WE STILL CAN
The latest opinion poll suggests that the leftist political group Podemos will win the next general elections, either outright or by coalition. The poll of 1,000 people showed that 28.2% of the votes would go to Podemos, up from the 25% in December when Podemos fell behind the socialist PSOE.
The Interior Minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, has said that Spain may request a change to the Schengen treaty in order to allow the reinstatement of border controls to monitor access to the country. The announcement has come in the wake of terrorist attacks in France.
A number of ships carrying Spanish Patriot missiles arrived in Turkey this week, in preparation for being based in the Incirlik military base in southern Adana province as part of NATO´s military defence system. The missiles were accompanied by more than 150 Spanish soldiers who will be looking after the missiles during their deployment.
With destinations in Spain and Portugal appearing safer for Russian tourists, other locations are suffering as holidaymakers cancel their plans and opt for destinations in Spain. So far, Goa has seen 40,000 Russian tourists cancel their trip there, according to a legal advisor to the Russian Consulate.
Spain has a new airport added to its portfolio of transport hubs, after the airfield at La Seu d’Urgell, located in the Catalan Pyrenees in Spain, was this week officially recategorised as an airport, therefore tourist, passenger, cargo and private flights may now operate from the location. With a 1.3 kilometre runway, as opposed to the 2 kilometre one at neighbouring Alguaire, the new airport is more suited for smaller aircraft.
MIND THE GAP
Popular clothing chain Gap opened its first store in Spain this week, located in Málaga airport on the Costa Del Sol. The chain plans to open more stores this year, with the assistance of the El Corte Inglés department store group. Global sales by Gap increased by 4% in November and December and is the third largest textile chain after Swedish budget high-street name H&M, and the Spanish Inditex empire.
According to data compiled for the Spanish telecoms regulator, nearly 50% of Spain´s access to high speed internet through fibre optic cables is in the two cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Users in Madrid and Barcelona enjoying penetration rates of 58 and 65 accesses per 100 inhabitants respectively, whereas in towns with a population of less than half a million, the number is just 3%, dropping to under 1% in towns with a population under 100,000.
With thanks to new techniques being adopted to start the process earlier than normal, strawberries from the Huelva region of Spain, where 94% of the country´s crops originate, have started to arrive in European shops early. The peak of the harvest is not expected until the end of January, but many a fruit fan can enjoy a sweet treat already, which this year includes a new destination of Scandinavia.
Dairy farmers are bracing themselves for a year that many consider will prove to be one of “make or break” for the sector, as a flood of milk from across Europe is “hurting” the domestic industry, with an association of farmers concerned that member states are “still dumping” milk on Spain’s market, partly due to the sanctions with Russia meaning European farmers have a surplus, which is having an adverse effect of the price of milk and making the 6.5 million tonnes of milk produced in the country unnecessary.
Valuation has begun in Lorca to assess the damage that winter frosts have caused to artichoke and lettuce crops. The most severe frosts in recent years took place in December 2010, with damages estimated at 23.3 million euro after the loss of the entire artichoke harvest.
Spain is continuing to be an attraction for German tourists, with a leading German travel magazine this week reporting 8.9 million tourists chose Spain in 2013, a 6.9% increase over the previous year. The Balearic Islands showed solid growth of 3.3% with a total of 4.4 million visitors, while the Canary Islands experienced a 17% increase, reaching 2.9 million. A decline in interest in Egypt has been attributed to most of the growth.
Nine investors in Europe’s largest solar power plant have instructed a legal firm to sue Spain at the World Bank’s arbitration court following cuts to solar energy subsidies. Eight German investors, including RWE, Ferrostaal and the city of Munich owned electricity supplier Stadtwerke München, together with a Spanish consortium owned by the triumvirate called Marquesado Solar, have filed an arbitration claim worth “hundreds of millions”.
German football team Borussia Dortmand have been training in La Manga this week in preparation for mid-season training towards the second half of the Bundesliga season. The team arrived last weekend at the Club Principe Felipe hotel where they stayed for an eight day camp.
Internet based television platform Orange TV now has over 100,000 subscribers in Spain, the first time it has reached such a benchmark since being launched in 2006. The provider has seen a 25% growth since 2013 having re-launched the pay-TV service with new channels, new devices as well as smart TV features, and has been delivering TV everywhere services to its mobile customers since October.
Further delays to the switch over to digital TV in parts of the country are set to cost an additional 11.5 million euro, according to the Spanish government. Compensation for the delay and the lack of revenue pending the switchover are the causes of this additional financial burden.
According to a revelation on Twitter by director of photography Ali Asad, the cast of Doctor Who may be returning to Spain to film part of the ninth series of the revamped sci-fi show. Asad Tweeted, “Going to Spain on a location recce for the Dr.” Which has excited fans already. Asylum of the Daleks, A Town Called Mercy and Kill the Moon all had scenes filmed in Spain.
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