Spain

Spain

Analysis: Has the Catalan crisis highlighted partisanship in Spanish media?

A study by the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review argues that Spanish media, led by El Pais, have mirrored the biased policies of politicians involved in the secessionist drama. An October 2017 review by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) claims that Spanish daily El Pais, TVE and other major Spanish, and Catalan, media outlets have failed to retain their impartiality during their coverage of the Catalan crisis. In October, employees of Spain's public-funded TVE television broadcaster called for the resignation of their director. The TV station's reporters argued that the coverage of violent clashes between Catalans who went to the polls on October 1st to vote on independence and Spanish police had been "an embarrassment" and "unbalanced." TVE employees began a campaign on twitter with the hashtag #verguenza (shame). Staff apparently waved sheets of paper enscribed with the word in the faces of their senior producers, reported Al Jazeera. Reporters Wit..

Spain

Catalan impasse damaging tourism prospects for 2018

Tourists enjoy the sunset at Cafe del Mar on Ibiza Island on July 10, 2015. AFP Photo/Jaime Reina Hotel reservations in Barcelona are down by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2018 over the same time last year due to Catalonia's separatist crisis, which could lead to job losses in the sector, industry lobby group Exceltur said Tuesday. If the trend continues "tourism company heads may have to start adjusting the number of their employees to adapt to lower levels of demand," Exceltur — which groups Spain's major hotel chains and tour operators — said in a statement. Hotels expect they would have to reduce their staff by an average of 8.2 percent while car rental firms predict they would shrink their payrolls by about 5.0 percent, it added. The tourism sector employs some 400,000 people in Catalonia, many of them on temporary contracts. Hotel reservations in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and one of Europe's most visited cities, for the Christma..

Spain

Supporters of Catalan independence protest in Brussels

People carry banners and wave flags during a pro-independence demonstration on December 7, 2017 in Brussels. Photo: Dirk Waem/Belga/AFP. Protesters began gathering in Brussels on Thursday to show support for deposed president Carles Puigdemont and urge the EU to support their drive for independence from Spain. Chanting "Wake up Europe!" and waving Catalonia's red, yellow and blue Estelada separatist flag, demonstrators gathered in a park near the headquarters of the European Union ahead of a march through the Belgian capital. "We cannot abandon our president, who is in exile here," Antoni Llenas, 59, a protester wearing a flag over his shoulders, told AFP. "We are here to continue the struggle for our independence and to ask for the freedom of our political prisoners." Belgian police were on hand but the early stages of the protest were peaceful, AFP reporters said. Puigdemont and four former ministers fled to Brussels in November, saying they wanted to take t..

Spain

How the Catalonia crisis has paralyzed Spanish politics

A man holds a Catalan pro-independence flag while others hold placards reading "Freedom" at a November demo in Barcelona calling for the release of jailed separatist leaders. Photo: AFP A 2018 budget that has still not been approved, a constitutional reform left hanging in the air… Far from a mere territorial issue, the Catalan crisis has also paralyzed Spanish politics as a whole. The independence drive, which caused the country's biggest crisis in decades, has only added to the woes of a parliament already deeply fragmented as warring political parties make any agreement difficult. "This is going to be an exceptionally unproductive legislature," said Jose Fernandez Albertos, a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council. First and foremost, Spain's national budget for 2018. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) and his allies — centre-right Ciudadanos and lawmakers from the Canary Islands — need the support of five ..

Spain

Catalonia’s ex-leader Puigdemont says he’s not in any hurry to leave Belgium

Carles Puigdemont (R) unites with his fellow candidates after a press conference in Oostkamp, near Brugge, on November 25th 2017. Photo: AFP Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Wednesday that he will stay in Belgium "for now" despite Spain dropping European arrest warrants against him and four former ministers. Puigdemont accused Spain of backtracking on the warrants, which are on charges of sedition and rebellion over Catalonia's illegal independence referendum, only because it was "scared of world opinion". He said that if his party wins elections in Catalonia on December 21st then "we should return" but did not give any further details of whether he would actually go back for the polls. "When I arrived here, I did not come to Belgium, I came to Brussels the capital of Europe, where we could better defend our rights, and that will not change," Puigdemont told a news conference in Brussels. "Can we move around the EU without fear? For now we don&..

Spain

These 11 places just joined the list of the most beautiful villages in Spain

Briones in La Rioja has been recognised for its beauty. Photo: Víctor Gómez / Flickr Eleven new towns have just won a coveted spot on the most beautiful pueblos in Spain list. Spain might be renowned for its costas but it is also home to dozens of quaint little towns just waiting to be explored by those intrepid enough to get off the beaten track. Eleven new places have just earned a coveted spot in the Association of the Most Beautiful Pueblos in Spain. The idea to start the association, in 2011, came after the success of its French counterpart and first such group, Les plus beaux villages de la France. "It is our goal to promote preferably rural and small towns," the association says on its website. Town halls can apply for their town to join the list, but only 20 percent make the grade, winning the right to publicize themselves as "one of Spain's prettiest towns". To qualify, towns must have a population of under 15,000 and some kind of provable ar..

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