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Live News From Spain As It Happens

Keep up to date with all the latest news from Spain as it happens. The blog will be updated constantly throughout the day bringing you all the latest stories as they break.

ECHR overturns sentence for burning photos of King
15 March 2018

A VERDICT by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has found that burning photographs of the King of Spain comes under the heading of 'freedom of expression' and those who do so cannot be convicted of 'incitement to hatred'.

At the same time as Amnesty International issued a warning that Spain was 'going too far' with its criminal convictions for 'exaltation of terrorism' – with 119 people under investigation or already sentenced for comments on Twitter and Facebook, which include what have been described as 'tired' jokes about attacks more than 40 years ago – the ECHR has described action taken against anti-monarchy protesters to be 'disproportionate'.

Enric Stern and Jaume Roura were sentenced after burning photographs of the now-abdicated King Juan Carlos I in Girona in 2007.



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Pensioners plan nationwide protests for Saturday
15 March 2018

MASS pensioner protests across the country have been planned for this coming Saturday (March 17), despite president Mariano Rajoy saying he would increase retirees' income once the budget was approved.

As yet, the State budget remains inconclusive, and Spanish pensioners, yet again, only received the minimum increase allowed by law in January.

Every January since 2012, State pensions have gone up by just 0.25%, the lowest amount permitted by legislation, meaning they have not kept up with inflation.

If the budget is finally approved, Rajoy has promised to increase 'the lowest State retirement pensions' and also widows' and widowers' pensions, although he has not said by how much.



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Aquarium to be named after Gabriel and falleras carry fish
14 March 2018

VALENCIA'S fallera queens and their entourages opened the city's spectacular March festival yesterday (Tuesday) with their usual procession, but this time each of them carrying a white fish in memory of eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz Ramírez.

Before Gabriel's body was found and when his family – and even the police – were hoping to find him alive, the boy's mum, Patricia, urged the public to 'flood Spain with little fishies' so he would know the entire nation was thinking of him.

From when he was very tiny – practically as soon as he was able to talk – Gabriel knew the names of 'hundreds of species' of fish and has always been fascinated by them, Patricia Ramírez said. 

She and Gabriel's father Ángel Cruz said their little boy wanted to be a marine biologist when he grew up.

Even the police investigation was named 'Operation Nemo' from the start.

Gabriel was nicknamed Pescaíto ('Little Fishie') by his parents due to his love of sea creatures.




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Gabriel's killer's daughter died from 'fall' in 1996; police reopen case
14 March 2018

POLICE in the provinces of Almería and Burgos have reopened the case of the death of Ana Julia Quezada's four-year-old daughter in 1996, which at the time was considered 'accidental'.

Quezada, 44, had moved to the Burgos area in 1995, when she was around 21 years old, with the daughter she had had through a relationship with a man in her native Dominican Republic.

A year later, the infant fell out of a seventh-floor window and was killed instantly.

By then, the child had a sister, then aged two, whose father was Quezada's new boyfriend from Burgos.

The surviving sister is now 24 and lives in Burgos with her dad.

After discovering through the media that her mother had been arrested and charged with eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz Ramírez's murder two weeks after the child had gone missing in the 100 metres separating his grandmother's and his aunt's homes in Las Hortichuelas, near Níjar (Almería), the daughter in Burgos was reportedly taken to hospital after suffering a panic attack.



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Parents and teachers launch Easter homework boycott
14 March 2018

PARENTS across Spain have called for a 'homework-free Easter' for their children in the latest step of the ongoing debate about how advisable or otherwise it is for kids to spend their free time in front of their schoolbooks.

The Spanish PTA Confederation (CEAPA), which has around 11,000 members nationwide, already staged a 'homework strike' in 2016 in which mums and dads wrote to teachers to tell them their children would not be undertaking any work at weekends, but instead would be spending quality time with their families, in the fresh air and taking part in physical activity.

CEAPA members also raised a petition calling for homework to be axed altogether, or at least over weekends and school holidays.

Even primary school children in very early years have homework every night, and the average pupil in Spain is glued to his or her textbooks for around two to three hours once home from class.



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Spanish women in heiress' hen party air crash
13 March 2018

TWO Spanish women were on board a private jet which crashed in Iran on the way back to Istanbul from the United Arab Emirates, leaving no survivors.

Eight passengers, two pilots and a flight attendant – all women – were returning from Mina Basaran's hen party in Dubai when it went down yesterday (Sunday).

The craft, owned by the company Basaran Holdings, crashed in the Sehr-i-Kurd area to the south of Isfahan in the Helen mountains, bursting into flames as it hit the ground.

According to the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, the bride - Mina, 28, daughter and heiress of the chairman of the company, Huseyin Basaran – was with five other Turkish women and two Spanish ladies, all guests at her hen party.

She was due to get married in April.



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Murder of Gabriel, 8, qualifies for genuine life imprisonment
13 March 2018

THE killing of eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz Ramírez would qualify for a lifelong prison sentence subject to review – a punishment several political parties want to scrap and which the families of murder victims are campaigning to keep in force.

Aimed at preventing potential reoffenders and those who cannot be reformed from walking the streets again, permanent custodial sentences regularly reviewed fall within the terms of the PP government's controversial Public Safety Law and apply where specific aggravating circumstances apply.

These include victims under the age of 16, victims who are especially vulnerable, or when sexual violence is perpetrated before or after the murder.

They also cover serial killings, those committed by organised crime gangs, those perpetrated against the Crown – defined as the King, the Queen Consort or any of the monarch's ascendants or descendants – genocide, obstructing the recovery of the victim's body, murder following kidnap, serial rapes, rape of minors following kidnap or torture, deaths caused deliberately through arson, or by releasing nuclear or radioactive elements.



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Ciudadanos wants to axe temporary job contracts
11 March 2018

CENTRE-RIGHT political party Ciudadanos – the fourth-largest in Spanish Parliament – wants to do away with temporary job contracts and launch a series of reforms including 'anti-crisis insurance' for the self-employed.

Party leader Albert Rivera says his team's proposed 'rucksack of rights' includes an insurance policy which will help prevent small businesses and the self-employed from having to shut up shop for good because they cannot pay redundancy money to employees during a recession.

The 'rucksack of rights' also offers financial assistance to companies who never, or rarely, sack staff or make them redundant.

Rivera's 'new professional model' and 'fight against job insecurity', as he refers to the proposals, would be a 'balanced, innovative and brave' law which would 'bring Spain in line with the rest of the EU', pointing out that the percentage of Spanish residents whose jobs are only temporary doubles that of the European average.



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Organ 'fridge' with remote-controlled temperature invented in Catalunya
11 March 2018

A 'SMART fridge' for transporting human organs and blood samples which controls its own temperature remotely via wi-fi connection has been launched by the Catalunya-based technology firm Perspectiva.

As well as keeping the storage unit at the right temperature from a distance using bluetooth, internet and radio-frequency, the technology involved allows it to be traced, meaning the contents are safe even if they are mislaid.

It can also be used to transport other samples of bodily fluids for testing, including biopsy cells, plus medications and vaccinations.



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Spain marks International Women's Day with five million on strike
09 March 2018

OVER five million workers in Spain have downed tools today (Thursday) for the International Women's Day strike – around a third of the country's workforce – including a number of men.

International Women's Day, first celebrated in 1911, is marked this year in 177 countries worldwide with 41 of them going on strike.

In the West, where issues such as female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and being barred from education, employment or freedom of movement without a male relative as a companion are extremely limited and generally outlawed, March 8 is partly about celebrating women's achievements throughout history and partly about calling for solutions to aspects of gender equality that remain unresolved.

Figures show that on average, across European countries including the UK and Spain, it will take until the 22ndcentury before the gender pay gap is closed, based upon progress to date.

Statistics for Spain show that, according to region, between a third and a half of women who work are in part-time jobs – either because they need to in order to look after children and other dependents, or because they cannot find a full-time job – that the number of women unemployed exceeds that of men, and that on average, ladies earn 30% less than their male counterparts.

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