News, February 2004

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1 March, resumé.

(Church and Sport news click more) 2 ETA terrorists detained Saturday night after discovery of 532kg explosives in van in Cuenca, headed for Madrid - the second man was in another van in Guadalajara - with the second largest charge ever found, a potentially disastrous attack has been thwarted, the charge being virtually ready for use as a car bomb, the detention may have been through a regular Saturday night roadside check, since the 'advance' van had broken down and was unable to warn the bomber; the government has made rather ugly political capital from the ETA threat in the election campaign; 2 weeks count-down to national elections (14th March vote), politics heated with promises and attacks, governing Partido Popular promises 5% tax cut; economy grew by 2.4% in 2003, house prices rose again, by 18% ; snow continues to disrupt roads across north- French frontier was closed to trucks at the important Irún crossing and Biblao airport was also closed earlier today more >>

News Theme: general election

On March 14th a general election will be held. The main parties contesting it are the Partido Popular (conservatives, currently in government) and the Socialist PSOE. The current president (prime minister), José María Aznar, will not stand again more >>

Government website to help immigrants

Madrid, February 25th, 2004 (from Spanish government has opened a website, with information in English and French, to help those who wish to move to Spain legally. more >>

Intellectuals and artists denounce president Aznar's 'democratic Counter-Reformation'

Friday, 13th February! A group of intellectuals and artists have formed the Assembly of Democratic Intervention (AID in Spanish), a campaign against president Aznar's 'democratic Counter-Reformation'. Many well-known musicians, film producers, etc., are among the group of people who consider that president aznar and the governing Partido Popular have introduced reforms in the way government works harking back to the Franco dictatorship (which ended on his death in 1975). more >>

Catalan government crisis

27 January. The Catalan government is suddenly deep in crisis after Josep Lluís Carod Rovira, Conseller en Cap, or vice-president, admitted to secret meetings with ETA at the beginning of January. more >>

News Theme: Spanish Constitution is 25 years old

On 6th December, 1978, the Spanish Constitution was formally signed by the king, Juan Carlos and political leaders. Spain ceased to be a dictatorship and began a so far successful period of peace (mostly) and prosperity under democratic rule. As the 25th anniversary has approached, the consensus which held the constitution in high respect over these years has begun to break. more >>

News theme: Basque politics and ETA

During July and August (2003) many of us were concerned by the numerous attacks by ETA terrorists, for foreigners and Spaniards at large,most notably the hotel bombings in Alicante and Benidorm. In early December, four of the band's top military leaders were arrested in France, thwarting an imediate pre-Christmas campaign of murders and possibly limiting ETA for the future. However, while concern will remain about the threat of ETA attacks, political interest is now mostly directed at the regional president's proposals for extending autonomy to become a 'free associated state', rather like Puerto Rico. more >>

News theme: weather and winter travel

Spain is not, contrary to its image, permanent summer! The tourist season is limited, even at coastal areas, except in the Canary Islands, to half the year. Winter, especially inland, is far harsher than it is in mild Britain, so far further north. more >>

News theme: Spain and Iraq

Spain is particularly in the news due to its position on Iraq, closely linking itself with Washington. Recently the International Donor Conference took place in Madrid, underlining Spain's commitment to ongoing support for a new Iraq. more >>

News Theme: Big events in 2004, Holy Year for Santiago and Forum of the Cultures in Barcelona

This year, two major long-running events will dominate the Spanish 'cultural diary'. They are the Año Jacobeo, or Holy Year of Pilgrimage to Santiago in Galicia and the Forum of the Cultures in Barcelona. Both will draw many thousands of visitors, curious to see what is going on or perhaps committed to a particular expression of spirituality. more >>

More News

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