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30 Apr 2011

A video attributed to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, seen posted on the Internet, included a threat to Morocco three days before a deadly bombing in Marrakesh.

Al Qaeda linked to Marrakesh bombing
The video which was put on video-sharing site YouTube on Monday shows five armed youths, one of them masked and announcing that they would defend prisoners detained in Morocco.

"I am speaking to the Muslim world in general and Morocco in particular which is waging a war without mercy against Muslims," said the young man, going by the name of Abou Abderrahmane Al-Maghribi, and a Moroccan member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Newly solo Georgia leads gang of model pals on girly trip to Marbella

NEWLY single Georgia Salpa is jetting off on a sun holiday along with her fellow models as they celebrate their new solo status.

The Herald can reveal that Georgia Salpa (26), Nadia Forde (21) and Vogue Williams (24) will be joining pals Daniella Moyles (22), Michele McGrath (25), Leah O'Reilly (25) and Emily MacKeogh (24) for a sun-soaked getaway in Marbella.

And their impromptu trip was booked at the exact same time as their various different splits hit the headlines in recent days.

SHATTERED

Although a source revealed that it wasn't originally intended to be a trip to mend their respective broken hearts, it is now being deemed the perfect outlet for their shattered love lives, and give them the chance to let their hair down.

"Everyone has been so busy that it's actually taken a while to organise everything. It took so long to book the trip to suit everyone's schedules," the insider said.

"It wasn't initially booked as any kind of a special holiday to escape from everything, just a fun, girly few days where everyone can relax."

The girls are jetting off to sunny Spain on May 22, where they will provide the eye candy for lucky male holidaymakers.

This week it was revealed that two of the hottest girls on Assets' books have declared their single status, with Fade Street star Vogue and Celebrity Salon contestant Georgia both reportedly splitting from their long-term boyfriends.

Salpa had been with her DJ boyfriend Barry O'Brien for the last two years, but is said to have now moved out of the apartment they shared as they take a "break" from their relationship.

Although the break-up is said to be "mutual", the half-Greek beauty has now become the most eligible woman in Dublin.

Joining her on the girls' getaway is statuesque beauty Vogue, who is now at the centre of her own relationship controversy, having been spotted out and about with none other than Brian McFadden, who has returned to Dublin after being dumped by his fiancee Delta Goodrem last month.

As first revealed in the Herald earlier this week, the model has declared herself single on Facebook and reportedly split from her longtime beau, graffiti artist Maser.

STRANGER

Their fellow top model pal Nadia Forde is no stranger to her own break-up hitting the headlines, splitting from her live-in boyfriend, FM104 DJ Mark Noble after she reportedly found flirty texts to other girls on his mobile phone.

And the Strawberry Alarm Clock host found himself in hot water with her best pal Georgia when he claimed that Assets models are only "after your wallet" in a bizarre online tirade.

However, the loyal bikini model jumped to defend her pal, saying that Nadia "isn't like that", while Vogue labelled Noble a "creep".

 

28 Apr 2011

Foreign Office said it was urgently checking reports that a Briton was among those killed

Foreign Office said it was urgently checking reports that a Briton was among those killed – the majority were reported to have been French and Moroccan.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said he was "shocked and saddened" by the attack.
“British officials are in contact with the Moroccan authorities to establish the facts and to provide consular support to any British nationals who may have been caught up in the blast."
The explosion went off just before midday and tore the facade off the two-storey Argana café in Jema el Fna square, a UNESCO World Heritage site at the heart of Marrakesh's old town.
Witnesses at the scene described seeing a man enter the café and order an orange juice before "blowing himself up". Another said the bomber entered the café, dropped a suitcase and walked straight out.

British national among 14 dead in Morocco suicide attack

Destination: MarrakeshEvidence collected from the scene of an explosion on Thursday in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh confirms it was a bomb attack, the interior ministry said.
"Analysis of the early evidence collected at the site of the blast that occurred on Thursday at a cafe in Marrakesh confirms the theory of an attack," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official MAP news agency.
The blast in the iconic Jamaa el-Fna square is Morocco's deadliest bombing in eight years.
Earlier reports suggested that the blast may have been caused by a gas canister catching fire.
Witnesses reported rescue services pulling casualties from the cafe.
"There was a huge bang, and lots of smoke went up, there was debris raining down from the sky. Hundreds of people were running in panic, some towards the cafe, some away from the square. The whole front of the cafe is blown away," Andy Birnie, of north London, told The Associated Press by telephone. Mr Birnie is honeymooning in Marrakech.
"It was lunchtime so the square was very busy. We had just walked into the square, but were shielded by some stalls. The locals are telling us it was gas bottles exploding."
Morocco's interior ministry said the explosion appeared to be a "criminal act", according to the state news agency MAP.
Portuguese tourist Alexandre Carvalho, a 34-year-old call centre worker from southern Portugal said: "I had just arrived at the square, the area where most cafes are located.
"Suddenly I heard this massive explosion, I had my back turned to it, I turned around to see it the explosion had happened on the veranda of a cafe.
"There were at least 10 injured people, lots of debris, things flying up in the air. I saw people in a panic running towards the area with fire extinguishers, some people being carried away. I believe the injured were mostly tourists, judging by what they were wearing."

One of the biggest celebrations will take place in the Costa Del Sol in southern Spain where officially lives about 120,000 Brits. Unofficial sources estimate the number of British expats in Costa Del Sol around 500,000,

Prince William and Kate Middleton: A Royal Wedding (Royal Family for Kindle)All major television stations in the world will broadcast the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which will be held on Friday 29 April. The ceremony will be also transmitted on the Internet channel (The Royal Channel), YouTube.



The British Government estimates that the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton will watched by about 2 billion people worldwide, one-third of global population.  The Brits all over the world are planning parties and functions galore to celebrate the biggest Royal wedding since Prince Charles wed the late Lady Diana back in 1981.



One of the biggest celebrations will take place in the Costa Del Sol in southern Spain where officially lives about 120,000 Brits. Unofficial sources estimate the number of British expats in Costa Del Sol around 500,000, the BBC gives the number of 350,000 and Guardian newspaper around 300,000. Most of them will watch it in British bars and restaurants on large television screens and organize street parties on the streets of Nerja, Fuengirolla, Toremolinos, Benalmadena and Marbella. The owners offers a special Royal Menu combining famous Spanish champagne CAVA, Spanish wines together with traditional british fish and chips and Spanish paella.

American WWII spy's jewels to go under the hammer at Sotheby's auction

Secrets of War: Spy Games of World War IISotheby's says it will auction jewels belonging to a former American World War II spy who married into Spanish aristocracy and rubbed shoulders with world leaders and Hollywood celebrities.
The auction house says the collection of necklaces, brooches and earrings featuring emeralds, diamonds and rubies belong to New York-born Marie Aline Griffith.
Griffith worked for the CIA's predecessor OSS in Madrid during World War II before marrying a Spanish nobleman to become Countess Alina de Romanones.
Sotheby's says the jewels go under the hammer in Geneva on May 17 along with others once belonging to the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson, a $10 million-emerald tiara and an 11-carat pink diamond valued at up to $16 million.

Lady Gaga’s Twitter account hacked

Born This WayThe Born This Way singer took action after a number of mysterious Spanish tweets made their way onto her feed.
She posted: 'Whoever is hacking my Twitter must answer to 10 million monsters and Twitter police. #Don'tMakeMeCallTheApostles'
The messages appeared early this morning including links to Spanish YouTube-related sites, a mention of fellow pop diva Shakira, and a hashtag leading to a Spanish horoscope account.
Gaga's last post before her account was hacked was about her next video message: 'Gagavision no.44 coming 2morrow night, commemorating the last American MonsterBall. Hurts to write this. The stage is my home. #BornThisWay.'
The singer quickly deleted the tweets ten minutes later and reassured fans that it was back to business.
Gaga was this week seen crying in a clip from a forthcoming documentary on HBO.
She sobbed: 'I still sometimes feel like a loser kid in high school and I just have to pick myself up and tell myself that I'm a superstar every morning so that I can get through this day and be for my fans what they need for me to be.'

lavish "James Bond" lifestyle of a drug smuggling gang,Eastgate had a very large house in Estepona (on Spain's Costa del Sol).

James Bond: The Secret World of 007The lavish "James Bond" lifestyle of a drug smuggling gang first began to unravel in 2009 when police stopped and searched an uninsured BMW at Cullompton Services on the M5 in Devon.

Inside the vehicle, driven by Christopher Leader, officers found 5kg (11lb) of cocaine, worth about £250,000.

The drugs were wrapped up in a parcel made to look "like a present".

The discovery was the start of Operation Stagshaw - in which detectives from Devon and Cornwall Police began work to track down the gang.

Detectives found pictures of the gang's ringleader Timothy Eastgate, 31 and his deputy Paul Flisher, 38, "living a lavish lifestyle".

"They drove around in Ferraris, Lamborghinis, they had a private box at the O2 Arena in London," said senior investigating officer Jim Hinchliffe.

"Mr Eastgate had a very large house in Estepona (on Spain's Costa del Sol).

"He had a yacht called 'Shaken not Stirred', they lived that sort of lifestyle."


The men drove around in sports cars and owned a yacht
Eastgate and Flisher even had mobile phones whose digits ended in 007 and Mr Hinchliffe, who has now retired from the force, said the James Bond image "appears to have been a driver for them".

Gun in freezer
Operation Stagshaw stretched from Essex to Devon as officers used mobile phone records and the number plate recognition system to identify drugs couriers and dealers.

Eastgate was eventually arrested in September 2010 at a hotel in Plymouth.

At his house in Norfolk police found a number of suitcases containing cocaine and benzocaine, a dental anaesthetic which has a similar effect to cocaine.

They also found an X-ray machine, used to test how well the drugs packages were disguised.

In the freezer officers found a handgun, along with a silencer and ammunition.

Other weapons found in connection with investigation included a sawn-off shotgun.


Detectives found an X-ray machine used to test drugs packages
Detectives also found a USB stick belonging to Eastgate, containing a spreadsheet indicating he had delivered more than £3m worth of cocaine to dealers in England.

"Much of that came to Plymouth", Mr Hinchliffe said.

Sean Battle, 42, was Eastgate's man in Plymouth. He owned a large home in Bere Alston, expensive jewellery, cars and property abroad.

Three other men Stephen Procter, 39, from Plymouth, James Wright, 28, from London and Christopher Leader, 54, from Romford, were the gang's couriers, delivering drugs and picking up cash.

Commenting on the gang's conviction at Exeter Crown Court on drugs and firearms charges, Mr Hinchliffe said: "The work done by the police in conjunction with the CPS is done to protect the communities that we all serve.

"I hope this serves as a salutary lesson to people that are out there doing this sort of thing that we will catch you and, if convicted, you will receive substantial prison sentences."

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that work would now begin to seize the assets of the drug gang's illicit lifestyle.

17 Apr 2011

Actor Antonio Banderas, came to Marbella

Actor Antonio Banderas,  came to Marbella to present the new opening of the Coral Beach hotel which had  just purchased the hotel chain.

 Malaga had time to praise the company's international character and family background: "For me it is a pleasure to open this hotel on my land. In a city like Marbella, which has gone through a difficult period

Antonio did not stay to mingle with guests after the official presentation.
Gone are the nineties, when a Nobel Prize for Literature was responsible for first opening the doors of this hotel. Camilo José Cela was elected the Coral Beach sponsor at the time , and memory still retains the sound of major festivals and events first television programs live from Marbella, from this hotel.

Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Francisco Jiménez Villarejo has made its final report of the trial of the case 'Minutes', on alleged irregularities in the commissions of the City of Marbella

Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Francisco Jiménez Villarejo has made its final report of the trial of the case 'Minutes', on alleged irregularities in the commissions of the City of Marbella (Málaga) the lawyer José María del Nido for the inspection process of the Court of Auditors and noted that counsel was "embedded in the core of government decision" in the town and settled in the Financial Club, where the former mayor Jesús Gil managed.

Thus, he explained that he had legal advice and that Del Nido was "front", but added that it is undisputed that it was "not a mere counsel more, not a lawyer with an office open to the public in Seville attending Marbella City Council issues, no connection. " "It was the chief, the chief legal counsel, was the legal adviser of the City Council and exercised from a private home," he said.

He noted that throughout the trial has been that there was "confusion between public and private, which is one of the factors for the emergence and development of corruption.""This process is neither more nor less than a trial on a corruption case pure and simple," the prosecutor has argued in his speech, which made detailed reference to statements made by defendants and witnesses throughout this trial , which began in April 2010.

The prosecutor has indicated that two aspects have led to what happened, first that there was "no contractual framework, which, to be allowed a lawyer to issue an unlimited and uncontrolled minutes with a general concept, without warrant and without prior estimate" and, secondly, the bill could be no prior financial control, indicating that while the defenses have insisted on the controller, "the money was from society."

So, Jimenez Villarejo explained the origin of the procedure, following the audit report of the Court of Auditors and the charge of anti-corruption prosecutor, and has described the context in which events occur, with a mayor, Jesus Gil, who governs the City and its subsidiaries "from an annex to his mansion", the Financial Club, stating that in documents they receive from the law firm of Del Nido direction "as sub-delegation in Marbella."

Irish celebrity DJ Maurice Boland is returning to the airwaves for the first time following his inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old teenager in Marbella.


DJ Maurice Boland: 'If people want to take a pot shot at me, I've an open line -- they can ask whatever they want...'
Niamh Horan, talks to celebrity DJ Maurice Boland, back on the air after a scandal over his relationship with a teen

Known as 'Mr Marbella', the former Irish nightclub boss, who has been married for 40 years, has been absent from public life for the past nine months since his close relationship with the teenager came to light.

But speaking this weekend, Mr Boland said he is looking forward to re-launching himself on the airwaves and will not shy away from his outspoken views on "issues that need to be addressed".

"Somebody asked me the other day, will I be more humble after everything that's happened, quieter, less controversial. And my answer was 'absolutely not'.

"I'll be as outspoken as ever about serious issues that need to be addressed. And if people want me to answer their questions, or take a pot shot at me, then they can ring my chat show. I've an open line with no delay so they can ask whatever they want."

He added: "If people want to address the issue, then we'll address it."

The flamboyant presenter will return to Radio Leinster for a two-part special documentary entitled My Story, which will cover his colourful life to date -- from his time in Dublin right up to the aftermath of the scandal surrounding his relationship with a teenage girl.

However, he will not be returning to his long-standing show with Talk Radio Europe on the Costa del Sol, which suddenly terminated his contract when his relationship with the teenager came to light.

"I will be starting a chat show on a different radio station, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks," explained Mr Boland.

Speaking of his dismay at the way in which his former employers handled the controversy, he drew comparisons with the way in which shamed DJ Neil Prendeville was given a second chance by his bosses at Cork 96FM.

"I have to say that the way in which they handled the Neil Prendeville situation was very good," he said. "I know the two situations are very different, but they never commented on the matter and they re-instated him to his old job. I certainly didn't get the same from my side. I'm disappointed with the way it was handled."

Mr Boland was helping the young entertainer prepare to sing in his Marbella talent competition, The Wow Factor, which he set up in aid of a cancer charity, when the inappropriate relationship took place.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Independent at the time the scandal broke, Mr Boland admitted he had made a "terrible" mistake.

"I made an error of judgment," he said. "I got involved with someone. I have been married for 40 years next year. I have been in the media and nightclub business for many, many years and I've never had an affair.

"This is the first time it's happened. I made a very bad misjudgment, which is terrible and hurt a lot of people, including my own wife and her family and my children. And all I can say to those people who are hurt -- I am sincerely sorry."

After spending the past nine months rebuilding his relationship with his wife Wendy, Maurice has described this weekend how the controversy had affected his wife of 40 years.

"She's put up with me. It's been very difficult but we've gotten through it because we love each other very much."

He went on: "It's different now. Things happened that shouldn't have happened and just because I'm back on radio soon, I'm not saying that I'm walking around with a smile on my face, thinking 'ha, ha, ha'. Things have been very difficult."

At the time, the news sent shockwaves around those who knew Maurice Boland from his days as a high-profile nightclub owner when he launched the late-night club culture on Dublin's Leeson Street. Later he joined forces with La Stampa owner Louis Murray to launch Barbarella's nightclub.

He later went on to manage Mandy Smith, the 13-year-old 'Lolita' girlfriend of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. The convent-school girl met Wyman in 1984 and when the romance cooled two years later, she hooked up with Boland, who got her modelling jobs and a record deal for a song titled I Can't Wait. She later dropped Boland and ended up marrying Bill Wyman in 1986.

Mr Boland and his wife Wendy were a glamour couple of Dublin's social set and moved to Marbella, Spain, in the Eighties, where they became part of the ex-pat Irish social scene. Wendy is very well-known among the ladies who lunch and has her own business as a party organiser, mainly for Irish people.

Mr Boland himself is well-connected with the ex-pat Irish community and frequently has guests over from Ireland as well as interviewing a string of famous people, including British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speaking about the liaison with the young girl, he explained at the time the scandal broke how he had set out to help her build on her musical talents, but their relationship eventually turned into something more.

He said their relationship started off as a working relationship while he helped her with her music career, saying, "It was a very short involvement and it was never planned. Some of these things just happen.

"It came about through circumstance. The wrong time at the wrong place. There's nothing planned about it."

Asked how his working relationship crossed the line, he replied: "I can't answer it. I can't answer because there was no plan. How do these things happen? I don't know.

"It came to light, people found out and that was it," he said.

"There is no rape involved, no illegality involved, so there's nowhere else to go with that."

Drawing on the young girl's age, he said, "The reason that anyone is showing any interest is because of the girl's age, but I've done nothing illegal. She is of legal age. I have done nothing illegal."

"She's 100 per cent over 16. Not that I feel any better. I'm feeling awful about everything. I didn't set out to have a relationship with anyone, or to have it with someone so young. It was just a misjudgment on my behalf."

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