Spain

Spain

Spain will use drones to catch smugglers in Gibraltar and Andorra

Drones are already being used by police in Benidorm to patrol the beaches. JOSE JORDAN / AFP Spain’s tax agency is set to invest nearly half a million euros in drones and state-of-the-art hidden camera equipment in the hope of spotting cigarette smugglers and money mules at two of its most troublesome borders. In recent times, Spain’s tax agency has lost up to a €1 billion a year to cigarette smuggling. It has long been an issue in La Linea de la Concepción, a town on the border with Gibraltar where smugglers regularly take advantage of the British overseas territory’s lower cigarette prices. In tiny Andorra, as well as in the bordering Catalan town of Seo de Urgel, the main problem is the illicit transfer of huge amounts of undeclared cash into the principality. In a bid to tackle their huge losses, the Agencia Tributaria is coughing up €474,000 in two security camera systems. The first of these will be a fleet of drones, each one equipped with movement, veh..

Spain

Spanish Word of the Year highlights hatred of poor people

Aporofobia can be roughly translated into English as peniaphobia, a fear of poverty and poor people. GERARD JULIEN / AFP The recently coined term aporofobia, translated as a fear and repudiation of poor people, has been chosen as the word of 2017 for “giving a name to a palpable reality”. Spain’s prestigious language foundation Fundéu BBVA has chosen aporofobia as its word of the year, a title usually given to new or trending terms that influenced the language Spaniards used. Previous winners include selfi (that’s without an “e” at the end in Spanish), populism, refugee and escrache (a targeted demonstration outside the home or workplace of a public figure). This year it’s different, however. “It’s not a word that’s been coined in 2017, nor is it one that’s really known by the general public,” Fundeu’s director general Joaquín Muller is quoted as saying in left-leaning online Spanish daily El Diario. “But it’s a voice, a neologism that we recommend here at Fun..

Spain

Spanish dictator Franco’s only daughter dies

Franco used and moulded his daughter into the face of fascist Catholic youth in Spain. Archive/Semana Carmen Franco, the only child of Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco, has passed away at 91 after suffering from terminal cancer. Born in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo in 1926, María del Carmen Franco Polo lived a life of privilege even before her father took control of Spain in 1939. Her mother, also named Carmen, was the daughter of a wealthy businessman from that same city in Asturias. She met Francisco Franco, then an up-and-coming army lieutenant colonel, in 1923. The couple left not long after for Spanish Morocco, from where Franco built his military influence and power and later led a successful uprising against Spain’s Republican Government. [contfnewc] According to Spanish daily El Español, she had a lonely and secluded upbringing as the only child of Spain’s Generalísimo. Franco used and molder her into the face of fascist catholic youth in..

Spain

Migrant arrivals to Spain by sea triple in 2017

So far this year 223 people have died or disappeared while trying to reach Spain. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP Almost 21,500 migrants arrived on Spain's shores in 2017, triple the amount of the previous year, fuelled by a surge in the numbers of Algerians and Moroccans. "At the end of the year, the tally is devastating," the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR), which defends the right to asylum, said in a statement. Almost 21,500 people arrived by sea on Spain's southern shores — popular with northern European tourists — between January 1 and December 20, up from 6,046 during the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The number of deaths is also up. So far this year 223 people have died or disappeared while trying to reach Spain by boat, 95 more than in 2016. Most sea arrivals are reported along the Strait of Gibraltar which is the narrowest passage of the Mediterranean Sea separating Spain from Morocco. Sm..

Spain

Ronaldo and Real big winners at Dubai’s football ‘Oscars’

Ronaldo appeared by video link as he received the award from Italy’s Alessandro del Piero. MAHMOUD KHALED / AFP Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was Thursday named Globe Soccer’s Best Player for the second year in a row and the fourth time overall although he wasn’t present in person to receive his trophy. The Portuguese international also won the prize, organised by the EFAA (European Association of Football Agents) and ECA (European Clubs Association) in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Ronaldo appeared by video link as he received the award from Italy’s Alessandro del Piero. Despite his numerous awards, Ronaldo joked that he still has plenty of room to expand his personal trophy cabinet. “Don’t worry my friend, I have a lot of space,” Ronaldo, who inspired Real to the Champions League last season, told the show’s host. “For me it’s a special moment and I feel very happy to receive this award. I have to say thank you to my teammates, to my coach, to Real Madrid. “..

Spain

Hunt is on for bingo thieves who robbed Spain’s rebel royal

Scandal-prone Felipe Juan Froilán, fourth in line to the Spanish throne, was allegedly robbed of 1400 euros while at a Madrid betting house with friends. Nineteen-year-old Don Felipe Juan Froilán de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y Borbón, known to Spanish society as just Froilán, is by most recent accounts a royal handful. According to Spanish daily El Confidencial,King Felipe IV’s temperamental nephew was robbed at a betting and bingo house on Madrid’s upmarket Paseo de la Castellana on December 6. Froilán is believed to have been carrying 1400 euros in cash in an envelope that he intended to use to bet on one of the Champions League matches that night, Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund. After going over security footage from the Canoe games room, Madrid police confirmed that the amount in question was what Froilán had brought from home rather than what he and his friends had won that evening. It is unclear if the assailants pickpocketed Froilán and his friends or i..

Spain

Young man with cerebral palsy to cycle across Sahara

“That feeling of crossing the finish line after swimming, cycling and running, it’s indescribable”. Photo: Alex Roca/Instagram Seventy six percent of his body may be paralyzed, but for 26-year-old Alex Roca “you set your own limits”. Here is one of those stories that really call into question the meaning of “disability”. Barcelona native Alex Roca lives with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder characterized by the loss or impairment of motor function, as a result of brain damage. It affects body movement, coordination, reflex, posture, balance and motor skills. Alex developed cerebral palsy when he was just six months old, leaving the left side of his body almost entirely paralyzed and preventing him from being able to speak. Life has planted many obstacles in his way, but through sport Alex has proven to himself and others just how much he can actually do. In April 2018, he will take part in an arduous six-day mountain bike race across the Sahara desert..

Spain

Spain smashes foreign tourism records a month before end of year

Tourist numbers have risen yet again, despite political instability in CataloniaJosep LAGO / AFP It's taken only 11 months for the Spanish international tourism sector to register its best figures yet with 77.8 million foreign visitors, up from 75.6 million in the whole of 2016. Tourism really is the industry that keeps on giving in Spain. According to a study by Frontur, the tourism branch of the country’s National Institute of Statistics, figures from January to November 2017 stand at 77.8 million foreign visitors and that number is likely to rise above 80 million by the time the year is over. That estimate represents a growth of 5 million tourists since 2016. Bearing in mind that Catalonia’s tourism activity slumped by around 15 percent as a result of the region’s political instability in October and by 2.3 percent in November, the figures are extremely encouraging. Especially when considering that Catalonia received a quarter of all foreign visitor..

Spain

Spain to watch over Airbnb to thwart future terrorist attacks

Authorities will keep more detailed records of people booking accommodation across Spain. PAU BARRENA / AFP Spanish authorities plan to keep a watchful eye on vehicle rental and accommodation portals such as Airbnb in the aftermath of the twin attack by jihadists in Catalonia last August. As part of the government’s Antiterrorism Pact, Spain’s Interior Ministry shed light Wednesday on some of the measures they plan to adopt in their fight against the increasing number of jihadist cells operating on Spanish territory. Authorities will keep more detailed records of people booking temporary accommodation across Spain on hotel and home rental sites such as Airbnb or Booking.com. The same measures will be applied to vehicle rental companies and websites, a decision greatly influenced by the fact that the terrorist cell that killed 16 and injured 152 last August in Catalonia rented three vans, one of which was used to ram pedestrians down in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas. Spa..

Spain

Spanish PM better armed against separatists despite poll fiasco

Rajoy has warned repeatedly that he will not hesitate to invoke article 155 powers again. OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP Despite taking fire for losing a snap election in Catalonia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faces the new year better equipped to block a separatist drive in the wealthy region, analysts said. His detractors have called the results of the December 21 election, which saw separatist parties hold on to their majority in the Catalan parliament, a "fiasco" and a "rout" for Rajoy, in power since 2011. Pro-independence parties failed to win a majority of ballots cast but neither did parties in favour of Spanish unity do as well as was hoped for by the majority of Spain's political class. Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) saw its marginal representation in the 135-seat Catalan parliament reduced even further, to just four seats, from 11 previously. Its main rival, the relative newcomer Ciudadanos, won the most seats with 36, mainly by luring away tra..

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