News, May 2005

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May 31st, resumé.

(Sport news click more) Zapatero rejects EU financing proposals; GRAPO terror suspect arrested at French frontier; 33 Maghrebi teenagers come ashore by patera open boat on south coast, 17 escape capture; in 3/11 trial more evidence shows that police were on the trail of the Madrid bombers; 30th: 2nd anniversary of the last mortal ETA attack; 26th: Otegi released on bail; Arnaldo Otegi, Batasuna leader, imprisoned, charged with membership of ETA; 98% of Spanish beaches are in very good shape at start of season, according to EU water quality inspectors; first major forest fire of the year out of control near Tarragona; 25th: Car bomb explodes in Madrid (calle de Alcalá) as Congress discusses possible negotiation with ETA - 15 injured, one taken to hospital, photos:; Simone Veil awarded Prince of Asturias International Cooperation prize; 1st quarter growth 3.3%; 24th: 3 detained on 3/11 charges; Bank of Spain warns of dangers of rising mortgage debt; 23rd: New Basque speaker elected in 10th round of voting; 3 presumed ETA terrorists detained in France; anniversary weekend over for Royal Couple; 2 ETA bombs hit Basque firms over weekend - one deactivated in time, none hurt; 29 died in traffic accidents over weekend, 7 in one crash, in which only those rear seat kids wearing seatbelts survived; papal message calls for 'freedom of conscience' during celebration in Zaragoza of the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (of Mary) - message refers to homosexual marriage bill. more >>

News from the Churches

FestiMadrid Demonstration

FestiMadrid Demonstration

Demonstration wins results: FestiMadrid, the Luís Palau outreach June 24th and 25th is supported by many of the region's churches. A major christian music festival, it will bring together some of the Spanish-speaking world's top performers, while Luís Palau speaks from time to time from the stage. The event will happen on the esplanade outside the Las Ventas bull ring, a key location, with good visibility and accessibility, although not as central as the organisers would have liked. A 600 person demonstration outside the city hall had to be arranged -on 9th May- to achieve an answer to the evangelical petition for a high profile location for the celebration. more >>

Winter drought brings stored water to record lows

1 May. The environment minister, Cristina Narbona has called on all to conserve water, after winter rainfall (November to March) was at its lowest since 1947. Levels in the reservoirs, as we head into the usually dry summer season, can only guarantee supplies to homes until October. more >>

New ETA arrests

29th April. Yesterday two more presumed ETA members were arrested in Caussade, France, adding to other recent arrests over the past months. On this occasion police work was more a question of luck than hard work, as the terrorists forgot a bag of laundry, including an ETA engraved pistol at the launderette! Peio Eskisabel Urtuzaga (alias 'Xerpa') is considered the leader of ETA's international operations and likely successor to Mikel Antxa, arrested late last year. more >>

23rd April, '05 - Cervantes' Day and Don Quixote is 400 years old!

23rd April is a big day in Spain for culture and more so this year than any. It is Cervantes' official birthday -actually the anniversary of his death in 1616. This year is also the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quijote (part 1). In addition, it is St. George's Day, a public holiday in several regions and cities. All over Spain it is also known as 'The Day of the Book' more >>

Macro Al Quaeda cell trial under way in Madrid

22 April and following. A major trial has begun into the Spanish cell of Al Quaeda which existed around the time of the 9/11 attacks in the USA. Among the 24 accused is IMAD EDDIN BARAKAT, 'Abu Dahdah', presumed to have been the leader of the cell and contact person with Bin Laden. The main suspects could face sentences of up to 65,500 years! more >>

Homosexual 'Marriage' approved by Congress

21st April. This morning the Congress, Spain's lower house, voted in favour of changing the Civil Code to allow homosexual 'marriages', to be considered legally on the same level as heterosexual marriage. Conservatives in the house voted against the change. Representatives of all the recognised religious groups in Spain, including protestants, as well as other groups, such as the Spanish Family Forum, have expressed their concern and objections to the law. more >>

Basque elections produce stalemate

18th April. The regional elections held yesterday in the Basque Country resulted in a stalemate.It has been a political upset for almost every party. Virtually no stable majority is workable with the current arrangement of seats without considerable compromise. more >>

'Extraordinary Regularisation of paperless immigrants' proceeds apace

April. Announced late last year and started during March, hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Spain who had previously not had their 'papers' in order with the government, have been given a 3 month window to sort out their irregular situation. 800,000 are expected to apply for 'regularisation' by 7th May. Now the government is making it a bit easier for the 'illegals' to obtain their residence and work permits. more >>

News theme: Basque politics and ETA

Until 2003, terrorism in Spain meant ETA. Bombs, or bomb threats, assassinations 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 18 months 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 2005, 400th anniversary of El Quijote

IN a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind... on just such a day as this 400 years ago... 2005 is the 400th anniversary of (part 1 of) the mother of all novels, Cervantes' Don Quijote, a book written under the eyes of the Spanish Inquisition but which expresses many ideas and quotes scripture at large. Evangelicals have not missed this fact and are hard at work to point out the references! more >>

More News

A few more news items and where to find more news about Spain: more >>