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Urdangarin’s ex–partner involves the Spanish Royal Household in his statements.

28 Feb
Diego Torres referred some e-mails written and signed by the Palm’s Duke, Urdangarin, to the judge José Castro; which revealed the King Juan Carlos and his daughter Cristina’s administration managements to benefit the Nóos Institute’s business.

The investigation of the Nóos Institute’s business, run by Iñaki Urdangarin, Spanish King’s son-in-law and husband of the King’s youngest daughter, Cristina; and Diego Torres, has just turned up a notch. Manuel González Peeters, Torres’ lawyer, has referred to the judge José Castro, responsible of the previously stated investigation, a document denouncing the epidemic amnesia suffered by the imputed and the witnesses, which exculpate the Duke in their statements. Besides, he attached a series of e-mails which reveal that the King Juan Carlos and his daughter Cristina had made managements to benefit this non-profit entity’s commercial interest.


Iñaki Urdangarin, entering into the Court

Manuel González Peeters, defence attorney of the Undargarin’s ex-partner in the Nóos Institute, Diego Torres, has presented a sarcastic document to the judge José Castro, to denounce the epidemic amnesia suffered by the imputed and witnesses, who are exculpating the Duke in their judicial declarations. All of them maintain, in line with what the King’s son-in-law had already said, that the Nóos’ administration and all the economic issues were Torres’ responsibility. The document denounces that Urdangarin exercises ‘inappropriately the accusation’ in order to leave her wife ‘out of this tight spot’.The investigation of the Nóos Institute’s business, run by Iñaki Urdangarin, Spanish King’s son-in-law and husband of the King’s youngest daughter, Cristina; and Diego Torres, has just turned up a notch. Manuel González Peeters, Torres’ lawyer, has referred to the judge José Castro, responsible of the previously stated investigation, a document denouncing the epidemic amnesia suffered by the imputed and the witnesses, which exculpate the Duke in their statements. Besides, he attached a series of e-mails which reveal that the King Juan Carlos and his daughter Cristina had made managements to benefit this non-profit entity’s commercial interest.The investigation of the Nóos Institute’s business, run by Iñaki Urdangarin, Spanish King’s son-in-law and husband of the King’s youngest daughter, Cristina; and Diego Torres, has just turned up a notch. Manuel González Peeters, Torres’ lawyer, has referred to the judge José Castro, responsible of the previously stated investigation, a document denouncing the epidemic amnesia suffered by the imputed and the witnesses, which exculpate the Duke in their statements. Besides, he attached a series of e-mails which reveal that the King Juan Carlos and his daughter Cristina had made managements to benefit this non-profit entity’s commercial interest.

Peeters includes in the document e-mails Iñaki Urdangarin had sent to some of the witnesses, who had claimed they had nothing to do with the administration in this non-profit entity. In addition, the mails denied Urdangarin had been disassociated of the Nóos Institute in 2006, so as the Royal Household had required. Once in Washington, he kept following closely this entity’s activity, like he was still part of it. ‘It’s a pity not having the webpage in English’, he wrote in one of his e-mails, dated 1st October, 2007.

The e-mails also reveal the implication of Cristina and the King Juan Carlos in Urdangarin’s business. The references to the managements made by the King and his daughter are constant in the e-mails written by the Duke, all with a subsequent date to the moment when, in theory, he was supposed to have abandoned the Nóos Institute. “I have a message from the King and he’s the one who told Cristina that Camps –a Spanish politician who belongs to the People’s Party (PP)– would call Pedro to talk about the Prada’s base… In another occasion, he writes: “ Agustín Zuleta asked Cristina to have some coffee, so as he can explain to her some stuff he can’t tell by phone…” There are two more mentions included in another e-mails written by the Duke and which point right to Juan Carlos. “The King met Pedro, as we wanted to, so he could present him the project…” and “Your Majesty, the King, told me that a friend has made a management…”

The judge, José Castro, has incorporated these documents to the summary, but will not make any decision until Diego Torres declares, on May 22nd.

Source: Cadena Ser. Photo: Google Images

The NEW Spanish Medical Care

4 May

Ana Matos, the current Spanish Secretary of State for Health.

Which medicines will be excluded? It remains unknown. There will be two ways to withdraw medicaments from public funding. On the one hand, the obsolete ones will be removed, those whose functions have already been improved and there have appeared more modern ones. This does not mean there will be savings of any kind, since they have become useless it is logical to have stopped using them. On the other hand, with regards to mild symptoms medicines, there is not even a list. The fact of the matter is that there are some specifics (antidiarrheal drugs, cough suppressants) labelled in two different groups: the POM medicaments or the P and GSL drugs. The Department of Health point is to join them in one group, the behind-the-counter group, so they will not have to be supported by the civil service. The problem remains in the using of those medicines, whether there are some for mild symptoms and others for more serious ones, as said by the Association for the Self-Care of Health, the Spanish ANEFP. This is the reason for the importance of following every single case.

Will there be co-pay on ambulance service, prosthesis and diet therapies? The set of values established in the Royal Decree is the same as for medicines. In these cases there will not be a co-pay limit for the patient. It is unrevealed yet how will every region proceed. The co-pay is already set in many of them. In some cases it is in larger scale than in others. The decree shall only fix a minimum to be subsidized by the civil service, such as the pensioners’ 90%, but every region might always fund the rest. The same would happen if a region decides to give more assistance than the minimum common portfolio does (for example, paying every citizen’s glasses). In that case it would have to pay them with its own capital, not with the central government’s.

Will people have to renew the Health Care Card? No. The data web of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, used to select the amount of taxes to pay for a single person, will be restricted for the user. The levels of income will be kept in the central computers of the Health Local Department and, according to that, it will calculate the payments.
How much will the pensioners have to pay? In general (those who do not exceed 100,000 euros per year), they will have to pay the 10% of the medicine’s total amount. That co-payment will have a limit per month: if it passes from between 8 to 18 euros a month (according to de income scale) the regional government will have to refund the difference and they will have six months to do so. For example, if a pensioner spends 200 euros in medicaments he or she will only pay 20. If the limit is 8 euros, the other 12 will have to be refund before the sixth month. Pensioners with incomes beyond 100,000 euros will have to pay the 60%, but never more than 60 euros per month.

What about those who do not have any income? Just like until now, the person would have the possibility to go to the Social Security Agency to ask for a certificate from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to have his or her own Health Care Card, if he or she is Spanish or resident.

Who will be excluded? There are many doubts yet to solve about 26 years old people, and older, who have never paid contributions (students, rentiers, and some other groups such as priests and nuns). The DoH announced there will be solutions for every case.

What will happen with foreigners? Just the legalized residents will have the right to possess a Health Care Card. The others will only be treated in Emergency Departments, though there might be exceptions, such as patients with infectious diseases.

Source: Picture:

The crisis of the Spanish monarchy, by the international press

29 Apr

Diverse international media have reacted to the news of the accident of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, during a hunting trip in Botswana. The monarch, according to the official statement, fell during a safari and his hip was fractured, and that is why he underwent surgery in Madrid, where he had a prosthesis implanted successfully this Saturday. The Spanish press’s reaction, and especially the numerous Spanish citizens in Internet, has been followed by the international press.

The ‘Financial Times’, for example, emphasizes that the Spanish monarchy is going through a “giant crisis”: “The expensive safari related to the elephant hunting of the King was kept privately and it was only announced because of the broken hip”, he writes. The newspaper, that mentions the Sunday’s editorial of ‘El Mundo’, also remembers the rest of problems in which the royal family is situated and stresses the decrease in intention of vote of the PP (Popular Party) and PSOE (Socialist Worker Spanish Party) shown by the opinion polls, followed by the increase of Izquierda Unida (another left party).

‘Time’ magazine, that two days before the royal problem was known was already assuring that the monarchy was crossing for a difficult situation in Spain – “during decades, the Borbon family has avoided the public censorship and scrutiny that they have pestered other European monarchies”, it said the 12th-, published the news of the accident and took advantage to remember the hunting of the “Mitrofan” bear in Russia and the critics to the Royal Family in a moment where the unemployment “is getting to the 23%”, recalls the magazine.

As other media have done, ‘Time’ remembers also the accident that, in the childhood of the monarch, ended with the life of his brother, the prince Alfonso. “The most serious incident that happened with weapons was in 1956, when the King Juan Carlos shot and killed accidentally his 14-year-old brother while he was holding a weapon during their holidays in Portugal”, writes ‘The Washington Post ‘.

In the United Kingdom, France or Germany

Two of the main British newspapers, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘ The Daily Mail ‘, also publish the news. The first one emphasizes the fierce reviews on the monarch after his accident and shows a photo of him with a dead elephant and the hunter Jeff Rann, while the second one emphasizes the critiques that the King has had in social networks.

The BBC, in his web, stresses also the “indignation in Spain” for the trip of the King and even assures that the “royal stumble revives the debate of that type of hunting “. As the rest of the media, it also mentions the current problems of the King’s relatives and the recent accident with a shotgun of his grandson, Froilán de Marichalar.

Also in France the details of the accident of Juan Carlos I have been collected. ‘Le Point’, for example, assures that in our country there is “discomfort” with the King at the time that they pick up the editorials of the main Spanish diaries. Likewise, the web page of TF1 emphasizes that this is “the fourth surgery in two years” of the monarch.

Also the Italian ‘Corriere della sera’ or the ‘German Bild’ gather the royal accident. But these are only some examples. In the last 24 hours thousands of news have been generated in Spain related to the monarch —according to Google News— in Spanish and English.


King Juan Carlos Breaks Hip after Fall in Hunting Safari

27 Apr

Concerns both in the royal residence and the government over the deterioration of the Crown’s image after the latest scandal, this time featuring the monarch.

King Juan Carlos [Source: AFP]

Martínez Gorriarán, R.

[Translators: Peña Carril, D.; Senra Campos, M.; Vallejo Espada, V.]

The Spanish King’s latest surgical intervention, this time due to a triple fracture in the hip which he suffered after a fall while hunting in Botswana, has most likely set off alarms within the royal residence, Zarzuela Palace. The reason for this restlessness is twofold. On the one hand, Don Juan Carlos’s health is worrying, having entered the operating room eight times throughout his 76 years of life —four times in the last two years. On the other, the image of the head of state engaging in big game in an African country feels out of place in the course of one of the worst weeks in recent history for the Spanish economy and while the King faces a delicate period, with son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarín surrounded by a financial fraud scandal and grandson Felipe Juan Froilán, who is under the legal age to handle firearms, recovering from a target-shooting accident. It will not be easy for the monarch to forget this April 14th, not because of the anniversary of the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic, but because of the new situation that could ensue for the institution he embodies.

It will take one to two months for the King to return to normal activity

The Spanish head of state spent two and a quarter hours in the operating room of a private Madrid hospital. The intervention was performed by Doctor Ángel Villamor, who had also surgically treated the monarch’s knee and Achilles tendon. The result of the operation was “very satisfactory”, according to the traumatologist, and consisted in placing a ceramic prosthesis in his right hip and reconstructing the three damaged fragments. Surgery was difficult due to osteoarthritis in the King’s hip ball joint as a consequence of problems in his knee, where he had also been implanted a prosthesis.

Don Juan Carlos, explained Villamor, will have to spend four or five days in San José Hospital. He will be able to take up “bureau work” in seven to ten days and resume normal physical activity in one to two months. The Doctor announced on April 16th that the King would stand up with crutches to start rehabilitation exercises that very afternoon, adding that he could already move his leg “to a wide extent” and without pain.

The doctor remarked that the operation was “somewhat special” as it consisted of “two surgeries in one”. The main one to place the prosthesis and repair the fractures, and a second one which should curb the deterioration of his hip due to osteoarthritis by means of “two cables acting as a brace” around the femur’s head. “It may be that we have corrected the problems hampering his ability to walk”, he went on.

The King fell hours after midnight in Botswana

Villamor, who appeared before the press with the Chief Medical Officer of the King’s Household, Avelino Barros, explained that the fall occurred “around four or five in the morning” on Friday 13th when he tripped on a step in the lodge where he was staying in Botswana. The doctor from the King’s House who accompanied the monarch attended to him immediately. According to the King’s chief medical officer, that same Friday Don Juan Carlos undertook his return journey “in a normal private jet”, sitting “comfortably and without pain” during the ten-hour flight thanks to analgesic treatment. He arrived in Madrid at midnight and was operated at one in the morning.

The King’s Household did not disclose the purpose of his private trip to Africa, but this is not the first time he has travelled to Botswana for big game hunting. The holiday was not scheduled in the monarch’s official agenda, and his last public appearance was the previous Sunday in Majorca at the Easter religious service, which he attended with the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Asturias, and his two other daughters. Prior to that, the King had travelled to Kuwait on April 4th to meet with Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber. Zarzuela Palace revealed no details relative to the date of the hunting trip either: some sources indicate that Don Juan Carlos had flown to Africa on Monday; others point to Thursday, the same day he fell.

Concerns over the Crown’s image in the Zarzuela royal residence after the King’s accident

Likewise, the King’s Household did not clarify whether he travelled in the airplane assigned to the Crown or on a commercial flight. The doctors stated that it was a private jet chartered by a hunting party. The airplane flew back carrying only the monarch, his doctor and his bodyguards. Villamor emphasised that the King acted “very lively” before and after the intervention and displayed his “spirit of sacrifice and strength”, not exhibiting “weakness” or annoyance at the “coincidence” of the accident.

In Zarzuela, however, preoccupation reigns. This feeling is shared by the governing People’s Party (PP) and the main opposition force, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). Neither commented on the incident —the former referred to the King’s Household’s press release and the latter remained silent. The reason for the current unrest is that it has been one thing after another in a year the monarch will not forget easily. In the latest survey on the monarchy by the government’s research agency Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas, performed last October, the institution failed its evaluation by Spaniards for the first time in 35 years of reign. This negative rating came before the Crown was hit by the scandal implicating the King’s son-in-law in major private deals through the nonprofit Nóos Institute, for which he has been accused of corruption in connection with the Palma Arena case.

Two hunting accidents in one week: first the King’s grandson, then himself

The institution had suffered another blow to its image earlier in the week when the King’s eldest grandson Felipe Juan Froilán, son of Princess Elena, literally shot himself in the foot while playing with a shotgun in his father’s family country house in Soria. The 13-year-old was operated in Madrid, where he remained hospitalised at the time this article was written, expecting to undergo further surgery on Monday, April 16th. His father, Jaime de Marichalar, who is separated from the princess and had custody of the child on that day, will have to testify in the judicial inquiry opened in Soria.

The fact that the King has taken this trip during the worst economic week Spaniards remember does not help ease anxiety at Zarzuela either: the stock market registered record falls while risk premia rocketed over 400 points with respect to German bonds and talk of an intervention by the EU grew louder. Furthermore, the macroeconomic picture is devastating, with negative growth rates and unemployment above 23% —which translates into more than 5 million out of work—, a figure over which the King has repeatedly expressed “great concern”.

In such circumstances, the hunting trip has been harshly criticised both by leftist parties and certain nationalist groups “considering all that is going on”, as the Galician Nationalist Bloc put it. The holiday reflects the “anachronism of an opaque and squandering institution”, in the words of Basque National Party senator Iñaki Anasagasti.


Spain demands an important role in the change process of the Arabic world

1 May

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Trinidad Jiménez and Defence Minister Carme Chacón chair the meeting with the ambassadors of the Arabic countries in Spain.

The Spanish government has shown its desire to play an important role in the change processes initiated in Maghreb and the Middle East and insisted that the yearning of democracy of those citizens can be materialized, even if it takes a long time.

The ministers Trinidad Jimenez and Carme Chacón had a meeting with nineteen Spanish ambassadors in these countries and three other ones in special missions to analyse the uprisings in the area. At the beginning of the meeting and in an open intervention to the media, the foreign affairs minister emphasized that Spain had supported the process of peaceful uprisings in Tunis and Egypt from the start. Spain also demanded the intervention in Libya to defend the civilian population against the attacks of Muamar Gadafi.

In regard to Libya, Trinidad Jiménez has highlighted that “the only possible solution to the conflict is a political one”. She also pointed out that Spain will send a diplomatic representative to Bengasi to deal with the National Transitional Council. The minister considers it a “valid interlocutor”. The defence minister reminded that she would ask the Congress of Deputies about the extension of the Spanish presence in the international intervention in Libya the following day. She would also ask for permission to participate, with the same means, in the humanitarian missions promoted by the UN and decided by the NATO or the EU. Carme Chacón insisted in Spain’s “firm commitment” with the security in the Mediterranean, the reason why she was called, she said that she wanted to play an “important role” in these processes. “The success is going to depend on if we are capable to accompany these countries in the process that they are starting and “to contribute experience”, it has been pointed out by the Foreign Affairs Secretary, who has warned that the “different future” that these countries aspire “present risks too, don’t deceive ourselves”.

In the presence of the aforementioned ambassadors, the Defence and Foreign Affairs’ high-ranking officials, and other assistants like the former boss of diplomacy from the EU Javier Solana, Trinidad Jiménez pointed out that “the legitimate aspirations” of these country’s societies pursue a model that works “successfully” in other regions, and it can work in this one too. “At the expense of their own life” it has been said by the Foreign Affairs Secretary, the citizens of these countries have proved that “there isn’t any Arab singularity” and there is no reason to make any exception” in their right’s defence and in the support to a democratic transition. “What unites us is more than what separates us”, Jiménez added, who assured that the Spanish Government wanted for these countries’ citizens “the same that we want for us”: the right’s framework that their development permits and an economic prosperity which guarantees their dignity.

Carme Chacón warned that the Mediterranean is the area where “the main risks to face up to our security” will happen and for this “Spain can and must contribute to be an area of peace and security, development and democracy”, that “it never was incompatible” in these countries. Trinidad Jiménez will offer this afternoon the conclusions of this meeting.


CATALONIA CiU stops the independentist proposal and Mas gets away from the debate

28 Apr

The 62 CiU (Convergence and Union which is a centre political party in the community of Catalonia in Spain) members of Parliament have prevented today with their absence from prospering the proposal of Independence in Catalonia, in a debate without the presence of the Catalan president, Artur Mas, who has only shown up due to the chamber at the voting moment.

Only three days after numerous CiU  leaders, including Mas himself, have declared themselves for the independence in Barcelona’s referendum, today its members of Parliament haven’t supported the proposal for the SI ( Catalan Solidarity for Independence which is a political party in Catalonia, organized as a common political platform for radical Catalan independentism).

Declaring that Independence is not a part of their election manifesto and it does not fullfil the necessary social majority not to divide the country,  the CiU has allowed with its abstention to overcome the amendments to the whole of the PSC,PPC and Ciutadans ( Socialists’ Party of Catalonia , Catalan branch of People’s Party and  the Citizens who are members of the Party of the Citizenry  of Catalonia).

The SI member of Parliament, Toni Strubell has been responsible for defending from the platform the proposal which suggests negociating with the international community the proposal of independence and the fact that the Catalan chamber can proclaim it by total majority.

Being conscious of the fact that the 62 CiU members of Parliament  were the key which could tip the voting balance, Strubell has rehearsed one last maneuver in desperation to avoid its abstention.

After Mas had said that morning that he would not back up an initiative which suggested giving a boost to the independence in this legislature, Strubell has offered modifying the proposal not to put a deadline to the declaration of independence.

The move has not taken effect and, finally, the CiU members of parliament, including Mas, have abstained themselves en bloc and they have allowed that the amendments to the whole of the PSC, PPC and Ciutadans prospered.

Montserrat Tura, one of the most catalanist profiles within the PSC, has taken part to justify the amendment to the whole of her group, even though she has made sure that her group did not reject the proposal ‘in fear of independence’, they did it because in this initiative it’s proposed to proclaim it in a way which isn’t considered in the current legal system.

Tura has emphasized that if the Constitution today does not comply with the ‘aspirations’ of the Catalans, ‘ the really brave thing is proclaiming that maybe it needs to be changed’, and she has criticized Mas due to his absence during the debate, despite of being the ‘representative of the State in Catalonia’.

Strangely, the Govern (Catalonia’s government) vice president, Joana Ortega, did follow the debate from her seat, being the center of attention these last days because of the mystery of her vote in the referendum on the last 10th.

The PP (People’s Party) member of Parliament of Catalonia, María de los Llanos de Luna has adopted a pitch more critical against the SI proposal: ‘ Lord, I hope this does not go further ‘, she said rudely.

Llanos de Luna has drown the outlook almost apocalyptic that would cerner on Catalonia if it caught up the independence: expelded of the European club, with the exportations of the rest of the Spain falling over  and the catalonian PIB ( gross domestic product) decreasing more than a 20%: ‘ Catalonia would become one of the poorest nations’  of its  environment.

Even more belligerent was the president of Ciutadans (members of the Party of the Citicenry), Albert Rivera, who crossed out the initiative of ‘illegal and unconstitutional’, of ‘law fraud’ and even ‘punishable’, because the Parliament ‘doesn’t have competition to debate neither proclaim the independence’.

‘We don’t like to hit the constitucional order, neither those dressed in millitar clothes, nor wearing tie’ Rivera said, who has acussed Mas of having washed his hands ‘like Pilatos’ by been absent during the debate.

The  CiU spokesman of the Parliament , Jordi Turull, has had his turn to justify the abstention of his group: the independence, he said, is a ‘noble cause’ but it does not have ‘big agreements’ in Catalonia, as it does happen with the ‘fiscal pact’.

Turull has quoted some words of Mas in his takeover, where he adviced that the process towards the national ‘fullness’  of Catalonia was not a way for the  ‘impatients’.

The ten members of Parliament of ICV-EUiA (parliament grup), have abstained themselves as well because the member of the Parliament , Jaume Bosch, was not ready to support, neither the ‘prehistoric arguments’ of the PP and Ciutadans, nor the ‘simplistic’,’sloppy’ and ‘electioneering’  approach, of the SI.

The only members of the Parliament who, besides the three members  of the SI and Joan Laporta, have supported the proposition had been the ten of the ERC (the republican left of Catalonia), because, according to Anna Simó, ‘ we do not have to put limits to the right to decide’.

The main talking point during the debate that afternoon was the big crowd of more than one hundred independentists concentrated raising multitude of ‘estelades’ (independentist) flags in the front door of the Parliament, including the ‘porn’ actress María Lapiedra, who stripped herself from her hip up.

Source: La Voz de Galicia

Very important requirement for immigrants in Catalonia: the knowledge of the language

26 Mar

By Efe
The Govern (Government of Catalonia) will consider the knowledge of Catalonian language a very important requirement to certify the integration level of the resident immigrants. This consideration will be taken into account for those proceedings related to attachment, family regrouping and renewal of residence permit.

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