Spain

Spain

Bale and Varane to travel to Club World Cup: Zidane

Gareth Bale and Raphaël Varane. Photo: AFP Gareth Bale and France international Raphaël Varane will travel with the Real Madrid squad to the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday. Zidane made the announcement after injury-plagued Bale returned to training on Friday morning, but despite being available for the Club World Cup, which started on Wednesday with host club Al Jazira's 1-0 win over New Zealanders Auckland City, both the Wales winger and Varane will miss Saturday's visit of Sevilla in La Liga. Bale has yet another calf injury and Varane is suffering from a muscle problem. "Bale won't be available tomorrow (Saturday) but the idea is that he will travel with us to the Club World Cup and will see if he can play in the first match," said Zidane. Real will begin their tournament campaign as strong favourites against one of Al Jazira and Japan's Uwara Reds in their semi-final on December 13th. Cent..

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..

Spain

Bale and Varane to travel to Club World Cup: Zidane

Gareth Bale and Raphaël Varane. Photo: AFP Gareth Bale and France international Raphaël Varane will travel with the Real Madrid squad to the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday. Zidane made the announcement after injury-plagued Bale returned to training on Friday morning, but despite being available for the Club World Cup, which started on Wednesday with host club Al Jazira's 1-0 win over New Zealanders Auckland City, both the Wales winger and Varane will miss Saturday's visit of Sevilla in La Liga. Bale has yet another calf injury and Varane is suffering from a muscle problem. "Bale won't be available tomorrow (Saturday) but the idea is that he will travel with us to the Club World Cup and will see if he can play in the first match," said Zidane. Real will begin their tournament campaign as strong favourites against one of Al Jazira and Japan's Uwara Reds in their semi-final on December 13th. Cent..

Spain

Spanish police bust gang who were building aero club to fly in cocaine

File photo: Josep Lago/AFP. Spanish police said Wednesday that they had dismantled a major hashish trafficking ring that was allegedly buying land to build a private airfield to start smuggling cocaine into the country. The authorities detained 14 people and seized 5.1 tonnes of hashish along with six rigid-hulled inflatable boats, two light planes and a helicopter from various locations in the southwestern region of Andalusia as part of the operation, police said in a statement. The ring is suspected of using the boats and aircraft to smuggle hashish from Morocco, a main supplier of the drug for Europe, into Spain. Police described the network as "one of the main hashish trafficking organisations that operated in the south of Spain". "The detainees were in the process of buying land to build an aero club which would allow them to start bringing in cocaine by seaplanes," the police said. Photo: PiLens/Depositphotos Spain's close ties with its former colon..

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..

Spain

Spanish police bust gang who were building aero club to fly in cocaine

File photo: Josep Lago/AFP. Spanish police said Wednesday that they had dismantled a major hashish trafficking ring that was allegedly buying land to build a private airfield to start smuggling cocaine into the country. The authorities detained 14 people and seized 5.1 tonnes of hashish along with six rigid-hulled inflatable boats, two light planes and a helicopter from various locations in the southwestern region of Andalusia as part of the operation, police said in a statement. The ring is suspected of using the boats and aircraft to smuggle hashish from Morocco, a main supplier of the drug for Europe, into Spain. Police described the network as "one of the main hashish trafficking organisations that operated in the south of Spain". "The detainees were in the process of buying land to build an aero club which would allow them to start bringing in cocaine by seaplanes," the police said. Photo: PiLens/Depositphotos Spain's close ties with its former colon..

Spain

Valencia’s ‘lion king’ passes away

The 19-year-old lion Keops' health had been deteriorating. The large cat was euthanized this month, according to a statement released by BIOPARC Valencia. Valencia's 100,000 square-metre park aims to reproduce the "natural wildernesses of the African continent: equatorial forests, Madagascar, the great wetlands and savannah," according to its website. Keops had been transferred to the artificial natural habitat complex in Valencia from France in 2007. While the city mourns the loss of its great car, it's fair to say he lived a long life. Most lions in the wild live to between 12 and 16 years, while lions in captivity can live up to 20, writes the BIOPARC statement. Keops had fathered several cubs in his time in Valencia. Below is a video of Keops and his family in 2011. The mammal's minders had dubbed him 'the lion king'. [contfnewc] Two Angolan lions, Kianga and Shango, were born in BIOPARC in 2015 and are now three-years old. [cont..

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..

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