Spain

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Protests continue in Spain 3 days after rapper conviction
Protests against the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasél
Protests against the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasél Credit: Jordiventura96 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Demonstrations of support for Pablo Hasél and free speech continued in Spain for the third night in a row, particularly in Catalonia. Deployment of riot police caused confrontations where a woman lost an eye to a rubber bullet.

The fallout from the rapper's conviction also continues in government and the judiciary. Government coalition parties PSOE and Unidas Podemos reacted to the events differently, while a legal reform is being called for by the Spanish Justice Ministry itself.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Coronavirus outbreaks in Spain’s care homes fall by half thanks to vaccination drive
Coronavirus outbreaks in Spain’s care homes fall by half thanks to vaccination drive
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The mass vaccination of care homes – the first priority group of Spain’s vaccination drive – is beginning to have an effect, with contagions falling. According to the Health Ministry, last week 103 coronavirus outbreaks were reported in such residences, which include care homes for people with disabilities and senior residences. This is half the number recorded the previous week.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Spanish police arrest rapper Pablo Hasél after conviction for lyrics
Tweet by Pablo Hasél listing the messages considered to be "glorification of terrorism"
Tweet by Pablo Hasél listing the messages considered to be "glorification of terrorism" Credit: Pablo Hasél (Twitter Reproduction)

Spain's National Court sentenced Pablo Hasél to two years and nine months behind bars for two separate cases relating to the content of some of his songs and tweets as they were deemed to be "glorification of terrorism" as well as slandering the crown and Spanish law enforcement.

Hundreds of artists have signed a manifesto released earlier last week, entitled 'Without freedom of speech there is no democracy', including luminaries such as Catalan singer Joan Manuel Serrat, Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar and actors Javier Bardem, Alba Flores and Aitana Sánchez Gijón.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Independentists get absolute majority in Catalonia
Catalan Flag
Catalan Flag Credit: Genlab Frank (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Despite the socialist party (PSC) got more votes at the February 14th election, the independentists obtained 74 seats over 135 in parliament.

"I want to send a message to Pedro Sánchez, it is time to sit down to resolve the conflict and vote in a referendum and release prisoners with amnesty," were the first words pronounced, defiantly, by the ERC candidate, Pere Aragonès.

Sports • Soccer
Messi contract leaked: Four seasons and 555 million euros
Lionel Messi in a 2014 game
Lionel Messi in a 2014 game Credit: Lluís (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

This Sunday's edition of the newspaper El Mundo exclusively unveils Leo Messi's contract with FC Barcelona. The contract dates to 2017, covering four seasons for a total of 555 million euros and it is "the sum of a fixed salary, image rights, a series of multi-million euro bonuses unheard of to date, allowances and a string of variables depending on various objectives".

According to the newspaper, Messi has already secured 92% of the contract, despite the team's setbacks in the Champions League's recent seasons, the competition that has the highest bonuses.

Barcelona denied "any responsibility for the publication of this document".

Health
New Zealand records first Covid-19 community case in two months
New Zealand records first Covid-19 community case in two months
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A 56-year-old woman has tested positive for Covid-19 in New Zealand, after being released from government managed isolation following two negative tests. The woman arrived in Auckland on 30 December after travelling in Spain and the Netherlands for four months.

The woman was released on 13 January and travelled around south Northland with her husband, visiting as many as 30 locations, including popular holiday spots, AirBnBs, and shops.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
The Spanish Chief of Defence Staff has resigned after receiving Covid-19 vaccination earlier than protocols required
General Miguel Ángel Villarroya
General Miguel Ángel Villarroya Credit: Coluna990 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The head of the Defence Chief of Staff (Jemad), General Miguel Ángel Villarroya, resigned on Saturday after it was revealed the day before that he and other military commanders had already been vaccinated in the Covid-19 despite not being part of the priority immunisation groups.

In the missive, General Villaroya defends his decision to vaccinate himself and the generals and commanders of the Defence Staff (Emad), who were not among the groups established as priorities, claiming that "in fulfilling his obligations, by the established protocols and with the sole aim of preserving the integrity, continuity and efficiency of the chain of command of the Armed Forces" he had "recently taken decisions that he considers being right", but which are "damaging the public image of the Armed Forces and calling into question" his "own honesty".

Regional News • Europe • Spain
An explosion in Madrid destroys building
Picture of Calle de Toledo, after the explosion
Picture of Calle de Toledo, after the explosion Credit: Twitter Reproduction

A large explosion destroyed most of a building at about 14:00 (UTC) in Calle de Toledo, in the Spanish capital Madrid on Wednesday.

There are reports that firefighters, police and specialized emergency workers were at the scene, and residents were evacuated from the area.

Madrid mayor says at least two people have died in the explosion that caused the collapse of a building in the central Madrid area. A gas leak likely caused the explosion, the mayor said.

Health
One day delay in Pfizer vaccine delivery to Spain due to logistical issue
One day delay in Pfizer vaccine delivery to Spain due to logistical issue
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa announced that Pfizer has postponed the delivery of a new batch of the coronavirus vaccine to the country by one day to Tuesday due to a logistics hurdle.

The cool boxes designed by Pfizer have GPS trackers so the company can deal with potential storage issues en route. The vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of about -70 degrees Celsius before being shipped to distribution centres in specially designed cool boxes filled with dry ice.

"Due to a minor logistical issue, we have rescheduled a limited number of our deliveries," Andrew Widger, Pfizer's director for media relations said.

Regional News • Europe
Spanish and Portuguese PM go into self-isolation after having met with Macron earlier this week
Archive: Macron-Sánchez meeting after 2019 European election
Archive: Macron-Sánchez meeting after 2019 European election Credit: Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain / via Wikimedia Commons

After having lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced all of his official engagements were suspended and he would self-isolate until 24 December. "The prime minister will undergo an immediate diagnostic test to determine his situation and will then decide, based on the results, how to manage his agenda over the coming days," so a statement of Sánchez’s office.

António Costa, Portuguese prime minister, met with Macron at the Élysée Palace on Wednesday and is currently awaiting his Covid-19 results in self-isolation. "The prime minister decided to cancel the trip [to Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea Bissau], as well as any public agenda that implies his physical presence. He will keep all executive activities and work schedule, which will be carried out remotely," Costa's office said.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Spanish King Felipe VI in quarantine after being in contact with person tested positive for Covid-19
Spanish King Felipe VI in quarantine after being in contact with person tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

This Monday, Felipe VI began a 10-day quarantine after learning that "a person" with whom he had "close contact" on Sunday had tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement from the King's Palace.

Before it was known that his contact on Sunday had been positive, the King presided over the meeting of the Scientific Council of the Real Instituto Elcano on Monday morning at the El Pardo Palace; the meeting was attended by its president, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, the director, Charles Powell, the director of programmes, Maria Solanas, and experts on Latin America (Susana Malcorra), Transatlantic Relations (Robin Niblett) and the EU (Elvire Fabry), among others.

Health
Germany, US and UK could start Covid-19 vaccinations in December
Germany, US and UK could start Covid-19 vaccinations in December
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Schludi

The US and Europe may grant emergency authorisation for Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine in early December after final trial results showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects. Moderna's vaccine has also shown a 94.5% effectiveness.

Spain has announced to begin a comprehensive vaccination programme in January and hope to cover a substantial part of the population within three months, so prime minister, Pedro Sanchez.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Spain creates a camp for 6,000 immigrants in the Canary Islands
Spain creates a camp for 6,000 immigrants in the Canary Islands
Credit: unsplash.com / Michael Bomke

The Spanish Ministry of Migration announces the plan to urgently create refugee camps with 6,000 places on Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and Fuerteventura to accommodate the immigrants who are now spread over 17 tourist complexes.

Minister José Luis Escrivá's plan includes using Gran Canaria as a place where refugees will arrive in the style of Lesbos or Lampedusa. New arrivals are won't be transferred to the mainland but await deportation in a center set up for this purpose.

Business • Economy
Spanish bank Santander buys Wirecard's core business after bankruptcy
Spanish bank Santander buys Wirecard's core business after bankruptcy
Credit: Kaethe17 / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Wirecard's insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé has stated in a press release that they have "been able to successfully conclude the investor process for Wirecard's core business despite the most unfavorable conditions" by selling Wirecard's core business to the major Spanish bank Santander, They have acquired the European core business of the payment service provider Wirecard specifically the technology platform in Europe and all the assets necessary for it.

Regional News • Europe
Spain: Covid-19 death toll reaches 38,118 after government revises count
Spain: Covid-19 death toll reaches 38,118 after government revises count
Credit: Jernej Furman (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

After the Spanish Health Ministry revised its methodology for recording Covid-19 infections and fatalities the death toll reached 38,118, a jump from Tuesday’s unrevised 36,495.

The total Covid-19 cases now is 1,284,408, from 1,259,366 the day before.

Sports • Soccer
Josep Maria Bartomeu resigns as Barcelona president
Josep Maria Bartomeu resigns as Barcelona president
Credit: pscbarcelona (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has resigned. The bureaucracy and the open war with Messi, the bad sports results and the economic situation of the club left Bartomeu on the wire. Still, it has finally been the motion of censure, with more than 16,000 signatures, that has precipitated the resignation of the president.

Bartolomeu resignation comes three days after Barca's 3-1 home defeat to Real Madrid, and just a day after he said: "that it had not occurred to him to resign."

Regional News • Europe
Covid-19: Spanish government approves new state of alarm for the whole country
Council of Ministers of Spain
Council of Ministers of Spain

The Spanish government decreed a new state of alarm and announced a night-time curfew for the entire territory of the European nation from 11 pm to 6 am, as authorities grapple with the second wave of Covid-19. The country returns to the state of alarm seven months after the Council of Ministers on March 14 decreed it to contain the first wave of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he would ask the Spanish parliament to keep the emergency mechanism in place for six months, until May 9.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Spain Coronavirus cases surpass 1 million
Spain Coronavirus cases surpass 1 million
Credit: Banc de Sang i Teixits / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Spain is the first western European country to surpass 1 million Coronavirus cases. It has recorded 1,005,295 infections since the first case was confirmed on January 31st.

Health
Spanish Congress unanimously supports outlawing of forced sterilizations of people with intellectual disabilities
Spanish Congress unanimously supports outlawing of forced sterilizations of people with intellectual disabilities
Credit: Emnamizouni / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a plenary session the Spanish Congress unanimously approved a bill that seeks to reform the penal code to outlaw non-consensual sterilizations of judicially incapacitated persons. All the parliamentarians present in the House stood up and applauded the unanimous support for this initiative that will now return to the Senate for its final ratification.

With 348 votes in favor, it seeks to eliminate the second paragraph of Article 156, which currently decriminalizes non-consensual sterilizations of persons whose legal capacity has been modified when authorized by a judicial body.

Regional News • Europe
Italy reports 5,372 new Covid-19 cases
Rome during the Covid-19 lockdown
Rome during the Covid-19 lockdown Credit: Camelia.boban (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

For the first time since March 29, Italy registered more than 5,000 cases in a day with 5,372 Covid-19 infections. There were also 28 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Even with the high numbers, Italy is still recording significantly fewer daily cases than other large European countries, such as France, Spain and Britain.