Northern Spain on Flood Alert!

The rising water in the Ebro valley in Navarra, Aragón and Cataluña has been described as ‘extraordinary’

Recent torrential rain and melting snow have lead to the complicated situation. Navarra has activated flood warning level one where most villages fear flood later today. Alerts also in place in several towns in Aragón where they expect the highest levels tomorrow

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The Consul of Territorial and Interior Policy for Aragón, Antonio Suárez, announced today that in the face of the extraordinary wave which is coming down the Ebro, he has requested the services of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and they will be evacuating some people as a precautionary measure.

The Mayor of Milagro (Navarra) Yolanda Ibáñez, said her town had very badly hit, as the Aragón and Ebro rives were already about to burst their banks before this latest flood and this has led to a great deal of damage.
Speaking to the public she understood their problem, but there was nothing to be done, and that is why we get so angry when this happens.

The Mayor of Castejón,(Navarra) Ana Yolanda Manrique, who attends to a population of 4,316 people, reports the floods have destroyed crops and the N-113 road has been impassable for some time, affecting the local petrol station and other businesses.

There are 15 provinces on yellow or orange alert for strong winds of 100km/h, for avalanches and melting snow in the areas close to the Pyrenees, according to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet).

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Extreme Weather Hits Spain…

snow

Extreme weather conditions that hit Spain yesterday  as a fresh cold snap began have left thick snow in the north, blocking roads, closing schools and forcing residents to be evacuated from their homes.

The Costa Brava is being swept by gales, snow in the Basque province of Bizkaia (Vizcaya, or ‘Biscay’) has left 600 homes without electricity and over 100 people in the province of Palencia, Castilla y León, have had to sleep in school sports centres after being trapped by snow forcing authorities to close the A-67 motorway in the Cantabria direction.

A total of 41 provinces, or 80% of Spain are under yellow, orange or red alerts for snow, avalanches, tidal surges, gales or cold weather with temperatures falling to as low as -10ºC.

Snow was even seen in the centre of Valencia city yesterday, a Mediterranean coastal metropolis which has some of the warmest weather in Spain and whose residents have rarely seen snow in their lifetimes.

The white stuff has led to the A-92 motorway in Huétor-Santillán, Albolote and Diezma (all in the Granada province) being shut, and drivers across the northern strip – from the Costa Brava to Galicia including the Basque Country, La Rioja, Navarra, Asturias and Cantabria – have been warned not to venture out without snow chains on their wheels.

More snow is expected today in the whole of Castilla y León, Navarra, the island of Mallorca, Cantabria, Asturias, La Rioja and the Basque Country, whilst avalanches are a serious risk in the Pyrénéen provinces of Lleida and Huesca and the region of Navarra.

Snow may even fall today and Friday in the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga, Córdoba, Jaén and Granada, all in Andalucía, as well as the Comunidad Valenciana, areas where temperatures below freezing are extremely rare.

Rising and overflowing rivers in the provinces of Zaragoza and Tarragona have led to workers being evacuated and schools closed.

And even here in Murcia we may see night temperatures over the next few days drop as low as -10ºC.

Gales are expected in the south-east of the mainland, Aragón, and the provinces of Jaén in the south, Castellón and Tarragona in the east, and the Balearic Islands, the latter of which may also suffer torrential rain and thunder storms.

250 Spanish Shops Funding ISIS…

Jihadist groups Isis and al-Qaeda are being funded by more than 250 Spanish businesses.

The businesses are mainly made up of telephone shops, butchers and grocery stores and the majority of the donations have been sent to Syria.

The small businesses are able to transfer the money without any controls by using the Muslim Hawala money-transfer banking system.

“The jihadists are not only recruiting terrorists here, they are also supplying money from Spain to terrorist groups,” a police official saidISIS.

“The network has expanded recently and now includes some 250 Hawala companies in Spain.”

Hawala is used by 150,000 Muslims in Spain to transfer their savings abroad. It is not controlled as it is outside the established banking system.

The secret network is mostly made up of Pakistanis in cities including Barcelona, Valencia and Almeria.

The hawala banking network in Spain has previously been used to finance attacks around the world.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the brains behind 9-11, employed several Hawala agents in Logrono and Barcelona prior to the 2001 attacks.

Shocking News As Murcia Paedophile Given Reduced Sentence

More than ten years have past since José León Tornero, one of the most prolific paedophiles in the Murcia region, was first charged.

Yesterday he was back in court to respond to sexual abuses which he imposed on several youngsters in the summer of 2004, taking advantage of the fact he was a football trainer.

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José León Tornero – (r)

Despite the fact the prosecutor had asked for more than 35 years in jail he will now be imprisoned with a meagre sentence, less than a fifth requested, with one of the reasons being the excessive time it had taken to come to court.

With his arm in a sling and his face covered by a jacket, José León, arrived at the Murcia Justice Palace visitors’ room to receive his sentence, with which he is an agreement with, six and a half years in prison.

His lawyer, Melecio Castaño, had made an agreement with the Public Ministry and the private prosecution, represented by Felipe Insúa, which avoided his testimony being witnessed by the victims.

He admitted the charge of five counts of using children for pornographic ends, one crime of sexual aggression, one for the corruption of a minor. He also has to pay 3,000 € to each victim.

Outside the room the victims, now in their twenties, had gathered and together exchanged their experiences with this man from Murcia, who already has several previous convictions on his back.

Manuel (name changed) said ‘He gave us Nintendo 64 and puppies to take photos of us naked. We were children and he coerced us’.

Other victims had similar stories, always money was involved, and they are angry at how long this case has taken; they went to Madrid where León still faces open accusations, ‘We had to go to Madrid several times and we are humble people’

Manuel ended by saying, ‘Now I have my life back, and I only want to forget this’.

Illegal Taxi Drivers Face Crackdown at Alicante Airport

Illegal taxis have long been a problem for the registered taxi drivers at and around the Alicante-Elche airport. They have spent years complaining and demanding that the authorities do something to stop ‘foreign’, unlicensed cars from ‘stealing’ their trade.

Up until now, it was the Local Police who were in charge of policing this problem, which they did by stopping cars who they thought were operating as illegal taxis and asking to see their license.

Now, however, the police have help at hand after the license plate readers installed at the entrance to the taxi lane at the airport began to function last week.

The device scans the license plates of the cars that pass through and sends the information to Local Police headquarters where the information is crosschecked with a database at the Central Administration office.

Not only is the number of visits to the Alicante-Elche airport recorded and checked, but so too are the tax and other documentation details.

Various bodies, including the General Transport Office (DGT) and the Taxis of Elche Association, have decided that any vehicle other than the legal taxi is only permitted to travel to the airport six times a month.

If this limit is exceeded, the DGT will open up a sanctioning case against the driver.

This system is already in use at the Barcelona-El Prat Airport and sources report that is has been successful in solving a “historic problem that has cost local taxi drivers a lot of money in lost fares”.

And, with only a week in operation, the Police in Elche have already intercepted a ‘pirate taxi’ driver when he dropped off a passenger at the airport last week.

The man of foreign nationality was surprised by the police after transporting a passenger in his own car from Alfaz de Pi to the airport and charging him 50 euro.

The man has been denounced and will have to follow a sanctioning procedure, which will most likely end up in a hefty fine.

No More Monkey Business For Gibraltar’s Monkeys!

Monkey-laughing

GIBRALTAR’S 30 worst offending barbary apes have been sent to Scotland after too much monkeying around on The Rock.

The apes – who have been harassing locals, rummaging through bins and pick-pocketing tourists – have been transported to Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling.

The move is the first large-scale export of the apes away from The Rock since the 1990s and will prevent Gibraltar’s environmental agency culling the iconic animals.

Gibraltar’s environment minister John Cortes said: “This was the group that was giving us the most problems.

“It is sad to see them go, but they will be going to an ­excellent home and it is so much better than culling them.

“We wish our monkeys a safe journey and a happy future in Scotland.”

The marauding macaques – 11 males and 19 females – were identified as Gibraltar’s most mischievous by the environmental agency after officials monitored their movements.

There are still around 200 apes on the Rock and according to folklore, The Rock would cease to be British if the monkeys leave.

This was reinforced by Winston Churchill during the Second World War, when he shipped extra monkeys from Morocco to bolster their population.

Barbary apes are also found in the Rif mountains, in northern Morocco.

The chain of errors that set the Spanish ebola crisis in motion

A chain of human errors led to the first case of ebola contagion in Europe and a nation on alert with dozens of people under observation for symptoms of the disease.

As of Wednesday morning, a 40-year-old nursing assistant named Teresa Romero Ramos remained at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, receiving experimental therapy against the virus she contracted while working with an ebola patient there.

Six people have been quarantined, including her husband Javier Limón Romero and two nurses who also work at Carlos III. More than 50 others remain under observation.

Of these, 22 are friends, relatives and other people who came into contact with Romero when she was already ill.

The other 30 are hospital workers who, like herself, looked after Manuel García Viejo, a Spanish missionary who contracted the disease working in Sierra Leone and was repatriated for treatment at Carlos III, where he died on September 25.

Both authorities and health workers insist that all safety protocols were followed. While there are still no definitive conclusions as to exactly what happened, sources close to the investigation said there might have been a problem with the way Romero removed the third protective suit she was wearing.

If so, the error went unnoticed by the nursing assistant herself, who did not report any potentially dangerous incidents, such as a torn glove or a needle prick.

Her last job was to clean García Viejo’s room after his death. When the first ebola patient to be treated at Carlos III, Miguel Pajares, died in August, the room was cleaned out by a robot that belonged to the same US company that cleaned the Washington DC central post office after the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Romero called to say she felt terrible, yet was told to take an ambulance to her nearest hospital in Alcorcón rather than to Carlos III

After that, Romero took a few days off with one sole instruction: to take her temperature twice a day and get in touch with the hospital’s occupational hazard department if she felt anything was wrong – standard procedure for those who have been in touch with ebola patients.

Romero soon began to feel sick, but this did not prevent her from sitting an official examination along with 20,000 other people on September 27 to try to secure a permanent contract as a nursing assistant in the Madrid public health system.

On either September 29 or 30 – the dates vary according to the sources – the woman called the hospital to report a fever of under 38ºC and general weakness. She was told that her symptoms were indeterminate and to go to her primary health center in Alcorcón (Madrid). Sources there say Romero never explained that she had been in contact with ebola patients, and was sent home with a prescription for painkillers.

On Tuesday, a Health Ministry official admitted to the SER radio network that Romero perhaps should have been immediately placed in isolation rather than waiting for her to reach a fever of more than 38.6ºC – the temperature at which health protocols consider that a risk of ebola exists. Below that, the virus is not thought to be active enough to pose a risk of contagion.

The door of Teresa Romero’s apartment was still not sealed off on Tuesday. /CLAUDIO ALVAREZ

But Romero’s work colleagues knew about her fever from the beginning. She had warned them through a chat service that she was running a slight fever and asked when she should alert the hospital. While the official accepted figure is 38.6ºC, the workers say this rule should be applied to the general population but not to someone who has had direct contact with the two Spanish missionaries with ebola who were treated at Carlos III.

Union representatives at the hospital feel the same way: “Why was she not treated before this?”

What happened next depends on who you ask. According to the union, Romero called the hospital as early as October 2 to report a fever of over 38.6ºC yet no protocols were set in motion nor was she placed in isolation. Official sources claim that she did not reach that temperature until October 6.

In another incomprehensible decision, health sources say Romero phoned the Carlos III Hospital one more time to report that she felt “terrible,” yet was told to call the Madrid emergency services and go to her own closest hospital in Alcorcón. She was taken there in a regular ambulance with no protective measures, and spent several hours in the emergency room. Some of the 21 people now under observation were in contact with her at that time.

The procedures followed at Alcorcón Hospital also lacked sufficient rigor, according to staff. They say Romero told them as she was being brought in that: “I’m afraid I’ve got ebola.” Yet she was taken out of the ambulance and received initial treatment with no further protective measures than gloves and a mask before finally being transferred to an isolation unit. There she remained all day, from early morning until past midnight, when she was finally taken to Carlos III. Over six hours had elapsed between the moment the diagnosis was confirmed and the time a properly equipped vehicle came to pick her up.

Disaster averted at Malaga airport…

Hundreds of British tourists involved in near-miss at Malaga airport

HUNDREDS of British tourists are breathing a huge sigh of relief after two planes were involved in a near-miss at Malaga airport.

Aviation authorities have announced that an incoming Ryanair flight from Leeds came within 150 metres of a Glasgow-bound Jet2 plane on.

The pilot of a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 was forced to abort its landing and take evasive action at the last minute because the Jet2 plane – also a 737-800 – was still on the runway.

The two planes were carrying a total of 363 passengers and crew and Spain’s Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission is now investigating.

Despite taking place on September 17, an initial report has only just been made public.

The report states, the planes experienced what is known as ‘a loss of separation’ at 1:20pm local time as the Ryanair flight was coming in for landing and the Jet 2 flight was taking off.

However, a spokeswoman for Ryanair denied there was a ‘near-miss’ and insisted it was routine ‘go-around’ flight procedure.

Drug Lab Dismantled In Murcia

murciacocaine

Police Closer Down Murcia Drug Lab

A cocaine laboratory, which processed drugs from Colombia, has been dismantled in Murcia.

National Police agents and the Guardia Civil have uncovered the organised criminal group who prepared and distributed cocaine from Colombia, according to a Police statement.

During the security services operation a total of 17 people were arrested, fourteen from Colombia, two from Spain and one from Venezuela; all of them aged between 19 and 55, and who are now charged with a crime against public health and belonging to a criminal organisation.

Seven property searches have been carried out in Murcia, Alicante and the Alicante towns of Santa Pola, Sax and Elche, where more than 38 kilos of cocaine was impounded, three vehicles equipped with hiding places, 14,000 € in cash and a revolver with ammunition.

The investigation started last year when the presence of a group from Colombia was reported, considered to be distributing the drug all over Spain. The police became aware last May of a car from Madrid carrying drugs which would be arriving in Murcia; a road block was established on the A7 motorway at Crevillente. They found hidden three kilos of cocaine and arrested the driver.

That led to three property searches, two in Elche and one in Alicante, in which 10,000 € in cash, 20 mobile phones and diverse computer material. Seven were arrested during these searches.

The second phase of the operation started in July where three more searches were carried out, one in Murcia and two in Santa Pola, were 35 kilos of cocaine, 2 kilos of cutting substances, diverse material for preparation and later sale, plus cash, 15 mobile phones and two vehicles with hiding spaces.

In the Murcia search a laboratory was found and dismantled dedicated to the elaboration and adulteration of the drug which had arrived from Colombia, and then a final group of arrests were made, seven from Colombia and one from Venezuela. At the search in Sax, a 357 calibre revolver with ammunition was found, along with ten mobile phones and 2,000 € in cash.

The operation was jointly carried out by the Drugs and Organised Crime Unit (UDYCO), National Police from Alicante and Guardia Civil Judicial Police from Crevillente.

Market Stall Grenade Explodes

Policeman Loses Hand

A Málaga policeman has lost a hand after a grenade was found in a street market in Sevilla

Two agents from the Tedax (Specialist technicians in the defusing of explosive artefacts) unit of the National Police suffered injuries while manipulating a grenade found in the rastro street market in Sevilla.

A local policeman noticed the grenade on a stall with many other items, and notified the National Police. The Tedax removed the item and took it to their headquarters at Cortijo del Cuartro.

The most seriously injured is a sub-inspector from Málaga who has lost his right hand, and the latest news from the hospital is he is sedated and waiting to enter surgery for a hopeful implantation.

The other agent, who is from Cádiz had fractures in a hand and damage to his face.

It happened at the Cortijo del Cuarto. After a loud explosion the two men ran out of the cubicle where they were trying to defuse the grenade and we helped by their colleagues who used ice to try to stop the bleeding from the injured 38 year old Malagueño.

A 061 ambulance was shortly at the scene and took the two men to the Virgen del Rocio Hospital, were both remain admitted; and their condition according to the hospital is ‘reserved’.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the accident. (but we are betting that the cause was an exploding grenade)sevillagrenade