The controversial and overcrowded Saloufest begins.

29 Mar

 “It´s huge… It´s back… and it´s better than ever!“. That´s the advertisement of the polemic Saloufest, that will take 9.500 British University students to the township of the Golden Coast this year for taking part of a sport festival which, actually, also involves long nights of revelry and wildness. It´s the thirteenth edition and it´s breaking records of participation (last year 8.500 people came). Never before too many young people had been signed to the Saloufest -In Salou (Tarragona)-, which in his web page claims to be “the best festival of the world” and guarantees “the best week of your life” for a little more than 200 euros.

The young people, aged 18 to 25, are students of english, scottish and welsh universities. They will arrive in three batches: 4.000 participants arrived yesterday after a long travel from their hometowns that more of them made by bus. The students will lodge in seven hotels and apartments in Salou untill March 29. Since April 1 to 7, a group of 4.500 young people will arrive in Salou. Similarly, the next day 1.000 students will land on the city.


Some of the students in the Pacha disco.

The college crowd travel to the municipality anxious of fun, party and sex. Although in their baggage, the students have room for sport clothes, because during the day they usually play sports. This year include two new modalities, “handball and riding“, according with Doreen Straatman, accountable for Sol Active Tours, the company which organize the event. However, much of their baggage are full of colorful costumes because after the sunset, thousands of young people -generally scantily clad-, join next to hotel pools for then going out to streets looking for alcohol.

Transformed in herds of Hawaiians, superheroes, playboy bunnies and cheerleaders, they travel through a route of bars and clubs until morning. Some of them end in fast food restaurants, tumbling in sidewalks or urinating in corners. Much of them, finish looking for parts of a lost costume. Despite the college crowds, Straatman argues that never have been serious incidents or altercations.

In addition, facing the neighbors complains about noise and the image of drunkenness tourism that project for some of them, Straatman defends the date helps to extend the tourist season. “They come in off season and they’re more seen, but the noise an English student can do is the same that others”, he says. In a economical crisis context like the current one, the festival leaves substantial economic benefits to Salou, about five million euros.

The organization puts on offer trips to Port Aventura, parties in the Pacha’s disco, routes in boat along the Golden Coast, breaks to Barcelona and daytime celebrations in the pool with happy hour. The Saloufest has passed barely unnoticed until 2010, when a participant reported a violation. Then, the festival had an international repercussion when it was discovered it was advertised by using lures such as drinking alcohol from a shoe or having sex in an elevator. The Generalitat was about to retire the seal of familiar tourism off Salou. After the torrent of critiques, the organization suppressed this kind of devices.

Source: El País    Photo: Google Images


9 Mar

Morenés remind that “we are at war” and now comes “the most dangerous period” with the retirement.


Spanish military instructs two Afghans in a position province of Badghis

The Spanish troops deployed in Afghanistan will move away “with the fulfilled mission” of the advanced position of combat (COP) of Muqur at the beginning of March, as the Defense Secretary announced, Pedro Morenés, during an informatics breakfast with the press organized in the ministerial. In the COP of Murqur there are currently 150 Spanish soldiers.

In this way, and after the withdrawal the last Thursday of the COP of Ludina, Spain won’t be present at the aforementioned positions the most exposed to insurgents’ possible attacks at the province of Badghis, so they formalize a visible advance of the withdrawal at the province of Badghis.

About the possibility of accelerating the times of withdrawal of the contingent agreed by the OTAN, 10 percent in 2012, the 40 percent in 2013 and the other 40 percent in 2014, it is expected that this year Spanish soldiers  might return to Spain more than 40 percent, as said Morenés.

Morenés congratulated himself on the evolution of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan: “It is going well, we have more and more certainty that we will be able to move forward with the operation [alluding to the deadlines of the total withdrawal]”.

However, Morenés committed once more with the three principles that have guided the position of the OTAN allies in Afghanistan to speed up the withdrawal of troops: “Fulfillment of the mission, fulfillment of agreements with the allies and security of the troops in the withdrawal.”

            “Do not forget that we are at war”

The minister warned that this last phase of “the war of Afghanistan is the most dangerous” from the military and political point view: “Do not forget that we are in war, the insurgents will try to be the winners and a dead in the last day makes to lose a life and the political battle”.

In the Muqur and Ludina’s outposts the Spanish contingent was the responsible for providing security in the construction of the Lithium route, main commercial way of the province, and also for supporting the governance.

Muqur’s COP nestled in a fortification of adobe of 19th Century, which is located 26 kilometers from the Ruy González de Clavijo base, in Qala-i-Now, spending three hours going over there. From the base the Spanish soldiers were responsible for the Afghan army training.

Bullfighting has got a 41% lower since 2007 to 2011

4 Mar

The number of bull festivals has been reduced to half since 2007 | Professionals increase a 25 % and there is a 50% more of bullfighters assistants | Bullrings are empty, but the arena, where the bulls are killed, is getting filled by unemployed men doing ‘el paseíllo’, ceremonial entry of bullfighters.


‘Paseíllo’, ceremonial entry of bullfighters.

Bull festivals show growing symptoms of decadence every year in Spain. A year after banning bullfighting (in September 2011) in Catalonia, a region in the north-east of Spain, the number of bull festivals descended an 8%; so the fall in four years reached the 41% already, according to the information from the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 2007-2011.

In that period, the number of bullfights went down from 953 to 561. Besides, the main bull festivals: bullfight, rejoneo, which consists on fighting the bull on horseback with a lance, and novilladas con picadores, who are lancers on horseback that bullfight with young bulls, will be reduced to half if we add the projections of 2012, yet without information. But the festivity resists dying, and proof to this is that the Spanish Congress discussed on February 12th whether they accept the initiative of the Federación de Entidades Taurinas (Federation of the Bullfighting Entities) to make the party Asset of Cultural Interest or not, as it was known on February the 7th. Here is the possibility of bullfights coming back to Catalonia.

The most surprising thing of the information provided by the ministry is that the number of bullfighters increased a 25% in that period. The main reason for this was the economic crisis, which made that many amateurs of these traditions decided to go ahead and grasp the bull by the horns to have a remunerated job.
“Don’t you fear being stabbed by the bull’s horns? Hunger stabs you worse”, they might think when jumping into the bullring.

Spanish people are less interested every time in bullfights and parties with bulls. In 2011, the number of main bull festivals (bullfights, rejoneo, novilladas con picadores) decreased a 14%, in such way that in four years (2007-2011) the fall makes a 46% (it went from 2,045 to 1,120 festivities).

The fall will be bigger when the new information of 2012 will be known, since it will be the first re-counting without Catalonia’s assistance, where bullfights were banned by the Parlament, the Catalan parliament, at the end of 2011. “We estimate that in the end of 2012, and with Catalonia’s prohibition, the number of bullfights would be less than half of the ones of 2007”, according to Chesús Ferrer, a member of Ecologists in Action, a bullfighting entity which has been carrying out this kind of monitoring of the bullfighting supporters.

In fact, people are losing their interest in bullfighting and bull parties in general. The evolution of the ensemble of bull festivals (including parties, bullfight with young bulls, funny shows…) has decreased a 37%. In 2007, 3,651 bull festivals were celebrated, whereas in 2011 they were reduced to 2,290. A wide sector of the Spanish citizenship seems to be keen to put an end to it. So then, if the known as the national party dies, it will not be because of its forbidding in Catalonia.
In some way, these data rule in favour of those who think that cruel, bloodthirsty festivals may disappear without the need of prohibitions, but as a consequence of the change of values and the modernization of traditions.

The increasing lack of interest that bullfights awake is also shown in the results of a cultural habits and practices survey carried out by the Ministry of Education, a four-year official statistic which reflects a decrease of attendees. The number of people who say they attend bullfights has fell from 9.8 % during the period 2006-2007 to 8.5% during the period 2010-2011. “This important decrease would be even higher if official attendance data were available, instead of mere surveys, since these also include the number of people who attend shows which are not about bullfighting, such us funny shows, running of bulls or shows with young calves in villages”, says Ferrer.

The decrease of bullfights (2010-2011) affects all the autonomous communities of Spain except for two of them. The result is that, despite of the warnings made by many fans, the national party is not recovered: “If this keeps this way, bullfighting’s ending can be near “, say the anti-bullfighting groups.

The detachment that Spanish people are feeling about these bull shows contrasts with the official support that bullfights are having, up to the point of that some autonomous communities, mostly the ones governed by the right-wing Spanish party, the PP, have started proceedings to declare this festivities World Heritage or Asset of Immaterial Cultural Interest, trying to have with this the support of UNESCO.

But while the bullring is getting empty, the arena fills with jobless people, eager for the ceremonial entry and for carrying some traditional elements such as a cape, banderillas, which are small lances used during a bullfight or a pica, a pointed stick used for making bulls move. In the past years, permanent or mobile bullrings had turned into a yearning job for a lot of unemployed workers who are longing to risk everything and to change their lives.

Since 2007, in absolute terms, the number of taurine professionals has been increased until reaching 9,293 in 2001 (compared to 7,397 in 2007). There are people whose lives have been centered around bulls somehow and who have decided to take a step forward to try their luck, something which makes us remind of those post-war Spaniards who struggled to escape from poverty triumphantly. And everyone is aware that professional bullfighters earn very good salaries.

The number of matadores or bullfighters has augmented these last four years (an 18.6%) and  the same happened to the number of rejoneadores, people who fight the bull on horseback with the lance; novilleros or apprentice bullfighters who fight young bulls; banderilleros, men who stick small lances or banderillas into the bull’s neck; lancers or picadores, who pokes the bull with a large spear before the performance in order to prevent major hurts to the bullfighter and even comical bullfighters, dwarf men that make people laugh in circus shows. Nevertheless, the most surprising datum is the growth of bullfighters’ assistant, a 50%, which indicates that working in a lower hierarchy is not that bad. In the same way, the number of registered bullfighting livestock companies has increased (from 1,327 to 1,391), even though the amount of bullfighting schools has decreased from 49 to 42.

“All these results contrast with some state and autonomous administrations’ determination of shielding bullfights and giving them more public assistance. If bull’s survival depended on public attendance, it wouldn’t survive. All aids would be in vain, since the lack of citizens’ interest, increasingly sensitized against animal abuse, is the main enemy of these customs”, Chesús Ferrer says. Ecologists in Action demand to public institutions not to insist on keeping “aberrant and cruel practices with animals” and to go on the way paved by the broad majority of the Spanish society.


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.



26 Apr


University students will have to pay from the 15% to the 25% of the university prices, depending on what each autonomous regions decide.

 ▪ The 40% of the real cost, will be paid for their second enrollment, for the third one, the 75%, and for the fourth, the 100%.

 ▪ In this way, the taxes that the student would have to pay could rise up to 50%.

 ▪ “They are rationalization meassures of spending for the communities which achieve the deficit objective of the 1%” explains the ministry.

 ▪ The Unions say: “It attempts against the equality of opportunities”.

 ▪ Rajoy explains in Colombia: “It costs a lot for the spanish government when a student leaves university.”

 Last Thursday the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport has proposed to the autonomous regions five steps on the General Conference of Universitary Politic’s framework, with the aim of contribute to the economic cut of 3.000 million euros in education, announced by the Government and which the Cabinet Council will approve tomorrow in a Real Decree- Law.

 The proposal includes that the university students pay up an average of 540 euros more for the first university enrollment, as the secretary of the Education State, Montserrat Gomendio, has explained at the end of the Conference. This meassure would be applied from next year.

This first step means that the university students will have to pay from the 15% to the 25% of the university prices, depending on what each autonomous region decides to “approximate the public price to the real cost”, according to the Ministry. “The public prices are different in each autonomous region, and each one will choose where it should be placed”, explained Gomendio, who has appeared at the press conference with the General Secretary of Universities, María Amparo Camarero Olivas.

 Nowadays, at public universities, students must pay a 17% average of the taxes and the government pays the rest. Now, the government plans to increment the average to 25%, so they will only have to pay the 75% of the taxes.

 Wert had said many times that our taxes are the lowest in Europe and the OECD, so if the government pays the 85% it is like if the student had recieved a grant.

 According to the Ministry, the average cost is 60 euros per month —540 euros in nine months— in case that students had to pay the 25% if we count the highest taxes. Thus, students would have to pay up to a 50% average of the price.

 In recent years, the agreement between autonomies and government was that taxes should rise every year according to the consumer price index of March and up to four points as determined by each autonomy.

 Four additional arrangements

 The second arrangement is a progressive increase in taxes in second and consecutive years: from 30% to 40% of the normal price for the second year, from 55% to 65% in the third one and from 90% to 100% in the forth. The price of the “not enabling” masters (not required to do certain jobs) will be increased up to 50%.

 The third arrangement will be the reorganization of the university system. “There is a high number of campus and graduates and we want to study the efficiency and viability of the university system”, Gomendio has said, who mantains that “lots of communities had asked for the arrangements”.

 The forth arrangement announced by the ministry this afternoon, is that the university staff who have an active six-year period will have their teaching burden reduced and the teaching burden of proffesors who do not have them will be increased, “with the aim of specializing the university staff in investigation or teaching”. Currently, as Education says, there is a 50% of government employees who doesn’t have an active six-year period.

 Finally, the Ministry has announced “a higher control of the universities deficit and of the public job vacancies”. “They are arrangements of rationalization of public expenditure to make the Communities fulfill the deficit aim of the 1%”, has the educational secretary of state explained.

Felipe Juan Froilán de Marichalar, grandson of the Spain’s King Juan Carlos I, used a firearm forbidden for his age

25 Apr
ImageThe interior Ministry of Spain considers special authorizations to those minors who wish to use these type of shotgun, but always as from fourteen years old and accompanied by adults with gun license.

Spanish legislation, which regulates the use of firearms, establishes a minimum age of fourteen years old to use the shotgun with which the eldest son of the Infanta Elena of Spain, Felipe Juan Froilan, has had an accident while he was doing aim target practice. The eldest grandson of the King and Queen of Spain is thirteen and he won’t be 14 until 17th of July.

The House of His Majesty the King has reported that Felipe Juan Froilan de Marichalar Borbón had an accident during Monday’s afternoon when he was practicing aim target in the family country estate of Soria, territory of Spain, being accompanied by his father, Jaime de Marichalar.

The statement said that Felipe Juan Froilán was shot by a small-bore shotgun (36 caliber) causing him a wound on the right foot. As the Hunting Federation of Castilla and León and specialized companies in the sector have explained that this weapon, used for small game, is included within the category 3.2 and requires a license of E type.

The law in force

The Interior Ministry of Spain considers special authorizations to those minors who wish to use these type of shotgun, but always as from fourteen years old and accompanied by adults with guns license who had previously promised to accompany them and keep an eye on them at each shoot.

Specifically, Article 109 of the Royal 137/1993 decree  of the 29th of January, in which Gun law is approved, provides that the use of weapons of 3.2 category for shooting, is restricted to those children over fourteen years old, but always with a legal special gun authorization for minors and accompanied by adults with gun license.

The eldest grandchild of the King and the Queen of Spain, who is not going to be fourteen years old until the next 7th of July, had to undergo surgery in the Quirón Clinic of Madrid this dawn. The operation was successful. The Interior Ministry established sanctions to  the irregular use of firearms and consider fines as from three hundred euros to their use unlicensed and the seizure of weapons.


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.