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, next year in Catalonia, where final reform proposals will be discussed; Banco Santander (SCH) takes over Abbey National Bank to become first foreign bank with a significant UK retail presence - SCH increased profits by more than expected in first half, partly due to sale of RBS holding; Brussels forecasts lower growth for Spain in '04 and '05; Jack Straw meets Moratinos in Madrid for talks on Gibraltar; a new 'extraordinary legalisation' of illegal immigrants is likely to take place between February and April; SEAT will return production of the Ibiza model from Slovakia to its home in Barcelona; storm warning in 7 regions.


Principe de Asturias Sport Prize This year it goes to Olympic double winner Hicham El Guerrouj, who just beat Carlos Sainz, the rally driver, in voting.

Olympics Spain finally achieved better results than expected, with a total of 19 medals, including 3 gold and 11 silver placing it in 20th position. More:
Paralympics Spain came 7th according to Gold (20 medals) and 8th after total medals (71); this is a far better performance than in the Olympics, due to the immense efforts made in the disability community.
Football (soccer): A new book by Spanish evangelical leader Jaime Fernandez is aiming to reach English priemiership footballers - more at ; Barça now has two evangelicals, as Edmilson has joined Sylvinho there - both are Brazilians and members of Athletes for Christ - however, Edmilson is sadly injured and will be half the season off the field; Spain drew with Bosnia in first official game for World Cup qualification, then beat Belgium and drew with Lithuania; Owen back to scoring for Madrid; Barcelona alone at top of league.
Motor: Bikes: Australia GP, in 250 19 year old Dani Pedrosa was 3rd, winning championship; Rally: Carlos Sainz won 26th Rally victory in Argentina to become record holder of rally victories, he retires at the end of this season; F1 Final championship result: Fernando Alonso finished in 4th position.
Cycling: the 2004 Vuelta Ciclista de España was one of the most exciting for years, with the final day's chrono into Madrid determining the winner, Roberto Heras, who held off new-comer Santi Perez, the Vuelts's revelation and winner of several stages including the last one; this was Heras's 3rd victory in the race; Australia's Matthew White hung on in valliant last position for most of the 3 week race; course (and other daily info) is available at:
Tennis Davis Cup team through to final against USA after defeating France; Ferrero through to Houston Masters, while Moyà in with a good chance of making it; Madrid Masters was not a good tournament for the Spanish players.
Sailing Louis Vuitton Cup, Valencia regatta: King Juan Carlos joined the crew of the Alinghi, but it lost! Finally the Alinghi won this round of regattas, but more remain in 2005.


Inquisition Exhibition in the Grand Canary shows that it 'was not as cruel as in other regions of Spain as it only burnt 10 people, seven Jews and three Protestants'!

New book about the Gypsy revival A book has just been published on this subject, “Gitanos Pentecostales”, by Editorial Signatura, written by a teacher at Seville University, Manuela Cantón

English language audio clips, updating you on the situation of the evangelicals in Spain and a Catalan language section are among novelties this autumn at the official Spanish Evangelical Alliance site Protestante Digital. Read more about it direct at: or in Catalan at

FEREDE announces new web page with directory The national federation of evangelical churches has, after a year without a proper web site, now gone online with its new web. A significant help will be the directory of member churches.

Girona Gospel Concerts A series of concerts will take place in October. Full details:

Rights claimed: Protestants, Jews and Muslims, through their official representative bodies, claim the same advantageous financial rights as Roman Catholics. The 3 recognised minority religions have for years demanded an end to the unconstitutional financing by the 'lay' Spanish State of the Catholic Church. Now they are changing their tune and demanding that they, too, should be financed by the State. The argument is primarily economic, but the events of 3/11 and the change of government have caused some significant rethinking all round. Evidently, there is concern about state intervention in church life which has prevented the protestants from adopting this position before, but the current state of things causes much discrimination. Evangelicals will surely be divided on this new position!

Both Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches are campaigning against the government plans to extend 'marriage' to same sex couples.

Sources El Mundo, TVE, EP, ACPress, Ferede