Matt Ford

Matt Ford

SUN-WORSHIPPERS are set to enjoy another sizzling weekend as Spain’s Indian summer goes on.

Cloudless skies with temperatures rising up to 10°C above the monthly average for October are forecast on Saturday and Sunday, when the mercury is expected to hit 30-35°C across much of the country.

An official from State Weather Agency AEMET confirmed that the “abnormally high” temperatures will most affect interior regions including Madrid, Badajoz, Sevilla and Cordoba, although highs of 27-29° are predicted along the Mediterranean coast.

It comes as Hurricane Ophelia bears down on Galicia, although experts do not currently expect the tropical storm to make landfall in Spain.

WIDESPREAD traffic chaos is forecast over the coming days with 6.3 million drivers expected to hit Spanish roads.

The alert comes ahead of the country’s National Day tomorrow (Thursday), with many Spaniards opting to take an extra day off on Friday and enjoy a weekend getaway.

The number of police and technicians operating on the national road network will be boosted to more than 14,000 from 3pm today (Wednesday) until midnight on Sunday, traffic authorities confirmed.

Drug, alcohol, and speed checks will also be ramped up with eight radar-equipped Pegasus helicopters deployed.

The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has warned that roads around major cities may come to a standstill this afternoon as holidaymakers clash with those travelling home from work.

Heavy traffic and tailbacks are also expected on Thursday morning as tens of thousands head for the coast or countryside.

On Saturday much of the gridlock is set to be concentrated around beaches, theme parks and other leisure attractions, while major delays are also predicted for Sunday as the returning hordes spark further congestion.

THE discovery of a predatory fish in a Marbella park has sparked panic.

It comes after a photo of the alligator garfish went viral after being circulated on social media.

The species is native to North America and can grow to over 2.5 metres in length, but a biologist from Bioparc Fuengirola told the Euro Weekly Newsthat it is not invasive in Spain and presents no danger to humans.

Instead, it was probably released into the artificial lake in La Represa Park after outgrowing a home aquarium.

A BRITISH couple who lived in a garage for four-and-a-half years after their Almeria home was demolished have suffered a fresh setback.

After Len and Helen Prior, both in their early 70’s, last year won a court battle entitling them to €425,185 in compensation, the Andalucian High Court of Justice has now ruled that they will receive just over half that amount.

Vera Council must now pay €220,433 to the pair after appealing the initial decision as a nine-year legal battle drags on.

The Priors’ story made international headlines after their home was bulldozed in 2008 over ‘planning irregularities’ although the couple insist the build was legal.

They had initially requested €800,000 which included a €200,000 emotional damages claim, but the latter was reduced to less than €10,000.

Gerardo Vazquez, lawyer and spokesperson for the Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No campaign group, which has been helping the Priors through their ordeal, said: “I hope their ordeal ends soon because they are good people and don’t deserve this constant stream of bad news.”

BEACHGOERS on the Costa del Sol are set to enjoy a mini Indian summer.

The hot, dry wind known locally as the terral is set to sweep Malaga province (Friday) with the mercury forecast to rise to a sizzling 35°C.

State weather agency AEMET has revealed that the unseasonal blast of heat will be short-lived, with the temperature predicted to drop below 27°C over the weekend.

Night-time highs of 20°C on the coast and 16°C inland are expected.

A GENERAL strike called by trade unions and other pro-independence groups from Cataluña is underway.

The action is in protest at Sunday’s police violence during the banned independence referendum, in which more than 2.2 million people, around 42 per cent of the electorate, reportedly voted.

But almost 900 were hurt as police fired rubber bullets and stormed polling stations.

More than 20 major roads in the region, including the AP-7 motorway, have been blocked by demonstrators, while metro and bus services in capital Barcelona are severely reduced.

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Burning debris cut off a road in Cataluña ©Angel Niño/Twitter

A number of ports, including Barcelona, are completely shut down with flights and train services also likely to be thrown into disarray.

Schools, clinics, universities, tourist sites and even Barcelona Football Club will shut down for the day.

It comes after another night of protests as chanting crowds formed outside National Police and Guardia Civil stations across Cataluña.

“I am convinced that this strike will be widely followed,” said Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont ahead of the strike.

Catalan authorities say that 90 per cent of votes were in favour of independence, but the Spanish government remains determined to stop any official motion.

International concern over the situation is growing, with the European parliament set to hold a special meeting on Wednesday.

“We call on all relevant players to now move very swiftly from confrontation to dialogue. Violence can never be an instrument in politics,” said European commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas.

CATALAN authorities have announced a landslide ‘yes’ vote in Sunday’s illegal referendum.

Spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters that 90 per cent of 2.26 million votes counted were in favour of independence.

Around 8 per cent voted ‘no,’ while the remainder were blank or void, with 15,000 still to be counted.

He confirmed that the figure does not include the ballots seized during a series of violent raids by Spanish police, with 844 members of the public and 33 officers injured according to a new statement by the regional health department.

The preliminary poll result comes in the wake of a defiant televised speech by Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who declared his intention to declare independence “in the next few days” once the results are confirmed.

“My government, in the next few days, will send the results of [the] vote to the Catalan parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum,” he said.

“On this day of hope and suffering, Cataluña’s citizens have earned the right to have an independent state in the form of a republic.”

He also referred to the police violence as “a clear violation of human rights.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had earlier said that no referendum had taken place during his own TV broadcast after polling stations closed.

POLLING stations have closed across Cataluña after police violence marred the region's illegal independence referendum.

More than 760 people were injured during the clashes according to the Catalan health department.

At least nine National Police and two Guardia Civil officers were also hurt, and Barcelona football club were forced to play their league match against Las Palmas behind closed doors amid the chaos.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave a televised speech after the referendum ended at 8pm.

"We did what we had to do, acting with the law and only with the law," he said.

"There has been no referendum, merely a staged event.

"It was a premeditated and conscious attack, to which the State has reacted with calmness and serenity."

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who the national government is blaming for the brutal scenes, said: "The external image of the Spanish state has continued to worsen and today reached a level of shame that will accompany it forever."

It comes as six Catalan courts have been ordered to probe their own Mossos d'Esquadra police force for failing to close schools and prevent the vote following complaints from Barcelona, El Vendrell (Tarragona), La Seu d'Urgell (Lleida), Lleida, Cerdanyola del Valles (Barcelona) and Santa Coloma de Gramenet.

But the Generalitat de Cataluña regional council responded by filing charges against the National Police and Guardia Civil.

A number of videos circulating on social media show Mossos d'Esquadra officers and Catalan fire fighters actively arguing with their Guardia Civil counterparts or forming a line in front of angry crowds.

The poll itself has been called into question after Spanish police occuppied the region's telecommunications hub, forcing a last-minute change of plan whereby people were able to vote in any school thanks to a swiftly-designed universal census system.

The announcement came just 45 minutes before polling stations opened at 8am and drew a quick response from the Guardia Civil, who succeeded in partially blocking the application.

A statement from the Interior Ministry said that the latter move would allow individuals to vote more than once and without being on the civil register, a flaw seemingly demonstrated by cultural association Sociedad Civil Catalana and a journalist from TV station Telecinco.

BELEAGUERED airline Monarch appears to be preparing for the worst after it quadrupuled the price of flight tickets to discourage customers from buying

The move means that the carrier has effectively stopped selling tickets after it was revealed that tens of thousands of passengers could be stranded should it fail to renew its Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (Atol) by midnight on Sunday.

Britain's fifth-biggest airline was on Saturday given a 24-hour lifeline after the license was due to expire at midnight.

The fact that it was not automatically renewed has again raised questions about the Luton-based company's financial stability after a similar situation in 2016 saw it survive only after landing a €190 million rescue package.

Reports suggest that the Civil Aviation Authority has hired 10 Qatar Airways jets to rescue holidaymakers should Monarch declare itself bust

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary last month said: "It is an open secret that Monarch and Norwegian will not make it through the winter."

NATIONAL POLICE have fired rubber bullets at crowds in Barcelona.

The hostile move comes after violence flared during Cataluña's independence referendum.

A number of clashes have been reported across the region as police move to stop people from voting in the illegal poll.

Emergency services said that at least 38 people have been injured so far, with images of bloodied voters emerging on social media after officers waded in with batons.

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It comes after the polling station lined up for Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was stormed by riot police, although he was later able to vote elsewhere.

He condemned the crackdown, accusing the police of using "unjustified, disproportionate and irresponsible violence."

Although many polling stations have been shut down, the regional government has tweeted that 73 per cent remain operational.

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