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Spain to Launch The EVA, or ‘Budget’ AVE Fast Rail Service

A ‘Low-Cost’, ‘no-frills’ version of Spain’s high-speed AVE line will be launched next year, with its first connection being between Madrid and Barcelona via El Prat de Llobregat. RENFE hopes to attract long-distance travellers who normally opt for much cheaper means such as Bla Bla Car and typical prices will be about 20% to 25% lower than the usual AVE tickets.

The budget version has been called the ‘EVA’ (AVE backwards), but unlike the Barcelona-Madrid AVE, the EVA will start from El Prat de Llobregat, since it is closer to the airport and more convenient for the metro, the outer suburban line or Rodalies and coaches and taxis.

An investment of €2 million will be needed to revamp El Prat station to house a high-speed connection. The EVA will be on track by 2019.

Once the EVA starts on the Madrid-Barcelona route, it will run five times daily in each direction and is expected to transport up to 1.05 million passengers a year, attracting 400,000 away from cars and an additional quarter of a million who would not normally travel so far because they do not wish to drive and all bar the slowest trains are too expensive.

Regular passengers will attract a ‘frequent traveller’ deal on ticket prices and RENFE is considering offering a flat-rate fee. The aim is for the EVA to link up with all other, smaller transport services and even to allow passengers to buy a blanket ticket, meaning they can combine the train with the metro, bus, Rodalies, taxis and even hire cars and literally pay for door-to-door travel.

On-board Wi-Fi, a mobile phone App giving travel and tourism information in real time and a paperless ticket system are some of the features of the EVA. Other on-board services include a children’s playroom, group carriages and a multi-purpose carriage to replace the usual café-bar coach. Pets are welcome, as are all types of non-standard luggage such as bicycles and skis.

Researchers Reverse Ageing Process and Cure Chronic Lung Condition In Rats

Two Spanish scientists have managed to cure Pulmonary Fibrosis in rats, a preliminary stage in extrapolating the methods used to humans.

Typically caused by heart attacks or injuries, Pulmonary Fibrosis is where the tissue in the lungs becomes scarred and hardens, eventually reducing patients’ respiratory capacity and making it harder and harder for them to breathe. Causes are varied and the disease is more common in those aged over 70, especially if they have been exposed to asbestos or other toxins, or have a family history of the condition.

All sufferers had shorter ‘telomeres’ than non-sufferers. ‘Telomeres’ are a protein structure which protect cells and are located at the tail end of the chromosomes inside them and the ageing process is associated with ‘Telomeres’ reducing in size. Each time a cell divides, it copies the genetic material, or DNA, from its existing chromosomes, but the ‘Telomeres’ reduce with each division until the point where they become toxic for the cell, which stops dividing and dies off. This causes age-related ‘wear and tear’ and eventually leads to illnesses associated with age.

Just over five years ago, the CNIO discovered an enzyme known as ‘telomerasa’ which is capable of lengthening shortened ‘Telomeres’ again, or reversing the ageing process by restoring protection of the chromosomes in cells.

“We saw that activating this enzyme using gene therapy made rats live longer and we started testing its effects on age-related illnesses to see whether the same treatment which slows down the ageing process would have therapeutic effects in conditions caused by shortening ‘Telomeres’, such as heart disease, aplastic anaemia and fibrosis,” Dr Blasco explained.

Her team bred rats exposed to environmental damage that causes the same type of ‘Telomere’ reduction, or cell wear and tear, as humans suffer over the course of their lives, then they applied the gene therapy to activate the enzyme and repair the worn-away chromosome ‘tails’. After three weeks of treatment, the rats showed an improved lung capacity with less inflammation and fibrosis and after two months of gene therapy, the condition had either dramatically improved or disappeared altogether.

British Paedophile Caught

A British paedophile has been arrested in the coastal town of Calpe after going on the run to avoid a 25-year jail sentence.

The accused, 71, is said to have committed ‘numerous’ sexual assaults, including rape, on his nephews. Four children aged seven, 12, 13 and 15 at the time were affected. The children were repeatedly raped and sexually abused during the 1980’s when they stayed at his home during the school holidays.

Chelmsford Killer May Be In Ibiza

An Essex teen on the run for six months, could be in Ibiza. Bradley Blundell killed 34-year-old electrician John Pordage with a single shot wound to the chest at a BP garage in Chelmsford on August 5th. Blundell’s alleged accomplice, aged 16, who cannot be named as he is a minor, was acquitted. The killer had already pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and perverting the course of justice. A third man, Saul Stanley, 18, was cleared of murder, but was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and possession of firearms.

Blundell, now 18, went on the run and police believe he has ‘a safe base’ in Ibiza and ‘a good support network’, which may make finding him difficult. A European arrest warrant has been issued. In a rare move, Essex police announced that they will match Crimestoppers’ reward to the tune of £5,000 (€5,642) for any information leading to Blundell’s capture.

Elderly Mother Escapes Jail For ‘Mercy-Killing’ of 100% Disabled Son

An 83-year-old woman who killed her completely-disabled son and tried to commit suicide was facing six years in prison, but has reached an agreement with the prosecution to secure her freedom.

María Luisa M B had spent 64 years caring for her eldest son, since his birth, as he was deaf-mute, dumb, totally paralysed and severely mentally handicapped, meaning he was bed-ridden and needed 24-hour care for his every need. His mother, whose own physical and mental health is failing, was worried her other children, a daughter and a son aged 59 who is also disabled, would have to spend their lives caring for their brother after she died. She mixed packets of pills in water and drank half of it herself, giving the remainder to her son.  She was found by her daughter and was rushed to hospital where she eventually recovered, but her 64-year-old son died the day after he was admitted.

The prosecution agreed to her being electronically tagged for six years with compulsory out-patient psychiatric treatment.