Gibraltars Offshore gambling sites on the Internet have revolutionized the sports betting industry

Gibraltars Offshore gambling sites on the Internet have revolutionized the sports betting industry. The offshore betting sites compete for the bettors’ money, and are constantly improving consumer services

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

fuel tank exploded in the port of Gibraltar on Tuesday near Independence of the Seas, injuring 10 passengers.

A fuel tank exploded in the port of Gibraltar on Tuesday near Independence of the Seas, injuring 10 passengers.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said that the explosion occurred at 3:37 p.m. local time. Immediately after the blast, the ship retracted the gangway and moved a safe distance from the dock.

Royal Caribbean called the passenger injuries "minor," and added that the 10 have received medical treatment onboard. Two passengers were still ashore when the incident took place and were not injured during the explosion.

The Gibraltar Chronicle reported that there were also two injuries onshore, one of them serious. The AFP added that dense black smoke could be seen from the city center.

Gabrielle Phillips, a Gibraltar resident who was at a playground with her son when the tank exploded, characterized the scene as "surreal." "At first there were gasps from the cruise ship passengers," she wrote in an e-mail to Cruise Critic. "But then they just watched on, very chilled out. My son didn't want to leave the playground, but there was a second container and I didn't want to be around for that explosion as well.", which tracks ships' coordinates via the AIS radio beacons they emit, shows that Independence is now underway. The ship is set to spend tomorrow at sea and arrive in Cannes, France, on Thursday.

explosion and fire have rocked the port of the British territory of Gibraltar, injuring two people

An explosion and fire have rocked the port of the British territory of Gibraltar, injuring two people, a police spokesman has told the BBC.

The blast took place at the territory's main fuel storage facility, close to a cruise ship.

One of those hurt received minor burns, while the other suffered more serious injuries, according to reports. Emergency workers are at the scene.

Police are investigating the cause of the explosion.

The blast took place at a tank containing diesel to refuel ships on the northern part of the harbour.

"The lid of the tank was blown off by the blast," he told AFP news agency. "Two people were injured, one very seriously, and both are in hospital."

He said the possibility of another explosion could not be ruled out.

Dense black smoke could be seen from the city centre, according to AFP.

Southampton-based cruise ship Independence of the Seas had been due to leave at 1600 local time (1400 GMT), just before the blast.

The ship - which arrived in Gibraltar on Tuesday morning - escaped unharmed, but was forced to pull out to sea for safety, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle.

Gibraltar is a 6.5 sq km (2.6 sq mile) British territory of around 30,000 people off the tip of southern Spain.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Four of Scott Rothstein’s ex-colleagues face fraud charges in the widening federal investigation into the convicted lawyer’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

The cast of characters accused of supporting convicted con artist Scott Rothstein with his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme expanded Friday, when prosecutors brought charges against a lawyer, two computer experts and a former nightclub owner.

All four Broward County men face one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud linked to Rothstein’s racket of selling phony legal settlements, which unraveled over Halloween weekend 2009.

The disbarred Fort Lauderdale lawyer’s massive investment scam sparked a wider investigation and shocked dozens of colleagues, investors, politicians and society friends who had flocked to the flashy Rothstein and his law firm before his sensational fall.

“The house of cards supporting Scott Rothstein’s elaborate Ponzi scheme continues to crumble,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said.

“One thing is clear, Rothstein was able to deceive investors because of the participation by others,” said John Gillies, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami office.

The latest defendants in South Florida’s largest financial fraud are:

•  Attorney Howard Kusnick, 58, of Tamarac. Kusnick, who had worked with Rothstein for years, is accused of writing a letter for him that the ringleader used as part of a ruse to defraud two wealthy clients. Kusnick allegedly assisted his boss in a civil case in which Rothstein swindled car dealer Ed Morse and his wife out of $57 million, resulting from a legal dispute over construction of the couple’s home in Boca Raton.

•  Former information technology specialists at Rothstein’s law firm, William Corte, of Plantation, and Curtis Renie, of Fort Lauderdale, both 38. They are charged with forging a bank’s web site purporting to show hundreds of millions of dollars in the Rothstein law firm’s client trust accounts to induce wealthy investors into buying bogus legal settlements.

The pair, paid $5,000 for creating the fictitious web site, allegedly falsified balances of $20 million and $60 million in two accounts at Rothstein’s request. The firm’s web site was copied from actual financial statements it had with Toronto-Dominion Bank in Fort Lauderdale.

•  Stephen Caputi, 53, of Lauderhill, former owner of Cafe Iguana in Pembroke Pines. He is accused of posing as a banker and plaintiff during some of Rothstein’s sales pitches to potential investors. Caputi, who was Rothstein’s partner in the club, allegedly posed as a TD Bank customer service representative when they met with potential investors at a bank branch in Weston. Caputi also allegedly posed as a plaintiff who had obtained a $10 million settlement, which Rothstein sold to investors for $5 million.

Caputi and Corte surrendered and made their first court appearances before a magistrate judge Friday, pleading not guilty. Each was released on a $100,000 personal surety bond.

Caputi’s lawyer, Hy Shapiro, declined to comment.

Corte’s lawyer, Alvin Entin, said his client had no knowledge of Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme, saying he and his colleague, Renie, “didn’t know what was the purpose of duplicating the web site or fudging the bank accounts. Rothstein asked them to do it, and they didn’t ask what it was for.”

Renie and Kusnick are expected to surrender on Tuesday.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Spanish National Police, in a joint investigation with City of London Police, have dismantled a ‘boiler room’ financial operation in Palma de Mallorca

Spanish National Police, in a joint investigation with City of London Police, have dismantled a ‘boiler room’ financial operation in Palma de Mallorca which defrauded 50 million pounds,57 million €, from hundreds of British citizens.

Investigations have been continuing for 18 months.
The group captured funds by aggressive telesales campaigns offering attractive investment products which in reality did not exist, and the victims transferred their money into bank accounts opened in Spain under false names, after which cash was withdrawn or the money was sent overseas.

17 Britons have been arrested, 11 bank accounts have been blocked, five homes and the main ‘boiler room’ in Palma de Mallorca searched. British people manned the phones and the company was formed by British people, who also targeted British people as their victims.

Several police from the City of London force travelled to Spain to collaborate in the final operation. 15 arrests were made in Palma de Mallorca, and two more in Santa Ponça, Caviá.

Lists of hundreds of possible victims have been recovered, and manuals on how to get clients, bank documents, 23 lap top computers and 18 mobile phones have also been seized.

The brother of an IRA woman shot by the SAS in Gibraltar has been given four weeks to find a new legal team

The brother of an IRA woman shot by the SAS in Gibraltar has been given four weeks to find a new legal team after his solicitor came off record.
Belfast Crown Court Judge Tom Burgess told 52-year-old Ciaran Anthony Farrell he believed that given the serious nature of the charge he faces, he needed to have legal representation.

"I suggest that you take very step possible to do that otherwise the court will be in a position to move on and I don't believe that will be in your best interests," said the Recorder of Belfast.

Farrell, from Killeaton Park in Dunmurry is charged with providing a Renault Laguna car for the purposes of terrorism on 22 February last year.

His solicitor from J.M. Hughes and Co, told the judge earlier that although a defence certificate was granted at Farrell's first appearance in Newry Magistrates' Court, he was applying to come off record as the firm "did not fully appraise the ramifications" of the new legal aid cost rules.

The heightening row is over new legal aid rules introduced by Justice Minister David Ford.

Fees to solicitors have been reduced by 25% under changes in legal aid for Crown Court proceedings, while barristers rates will also drop by 20%.

Farrell told Judge Burgess he was agreeing to his solicitor coming off record but was told by the judge that by the time the case comes back before the court next month, he will want to know what efforts he has made to get a new legal team.

"I have to say that at the moment I do have a trial date for this in November and given the nature of the charges I will be pressing very hard to get that on," said the judge who released Farrell on continuing bail.

Farrell was originally charged with causing an explosion at Newry Courthouse after a massive car bomb hidden inside a Mazda car exploded and during a bail application at the High Court, judges heard allegations that Farrell was either a member of the Real IRA or closely aligned to it.

No-one was killed or injured in the attack but the explosion did cause damage to the gates of the courthouse.

Farrell is a brother of Mairead Farrell, one of three IRA members shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in 1988.

HM Customs and the Royal Gibraltar Police seized a car stashed full of cannabis resin worth £3.9million.

The Spanish registered Seat Leon – loaded with 26 bales of drugs weighing 800 kilos –was discovered in an underground car park in Harbour Views after officers used sniffer dogs to conduct a search of the area.
Inside the car police also found a vest with the name of a Spanish private security firm and a wallet containing a Guardia civil ID badge.
A local man has been arrested and released on bail but the investigation is ongoing to discover how a shipment of this size arrived in Gibraltar.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the border the Guardia Civil has arrested 26 members of a Sevilla gang that handled stolen goods and contraband cigarettes from the Rock.
The gang was caught distributing cigarettes smuggled into Spain.

Spain has now joined other European countries such as France, Italy and Estonia, and issued its first online gambling license.

A few weeks ago, Spain’s Congress paved the way for a regulated online gambling market within its own borders and now it has been reported that the first operator to be granted such a licence is the Casino Gran Madrid.
The new website will now undergo a period of testing which, when deemed satisfactory, will then be allowed to offer a range of online gaming products including poker, blackjack, roulette and slots.
The Casino Gran Madrid’s website will also
be only available for Madrid residents and be powered by Playtech, which currently maintains the iPoker Network, where such sites as Titan Poker, Betfred Poker, William Hill Poker and Bet365 Poker are currently located.
Rather surprisingly, the Casino Gran Madrid received the license a few months in advance of a proposed national online gambling law, thus allowing it to gain a hold in the market before licenses are issued on a national level.
Following the announcement, director of information systems Jorge Casanova said:
“Casino Gran Madrid has always been committed to innovation and this time we could not do less. Casino Gran Madrid will continue to operate under one brand because our aim is to leverage synergies for our customers, and remain true to our core values that have guided our performance — professionalism, rigor, experience, transparency, security — and with a software certified by official laboratories.”
Playtech’s CEO Mor Weizer echoed Casino Gran Madrid’s enthusiasm for the project and stated:
“We are delighted to have secured this agreement with one of Europe’s largest and most respected land based operators. We expect this to be a significantly value accretive relationship, exemplifying our strategy to increase the number of regulated markets in which we operate.”
All being well, the new website should be up and running later this summer, with 10% of its gross gaming revenue then being channeled to the government as taxes.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Spain is pushing ahead with a plan to privatise the country’s state lottery

Spain is pushing ahead with a plan to privatise the country’s state lottery in a sell-off that will transform one of its oldest national traditions into the world’s largest stock market listed gambling company worth as much as €25bn ($35.2bn).

The planned stock market listing of 30 per cent of Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, organiser of the country’s El Gordo, or the Fat One, Christmas lottery, is part of a planned multibillion-euro sale of public assets to slash government borrowing by a third this year.

Spain’s socialist government, which suffered its worst defeat in the post-Franco era in this week’s regional elections amid protests in city centres, has also said it will sell 49 per cent of the state airports authority that controls Madrid and Barcelona airports to raise an additional €8bn.

The planned autumn sale of the state lottery, which traces its roots back 199 years to Spain’s first modern lottery draw in Cadiz, is expected to raise between €6.5bn and €7.5bn. If completed it would create Europe’s most valuable listed gaming group and the biggest Spanish offering on record.

Millions of Spaniards play the lottery each year, attracting revenues of €9.8bn on an average spend of €210 for each member of the population in 2009, or €77.36 each after prizes of €5.9bn.

The thousands of prizes paid out in last Christmas’ El Gordo, or “Fat One”, lottery – including top rewards of €3m – came at a time when 22 per cent of the adult Spanish population are registered as unemployed.

Loterías, which was established in its current form in 1985 by royal decree to unify Spain’s various state gaming enterprises, reported a net profit of just under €3bn in 2009, with €2.92bn going to the Spanish treasury.

At the top end of its estimated value Loterías would be worth more than the top two gambling companies Las Vegas Sands and Sands China, making it the largest in the world by market value.

Madrid is expected to officially announce a bank that will act as financial adviser for the sale this week, officials said, and will later select five investment banks to sell the shares in the company to investors.

Lazard is viewed by company insiders as a favourite to manage the process, with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley among several others that are in the running for other roles, which count among the most prestigious investment banking mandates on offer in Europe this year, according to bankers.

The sale of Loterias comes as several of Spain’s troubled private savings banks, known as cajas, are rushing to attract private investors after the Bank of Spain judged the sector as a whole to need an extra €15bn to cover soured loans made during Spain’s decade-long property boom.

El Gordo, which last Christmas paid out €2.3bn in 1,700 prizes after a number picking ceremony in Madrid where school children sing out the winning numbers, is the largest Christmas lottery pay-out, with an estimated four in five Spaniards purchasing tickets.

Tickets, which have a face value of €200, are frequently split into smaller amounts – often between co-workers, family and friends.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

cargo vessel that was loaded with explosives in the UK for Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), developed main engine trouble when about 200 miles off Gibraltar

A cargo vessel that was loaded with explosives in the UK for Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), developed main engine trouble when about 200 miles off Gibraltar, and ended up being towed to the British dependent territory at the western entrance to the Mediterranean.

"The ship was carrying a mix of ammunition, such as bombs and small arms," said a Gibraltar port spokesman."It loaded explosives in the UK for Jeddah."

On arrival in Gibraltar last Wednesday it was berthed in GibDock repair yard within the port of Gibraltar. It was after an inspection by the Gibraltar fire brigade, that the ship was ordered to be towed out to the eastside anchorage, away from it being close to Gibraltar's highly-populated town area on the western littoral.

Spares arrived on Saturday but the ship was not repaired in Gibraltar for reasons unknown.

Instead, the Danish-flag 'Danica Brown', of 997 gross tons, left Gibraltar late Sunday and was being towed Monday into the Mediterranean "to an undisclosed destination," said official source.

On its way down to the Mediterranean from the UK, the ship also called at Cherbourg and was scheduled to called at Algiers.

Meanwhile, a vessel tracking system reported late today that the ship appeared to have made an about-turn, and was being towed towards the Strait of Gibraltar.

Monday, 23 May 2011

London and Madrid address Spanish incursions into Gibraltar waters

Responding to the crossbench peer Lord Luce, Lord Howell of Guildford, the Conservative Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, referred to “a number of serious incidents” involving Spanish vessels in recent months.
“We take these matters very seriously,” Lord Howell said, adding that Britain had protested formally on each occasion.
“The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [William Hague] raised the issue directly with his Spanish counterpart on 16 February, 2011.”
“The Minister for Europe [David Lidington] also raised it with the Spanish Foreign Minister, in the margins of the Council of Europe meeting on 10 and 11 May 2011.”
“The UK remains confident of its sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and will continue to assert this clear legal position with Spain.”
Publication of the response in the Lords coincided with comments by Trinidad Jimenez, the Spanish Foreign Minister, who told reporters in Cádiz that Britain and Spain would work to avoid further clashes at sea.
She said both countries intended to “reinforce the mechanisms for cooperation in order to avoid any more confrontations in the waters.”
“The two governments have manifested that above all else we are going to avoid these altercations, not least because this should not happen between two countries that are friends and allies, and because it only benefits delinquents,” she said.
Ms Jimenez was speaking after the Popular Party called on her to explain the recent incidents at sea.
In his answers to the House of Lords, Lord Howell described the recent incursion by the Spanish Navy corvette Atalaya as “an unacceptable violation” of British sovereignty.
Lord Howell of Guildford said the British embassy in Madrid had made a verbal complaint on May 6, three days after the incident, and then in writing on May 9.
“Our representations have stated clearly that the behaviour of the Atalaya was an unacceptable violation of British sovereignty over British Gibraltar territorial waters,” he said.
Lord Howell also responded to a question regarding the Gibraltar Government’s concerns that Royal Navy vessels in Gibraltar could take up to an hour to deploy, making it impossible to respond swiftly to fast-moving incursions by Spanish vessels.
His answer, however, was non committal. “We are aware of the Government of Gibraltar’s concern about the timeframes within which HMS Scimitar and HMS Sabre can be mobilised, and their call for a review of the operational arrangements of the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron,” Lord Howell.
“We balance our military and diplomatic responses to deter challenges to sovereignty on the waters, and will continue to do so.”


Multi-Award winning artist and humanitarian Lionel Richie joins a star studded list of artists from around the globe, including Quincy Jones, who are coming together in Morocco for Festival Mawazine.

As part of Festival Mawazine, placed under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Maroc Cultures Association has organized a special concert on Sunday, May 29th at the Jemma El Fna square in honor of the victims of the April 28th terrorist attack in Marrakech.

Festival Mawazine and the participating artists have agreed tocome together in the name of peace and tolerance and in show of their firm opposition to terrorism and obscurantism. Internationally acclaimed icons Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie, who together with Michael Jackson, and others led the nations in musical harmony with the ground-breaking song 'We Are the World', join Marrakech born artist and human rights activist Sapho, India's Bharati Show, Mory Kante from Guinea, Hussein El Jasmi of Egypt, Moroccan based group Nass El Ghiwane with Algerian composer Safy Boutella and Hindi Zahra of France/Morocco in solidarity with the people of Marrakech, and against the use violence and oppression.

Admission to the concert will be free. Tickets will be available to purchase for the front rows only. The total revenues from the sale of these tickets will be donated to the families of victims of the attack in Marrakech.

Betfred Says Tote Bid Is GBP45 Million Better Than Rival Offer

The U.K.'s fourth-largest retail bookmaker Betfred said Monday its bid for state-owned bookmaker Tote would leave the racing industry GBP45 million better off than a bid by Martin Broughton's vehicle, Sports Investment Partners.

The company said in a statement its proposal for commercial and charitable payments to the racing industry translate to GBP45 million more over seven years than the bid from SIP.

A spokesman for SIP declined to comment.

SIP and Betfred have put forward quite different plans to buy the Tote but each puts an enterprise value of around GBP200 million on the Tote, which comprises two separate businesses--an on-racetrack pool betting service and a chain of roughly 500 retail shops together with online and telephone betting operations.

Betfred also issued a statement Sunday offering to create an advisory board with seats for the horse racing industry if its bid for the Tote was successful, in a last-ditch effort to rebuff concerns a deal for the state-owned bookmaker would give it a virtual monopoly across the sport.

Betfred's mooted development of a new advisory board is seen as an attempt to challenge criticism that SIP has the backing of the industry, after representatives from the British Horseracing Authority, Racecourse Association and the Horsemen's Group last week put their weight behind the rival bid.

SIP last week outlined its plan to float the Tote on the London AIM market with 10% of the business going to the racing industry and a further 25% to "racing friendly" investors.

Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) is advising the government on the sale.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano could reach northern Scotland by Tuesday and parts of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday

Ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano could reach northern Scotland by Tuesday and parts of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday or Friday if the eruption continues at the same rate, airlines were warned on Sunday. The warning is based on latest 5-day weather forecasts, but must be treated with c

aution because of the forecast period and the presence of different air currents from those prevailing at the time of last year's ash crisis, weather officials said.
European authorities said on Sunday no disruption was expected to European or transatlantic airspace over the next 24 hours from the eruption of Iceland's most active volcano on Saturday.

players data being sold openly.

The UK regulatory bodies have called in the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority as part of their investigations into players data being sold openly. The Information Commissioners Office are still refusing to contact the public with full details but it is known that due to the extent of the breach it has become a major investigation.

We reported over the weekend how players date including usernames, passwords of 3 million online players had been circulated for sale, which included 315,000 online bingo players from a leading UK online bingo operator. Due to the fact that most players use the same usernames and passwords for a variety of accounts online bingo players are at significant risk of fraud.

The ICO initially likened the situation to the investigation at T-Mobile which took nearly a year to fully investigate.

We have seen a sample of 1,000 people on the lists with data

Saturday, 21 May 2011

RACING is braced for another corruption inquiry after four jockeys were charged with serious breaches of the British Horseracing Authority’s rules yesterday.

RACING is braced for another corruption inquiry after four jockeys were charged with serious breaches of the British Horseracing Authority’s rules yesterday.
Ten races in 2009 featuring Greg Fairley, Kirsty Milczarek, Jimmy Quinn and Paul Doe are under the microscope. Paul Fitzsimons, a rider at the time but now a trainer, is also alleged to have communicated directly or indirectly with betting exchange users for material reward and to have “intentionally failed to ensure that a horse was run on its merits”. Eight punters, including registered owners Maurice Sines and James Crickmore, have been charged with breaches relating to inside information.
Doe has been charged in relation to five races, Fairley to four, Quinn, two, while Milczarek and Fitzsimons to one race each. Andrew Chalk, acting for both Quinn and Fitzsimons, expressed surprise at the charges. “Jimmy is pulling his hair out and is particularly frustrated,” said the solicitor. “He feels he has co-operated fully with the investigation, having answered all of the appropriate questions with honesty. He is dismayed at the charges, and is adamant he has done nothing wrong.”
Greg Fairley has been charged in relation to four races
Milczarek’s representative, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said his client was “stunned”, and claimed the rider suffered injuries when Obe Gold left the starting stalls at Lingfield.
Stewart-Moore said in a statement: “She is stunned. She has been fully co-operative with the BHA investigations. She knows absolutely nothing about any laying of this horse other than what she has been told by BHA investigators and, of the eight non-licensed people, she knows only two of them as nodding acquaintances and has never spoken to them privately.”
The four jockeys are still able to ride until the hearing starts on October 20.

The maximum ban for a jockey found guilty of  not obtaining the best possible placing for personal reward is  25 years.
Fraudulent practice has an entry point of three years, breaching  inside information rules is six months, while  passing information for reward is three years. An owner laying a horse to lose has an entry point of 18 months.

Friday, 20 May 2011

tobacco from Gibraltar is now being blamed in Spain for the high level of cancer in the Campo area.

Antonio Escolar, public health chief at the Puerta Del Mar Hospital in Cadiz, has come up with a study about cancer in the Campo area.It has taken him two years to write, and concludes that there are other factors which are more responsible for the cancer than the effects of the industrial plant in the Campo.

Nobody had considered what happened before the existence of the industrial zone. Is it that there was no cancer then?

Reports in Spanish papers quote him as saying that general opinion over the Campo cancer had been linked to the industrial plants in the area. But in their study "we demonstrate something very important", that this emerged before the existence of the industrial zone.

He goes on to say that between 25-30 years after the development of the industrial zone, the level of cancer has reduced.The study does not deny the possible impact of the industrial plants over cancer, but it is not the only explanation.

The existence of cancer was prior to the industrial zone being created and it related to tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as other diseases.

Gibraltar emerges...In 1835 in Gibraltar, says the study, there were 42 tobacco factories which employed between 2,000 and 3,000 persons of the 15,000 Gibraltar had. There were also 880 tobacco outlets. Gibraltar would import much tobacco and the greater part of it would export towards the Campo and other parts of Spain. In 1952 there were between 12,000 and 13,000 Spanish workers in Gibraltar.

Tobacco allowed for the search of an important monetary income. There was a great difference, then and now, in the price of tobacco in Gibraltar and Spain. Tobacco was accessible and it provoked its very high use. Over time, it has been reflected in deaths.

Why did people have to go to Gibraltar, to be involved in tobacco?Because of the poor economic situation in the area nearby.

Gibraltar became, from the middle of the 19th century to the closure of the frontier, in an attractive economic unit because they needed labour. An inter-relation developed which included tobacco.

In 1966 there were 1,400 Spaniards working in the dockyard. The effect of asbestos is very important in respect of lung cancer. The study also refers to an 'excessive consumption of cigarettes' in the Campo in international reports in 1915 and 1931.

The study relates to risks produced by tobacco and asbestos, and pointa at Gibraltar. It seemed that Gibraltar had never had anything to do with it, says the study.

A Spanish radio said: Tobacco from Gibraltar to blame for Campo cancer, says study.

formal investigation by a judge in La Linea into the Easter Sunday incident at sea between the RG Police and the Guardia Civil

GSLP/Libs has declared that the launch of a formal investigation by a judge in La Linea into the Easter Sunday incident at sea between the RG Police and the Guardia Civil “adds insult to injury” and complicates further “an already tense situation.”

The Opposition states that it is “absolutely incredible that the RGP should be cast as the villains of the piece when everybody knows that it was the Guardia Civil who were acting outside their jurisdiction.”

For the GSLP/Libs it is unacceptable that the actions of the RGP “should now be scrutinised by a foreign judge who has no jurisdiction in our waters.”

“We fully back the RGP and the other agencies present during this incident. The Guardia Civil have claimed that one of their officers was injured as well as one of the suspected smugglers. They have also claimed that one of their launches was damaged by the RGP. This version of events has not been accepted locally.

“It was also particularly bizarre that the Spanish Government should have protested to the UK when it was the Guardia Civil who exercised judicial competence in waters that are not Spanish. Moreover, it should be obvious that a judge based in La Linea has no jurisdiction in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.”

The Opposition says it is important to remain vigilant on this issue recalling that some years ago a judge in Spain assumed jurisdiction in the Odyssey saga.

“It is imperative that the statutory obligations and jurisdictional competence which Gibraltar exercises over its territorial sea is not undermined in any way.”

The Opposition recall that there was no such investigation here when armed Civil Guards entered the land territory of Gibraltar or when the Guardia Civil and the RGP clashed in the Bay “and a suspect was removed from the latter’s lawful custody.”

LOW cost airline BMI Baby has announced five new routes from East Midlands Airport.

As part of its 2012 summer flying schedule, the Castle Donington-based operator has added Gibraltar, Corfu, Murcia and Naples to its list of destinations. It will also be introducing year-round flights to Cologne.

It brings the total number of routes operated by BMI Baby from East Midlands Airport to 31.

The airline has also announced three extra routes – Lisbon, Rome and Barcelona – from Birmingham Airport. Tickets for all of the routes have now gone on sale.

Last month, BMI Baby announced it was pulling out of Cardiff to focus on other airports where there were more growth opportunities.

At the same time, it also announced two extra winter routes from East Midlands.

Managing director Julian Carr said: "These latest routes are part of our expansion strategy for the Midlands. We recently announced we will be basing two additional aircraft in the Midlands and will now operate a total of 45 routes from the region."

Brad Miller, managing director at East Midlands Airport, said: "These new routes show that BMI Baby is continually striving to grow its operation and extend its reach out of the East Midlands."

U.K. government is soon to decide which of two remaining bidders get to buy the Tote

The U.K. government is soon to decide which of two remaining bidders get to buy the Tote, the state-owned bookmaker which has been variously on and off the block for the best part of 20 years.

The last two horses in the running are Betfred, the country’s fourth biggest retail bookmaker and Sports Investment Partners, the vehicle run by racing aficionado and former chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, Martin Broughton.

Both offer similar financial benefits to the industry–around £120 million of the £200 million the Tote is said to be worth. But politics will undoubtedly play a large part in the final decision process.

SIP may well have the advantage with its promise to reserve at least 10% of a newly floated company for the industry and a further 25% for “racing-friendly” investors, such as owners, breeders and trainers.

The industry is concerned that Betfred, an unknown quantity, would have a virtual monopoly on pool betting on horse racing. Just last week a group of leading industry figures wrote to ministers handling the sale saying “we do not believe it should be politically acceptable to nationalize and sell an iconic British institution to a private bookmaker, a significant part of whose business is based offshore and which therefore has no obligation to pay U.K. taxes or the [pool betting] levy.”

The letter, signed by representatives of the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group, went on to say that Mr. Broughton’s bid “satisfies all of the government’s criteria and also provides a more favorable solution for racing.”

For its part, Betfred is making much of the fact it is already a bigger company and that its eponymous co-founder and executive chairman Fred Done has had “a lifelong ambition” to own the Tote.

A more persuasive factor may be that although it has retail experience, running an 840-strong chain of bookmakers across the U.K., Betfred has no pool betting expertise and will therefore need to keep on most of the 400-500 full-time staff at the Tote’s Wigan HQ.

Whatever happens it would be a shame if a deal which has been such a long timing coming falls at the final hurdle.

On Friday the Spanish Congress endorsed the country’s the new Gambling Law that establishes a regulatory environment through all remote and interactive channels.

On Friday the Spanish Congress endorsed the country’s the new Gambling Law that establishes a regulatory environment through all remote and interactive channels. This effectively ends the legislative process and the new law will become effective upon its publication in the State Official Bulletin (Boletín Oficial del Estado) in the next few days.

The new law will establish the regulation of gambling activities in Spain for the first time since it was decriminalised in 1977 and allow the development of online gambling with the exception of games developed by and subject to exclusivity such as those performed by the National Lottery (LAE), and Blind Charity Lottery (ONCE).

The process has been fast-tracked by the need for the Spanish Government to open a privatisation process of the national public lottery (LAE) which is expected to IPO and offer 30% stock this summer. The government aims to obtain revenues in the region of €6bn.

In the coming weeks after publication of the new law it is expected the decree laws will be also published. These will set out the requirements, protocols and conditions to enable operators and providers to apply for licenses and go through the approval process. These are expected to be published before the end of June.

Live in-play betting and bingo have not been allowed. During the legislative process it was defined and excluded for having dangerous addictive effects.

This clashes with the existing retail sports betting and land based bingo regulations established by different autonomous regions where both live betting and classic card and electronic bingo are allowed and operated legally.

Live betting accounts for around 50% of the existing retail sports betting in more than 400 sports betting corners and more than 1500 sports betting terminals; while bingo is a very popular game here played in more than 400 bingo halls throughout the country.

It has yet to be seen how offshore companies will comply with the new law. Operators such as Bwin, Betfair, Bet365, Unibet and a large number of online gaming operators that have been doing business in Spain for many years will have to settle and pay the relevant taxes for the five-year period prior to the new law.

The taxation for online gambling,  (set at 25% of GGR/GPT), will also be a hurdle to profitability in a very competitive market with the majority of large operators having already built a considerable player database (estimated to be more than 400, 000 players)  after years of tax-free advertising and sponsorship. These firms will have a great advantage when they begin to operate in a newly regulated market compared to newcomers that will have to start from scratch subject to the new advertising, sponsorship and taxation rules.

We will have time to analyse the projection and scope of the new legislation in depth as soon as the decree laws are published. This will give us the full picture and will allow us to have a complete view of the situation and the future business environment in Spain.

Inside the shell: drugs, arms and tax scams

He has been known variously as Professor Geoffrey Taylor, Sir Geoffrey and Lord Stubbington. This is the Gold Coast businessman who established shell companies that have since been linked to arms deals, Mexican drug lords and Russia's largest tax fraud. And yet he has committed no crime. Gerard Ryle reports.

On December 11, 2009, a former Soviet air force transport plane flying from North Korea to Iran stopped to refuel in Bangkok. The flight listed its cargo as spare parts for oil-drilling equipment. Instead police found 30 tonnes of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and components for surface-to-air missiles, all being transported in breach of United Nations sanctions.

Three months later in a Miami courtroom, the United States Department of Justice revealed the country's largest money-laundering scheme involving billions of dollars from Mexican drug lords.

Then, late last month, documents emerged in London concerning Russia's largest tax fraud, an alleged $US230 million heist that led to the untimely deaths of four people and threatens to damage the Russian government.


US crackdown on 3 big providers cuts off easy access to potential profits

For Northeastern University student Brendan O’Dowd, online poker was more than a game. He played almost every day, often for hours at a time. He says he turned consistent profits that he relied on to buy books, food, and walking-around money.

Like a shift worker punching the clock, he thought of the electronic card games like a regular paycheck.

So when federal prosecutors shut down the three most popular online poker sites last month, accusing their owners of defrauding banks to maintain the flow of billions in illegal gambling profits, O’Dowd and legions of players like him were livid.

“It was my main source of income over the past few years,’’ O’Dowd said. “It was a livable part-time job where I could be my own boss and make my own hours, as well as have a higher hourly rate than pretty much any normal job I could be working.’’


Sky Vegas Online Casino to Leave Canada June 1st. 2011

Canada is home to many online gamblers and poker players and for the most part Canadians have been able to play online casino games without any real problems. The governments of various provinces in the country have been busy setting up online casinos in order to cash in on the fast growing and lucrative trend.

This move has offshore operators looking closely at the bottom line and are considering the repercussions should the Federal Government of Canada decide to go the same route as the Department of Justice in America has gone.
Sky Vegas Casino has decided they will no longer offer their gambling services to the Canadian jurisdiction. Customers of Sky Vegas have until June the first 2011 to close all of their accounts associated with the Sky Vegas Casino web site.

A statement was sent to players via email from Sky Vegas casino management stating, “Following a Sky Betting & Gaming group review of operations, we will not be offering any of our products or services to customers who are based out of Canada.” The announcement continued, “Therefore your account will be closed as of June 1st, 2011. If you have an outstanding balance you will need to use or withdraw amounts before this date.”
Sky Vegas is operated by Sky Betting & Gaming group and is powered by Wagerworks/IGT software. Sky Vegas is run by the TV broadcaster, and is licensed by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, it is assured you can be confident that the games are fair, safe and well run.
It is not known exactly why Sky Vegas is pulling out of the Canadian jurisdiction but it has been speculated that the provincial governments of the country establishing their own regulated and licensed online casinos will leave little profit room for offshore internet wagering operators.


‘Illegal’ betting companies cost the state budget €2.5-5-million each year, the Association of Betting Companies said at a press conference on Tuesday, May 3.

‘Illegal’ betting companies cost the state budget €2.5-5-million each year, the Association of Betting Companies said at a press conference on Tuesday, May 3. The briefing took place on the sidelines of the ongoing Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia. It was intended to highlight what the companies claim has been an increase in activities by allegedly illegal betting operations during the tournament. The association announced that it will take legal action against the ‘illegal’ companies and against media that run advertisements for them.
According to current legislation, betting companies registered in Slovakia pay deductions amounting to 5 percent of their receipts to the state. Moreover, the companies are subsequently taxed, while ‘illegal’ betting entities don't pay a single euro to the state, said Niké betting company director Otto Berger, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that these companies are usually based in tax havens, paying only 0.5 percent of their receipts to the state. He alleged that their activities on the market cause other problems, such as under-age betting, money laundering and winnings paid in instalments. "A tram is travelling through the city propagating bet-at-home [a sponsor of the Ice Hockey World Championship]. They opened a tent in the fan zone ... luring in the under-aged," complained Berger.
The Finance Ministry has already begun dealing with unlicensed betting companies operating or being promoted in Slovakia, Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš said on Tuesday.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ocean Village’s Festival of the Seas

Nothing unites Gibraltar like a good family-friendly event and Ocean Village’s Festival of the Seas certainly proves that to be true. Kicking off last weekend, huge crowds gathered to take part in a wide variety of activities from a Yacht Rally to a Dragon Boat Race and organisers even managed to book spectacular sunny weather.

Ros Astengo from Ocean Village comments, “The Festival of the Seas has received much praise from participants and spectators and it’s clear that we’ll have to make it an annual event. We couldn’t be more delighted with the number of people who turned out to offer their support or the spirit in which the local community threw themselves into the various activities. The effort that went into fancy dress, dance costumes, singing performances and the water-based competitions was quite incredible. It’s also fantastic to raise money for the GBC Open Day and Rainbow Ward at St Bernard’s Hospital.”

Saturday’s Yacht Rally saw 14 boats set sail at noon to compete across a six-mile course with the almost all-female crew of Seawolf taking the chequered flag for victory and the £800 yacht toolkit prize generously donated by Hire-U-Shop. After much head-scratching and a steward’s enquiry, Ocean Odyssey and Songbird were deemed to have tied for second each receiving meal vouchers courtesy of Savannah´s.

Later in the day the Dragon Boat Race was hotly contested by three teams each adopting different race-winning tactics from super soaker water pistols to good old fashioned oar fighting. The Mediterranean Rowing Club came in first, although denied any advantage claiming Dragon Racing was “a completely different type of rowing”, with Hassan’s winning the most creative trophy for quite superb pirate fancy dress. Poker Strategy claimed the booby prize.

Other ‘show-stealers’ included water orbing which had children queuing up in their droves to be zipped into a bubble and floated out to sea and high-speed RIB rides made possible by the tireless efforts of the Royal Gibraltar Police Marine Section who put in a six-hour stint in searing heat so as not to disappoint the waiting youngsters. The Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club sailing experiences also went down a treat with many guests setting foot on a sailing yacht for the very first time.

Water aside, there was plenty of action on dry land to wow the crowds. Five dance acts put in fun, energetic routines on the main Festival stage (a sneak preview of some of Gibraltar’s entries for the European Showdance Championships in July) as did some incredibly talented singers including ten year old Adam Rocca who opened the show with Bruno Mars’ hit ‘Grenade’ accompanied by some nifty dance moves, Tiffany Ferrary, also ten years old, who records her first album in the UK this summer and Gibraltar’s Got Talent contestants to include winner Sarah Riley. The singing went on deep into the evening. Further music was provided by The Jazz Group of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band – an ideal accompaniment to a perfect summer’s day by the sea.

Special mention should also go to the various Festival of the Seas competition winners. Despite being almost impossible to judge due to the fantastic entries, five year old Sammy McLeod Rodgers scooped victory in the pirate-themed fancy dress competition making off with beach balls and a party bag whilst Liam Baldacchino won a fine selection of art materials presented by the Minister for Culture for his detailed acrylic painting in the Ocean Village Outdoor Painting Competition organised by local artist Giorann Henshaw.

As the weekend progressed Esprit and Aftershock put on a stunning fashion show modelling their summer collection, little girls became princesses with mini makeovers and the score-a-goal challenge proved to be incredibly popular. All the time Captain Jack Sparrow, Hello Kitty and Clarence the Clown mingled with the crowds and dished out lollipops to eager little hands.

The Festival of the Seas culminates this weekend with the Gibraltar Classic Vehicle Association’s mini Rally around the Rock concluding at Ocean Village on Saturday 21 May and, the highlight, a breathtaking aerobatic display from The Blades on Sunday 22 May brought courtesy of Barclays Wealth and A full programme of activities can be found at or on the Ocean Village Official Facebook Site. 

Flights from East Midlands to Gibraltar

Seven new destinations are being added by Bmibaby as part of its summer 2012 flying schedule. 

Flights from East Midlands to Gibraltar, Corfu, Murcia and Naples, and Birmingham to Lisbon, Rome and Barcelona have been unveiled. 

The budget airline is also adding year-round flights to Cologne from East Midlands and Prague from Birmingham.

The carrier will operate 31 routes from East Midlands and 14 routes from Birmingham.

It claims to be only low cost airline to be operating flights from East Midlands to Cologne, Gibraltar and Naples and from Birmingham to Barcelona, Lisbon, Prague and Rome (Fiumicino).

Managing director Julian Carr said: “The new routes are part of our expansion strategy for the Midlands. 

“We recently announced that will be basing two additional aircraft in the Midlands from the end of our summer 2011 flying programme and will now operate a total of 45 routes from the Midlands. We are committed to further growth in this region.”

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

magnitude 5.3 earthquake has toppled several buildings in southern Spain, near the town of Lorca, killing at least seven people

magnitude 5.3 earthquake has toppled several buildings in southern Spain, near the town of Lorca, killing at least seven people, officials say.

The quake struck at a depth of just 1km (0.6 miles), some 120km south-west of Alicante, at 1850 (1650 GMT), the US Geological Survey reported.

TV shots showed rescue workers rushing through debris-littered streets.

Old buildings were badly damaged by the quake, which followed a smaller 4.4-magnitude one about two hours earlier.

It is not clear how many people were injured, although Spanish media say there are many.

Spanish TV captured dramatic images of a church bell tower crashing to the ground, landing just metres from the cameraman.

Shocked residents and workers rushed out of buildings and have gathered in squares, parks and open spaces.

The earthquakes were felt over a wide area.

"Unfortunately, we can confirm... deaths due to cave-ins and falling debris," Lorca Mayor Francisco Jodar told radio station Ser.

"We are trying to find out if there are people inside the collapsed houses," he added.

Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has deployed emergency military units to the scene, the Spanish EFE news agency reported.

Mr Zapatero was in a meeting with Spanish King Juan Carlos when he was informed of the quake, the premier's office said in a statement.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Madrid says the quake is the most serious to hit Spain in 50 years.

Spain has hundreds of earthquakes every year but most of these are too small to be noticed. Murcia is the country's most seismically active area and suffered tremors in 2005 and 1999.

A number of aftershocks have been felt in the region after Wednesday's quake, and authorities fear the death toll could rise.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Three Moroccan nationals were arrested in last week's deadly bombing at a Marrakech cafe, including the main suspect - a man with loyalties to al-Qaida who had attempted to travel to Iraq and Chechnya

Three Moroccan nationals were arrested in last week's deadly bombing at a Marrakech cafe, including the main suspect - a man with loyalties to al-Qaida who had attempted to travel to Iraq and Chechnya, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The April 28 explosion that tore through the Argana cafe, a popular tourist hangout in the center of the kingdom's biggest tourist magnet, Marrakech, killed 16 people, most of them tourists. The statement said the suspect it identified as the main perpetrator had targeted the Argana specifically because tourists flocked to it.

The man disguised himself as a foreign visitor to plant the explosives, devices that could be detonated remotely, authorities said. He had learned to make the devices on the Internet, the statement said. It added that investigators found some explosive materials and tools that were discarded after the explosion.

"He made many attempts to go to such hot spots as Chechnya and Iraq before deciding to make this attack on Moroccan soil," the statement said.

It did not provide any details about the other two suspects or about where the arrests had taken place


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Spain calls on the U.K. to stop the incidents in Gibraltar Waters

The Spanish Foreign Minister, Trinidad Jiménez, on Wednesday asked the United Kingdom to stop the incidents between the Civil Guard patrols and Gibraltar Police in the waters around the Rock, so as to ‘facilitate cooperation’ against crime.

Jiménez made the call when speaking to journalists ahead of appearing before the Foreign Affairs Commission of Congress, where she explained Spain’s policy in the Mediterranean.
She underlined the Spanish Government’s full support for the work of the Guardia Civil in Algeciras Bay.

It follows a complaint from Gibraltar on Tuesday about a new incident between the Guardia Civil patrol boat, P74- Atalaya, and a merchant vessel in waters which Gibraltar considers to be its jurisdiction.
‘We call on the United Kingdom to cease this type of situations, of incidents, which only benefit the criminals and drug trafficking’, said Jiménez.

She also indicated that she had not, as yet, received any response from a previous complaint to the United Kingdom about an earlier incident on April 24, and said the best way to receive this formal explanation should be in a face to face meeting.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani allegedly told hitmen he paid to kill his wife that he wanted her “taken off the scene”, a court was told yesterday.

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani allegedly told hitmen he paid to kill his wife that he wanted her “taken off the scene”, a court was told yesterday.
The care home boss meticulously planned and outlined exactly how he wanted Anni Hindocha, 28, to be murdered after recruiting contract killers through a South African taxi driver, the court heard.
Dewani, 31, appeared at Belmarsh magistrates’ court yesterday to fight extradition to South Africa where he faces charges of plotting to murder his wife. He has consistently denied the claims.
Dewani sat in the dock with his head bowed, talking to himself or praying, as the case against him was set out.
Hugo Keith QC, for the South African authorities, told the court how on November 9, 2010, Dewani flew into South Africa with his wife.
After visiting the Kruger National Park for three days, the couple went to Cape Town where they met tour guide and taxi driver Zola Tongo at the airport. He drove them to their five-star hotel. During the journey it was agreed that Tongo would be the couple’s tour guide during the rest of their trip.
Tongo, who has pleaded guilty in a plea bargain with the South African authorities, claims Dewani hatched the plot. Keith said: “After they arrived (at the hotel) Dewani approached him alone and asked him if he knew anyone that could get a client of his taken off the scene.
“After some discussion Tongo realised that he wanted to have the woman killed.”
Keith added that Dewani agreed to pay 15,000 rand — 5,000 for Tongo and 10,000 for the gunmen. The court heard Dewani told Tongo how he wanted the murder to happen. That it would be made to look like a carjacking that went wrong and that Dewani and Tongo would be ejected from the car before the killers drove off.
Keith added that it was designed to look like a “criminal act and not, as it in fact was, a contract killing”.
The three-day hearing is due to be adjourned until July when the court will hear evidence from doctors at the Fromeside medium secure mental health unit in Bristol on Dewani’s psychological state to determine whether he is mentally fit to be extradited.

Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani told a friend he would have to "find a way out" of his engagement to his fiancee, Anni

Appearing for the South African government on the first day of Dewani's extradition hearing in the Belmarsh Magistrate's Court in London yesterday, lawyer Hugo Keith said a witness came forward earlier this year and made an affidavit claiming Dewani was looking for a way out of his impending marriage.

"He said although she was a nice, lovely girl whom he liked, he could not break off the engagement because he would be disowned by his family. He went on to say to the witness he needed to find a way out of it," said Keith.

The witness, whom Keith was not prepared to name, was befriended by Dewani last September. Dewani told the witness of his reluctance to marry the following month.

Keith said the witness was also prepared to back up his statement with testimony in court, should Dewani stand trial in South Africa.

"I will not divulge information about the witness or too much about the contents of the statement. But one aspect of it will be relevant for the purpose of [the] extradition hearing," said Keith.

Dewani, 31, is wanted in South Africa to stand trial for murder after allegedly ordering the killing of his 28-year-old bride in November last year while on honeymoon in Cape Town. He is alleged to have hired their taxi driver, Zola Tongo, to arrange a fake hijacking in which she was killed.

Tongo admitted to having hired Xolile Mngeni, 23, and Mziwamadoda Qwabe, 28 - who are still awaiting trial - to commit the murder for which they were together paid R15000. He entered into a plea bargain agreement with the state and is now serving an 18-year jail term.

Dewani, who is being held at the Fromeside Clinic, a psychiatric clinic in Bristol under a court order, sat in the dock muttering softly to himself, staring at his hands, never looking up.

On request of his lawyer, Clare Montgomery, QC, he was granted leave to return to the clinic for treatment after attending court for an hour.

Dewani was supported by his family who sat in the courtroom. Anni's family sat apart from them in the balcony and the two sides avoided each other during tea and lunch breaks.

Dewani will return to court in July when evidence regarding his psychiatric condition will be heard.

Yesterday, his lawyers used the parlous state of South African prisons to attempt to stop a possible extradition order. They argued that Dewani was in danger of being gang-raped in custody if he was extradited to South Africa.

Sasha Gear, a former researcher in the Criminal Justice Programme at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, testified via video link that gangsterism and rape have become part of the country's prison culture.

Gear said it "has become accepted in the general public understanding" in South Africa that imprisonment can be associated with sexual assault, and this acceptance implies that inmates deserve punishment beyond incarceration.

Montgomery said the infamous "Pappa wag vir jou" (Daddy is waiting for you) advertisement on South African TV - which refers to sex abuse in prison to deter people from drinking and driving - will be broadcast in court later this week to emphasise the point.

Gear said her research showed that Dewani, as a good-looking, young, alleged first-time offender with no knowledge of the gang structure in South African prisons, would become a particularly easy target of gangs and sexual violence.

She refuted assurances that Dewani would be safe if he was held in a single cell in the Goodwood prison in Cape Town while awaiting trial, and in a single cell in the Malmesbury Medium prison if found guilty and considered a medium risk. The South African authorities have also promised to incarcerate him in a single cell in the Brandvlei Maximum prison if it was found that he was a serious risk offender.

Gear said this would not guarantee his safety as gangs could get to him while he was being transported to court, in court holding cells while moving around in prison, or receiving food.

The case continues today with testimony by former South African judge, Deon van Zyl, who is expected to testify about general conditions in South African prisons and the criminal justice system.


Spanish naval patrol boat “Atalaya” entered Gibraltar waters and proceeded to harass commercial vessels that were legally anchored in the east side area.

The continuing conflict with Spain over the territorial waters of Gibraltar has now taken on an even more serious dimension following the latest incursion today by the Spanish navy. The incident is intolerable and totally unacceptable and it represents an escalation by Spain which can only be regarded as a hostile act , says the Opposition in a statement released today. Adding that it is inconceivable that a military vessel of this kind would enter our territorial sea and proceed to exercise jurisdiction in it without orders from Madrid. This can no longer be regarded, as some have claimed in the past in order to minimise the seriousness of the incursions, as a case of over-zealous civil guards in the port of Algeciras with an axe to grind or in the pursuit of drugs traffickers.

  The Opposition understands that the Spanish naval patrol boat “Atalaya” entered Gibraltar waters and proceeded to harass commercial vessels that were legally anchored in the east side area. The “Atalaya” is a 68 metre long vessel with a crew of 48. The Spanish Ministry of Defence says that it is based in the Port of El Ferrol and under the orders of the Commander of Maritime Action in that port.

  Commercial vessels in the east side anchorage were told by the Spanish military vessel that they were in Spanish waters and that they had to leave. The Opposition has been advised that the Royal Navy was despatched the scene and that they challenged the Spanish Navy and instructed them to leave British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. They left only happened after some time had elapsed.

  This is not the first time that the Spanish navy has carried out such a high profile incursion into Gibraltar waters. It will be recalled that in May 2009 the Corvette “Tarifa” lowered a RHIB into the waters of Gibraltar which then proceeded to inspect fishing boats inside Gibraltar’s territorial sea. It has been some time since the public has been made aware of such a high-profile and serious incident as that which took place early this afternoon.

  The Opposition considers that an incursion at sea must be treated no differently from one on land. If the Spanish army had entered into Gibraltar through the frontier and instructed businesses in the air terminal to pack up and leave on the basis that, according to them, they were on Spanish land, this would have caused an uproar. The latest incident cannot be regarded as being any less serious simply because it has taken place at sea.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

following the indictment of 11 senior executives and owners of three of the biggest US-facing poker sites, their European rivals have launched respective marketing drives in an attempt to capitalise on the availability of new players.

following the indictment of 11 senior executives and owners of three of the biggest US-facing poker sites, their European rivals have launched respective marketing drives in an attempt to capitalise on the availability of new players.

Since the US Attorney’s Office issued a notice on Friday bringing charges against Pokerstars founder Isai Scheinberg, Full Tilt’s Ray Bitar, and nine others for alleged fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling, traffic on a number of rivals' sites has risen dramatically.

According to Pokerscout’s weekly traffic report, all three affected sites have seen their traffic drop significantly, with Full Tilt’s 48% week-on-week decline the most striking. PKR, however has seen a 21% rise (the highest from a non-US site) while PartyPoker (9%), 888Poker (5%) and the iPoker network (4%) are also on the up.

Several networks and sites not taking US customers have hastily launched promotions to target those players looking to deposit on sites other than Full Tilt, Pokerstars and the Cereus, the two-site network that contains Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, both of which are included in Friday’s indictment.

Last night, Unibet announced it would be holding its first ever €500,000 guarantee tournament, while ChiliPoker – on the iPoker network – countered what has come to be known as online poker’s “Black Friday” with its own “Purple Day” promotion, featuring 200% sign-up bonuses.

One European-based affiliate, who asked not to be named, told eGaming Review: “My inbox is getting constant messages such as 888 doubling their prize-pools, and Titan Poker offering 60% revenue shares and saying if you are a Pokerstars player you can send them a screenshot of your VIP status then you get the same level of loyalty there.

“I was surprised by the email [from Titan] because it was so obvious, but I think Pokerstars and Full Tilt have really played outside the rules of the game and now this is a very positive development for the whole affiliate system.”

He went on to suggest that, from a player’s point of view, a more carefree attitude towards funds locked up on the bigger US-facing sites could begin to reap rewards. “Many people think that playing on Pokerstars and Full Tilt is like playing Zynga poker because no one knows what the value of the chips really is,” he said.

Dominik Kofert, CEO of power affiliate, is cautiously optimistic about the impact Friday’s news will have on the online poker market outside the US.

“The curious thing is that some of these same people used to say that – compared to some banks and payment providers – the safest place to keep money was on Stars and Tilt.”

His site refuses to take American players and runs IP blocks. Providing Pokerstars and Full Tilt can continue to run their non-US-facing sites, as is currently the case, he expects a “mini-boom” outside the US.

“The European-facing sites have launched their various promotions and I think Pokerstars will follow suit in the next few days,” he said.

“With more traffic going to those sites not taking players from the US, I expect Pokerstars  and Full Tilt to divert more of their marketing spend to these markets in response.”

He added the priority for many of his players was to ensure their funds are secure, with many of them currently unable to withdraw from Pokerstars and Full Tilt.

“It is an issue of trust, and it is important that this element gets sorted out as quickly as possible,” he said.

But while European sites are seemingly showing a near-unanimous drive to capitalise on those players deserting the ‘big three’ in America, a mixed message is coming from stateside competitors.

Bodog made a mysterious return to Pokerscout's rankings with a 26% seven day rise in player numbers in the wake of Friday’s indictments, having blocked the tracking site earlier this year, while the Merge and Cake networks continue to take American players at the time of writing.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expects "threats of retaliation" from al Qaeda in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expects "threats of retaliation" from al Qaeda in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death, a department official told CNN early Monday.
"We certainly anticipate threats of retaliation -- this is an organization that declared war on the United States more than a decade ago -- threats from al Qaeda are not a new phenomenon," the official said.
The development comes as the United States put American diplomatic facilities around the world on high alert and issued a global travel warning for Americans, shortly after President Barack Obama announced that the terrorist leader had been killed in Pakistan.
"Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations," the State Department said in a worldwide travel warning issued early Monday. "U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times."
The Homeland Security official said the agency remains "at a heightened state of vigilance," although the national terror-threat level was not immediately raised following bin Laden's death.
"We remain at a heightened state of vigilance and our security posture, which always includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to protect the American people from an evolving threat picture both in the next days and beyond," the official said.
"Secretary (Janet) Napolitano has been clear since announcing the NTAS (National Terrorism Advisory System) in January that we will only issue alerts when we have specific or credible information to convey to the American public," the official said.
The range of precautions comes as the United States braces for potential retaliatory attacks in the aftermath of bin Laden's death at the hands of U.S. special forces.
Adding to the concern is a Defense Department report released last week by the WikiLeaks website that a Guantanamo detainee had knowledge of al Qaeda possibly possessing a nuclear bomb somewhere in Europe.
The detainee, Abu al-Libi, said he was told by al Qaeda associate Sharif al-Masri that he believed if bin Laden were captured or killed "the bomb would be detonated" in the United States.
Al-Libi said al-Masri told him during the summer of 2004 that the terrorist network was having difficulty moving the bomb, but if it could move it "al Qaeda would find operatives to use it."
Local authorities also took precautions.
In New York, where a pair of hijacked commercial jetliners took down the twin towers of World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, police were wary.
"While there is no information indicating a specific threat to New York City, members of the service are reminded to remain alert in the aftermath of the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been killed," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
The Philadelphia Police Department said it was doing hourly checks on mosques and synagogues, following the president's address, according to Lt. Raymond Evers.

warship Ark Royal is set to end up as a floating tourist attraction in Gibraltar.

An international consortium is planning a bid for Britain's flagship aircraft carrier, which has been decommissioned.

The Ministry of Defence has put the 22,000-ton ship up for sale in Portsmouth, where she is currently tied up, and is inviting tenders by the middle of next month.

Last night hopes were pinned on the Gibraltar bid succeeding as the most likely other option is for her to be scrapped like her sister ship Invincible.

Gibraltar has seven million tourists visiting each year and the 30-year-old carrier, the fifth Royal Navy ship to bear the name, would be a major draw.

The Rock has played a huge part in naval history and the third Ark Royal was torpedoed not far offshore in 1941.

A spokesman for the Gibraltar-based consortium said: "Having the last Ark here would be a fitting tribute to her and all the others. We know how supportive the British public will be."

The ship would be turned into a floating exhibition highlighting the roles of the Navy and Fleet Air Arm.

Mike Critchley, publisher of Warship World magazine, said: "Ark Royal is far too much of a national asset for her to be dragged off for scrap."

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Spanish nuclear plant halted for refuelling

Spain's 460-megawatt Garona nuclear power station was stopped on Sunday for scheduled refuelling, operators said, which left just six of the country's eight reactors up and running.

Data from national grid operator REE (REE.MC: Quote) showed nuclear plants were generating 5,985 MW beween them, down from about 7,400 MW when all are working normally.

Lack of nuclear power often weighs on wholesale power prices because producers can sell it at a discount to electricity generated from gas or coal.

In a statement the operator of the northerly plant said refuelling would take a month.

The 1,000 MW Asco I plant in northeastern Spain is due back from refuelling in a matter of days, its operator said.

Garona is jointly owned by Spain's two largest power utilities, Iberdrola (IBE.MC: Quote) and Endesa (ELE.MC: Quote).

The government has ordered the plant, which is in its 40th year of service, to close in 2013, although it is prepared to allow other, younger nuclear plants to run until at least the 2020s


WIlliam was close to tears as Prince Harry paid an emotional tribute to their mother Diana in his best man’s speech.

Harry, Master of Ceremonies at William and Kate’s triumphant evening wedding reception, took to his feet in front of 350 of the couple’s closest friends and ­family.

And there was barely a dry eye as Harry turned to William and told him: “Our mother would be so very proud of you.”

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A guest at the Buckingham Palace celebration revealed: “Harry only said a few words, but it was so emotional. The entire room burst into applause.”

Wearing a fez hat Harry had started his speech by standing on the top table and describing the newlyweds as the “Dude and Duchess”.

As guests chuckled, he poked fun at William’s ­receding hairline and said he felt sorry for Kate marrying a “bald man”.

He handed over to two of William’s oldest pals, who cracked jokes that had him ­laughing hysterically.

Double act James Meade, who William, 28, met at Eton, and Thomas Van Straubenzee, a friend from William’s Ludgrove Prep School in ­Berkshire, ­recounted tales of William’s ­“debauchery” and “nakedness” as a ­bachelor.

Finally, proud father of the bride Michael Middleton, 61, was ­greeted with a standing ovation for a speech which captured the ­spirit of the day.

Professional punter Stephen Fletcher has been disqualified over his involvement in a Brisbane racing scandal.

Fletcher, one of Australia's best-known punters, has been banned for 12 months.

Racing Queensland stewards handed out the penalty after jockey Bobby El-Issa was earlier disqualified for two years because of his ride on Bold Glance in an Eagle Farm race on February 26.

El-Issa was found guilty of not giving Bold Glance every chance to win the Falvelon Quality (1,200m).

The subsequent Doncaster Mile placegetter finished second in the race and El-Issa, who stewards said did not show his usual vigour on the horse, is appealing his ban.

Fletcher, who rose to prominence as a high-profile punter when he was linked with a 2005 betting sting on a Gold Coast greyhound race, faces the prospect of shutting his gambling operation under the terms of the ban.

Under an Australian racing rule, bookmakers are not allowed to accept a bet from a disqualified person. The ban also includes wagering with national TABs.

Fletcher is also banned from attending racetracks.

A Racing Queensland report outlining Fletcher's penalty said: "Stewards have regard for the fact that Mr Fletcher was not the principal offender, however (we) have considered that Mr Fletcher was a significant financial beneficiary of the conduct of jockey El-Issa."

During the hearing into El-Issa's ride, stewards alleged Fletcher had opposed Bold Glance on the betting exchange Betfair as well as supporting the eventual winner Essington.

A stewards' investigation revealed Fletcher and El-Issa were in regular telephone contact.

The inquiry found Fletcher's top 10 lay bets were ridden by El-Issa.


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