Kat Ashton

Kat Ashton

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A FEARLESS dog saved its owners lives after a fire broke out at their Costa Blanca home.    

Tania, 22, who owns Lola, an eight-year-old German shepherd, told Spanish media: “Lola started scratching at the bedroom door. She woke me up and when I went to open the door, I saw that the room was full of black smoke.

“She saved us, for sure. If Lola hadn’t warned us, the fire would have been much worse,” she said.

Tania lives in a flat on Avenida Mediterraneo in Javea - above the Masia de la Sal restaurant which her family runs - with her 27-year-old partner.

The fire reportedly started in the living room, where Lola sleeps, when the TV caught alight.

The couple called the emergency services immediately, who swiftly arrived and put out the flames. 

Although the walls of the flat were blackened by the smoke, the fire was relatively small and caused minimal damage, which Tania said was all thanks to Lola warning them about the blaze straight away.

“She scratches the door on other nights because she wants to come inside. I usually open it and let her come in. Thankfully she did the same thing that morning,” she revealed.

Tania’s family adopted Lola when she was a puppy and had been the only one left from the litter that hadn’t found a home.  


THE new changes to Ryanair’s hand luggage restrictions will start from tomorrow (Monday) and already have some passengers feeling frustrated.

Travellers will still be allowed two free bags, one large (55 x 40 x 20cm) weighing no more than 10kg and a smaller bag (no larger than 35 x 20 x 20cm). However, from now on, unless the passenger pays extra for priority boarding, which usually costs €5 per person, the bag will instantly be tagged at the departure gate and put in the hold.

The bag will then appear on the baggage carousel with the rest of the luggage once the plane has arrived at its destination.  

The new policy was announced last summer, and was initially scheduled to be enforced on November 1, but was pushed back until mid-January,

Meanwhile, the airline has cut the cost of some checked-in bags and increased the weight limit to 20kg, up from the previous allowance of 15kg.

Although the budget airline says the changes will cost it around  €50 million, some frequent flyers have complained that the new rules will cost them more money and cause them to waste time in the arrivals hall waiting for their bags.

Frances Whitmore said “I fly frequently, and it’s pain that I now have to pay either more money or waste at least 30 minutes waiting for the bag to arrive.”

Other passengers have complained that these changes will apply to existing bookings without their permission, according to UK media sources.

A BRITISH man is believed to be seriously injured after falling around 20 feet while staying at an apartment complex in Gran Canaria.

The 21-year-old reportedly fell while staying at the La Villa Santa Ana holiday complex in Playa del Ingles, a popular resort among tourists.

Local media sources revealed that the emergency services were called in the early hours of yesterday morning (Saturday).

The man was rushed to the hospital suffering from serious head injuries.

Police are reported to be investigating whether the man had been drinking at the time of the incident.

EMERGENCY services in Madrid have confirmed at least 26 people were injured when the second-storey floor of a nightclub gave way on Saturday night.

At least 11 people were later taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries following the incident the city’s Carabanchel neighbourhood.

Police have now opened an investigation to find out the details of the accident and find out what caused the floor to collapse.

SPANISH politicians have scoffed at the idea that ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont could rule parliament remotely from Belgium.

Puigdemont’s party, the Catalan European Democratic Party, announced it is working towards re-electing him as the region’s leader, even though he is still in self-imposed exile in Brussels.

Catalan pro-independence parties won the majority in the regional elections back in December, but they have yet to form a new government.

In order to be re-elected president, Puigdemont needs to be present at the parliamentary session to present his government programme to parliament.

His supporters have suggested that he appears by video link or has someone read his speech on his behalf, as he risks arrest on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds if he returns to Spain.

Puigdemont's campaign manager Elsa Artadi revealed they were "looking into all the tools that Catalan parliamentary rules allow" but also confirmed that Puigdemont would not go back to Spain.

Meanwhile, Spanish government spokesman Iñigo Méndez de Vigo announced that such a move would be opposed and taken to court, making it clear that it is a legal requirement that the exiled ex-president be there in person if he wants to stand for re-election.

In this case, Puigdemont would be forced to give his seat up to another party member who is able to attend.

Five members of the previous Catalan parliament are currently in Brussels, while three are serving jail time in Madrid for organising an illegal independence referendum, including ex-Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, whose request to be transferred to a Catalan prison to be able to attend parliamentary sessions has been rejected.

POLICE in France have revealed an alleged ETA weapons cache has been located in a forest near Bayonne.

A walker reportedly stumbled upon the Basque terrorist group’s haul while searching the area with a metal detector.

He proceeded to dig up two plastic boxes containing detonators and explosives, as well as road maps bearing the ETA symbol, according to a local French radio station.

After being notified of what happened, police cordoned off the area and an investigation has also been launched by the anti-terrorism bureau in Paris.

The spot is located about 30km from Bayonne, where ETA staged a weapons handover in April last year.

The group claimed that they had given up all their weapons in a move towards establishing peace, with ex-French president François Hollande calling it "a decisive step towards the end of Basque separatist terrorism".

MALAGA Club de Futbol has sacked head coach Michel Gonzalez after just ten months in the job.

Following a poor start to the season, the team have only won three games and 11 points during 19 La Liga matches, and face relegation.

The 1-0 loss to Michel's former club Getafe proved to be the last straw for the manager, whose dismissal was revealed in a statement on the team’s website.

It was announced the manager will depart from the team when the first round of La Liga is complete.

“Michel Gonzalez arrived last season during a very difficult situation, and the coach was able to turn things around and end the season in a mid-table position. Unfortunately, since the beginning of this campaign, the team has been unable to achieve a string of good results to move out of the relegation zone, and the Club deems this action necessary to seek that reaction,” the statement read.

The club revealed it is now working on finding a substitute, with the “enthusiasm and excitement to motivate all ‘Malaguismo’”.

Before taking on coaching duties at Malaga, Michel had previously worked at Sevilla and Getafe.

THE pound has bounced back to its highest value against the dollar since the UK voted to leave the European Union, following reports that Spain and the Netherlands would be willing to support a soft Brexit deal.

Sterling gained almost 1.5 cents after Bloomberg reported that Luis de Guindos - the Spanish economy minister - and the Dutch equivalent Wopke Hoekstra met to discuss their concerns surrounding Brexit, as both nations have close trade and investment ties with the UK.

They allegedly agreed to keep discussing their common interests in the matter, while continuing to support the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Analysts have also suggested a broader weakness in the dollar has helped boost the pound.

The pound’s weakness following the Brexit referendum has put a strain on households by pushing up the cost of imported goods in the UK, causing inflation to rise from 0.5 per cent to 3.1 per cent by November 2017.

On the other hand, sterling’s decreased value has also made exports more desirable, with UK factories reporting an increase in trade for the eigth month in a row in November.

A BRITISH conman suspected of cheating a woman out of her life savings worth nearly €1 million may be using a false name and Swiss passport to cover his tracks.

According to UK media sources, Mark Acklom may be on the run using the alias Marc Long.  He is believed to have taken on the name while in Switzerland back in 2014, where he was able to obtain an official passport and Swiss residency permit.

Both the passport and residency permit are believed to be still valid.

Acklom, aged 44, is currently in hiding with his Spanish wife, Maria Yolanda Ros Rodriguez, aged 47, and their two daughters, aged six and eight.

He is accused of scamming Brit Carolyn Woods out of her life savings worth more than €953,000 after promising to marry her.

According to Ms Woods, Acklom told her he was a MI6 agent and Swiss banker and tricked her into lending him her life savings, before fleeing with the money.

It is also believed he is being investigated over other allegations, including failing to pay an architect more than €5600 for work he had commissioned in Bath.

The conman is wanted under a European arrest warrant - which is not valid in Switzerland - and has also been arrested three times in Spain in separate charges.

Acklom was last seen in May sitting in a cafe in Geneva, Switzerland, talking to a fellow fugitive, Spaniard Jose Manuel Costas Estevez.

A FAMILY-RUN organisation on the Costa del Sol which allegedly smuggled tons of cocaine into Spain using pineapples has been busted by police.

The gang reportedly ran one of the largest drug trafficking operations in Europe and had been in business for more than 40 years.

Police made 11 arrests during the investigation in total and seize a ton of cocaine.

Officers also intercepted €180,000 in cash, €200,000 worth of jewellery, two pistols and 15 vehicles.

They have also frozen more than €2 million across several bank accounts and repossessed 57 buildings worth €7 million.

The 72-year-old head of the crime ring, along with four of his sons and two sons-in-law, is believed to have used the guise of his shipping company to hide his illicit activities by shipping the drugs in pineapples transported in cargo ships.

In one of the ships intercepted from Costa Rica, officers discovered 33 kilos of cocaine concealed in small cylinder containers that had been covered with yellow wax and hidden inside the pineapples. Police had to smash open thousands of pieces of fruit to locate all of the drugs.

They also found more than 960 kilos of cocaine hidden in a shipment of pineapples bound for Algeciras from Ecuador.

National police, with the help of Spanish tax officials, were able to verify the existence of the gang’s activities more than a year ago, and discovered the family were masking their illegal activities by hiding the narcotics in shipping containers to avoid detection by police and customs.

According to a police spokesperson, the organisation has been smuggling drugs into Spain since the 1970s, and started by sneaking hashish from Morocco then expanded into bringing cocaine from Latin America.

They also claimed the crime gang used highly sophisticated security measures to shield their movements, including the use of state-of-the-art electronic devices, coded messages and constantly changing vehicles to avoid detection.

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