In a surprising twist after days of tension and clashes between the Cuban government and the opposition movement, one of the more visible faces of the dissident group Archipiélago left for Spain with his wife. According to the Spanish newspaper El País, which referred to anonymous diplomatic sources, actor and playwright Yunior García arrived in Madrid on a tourist visa he requested. Europa Press first reported the trip. “We arrived in Spain, alive, healthy and with our ideas intact,” he said. “We have many people to thank for making this trip possible. I have been without communication for se...
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The legendary Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, the best-selling Latin artist in history, was forced to flashback to his youth to dispel rumors about his supposedly fragile state of health. Iglesias’ health had been the subject of much speculation because he has been staying out of the public eye lately. At 77, he made a revelation on Instagram of a little-known fact in his biography, which transported his thousands of followers to the 1960s, when Iglesias was 19 years old. Underneath the photo of him as a young man in a bathing suit on a beach in the seaside town Peníscola in eastern Spain, Igle...
The coronavirus crisis has hampered international travel for the past 10 months and countries all over the world are feeling the effects. Using data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and The World Bank, visa waiver processing firm Official ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) recently revealed the countries with the biggest tourism revenue loss due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "The past year has been extremely difficult for the travel and tourism industry, with the unpredictable circumstances resulting in countries being forced to close their borders to tourists,...
Spain will include revenues from prostitution, drug trafficking, tobacco smuggling and other illegal activities when calculating its economic output, its statistics office Thursday. The measure, which comes into force in September, complies with new…
Curators were forced to remove a precious cup from display in a church in Spain when crowds swarmed there after historians claimed it was the Holy Grail, staff said.
Visitors flocked to the San Isidro basilica in the northwestern city of Leon after two historians published a book saying the ancient goblet was the mythical chalice from which Christ sipped at the Last Supper.
The director of the basilica's museum, Raquel Jaen, said the cup was taken off display on Friday while curators look for an exhibition space large enough to accommodate the crowds.
"It was in a very small room where it was not possible to admire it to the full," she told AFP.
Made of agate, gold and onyx and encrusted with precious stones, the object in Leon is formed by two goblets joined together, with one turned up, the other down.
It has been known until now as the goblet of the Infanta Dona Urraca, daughter of Fernando I, King of Leon from 1037 to 1065.
The two historians -- Leon University medieval history lecturer Margarita Torres and art historian Jose Manuel Ortega del Rio -- identified it as the grail in their book "Kings of the Grail", published last week.
They said two Egyptian parchments they found in 2011 at Cairo's University of Al-Azhar set them on a three-year investigation.
Their studies led them to identify the upper part of the princess's goblet, made of agate and missing a fragment as described in the parchments, as the grail -- one of the most prized relics in Christianity.
It was offered to Fernando, a powerful Christian Spanish king, as a peace offering by the emir of a kingdom in the Muslim part of Spain at the time, Torres said.
In Europe alone there are 200 supposed Holy Grails, the Spanish researchers admitted. They attempted to debunk the authenticity of some of the better known candidates in their book.
Spain will appeal for damages over the Prestige tanker disaster which choked its northwest coast in oil, the government said Monday, after a court acquitted all defendants of causing the spill.
The court on Thursday acquitted the ship's crew and a top Spanish maritime official and awarded no compensation for the 2002 wreck, one of Europe's worst environmental disasters.
Its only sentence was a nine-month jail term for the ship's captain for resisting attempts to tow the wreck away from shore before it spilled its load, killing tens of thousands of seabirds.
"The government has decided to launch an appeal, not against the criminal responsibility of the captain of the Prestige, but against the exemption from civil liability," Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said.
The appeal is "to insist on the need for civil liability, if there is any, to be met by those responsible for the disaster," he told reporters.
The court in the northwestern Galicia region acquitted 78-year-old captain Apostolos Mangouras and chief engineer Nikolaos Argyropoulos, both Greek, and the head of the Spanish merchant navy at the time, Jose Luis Lopez-Sors, of responsibility for the wreck.
It ruled that deficient maintenance had failed to detect a structural fault that led the ship to break up in a storm. The company that ran the ship was not prosecuted.
When it broke in two after six days damaged and adrift, the Prestige spilled 63,000 tonnes of fuel oil into the sea, coating 2,980 kilometres (1,852 miles) of shoreline in Spain, France and Portugal with black gunk.
The president of the Galicia region, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, explained separately on Monday that the central government's appeal aimed "to recover the money invested by Spain" in cleaning up the spill.
The court ruling put the cost of the disaster at more than 368 million euros ($494 million) to the Spanish state, 145 million euros to the Spanish region of Galicia and 68 million euros to neighbouring France.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
Spanish miners launched a 48-hour work stoppage Tuesday as they recalled the horror of a methane gas leak that swiftly killed six coal workers in the troubled industry's deadliest accident in 18 years.
The gas suffocated the six workers in a mine in northwestern Spain on Monday, officials said, spreading so quickly 700 metres (2,300 feet) underground that miners had no time to put on protective masks before being overcome.
Another five workers injured at the Santa Lucia mine, near the town of Pola de Gordon, were taken to hospital and are in a stable condition, officials said.
Eleven miners were reportedly working in a 200-metre (600-foot) long gallery, almost 700 metres (2,300 feet) below ground, when disaster struck.
The four-metre high, five-metre (13-foot by 16-foot) wide passage was accessible via a cage lift.
Methane, a colourless and odourless gas and a deadly enemy of miners for centuries, is not toxic in small quantities. But it deprives the air of oxygen and can quickly asphyxiate at high concentrations.
Jesus Gonzalez, 30, one of 116 workers there at the time of the disaster, told AFP he was working in another part of the mine when the accident occurred in section seven.
"I was about to have a sandwich when it happened and I saw everyone running out," Gonzalez said.
People were shouting "Let's go to section seven, the roof has collapsed," the miner said. The movement of the rock may have pushed methane through the passage, he added.
"I was taking out the stretchers to the street, they were coming out asleep without a single scratch. It was simply the methane displacing the oxygen, an overwhelming asphyxiation. One mouthful of that and that's it, like birds."
Gonzales sadly recalled his colleagues who perished in the disaster.
"I knew them. I have been working there for five years. The oldest was about to retire because there was only one who was 45," he said.
Most of the victims were in their 30s, however, including parents of young children, he added.
Major Spanish union federations, the CCOO and UGT, called a two-day halt to work in Spain's mines. About 40 mines are in operation, mostly in the north, and the aim is to lower employment from some 8,000 in 2011 to 4,500 by 2018.
"Both federations have decided to call a 48-hour strike in all mining operations in the country as a symbol of respect, condolences and mourning for our workmates," they said in a joint statement.
The unions urged the National Commission for Mining Safety to investigate urgently and to take measures to prevent further such disasters.
The company that owns the mine, Hullera Vasco Leonesa, blamed a methane gas leak and said an investigation was underway into the cause of the accident.
The mine was closed for two days because of the methane, said Francisco Gastanon, the mayor of Pola de Gordon.
"The town is devastated. It is like a heavy blow of reality. Something we though could be a nightmare, well it turns out to be reality. People are devastated, sad, depressed and it's very hard to see your friends, your workmates. No-one is in the street now."
The gas leak happened so quickly that the miners did not have time to put their protective masks on, said Jose Antonio Colinas, who represents miners at the local branch of the UGT trade union.
"They really did not have time to react, the atmosphere was invaded by methane," he told reporters at the scene.
The president of the government of the region of Castile and Leon, Juan Vicente Herrera, declared three days official mourning.
It was the worst accident at a Spanish mine since 14 people were killed in August 1995 in a methane explosion at a coalmine near Mieres in the northern province of Austurias.
Spain's coal mining sector has been contracting for decades, with a reduction in government mining subsidies hastening the closure of unprofitable mines.
Like other European countries, Spain has committed to gradually close unprofitable coalmines in the next few years.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
U.S. security services tracked 60 million telephone calls in Spain in a single month, according to leaked document published Monday in a leading Spanish newspaper.
The National Security Agency tracked the origin and destination of calls and their duration, U.S. blogger Glenn Greenwald said in a story in El Mundo, which published a classified graph of 30 days of telephone call tracing.
A woman walks under an umbrella in front Santander Bank in Pamplona, Spain, on Wednesday. Spain's National Statistics Institute says the country's jobless rate edged down from 26.3 percent to 26.0 percent during the third quarter, a day after the Bank…
[Image via Agence France-Presse]