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Friday 13th April 2018


@TheWeekenderEs @TheWeekenderSpain

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by Simon Russell

POLICE have broken up a gang who were operating a con on the Costa Blanca that allowed them to steal about 163 tons of oranges worth â‚Ź70,000. Over several weeks five farm owners were victims of the scam where they agreed to let the gang pick their orange crop. The gang managed to create an elaborate trail of fake companies to seem genuine, even being able to hire other firms to help them with the crop. However, once the fruit had been harvested the gang disappeared with their haul, and it was only a police investigation that brought to light that everything, including personal

identities, were fake. The gang mainly operated across the Vega Baixa agricultural area, however, using descriptions from people they had swindled; the police were able to trace the men, helped by the fact they had criminal records.

Whirlpools World


Three men, a Spaniard, Romanian and Bulgarian were arrested this week in the La Safor towns of Gandia and Tavernes. The fourth member of the gang is known to the police but remains on the run and they are trying to trace him.

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Chorus Financial is a trading style of Tourbillon Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Commission (Gibraltar), Licence Number FSC1118B and registered with the UK FCA as an EEA Authorised firm, reference 539348.

“John had no idea his investment fees were so high!” By Tracy Storer

Senior Partner Chorus Financial

This article is being re-run from previous editions as the message is fundamental to ensuring you are getting the right financial advice here in Spain. Last week, a gentleman, we’ll call him John, (I’ve changed his name to protect his identity) came to see me. John wanted a second opinion on an investment plan he had set up when he first moved to Spain 5 years ago. Somehow, despite strong financial markets, John’s portfolio hadn’t made a penny this entire time. John was helpful enough to bring along all the valuations he’d been issued since he started his plan, along with some Fund Fact Sheets. From these documents, I quickly realised that the funds that had been recommended to John had incredibly high

entry and ongoing fees. These anomalies were directly related to the fact that these funds were not FCA regulated. FCA regulated funds cannot make non-disclosed payments to financial advisors, yet the funds John’s advisor had recommended actually charged the client a 5% entry fee, all of which was subsequently paid to John’s advisor here in Spain, and also paid John’s advisor a hidden ‘trail’ fee of 1% per year. This explains the incredibly high ongoing fees, which were 3 to 4 times higher than I’d expect of an FCA regulated fund. In addition, the client had also paid open fees to his advisor – 3% to set up his plan and 1% annual advisor fee. To add insult to injury, around 18 months ago, John’s advisor

which will have a positive effect on the growth of his plan.

had switched all of John’s funds because his firm now had access to a new ‘exclusive’ fund. This cost John another 5% of his portfolio, to buy into a fund with absolutely no track record, which subsequently underperformed. John’s total fund and advice fees over 5 years were close to 25%, over three-quarters of which had been paid to his advisor. Due to the complex way the fees were disguised and layered, John had no idea his investment fees were so high. There were only 2 small reassurances I could make. Firstly, he was not alone – 10,000s of expats in Spain have been set-up with similarly over-priced portfolios as this is widely practised by firms here. Secondly, it’s a very easy problem to solve.

The exact overall fees paid will depend on the specific situation so may vary, but Chorus pride ourselves on fair, transparent and above all, value for money fees. John agreed for Chorus to take over the management of his portfolio, and we immediately reduced his annual advisor fee, and sold those over-priced, under-performing funds.

Chorus may not be the oldest, or indeed the biggest company out here in Spain, but we firmly believe that our approach to UK style, truly independent advice, makes us the best.

John now has a diverse portfolio of FCA regulated funds, with a strong track record from well-known, UK based investment institutions, none of which charged an entry cost. His total fund and ongoing advice fees are down to just 1% per year, meaning John will save significant amounts in fees over the coming years

If you would like me to demonstrate where I can help reduce costs and improve the returns on your existing portfolio, including QROPS and Spanish Bonds, please call me today to book a free, no obligation review on 693 107 044 or email t.storer@chorusfinancial. es for more information.

Chorus Financial are a trading style of Tourbillon Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Commission (Gibraltar), licence Number FSC1118B & registered with the UK FCA, ref. 539348.


SEVEN DAY WEEKENDER The world faces another crisis over the war in Syria and the use of chemical weapons by the al-Assad regime on his own people. Haunting pictures have been screened on television news of the aftermath of the chlorine attacks many more ruled unfit to be shown. The United Nations has again been unable to act as Assad’s friend Russia used its veto power at security council level...yet again. There is a growing call for international against the Syria, either to target its capability to deploy such shameful hardware or to destroy the factories making such weapons. President Trump has indicated he is ready to go and is supported by President Macron of France - Britian’s military chiefs are ready to take action and are just waiting for a green light. Theresa May is being more cautious but has already condemned the attack and its sad toll...she would certainly like the support of Parliament. Scary times indeed but sometimes action is needed, it’s unlikely to be boots on the ground but something must be done - in the name of humanity.

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Coffee and coke A British national was among 21 people arrested when police broke up a major smuggling ring operating out of the Alicante region. The gang were buying pure cocaine directly from Colombia and shipping it in with products such as coffee, often through direct mail. Those arrested were in Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa

by Simon Russell

and El Campello and two drug laboratories were also raided. Police seized 12 kilos of cocaine, 320 grams of amphetamines, 3.5 kilos of substances used to cut the drugs; as well as marijuana and hashish. Detectives believe they have stopped what is one of

Alicante’s largest drugs rings; they have estimated that the gang could have made around a million euros in sales across southern Alicante alone. They also think it has links to criminal networks in the UK; the British national arrested is alleged to have stolen ₏200,000 from an armoured van to finance the start of the operation.

Paedophile trial underway A trial has started in Alicante this week of a man accused of raping a 12 year old who had run away from a juvenile centre.

by Matthew Richards

The girl had been begging for money in a park so she could raise funds for a bus

ride to the town where she originally lived. The accused started talking to her and then gave her alcohol before taking her to a quiet

part of the park where the alleged rape took place. The prosecutors are asking for a 14 year jail sentence if the man is found guilty.

King goes under the knife KING Juan Carlos is due to by Simon Russell have surgery on his knee, probably this week. The palace has not private hospital in Madrid. confirmed the exact date but it is Juan Carlos was 80 in January thought that the operation will be and his health has not been good performed very soon to replace recently; he has started walking an artificial joint first implanted with the assistance of a cane or in 2011. The operation is planned crutches, even at public events. to take place at the San Chinarro He reigned as king from 1975

until 2014 when he abdicated in favour of his son Felipe. There was speculation at the time that the aging monarch’s health may have been part of reason for his abdication, although he had become embroiled in various controversies towards the end of his reign.



Tearful tribute Flaming Easter to dead boy

OVER 200 people of several nationalities gathered on a Costa Blanca beach to pay tribute to an eight year old British boy who died after a tragic accident while playing football. Little Kai was having an Easter holiday kick around on the beach with friends when he collided with another child. He was obviously

by Matthew Richards

in physical difficulty and attempts were made to revive him on the beach before he was taken to Torrevieja Hospital and then by air ambulance to Alicante’s main hospital. Sadly, he died while at the Alicante hospital, having never awoken from the induced coma medical staff

had put Kai in. The gathering of friends, relatives and well-wishers was on Cala Bosque beach in Orihuela Costa where the incident took place and the beach was strewn with flowers, toys and photos in an emotional scene. The Orihuela Local Police, who had been first responders on the scene, also attended.

THE four week period of the run up to Easter and the holiday itself saw a rise in the number of fires across Alicante province compared to the same period in 2017. There were 409 fires officially recorded and requiring call outs, an increase of

by Simon Russell

nearly 50%. A quarter of these were in the main cities and the totals include residential as well as forest fires. Easter is usually a busy period for the fire brigades with rising visitor numbers

and issues such as an increase in consumption of alcohol making people more careless. The busy brigades would also have expected to see an increase in the numbers of call outs for road accidents which nearly always rise at Easter.






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Families blamed for “bed blockers” epidemic IN a scene increasingly being repeated across Spain, a hospital on the Canary Islands has said that it regularly have around 20 elderly patients “abandoned” by their families and left in their care. When patients have been treated they are finding it increasingly common for next of kin to delay picking up elderly relatives for as long as possible or even refusing to collect them altogether. Hospital staff have said this is an issue for centres up and down the country while excuses offered by relatives include lack of space, lack of time, work commitments or low funds. In some cases, such as where dependants are ill themselves, the hospital will try to accommodate them. However, in most cases abandonment is a criminal offence – although

by Simon Russell

hospitalisation is something of a grey area. In some cases the families have access to their relative’s pensions while the taxpayer is footing the average bill of around a €1,000 a week to stay in state care. It also means beds are being blocked for people with more pressing illnesses. Like much of Europe the issue boils down to Spain’s ageing population, while the “help begins at home” culture that was the norm here for many years also seems to be changing.



Motorway death youth may have been playing "Chicken" A sixteen-year old boy, killed by a truck on a stretch of the Alicante to Madrid motorway in the early hours of saturday morning, may have been playing a reckless game of ‘chicken’ with friends. Guardia Civil investigating officers were initially unclear as to the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, which happened close to the town of Petrer, just after midnight. The area around the incident is bordered by fences restricting access on foot, which ruled out the possibility that the victim entered the carriageway by accident. However, sources close to the investigation disclosed that officers are now considering the

by Andy Mansall

possibility that the youth was involved in a game with at least two friends, who fled the scene soon after the tragedy. The boy was struck by a truck travelling in the direction of Madrid, driven by an unnamed 32 year old man and killed instantly. The driver, who received treatment for severe shock, alerted emergency services who arrived quickly on the scene. Guardia officers were unable to identify the body until the following afternoon as the boy carried no proof of ID - and because his body had been hit by several other vehicles, visual identification was impossible. By this time other witnesses,

possibly two or more friends of the victim, had come forward to help piece together events leading up to the tragedy. Officers are now investigating the possibility that the boy was part of a group who were playing the dangerous game, crossing both dual carriageways of the Autovia at night, dodging vehicles whilst the action was recorded on the friends mobile phones and later shared on social media. They understand the reckless ‘chicken’ game is similar to the ‘Bullfighter’ phenomenon, which surfaced in Belgium around ten years ago. In ‘Bullfighter’, protagonists were recorded standing on rail tracks in front of an oncoming train, waiting until the maximum possible time, before jumping out of the way.


T-SHIRTS for sale in Alicante promoting “Alicante Gotica”, or Gothic Alicante, have images of the wrong castle on them. The castle shown in the montage is clearly not the famous Santa Barbara, and some think it is probably the castle at Villena.

The other images on the shirts are all genuine city sights such as the marina and Gran Sol Hotel – but quite why a castle that is clearly not the Santa Barbara towers over it all is unknown. The shirts are for sale along the Esplanade and other tourist hotspots.

Bringing Hogueras to France Lyon next week when PARTLY to coincide with the two new direct flights from Alicante to Lyon, the Alicante Tourist board and acting mayor have been laying out plans for a major promotion of the city and surrounding areas in the French city. The cornerstone of the promotion will be the San Juan Bonfires – or Hogueras – that last year attracted a million visitors in and around the city. A giant bonfire typical of the Alicante fiesta is to be erected in

the Tourist delegation is in the city. This will include various representatives from the Hogueras as well as councillors from Alicante. Acting mayor Eva Montesinos went over the programme in a press conference this week, stressing the pulling power of the fiesta. She also pointed out that France is now the fourth biggest tourist market for the province and direct flights to the country’s third largest city should mean even more visitors.

NEWS BITE Tragedy on the tracks by Simon Russell

AN unnamed person died on Monday after being hit by a train in the Chiva area of Valencia. Rail operator Renfe said that the Bunol-Valencia commuter train hit the person who had “voluntarily entered the road crossing” at about noon. Police were first on the scene and although an emergency ambulance had been called they instructed it to return to base as the person was clearly deceased. As it was a quiet time of the day there were only eleven people on the train which was delayed for around an hour; alternative transport was arranged for the passengers. The police will open an investigation into the incident but at this stage no train workers appear to be at fault.



Kite surfing on the Costas OLIVA has been chosen as one of the three Spanish venues for the national kite surfing championships this year. One of the world’s fastest by Simon Russell growing sports, the La Safor town’s combination of long there to follow their pursuit. stretches of beach and a The championship will regular breeze make it an come to Oliva on 22 to 24 ideal spot and kite surfers from all over the world travel

June. The other venues are Huelva at the end of this month and finally Cadiz in August. In last week’s announcement conference top

kite surfers including Liam Whaley and Jerome Cloetens were present; both stressed the importance of Spain to the ever growing sport.

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Accessibility for all A

campsite at Pilar de la Horadada has become one of the first to have met the standards for hard of hearing and deaf campers as laid out by United Nations guidelines. The Lo Monte site has added a sign language

by Matthew Richards

option to its website, has staff on the site specially trained to deal with the deaf and has adapted alarm systems so that they have lights as well as sound. Lo Monte has always

pledged to adopt a policy of total accessibility for all its visitors, as laid out in the UN Convention on Rights for the Disabled. All the new measures have been overseen and approved by the Valencian Federation for the Deaf.

Back on track

THE Cami de la Casilla, badly damaged in the 2017 rains and storms, has now been fully repaired by Callosa d’en Sarria’s Works Department. This was a major task as landslides caused by flooding seriously damaged the road. The work entailed the restoration of the

road, the building of a new retention wall, the cleaning out of drainage ditches and nearby land that had also been buried. As well as this the water system that provides local drinking and irrigation water had to be rebuilt. While the work was done the council also took the opportunity to

construct a pavement and guardrail on the busy road while the carridgeway was widened for extra safety. The works cost €77,600 and it is expected that half can be claimed back under guidelines brought in by the Ministry of Finance concerning damage done by “acts of God” such as this.


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Self-defence plea doesn’t help pensioner IN a case that has many parallels with one currently hitting the tabloid headlines in the UK, a Spanish pensioner has been found guilty of killing a burglar who invaded his home. Back in 2015 Jacinto Siviero was in his house in the Canary Islands with his wife and sister when Jonas Cano and an unnamed minor broke in. The sister managed to hide but Jacinto and his wife Mercedes were badly beaten by the pair. When Cano and his

by Simon Russell

accomplice went to the room where Jacinto said the valuables were located, the pensioner took the chance to get a pistol he kept illegally. He approached the thieves and fired twice, one missing and the other hitting Cano in the face and killing him. The courts decided that the householder used excessive and unnecessary force and prosecutors have asked for a jail sentence of four and a

half years. However, due to his age (82) Mr Siviero is unlikely to spend time in prison. In the UK pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks was released without charge recently after killing Henry Vincent, who was robbing his house. The pair became embroiled in a knife fight which ended in Vincent’s death. While many in Britain applauded the decision there are others who believe that, as the courts found with Mr Siviero, excessive force was used.

Stabbed woman victim of gender violence AFTER hearing what sounded like a violent altercation a neighbour of a 39-year-old woman went to find a woman dying in a pool of her own blood in the hallway of an apartment block in Murcia. The woman lived in the building with her 46-year-old husband who

Rescue efforts fail to save horse A horse died on a farm in Petrer (Alicante) after falling into a disused water tank last Saturday. The tank was covered up and due for repair but the animal fell into the two metre wide water filled pit with only its heads and front legs sticking out.

by Simon Russell

Unfortunately it may have been up to 24 hours before the farm-owner spotted the creature, when he immediately called the authorities. Local Police from Elda and a fire crew attended the scene and


were able to hoist the horse out within about half an hour using a winch. A veterinarian attended the scene and said that the animal was in very poor health after the accident; sadly it died 48 hours later of a mixture of exhaustion, hypothermia and possible internal injuries.

by Simon Russell

was immediately sought by the police after he had been seen fleeing the scene. He was tracked down to a local petrol station where he was arrested by the police. Police searched the house and found what

they believe to be the murder weapon; the man, a Colombian national, has been charged with suspicion of killing his wife. If he is found guilty, his partner’s name will be added to the sad list of female victims of gender violence this year in Spain.



80-YEAR-OLD MAN DIES AFTER REPORTEDLY WAITING NEARLY 30 HOURS TO BE TREATED An 80-year-old British man died in hospital after allegedly waiting 23 hours for an ambulance and another seven hours stuck outside the hospital, his son claims. Darren Williams (48) said he called the ambulance on Tuesday last week after his elderly father John, had fallen and hit his head at home. Darren said his father was on the kitchen floor for 11 hours after falling and he didn’t have his medication for 36 hours, ITV news reported. John allegedly spent 23 hours waiting for an ambulance to arrive and then spent an additional seven hours stuck outside Morriston Hospital in Swansea, southern Wales. John died in hospital a few days later. “I can’t help thinking that all this has contributed to my father’s passing,” Darren said. “What should have happened in my view is a rapid-response paramedic should have been with my dad within 40 minutes to an hour.” Darren said he then should have been assessed on the kitchen floor and the paramedics

could have made the call from there. “He might still be with us. It’s just unbelievable.” Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson Claire Bevan said that the incident will be thoroughly investigated. “We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr Williams’ family at this very sad



n a statement released by the Metropolitan Police, Yulia Skripal said she did not yet want assistance. Yulia, who was poisoned alongside her father in the Salisbury nerve agent attack, says she now finds herself in a “totally different life” to the “ordinary” one she led before the attack.

In her first public comments, she said she is still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent used against her and her father, former double agent Sergei. In a statement released by the Metropolitan Police, the 33-year-old Russian national said she did not yet want assistance from the

Russian Embassy. Yulia also appeared to distance herself from her cousin, Viktoria, who was denied a visa for the UK to visit her sick relatives. She was discharged on Monday after more than a month in hospital after coming into contact with the military-grade nerve agent, Novichok.


JEREMY CORBYN PROMISES FREE BUS TRAVEL FOR UNDER-25S Millions of people aged unde-25 would be able to travel free on England’s buses under a Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn will promised on Thursday. The Labour leader will say the move would make a “huge difference”

to up to 13m young adults by saving them as much as £1,000 a year. The party estimated that the cost of the commitment would eventually reach £1.4bn, which would be funded by road tax receipts. It said the policy would encourage a long-term

shift to public transport, ease congestion and benefit the environment.

Free tickets

It would offer free tickets to under-25s in areas where councils municipallycreate run bus companies or take charge of issuing franchises to operators. Mr Corbyn will say during a local election campaign visit to Derby: “Young people deserve a break. Nearly eight years of Tory austerity have hit their incomes, their chance to buy a house and their career opportunities. Labour wants to help young people make the most out of life by investing in them.” England’s bus fares have risen by an average of 2.9 per cent each year

between 2012 and 2017, which is higher than the typical rate of inflation, according to Department of Transport figures. Meanwhile the number of passenger journeys fell by 70m, or 1.5 per cent, in the year ending March 2017 compared with the previous 12 months.

Better services



shadow The Secretary, Transport Andy McDonald, will claim that private bus companies should no longer be allowed to run services “for profit not people”. He will say: “We’ll encourage local authorities to take back control of their buses so they can provide a better and more sustainable service to young and old alike, wherever they live.”

‘TINKY WINKY’ ACTOR FOUND FROZEN TO DEATH The actor who played Tinky Winky in the children’s tv program Teletubbies has been found frozen to death, according to reports A trained ballet dancer and father of three, he replaced Dave Thompson who was fired from the role of Tinky Winky in 1997 after a year. He starred in the popular TV show until its first run ended in 2001. Simon Shelton Barnes, 52, collapsed four days after his birthday on a Liverpool street and died of hypothermia according

to family and police. He was found dead at 7:30 a.m. the following Merseyside morning. Police confirmed details surrounding his death and stated that there was “no suspicious circumstances” found on the scene. Barnes played Tinky Winky from 1998 to 2001, and said he felt like a “member of The Beatles” during his time on the Teletubbies program. Anita Coroner Bhardwaj who conducted the inquest into his death said the cause of death was ‘misadventure’.



Business & Finance





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MILLIONS of British people voted in a historic referendum to quit the cosy confines of the European Union club, otherwise known as Brexit, but there is still time for the UK to change its mind according to Michel Barnier. The EU’s chief negotiator is leaving space for second thoughts about remaining part of the single market and customs union; allowing so-called red lines to be rubbed out and a real deal to be reached. Britain is due to quit in a little less than a year, 29th March 2019 to be exact, but Mr Big, sorry Mr Barnier - the EU’s champion in the talks - has hinted things could change. A transition period – also known as the implementation phase – is set to stretch until 31st December 2020. Meeting with European journalists, the EU’s negotiating chief said there was room for Britain to think again before the controversial deadline; allowing the UK to see in a New Year as part of the single market instead of being a party pooper. Brexit is fixed in stone and Prime Minister Theresa May insists the UK will go it alone; leave the single market and customs union and ensure Britain has the power to control its borders and forge new deals with other countries outside the bloc. When Big Ben rings to mark the end of the transition deal, she wants final arrangements between the two sides to kick in. Kick out the old and welcome the new, no doubt with a chorus of ‘Auld Langs Syne’ thrown in for good measure; everyone wants to act grown up and stay friends after all. However, Mr Barnier believes “everything is possible”, the UK could still go to the ball if things change before the deadline. “If the UK wanted to change its red lines, we would therefore change ours”. He suggested the Norway model; giving access to the single market in return for a financial contribution to EU coffers, accepting EU law, and allowing free movement between EU countries and friends. It seems he wants the talks to end with a very open agreement to the future, a political commitment without the detailed contract Britain is seeking and time to adjust the small print. Certainly this is not the future being sought from London. While wishing to remain good friend, even attend the party as a guest, Mrs May’s government is seeking

Paying the price

FINES levied against Spanish banking giant Santander have been upheld it has been announced this week. The Spanish Supreme Court ruled that penalties totalling €16.9 million relating to two separate breaches of banking

by Simon Russell

guidelines were now payable. One related to inadequate fact finding on customers who they were selling financial products to, vital to assess a client’s risk profile. This led to Santander basing clients attitude to risk on

their assets, rather than the clients own feelings about risky investments compared to safe ones. The other fine related to inadequate paperwork, again leading to a lack of critical financial information about the client.

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a bespoke deal, a comprehensive new tailor made frock to wear. Brexit Secretary David Davis points at the trade treaty Canada made with the EU but “plus, plus, plus”. Brexit remains a vast topic and animal welfare and the UK’s farming industry were back on the menu this week with a look at the export of live animals. Environmental Secretary Michael Gove is said to be considering a ban and has asked both industry experts and campaigners to submit a recipe for the future. The National Farmers’ Union believes last year around 20,000 live sheep – but no cattle – were exported; EU rules prevent a blanket ban but live animal exports were thought to be a “tiny part” of the £2.4 billion trade in meat and livestock with mainland Europe. Mr Gove believes Britain, already with high standards, can lead the world in animal welfare and invited interested parties to get in touch. “All animals deserve to get the respect and care they deserve at every stage of their lives,” said the politician. “With all options considered, I am keen to hear from industry, the devolved authorities and charities on all the possible options.” The British Veterinary Association was not slow in coming forward. President John Fishwick said: “Animals should be transported on the hook as meat, not on the hoof as live animals. “It is vital that we maintain the UK’s current high standards of animal welfare post-Brexit and seek opportunities to improve them.” Labour called the government’s position “weak” and just another “desperate attempt” to appear animal-friendly to voters. Shadow environmental secretary Sue Hayman said: “Over the last year the Tories have supported a free vote on fox hunting and overseen the largest number of badgers culled across England on record... Labour is the party of animal welfare.” Back to the New Year’s Eve 2020 party; presumably neither fox nor badger will be presented on the buffet table.

Eco boost

SPAIN looks set to bring in a raft of legislation to help the environment, aimed primarily at the manufacturing industry. Among the measures is the prohibition by 2020 of the production, import or export of single use plastic utensils, including

by Matthew Richards

plates, cutlery, glasses and straws. There are also plans to further prohibit the distribution of free plastic bags, something which retailers do only on a voluntary basis currently. Wet wipes, the cause

of much waste on beaches and in sewage systems will need to be clearly labelled that they are not suitable for flushing as a non-biodegradable product. A cross party group have tabled the motions which is set to go before lawmakers shortly.



Paying the price Never in British history has any government knowingly pursued a course of action it knew would be damaging, writes Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain


by Laurence Dollimore

T looks like Brexit is not going according to plan, if there was ever a plan in the first place. Even to the most casual observers, it must be clear that negotiating a Brexit deal - any Brexit deal – hasn’t been as easy or achievable as we were led to believe.

Nigel Farage left holding the dead, wet fish. While attracting lots of press coverage, just as Farage likes it, the protest attracted much ridicule and was described as a fitting metaphor for Brexit – i.e. badly planned and failing to deliver what it had promised.

He added that freedom of movement rights had not been specifically agreed but that the British government would continue to push for us to retain those rights. Another concern was the statement from Barnier that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’. Unless the existing ‘agreements’ are

So it is somewhat amazing that on Friday, EU leaders confirmed their expected support for the draft Withdrawal Agreement (WA) that was presented earlier in the week by David Davis and Michel Barnier. The biggest breakthrough was an agreement for a transition period of 21 months, ending in December 2020, during which the UK will obey EU rules but be left out of EU decision-making. The deal was heralded as ‘significant progress’ by many pundits but received criticism from both Remain and Leavers alike. For Jacob Rees-Mogg and other extreme Brexiters, it represented a betrayal of Leave voters – and especially of the British fishing industry. Rees-Mogg objected to the UK becoming a ‘vassal state’ and, especially, to UK fishermen being subject to European fisheries policies. A demonstration staged by Rees-Mogg on the Thames didn’t go to plan. He was unable to board the boat because nobody had applied for landing permission, leaving

Concerns from Remain on WA meanwhile focused on what was missing rather than what was included. ‘Article 32’ was a much-discussed and unpopular clause in the original draft documents, relating to citizens’ rights. It related to restrictions placed on the freedom of movement of British citizens us expats - living and working in the EU. If meant that our rights would be restricted to the country we call home but we would not be able to work across borders, or have clients in a bordering EU country. It was quite a surprise (a pleasant one, of sorts) therefore, to find that Article 32 had been removed from the draft WA. What did this mean? Had our freedom of movement rights been restored? We set out to ask Our man in Spain, the British Ambassador, Simon Manley, who claimed that the offending article was not needed and that both the Brexit Committee and the European Parliament welcomed its removal.

ring-fenced, we will be back to square one in any ‘no deal’ scenario – a situation that May continues to insist is better than a bad deal. For May and her government, the WA represented an opportunity to move forward and talk about trade – the only topic of interest to them thus far. To reach this stage, she agreed to accept the EU’s plan B for the Irish border, presumably in the hope she would never have to use it. Both sides have repeatedly said there will be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. May’s suggestion of using technology was rejected as unworkable so the EU devised a fall-back position – move the Irish border to the Irish Sea. In her Mansion House speech during February, the PM ruled out this option and added that no British Prime Minister would ever agree to such a thing. Now, May has agreed to this fall-back position – yet another of her infamous U-turns. She must find an alternative plan to a

hard border, or risk losing the support of the DUP. If she loses this, she also kisses goodbye to her tiny majority in parliament. The DUP will never accept one rule for Northern Ireland and another rule for the rest of the UK, so it’s an impossible circle to square. The Irish border issue is one of many problems that make delivering Brexit extremely difficult, if not impossible. The after-Brexit vision promised to the public has proved a myth, a dream, a nonsense. Britain cannot be stronger, bigger and better alone than it can be with the backing of 27 partners. May has hinted as much by asking for the EU’s support against Russia over recent events. Whatever the reasons that people voted Leave, it’s becoming clearer daily that Brexit will not solve these problems. Instead, it will cause economic harm, especially ironically in Leave-voting areas. The government knows this, and its own impact analyses back up this view. Nobody voted to be poorer or to harm the NHS, just as nobody voted for job losses or for the devaluation of Sterling. Despite May and Davis insisting that Brexit is inevitable, unstoppable, it just isn’t true. Brexit is impossible to deliver and it’s not too late to stop it. Remainers have every reason to be hopeful. If May continues to pursue a hard Brexit, the ‘deal’ will not be acceptable to parliament when it votes in autumn. If every British citizen in Spain wrote to their current/former MP to convey their views on Brexit, it would be very powerful indeed. We know from personal experience how effective personal lobbying can be. The only option left on the table after a vote in parliament would be to offer the British public a referendum on the deal. This option is becoming increasingly likely and is gaining momentum with Remainers and Leavers alike. No matter how anyone voted on June 23, 2016, everyone should want the opportunity to have a final say - to assess the deal that’s being offered and decide if they want to proceed now they can see what’s on the table. This was all about the ‘will of the people’, wasn’t it? If the people don’t want to proceed with Brexit when they know how it really looks, the government must pay attention and act accordingly. Never in British history has any British government knowingly pursued a course of action that would obviously be damaging to the nation. Let’s not start now!


Where there’s a will….

THE future of a huge estate of a Valencian woman who died thirty years ago without relatives or leaving a will may finally soon be settled. Josefa Martell died in Castellon in 1988 where she owned dozens of properties including urban and rural housing as well as several farms. The case has become hugely complicated and even now no-one is sure what exactly Josefa owned at the time of her death. The case has been referred all the way up to Ximo Puig, President of the Valencian Generalitat. The law states that the assets should be split equally between the city (in this case Castellon), non-profit entities in the city and non-profit groups across Valencia. However, as the estate is almost all tied up in property rather than cash this has proved complex. Over recent years it has been agreed that many urban build-

by Simon Russell

ings, at least 20, will be gifted to Castellon city, some of which can then be used to house non-profit works. There are an estimated 20 farms in the estate, plus rural housing, which are to be auctioned and the cash raised then split as per the law. However there have been problems with the auction process as the ownership of some land is still in dispute while more land that was owned by Josefa has yet to be traced. However it appears, according to a statement by Ximo Puig, that the remaining issues around the estimated €5 million estate will finally be resolved this year. The moral of this drawn out issue is surely that if you have a specific wish concerning what you leave behind then always make a

Female terrorist freed A

young mother who was sentenced to 13 years in jail for her membership of the ETA terrorist group has been released from prison. Sara Majarenas was a member

of the Valencian wing of the terror group and served her full 13 years. There had been much controversy around her sentencing, not least an incident where her

three year old daughter, conceived in jail, was stabbed by Sara’s expartner when on a weekend visit to his home in Benifaio (Valencia). The little girl survived but it was felt she

should be spending more time with her mother after previously living with grandparents. A judge agreed and Sara spent the end of her prison term in a reception centre in Madrid where she could spend more time with her child.


NEWS BITE Trump Jr getting the goat AS his father continues to have a turbulent time in the US with everything from porn star allegations to Russian hackers, Donald Trump Jr is currently in this part of the world. His exact location has not been revealed for security reasons but he is believed to be in Teruel, just outside of the Valencian Community. Even on holiday Trump Jr will be raising a few eyebrows as apparently he is there to hunt wild mountain goats, a legal but not universally popular activity. An unabashed big game hunter, the President’s eldest son has been pictured with buffaloes, leopards and even elephants he has killed on hunting trips.





Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2018 There’s hardly a shortage of crossovers on the market. Everyone and their aunt has some sort of SUV-style model in their line-up. Flavour of the month has become a regular on the menu it seems. Not to be left behind, Mitsubishi has this - the Eclipse Cross - its version of the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson. So what makes the Eclipse Cross stand out from the crowd? Mitsubishi uses lots of words like ‘defiant’ and ‘engaging’ when talking about the styling. There’s certainly a lot going on, whether you like it is personal preference - but it is at least not generic. Mitsubishi describes the cabin as its ‘best interior ever’. It certainly feels well made and step forward from the likes of the ASX, with less hard plastics and a generally nicer feel throughout. We wouldn’t say it’s as good as something like a SEAT Ateca but everything works intuitively and it feels solidly built. Practicality wise it’s a good family car. The coupeesque rear end may cut into the load space somewhat and that split rear tailgate glass compromises the view out the back - but we’re assured you can fit four golf bags in the 448-litre boot while the rear seats slide back and forth

plus also recline. There’s just one engine at launch - a 1.5-litre fourcylinder turbocharged petrol. The lack of a diesel will mean high mileage drivers ruling out the Eclipse Cross but a PHEV is on the way. The 1.5-litre petrol is an impressive unit that’s responsive yet quiet and with 163PS isn’t short of power. Claimed economy is 42mpg in a two-wheel drive model - you’ll probably be seeing around early 30s in real life. The standard six-speed manual is far better than the optional CVT automatic. The latter is fine at a sedate pace but ask for any meaningful acceleration and you’re greeted with the usual whine as the engine sits at constant revs. Where the Eclipse Cross falls down is on the road. It’s not especially good to drive with too much lean in corners, a hard ride on models with bigger wheels and artificial feeling steering. It’s disappointing given how promising the rest of the car is. It’s also not that cheap compared to the competition and while well-equipped - there are no base-level cars here - there’s not much that would tempt you to choose an Eclipse Cross over many of its better-to-drive rivals.

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Reed shows nerves of steel to win the Masters Patrick Reed became famous playing for his country. He won for himself on Sunday at the Masters. Rory McIlroy came after him early. Jordan Spieth briefly tied him for the lead. Rickie Fowler birdied the last hole to leave him no room for error. Reed never flinched through it all on a raucous afternoon at Augusta National, calmly rolling in a 3-foot par putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory. Captain America is now the Masters champion. Even as the loudest cheers were for everyone else, Reed earned all the respect with two big birdie putts on the back nine, one key par and plenty of grit. The 27-year-old Texan becomes the fourth straight Masters champion to win his first major. Fowler holed an 8-foot

birdie putt on the final hole for a 67. He had to settle for his third runner-up finish in a major. He left the scoring cabin when Reed two-putted for par down the slippery slope on the 18th green and waited for a chance to greet Reed. “Glad I at least made the last one, make him earn it,” Fowler said with a grin. “You had to do it didn’t you?” Reed told him as they exchanged a hug. “You had to birdie the last.” Spieth put up the most unlikely fight and was on the verge of the greatest comeback in Masters history. He started nine shots behind going into the final round, and was inches away on two shots from a chance at another green jacket. His tee shot on the 18th clipped the last branch in his way, dropping his ball some 267

yards from the green. His 8-foot par putt for a recordtying 63 narrowly missed on the right. He had to settle for a 64. Reed won for the sixth time in his PGA Tour career, though he was best known for the trophies he shared at the Ryder Cup. He is ferocious in match play, especially the team variety, and his singles victory over McIlroy at Hazeltine in 2016 led to the nickname of Captain America. McIlroy, meanwhile, will have to wait another year for a shot at the career Grand Slam. Trailing by three shots to start the final round, he closed to within one shot after two holes. That was as close as he came. McIlroy’s putter betrayed him, and he was never a factor on the back nine. He closed with a 74 and tied for fifth.

Grand National winner One For Arthur set for 2019 comeback Grand National winning horse One For Arthur can come back stronger than ever and make a victorious return to the race in 2019, said trainer Lucinda Russell. The second horse trained in Scotland to win the National is unable to defend its title this weekend after picking up a tendon strain in October. One For Arthur will instead continue a rehabilitation program at Russell’s stables which sees the Irish thoroughbred take to an underwater treadmill. Russell is pleased with the progress made to date by her star horse, and is eyeing a successful comeback at the season’s showpiece race next year. She said: “At the moment our thoughts are leading towards Grand National 2019. “In order to win the national you have to be very brave, along with having plenty of ability. “He still has that bravery and ability. “Last year was the most incredible year, it

was a military operation where everything was planned to the last minute and we are planning to the last minute again for going back. “Physically, it’s a big effort for them so, in a way, it might be the best thing for him in the long run to have the year off.” While One For Arthur misses out, two Scottish-trained horses are set to run on Saturday looking to keep the trophy north of the border. Borders-trained Seeyouatmidnight and Captain Redbeard are both widely tipped this weekend. However, it’s the latter that Russell holds out the most hope for. She added: “Seeyouatmidnight is a classy horse but has only had one run over a shorter distance due to injury. “Captain Redbeard is a lovely horse, for me he seems a perfect Grand National contender. “He’s quite a big price as well, that’s who I am backing.”





Fury Announces Return It has been two and half years since the former WBA-WBO-IBF world heavyweight champion defeated Wladimir Klitschko, during which time the likes of Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker have usurped him at the top of the boxing game. That may be set to change though after it was revealed that the 29-yearold had signed with Frank Warren in a deal which will see him fight in the Manchester Arena on June 9. Who will his opponent

be? That we don’t know. Fury has spoken at length about his desire to face unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, but with Joshua looking increasingly likely to face Deontay Wilder in the coming months, that may not be possible just yet. Fury’s decision to sign up with Warren comes two weeks after Joshua urged him to sign with Matchroom Boxing - the promotion run by Eddie Hearn - in a bid to negotiate a fight. While Fury’s decision

indicates a long-awaited bout between the two remains but a pipe dream for now, the Gypsy King’s temperament would suggest that he won’t stop until he gets the fight he wants. Fury also couldn’t resist a dig at Joshua upon announcing his return. Tyson Fury: “Deontay Wilder at the moment is the top of the pile because he’s dangerous right up until the last seconds of a fight. “He’s got a flexibility that AJ doesn’t have. But they’re all vulnerable.”

Man City look ahead to Spurs despite Champions League exit Manchester City travel to Tottenham on Saturday looking to put a nightmare run of results behind them and take another step towards clinching the Premier League title. Defeat against Manchester United last weekend means City now need two wins to get their hands on the trophy. Pep Guardiola shuffled his

side around in the last three games but could return to his previously favoured gameplan at Wembley, although he will be witout key man Fernandinho. Sergio Aguero did not start against Liverpool in midweek because he was not 100 per cent fit, and a decision on whether he can start against Spurs will be made close to kick-off.

Benjamin Mendy is continuing his rehabilitation following a serious knee injury but it is not thought he is close to a return to the first team squad. When he is involved he will be on the bench. John Stones and Danilo also missed the Liverpool game and are both doubtful for the weekend. Fernandinho has played in 30 of City’s 32 league games this

Spurs striker Harry Kane wins Stoke goal appeal Harry Kane has won his appeal and been awarded Tottenham Hotspur’s second goal from Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stoke City. The goal was officially awarded to Christian Eriksen during the match, but Tottenham supported their striker’s claim that he got a final touch and appealed the decision, which has been accepted by the Premier League. In a statement, the

league’s Goal Accreditation Appeals Panel said: “ After taking the player’s testimony into account and reviewing the match footage, a three-person panel agreed that the final touch on the ball belonged to Kane.” The decision moves Harry Kane on to 25 Premier League goals this season, four behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot. And Kane is still

extremely confident of catching the Egyptian before the end of the season. ”I still believe I can. There are still games to go,” the Spurs striker said after the match against Stoke. “I’ve got to focus on my game. I can’t control what he does. “Obviously as a striker, it would be great to win the Golden Boot again and I will keep working hard from now until the end of the season.”

season and finding a replacement is no easy task for Guardiola. Ilkay Gundogan filled in when the Brazilian missed City’s games against Arsenal and Chelsea earlier this year and that is the most likely outcome on Saturday. Elsewhere, Vincent Kompany could return to City’s backline alongside Nicolas Otamendi, with Fabian Delph coming back

into the side at left-back. Mauricio Pochettino has virtually no injury worries to contend with ahead of City’s visit. Only Harry Winks is unavailable but he has not featured in the league since a six-minute cameo against Southampton on Boxing Day. Kick off is 20:45 Spanish time.

Tottenham’s remaining Premier League fixtures Saturday 14th April: Manchester City (home) Tuesday 17th April: Brighton & Hove Albion (away) Monday 30th April: Watford (home) Saturday 5th May: West Bromwich Albion (away) Wednesday 9th May: Newcastle United (home) Sunday 13th May: Leicester City (home) Liverpool’s remaining Premier League fixtures Saturday 14th April: AFC Bournemouth (home) Saturday 21st April: West Bromwich Albion (away) Saturday 28th April: Stoke City (home) Sunday 6th May: Chelsea (away) Sunday 13th May: Brighton & Hove Albion (home)



Your Weekend Starts Here!

Sport Local star seals Davis Cup thriller DAVID Ferrer, born and bred in Javea and retaining strong links to the town, won a five set thriller to clinch a semi-final in the Davis Cup tennis tournament for the Spanish team. To add to the local flavour of the event it was held in Valencia this year, where Spain were playing at home on clay to a strong German line-up. The choice of surface was critical with both Ferrer and Rafa Nadal being notable clay court specialists. Ferrer lost the first match of the tournament but Rafa Nadal defied a three month lay-off to level matters. Spain slipped back again after losing their doubles, meaning they would need to win both their Sunday singles matches to progress. Rafa was first up and beat Alexander Zverev comfortably in straight sets. A weather interrupted final game went all the way, with Ferrer finally beating Philip Kohlschreiber 7-5 in the fifth set. In the semi-final the Spanish team will meet France, reigning champions and favourites to retain their title who will also have the home advantage. Croatia face the USA in the other semi-final match.

The Weekender Issue 40  
The Weekender Issue 40