Category: International

Gary Rhodes, the celebrity British chef, has died in Dubai, aged 59

Rhodes was best known for fronting programmes including MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef USA.
According to a family statement, posted on Twitter by chief food critic Richard Vines, Rhodes passed away on Tuesday evening.
“Family statement on the terribly sad news about Gary Rhodes: The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE,” the tweet reads.
In addition to owning four restaurants, two of which are in Dubai, the acclaimed chef had his own line of cooking items and bread mixes.
Rhodes, born in South London, opened his first restaurant in 1997 named City Rhodes.

Prince Andrew cancels Bahrain trip as top adviser ‘sacked’ over interview

According to reports the Prince of Wales has advised the Queen that Andrew should be withdrawn from public life.
It has been reported that Prince Andrew has cancelled a trip to Bahrain as the fallout over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein continues.
The Duke of York was expected to travel to the Middle East this weekend a trip planned to take place as part of his Pitch@Palace project for tech entrepreneurs. However, he hascancelled plans following reported pressure from his family.
It has also been reported his private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, has been removed from her palace-funded role and will instead become the chief executive of the programme. Ms Thirsk was the driving force behind Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview according to the Daily Mail.
Amanda will also manage the Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award after he quit his life as a working royal on Wednesday.
Despite stepping back from public life, Andrew will be continuing with Pitch@Palace “outside and entirely separate from the palace”, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said.
It is thought he will not have any involvement with the dozens of other charities, organisations and military units with which he has been associated.

Britain and Spain must create future together

British ambassador extols the excellent relationship between the UK and Spain, both inside and outside the EU: We must “create our future together”
 This is the British Ambassador’s last celebration of The Queen’s Birthday in Madrid, as his six years in Spain come to an end in August.
On Thursday 20 June, more than 700 people celebrated the strong links that unite the UK and Spain at The Queen’s Birthday Party, a party to celebrate the 93rd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, who in 2019 also celebrates 67 years as sovereign.
The part ytook place in the British Ambassador’s official residence in Madrid under the banner of “Creating our future” and brought together personalities from the worlds of politics, business and society, such as the Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque; the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Maria Oliver; the Congressional spokesperson for Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas; and the Vice-President of Banco Santander, Matías Rodríguez-Inciarte.
In his welcome address, HMA Simon Manley underlined the excellent ties between both countries and called for the continuation of this special relationship in the future.
“We have shared challenges such as climate change, the ageing population, Islamist terrorism and the digital revolution. Inside or outside the European Union we have to tackle them together,” emphasised the Ambassador.
Spain and the UK have trade flows of more than 62,000 million euros per year. More than 300,000 UK nationals live in Spain and nearly 200,000 Spaniards live, study and work in the UK. Academic ties and the collaboration between security forces in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism are also very strong.
This was the last Queen’s Birthday Party in Madrid for Simon Manley who, in August, will hand over to the new Ambassador Hugh Elliott, who has been Director of Communication in the Government’s Department for Exiting the EU, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
“I am grateful to the Spanish people for their collaboration and help, and I confess that this has been the best job of my life”, adds Manley.
Using the hashtag #QBPMadrid2019 on Twitter and Instagram you can see everything related to the party. The Embassy has just launched its official Instagram channel @ukinspain.

Galicia fishing boat impounded in Ireland

A fishing boat from Galicia has been impounded in the Republic of Ireland after its crew were accused of ‘cutting the fins off sharks’. The Virxe da Blanca (‘Virgin in White’) is being held off the port of Castletown in the south of the country after an inspection of its practices led authorities to believe the fishermen were guilty of ‘finning’.
This is illegal in Europe, although common-place in east and south-east Asia, where sharks are caught, their fins removed and the remainder of the creature is thrown back in the sea. The fins – considered a delicacy, especially in China – are then typically made into soup.
In the case of the Virxe da Blanca, which has passed every single inspection up to now, the fishermen say they were acting in accordance with EU norms: after catching Blue Sharks (Prionace Glauca) and whilst cleaning them for future sale, the crew cut off the ‘anal fins’, which are located exactly where the name suggests.
The fishing industry does not consider these ‘fins’; rather, an ‘attachment’ or ‘appendix’, because they are very fragile and do not serve the same purpose as the ‘main’ fins.
Sergio López of the Fishing Producers’ Organisation (OPP) in Lugo, which the boat – based in Burela – belongs to, says all previous inspections of the Virxe da Blanca’s Blue Shark-catching practices have been signed off as legal, and believes the vessel has been impounded due to a ‘misunderstanding’.
According to López, the Secretary-General for Fishing has already written to port and fishing authorities, and is hoping the issue will be ‘satisfactorily cleared up’ very soon.
And Spain’s industry for fishing says it is waiting to hear back from its counterpart in Ireland, but assures that the crew has not been formally accused of any offence against EU regulations.
The 13-strong multi-national crew, of whom three are from Galicia, used to fish off Spain’s northern coast catching white tuna, known as Bonito in Spain and a popular dish in fish restaurants along the Cantabrian Sea regions, but were experiencing disappointing results from their trade and decided to branch out internationally two years ago.

Ryanair is changing its cabin bag policy…again!

Ryanair is changing its cabin luggage policy for the second time this year, and it could leave
you £8 (€9) worse off. Currently, only priority boarding passengers can bring two bags into
the cabin for free, while non-priority passengers can take one small bag into the cabin and
have a second bag put in the hold for free.
But from 1st November, those who aren’t priority boarders will have to pay extra if they
want a second bag at all; in fact, you’ll need to fork out £8 (€9) for a bag up to 10kg.
If you already wanted to check in a second bag, the change will mean you’ll be able to pay
£8 for a bag up of to 10kg instead of the usual £25 for a bag of up to 20kg.
If you did not plan for a second bag, non-priority passengers will have to either pay the extra
£6 for priority boarding (£8 if you choose to add this to your booking later), or pay £8 to get
it checked into the hold – or just stick with one small bag.
The changes will take effect even if you have already booked your flight – meaning you will
have to fork out the extra for your second bag from November onwards.
The airline put the change down to the number of people turning up at the gate with a
second bag to place in the hold for free, which they say can cause delays of approximately
25 minutes.
Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “From November 2018, we are introducing a new lower cost
10kg checked bag and changing our carry-on bag policy to eliminate boarding/flight delays.
“Priority Boarding customers will continue to enjoy two free carry-on bags. All other (non-
priority) customers will be allowed one free (small) carry-on bag, and those who wish to
check in a second bigger 10kg bag can do from €/£8 at the time of booking.
“This new policy will speed up the boarding and cut flight delays. 60 percent of customers
will be unaffected by these changes and we expect that the other 40 percent will either
choose to buy Priority Boarding or a 10kg check bag or will choose to travel with only one
(free) small bag as 30 percent already do so today.”
In response, consumer giant FACUA has called for action, urging Spain's Ministry of Public
Works and Infrastructure to intervene. The organisation says it 'looks like an attempt to
recover costs incurred in compensation payments to passengers arising through the
Pilots in Ireland and Germany and cabin crew in Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal have
staged various strikes this summer, leading to thousands of passengers having to be
booked onto new flights or refunded, plus being paid the €250 mandatory compensation
for delays of more than three hours or cancellations.
Ryanair claims the hand-luggage charge is to 'reduce delays' in boarding – even though
hold bags are tagged whilst passengers are standing in a queue for passport control and
are merely passed to luggage handlers on the runway.
Generally, the large hand-luggage bags are boarded before all passengers have settled in
their seats.
FACUA says it does not buy this 'excuse' and says it is clear the company 'wants to apply
charges to customers' rather than 'taking on more staff to make the boarding process
The organisation has also criticised Ryanair for charging passengers who had already
booked their flights for November onwards before the rule was announced.
FACUA has also called for a reform to airline industry regulations to stop the ever-growing
trend of charging passengers for 'extras' that 'should be included in the price of the ticket'
– an issue which affects many carriers, not just Ryanair.
“Airlines are devaluation their level of services for trips purchased in order sell add-ons as
basic and necessary as being able to sit next to your travelling companion, check in online
several days before flying, travelling with suitcases and bringing on board a reasonable-
sized bag,” FACUA complains.

£10,000 reward for information on British fugitive thought to be in Ibiza

A £10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a murder suspect Bradley Blundell who may be using Ibiza as a place of safety. It comes as a teenager was cleared by a jury of killing a man outside a petrol station in Essex, England.
18-year-old Bradley Blundell is still at large, while two other teenagers have already been arrested and are being trialled.
John Pordage was shot in the chest following a confrontation outside the BP petrol station near the Army and Navy roundabout in Baddow Road, Chelmsford, in the early hours of August 5, 2017. The 34-year-old died in hospital a short time later, despite the efforts of members of the public and emergency services.
A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the incident. A second teenager, Saul Stanley, 18, was arrested and charged with various firearms offences also in connection with the incident. The pair stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday January 15.
On Friday February 9, the jury found the 16-year-old was not guilty of murder or manslaughter. Stanley was found guilty of two counts of possession of a prohibited firearm, one count of possession of ammunition without a certificate and perverting the course of justice. He was found not guilty of two further counts of possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate. He admitted a charge of handling stolen goods, which was in connection with a stolen motorbike that had been collected from Brentwood in the hours before the murder.
The 16-year-old also admitted perverting the course of justice and handling stolen goods.
Following the verdicts and sentencing, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “A thorough investigation was carried out and the evidence put to the jury, who have made their decision, which of course we accept. My thoughts are very much with John’s family and friends at what is a very difficult time for them.”
The pair will return to the court on March 2 for sentence.
Detectives are still keen to trace 18-year-old Bradley Blundell in connection with the murder of John Pordage. He was last known to be living in Chelmsford, Essex. DCI Pasmore said: “We’ve received information to say he may be using Ibiza as a place to hide, although it is not known where he is at present.
We have also had information to suggest he has friends who regularly visit Ibiza. We remain determined to locate Bradley Blundell and bring him to trial.“
“I appeal to Bradley to give himself up. We will never give up searching for him and we are liaising with the National Crime Agency and colleagues abroad to locate him”. “We also have a European Arrest Warrant in place to facilitate his capture and there is a reward via the Crimestoppers charity for up to £10,000 for information leading to his arrest”.
“Bradley and those advising him need to consider whether he should live a life on the run; never knowing whether an arrest is imminent. It makes sense for Bradley to come forward and face trial now. He will of course have a fair trial and have the opportunity to explain what happened from his point of view. I’m not pre-empting any result but the fact is that as a juvenile, if he were to be convicted and sentenced to imprisonment in the near future, he would still be freed as a relatively young man. The day will come when Bradley will face trial. It is very much in everyone’s interest to do that sooner rather than later.”
To be eligible for the reward of up to £10,000, please contact the Crimestoppers charity 100% anonymously. Anyone in the Balearic Islands or Spain who has information about Blundell’s whereabouts can call Crimestoppers on freephone 900 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at
The reward is made up of £5,000 donated by the charity Crimestoppers and £5,000 donated by Essex Police.

New Radars For Motorbikes Coming Soon

The DGT has announced that they have just spent 860,130 euro on portable speed detecting
equipment which can be transported on the motorbikes of the Guardia Civil.
The plan to buy the equipment had already been announced some time ago, but the budget has now
been allocated which has allowed the purchase of about 60 devices which will allow more speed
control check points to be set up and with greater ease for the officers.
Although the information has often been misreported as the motorbikes having radar equipment
installed, these devices are used by the roadside, standing on a tripod, in much the same way as
some of the existing equipment, although these are small enough to be carried in the panniers of the
The investment was first proposed last year, based on the fact that during 2016, 300 people were
killed in incidents where inappropriate speed was a factor. Budget restrictions prevented the
purchase previously but now the money has been set aside and the order made, and so delivery,
training and implementation of these new devices is expected to happen as soon as possible.
This is part of the overall road safety plan that will see an increase in drug controls by 50% before
2018, and for all motorbikes to carry these new speed detectors as part of their safety arsenal.

Spanish woman now third-oldest in World

Spain’s Ana María Vela Rubio is now officially the third-oldest person on earth after the
death of Jamaica's Violet Mosse-Brown aged 117-and- a-half. Ana María, if she is still alive
at the end of next month, will be celebrating her 116 th birthday.
Born in Puente Genil, Córdoba province, Ana left school at age 11 and became a seamstress
before moving to Catalunya in the 1940s, where she still lives. Ana was a compulsive
bookworm when her eyesight still allowed her to be, despite her lack of formal education.
She began going to the La Vereda nursing home on a day-centre basis aged 104 and moved
in as a resident aged 109, where she has always been among at least four or five others aged
over 100.
She is not bed-ridden, but every day the staff get her up and put her in a wheelchair and,
although she, like many other residents, eats liquidised food, she ‘eats very well’ and
‘doesn't look her age’, staff say.
Her only surviving daughter, who visits her regularly, is aged 90 – the rest of her children
have died from old age – and her grandchildren are now in their late 60s.
The only two people on earth older than Ana María are Chiyo Miyako, from Japan, who is
five months older than Ana at 116 and four months, and the woman who now takes over
from Violet Brown – Nabi Tajima, also Japanese, who is 117 and one-and- a-half months,
born on 4 th August, 1900.
Jamaican president Andrew Holness confirmed on Twitter this morning that Violet, the last
person alive on earth born when Queen Victoria was on the throne, had died. She was born
on March 10, 1900 and has been the oldest person on the planet since April this year, after
the death of Italy's Emma Morano.
Spain, known for having one of the longest life expectancies on earth – currently 83 for
women and 79 for men – has several residents aged 100-plus in every province and at least
seven of its 17 autonomously-governed regions has one or more residents aged 110 or
more. The country is home to the third-oldest person, and third-oldest woman in the world,
and also the oldest man on the planet, Francisco Núñez Olivera, who fully expects to be
alive on 13th December this year when he is due to celebrate his 113 th birthday.
He became the planet's oldest man in August following the death of Yisrael Kristal from
Israel. Two years ago, he became the oldest in Spain and showed he was still doing
remarkably well for nearly 111. Francisco said back then that he 'would like to live another
couple of years', and so far his wish has come true.
Recently, scientists placed the natural limit of human life at 125 years, but nobody is
thought to have lived that long and the world record until now has been Frenchwoman
Jeanne Calment, who died aged 122.
But Mbah Gotho from Indonesia has official documentation to show he was born on 31 st
December, 1870, meaning if he lives until New Year's Eve, he will be 147 years old.
His papers need to be independently verified to award him the title of longest-ever living
human, however – others who have claimed to be older, James Olofintuyi, 172, from
Nigeria and Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia, 164, were unable to prove their age officially so
cannot be considered as world-record holders. To date, Mbah Gotho's papers have not been
authenticated, meaning he is still unable to claim the top spot.

All Monarch airlines flights cancelled as airline ceases trading

CAA launches flying programme to bring 110,000 customers back to UK in response to Monarch Airlines administration

Monarch Airlines has ceased trading with immediate effect, leaving 110,000 customers overseas and in the region of 300,000 future bookings cancelled
Government has asked CAA to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring back to the UK Monarch Airlines customers currently overseas
Monarch customers in the UK and yet to travel: don’t go to the airport.  There will be no more Monarch flights
Monarch customers abroad: everyone due to fly in the next fortnight will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. There is no need to cut short your stay
All affected customers should check new website for more information

All future Monarch Airlines bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled following a decision by the company’s board to stop trading.  This is the UK’s largest ever airline to enter administration.
As all of Monarch’s flights due to depart from the UK have now been cancelled, customers should not go to their UK airport.  Affected customers still in the UK should check for further information.
Due to the unprecedented number of UK consumers currently overseas who are affected by this airline administration, the CAA and Government are securing a fleet of more than 30 aircraft, flying to more than 30 airports, to bring 110,000 people back to the UK at no cost to them. This is the equivalent of operating, at very short notice, one of the UK’s largest airlines.
The CAA has a dedicated website, which is the best source of advice and information for affected customers, and a 24 hour helpline (0300 303 2800 from in the UK and Ireland, and +44 1753 330330 from overseas) to provide additional assistance.
Customers currently overseas should check for confirmation of their new flight details which will be available a minimum of 48 hours in advance of their original departure time.  This website will be frequently updated with the latest information. Customers currently overseas shouldn’t go to the airport unless their flight back to the UK has been confirmed on
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said:
“We know that Monarch’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its customers and employees.
“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.
“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task.  The scale and challenge of this operation means that some disruption is inevitable. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.
“We urge people affected by the company’s collapse to check our dedicated website for advice and information on flights back to the UK.  It also gives information to those passengers that have future bookings with Monarch but are yet to leave the UK.”
The CAA will be providing regular updates.

International tapas day

The participating restaurants in international tapas day on the 30 th September
have been announced. There will be opportunity to choose different tapas and
a drink for €2.50 between the hours of 12pm and 4.30pm and 7.30pm and
The event is described as an opportunity for both residents and visitors to
enjoy the tapas tradition. Altogether 29 establishments are taking part and
must offer at least two tapas each. The day is similar to las rutas de la tapas
and is considered to be particularly attractive to the foreign residents in
Torrevieja who can explore the town’s bars and restaurants by sampling just a
little from each.
The majority of the establishments taking part are in the centre of the town.
They include:
 Restaurante Las Flores Playa
 Restaurante La Mata “Felisa”
 Restaurante Nikol
 Restaurante Luz de Mar
 La Bodeguilla del Mullin’s
 Mung Tavern
 Restaurante Las Columnas
 Copas & Tapas
 La Cantina Food & Drinks
 Namm & Gastronomic
 Bar Tapería Los Zamoranos
 Restaurante Bahía
 Burger Hombre del Mar
 Hostal Belén
 La Marisquería de Torrevieja
 Restaurante Rincón de Capis
 Amura Mala Vida
 Restaurante La Encina
 Restaurante Bar Tapas Catalina II
 Bar Casa Juani
 El Rincón de las Jarras
 Bar Heladería Mediodía 23
 Cafetería Mediterráneo
 Restaurante Love Chocolate
 Mesón La Huertica
 Mesón Real
 Restaurante Nautilus
 Restaurante El Cortijo de Nacho
 El Rincón de Sara

Ryanair to publish list of cancelled flights

Ryanair today confirmed that it has published the full list of flight cancellations (now less than 50 per day) between Thurs 21st Sept. to Tues 31st Oct. next. These cancellations have been allocated where possible, to Ryanair’s bigger base airports, and routes with multiple daily frequencies so that Ryanair can offer these disrupted customers the maximum number of alternate flights and routes in order tominimise inconvenience to them.
The full list of these flight cancellations (from Thurs 21st to Thurs Oct 31st) will appear on the website later today, and customers affected by these cancellations will be emailed with offers of alternative flights or full refunds, and details of their EU261 compensation entitlement.
The airports where one line of flying will be removed for the next 6 weeks are as follows, (these airports have been selected because of the high frequency of flights Ryanair operates to/from these airports where customers can be offered the most accommodating options):

1 of 12 lines of flights

Brussels Charl
1 of 13 lines of flights

1 of 23 lines of flights

1 of 4 lines of flights

London Stan
2 of 41 lines of flights

1 of 13 lines of flights

Milan Bergamo
1 of 14 lines of flights

1 of 8 lines of flights

Rome Fiumi
1 of 3 lines of flights

While Ryanair sincerely regrets and apologises for these cancellations, it pointed out that they will affect less than 2% of all customers over the next 6 weeks, and the majority of these passengers will be offered alternative flights on the same or next day. For those passengers who cannot, or do not wish to take the alternative flights offered they will receive a full refund and their EU261 compensation.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said;
“While over 98% of our customers will not be affected by these cancellations over the next 6 weeks, we apologise unreservedly to those customers whose travel will be disrupted, and assure them that we have done our utmost to try to ensure that we can re-accommodate most of them on alternative flights on the same or next day.
Ryanair is not short of pilots – we were able to fully crew our peak summer schedule in June, July and August – but we have messed up the allocation of annual leave to pilots in Sept and Oct because we are trying to allocate a full year’s leave into a 9 month period from April to December. This issue will not recur in 2018 as Ryanair goes back onto a 12 month calendar leave year from 1st Jan to 31st December 2018.
This is a mess of our own making. I apologise sincerely to all our customers for any worry or concern this has caused them over the past weekend. We have only taken this decision to cancel this small proportion of our 2,500 daily flights so that we can provide extra standby cover and protect the punctuality of the 98% of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations.”

Ryanair scraps two bag policy

Ryanair has followed through on previous threats and is set to scrap the two on board bag policy, effective from November 1st. Passengers will have to pay five pounds for priority boarding in order to carry a cabin bag on board. The airline is attempting to reduce delays during boarding, caused due to a shortage of overhead cabin space.
Despite widespread condemnation, the airline will still allow passengers their 10kg ‘handluggage’ allowance but they must check the bag at the desk in order that it is placed in the hold. Passengers can choose to pay for priority boarding and take the bag onboard, or leave the bigger bag in the old and carry on a smaller bag.
The airline is also lowering the fees for checked luggage – a move that is said will cost the airline €50m a year. They will also increase the weight allowance in order to encourage more passengers to use the checked luggage service.
Kenny Jacobs, the airline’s chief marketing officer, said the changes to its baggage policy still mean passengers will be able to travel with two bags for free, but under the current rules too many passengers were taking two bags on board busy flights, resulting in insufficient overhead space and causing delays.
Jacobs said that on a typically busy flight, about 186 seats of a total of 189 will be occupied, with space for about 90 bags in the overhead lockers. But some people were bending the rules by bringing on board a wheelie bag and a large rucksack that will not fit underneath the seat.
“We’re making these changes because our flights are so much busier,” he explained. “A number of people will have two very large bags, taking up someone else’s space. They’ll hope they’ll get away with it and generally they have, but we don’t want to go back to policing bags at the gate.”
“We hope that by restricting non-priority customers to one small carry-on bag – their wheelie bag must be placed in the hold, free of charge at the boarding gate – this will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate flight delays being caused by not having sufficient overhead cabin space on busy flights to accommodate over 360 carry-on bags.”