Spain

Spain

Iberia staff announce Christmas strike

Iberia staff at Barcelona’s El Prat airport have announced a strike for the four days leading up to Christmas, threatening to bring delays and travel misery for hundreds of travellers on their way home for the holidays. Staff for the IAG group, which includes Vueling, Iberia and British Airways have called the industrial action for the days of December 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Around 2000 workers are expected to join the strike including ground staff, check-in and cabin crew. The General Workers’ Union said that the action had been called because workers at the Iberia hub in El Prat were “still waiting” for solutions to tackle urgent staffing problems. They argue that rapid expansion of the company without increasing the workforce has meant workers have been unable to take rest breaks. The action will see limited service during three periods during each of the four days up to and including Christmas Eve – with stoppages taking place for four hours at a time – althou..

Spain

Scuffles break out as art is ‘plundered’ from Catalan museum

Archive image of a man draped in an Estelada flag in front of a police man. Photo: AFP Scuffles broke out on Monday between police and demonstrators gathered outside a museum in the Catalan city of Lleida to protest at the removal of 44 works of art that a Spanish court ordered be returned to a neighbouring region. The pre-dawn operation comes amid simmering tensions between Spain's central government and Catalonia over the wealthy region's independence drive, with separatists saying it amounted to "plundering". Police cordoned off the museum as workers arrived to remove the disputed art works, including three 15th century wooden caskets. Several hundred people gathered outside the museum chanted "Hands up! This is a robbery", images broadcast on Spanish television showed. Some demonstrators briefly scuffled with police as officers tried to move them on. Catalonia's regional government bought the art in 1983 from the nuns of the Sijena monastery..

Spain

Spanish study reveals half of middle-aged people have hardened arteries

Half of middle-aged people who are normal weight and don't smoke or have diabetes may have clogged arteries, researchers said Thursday, urging stronger measures to lower cholesterol. A high level of so-called "bad cholesterol," or LDL-C, is the main reason why apparently healthy individuals suffer heart attacks or strokes in middle age, said the report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). "Atherosclerotic plaques are present in 50 percent of middle-aged individuals (40-54 years old) with no classical cardiovascular risk factors," said the study. The report was based on nearly 1,800 people who had no classical risk factors for heart disease or stroke. READ MORE: How Spain became the world leader in organ transplants LDL cholesterol was the top predictor of arteries that were in the process of hardening, but had not yet caused a health crisis. "Even in people with optimal blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol, we detected an i..

Spain

12 weird and wonderful Christmas traditions celebrated across Spain

Photo: Josep Ma. Rosell/Flickr From Catalonia's 'crapping log' to the Basque Country's very own version of Santa Claus, The Local guides you through the weird and wonderful world of Spanish Christmas. Nativity scenes Residents take part in a 'living' Belen in in Arcos de la Frontera, near Cadiz in 2013. Photo: AFP Spaniards love their nativity scenes and many municipalities display a public one in the run up to Christmas. But they don't always follow the traditional format of Holy family in a stable surrounded by farm animals. Some towns stage a "living" Belen – the Spanish word for Bethlehem – with real actors and real animals. But others choose to make a social statement with the scene. This year Barcelona has caused controversery by displaying a modern take on the biblical scene in giant bubbles, including representations of the Holy family emerging from cardboard boxes. Caganers Photo: AFP The caganers or 'crappers&#03..

Spain

Cyclone Ana sweeps across Spain

Spain experienced strong winds, torrential rain and dangerous seas as the Cyclone Ana swept across the Iberian peninsula on Sunday. Winds reached speeds in excess of 140km/h with the strongest gusts felt in the northwestern region of Galicia. Flights were rerouted from both Bilbao and Vigo in the north and as far south as Seville while cancellations were experienced at airports across Spain as bad weather gripped northern Europe. Even Cadiz in the south of Spain was hit by abnormally strong winds and torrential rain with emergency services saying that they had received more than 100 calls reporting obstacles such as fallen trees blocking roads. The storm reached its peak on Sunday night but the bad weather was expected to continue on Monday. Yellow and amber alerts were issued for high winds across much of Spain on Monday morning and for stormy seas in coastal areas including around Ibiza and Formentera in the Balearic Islands, while ferry crossings were suspended bet..

Spain

OPINION: Four things the Catalan crisis can teach us about social unity

The Catalan crisis has made headlines numerous times around the world over the past few months. It has sparked heated arguments between pro-independance and anti-independence supporters. And in many of the reports, the Catalan people – especially pro-independants – have been referred to as “troublemakers” and “nationalists”. Eva Polymenakou, University of Bath While some Catalan people might indeed be nationalists, not everyone is. And in this way, accepting a simplistic representation of individuals limits our understanding of complex human beings, and complex societies. Not only is this unfair, it is also dangerous, as it puts social cohesion at risk. As a researcher of intercultural communication and education, I spend a lot of my time investigating how people can learn to accept and respect cultural diversity. I also look into how people can interact peacefully with those who are different from themselves. These are important skills to have, because all of us encounter pe..

Spain

Top ten heartiest tapas to enjoy when it’s cold outside

Chorizo a la sidra is the perfect winter warmer. Photo; Chispita_666 / Flickr One of the best things about the weather turning cold in Spain is that it's a perfect excuse to enjoy winter warming dishes. The Local asked foodie experts Devour Spain for the top ten perfect tapas to warm yourselves up on a chilly day. Spain is said to have more bars per square foot than any other country. Of course, we couldn’t be happier about this! There is something comforting about a tiny Spanish bar with its tall wooden stools, impossibly narrow entryway and more often than not, standing room only. Everyone inside is laughing and shouting with a drink in their hand. And of course, you’ll also need something to nibble on as you toast with your glass of Rioja or caña of beer. Enter the tapa; that quintessentially Spanish great little bite of food that has become synonymous with Spanish culture. Now that the temperatures are plummeting, we’ve put together a list of our favourite co..

Spain

Melilla border police find 12-year old boy hidden inside BMW dashboard

Police in Spain discovered a 12-year old boy hidden inside the dashboard of a BMW car at a checkpoint at the border with Morocco in the north African enclave of Melilla. A Moroccan pensioner who was driving the car was arrested for trying to smuggle in the youth, who was curled up inside the tiny space behind the dashboard. Border guards discovered the boy, who is believed to be from Guinea, after detecting his heartbeat using a special machine designed to screen vehicles for stowaways. When the child was freed from his cramped hiding space he was reportedly disorientated and suffering breathing difficulties. He also told medics at the border that he felt numbness in his limbs because of the position he was forced to adopt to fit into the space behind the dashboard of the BMW X5. 'A tiny detail aroused the suspicion of officers when a heart beat sensor was passed over the car, a high-end vehicle in very good condition," said a statement released by the Guardia Civi..

Spain

Ronaldo presents fifth Ballon d’Or to Bernabeu

Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his record-equalling fifth Ballon d'Or to an adoring Santiago Bernabeu before Real Madrid's clash with Sevilla on Saturday. Ronaldo pulled level on Thursday with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as the only two men to have won the annual award for the best player in the world five times. It is the fourth time in five years Ronaldo has beaten Messi to the prize. This time he did it on the back of Madrid's feat of becoming the first side to retain the Champions League since 1990. And the 85,000 crowd at the Bernabeu serenaded the Portuguese with chants of "Cristiano, Ballon d'Or" as he posed for photos with all five of his golden ball trophies. A total of seven Madrid players were included in the top 30 for the prestigious award handed out by France Football magazine. However, Real had to cope on Saturday without suspended captain Sergio Ramos, who came sixth in the voting, among a host of defensive absences as they strove to mo..

Spain

Corsica: Why France’s ‘Island of Beauty’ is not the new Catalonia

Nationalist gains at the ballot box in Corsica may have earned the French island comparisons with Catalonia, but even its hardcore separatists admit that breaking away is a distant dream. Nationalist gains at the ballot box in Corsica may have earned the French island comparisons with Catalonia, but even its hardcore separatists admit that breaking away is a distant dream. The ruling alliance of separatists and pro-autonomy candidates took 45 percent of the vote in last weekend's first round of regional elections, advances they look set to cement in Sunday's final round. The score represents a ten-point rise in the Pe a Corsica ("For Corsica") alliance's showing when they came to power at the local level two years ago on the island where Napoleon was born. Like Spain's Catalonia, the stunningly beautiful island wedged between France and Italy has its own language, a proud identity and a history of testy relations with the central government. But wh..

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