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LEADER NEWS BITES 20 APRIL 15

11 min read

ROYAL GIFT
PONY-TAILED Pablo Iglesias shunned protocol to give King Felipe the complete ‘Game of Thrones’ series when they met for the first time on Wednesday. The king reacted graciously at the MEP meet-up in Brussels, grinning and admitting he had not yet seen the series. Podemos leader Iglesias reportedly gifted the violent series to him so he might ‘better understand the political crisis in Spain’. It was the king’s first visit as monarch to the European Parliament to greet the 54 Spanish MEPs, five of whom are Podemos politicians.

COCA COLA DECISION OVERTURNED
Spain’s Supreme Court said Wednesday it had upheld a lower court decision to void the layoffs of 1,190 workers at Coca-Cola Co.’s Spanish bottler, saying it infringed on workers’ right to strike as the bottler didn’t present workers with a detailed plan of its decision to close down some of its factories in 2014. The ruling follows a dispute ongoing for more than a year and means workers at four out of 11 bottling plants that were scheduled to close can return to their jobs with back salaries.

HATE CRIMES
Forty percent of the 1,285 hate crimes reported to police across Spain last year targeted gays and lesbians, the interior ministry said on Tuesday. there were a total of 513 hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or sexual identity reported to police in 2014, a 13.5 percent increase over the previous year, the ministry said in a report. The vast majority of the victims, 72 percent, were women.

MONUMENT DESECRATED
On the threshold of the Armenian Genocide centennial, a medieval Armenian monument has been desecrated in Alicante. The local Armenian community has applied to authorities with a request to renovate the cross, find the criminals and hold them accountable who say they are taking measures to ensure security during all events the Armenian community organizes in April and to ensure that monuments are not damaged in the future.

PSOE GAFFE
The PSOE has apologised after accidentally voting in parliament for a proposal on abortion that his own party is against. Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez pressed the wrong button during the vote on whether to debate a law requiring minors to get parental permission before getting an abortion. "I deeply regret my error," he said. The move, proposed by the governing Popular Party (PP), passed easily due to its parliamentary majority. Sanchez faced ridicule on social media for the gaffe. Some users drew comparisons with Homer Simpson, the US cartoon character who once avoided a nuclear meltdown by guessing which button to press in an emergency.

WAR ON TERRORISM
SPAIN’S foreign affairs minister has suggested setting up an international ‘terrorism tribunal’ in a bid to fight the spread of Jihad at the Euro-Arab summit meeting in Barcelona last week. José Manuel García-Margallo says this would be a completely separate entity from the existing International Criminal Court and would allow countries which have not yet signed up to the latter – such as China, the USA and Israel – to join forces in the war on terrorism.

MOBSTER HELD
One of Italy’s most wanted gangsters has been detained on the Costa del Sol in Spain while trying to withdraw money from a post office. Lucio Morrone, known as "Spalluzzella", is described by Spain’s Guardia Civil as head of a dangerous clan in the Naples Camorra. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail for drug trafficking and on the run for five years, says Spain’s Civil Guard. Morrone was caught in a joint operation involving Spanish and Italian police.

VOTING WEBSITE
Website crypto problems on the Spanish online voting registration website are causing it to generate all manner of security warnings. Attempts to visit the sede.ine.gob.es site – run by Spain’s National Statistics Institute and introduced this year for municipal/regional elections –lead to users being confronted with a security warning. However, the warnings vary depending on the operating system and browser a surfer is using. A spokesman said that such website problems are sadly common.

CATHOLIC BASTION
More than half of Spaniards admit that they are either "not religious" or are "convinced atheists", according to a new global study that shows the dramatic loss of faith in the traditionally Roman Catholic nation. In fact with one in five Spaniards insisting that they are "convinced atheists" Spain ranks fifth on the global list of adamant non-believers. The study surveyed 63,398 people in 65 countries in a bid to discover global religious trends. Once the bastion of Roman Catholicism, only 37 percent of those polled described themselves as "religious".

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL
The Catalonian town of Navás has installed Spain’s first stolpersteine – stones commemorating victims of the Holocaust. The five stones were unveiled on Thursday afternoon in memory of five neighbours who died in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp near the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen in Austria. The 10cm by 10cm stones include their details; names, date of birth and their place of death, as a way to commemorate their lives. The stolpersteine memorials were created by German artist Gunter Demnig

WHAT TRANSPARENCY?
Spain ranks in the bottom four when it comes to regulating the "hidden influence" of lobbyists in government, according to a report on European countries released by Transparency International on Wednesday. Spain was ranked 16th out of the 19 countries surveyed – with only Italy, Cyprus and Hungary faring worse – with an overall score of 21 percent for being able to safeguard against undue influence from lobbyists.

HEADING TO SPAIN
BRITISH pensioners are cashing in and heading abroad to make the most of new pension reforms. Buying a holiday home abroad – particularly in Spain – has been identified as ‘one of the main investments’ made by pensioners withdrawing large sums from their savings. Reforms introduced by UK chancellor George Osborne allow people unlimited withdrawals from their pensions after age 55. And while most people are not seeking an immediate payout it seems those that do are spending it overseas.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/47019/

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