A submarine believed to be carrying around 3.5 tonnes of cocaine has been towed into port after being intercepted off the Spanish coast. It sank as police tried to intercept it in the Aldan inlet in the Galicia region at the weekend. It’s believed the crew tried to sink it on purpose. Two Ecuadorian nationals have been arrested but another person managed to escape.
Millions of Spanish mobile phone users are being tracked this week as part of the government’s census, in a move that critics fear is a step closer towards spying on the population. Statistics agency INE insists the eight-day project is anonymous and aimed at getting a better idea of where Spaniards go during the day and night.
Hundreds of people protested in Spain’s capital on Monday against a court ruling last week that cleared five men of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl and instead found them guilty of the lesser charge of sexual abuse. A similar ruling in the so-called Wolfpack case sparked mass protests across Spain last year over chauvinism and sexual abuse and it was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court in June.
Street violence escalated in Barcelona late on Wednesday, as protesters set cars on fire and threw acid at police officers in a third night of unrest following the imprisonment this week of nine pro-independence leaders for their roles in the failed 2017 push for regional independence. Protestors were mostly young and seemed ready to confront the police. Chanting “oppressors out” and “the streets will always be ours”.
Riot police engaged in a running battle with angry protesters outside Barcelona’s airport Monday after Spain’s Supreme Court convicted 12 separatist leaders of illegally promoting the wealthy Catalonia region’s independence and sentenced nine of them to prison. Officers fired foam bullets and used batons against thousands of protesters who converged on the airport after the verdict was announced in Madrid.
Spain’s Supreme Court has ruled that the remains of dictator Francisco Franco should be exhumed. It backed the Socialist government’s plan to move the remains from a state mausoleum to a less controversial site. An appeal by Franco’s family against the exhumation and proposing an alternative site was rejected. The issue has divided opinion in Spain, which remains haunted by the Franco era.
A German family of four were among seven people killed when a helicopter and an ultralight plane collided mid-air over the Spanish island of Majorca. The debris came down on farmland near Inca, in the north of the popular tourist island off the east coast. The German couple and their two children were in the helicopter, which belonged to Rotorflug, a German firm.
An international alert has been issued by the Spanish government amid the country’s biggest ever outbreak of listeria, which has affected 150 people and killed a 90-year-old woman. The health ministry has said it is checking a further 523 suspected cases. Most of the confirmed cases are in the south of the country in Andalusia, the region where a packaged pork plant believed to be connected with the outbreak is located.
About 8,000 people have been evacuated as wildfires rip through Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. The fires, which started on Saturday, are advancing on two fronts in a mountainous area of the island. Ten planes and helicopters, as well as about 700 firefighters on the ground including 200 from the military, are being deployed. Efforts to tackle the fires are being hampered by high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity, officials say.
A former leader of the Basque terrorist group Eta has been arrested in France after spending more than 16 years on the run, the Spanish government said on Thursday. Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea Bengoetxea, better known as Josu Ternera, was once Eta’s political chief. Eta, which stands for “Basque homeland and freedom”, killed more than 800 people in more than four decades of violence aimed at establishing an independent Basque state. It abandoned its armed struggle in 2011 and formally dissolved itself last year.