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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.

Spanish climber reaches Everest summit without oxygen or ropes
24 May 2017

A SPANISH mountaineer has crowned Everest without oxygen or fixed ropes in just one hit – despite having to 'stop every two steps' because of an upset stomach.

Catalunya-born Kilian Jornet reached the summit just 26 hours after leaving Base Camp, a climb of 6,500 metres.

Kilian climbed the world's second-highest mountain from the north face, reaching the peak at 8,848 metres above sea-level around midnight local time on Sunday, and had to stay there until Monday morning because of pains in his stomach and starting to feel ill after around 7,700 metres.

He had originally planned to return to Base Camp, near the old Rombuk monastery at 5,100 metres above sea-level, on the same night, but what he believes to be 'a stomach virus' meant he abandoned the idea and stayed put near the top.

Everest was the final goal in Kilian's Summits of my Life project, which started with Mont Blanc in 2012 and led onto Cervino before he crossed the pond and scaled Denali and Aconcagua in North and South America respectively.

This is the second time he had planned to crown Everest, but the first trip in September had to be put off due to adverse weather conditions.

“Climbing to the summit of Everest without fixed ropes isn't something you can do every day,” Kilian remarked.

“I saw a spectacular sunset and, finally, at around midnight, reached the peak.


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Ex-Barça trainer Pep Guardiola's wife and daughters escaped Manchester Arena attack unscathed
23 May 2017

MANCHESTER City FC manager Pep Guardiola's wife and daughters were at last night's Ariana Grande concert during the terror attack which killed 22 people – including six children – and injured 59 others.

The former Barça FC player and trainer has been based in the north-western UK city since last summer with his wife, Cristina Serra and their three children María, 16; Màrius, 14 and Valentina, nine.

Cristina, María and Valentina had gone to see Ariana at Manchester Arena, but Pep and Màrius did not accompany them.

The coach's father Valentí Guardiola told the Catalunya daily newspaper, Regió7, that all three managed to escape the venue in time and none of them are hurt.

“Fortunately, none of this madness affected them and they just had a terrible scare,” Guardiola Senior explained.

Pep himself says he is 'in shock' and 'cannot believe' what has happened.

He sent his condolences on Twitter to the friends and family members of those who have died – of whom three have been named so far – along with the hashtag #Ilovemanchester.


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Ariana Grande's tour cancellation includes Barcelona Palau Sant Jordi date
23 May 2017

ARIANA Grande's Dangerous Woman Tour has been called off until at least the end of June, although as yet no official communication about the Barcelona date has been released.

The US-born star's announcement of her European tour cancellation is assumed to affect the concert at the Palau Sant Jordi in the Catalunya capital on June 13 – Ariana's only show in Spain – but notification has not been published as yet.

Fans do not yet know whether they will receive a refund on their tickets, although this seems likely and those who had bought their entry are awaiting news from the star's manager, Scooter Braun.

A press release from Braun says: “We're all crying for the lives of the children and their loved ones which have been snatched away by this act of cowardice.”

Music magazine TMZ cited sources close to Ariana and say she is 'hysterical' and 'devastated' following the attack, and unable to bring herself to see anyone official at the moment.

Both Ariana and her team are concerned about her own safety as well as those of her fans.

Dates in the UK, Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Portugal and Italy have been axed, and it is thought Ariana's tour will resume in summer with her planned concerts in Latin America, Asia and Oceania.


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Explosive device found on Mar Menor beach
21 May 2017

EXPLOSIVES experts have detonated a phosphorus flare found by a man catching the rays on Estacio beach in La Manga del Mar Menor (Murcia).

He contacted the Guardia Civil when he saw what looked like a bomb on the sand, but which turned out to be an unfired signal flare.

In its unexploded state, however, it was still potentially dangerous, so divers from the EOD detonation squad were called in.

They removed it safely and took it to the Guardia Civil headquarters in Cartagena to neutralise it.

The Guardia Civil, who are military-trained police, have a bomb-detonation diving team in-house, which works with the Naval Anti-Mine Measures Diving Unit – the UBMCM – as well as the land-based explosives team, TEDAX.


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Brits in their 20s shipped 'tonnes of cannabis' to Liverpool from Marbella, Tarragona, Barcelona and Costa Blanca
21 May 2017

MERSEYSIDE police traced an explosion in a Liverpool flat to a massive international drug-smuggling racket involving 21 Brits in four Spanish provinces and the north-west of England.

Working closely with police in Spain after finding an arsenal of home-made bombs and 150 kilos of speed and five kilos of cannabis in the Liverpool property in March, officers from Merseyside have helped capture the last few members of the gang this week.

Most of the accused parties who carried out the spade-work for the smuggling operation were young British men aged between 22 and 25, living in upmarket neighbourhoods in Barcelona and Marbella (Málaga) and driving top-of-the-range cars – despite apparently not having jobs or any legally-registered trade.

Tonnes of cannabis were transported to the UK from Spain in lorries carrying consignments of bricks, and when the two ringleaders and their brother-in-law – whom the younger men worked for – were arrested, a shoebox containing €120,000 in cash was unearthed.

Another 18 people, mostly British and believed to be all male, were arrested after 12 properties in the provinces of Alicante, Málaga, Tarragona and Barcelona were raided.

Police seized 1,646 marijuana plants and 58 hash buds ready for transport.

Several cargoes of up to 400 kilos at a time had been shipped to the UK already.

The lorries were supposed to be carrying marble slabs, but were packed into boxes which in fact contained bricks along with the drugs to obtain a similar weight and avoid their being inspected.


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Catalunya to hold independence referendum in second week of September 'whether or not central government agrees'
18 May 2017

A REGIONAL government spokeswoman in Catalunya says the independence referendum will be held in the second half of September, but will 'wait for a clear response' from central government president Mariano Rajoy before confirming the exact date.

Rajoy has been called to a conference in Catalunya led by its president, Carles Puigdemont in an attempt to 'discuss' and 'if possible, reach an agreement' – but Rajoy has not yet confirmed whether he will attend, and it is likely he will refuse.

Spain's central government has long refused to even approach the subject of a referendum and simply said it is not allowed, 'end of conversation'.

This has merely served to incense the population of Catalunya, to increase support for secession and lead to even those who are not in favour of independence to push for a public vote.

And even if Rajoy does go to the conference, it seems very unlikely his categoric 'no' and refusal to discuss the matter will change.

But Catalunya's government spokeswoman Neus Munté says the referendum will go ahead in the second half of September whether Madrid agrees to it or not.

Puigdemont has said there is no sense in setting an exact date until the conference, and stresses he wants to 'make a formal offer to negotiate' Catalunya's position with the central government first.


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Carrefour seeks 6,700 new employees for summer
18 May 2017

HYPERMARKET chain Carrefour plans to take on 6,700 new members of staff for summer, of whom nine in 10 will be based in stores.

Customer service and check-out, shelf-stacking, staff on the deli counters and in technology sales are sought, with others needed for financial services, travel agencies and petrol stations.

Applicants should have a 'clear sales orientation' and 'excellent customer service skills', as well as being able to work well in a team, digital or computer skills and 'great potential for development'.

First-jobbers, as well as students seeking to earn money for the summer are the most likely to be expected to apply, although workers of any age can send their CV via Carrefour's website.



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Migrants disguised as football players to get them into Spain
17 May 2017

NATIONAL Police have broken up a human-trafficking racket which dressed illegal immigrants as football players to get them through the border into Spain.

Migrants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa wore strips for the third division X club AD Ceuta, based in the Spanish-owned city-province of the same name on the Moroccan coast, which plays alongside teams in Huelva, Sevilla, Córdoba and Cádiz.

Officers saw a man wearing the official tracksuit for AD Ceuta on board a ship heading from the city to mainland Spain, but found he was not one of the team, nor its staff.

And on checking his national ID card, they found he was not who he claimed to be, nor was he a Spanish citizen.

The man in question claimed a member of the club had sold him the ID card for €1,000.

Police traced the only member of the team who was not wearing the official strip and arrested him along with another woman who was said to be in charge of keeping the illegal migrant under wraps at her home before he was helped on board the ferry.

A third person who had been accompanying the migrant was also arrested.

The three taken into custody, a woman aged 32 and two men aged 23 and 34, were all born in Ceuta and had Spanish passports, and the immigrant was Moroccan and aged 19.


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Reoffending drink- and drug-drivers will face compulsory health checks, says interior ministry
17 May 2017

DRIVERS caught over the alcohol limit, on drugs or both more than once in two years will face an automatic ban and compulsory health checks to see whether they suffer addictions, says interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido.

Although this is already provided for by the General Drivers' Regulations, part of Spain's road traffic law, it is rarely applied.

But the ex-mayor of Sevilla and now head of Interior says something needs to be done in light of the high number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths and injuries and of drivers continuing to be found well in excess of the alcohol limit or under the influence of substances, typically cocaine and cannabis.

Less than a week after three cyclists from Jávea (Alicante province) lost their lives when a drunken and drug-fuelled driver ploughed through them on the N-332 highway in Oliva (Valencia province), a near-identical case was seen in the province of Tarragona – a woman aged 25 who had consumed large amounts of alcohol knocked down six cyclists.

Fortunately, in the second case, all of them survived, but several have been injured.

And in the four days following the Oliva crash, three drivers were caught in the same province between three and six times over the alcohol limit, one also on drugs and driving the wrong way down the AP-7 motorway.


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Podemos calls for investigation into xenophobic attacks on Spaniards in the UK
16 May 2017

SPAIN has contacted the UK and ordered an investigation into 'racist attacks' on Spanish tourists and expats in Britain.

Following the Brexit referendum vote, an upsurge in xenophobic insults and assaults was reported in the UK, mostly targeting Polish expats, but a small number of Spaniards also suffered.

Tomás Gil, 27, who was speaking to his companion in Spanish in Poole, Dorset – both of whom were believed to be tourists – was beaten with a broken billboard and told to 'speak in English'.

And a Spanish-run restaurant serving typical dishes from different parts of the country was attacked, with the windows smashed and the façade covered in graffiti reading 'Spics go home!'

These are not thought to be isolated incidences, given that many Spaniards in the UK do not report general insults or threats, only contacting the police if they suffer physical violence.

And the embassy and consular offices say no xenophobic assaults or verbal attacks have been reported to them.

Now that they have been informed through a written communication by left-wing opposition party Podemos, consulates and the embassy have made contact with the victims and offered assistance.


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