News, October 2004

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October 29th, resumé.

(Church and Sport news click more) Over the past 2 weeks major headlines have included: some 30 islamic terrorist suspects arrested in Spain, suspected of planning imminent attack on national court, Switzerland holds suspected cell leader and examines urgent detention/extradition order - the plot involved purchase of a truck load of explosive from ETA and blowing the whole lot in front of the court; government to repeal clause which could send Basque president to jail for calling an 'illegal' referendum on autonomy; more ETA suspects arrested; 176 africans land from illegal 'slave ship' in the Canaries the same day as 88 detained on two open boats; government continues 'new ethics' legislation, while opposition attempts to uphold old family values - against the mood of the EU parliament; EU ministers have signed new constitution - still requiring ratification, which should be no problem for Spain; first meeting of regional presidents with national president raises topic of constitutional reform - to become and annual event, more >>

New wave of arrests as Islamics suspected of attack plan against National Court.

29 October. On the 19th seven suspected terrorists were detained for questioning about a plot to attack the national court in Madrid. Another 10 were questioned inside Spanish prisons. Today another 13 suspects have been 'arrested' (some also within prisons) around Spain. Switzerland holds the suspected cell leader, more >>

Príncipe de Asturias Prizes

23 October. Last night Spain's most prestigious prizes were awarded by the Prince of Asturias, Felipe. Last year, JK Rowling won the most prestigious of all, the Concord prize. This year the winners are as follow: more >>

ETA beheaded

5th October. On Sunday night, 3rd October, French Police arrested ETA's leader Mikel Albizu, 'Mikel Antza',and 16 others in a major round up, which also unearthed several important arsenals including over a tonne of explosives, two service ready surface to air misiles and many other weapons. more >>

Socialists present new Religious Education plan

28th September. Among the plans for education which the new government wants to introduce, one of their priorities is in the area of Religious Education (RE). The new proposals include a new subject, 'History of Religion', compulsory for all children and taught by school staff of any or no confession, while confessional RE would have presumably reduced hours and be completely optional. more >>

Spain tops European Cocaine abuse levels

15 September. While the population at large seem to consider the problem of drug abuse is receding, due to the fall in heroin use, the sad fact is that the use of cocaine and cannabis has doubled over the past decade, according to the Health Minister. She said to Parliament. 'Something isn't working'. more >>

11 September, a day to remember

While the Catalan people have been celebrating 11th September for years, the rest of Spain now joins in taking this day to remember its almost 200 dead at the hands of international islamic terrorism on 11th March this year. It also remembers from a greater distance, the dead in the many other related attacks around the globe since even before 11 September 2001. more >>

The other 9/11: Catalonia's national day... and other September Fiestas

For Catalonia, September 11th marks not an event in recent american history, so much as an event of equally sad significance in the own history. On that date, in 1714, at the end of the war of the Spanish Succession, Catalonia fell to the advancing Borbon troops of Castille which took over the country and did away with the governing structures of Catalonia and the kingdom of Aragon which had existed since medieval times. more >>

82 year old Fraga stands again for president in Galicia

12th September. Manuel Fraga Iribarne, president of Galicia's regional Xunta, has been unanimously named official Partido Popular candidate for the forthcoming regional elections. He has already been president for 4 terms, having started his political carreer during the Franco era, when he was minister for 'Information and Tourism', more >>

While illegals risk all, government changes immigration rules

15th September. After a summer of daily news about detention of illegals attempting to cross the Straits, or bodies washed up on the beaches, the government has announced changes in the rules about recognition of the 'paperless people' already here. Recognition and work permits may now be easier to obtain through 'denouncing' their employers. more >>

News theme: Basque politics and ETA

Until 2003, terrorism in Spain meant ETA. Bombs, or bomb threats, assasinations and extortion were a regular part of life, affecting few directly, but leaving no one completely sure that it could not hit him or her. Evidently, the events of 11th March, 2004 changed the whole way Spaniards look at terrorism, as ETA lost its monopoly with the arrival of islamic terror. At the same time, over the past year many accused of key ETA roles have been arrested. Yet, while terrorism is now regarded in a different way, the Basque 'problem' continues to be a major theme in the news and the political agenda. more >>

News Theme: Big events in 2004, Holy Year for Santiago and Forum of the Cultures in Barcelona, 500th anniversary of the death of Queen Isabel I

This year, three major long-running events are dominating the Spanish 'cultural diary'. They are the Año Jacobeo, or Holy Year of Pilgrimage to Santiago in Galicia, the Forum of the Cultures in Barcelona and the 500th anniversary of the deat of Isabel I, founder of the Spanish Inquisition. The first two, particularly, will draw many thousands of visitors, curious to see what is going on or perhaps committed to a particular expression of spirituality. more >>

News Theme, Late Summer in Spain and the Weather

During August, the main news concerning the weather was the extreme heat and forest fires, causing loss of life as well as much damage to property. In September the main topic is late summer storms. In the past 24 hours heavy rain storms affected parts of Valencia and the Balearics and more storms were forecast. But the most widely feared phenomenon is known as the 'Gota Fría'. more >>