Tag: Ukraine

WEEKLY DIGEST – 16 FEBRUARY 2015

Cyclists beware!

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE

The music industry in Spain had its best year for some time in 2014, with data released this week revealing that the country achieved its first year-over-year gain in music sales in more than a decade. In 2014, consumer spending on recorded music reached 149.9 million euro, with Spanish pop stars Pablo Alboran and David Bisbal leading in album sales, and Enrique Iglesias’ song “Bailando” topping downloads and streaming on Spain’s end-of-year charts. Overall sales jumped to 21.23% over 2013 according to PROMUSICAE, which the industry representatives described as the worst year ever for Spain’s music industry. However, 2014’s figures are still a long way from 2001’s record 626 million euro sales.

POWER UP

The Spanish Ministry of Industry has affirmed its commitment to renewable energy, saying this week that it would support the installation of roughly 8.5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity between 2015 and 2020. The improvement will increase Spain’s total installed renewable energy capacity from 48 GW in 2015 to about 57 GW in 2020, specifically supporting the installation of nearly 6.5 GW of wind power capacity, 1.5 GW of solar photovoltaic facilities and about 211 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power plants.

RICH GETTING RICHER

According to the 2015 Spanish wealth, there were approximately 228,736 “high-net-worth individuals” or HNWIs in Spain in 2014, an increase of 1.7% in 2014, following an increase of 3.0% in 2013. Despite the country still living through austere times, growth rates in HNWI wealth and volumes are expected to continue to improve, with the total number of Spanish HNWIs forecast to grow by 19.4%, to reach 279,884 in 2019. HNWI wealth will see a significant percentage increase, growing by 31.4% to reach US$1.3 trillion by 2019. At the end of 2014, Spanish HNWIs held 39.5% (US$382.2 billion) of their wealth outside their home country, significantly higher than the worldwide average of 20-30%.

WOOLY JUMP

The animal activist group PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have praised Spanish clothing giant Inditex this week, in what they are calling a “massive victory for animals”, after the chain agreed to a permanent ban on angora wool. The firm has said that it will be donating their leftover angora products to Syrian refuges. Inditex are the parent company of stores such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius and others.

SUFFERING SANCTIONS

The Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel Garcia-Margallo, has said that sanctions against Russia over Ukraine have lost European businesses 21 billion euro, a “heavy cost” to Spanish industries hit by the export ban which has been particularly problematic in terms of agriculture and tourism, he said. The revelation was made in a meeting this week to discuss the next stage of action.

TRAIN LINE

The Spanish railway infrastructure company, ADIF, are reporting that they will open almost 800 kilometres of high speed lines this year, extending the current passenger only network with lines radiating from Madrid towards the periphery of the Iberian Peninsula, including Olmedo – Zamora – Sanabria (210km), Valladolid – Venta de Baños – León (163km) and the 50km Pajares Base Tunnel. To cut construction costs, ADIF has installed standard-gauge single-line track on several sections of the first two lines, even though both have been designed and built to accommodate a double-track formation.

TERROR SEARCH

Internet engine giant Google has removed auto complete suggestions from its Spanish based search engine that completed search strings assuming and offering information on how to join jihadist networks and the Islamic State militant group in particular. Prior to the change, when a Google Search user in Spain entered the word “I want to join…” the second and the fourth auto complete search results used to show “I want to join jihad” and “I want to join IS” accordingly. Google also recently took action in their UK version of the search engine.

HOT AS ICE-LAND

Whilst the weather in Spain has been causing chaos and freezing conditions for over a week, parts of Iceland have been seeing unseasonably warm weather, with records for February reaching an all time high. In one particular day last week, the temperature in Dalatangi, the easternmost building and weather station in Iceland, recoded 17.4°C, or 65°F, whilst in Madrid, the temperature was 7°C, or 44°F. Although Icelanders were not likely to have donned their swimming costumes just yet as temperatures dropped from 17.4°C to -13°C, or 8°F, the day after, a 30°C or 86°F drop, after an Icelandic windstorm with gusts in excess of 110 kilometres per hour quickly took away the warmth.

RAPID REACTION

Spain will next year lead a NATO rapid reaction force that could be deployed “in just a few days” to areas where major crises break out, including parts of Ukraine where the Russian army continues to back pro-separatists groups, government officials and NATO sources said on Thursday. The decision to organize the force was made during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. The Spanish military will supply 4,000 of the 5,000 land troops that will make up the new advance team, which would be the first to be deployed to volatile areas, when it heads the unit next year.

PODEMOS TARGET ANDALUSIA

Spain’s anti-austerity party, Podemos, has announced it will field a candidate in the Andalusian election in March. Teresa Rodriguez will fight for the regional presidency in a contest the party hopes will trigger its national campaign. Podemos is currently topping national opinion polls, ahead of the opposition Socialist Party and with the ruling Popular Party trailing in third place with under a year to go before national elections.

STOCK TAKING

Spanish airport authority AENA entered the last stages of being listed as a public company this week, with the first appearance on the stock exchange on Wednesday. The final draft of almost 4 million shares were published on Monday, of which a small percentage were reserved for staff, with the minimum price set at 58 euro per share, an increase on the first proposal of between 43 and 55 euro.

OFF YOUR BIKE

Cyclists in Valencia have compiled an interactive map which they hope will show some of the infrastructure deficiencies that they have to deal with on a daily basis, in the hope that at least some of the problems might one day be resolved. The highlighted issues range from everything from a bike lane that suddenly changes from one side of a busy road to another, without the means to cross, an underpass which is protected by a barrier that is almost impossible to pass, and a cycle lane that suddenly stops in the face of a brick wall, without warning or notice, as well as numerous locations where cars invade cycle lanes and bikes mix with pedestrians without warning.

WAY TO LEGO

A school from the island of La Palma won the First Lego League in the Canaries competition, beating Nazaret Los Volcanes from Lanzarote into second place, and are now set to compete in the Spanish National competition before one lucky team will join those from across Europe to compete in the World Championship in March, along with almost 80 other countries. FIRST® LEGO® League introduces young people, ages 9 to 14* (grades 4-8), to the fun and excitement of science and technology.

BRITON KILLS GERMAN PAEDOPHILE

A Briton has been arrested in Spain for ‘killing a paedophile who was filming his daughter’. Paramedics called to the scene rushed the victim to a hospital in La Linea on the border with Gibraltar but he died shortly after arrival. A source from the local Guardia Civil, said: “We believe he died as a result of the single punch he received but this is yet to be confirmed by the post-mortem results.”

CRASH CONCLUSION

A court in Elche sentenced a driver to two years in prison and a three year driving ban, after he was found to have been responsible for the death of a passenger in his car which crashed on the road between Santa Pola and Arenales del Sol in 2007, whilst trying to avoid a police checkpoint on the N-332. A claim for 13,500 euro compensation from another passenger was reduced by 20%, on account of that passenger failing to wear a seatbelt at the time of the crash. At the time, accident investigators concluded that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and was driving at excessive speed of 80 kilometres per hour on a road where the limit was just 20.

PASS OUT

The UK Home Office has launched an investigation into how an airline passenger was allowed to board a flight from Britain to Spain without a passport. Officials said that the passenger had been allowed to board the Ryanair plane with a photocopy of a bus pass, after his passport was said to have been stolen. The passenger was being questioned at Liverpool John Lennon Airport returning on a flight from the Canary Islands.

KING OF CUTS

King Felipe VI has taken a 20% voluntary pay cut in his 2015 salary, thus affirming his commitment for a fewer frills monarchy. A statement released this week shows how the 47 year old head of state would receive just 234,204 euro, having taken the cut compared with his father´s salary before his abdication.

FRUIT FEARS

Unions representing Spanish farmers are demanding urgent action from the Ministry of Agriculture following the discovery of a vector for HLB, one of the most damaging citrus plant diseases in the world. The detection of psyllid Africana in groves in Galicia in the north west of the country marks the first time the insect has been spotted on the Iberian Peninsula, leading to fears it could cause irreversible damage to the country’s citrus exports, worth around 178 million euro a year.

CAR SHIPPING

Hoegh Autoliners, a Norwegian company with headquarters in Jacksonville, America, is launching direct car carrying ship service to Barcelona and Valencia, from their Jacksonville base, as well as Veracruz, Mexico. The monthly sailings will use the 2004 built Hoegh Seoul, a 68,871 gross tonnage vessel, expected to carry exports for GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Ford and Caterpillar.

THE TRAIN NOT ARRIVING…

Saudi Arabian authorities have issued a stark warning to the Spanish consortium building the €6.7-billion AVE high-speed rail link between Medina and Mecca, which is suffering significant delays as the kingdom’s new transport minister, Abdullah bin Abdulrahman al-Muqbel, issued a public statement calling on the 12 company consortium to speed up work or risk having the contract rescinded.

HEARTY WORK

Doctors at a the Gregorio Marañon hospital in Madrid have successfully used stem cells to treat victims of heart attacks for the first time in medical history. Doctors took stem cells that were harvested from a healthy donor and then implanted them into seven different patients who had suffered from a heart attack. They say they are happy with the results and plan to repeat the procedure with at least 55 other patients in an upcoming clinical trial. In an official statement from the hospital, they commented on the success they have seen so far. “Seven patients have already been operated on and they have progressed very well despite having suffered serious damage to their heart tissue”.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/46427/

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WEEKLY DIGEST – 26 JANUARY 2015

Ruslana

JOB PROSPECTS

President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, has said this week that thanks to the efforts of his government since the last election, after six years in power the future of the country now looks brighter than ever, and that in 2014 the country’s GDP grew by 1.3 to 1.4%, which will result in the creation of about one million jobs in 2014 and 2015.

ON THE RADAR

Spanish technology group Indra, who form part of the Eurofigher program, has signed a 90 million euro contract to develop the Captor-E radar system for the European fighter aircraft. The company is the third biggest overall supplier, and the top Spanish supplier, of avionics equipment and systems for Eurofighter, the company said in a statement.

OILY THREAT

Spain´s title of the world´s largest producer of olive oil may soon be under threat, after production in Tunisia is expected to quadruple this year, thus placing them in second place already. Expected domestic production of olive oil this year is estimated at 280,000 tons, nearly four times the 70 thousand tons harvested last season. Oddly, Spain, whose own production is estimated at 600,000 tons, is one of the largest importers of Tunisian olive oil, along with Italy.

A EURO VISION

Ukrainian 2004 Eurovision winner Ruslana has been on a mini musical tour of Spain. Ruslana Stepanivna Lyžyčko, who also holds the title of People’s Artist of Ukraine, has been performing in Málaga, Barcelona and Madrid, before travelling to Germany for a May concert in Munich. As well as her singing credential, Ruslana has become a symbol of the struggles in Ukraine, and during the winter of 2013/2014 she spent almost every night from midnight until dawn on Kiev’s Independence Square, serving as an inspiration for the nightly protesters. Because of her extraordinary dedication and courage she was honoured with numerous prizes and awards including the Woman of Courage Award presented by American First Lady Michele Obama.

ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES

Professor and Rector of the Kazakh University of Arts and founder of Eurasian Symphony Orchestra Aiman Mussakhodzhayeva, a prominent violinist and holder of the title of the People’s Artist of Kazakhstan, has announced this week that the Eurasian Symphonic Orchestra have set off to tour Spain, Germany, South Korea, “Sixty members of the Eurasian Symphony Orchestra have already left for Spain to give 10 concerts. They are starting from Barcelona and will then tour Spain’s other regions. This tour is part of a campaign to promote Kazakhstan abroad this year,” she said.

DRONING ON

Spanish construction firm Ferrovial has become a pioneer in the use of new technology in the construction sector, by being the first company to operate a drone to carry out surveys and monitoring of major building projects. So far, the drone has been used on the construction of a road in Texas, another in Ireland and a hospital in Granada.

PLANE DEAL

Spanish airline Air Europa has confirmed that it has placed a 6 billion dollar order with aircraft manufacturer Boeing for fourteen of their B787-9s Dreamliner passenger jets. Boeing had already confirmed the order previously, although the buyer was unidentified until now. The first 787-8 Dreamliners will start to arrive in 2016, allowing the company to grow both the number of flights and destinations they operate to by around 50%, a statement confirmed.

TRAIN UP

High-speed and long-distance rail travel has increased in 2014, with the Spanish AVE network now carrying 29.6 million passengers. The government announced in a statement that passenger numbers had been growing consistently since February 2013, and last year the AVE services experienced a 21.6% increase in passengers, with long-distance services receiving a 7.5% increase, with revenue generated up by 6.1% on the previous year.

RACE FIT

The Azerbaijan national cycling team, the Synergy Baku Cycling Project, are spending almost two weeks in Calpe for a training camp, prior to the 2015 cycle race season which will begin in Croatia in February. With 14 riders in the team, they will split to attend the GP Laguna 1.2 in Croatia on the 15th of February, and then on to the GP Izola on the 1st of March, whilst another group will head to Asia to start in the Tour de Langkawi from the 8th of March, before continuing to the Tour de Taiwan from the 22nd of March.

GOING MOBILE

The organisers of the Mobile World Congress are confident that Barcelona will continue to be the home for the annual event, even after the current contract expires in 2018. Agustí Cordón, Vice President of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, says that “if the congress goes well”, as before, and MWCB “do what you have to do”, this contract should be extended with “no problem” and Barcelona would remain the headquarters the world’s largest gathering of mobile technology. The next event takes place from the 2nd of March at the Gran Via de Fira Barcelona, located in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona.

GIFT OF LIFE

A Welsh teenager’s search for a life saving transplant has come to an end after an anonymous Spanish hero came forward. Emily Clark, 17, received the good news that a match has been found for her in Spain after a tense waiting period. The Cwmbran teenager, who became a viral sensation online for her inspiring blog about fighting cancer. Tweeting from hospital, Emily wrote: “My donor is confirmed! On 26th Jan an anonymous Spanish lady will donate her stem cells for me.”

BRIGHT SPARK

The former electrician for Spain’s famed cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is on trial for the alleged theft of a priceless 12th-century Codex Calixtinus, considered the first guide for Christians making the pilgrimage to venerate St. James. Jose Manuel Fernandez Castineiras appeared in court Monday with his wife and son. Authorities say they found the Codex in his garage in 2012 and recovered 1.2 million euros.

FISHY BUSINESS

Environmental groups have welcomed a new Spanish law which will fight pirate fishing through imposing stronger penalties on Spanish citizens involved in pirate fishing anywhere in the world. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF applaud Spain’s new fisheries law and call on the rest of Member States to approve similar laws in order to effectively fight illegal fishing globally.

LICENSE GAMBLE

The Spanish Gambling Authority (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego-DGOJ) has published notice that the application renewal of the singular gambling licenses that were granted in 2012 with an initial validity of three years (specifically singular licenses for the development and operation of fixed-odds horse racing betting, roulette, baccarat, and blackjack), must be filed before the 1 February. Operators failing to submit the renewal request on time shall have to stop operating by 1 June 2015.

SOCCER TUBE

Spain’s top football league, La Liga, is breaking records with its YouTube channel which has seen more than 100 million video views since its launch two years ago. The La Liga channel, operated by Mediapro, owner of the football TV rights, currently has 560,000 subscribers and has distributed 250 million minutes of video since 2012. Video clips from La Liga are made available via the @LaLiga account using Twitter’s Amplify tool that enables users to attach videos to tweets in real time with La Liga making highlights of every game for users around the world as they occur.

NUMBERS DOWN

Passenger traffic using San Javier Airport has declined by over 80% in the last seven years. Just over 18,000 passengers used the facility in December 2014 compared with 96,000 in December 2007. Only five destinations used the airport during the month, Madrid and Brussels on the European mainland together with the three UK airports at Bristol, Gatwick and Stansted.

WHO’S THE DADDY

The Spanish Supreme Court has accepted a Paternity claim filed by Ingrid Sartiau, a Belgian woman, against the former King Juan Carlos, the father of King Felipe VI although it rejected a similar suit brought by a Spanish man, Albert Solà Jiménez. The suits were originally filed in lower courts in Madrid around two years ago, but they were thrown out at the time because Juan Carlos, as head of state, enjoyed legal immunity. When he passed the throne on to his son in June of last year, the former king lost that immunity and instead became an “aforado,” a person who can only be tried by the Supreme Court.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/46194/

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