erecting the Pelly tower under construction in Seville.

Spain’s property bust is only getting worse. The wonder is that the country’s economy and banks are still this resilient.

The Spanish government said Tuesday that housing prices remained in free-fall in the third quarter, dropping 5.5% from a year earlier, the biggest decline since 2009.

This makes Spain, in many senses, the worst case of a property bust in the developed world—the country is already deep in its third consecutive year of falling prices, with no rebounds.

Last year, the pace of decline slowed significantly, signalling some light at the end of the tunnel, but another metaphor is called for instead: that last year’s respite was nothing more than a dead cat’s bounce.

The good news should be the overall amount of the decline, since Spain’s government says prices are only down 18%, in nominal terms, since their peak in early 2008.

But that doesn’t include the effect of Spain’s persistent inflation, one of the highest in the euro zone, which makes the real drop closer to 30%—Spain’s government didn’t provide real price data in today’s release.

After earlier predictions of a short-term correction have been smashed, some analysts now say prices may keep falling for the next two years, eroding Spain’s household wealth and banking balance sheets.

Meanwhile, banks are struggling to keep up with the loss in value of the collateral against €400 billion worth of loans to construction and real estate firms, an amount that remains unchanged since 2008.

For Luis Garicano, a professor of economics and strategy at the London School of Economics, this number is perhaps the most dangerous of those related to the bust, since it indicates the banking sector exposure to such loans hasn’t diminished.

He estimates that a possible explanation is that banks have exchanged some non-performing loans for property that they now own, but not enough to offset the rising interest on the loans.

Many, if not most of these loans, are being rolled over to keep zombie developers in business, in the hope that the market will recover.

All the same, banks have also turned into property developers now.

Walk into any Spanish bank branch, looking for a mortgage, and you will see that is much easier to get it if you’ll just take one of the many, many houses the bank acquired from a bankrupt developer. But many will say why worry? The same house will be even cheaper next month.



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Police have arrested a man identified as DFM, accused of assaulting a police officer and of driving his car whilst under the influence of alcohol in Roquetas de Mar. Command sources indicated to Europa Press that the incident occurred on Sunday when, at around 20.00hrs the 27 year-old man came by car to the Guardia Civil headquarters in Roquetas de Mar in an evident state of drunkenness to formulate a complaint against his former partner. At that time, and as a result of the attitude displayed by the man, agents requested the presence of local police officers who, once arrived at the barracks, were asked to carry out a breath test to the individual, yielding a rate of 0.83 milligrams of blood alcohol per litre of air breathed. As a result the man was arrested. He tried to fight of the agents and the arrest, struggling to get free of the police and came to attack one of them causing a bruise to the officer's head, resulting in the man being charged with assaulting an officer. The detainee, whose steps were performed at the same time, has also made a complaint to the Court for an alleged crime of abuse of authority. He is due in Court of Instruction No. 1 of Roquetas de Mar.


MARBELLA Urban Planning Department is currently working on the legalization of more than 500 houses.

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 The new General Plan for Urban Development in the town gave promoters who had built illegally the opportunity to pay compensation in order to make some complexes legal so that the homeowners would not be affected by demolitions as they had bought the properties in good faith. This had to be done within a year, although the period could be extended to two years. However, in cases which were classified as minor, where too many houses were built on a plot, no period for them to be legalized was given, and promoters have not come forward voluntarily to do so. Therefore, the town hall has now given them two months to legalise the buildings by giving the town hall 10 per cent of the benefits they have obtained from the projects. Once the two months is up, the town hall will chase the promoters who have not come forward to demand the compensation.


BODY discovered on a property in Mijas is that of missing Finnish teenager, Jenna Lepomaki

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BODY discovered on a property in Mijas is that of missing Finnish teenager, Jenna Lepomaki, Malaga National Police have confirmed. Nevertheless, an autopsy and DNA tests are being carried out on the body, which police are 99 per cent certain belongs to Jenna. Four people have been arrested, three of them in Finland, thanks to a joint operation between Finnish and Spanish police. The 19-year-old came to the Costa del Sol on holiday invited by two Finnish men, aged 18 and 20, who she had met online, as the mother of one of them lived in Mijas. Her family attempted to dissuade her from coming, but the men paid for her trip and she arrived on June 20. She spent the first few days in a hostel in Fuengirola, but when the young man’s mother, 37, and her partner, 47 and also Finnish, went away, Jenna moved into the house. In July, her family reported her missing in Finland, and this was communicated to the Spanish police. They discovered that the teenager had reported them to the Guardia Civil in Mijas because they had allegedly attacked and threatened her when she refused to transport cocaine from Spain to Finland. She also reported that they had taken away her passport. From June 29, her mobile phone was turned off. Spanish police discovered that the two men had left Spain, travelled to Ireland and then back to Finland, where they have now been arrested, and focused their investigation on them both for their involvement in Jenna’s disappearance and their possible links to cocaine trafficking. Last Thursday, the Spanish police searched the house in Los Espartales area of Mijas, where the girl had been staying which was hired by the mother’s partner. He was arrested, and the two young children living with him were taken into the care of the Junta de Andalucia. She was also arrested in Finland. The search later continued in the area surrounding the house, where an almost mummified body was found wrapped in a sleeping bag hidden amongst some bushes and leaves. The body was missing both legs and one arm. Part of the arm was found in a barrel located on a construction site nearby. They report that it appears she was killed inside the house and the killers attempted to cut her body into pieces and then burn her remains, but having failed to do so, they hid it.


Spewing volcano forces Spain to close island port

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Spanish authorities say activity by an underwater volcano has led them to close access to a port on El Hierro island. Ships have been ordered away from waters around La Restinga and aircraft have been banned from flying over the island's southern tip. The port's 600 residents were evacuated Tuesday after volcanic activity began. The regional government of the Canary Islands says scientists have detected airborne volcanic fragments called pyroclasts rising from the sea off La Restinga. The government said it awaited scientific reports on the danger posed by pyroclasts, but a research vessel that was collecting samples there has been ordered to desist. TV channel La Sexta reported Saturday that journalists also have been told to clear the area.


SPANISH AUTHORITIES are seeking to extradite a Dublin man, Freddy Thompson

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SPANISH AUTHORITIES are seeking to extradite a Dublin man, Freddy Thompson, who they allege is a member of a international criminal gang involved in trafficking drugs and weapons.

Mr Thompson (30), with an address at Loreto Road, Maryland, Dublin 8, was arrested by gardaí at that address yesterday afternoon on foot of a European extradition warrant issued by the authorities in Malaga, Spain in September 2010 and then brought before the High Court.

The court heard the Spanish authorities are seeking his extradition on grounds alleging Mr Thompson is a member of a criminal organisation whose members include Irish, British and Spanish nationals.

The warrant further claims Frederick James Thompson, said to have moved to Spain in 2008, is a member of an organisation alleged to have laundered the proceeds of illegal drugs and weapons trafficking through a complex network of companies.

It is claimed Mr Thompson’s role was to secure weapons for the organisation and that he acted as a bodyguard and a chauffeur for the gang, based on Spain’s Costa Del Sol.

The Spanish authorities also allege Mr Thompson is an associate of and has worked for other known criminals, some of whom were described as good friends of his.

It is also claimed in the warrant that ongoing surveillance of Mr Thompson conducted by police in a number of countries revealed that on dates between 2008 and 2010 he travelled to locations including Morocco and Amsterdam.

It is claimed he travelled either in the company of or to meet gang members or other criminals, and the trips were to organise criminal activity including the shipment of drugs.

It is further claimed Mr Thompson has no movable or immovable assets, such as property, in Spain, and no legitimate means to support his lifestyle.

Yesterday, Sgt Sean Fallon of the Garda extradition unit told the court Mr Thompson was arrested shortly before 3pm at Loreto Road. Sgt Fallon said when the charges contained in the warrant were read and a copy of the warrant was handed to Mr Thompson, he replied: “I can’t read, I am not taking that.”

Mr Thompson was then taken to Kevin Street Garda station.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said he was satisfied the individual before the court was the person sought in the warrant. He told Mr Thompson he had a right to professional legal advice as well as the right to consent to surrender at any time during the extradition process to the Spanish authorities.

While no application for bail was made yesterday, Mr Thompson’s lawyers indicated one would be made in the future. The State indicated it would object to any such application.

Mr Thompson’s lawyers told the court they would be applying for legal aid under the Attorney General’s scheme.

Mr Thompson was remanded in custody by Mr Justice Peart to next Wednesday’s sitting of the High Court.


British man arrested with contraband tobacco in Cádiz

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Guardia Civil has arrested a British man on the quay at Cádiz port after 5,800 cartons of contraband tobacco from the canaries were found in a false bottom of the van he was driving. A statement was released from the Guardia Civil saying the arrest took place last Monday when searches were carried out on vehicles which had arrived from the Canaries. The unit from the UAR, the Risks Analysis Unit, which is made up jointly by the Guardia Civil and the Agencia Tributaria, earmarked the van for an exhaustive inspection. They found the cigarettes behind wooden panels in the van which had been placed on the floor walls and even the ceiling of the vehicle. The arrested man has been named as 39 year old G.M.H. from Liverpool. He will appear before the Instruction Court Four in Cádiz.


Nine arrested for growing marihuana inside a luxury property in Zaragoza

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Nine people have been arrested and 2,500 marihuana plants recovered from a luxury villa in a village of Zaragoza. The electrical installation to heat and supply light to the plants used as much power as 50 homes, and an illegal connection had been established to the grid. The facility had the capacity to produce 1,500 kilos of cannabis a year and had been established following the ‘Holland Model` of optimising plant growth by controlling the hours of light the plants receive. The chalet was found in Caspe, Zaragoza, and the nine arrested are accused of distributing all types of drugs including cocaine, hashish, amphetamine, methamphetamine and marihuana to bars and clubs in Tarragona. The swoop is the result of investigations which started five months ago. Six searches were carried out in different homes in Caspe, Tortosa, Amposta and Santa Bárbara where 40 grams of cocaine and different amounts of speed and crystal were recovered along with 11,500 € in cash.


Estepona cracks down on street prostitution

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Estepona Town Hall has drawn up a new by-law which includes measures against street prostitution with a ban on offering, requesting, negotiating for or accepting paid sexual services in public spaces, particularly within 200 metres of residential or commercial centres and schools. Fines are envisaged for those who fail to comply with the regulations. Councillor Ana Velasco told Europa Press that the by-law is expected to be approved at the next council meeting. Assistance and advice will also be available from social services for prostitutes who work locally, especially for those who want up to give up the profession. The by-law also covers other matters such as the practice of youngsters drinking in the street, graffiti, unauthorised street peddling and the responsibility of dog owners to clear up after their pets.


British fraudster arrested in Torrevieja

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The Spanish National Police has arrested a British man who is wanted by the authorities in the United States for a fraud. Named as 61 year old R.B.A. he was arrested in Torrevieja, Alicante, when he was carrying out some transactions in a real estate company. The US fraud dates from March 1999 when the Briton was the main owner of a company which mis-invested the firm’s retirement funds. He and others in the company invested part of the fund in treasury bonds, but the rest was transferred to personal accounts. The arrest was carried out by agents of the UDEV from the Alicante Police Station, coordinated by the fugitive location group of the Judicial Police.


Moroccan teenager found dead on Marbella roadside was shot for trying to steal marijuana plants

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The wife of the man who shot him has been arrested for covering up the crime and another youngster is in custody for attempted robberyThere have been two more arrests in the case of the 15 year old Moroccan boy whose body was found on the roadside between Marbella and Ronda on morning. The owner of a nearby finca was initially arrested, and it has now emerged that he shot the teenager dead after catching him breaking in to try and steal his marijuana plants. The owner, 58 year old P.N.G., moved the body off his property to the roadside and now faces charges of a public health crime in addition to the murder charge. His wife has also been arrested for allegedly covering up the crime. The third person taken into custody is a friend who was with the deceased on the night it happened, who is charged with attempted robbery. The deceased lived in San Pedro de Alcántara and is reported to have been involved in previous attempted break-ins at the property with a group of friends from the area. They had been shot at before, and on one occasion one of the group suffered minor injuries but did not report the incident to the police. The murder weapon was a hunting shotgun which was found in a police search of the suspect’s house. Another 10 firearms have also been confiscated.


FORMER policeman lived the high life in Marbella by running a £300million VAT fraud

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 – the biggest ever uncovered in the UK. Nigel Cranswick, 47, tried to cheat the taxman by claiming back tax on £2billion worth of bogus sales made by his mobile phone firm I2G. The “phenomenal” turnover was generated in eight months, HMRC said. Advertisement >> Meanwhile Cranswick lived it up in his rented villa in Marbella. “Despite this phenomenal turnover... I2G operated from a small office in Sheffield,” HMRC said. The scam was smashed after a five-year police probe, Newcastle crown court was told. Cranswick, from Sheffield, admitted conspiracy to cheat HMRC, as did accomplices Brian Olive, 56, of Doncaster, and Darren Smyth, 42, from Rotherham. Claire Reid, 45, also from Rotherham, admitted false accounting. The four will be sentenced next month



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35074501 Today from i: Brits abroad



Rich Brits plot escape to France

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 wealthy Britons are planning to flee what they believe to be an over-taxed and crime-ridden UK, with France the most favoured destination, according to a survey published by British bank Lloyds TSB. The survey, published on Monday, found that 17 percent of those with more than £250,000 ($391,025) in savings and investments wanted to move abroad in the next two years, up from 14 percent six months earlier. The most popular destination for the rich exiles was France (21 percent), followed by Spain (15 percent) and the US (11 percent).  Three-quarters of those questioned (73 percent) thought that crime was a bigger problem in Britain than other developed countries. "Sadly, it seems August's riots, tax increases and a rising cost of living have cast a pall over life in the UK for some wealthy people," said Nicholas Boys-Smith, managing director of Lloyds TSB International Wealth in a statement. "It may reignite fears of a 'wealth drain' from our economy as rich people seek pastures new," he said. 42 percent of those questioned named tax as a reason for leaving, up from 35 percent six months ago. Cost of living was a factor for 52 percent, up from 31 percent. Research in January 2011 suggested that 4.6 percent of the UK population have over £250,000 in savings and investments, which equals around 2.8 million people.


Man arrested in connection with body found on Marbella roadside

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A man has been arrested in connection with the death of the 15 year old Moroccan whose body was found by the roadside between Marbella and Ronda. The arrested man lives on a nearby finca to where the body was found, and has claimed that the 15 year old was continuously stealing from him. Government Sub Delegate for Málaga, Hilario López Luna, said that the National Police arrested the Spaniard on Tuesday. The 15 year old Moroccan is known to have had a police record. The arrested man said that he surprised the Moroccan on his land and shot him in the face with a shotgun. He then moved the body to the roadside. He is expected to appear in court shortly.


National police officers suspended the search for the two children who went missing on Saturday in Cordoba, Spain.

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  • Photo: EFE.

    Photo: EFE. 


The children, Ruth and José Bretón Ruiz aged six and two respectively, went missing at around 18:40 on Saturday while playing in a park just in the outskirts of Cordoba. They were with their father when they vanished. He claimed that they vanished when he lost sight of them for an instant.

The children, who usually live with their mother in Huelva, travelled to Cordoba with their father on Friday. The parents are currently in the midst of separation proceedings.

The search was concentrated on an area around the rio Guadalquivir but no trace of the children was found.

Forensic experts from Madrid and Sevilla are also analysing samples taken at the home of children’s paternal grandfather, where the father has been living since the start of separation procedures.

On Sunday, the mother of the children filed a complaint of psychological abuse against the father. The complaint apparently only related to marital issues as the children were not named in the complaint.


I was set up, former chief of the National Police in Ronda claims

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former chief of the National Police in Ronda claims that he was accused in the police corruption case because people wanted to “bring him down”. Nine people are accused in the case which is currently being tried in Malaga. They include three other National Police officers and a Guardia Civil. The hearing was initially planned in March last year but was suspended after the defence for one of the accused asked to know the identity of some of the protected witnesses to carry out tests. This was agreed, but the trial was postponed on two other occasions. There are 60 witnesses, many whose identities are protected. Malaga Public Prosecutor is asking for a total of 39 years for the five officers who allegedly failed to investigate prostitution and drugs sales at brothels in the area from which they are accused of demanding money and sex in exchange for not going ahead with deportation orders for the illegal immigrants working there between 2003 and 2007. Three club managers were charged with prostitution, and another man who allegedly accompanied the officer with influence peddling. He is said to have boasted about his relationship with the police and an affair with the local judge. The Internal Affairs investigation led to the arrests of the officers and the other people between February and May 2007. The former National Police chief visited the brothels and, like the others, allegedly had drinks and sexual favours which he never paid for, and was also accused of helping an illegal immigrant who worked in a care home in exchange for sex. The prosecution believes that another one of the National Police rented a house to one of the brothel owners for the girls to stay in and tipped them off about possible raids. The former police chief claims in court that the whole case is a set-up organized by people he had arrested or had problems with in the past, including other officers, and says he never failed in his duty, nor abused his position to obtain sex or anything else. He does admit to having had a consenting relationship with a protected witness who he claims demanded money from him and went to his wife after they split up. He says he regrets this, but that it was the only thing he has done wrong.


Spain health service chokes as austerity tightens

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Medical suppliers haven't been paid for as much as two years, emergency rooms have been shut down and doctors in Catalonia have been told to accept a pay cut or 1,500 medical residents will lose their jobs. Spain's treasured public health care system has become the latest victim of the euro zone debt crisis. "We haven't been paid, but there's nothing we can do about it. We need the contracts, so we're just going to have to wait it out," said a representative for a cleaning company who did not want his or the firm's name used for fear of a backlash. The company, which says it is owed hundreds of millions of euros by the government of the Castilla-La Mancha region south of Madrid, is one of dozens of providers of everything from surgical swabs to disinfectants struggling to pay workers as Spain's regions delay payments to meet tight deficit targets. The debt-burdened autonomous regions' spending cuts are a tangible sign of the present and future pain as Spain works to meet ambitious deficit reduction goals pledged to the European Union in the midst of an economic downturn. Spain's political parties have kept their positions on the issue vague ahead of November 20 general elections, but even the most passionate defenders of the current system agree there is scope for cost savings and more efficiency. Spain's conservative opposition, the People's Party (PP), which is expected to win in November, will likely cut into social welfare programs the incumbent Socialists have left untouched. But even the Socialists now say they can find ways to reduce health spending without harming services. Examples include forcing car insurance firms to pay for the treatment of accident victims and sending foreign governments the bill when their citizens use Spanish hospitals. 900-DAY WAITS Multinational pharmaceutical firm Roche says the Castilla y Leon region north of Madrid is more than 900 days behind on its bills, which has raised fears here that the company could start withholding drugs for some hospitals as it did in Greece, which is fighting off bankruptcy. Spain's central government makes yearly transfers of income tax revenue to the country's 17 autonomous regions, which are in charge of administering health care and schools. But the regions are being forced to make drastic budget cuts after piling up debt during Spain's property boom, the collapse of which in 2008 sent the country into recession and unemployment soaring to more than 20 percent. As the regions squeeze spending wherever they can, what they owe to companies that provide health care services and products has risen 42 percent in a year to more than 4 billion euros, according to the Spanish Federation of Healthcare Technology, known as Fenin. AT Kearney consultancy calculates the system's long-term deficit is 15 billion euros, a heavy burden for a government whose borrowing costs have soared in the euro zone debt crisis. Margarita Alfonsel, secretary general of Fenin, says small companies in her federation "are suffering to an alarming extent due to the liquidity squeeze." She said some will have to lay off staff or go into bankruptcy. The average number of days providers must wait for payment has risen in the past year to 415 days, from 285 days, she said. "It was unacceptable before. Now it's totally incomprehensible," said Joaquin del Rincon, Spanish representative of Boston Scientific, which provides medical and surgical instruments to Spanish hospitals. "We have to explain to our central offices that this is an ongoing problem in Spain made worse by the crisis," he said.


Possible Drug Connection Moroccan teenager found dead on a roadside in Marbella

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The National Police have identified a body which was found on the hard shoulder of the road between the Nueva Andalucía area of Marbella and Ronda on Monday as that of a 15 year old Moroccan boy who has been named by his initials, T.A. Despite the identification from finger prints there is no report of a missing person. It’s thought that his body could have been thrown from a moving vehicle as it passed the access road to the La Quinta urbanisation. The body, which was dressed in sports gear, was removed from the scene for autopsy as the investigation continues to determine the exact cause of his death. However reports indicate that he had suffered shotgun wounds to the face.


British man mugged in La Línea

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Local police in La Línea de la Concepción have reported that last Sunday they arrested three local men, 17 year old J.Z.B., 20 year old L.M.L.F. and 22 year old J.R.P. in connection with a robbery with violence. The police were patrolling the Calle Gibraltar in the town at 0630am close to a discotec, when they were approached by an 18 year old British man who told them that his father was being beaten up in the Princesa Sofía park. On their arrival at the scene they saw a 63 year old British man on the ground, with injuries to his face and body. They called the health services and were told by the victim how three youngsters had attacked him and stolen his mobile phone, passport and tobacco. Local police informed the National Police and a search of the area found the three in the Bellavista district. Once back at the police station the three are reported to have confessed and the stolen items were found in their pockets.


Four people arrested for murder of Finnish woman in Mijas

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Four people have been arrested in connection with a murder committed on the Costa del Sol this summer, after a body was found on an isolated property in Mijas last week. It’s believed to be that of 19 year old Jenna Lepomaki, a woman from Finland who arrived in Fuengirola for a holiday in June and was reported missing the following month after she failed to return home to her family. DNA testing is to be carried out to confirm the identification. She is reported to have travelled to the Costa del Sol at the invitation of friends she met on line and who paid for the trip. El País indicates that it has now emerged that she placed a complaint with the Spanish Civil Guard while in Spain for the threats her friends made against her after she refused to act as a courier to smuggle cocaine back into Finland from Spain. Investigations in Finland led Spain’s National Police to the property in Mijas, owned by a Finnish man, where the body was found, partially dismembered, wrapped up in a sleeping bag which was half covered over in a mound of leaves. Part of a missing arm was found inside a barrel which was being used by workmen working on site to renovate the swimming pool. Four Finnish nationals have been arrested in connection with the murder. The man who owns the Mijas property is in custody as a suspected accessory and, in Finland, the two friends she was travelling with in Málaga have also been arrested, as well as the mother of one of the two.


Dead Moroccan dumped on Marbella roadside

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BODY found on a Marbella roadside with shotgun wounds to the face has been identified as a 15-year-old Moroccan boy. The youngster was found near the La Quinta urbanisation on the Marbella to Ronda road on Monday, with reports indicating he had been thrown from a moving vehicle. An investigation is now underway, with an autopsy being held to determine the cause of death. Despite being identified by his fingerprints, there is no report of a missing person. It comes as four people have been arrested in connection with the murder of a Finnish woman whose partially dismembered body was found at a villa in Mijas. Jenna Lepomaki, 19, is thought to have been killed after refusing to help smuggle cocaine between Spain and Finland.


Polish woman arrested in Marbella for murder

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POLISH woman was arrested in Marbella for her alleged involvement in a murder in Valencia in August 2009. The victim was Djordje Kenecevic, who was shot and burned inside his car in Almussafes (Valencia). The 49-year-old woman, identified as Danuta G.K. but also known as Renate B. and other identities, was arrested on the Palm Beach urbanization in Marbella. She had been identified as a suspect some months ago but was only located in Malaga last week after using one of her false identities to travel within Europe. She is a known drug smuggler and was wanted by the German authorities, according to press reports. She was set free with charges of covering up the murder, but later taken to prison under the orders of the National Court as there is also a request for extradition to Germany. The extradition process will have to wait, as the crime which she will have to respond for in Spain is more serious and carries a longer sentence. Djordje Kenecevic is believed to have been killed by members of the gang he belonged to. Most of them, like him, were sailors who took advantage of their work with Europe’s main shipping company to transport packages with up to five kilos of cocaine between European ports. The detainee is considered to have been one of the leaders of the organization, and is the second person arrested in this case.


Bank manager arrested for robbing his own bank

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Bank manager has been arrested in Vitoria after trying to rob his own branch. The man arranged for his brother to attack the bank, but things immediately went wrong when several people saw the brother putting on a wig and false moustache sitting in a car round the corner from the bank, and alerted the authorities. The man then left the bank by car but was found later by the police who found a wig, beard, moustache and false teeth in a bag he was carrying, along with gloves and a fake pistol. The car he was driving was found to belong to the bank manager, his brother. When the police asked the bank manager what had happened he initially said that a man had come into the bank to ask about several products and left shortly after, but other clients and employees said that it was ‘evident that the man was in disguise’. Both men have been arrested by the Basque regional police, la Ertzaintza, who said that the brothers came up with the idea because of the financial difficulties they were in. The arrests took place on Friday, but the Basque Government interior department only released news on Monday. The 60 and 53 year old are accused of attempted robbery with intimidation and will appear in court shortly.


Moroccan teenager found dead on a roadside in Marbella

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National Police have identified a body which was found on the hard shoulder of the road between the Nueva Andalucía area of Marbella and Ronda on Monday as that of a 15 year old Moroccan boy who has been named by his initials, T.A. Despite the identification from finger prints there is no report of a missing person. It’s thought that his body could have been thrown from a moving vehicle as it passed the access road to the La Quinta urbanisation. The body, which was dressed in sports gear, was removed from the scene for autopsy as the investigation continues to determine the exact cause of his death. However reports indicate that he had suffered shotgun wounds to the face.


Sir Paul McCartney and his new wife Nancy are pictured after their wedding in a kooky official portrait taken by Sir Paul's daughter Mary.

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Sir Paul and the new Lady McCartney had emerged beaming after the ceremony at Marylebone Register Office

The newlyweds were greeted on the steps of the building by friends and family who covered them in rose petals. 

'I do': Couple pose in official wedding photograph from the wedding taken by photographer daughter Mary McCartney

'I do': The newlyweds pose in this official but quirky wedding photograph taken by Sir Paul's photographer daughter Mary McCartney

Man and wife: Sir Paul McCartney and his new wife Nancy Shevell wed in an intimate ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall today

Man and wife: Sir Paul McCartney and his new wife Nancy Shevell wed in an intimate ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall

Husband and wife: Sir Paul McCartney and new wife Nancy Shevell leaving the Marylebone Register Office

Husband and wife: Sir Paul McCartney and new wife Nancy Shevell leaving the Marylebone Register Office

The pair got into a car with Paul's daughter Beatrice who had acted as bridesmaid and made their way to their North London home for the reception. 

Sir Paul and Nancy, 51, became husband and wife in front of just 30 guests.


Spanish bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla lies on the arena after being gored in the face by a bull during a bullfight in the northeastern city of Zaragoza

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In this photo taken Oct. 7, 2011, Spanish bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla lies on the arena after being gored in the face by a bull during a bullfight in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, Spain. (AP)

 A Spanish bullfighter is likely to suffer facial paralysis and lose the sight in one eye after a terrifying goring, the hospital treating him said Saturday.


Television images showed the moment when the bull's left horn ripped into Juan Jose Padilla's lower jaw to emerge beside his protruding eyeball as spectators in the northeastern city of Zaragoza screamed in horror.


Padilla is in a stable condition and recovering from a five-hour operation to repair his face, the statement from the Miguel Servet Hospital said.


It said Padilla, 39, suffered eye, bone, muscle and skin damage when the bull pinned him to the ground and gored him. Surgeons had not been able to repair a severed facial nerve.