240 kilos of cocaine have been found in the hull of a yacht in Huelva Agents from the National Police, in collaboration with the United States DEA, have arrested six people; four in the province of Huelva and two in Madrid in the three searches carried out as part of the same operation. The investigation started at the beginning of April, when large amounts of cocaine has been arriving in Europe by sea, carried out by an international organisation. Further investigations revealed the head of the organisation is a Spaniard, who lives in Colombia, and who had returned to Spain recently, presumably, to coordinate a consignment of the drug. The rest of the organisation are all Colombian, and had the job of providing logistic support on land for the reception and extraction of the drug.
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Monday, 25 August 2014
MATTHEW MACKLIN, the Marbella based boxer, whose proposed fight against Argentine fighter, Jorge Sebastien Heiland in a WBC eliminator on August 30 was postponed after his trainer, Jamie Moore, was shot in Marbella, is set for a swift ring return. His opponent is as yet unnamed, however, Macklin is expected to undertake his 36th professional bout next month on September 27, on the Felix Sturm - Paul Smith WBA middleweight ‘Super’ title fight undercard in Kiel, Germany. If as expected Macklin wins, the three-time world title challenger expects to be returning to Dublin for the Heiland fight on November 15. Macklin, hopes the Heiland fight will bring him a fourth shot at a world title, as promoter Eddie Hearn looks to guide him to the big title that has eluded him so far.
An Irish teenager is in custody on an attempted murder charge after a violent street fight on the Costa del Sol. The 17-year-old was part of a group of four Irish holidaymakers who got into a row over a girl during a night out in the upmarket resort of Puerto Banus near Marbella. His brother allegedly punched a friend unconscious before the teenager kicked him in the head as he lay on the ground. The victim was rushed to the nearby Costa del Sol Hospital before being transferred to a specialist centre in Malaga so he could be treated for “life-threatening” head injuries.
Doctors have told police he cheated death because of the rapid medical attention he received. The altercation happened around 3am on August 14 in a street a short walk from Puerto Banus port named after singer Julio Iglesias, who owns a house in mountains a short drive away. Investigators say they believe the four men, who had been out drinking together, rowed over a girl. Local police made the arrests at the scene after witnessing the assault from a distance. The injured man, who like the other three Irish holidaymakers involved has not been named, is now being treated in a normal ward after spending several days in an induced coma in intensive care. Police from a specialist anti-violence unit based in Malaga have led the investigation.
A youth court judge remanded the teenager to a young offenders’ institution after quizzing him in a closed court session. His brother, whose age is not known, has been released on bail but is thought to have had his passport taken away from him so he cannot leave Spain. A trial date has yet to be set. The Irish teenager is expected to be held for custody for several months before he is released ahead of trial. A source close to the case said: “The judge quizzed him on an attempted murder charge because medical experts who examined his alleged victim concluded the consequences of the assault could have been much more serious if he hadn’t received rapid medical attention.”
Friday, 22 August 2014
Spain’s changing climate and economy fuels wildfire risks.Climate change is gradually turning Spain into a fire zone – and a change in the economic climate is inflaming the situation.
The combined forces of climate, economic and social change are leaving Spain increasingly exposed to the damaging and costly effects of wildfires.
Vanesa Moreno, a researcher in the geography department at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, and colleagues studied the pattern of fires in Spain from 1968 to 2010.
Although Spain, like much of southern Europe, is expected to become more arid with global warming, and although some Mediterranean vegetation is adapted to − and even benefits from − natural fire outbreaks, the picture is not a simple one.
In the moister Atlantic north-west of the country, there are two fire seasons − at the end of winter, and in the summer. In the Mediterranean region, fires are more frequent in the long, hot summer.
Monday, 18 August 2014
A fire has broken out in Benahavis, near Marbella. This photo was taken on the road between Estepona and San Pedro. The cause of the fire is still not yet known, but follows in the wake of a serious fire in Los Montes de Malaga exactly a week ago. The fire in Los Montes devestated 260 hectares of natural park. So far this year there have been 20 such fires in Malaga Province, which experts say is within the average range of annual fires.
Heavily armed men have attacked a convoy of cars belonging to a Saudi prince, stealing 250,000 euros (£200,000; $330,000), police say. The convoy was heading through northern Paris on its way to Le Bourget airport late on Sunday evening when it was raided, reports say. The gunmen seized a vehicle carrying the money and documents, later releasing the driver and two others. The convoy was said to have come from the Saudi embassy. No-one was hurt. The gunmen, reportedly armed with Kalashnikov rifles, targeted a Mercedes mini-van at 21:15 (19:15 GMT) on the northern ring road, or peripherique, at Porte de la Chapelle, on the edge of Paris.
The motorcade, belonging to a Saudi prince, was targeted by eight people in two separate vehicles who pointed their guns at the driver of the Mercedes, forcing him to stop, French media reported.
The men then drove the vehicle away with the driver and the two other Saudis inside. No shots were fired but the Saudis were later freed and the vehicle eventually found burned out.
"In the vehicle there was roughly 250,000 euros in cash and official documents from the embassy," police union spokesman Rocco Contento told BFM TV news.
Immigrants who are waiting in Tangiers to cross into Spain have been attacked and their homes ambushed. The NGO’s at the scene fear the aggression against the Sub-Saharans will force them to try to cross the Strait to escape whatever the weather conditions.
The problem started on Friday near the Tangiers airport. The Sub-Saharan’s were told a bus was going to Spain and some 20 women and their children took up the offer. But the bus took them to a local dance festival of African culture called Twiza which was being held in Tangiers for some days. When they realised they had been fooled they returned home, and met a group of Moroccan men armed with machetes and sticks who started to hit them.
Five of the women suffered stab wounds and others suffered abuse. Spanish volunteer, Helena Maleno, was among them and believes the violence is being organised by criminal groups. She was sexually molested by one of the men. She said the Moroccans speech was always the same, ‘We want to clear up here, go to Spain’. Last year an immigrant died when he fell off a wall during a police raid, bringing charges of murderers against the police amid violent scenes as you can seen in the video below.
Sunday, 17 August 2014
An ebola alert has been activated in Alicante, Spain, after a young Nigerian man was admitted to hospital with fever and vomiting. Spanish health authorities activated alert protocols after the man showed "several symptoms" of the disease.
The alert comes a week after a Spanish priest who contracted ebola while working in Liberia died in hospital in Madrid. The man was taken ill in the eastern city of Alicante Father Miguel Pajares was the first European infected by a strain of the virus that has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa.
He was airlifted from Liberia to Spain on August 7 after becoming infected while working for a non-governmental organisation there. The 75-year-old was flown to Europe for treatment with his co-worker Juliana Bohi, a nun who has since tested negative for the disease. Elsewhere, 17 ebola sufferers have fled a Liberian clinic raided by looters who stole blood-stained sheets - sparking fears the virus will spread.
Saturday, 16 August 2014
MOROCCAN anti-terror services working in collaboration with Spanish police officers have broken up a jihadist terror cell in Morocco. In total nine members of the cell, reported to be linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), were detained on Thursday in the three Moroccan cities of Fes, Tetouan and Fnideq. The terrorists were working to recruit new members to the cell with the objective of sending them off to fight in the conflicts currently underway in Syria and Iraq.
It is believed that some of the group made frequent visits to the Spanish city of Ceuta, located on the north coast of Morocco, with the intention of converting people to their cause and raising financial aid. The Spanish Interior Minister has linked those arrested with ISIS, and confirmed that they had received training in the use of weapons and the manufacture of explosives with the goal of participating in suicide attacks or travelling to conflict zones in the Middle-East.
It has also come to light that there were plans to carry out a terror attack on Moroccan soil. Computers and other data-storage devices used by the jihadists are currently being examined for evidence of concrete plans. The investigation remains open within the three cities, with police from both nationalities continuing to work together. Government sources commented that the operation reflects on the excellent relationship that exists between Spain and Morocco when combating terror in the region.
THE Guardia Civil have arrested two people under suspicion of stealing suitcases from distracted airport passengers. Within the Guardia Civil brief of the Safer Tourism Plan which has been put in place to prevent theft from tourists visiting Malaga, the officers at the airport have caught two people who were taking national flights with only hand baggage and then taking advantage of distracted tourists arriving at the baggage carousels to steal their luggage while they were looking away. On several occasions they also, allegedly, pick-pocketed passengers as well as taking their hand baggage while they were retrieving their check in luggage. Investigating officers calculate that they have stolen around €21,000 worth of luggage and wallets.
FORMER boxing champion Jamie Moore, who was shot in Marbella, is to be released from hospital today. The 35-year-old, from Walkden, was shot in the leg and hip while in the Spanish town, where he was training Birmingham middleweight Matthew Macklin. Mr Moore, a former European light-middleweight champion, did not suffer permanent damage in the attack and was transferred to his local hospital at Salford Royal.
Tweeting about his release from hospital, Mr Moore said: “Being discharged from hospital today, still a way to go before I’m back 100 per cent but I’m making quick progress.” He added: “Big thanks to the doctors and nurses at Salford Royal who’ve looked after me over the last four days, they’ve been absolutely brilliant.”
Friday, 15 August 2014
The death toll from the world's worst outbreak of Ebola stood on Wednesday at 1,069 from 1,975 confirmed, probable and suspected cases, the agency said. The majority were in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, while four people have died in Nigeria. The agency's apparent acknowledgement the situation is worse than previously thought could spur governments and aid organisations to take stronger measures against the virus. "Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," the organisation said. "WHO is coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshalling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, agencies within the United Nations system, and others." International agencies are looking into emergency food drops and truck convoys to reach hungry people in Liberia and Sierra Leone cordoned off from the outside world to halt the spread of the virus, a top World Bank official said. In the latest sign of action by West African governments, Guinea has declared a public health emergency and is sending health workers to all affected border points, an official said. An estimated 377 people have died in Guinea since the outbreak began in March in remote parts of a border region near Sierra Leone and Liberia. Guinea says its outbreak is under control with the numbers of new cases falling, but the measures are needed to prevent new infections from neighbouring countries.
"Trucks full of health materials and carrying health personnel are going to all the border points with Liberia and Sierra Leone," Aboubacar Sidiki Diakit president of Guinea's Ebola commission, said late on Wednesday. As many as 3,000 people are waiting at 17 border points for a green light to enter the country, he said. "Any people who are sick will be immediately isolated. People will be followed up on. We can't take the risk of letting everyone through without checks."
Poice have established that a 39-year-old Irish man who was arrested in Spain after allegedly throwing two suitcases of cocaine out of a hotel window is a criminal who was previously targeted here in a proceeds-of-crime case. The suspect, who remains in custody in Valencia, has been named as Philip Grendon from Greenfort Drive, Clondalkin, and also with an address at Spiddal Road, Ballyfermot. Grendon's brother, Brian, is a member of a major west Dublin drugs gang who have been constant targets of gardai for 15 years. Already this year, officers based in Ballyfermot have been involved in the seizure of more than €1m worth of drugs from this crew who are considered one of the most organised and longest-established in the country.
The bizarre incident for which Grendon was arrested in Valencia happened last Friday just before 10pm at the four-star Tryp Valencia Oceanic Hotel. Police are said to be working on the theory that the alleged drugs trafficker, who had checked into the hotel a few hours earlier, confused noise from other guests entering and leaving their rooms with a rival gang trying to steal his drugs after suffering a paranoia attack. It is alleged that Grendon also removed ceiling tiles in his room, along with an air vent in an apparent attempt to hide the stash.
The 55kg of cocaine in the cases would have an estimated street value of more than €3.8m in Ireland. Sources who know Grendon say they are "surprised" that he would be trusted by a gang to be in charge of such a huge drugs haul. "Philip was always known to be a paranoid individual, but if what the Spanish police are saying is true, this is taking paranoia to a whole new level," a senior source said. Grendon's younger brother is convicted heroin dealer Brian Grendon (37), who was jailed for six years in December 2002 after he was busted with almost €2m worth of heroin in Palmerstown, west Dublin, the year before. shootings Brian Grendon was previously described in court by a senior detective as being linked to a gang who had in the past "used fatal shootings of anyone who compromised their business".
Philip Grendon appeared in court in Dublin in February 2012 when gardai prosecuted him under proceeds of crime legislation. Some of his associates were targeted by gardai as part of Operation Jumbo in 2002. They included murder victim David McCreevy (23), who was shot dead in Tallaght in 2002.
Wednesday, 13 August 2014
EU's anti-fraud office on Monday urged Gibraltar and Spain to launch legal action after it found signs that organised crime was behind a rise in cigarette smuggling in southern Spain, AFP reports. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) made the recommendation after completing a probe it launched in August 2013 at the request of Madrid into a sharp rise in cigarette smuggling across the border between Gibraltar and Spain between 2009 and 2013. "The OLAF investigation has raised a number of concerns regarding the link between a significant increase in the size of the Gibraltar market for cigarettes over the past four years and the subsequent increase of cigarette smuggling across the frontier," a spokesman for the anti-fraud office said. "The concerns include indications of the involvement of organised crime," it added. "The OLAF final case report, and recommendations to initiate judicial proceedings related to the findings of the report, have been sent to the Spanish General State Prosecutor and to the Gibraltar Attorney General." Widespread cigarette smuggling between the tiny, low-tax British territory of Gibraltar to Spain is a major irritant in their frayed diplomatic relations. Smugglers buy the cigarettes in large volumes in Gibraltar at a price much lower than is charged in Spain, where the government in 2012 increased the sales tax to help plug a gaping public deficit. Spain in August introduced stringent border checks at its border with Gibraltar, leading to lengthy queues for motorists, in what it said was a move aimed at clamping down on cigarette smuggling.
But Gibraltar argues the stepped-up border controls are in retaliation for the installation of an artificial reef in its waters that has prevented Spanish boats from fishing there. Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo welcomed the anti-fraud office report and said the territory wanted to work together with Spain to investigate the cigarette smuggling. "We wish any necessary investigations in this and in all areas to be carried out jointly between the competent Spanish and Gibraltar authorities in a genuine spirit of cooperation," he said. The government of Gibraltar said cigarette smuggling was already being brought under control thanks to the "draconian" measures it introduced in January. These include the introduction of searches of vehicles crossing into Spain and giving customs and police officers greater powers to fight smuggling. The Spanish government meanwhile said the anti-fraud office's report "justified" its "work in the fight against fraud and the underground economy". Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty. London says it will not do so against the wishes of Gibraltarians, who are staunchly pro-British.
confirmed by the Madrid's health department that a 75-year-old Spanish priest, Miguel Pajares has died in Madrid’s Carlos III hospital from Ebola. The Spanish priest who was recently repatriated from Liberia, Africa last Thursday had been in isolation in Saint John of God hospital in the capital of Monrovia. It is known that he contracted the Ebola virus from the Director of the Hospital after a visit. The director is also known to have died. Miguel Pajares was being treated with an experimental drug ZMapp which is designed to fight the deadly virus, but failed to respond to the medication.
The drug ZMapp is a treatment that is made by a private US company and is still in intensely early stages and had previously been only tested on monkeys. In a statement the health ministry said that the drug arrived to the hospital late on Saturday evening to treat the 75-year-old. The drug ZMapp though in very early stages, was only allowed by the Spanish drug safety agency under “exceptional importation” to be used in the use of a non-authorised medication because of an incident where a patient’s life is in danger.
Expats could be forced to return home under new government tax proposals affecting rental property in the UK.
The plans, forwarded by the Chancellor George Osborne, would see the removal of personal tax allowance privileges for overseas residents who also claim income in the UK. If the Chancellor goes ahead with the plans, couples drawing a government pension could also face a £4,000 (€5.000) cut in their yearly income, forcing many to return home. UK government pension plans are only taxable in Britain, meaning that former civil servants living abroad could see a rise in their tax obligations.
Under the current system, expatriates and EU nationals have UK-earned income offset with a personal tax allowance of £10,000 (€12.570), but the planned reforms could jeopardise those expats who live under a carefully considered budget. Up to 400,000 expats could be affected by the proposals which would inject the treasury with an extra £400 million (€503 million) a year.
Maritime rescue vessels picked up a total of 224 people from 23 dinghies in the Strait of Gibraltar on Monday morning. Both men and women, believed to all be Sub-Saharan Africans, are reported to be in a good state of health. They are currently being moved to Tarifa where they will be attended to by Red Cross volunteers.
Thursday, 7 August 2014
In an INTERPOL-supported operation in Spain targeting the trafficking of stolen vehicles, nearly 20 vehicles were recovered and some 15 individuals arrested. Led by the Spanish National Police, Operation Paso del Estrecho (which means ‘crossing the straits’), was conducted from 28 July to 1 August at the port of Algeciras in southern Spain, a known route used by organised criminal networks to smuggle cars stolen from throughout Europe into North Africa.
With the assistance of INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) unit, police monitored car ferries leaving the port en route to Morocco, with some 5,000 vehicles screened against INTERPOL’s SMV database. INTERPOL coordinated the deployment of 28 experts from seven countries to support the operation. The experts are members of the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) Task Force, comprising police and private investigators who support member countries with operations targeting the theft and trafficking of motor vehicles. The INTERPOL SMV database contains more than 7 million records submitted by 128 member countries. In 2013, countries searched the database more than 125 million times, resulting in 117,000 positive hits. “Operation Paso del Estrecho was very important because it allowed us not only to detect and recover stolen vehicles from Spain and other European countries, but also to obtain crucial information that will allow us to continue our investigations into the organized crime groups dedicated to illegal vehicle trafficking,” said Ángel Arroyo Morales, Head of the vehicle crime investigation unit of the Spanish National Police Central Squad of Organized Crime. “There is no doubt that with strong cooperation between INTERPOL and police across Europe and beyond, we will continue to recover even more stolen vehicles before they can be used for criminal purposes,” he concluded. In addition, 15 people were arrested during the operation, including one Ukrainian and two Spanish nationals arrested in connection with a major investigation of the Central Squad of Organized Crime of the Spanish National Police.
They are suspected of being the masterminds behind a vast trafficking ring transporting stolen luxury cars between Spain and Ukraine, via Poland and Moldova. The stolen vehicles seized came from various European countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, demonstrating the transnational character of this crime. “The trafficking of stolen vehicles is a crime that knows no borders. The only way to effectively combat the organized criminal networks behind this crime is therefore through coordinated joint actions, as evidenced by this successful operation,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis, Glyn Lewis. Operation Paso del Estrecho is an annual initiative conducted by Spanish police in Algeciras – a major gateway between Europe and Africa which sees approximately 4.8 million people and 1.3 million vehicles pass through each year – to prevent stolen vehicles from leaving the country and to identify and disrupt the criminal groups responsible for the illicit trafficking. Highlighting the links between organized crime and the trafficking of stolen motor vehicles – which are often used in the commission of other serious crimes – is a key part of INTERPOL’s global Turn Back Crime campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of these hidden links, and of the very real effect these crimes can have on people’s daily lives.
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Former European boxing champion Jamie Moore is under armed police guard in a Spanish hospital after he was shot in the legs in Marbella at the weekend.
Moore is currently based in Spain with his wife and two children where he is training Irish boxer Matthew Macklin at the MGM gym in Puerto Banus ahead of his upcoming fight in the National Stadium on August 30. Moore was shot in both legs and the foot when the gunman targeted him after he left a party on Saturday night but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. “Just to let everyone know Jamie Moore is still in hospital but he should be ok,” Macklin tweeted last night. “He was shot in his legs but the doctors have said there shouldn’t be any serious or permanent damage done.”
The coach and well-respected Sky Sports pundit who has no involvement in crime agreed to become Macklin’s coach last year, but gardai sources have indicated that “special surveillance plans” are in place for the upcoming fight. The villa where Moore was shot is owned by boxing manager Daniel Kinahan, a key member of the Christy Kinahan crime syndicate which operates a sizeable crime operation on Spain’s infamous Costa del Crime. Nicknamed the ‘Tipperary Tornado’, Birmingham-born Macklin has no involvement in crime but has been photographed in the company of major gangsters Gary Hutch and Daniekl Kinahan at major events.
Monday, 4 August 2014
Morocco’s Mohammed V international airport is under high medical alert since a 76-year old woman died immediately upon her return from Mecca. Within the first hours after her death, Moroccan authorities feared the death was caused by the Ebola virus. But a statement from the Ministry of Health said the woman suffered from an acute “pulmonary edema.” It is unclear, however, whether this statement will dispel people’s fears regarding the safety of the 30,000 Moroccans who will go to perform pilgrimage next September. Last June, following the emergence of Ebola or Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus in Saudi Arabia, Morocco recommended its pilgrims to cancel their planned trips to Mecca this year. The Moroccan Ministry of health advised Moroccans who decide to go ahead with their pilgrimage to put on masks, which are offered for free by Moroccan authorities.
Airport staff tonight told of their fears of an Ebola outbreak after a passenger from Sierra Leone collapsed and died as she got off a plane at Gatwick. Workers said they were terrified the virus could spread globally through the busy international hub from the West African country which is in the grip of the deadly epidemic. The woman, said to be 72, became ill on the gangway after she left a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers on board. She died in hospital on Saturday. Ebola has killed 256 people in Sierra Leone. A total of 826 have died in West Africa since the outbreak began in February. Tests were carried out to see if the woman had the disease. The plane was quarantined as officials desperately tried to trace everyone who had been in contact with the woman. Airport workers faced an anxious wait to see if the woman had Ebola. One said: “Everyone’s just petrified. “We’ve all seen how many people have died from Ebola, especially in Sierra Leone, and it’s terrifying.”
Monday, 21 July 2014
A quiet evening beach became just seconds into "absolute chaos." It happened Sunday at the beach of La Bota, around three p.m. . A small tornado surprised people quietly sunbathing and enjoying the sea. The air lifted by this atmospheric phenomenon took everything he found his way, dragging chairs, floats and umbrellas , and lifting more than 20 meters. A few hours earlier, about half past one p.m. , a gust of wind affected similarly Portil beach . The phenomenon s and known as "dust devil" , and is a spiral airflow caused by rising warm air masses from the surface. In appearance and their effects may seem a small tornado and vary in intensity and height . According to Civil Protection caused no injuries , and coincided with the role of a northwest wind blowing southwest at that time.
Sunday, 20 July 2014
Spanish police have arrested a Colombian drug boss dubbed ‘The Mouse’, the alleged leader of a major cocaine smuggling gang accused of 400 killings
Spanish police have arrested a Colombian drug boss dubbed ‘The Mouse’, the alleged leader of a major cocaine smuggling gang accused of 400 killings, officials said on Saturday. Officers arrested the 40-year-old, whose real name is reportedly Hernan Alonso Villa, in the eastern seaside city of Alicante on Friday, according to a police statement. He is considered ‘the top leader of the military wing of the Oficina de Envigado, a Colombian criminal organisation accused of 400 killings as well as drug-trafficking, extorsion and forced displacements of Colombian citizens’, it said. ‘He is one of the criminals most wanted by the Colombian authorities. He had more than 200 people under his command and was responsible for exporting cocaine to Spain, the United States and Holland,’ the statement said. Spanish officers arrested him under a Colombian extradition warrant for charges including alleged homicide and arms offences. He was carrying 40,000 euros ($54,000) in cash when he was caught, the statement said. Authorities say the ‘Oficina’ gang dates back to the 1980s when it carried out killings for the now-dismantled Medellin Cartel. Spain is one of the main entry points for illegal narcotics into Europe and Colombia is one of the world’s biggest sources of cocaine. Colombia produced 290 tonnes of cocaine in 2013, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
POLICE in Spain have apparently no official records for the crime of drink-spiking. Hospitals and town halls have also failed to give any indication of the severity of the problem, despite a terrifying 60% increase in sexual attacks in Spanish resorts last year. The shocking revelation comes as assaults from spiking begin to soar, with the summer season now well underway. “It is clearly becoming a bigger issue and particularly in the summer,” said a source at Marbella Town Hall.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
We cannot see our greatest selves beyond giant shame trees that provides shade for our demons of guilt
while we sweat in the harshness of the midday sun of our hang-ups, begging to believe we are worthy.
An illegal immigrant who was released by U.S. authorities with a Notice to Appear has been arrested for the alleged murder of a woman and kidnapping of children on U.S. soil. The alleged crimes occurred after the man was released. The man, Pedro Alberto Monterroso-Navas, entered the U.S. illegally with children and turned himself in to U.S. Border Patrol agents. He was processed and released, as are all illegal immigrants who come as unaccompanied minors or incomplete family units from Central America. The alien is from Honduras. The arrest was first reported by the Associated Press (AP), but Breitbart Texas has exclusively confirmed that the man was part of the Obama Administration’s catch and release policy for family groups from Central America. A U.S. Border Patrol source who spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity provided Breitbart Texas with the alien registration number for the man, and the event number for the man’s apprehension. He was processed in the McAllen station of the U.S. Border Patrol. The alien’s registration number is 202027386. The event number for his apprehension is MCS14061487. The “MCS” designates the McAllen station, the “1406” designates that the man was apprehended in June of 2014. A separate Border Patrol source confirmed that the man was apprehended on June 26, 2014 with two children he claimed were his own. He told U.S. authorities he had family in Metairie, Louisiana.
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
A British grandmother has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling almost 5kg of cocaine into Bali.
Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May last year after she tried to enter the Indonesian holiday island with illegal drugs worth £1.6 million hidden in her suitcase.
Local prosecutors had called for the 56-year-old housewife to be jailed for 15 years. But today there were gasps in the Bali courtroom when a panel of judges announced Ms Sandiford would be executed for drug trafficking.
As the shock verdict was announced, Ms Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, slumped back in her chair in tears before hiding her face with a brown sarong as she was led out of the courtroom.
Thursday, 26 July 2012
The biggest fines in British maritime history were handed down to a group of Spanish fishermen on Thursday, for illegal fishing in UK waters.
Some of the biggest fines in British maritime history were handed down to a group of Spanish fishermen on Thursday, for illegal fishing in UK waters.
Two companies owned by the Vidal family were fined £1.62m in total in a Truro court, after a two-day hearing, in which details emerged of falsified log books, failing to register the transfer of fish between vessels, false readings given for weighing fish at sea, and fiddling of fishing quotas.
Judge Graham Cottle said the family were guilty of "wholesale falsification of official documentation" that amounted to a "systematic, repeated and cynical abuse of the EU fishing quota system over a period of 18 months".
He said: "[This was a] flagrant, repeated and long term abuse of regulations. The fish targeted [hake] was at that time a species of fish on the verge if collapse and adherence to quotas was seen as crucial to the survival of the species."
The Spanish fishing vessels had been sailing under UK flags and were landing fish based on quotas given to British fishermen under the EU's common fisheries policy. Two vessels were involved, but the companies own several other large vessels, capable of industrial-scale fishing.
The offending fishermen, who admitted their guilt earlier this year, were not in court to hear him, having been given leave to return to Spain last night. The offences, dating from 2009 and 2010, relate to two companies, Hijos De Vidal Bandin SA and Sealskill Limited, both owned by the Vidal family. They were fined £925,000 on a confiscation order, plus £195,000 in costs, and an additional fine of £250,000 levied on each of the two companies. Two skippers who were acting under the family's instructions were fined £5,000 each.
Ariana Densham, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace, who was present for the trial and judgement, said that the fines, while welcome, did not go far enough. "This group of people should never be allowed near UK fishing quota again," she said. "The Vidal's right to fish should be removed completely."
She said the offences showed the vulnerability of the EU's fishing quota system to fraud. "The system that allowed this to happen needs to be fixed," she said. "This case is not a one off. It's a symptom of Europe's farcical fishing rules. The Vidals were permitted to fish under UK flags, using UK quota, and receive huge EU subsidies, with none of the proceeds ever feeding back into the UK economy. The system is skewed in favour of rich, powerful, industrial-scale fishing companies, when really it should be supporting low-impact, sustainable fishermen."
There are currently moves under way in Brussels by the fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, to reform the EU's common fisheries policy. The proposed reforms – which include the ending of the wasteful practice of discarding healthy and edible fish at sea – have met stiff opposition, particularly from the French and Spanish fishing industries. Spain has the biggest fishing fleet in Europe and receives the lion's share of the subsidies available for fishing within the EU. A historic agreement was reached among member states last month on the proposals, but they must now pass the European parliament, which is expected to consider the proposals later this year.
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Last week, Brescia art experts found 100 'new' works by the old master. Their value? €700m. But there's a catch: their rivals in Milan aren't convinced
To find one previously unknown work by one of art's undisputed geniuses may be considered good fortune. To discover 100 in one go might appear too good to be true. It should be no surprise then that last week's astonishing claims by Italian art sleuths to have found a cache of 96 paintings and sketches by the baroque giant Caravaggio in a workshop in Milan's Sforzesco Castle are facing increasing scrutiny and, in many circles, disbelief.
Art critics have expressed doubts that such a huge amount of work – almost doubling overnight the number of pictures attributed to the celebrated old master – could have gone unnoticed for so long.
And in response, authorities in Milan, no doubt miffed that art academics from the rival regional city of Brescia are claiming the glory for the discovery, are not sitting on their hands. Yesterday they announced two inquiries of their own into the veracity of the researchers' claimed methods and checks, and an independent assessment of the artworks' provenance.
Already the discovery is being tainted by serious claims and counter claims regarding dubious ethics and mysterious sorties at odd hours that could have come straight from the pages of the iconic painter's own colourful life.
The excitement began last Wednesday when a breathless Italian news agency reported the confident claims of art experts from the Brescia Museum Foundation that around 100 early works by Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, had been identified. An eye-watering price was soon put on them: €700m (£550m).
The cache was found, said the researchers, Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz Guerrieri and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli, at the city's landmark castle in the old workshop of Caravaggio's master, the post-Renaissance painter Simone Peterzano. The researchers said their detailed comparison of the works with known pieces by the painter showed "the faces, bodies and scenes the young Caravaggio would use in later years".
"Caravaggio left the region of Lombardy with a rich collection of figures that he used throughout his career, but especially in his early years working in Rome. These works are proof," said Mr Bernardelli.
As The Independent reported at the time, Elena Conenna, the city council's somewhat-surprised culture spokeswoman, gave a cautious welcome to the "discovery". "We'll be very happy to discover it's true," she said. "But it's strange. They weren't in a hidden place, they were accessible to all." She said the city had not been informed about the discovery and would be "carrying out checks". Many people assumed the Brescia researchers had announced their discovery without warning to increase the impact.
Key to the Brescia pair's claims was numerous visits to the workshop during what they said was a painstaking two-year period of research into the paintings and sketches. Unfortunately, an email dated 11 May last year has now surfaced in which the pair appear to be requesting electronic copies of the works. Neither are there any official records of them having viewed the works in person, according to Francesca Rossi, the official in charge of access to the castle's art and antiquities. She told Corriere della Sera newspaper: "I've never seen them here. They've never had access to the collection, they studied the images exclusively from the computer disc."
Reports yesterday suggest the disc sent from Milan to Brescia contained over 1,700 jpeg images – at low resolution. And in a very Italian twist, authorities in Milan have also announced an internal inquiry to establish if unwarranted collusion and even corruption was involved.
Mr Bernardelli disputed the claims of the Milan officials. "We saw the collection various times, even if these were outside normal hours, accompanied by different people," he said.
Other art experts have taken issue with the pair's conclusions. One critic, Professor Philippe Daverio, said that identification of a Caravaggio's organic and ever-evolving work could not be made by looking for the presence of key "designs". "Design doesn't exist in the character of Caravaggio," he said. "And design wasn't needed in his painting. These sketches can't really be compared to anything."
Another critic, Francesca Cappelletti, who helped to establish that The Taking of Christ was painted by Caravaggio, was blunter: "To me, these pictures still seem like typical works of Peterzano." Another critic, Tomaso Montanari, said sarcastically the claim was akin to taking 100 drawings by Verrocchio (Leonardo da Vinci's master) and attributing them to the creator of the Mona Lisa.
It's perhaps not surprising that the latest controversy should centre on Caravaggio: fascination with the artist is at an all-time high. Some evidence even suggests that the artist, who added a revolutionary degree of grit and realism to the prevalent mannerist painting of his era, has even replaced Renaissance giant Michelangelo at the top of the unofficial Italian art charts.
Philip Sohm, of the University of Toronto, studied the number of publications devoted to both artists during the past 50 years, and found that since the mid-1980s the baroque painter has moved ahead of his Renaissance rival.
Interest has been increased by attempts in recent years to shed light on the mystery surrounding Caravaggio's death in 1610 at the age of 38. An investigation, involving DNA tests and comparisons with living relatives, led experts to conclude that the painter was probably buried in Porto Ercole, in Tuscany, after suffering an illness, thereby bringing centuries of speculation, including assassination theories, to an end.
Caravaggio was active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily. But he often had to flee cities and leave works unfinished because of his tempestuous nature, which led him to kill at least one man. He eventually returned to Italy confident of obtaining a papal pardon, thanks to powerful connections in Rome.
Scepticism regarding the Milan paintings and sketches is in itself unlikely to harm sales of Mr Bernardelli Curuz's and Ms Adriana Fedrigolli's e-book, Young Caravaggio: One Hundred Rediscovered Works, dedicated to their claims and the pictures they are based on. But their publishing ambitions hit a snag this week with news that Amazon in Italy had withdrawn the book from sale, albeit without commenting on whether this was due to doubts over the quality of the research it contained.
Mr Curuz told Ansa: "The blocking of the Amazon system has damaged us because to understand the discovery it is essential to see the 1,000 images that we have collated."
The pair said they had no idea why it had been dropped, but added that it would be available on a website for self-published books. On his Facebook profile, Mr Curuz, was putting on a brave face. "We are calm and confident. The world will judge our work," he wrote.
But it is not only the world. It is also Milan's ever-busy prosecutors, who are looking into whether they should investigate the Brescia art historians for the illegal publication of private images.
Caravaggio: Life and legacy
Born Michelangelo Merisi, in Milan, on 29 September 1571.
Early life The family moved to nearby Caravaggio in 1576, from where the artist took his name. In 1592 he fled to Rome after a brawl.
Career Known for his rare naturalism and use of light and shade, a technique called chiaroscuro, that would influence later giants, including Rembrant. Despite lifelong fame – and notoriety – he sunk into obscurity after his mysterious death, only to be rehabilitated in the 20th century.
Expert view "He reclaimed the human form... there was art before him and art after him, and they were not the same." Robert Hughes, critic, in 1985.