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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.

Strikes at 25 airports from September to the end of the year
16 August 2017

A GENERAL strike across 25 of Spain's airports will run for 25 days from September 15 as workers protest ofer job conditions and pay – a move that is independent of the current industrial action at Barcelona's El Prat security gates.

The strikes will be joined by workers across the board – car park staff, firefighters, luggage-belt operators, electricians, retail and catering, security, IT and control tower maintenance.

Anyone who works for the airport infrastructure governing body AENA or the airport management public-sector run Enaire will be called to strike.

Three major unions – USO, the CCOO (Labourers' Commissions) and UGT (General Workers' Union) – have filed notice of industrial action with the Commission for Interpretation, Surveillance, Conciliation and Arbitration (CIVCA), a body set up to mediate between employees and airport authorities and which comprises five AENA representatives and five union spokespersons.

The UGT says it is 'confident' strike action will be avoided by successful negotiations ahead of the dates.

Staff will down tools for 24 hours on September 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29, then on October 1, 6, 11, 15, 27, 30 and 31.

Strikes will continue on November 3 and 5 and on December 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and from December 26 to 30 inclusive, affecting Christmas travel.

The CCOO, USO and UGT say AENA's 'extraordinarily good' financial results have not been passed onto staff who, with inflation and higher taxes over the past few years, have lost up to 8% of their spending power as their salaries have not moved.



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Stranded baby dolphin 'dies of stress' as hundreds of sunbathers hassle her
16 August 2017

A DOLPHIN calf has died on a beach in Mojácar (Almería province) after the stress caused by hundreds of bathers handling and crowding round her led to her suffering a heart attack.

According to the marine fauna rescue charity Equinac, she was surrounded by fascinated sunseekers who picked her up, played with her, passed her around and posed for selfies with her.

The beach lifeguard was 'losing it', Equinac said, trying to get everyone to leave the calf alone.

Eventually a young man managed to push the crowds out of the way – but by the time he reached her, it was too late.

“It's possible we may not have managed to save her anyway, but we would at least have tried,” laments the charity.

The dolphin was a lactating calf who had been separated from her mother and was already very frightened.

“There are so many people who are incapable of feeling empathy for a living creature, alone, dying of hunger, without its mother and terrified,” Equinac complained.

“This obsession with touching and taking pictures of animals that are really sensitive to stress, even if the creature suffers, is just selfish.”

Dolphins, like whales, are not fish, but mammals, and they can breathe outside the water, Equinac says.



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Bull-run death leads to family compensation claim for €400,000
15 August 2017

FAMILY members of a young man killed at a bull-running in a Castellón village are suing the council for €400,000.

The 36-year-old man entered the street outside the safety barriers at the festival in honour of the patron saint, Sant Xotxim, in Vilavella in the summer of 2016.

He tripped over and was gored so badly that his injuries caused nearly instant death.

Other members of the public in the street at the time were also caught unawares, some suffering minor wounds but most escaping unharmed.

The man's parents and other relatives say security measures at the event were deficient and directly caused the accident.

And the town council is legally responsible for any loss, damage, injury or death at its public events, even though most fiesta acts such as bull-runs, discos and concerts are organised and funded by outside companies, and parades are financed and arranged by subscribing fiesta club members, which anyone – even residents from other towns – are welcome to join.

Vilavella council, however, says safety barriers were in place and fully checked, and that all security requirements stipulated in its fiesta bye-laws were adhered to.

These include not allowing access to the bulls' area of the street to under-18s or anyone 'not in full control of their faculties', such as the disabled or anyone who has consumed alcohol.



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Migrant boat docks on beach full of sunbathers
10 August 2017

A MIGRANT raft sailed into Cádiz province shores yesterday (Wednesday) when the beach was full of bathers soaking up the rays.

Sunseekers on the Los Alemanes beach in Zahara de los Atunes looked on in amazement as an overcrowded rowing boat sailed in, with crowds gathering and rushing forward to get a better look.

At least a dozen, possibly 20 or so sub-Saharan Africans were on board and, no sooner had their boat hit the sand, they bailed out and made a run for it


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Extra flights to repatriate Spanish tourists grounded in Madeira due to storms
10 August 2017

EMERGENCY flights have been thrown on to get tourists home to Spain from the Portuguese island of Madeira after storms led to planes being cancelled and holidaymakers stranded.

Regional carrier Air Nostrum – the Iberia arm which operates internal flights – said three extra trips in either direction would be run between Madrid and Funchal, 'weather permitting'.

Passengers who originally flew from other airports in Spain will be taken on to these via connecting flights.

It is believed some of the tourists are already home.

They were stuck at Funchal airport in the first half of this week after hurricanes battering Madeira made flying unsafe.

With over 60 flights cancelled, some 15,000 travellers needed emergency hotel accommodation, which has been proving very difficult since Madeira is full to capacity with its usual hordes of summer tourists.


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“Take pictures of airport queues,” consumer agency tells affected passengers
07 August 2017

CONSUMER authorities in Catalunya recommend travellers affected by the Barcelona airport strikes take photographs of the queues at security to help them with their compensation claims and give regional watchdogs more fuel when fighting passengers' corner.

Inspectors have been on duty every two to three days at El Prat airport to monitor waiting times, said Montserrat Ribera of the Catalunya Consumer Agency in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio.

But photographs of the queues taken by passengers will help us evidence what is going on,” she stressed.

As yet, the Agency does not have official numbers of travellers affected, but based upon airlines' own calculations, it is thought that at least 1,000 have missed their flights due to waits of between 90 minutes and four hours at security.

Claims for compensation can be made to the nationa airport governing body, AENA, and also to the ministry of public works as the State is liable, says Sra Ribera.

We're talking about security – a basic airport service – and security is what the ministry is required to be able to guarantee; but they're not doing that,” she argues.

Eulen, the company the security staff works for, says negotiations have reached stalemate as the pay rise demanded by striking employees is 'prohibitive' and 'unacceptable'.



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'Digital tax' applied to tablets, pen-drives, blank CDs and all other recording equipment
07 August 2017

ROYALTIES for audio-visual artists will be paid through an additional tax on technology capable of recording records, films and books now that a law drafted during the previous socialist government's reign has come into force.

Mobile telephones with recording functions will be taxed with an extra €1.10 on the purchase price, whilst USB pen-drives and external hard drives by 24 cents.

Tablets will be taxed at €3.15 at the point of sale; video, DVD, cassette and CD recorders by €5.45 and all other external recording devices by €6.45.

Only one tax will apply, meaning a tablet, laptop or desktop computer will not be levied twice if they have more than one recording function.

Blank CDs, cassettes, DVDs and video tapes will attract a tax of between eight and 28 cents, whilst printers will be levied at €4.50 to €5.25 and CD recording devices by between 33 cents and €1.86.



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Two-thirds of Spanish workers 'take the office on holiday with them', says research
06 August 2017

FEWER than 35% of Spanish residents 'switch off' from work when they are on holiday, according to separate studies carried out by recruitment agencies Adecco and Randstad.

The former cites 34.8% of workers continuing on the job in some form or another whilst on annual leave, whilst the latter gives a figure of 32.5% - meaning effectively, two-thirds of the country is still somehow 'working' whilst on holiday.

The '24/7 culture' affects both sexes and all ages, but the typical profile of an employee who does not use their holiday as complete down-time is a male aged under 25, and he is generally unhappy with how long he has for his holidays.

Women, in 72.5% of cases, claimed they did in fact 'leave the office behind' when they were away from it, according to Adecco.

Randstad says nearly half of those who stay connected to their job whilst away – 48.1% - do so because they 'find it difficult to shut their minds off' to work-related issues, whilst 27.5% say they cannot switch off because their companies still contact them while they are out of the office.



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La Liga rejects Neymar's €222m transfer fee, but Barça forward can still join PSG
03 August 2017

LA LIGA has blocked an attempt to force Neymar to pay his own record €222 million transfer fee to break off his contract with FC Barcelona and move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), calling it 'financial doping'.

The 25-year-old Brazilian, whose purchase price from FC Santos in his home country was already among the highest in history and has since led to Barça falling foul of the Spanish tax authorities, travelled to Madrid yesterday to hand over his contract release fee.

But the Spanish premier league, or La Liga, rejected the cash, saying the player's payment breached UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

These rules came into effect six years ago, and forbid any club in Europe from spending €30m or more in excess of what they earn.

Paris Saint-Germain is funded by the State of Qatar, and La Liga chair Javier Tebas has criticised the club for 'financial doping', a form of 'unfair' competition used by State-supported teams that, according to Tebas 'could destabilise professional football in Europe'.

Neymar is still free to sign up with PSG, since in cases such as these the FIFA grants a provisional transfer.



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Girl who tweeted 'death to all police officers' message arrested
02 August 2017

A TWITTER user who championed the death of a policeman run over during a smuggling operation and wishing instant demise upon all other officers has been arrested and charged under Spain's hate speech laws.

Identified only by her initials of I.M.L.P., the 22-year-old's barely-literate rant targeted not only the National Police officer killed during a patrol car chase in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz province) involving smugglers who had crossed the Gibraltar border, but all other security forces in the country.

She wrote on Twitter that the officers involved in the chase were 'an embarrassment' and 'sons of b*****s', that it was not the smuggler's fault that their colleague had been killed, but that she 'was happy about' his death.

Next she tweeted that she 'hoped all police officers would die' because 'for all the use they are' she 'couldn't care less what people thought', and stated in very plain terms that she thought they were 'boot-lickers' – at least, this is the cleaned-up version.

Officers from the Specialist Crime and Violence Unit (UDEV) managed to trace the author of the insulting tweets, finding she was resident in the same town as the fatal police accident.



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