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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.

Dalí to be exhumed following paternity suit
26 June 2017

A JUDGE has ordered the body of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí to be exhumed following a paternity suit filed by a woman from Girona.

María Pilar Abel Martínez, known as Pilar Abel, claims the artist behind the melting clock and My mother, my mother, my mother is her biological father, and a court in Madrid has agreed to DNA tests being carried out on the deceased painter.

No other 'biological remains or personal items' which could contain Dalí's DNA are in existence, the court says.


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Early start to sales for El Corte Inglés
26 June 2017

EL CORTE Inglés department store has brought forward its summer sales for the first time in history, with prices due to be slashed from this coming Friday (June 30).

Although Spanish shops have been allowed, by law, to hold sales at any time of the year and as often as they wish, the majority – especially national and international chains – stick to the twice-yearly post-Christmas and summer calendar, with discounts ranging from 30% to 80% in late December to early February and over July and most of August.

El Corte Inglés, present in all Spain's major cities and also in Portugal, will start its sales on Thursday, June 29 at 22.00 – just after its shops shut – for online customers.

Discounts start at 50% on a vast selection of household items, fashion and accessories, most of which are top-branded goods, and are likely to rise to 70% in the weeks that follow.

The department store's own-branded budget fashion line, Sfera, already started its sales a week ago, as did other cut-price high-street brands like Cortefiel, Springfield, H&M and underwear firm Women's Secret, plus designer chain Bimba & Lola.

Their wares are now on sale at between 50% and 60% off.


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Massive inferno spreading to Doñana forces evacuation of 2,000 people
26 June 2017

OVER 2,000 residents have been evacuated as a major inferno sweeps across the province of Huelva, threatening the Doñana National Park.

Two holiday parks, the Parador Nacional State-run hotel and the El Arenosillo Army barracks have all been emptied and their occupants forced to flee for their own safety.

Regional president of Andalucía, Susana Díaz, says she suspects 'the human factor' is behind the blaze, or that it is the work of arsonists.

High temperatures and winds of over 60 kilometres per hour mean the fire is out of control and emergency services say the next few hours will be 'critical'.

The inferno broke out at around 21.30 last night (Saturday) in the rural La Peñuela area close to the town of Moguer and has already crept across the Doñana border.

Firefighters say they have managed to get the flames surrounded and expect a wind change that could help stop it spreading further.

The flames have been extending in a long line, fuelled by a north wind, and by this morning had travelled over 12 kilometres in less than five hours.


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Sizzling summer on the cards, warns Spanish Met Office
23 June 2017

This summer, which officially started at 6h24 on Wednesday, looks set to be a hot one across the whole of Spain with temperatures between 0.5 and 1 degree higher than the season average, especially in central and southern regions, after the hottest spring of the 21st century.

A spokesperson for the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), Ana Casals, said in a press conference yesterday that the high temperatures experienced over the past month suggested that July, August and September would continue in a similar vein as was the case with the hot summers of 2003, 2015 and 2016.

Casals also mentioned that meteorological analysis was increasingly showing that "summer starts earlier" and that forecasts predict it to move forward by a whole day every ten years.

With regard to rainfall this summer, little or no change is expected across the pensinsula, although there might be slightly less in some areas.

Casals highlighted the fact that June started in normal temperatures, but that from 7th or 8th onwards temperatures started to rise much higher than normal in the south-eastern provinces, in Castilla y León and in the Ebro Valley. The intense heat continued until June 18th and temperatures remain very high for the time of year.


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Radical jihadi operative arrested in Madrid
22 June 2017

Members of the National Police Intelligence Agency arrested a 32-year-old man of Moroccan origin in the Divino Valles street in Madrid on Wednesday after he was found to be a member of the Islamic State terrorist organisation and in an advanced stated of radicalisation.

According to a police statement, the man is "extremely dangerous", displaying similar characteristics to the terrorists implicated in the recent attacks in the UK and France, and constituted a clear threat for the security of the country.

The accused had carried out an exhaustive search of official Islamic State training documentation and had compiled a huge number of manuals referring specifically to terrorist activity within a jihadi framework, for example a manual on suicide terrorism and a manual on electronic jihad.

The files cover all aspects of terrorism, from the most extreme ideological preparation to acts of martyrdom.  During the investigation, police officers were able to highlight certain indicators on social networks, which link the accused to members of Islamic State in the Syrian-Iraqi jihadi combat zone.

The accused has also been found to have been in the process of radicalising people around him, trying to persuade them to carry out violent acts of terror in Spain.

The Islamic State training material seized was allegedly being used to prepare his chosen candidates in radical religious notions, as well as in other aspects of theoretical and practical operational training.


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Three arrested as liquid cocaine discovered inside fresh coconuts
22 June 2017

Agents from Spain's Civil Guard, working in conjunction with the country's tax authorities, have made three arrests at the Adolfo Suárez airport in the capital, after seizing a shipment of fresh coconuts from Colombia into which 50kg of liquid cocaine had been injected.

The operation began with a customs risk analysis at the Madrid-Barajas airport, carried out by Customs surveillance agents working for the tax authorities and then continued in conjunction with the Guardia Civil's tax specialists.

Both sets of operatives, working independently of each other, detected a suspicious shipment of fresh coconuts coming in from Colombia and decided to pool resources to look into it further, applying the strictest of tax measures to the shipment.

The scam was revealed after airport scanners showed unusual density inside some of the coconuts.

The discovery led to the arrest of those receiving the goods, a Venezuelan woman and two Colombian men, all of whom have been charged with endangering public health.


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TV music royalties scam unearthed
21 June 2017

SEVERAL major TV channels have been thrown into the spotlight after a royalties fraud was uncovered this week, and National Police have carried out 16 raids.

Nationwide channels such as TVE and regional stations – Telemadrid, Euskal Irrati Telebista (EITB) in the Basque Country, Castilla-La Mancha Televisión (CMM), Radiotelevisión Canaria, Televisión de Aragón, TPA from Asturias, and Murcia's 7RM – have been ordered to supply information.

Investigators refer to a corruption scam involving suspected fraud in charging royalties payable to composers whose music is played on programmes and slots, by making minor changes to tracks made by other artists and passing them off as being original works.

According to details of the case, the accused channels created 'poor-quality' music and registered 'false adjustments' to existing works already in the public domain, declaring them as the original pieces of other companies and individuals, and paying them for their use on screen during the night-time schedule, after the watershed.

The State arts agency, SGAE, says it has been attempting to 'combat this kind of fraud' for years, and is helping police and the court in Madrid with their inquiries.

According to the SGAE, the scandal dates back to around 2006 and covers a five-year period.


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Brexit and Gibraltar: Spain's foreign minister meets negotiators
21 June 2017

Alfonso Dastis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has confirmed that Spain will not use any disagreement over Gibraltar to block the UK's exit from the EU and emphasised that any discussion over the sovereignty of 'The Rock' would be a bilateral one between the two countries.

The Minister was responding to questions regarding a veto by Spain over Gibraltar and its potential to affect the Brexit negotiations that began in Brussels on Monday.

"I don't think so," he said, "this doesn't just depend on us, it depends on the United Kingdom, most of all, if we are to reach an agreement."

"The most important thing," he continued, "and we hope the UK understands this in the same way, is that there is a constructive relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union."

Dastis highlighted the fact that Spain has requested that all future negotiations relating to Gibraltar be a matter for Spain and the UK only, once the framework of the UK's new relationship with the EU has been determined.


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Weather alerts across Spain as heatwave continues, bringing storms in its wake
21 June 2017

A total of 32 provinces are on alert today (Wednesday) with a high risk of heavy rain, storms and above all high temperatures in the centre of the country.

Temperatures are set to go up in the east of the country, go down in Galicia and Andalucía, and stay relatively stable across the rest of Spain.

The provinces of Granada, Jaén, Sevilla, Huesca, Zaragoza, Albacete, Guadalajara, Cantabria, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Toledo, Ávila, León, Palencia, Salamanca, Valladolid, Zamora, Madrid, Navarra, Cáceres, Lugo, Orense, La Rioja, Vizcaya, Gipúzcoa y Asturias are on yellow alert for high temperatures.

An amber alert has been activated in Córdoba and Badajoz, where highs of 41ºC and 38ºC respectively are forecast.

The four Catalan provinces - Barcelona, Gerona, Lérida and Tarragona - are on yellow alert for a number of different meteorological phenomena: Barcelona, for heavy rain and storms; Gerona and Lérida for heavy rain, storms and high temperatures; and Tarragona for high temperatures.

Overall, the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) has forecast temperatures considerably higher than the average for this time of year along the coastline of Cantabria and Catalonia and much of the peninsula.


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Boris Johnson praises Ignacio Echeverría for his 'bravery and courage' during London terror attack
20 June 2017

BRITISH foreign affairs minister Boris Johnson has praised Spanish terror attack hero for his 'bravery' and 'courage' which cost him his life when he took on knife-men in London's Borough Market.

Johnson, upon arriving at the Council of European Union Foreign Ministers – due to take place today (Tuesday) in Luxembourg – said this would be 'the first chance' the UK government had to 'speak with its associates' following the London Bridge and Borough Market attack.

The head of diplomatic relations for Britain recalled that the majority of victims, both the dead and the injured, were 'from other European countries', such as Poles and French, 'including a very brave and courageous Spaniard', in reference to Ignacio Echeverría, 39.


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