Kat Ashton

Kat Ashton

POLICE have begun a virtual reconstruction of the events surrounding the death of tragic toddler Lucia Vivar.

It comes after her furious parents Antonio and Almudena demanded a series of 20 points from the official Guardia Civil report be clarified in the wake of detectives closing the case And the investigating judge has now requested that the case be reopened to confirm whether Lucia’s injuries hold up to the findings in the report, which ruled her death was accidental.

As reported previously in the Euro Weekly News, Lucia went missing from her family at the train station in Pizarra last July, with her lifeless body found more than 4km away the next morning.

The official report concluded that Lucia was killed when she was struck by the first train on the tracks that morning, but her parents claim it dismissed several important pieces of evidence.

Lucia’s family said the report does not explain how the girl was able to walk more than 4.2 kilometres in the dark without receiving any bumps or scratches on her arms or legs.

They questioned why the train had set off that morning as usual, even though they were told services would be delayed until Lucia was found.

A bottle of chloroform was also recently discovered around 700 metres from where Lucia disappeared.

Local media sources reported that police found ‘no connection’ between the bottle and Lucia’s disappearance, but her parents asked police to continue investigations into its appearance nonetheless.

ALL signs point towards imminent drought in Spain. The reservoirs currently stand at critically low levels, while the rain looks set to stay away for the indefinite future.

According to the latest available figures, the reservoirs are at just 37 per cent of their total capacity, ten per cent less than at the same time last year. These levels don’t look set to improve any time soon as Aemet, the State Meteorological Agency, does not predict a high amount of rainfall in the coming weeks.

It’s safe to say the country has received significantly less rainfall than it has in recent years. Many towns in the region of Galicia have seen less than half their annual average rainfall of 1,500 litres per square meter, with areas such as Vigo and A Coruña receiving just 558 and 494 litres respectively.

For a drought to be declared, an average of 600 litres of rain per square meter has to be recorded, and the average currently stands at 645 litres. The last time water levels were recorded at such low levels was in 1995.

As of November 13, water levels in reservoirs along the Tagus River stood at just 40 per cent capacity but are likely to have dropped due to the shortage of rainfall in the past few weeks.

Meanwhile reservoirs along the Segura River, which many farmers rely upon to irrigate crops, have fallen to less than 14 per cent capacity.

According to Agroseguro, a farming insurance agency, about 1.4 million hectares of crops have been impacted by either frost or the lack of rainfall this year.

 Miguel Blanco, Secretary General of the Farmers’ Union COAG, said a 40 per cent loss has been recorded in vineyards alone, and claimed the situation was critical as 15 per cent of the irrigated farmland produces 50 per cent of the nation’s food.

Electricity prices are also on the rise due to the water shortage as Iberdrola, Spain's largest power company, reported a 58 per cent dive in its hydroelectric power production between January and September. Companies are replacing this energy source with coal or gas to meet demand, which, in turn, is pushing up prices.

A MAN believed to be behind the Cataluña vehicle attacks allegedly gave information to Spain’s secret service while he was in prison, said a secret service official.

Abdelbaki Essati, who served time in prison for drug-related charges between 2010 and 2014, reportedly gave the the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) information on a security matter.

It has not been revealed what kind of information Essati provided, or whether he was still in touch with the CNI after he left prison.

Essati was killed on August 16, the day before the attacks, when the explosives he was making blew up the house where he was staying in Alcanar, near Barcelona. Several of his associates were also killed in the incident.

It is believed the explosion caused the remaining members of the terrorist group to abandon their first plan and instead used vehicles to mow down people at the popular Las Ramblas tourist spot in Barcelona and in the Catalan seaside resort of Cambrils. 16 people were killed, and over 100 more were injured in the incident.

Essati is thought to have recruited men for the terrorist cell and been the mastermind behind the attacks. He had also reportedly been linked to extremists and recruiters of Islamic soldiers for more than a decade.

POLICE have reportedly shot an unarmed man at a toll booth in Spain near the French border.

The man, from France, was allegedly shouting 'Allahu akbar' (God is the greatest) and officers at the Spanish border town of La Jonquera mistakenly believed he had a weapon.

Police said that the man was behaving strangely and seemed to be hiding something inside the vehicle. The man was allegedly asked to exit the vehicle and he finally got out with something in his hands, and moved towards the officers. It is reported that officers repeatedly asked him to stop and fired several shots in the air.When he continued to move forward they shot him in the hip.

The man then reportedly began undressing and is believed to suffer from mental health problems.

He was then taken to a nearby hospital to receive treatment, and his life is not thought to be in danger.

Police said they have opened an investigation, but do not believe the case is linked to terrorist activities.

 

 

SPANISH police have arrested 40 people belonging to a criminal gang accused of drug trafficking and money laundering.

During the Europol-led operation, police seized more than 4 tonnes of cocaine, 105 kilograms of hashish, 18 high-end vehicles and more than €13 million in cash.

Two interlinked groups were dismantled, one in the Spanish enclave Melilla in Northern Africa and one in the Basque Country. Arrests were also made in Girona, Pontevedra Madrid and Morocco.

The suspects included 34 men and 6 women of Spanish, British, Moroccan nationalities.

Police also confiscated a caravan and three boats that were used by the gang to traffic drugs.

It has been estimated the drug ring trafficked more than €103 million worth of drugs into Spain.

The operation began in Denia, Alicante when police learned that a group of people had been shifting drugs using recreational sailboats.

Officers intercepted one of these boats heading from Venezuela to Cadiz, and discovered 400 kilos of cocaine stashed in a hidden compartment in the bow of boat.

It was then discovered that the gang had connections in the Basque Country - who were responsible for trafficking the drugs by sea - and Melilla, where the money laundering aspect of the business was handled.

The group allegedly covered their operations under a fake wooden furniture shipping business and transported the money and drugs by sea hidden in containers with the furniture.

In just one bust, police seized more than €8million in cash in Valencia’s port.

The gang allegedly also used people with limited means to traffic money through airports by hiding the cash along among their belongings. Officers reported that more than €4million had been intercepted in flights bound for Venezuela from Malaga or Melilla.

Police also seized 870 kilos of cocaine in Pontevedra and 120 kilos in Lloret de Mar that was reportedly destined for the UK. 

Due to the international nature of the crimes, the Spanish police also had help from US, German, Italian and Moroccan drug enforcement agencies.

SPAIN has been awarded €1.6 billion compensation over the 2002 Prestige oil tanker spill, widely regarded as one of worst environmental disasters to happen in Europe.

The tanker ran into trouble in November 2002 during rough seas. The Spanish government at the time ordered the ship out to sea instead of bringing it into port as ordered by the emergency plan.

It then split in two and sank off the coast of Galicia six days later.

More than 60,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea and polluted nearly 3000 kilometres of coastline in Spain, France and Portugal.

The disaster had dire consequences for the local environment, having a severe impact on wildlife and the region's fishing industry. Tens of thousands of volunteers took part in an emergency clean-up operation which lasted for months.

A court in the city of A Coruña has said the regional authorities in Galicia should be awarded €1.8 million in damages and that France should also be granted €61 million.

British insurers The London P&I Club and the Prestige’s Greek captain Apostolos Mangouras were ordered to pay €850 million between them, while the rest must be paid by Mare Shipping Inc., who owned the ship, and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds.

POLICE in Spain have arrested 19 people, with a further five still under investigation, for the alleged theft of 85 vehicles.

The gang allegedly had the help of a local council member who helped them to obtain information about the stolen vehicles and clone licence plates of identical cars so they could be resold.

The 19 suspects were held for numerous crimes, including theft, forging documents, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation.

The detainees are reportedly of numerous nationalities, including Spanish, Greek, French, Romanian, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian and Bulgarian.

It is believed the gang made more than € 1,500,000 in profit from the stolen vehicles.

The investigation began after a Spanish citizen complained to the police that he had received several tickets for speeding in places where he had not been driving. After analysing the information, it appeared that there were notable differences between the two vehicles.

Officers concluded that there must be two vehicles of the same make, model and license plate, meaning that one of the vehicles was a fake or "clone" of the original.

The owner of the clone was reportedly a man originally from Bulgaria, who had a record of smuggling stolen vehicles and forging documents. The man and his partner allegedly owned several vehicles in Bulgaria that were also registered in Spain.

The police discovered that the man acted with other criminals of various nationalities, who between them, falsified licence plates and vehicle documents so the cars could be sold on.

It was revealed that most of the cars were stolen in Madrid, and the criminals reportedly stalked their victims so they knew where they lived, where they parked their car and what time they went to work. They then used devices to override the car’s GPS device, so they could not be tracked, and used multiple security measures to avoid being detected. 

The council member, who had access to public records, allegedly helped the gang obtain information about identical vehicles they could clone to resell the cars and later enlisted the help of his colleagues when he left his position.

The cars were then registered in various other European countries so there were two cars with the same documents and licence plates in circulation. Several cars were also stripped for parts which made them harder to trace.

As they were dealing with an international crime organisation, Spanish police enlisted the help of Portuguese and Bulgaria law enforcement to bring the criminals to justice, as well as the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation.

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy from the Ivory Coast has finally been reunited with his mother in Spain after they were separated for seven months.

According to the women’s charity ‘Women's Link’, 33-year-old Bahoumou Totopa arrived on the Andalucian coast in April after making the perilous journey over on an inflatable dinghy.

Her son Abdurrahmane had already journeyed to the Spanish enclave of Melilla on the North African coast with his aunt the month before.

 Bahoumou was prevented from contacting her son by child protection services who had taken the boy in Melilla, who told the 33-year-old she had to prove she was his mother before she could claim him back.

After failing to persuade Spanish authorities to let Bahoumou make contact with her son on several occasions, Women's Link turned to the European Court of Human Rights who then urged Spain to allow her to make visits or telephone calls to her son pending the DNA test results.

When the tests came back positive, Bahoumou was finally allowed to collect her son in Melilla and take him to the migrant centre in the Andalucian city of Jerez de la Frontera where she was living.

Spanish authorities have often been criticised by human rights groups for the poor treatment of migrants who arrive in the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta on the North African Coast. ‘Human Rights Watch’, a non-governmental organization, revealed many children are taken away into child protection services while their parents are held in dark, dank police cells before they can be deported. 

THE MTV Europe Music Awards will be hosted in Bilbao, Spain for the first time next year.

Pop star Rita Ora announced the news while hosting this year’s event in London’s SSE Wembley Arena yesterday (Sunday).

It marks the first time the awards ceremony will be held in the Basque capital, but the third time the awards have been held in Spain.

Barcelona first hosted the awards back in 2002, and then eight years later capital Madrid was given the honour in 2010.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend next year’s ceremony, and while further details have yet to be revealed, it is expected that a whole host of international recording artists will attend the event.

This year’s attendees in London were treated to performances from the likes of Camila Cabello, Demi Levato, Eminem and U2.

The first ever MTV Europe Music Awards were celebrated at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, and have changed location to other European cities every year since. This year marked the sixth time the UK has hosted the awards.

SPANISH Police have arrested three British citizens for their alleged involvement in one of the country’s largest ever cocaine busts.

The three Brits were held after officers seized 1.2 tonnes of the drug while carrying out raids in Granada and the Basque province of Guipuzcoa. Two Spaniards were also detained during the operation.

A police spokesperson revealed that the men were members of international drug trafficking organisation which operated in the UK as well as Spain.

An underground cannabis plantation in Zarautz, a town near Basque capital San Sebastian, was also unearthed during the investigations.

The spokesman described the drug bust as “one of the largest ever intercepted on Spanish soil.”

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