During the presentation of tough new austerity measures at the Spanish parliament, and more specifically of a cut in unemployment benefits (with unemployment currently standing at 24%), and as her fellow conservative MPs clapped, Andrea Fabra yelled "Fuck 'em all!". Hilarity has predictably ensued... [more inside]
The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, headed by multibillionaire and notorious supporter of right-wing causes Sheldon Adelson, is considering building an enormous gambling resort in crisis-stricken Spain: Euro Vegas [more inside]
Mired in debt, the small town of Rasquera, in Spain, is considering an unorthodox source of funding: growing marijuana. [more inside]
Yesterday, the Spanish national football squad won its first World Cup semifinal. A distinguished supporter insisted on personally congratulating them in the locker room. (SLYT, but priceless. Watch in particular the hero of the match enter the frame around 1:16).
On September 24 1983, a brilliant young Argentinian footballer playing for FC Barcelona was brutally fouled in a Spanish league game against Athletic Bilbao. The resulting injury incapacitated Diego Armando Maradona for four months and ultimately resulted in him leaving Barcelona for Naples and a serious cocaine addiction. More than the fouling player (who already had the nickname "Butcher of Bilbao"), many blamed Bilbao's coach and his somewhat lacking concept of "fair play". [more inside]
A Spanish newspaper has noticed that the State Department's identikit picture of Osama Bin Laden appears to have the hair and forehead of Spanish Communist leader Gaspar Llamazares.
Western Sahara has the dubious distinction of being the subject of probably the most forgotten-about post-colonial conflict in the world. Until 1975, the Spanish government considered Western Sahara a Spanish province, just as much an integral part of its territory as any of its provinces in the Iberian peninsula. However, at the beginning of the 70s, a burgeoning pro-independence movement, and increasing appetites of its Northern and Southern neighbours, Marocco and Mauritania, led to a UN visiting mission in early 1975, which found that "there was an overwhelming consensus among Saharans within the Territory in favour of independence and opposing integration with any neighbouring country". This finding was given additional support by an opinion by the International Court of Justice supporting the Sahrawis right to self-determination against the claims of neighbouring nations. [more inside]
Most Spaniards over 35 remember exactly where they were in the evening of February 23, 1981, best remembered as "23-F". It was the day of the last big stress test of Spain's then young democracy, when a group of conspirators tried to seize power by force. When armed policemen assaulted Parliament, and started shooting their machineguns to intimidate the lawmakers, on the benches, only three very different men refused to take cover. [more inside]
The O'Donnell clan claims descendancy (like, dare I say, a significant part of the Irish population), from Niall of the Nine Hostages, legendary High King of Ireland. The O'Donnell clan ruled over the kingdom of Tyrconnell, in modern-day County Donegal, well into the modern age. However, after the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, Rory O'Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell, fled Ireland together with Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, in the Flight of the Earls. [more inside]
In March 1944, Nazi Germany occupied its ally Hungary and immediately began preparing the extermination of Hungary's Jews. A small band of diplomats from neutral countries and the Red Cross put their lives at risk to try to smuggle as many Jews as possible out of Hungary from under Adolf Eichmann's nose. While Raoul Wallenberg remains the best known of these "Righteous among the Nations", there's no doubt that the most intriguing character was Giorgio "Jorge" Perlasca. [more inside]
Among European countries, Spain has been hit particularly badly by the global credit crisis. Miguel Marina, a recently unemployed real estate agent (what else?) has been one of its victims. Unable to keep up with his mortgage payments or to find a buyer for his home, he has found an original solution: he's raffling his apartment at 5€ a ticket. [more inside]