Melilla enclave removes last statue of fascist dictator on Spanish soil

The last statue of General Francisco Franco on Spanish soil has been removed, after the tiny enclave of Melilla voted to take down its monument to the fascist dictator. Workers destroyed the brink plinth and carried away the statue, which had stood at the gates of the city on the north-west coast of Africa. Only the far-right Vox party in Melilla had voted against its removal, General Franco ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. More than 30,000 people were killed in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, which saw Franco’s Nationalist forces defeat the Republican government. He then … Continue reading Melilla enclave removes last statue of fascist dictator on Spanish soil

Another Boeing Mishap: Dutch investigate why Boeing 747 lost engine parts shortly after take off

The Dutch Safety Board said it was investigating what had caused a Boeing 747-400 to lose parts of an engine shortly after taking off from Maastricht airport on Saturday. The cargo plane scattered mostly small metal parts over the southern Dutch town of Meerssen on Saturday afternoon, causing damage to cars and lightly injuring one woman, local media said. “Our investigation is still in a preliminary phase, it is too early to draw conclusions,” a spokeswoman for the Dutch Safety Board said on Monday. Witnesses said they saw fire in one of the engines of the plane, which landed safely … Continue reading Another Boeing Mishap: Dutch investigate why Boeing 747 lost engine parts shortly after take off

Dutch suspend foreign adoptions after abuses found

The Netherlands is suspending all adoptions from abroad with immediate effect, after an official inquiry found many abuses. The investigation focused on the adoption of children from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka from 1967 to 1998. Minister for Local Protection Sander Dekker said Dutch governments had failed for years to intervene. The abuses included coercing or paying birth mothers to give up children. The investigative committee found that Dutch government officials were aware of wrongdoing and that some were involved in abuses, though it did not find evidence of bribery. Mr Dekker said officials had failed by “looking … Continue reading Dutch suspend foreign adoptions after abuses found

Spain launches low-cost bullet train between Madrid and Barcelona

 Like many destinations around the world, Spain has been pretty much stopped in its tracks during the pandemic, but the ambitious expansion of the European country’s high-speed rail service appears to be going full speed ahead this year. Spanish state operator Renfe’s low-cost service Avlo will whisk passengers the 500 kilometers (300 miles) between Madrid and Barcelona in just two and half hours, with prices starting at €5 (about US$6). The Avlo service, which travels at speeds of up to 330 kilometers an hour and has 438 seats, will begin operating four daily return journeys between the two Spanish cities from … Continue reading Spain launches low-cost bullet train between Madrid and Barcelona

Madrid explosion leaves three dead

At least three people have died following an explosion that caused a building to partially collapse in centre of the Spanish capital, Madrid, a fourth person was missing and several others were hurt, officials said. City officials said the blast, which destroyed four floors of the building, had been caused by a gas leak. Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida told reporters after the blast that a fire was raging inside the building, which belongs to the Catholic Church. The blast happened shortly before 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) as gas workers were repairing a boiler at the back of the … Continue reading Madrid explosion leaves three dead

Update: Four still in custody in Belgium as Interior Minister condemns riots

Four people, including two minors, remained in custody in Belgium on Thursday after violent demonstrations held the day before over the death of a young black man in police custody. Three of the individuals were being held on suspicion of arson, while the fourth has been accused of rebellion. Police detained a total of 116 people at Wednesday’s protest in Brussels, which grew violent after beginning as a largely peaceful movement. According to a police statement, several people, including police officers, were injured in clashes as between 50 and 100 people threw projectiles at the authorities, set fires, and damaged … Continue reading Update: Four still in custody in Belgium as Interior Minister condemns riots

Belgian king’s car hit during riots over death in police custody

Hundreds of people rioted in Brussels on Wednesday night over the death of a 23-year-old in police custody at the weekend, video from the scene shows King Philippe’s car being hit by projectiles as it passed through the area. A police station was reportedly briefly set on fire during the unrest, which saw local streets vandalised, a police spokeswoman told the AFP news agency they had made several arrests and said four officers were injured. Police said about 500 people gathered Wednesday close to Brussels-North police station over the death of a person identified in Belgian media as Ibrahima B. … Continue reading Belgian king’s car hit during riots over death in police custody

At least 200,000 ducks culled in France amid bird flu outbreak

At least 200,000 ducks in France had been culled as of Tuesday amid an outbreak of bird flu and another 400,000 are expected to be culled as a preventive measure, the French agriculture ministry has confirmed to Euronews. The ministry’s situation report states that there were 61 outbreaks confirmed as of January 1, 2021, including 48 in the Landes department alone. The outbreaks are located in the southern part of the department which is “an area very densely populated with ducks” intended for the production of foie gras, ministry official Loic Evain told AFP on Tuesday. “Experts are gathered at … Continue reading At least 200,000 ducks culled in France amid bird flu outbreak

Ethiopian refugee, symbol of integration in Italy, killed on farm

An Ethiopian refugee who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday. A Ghanaian employee on her farm in the northern Italian region of Trentino has admitted to killing Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, with a hammer and raping her, Italian news agency Ansa reported, the report could not immediately be confirmed. Gudeta had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat), which … Continue reading Ethiopian refugee, symbol of integration in Italy, killed on farm

Bell stolen by Nazis to be returned to Poland

A church bell that dates back to 1555 will be returned to its home in Poland, 77 years after it was plundered by the Nazis in World War Two. Parishioners at Slawiecice in southern Poland began searching for the church’s old bell two years ago, they were in luck because, as the Münster diocese in Germany explained, the Nazis melted down some 80,000 bells to make weapons or ammunition. The bell was eventually tracked down to Münster by the Polish church’s pastor. According to the diocese, Marian Bednarek found the 400kg (880lb) bell listed in a book, it had been … Continue reading Bell stolen by Nazis to be returned to Poland

Breaking News: Three police officers shot dead, one wounded in France

Three police officers have been shot dead and one wounded in central France, the police officers were responding to a call over domestic violence on Wednesday’s in the central region of Puy-de-Dome when they were shot by a 48-year-old man. Police approached the house shortly after midnight and were hit by gunfire as they attempted to rescue a woman, local media reported. The man initially shot and killed one officer and wounded another. Two other officers were then shot dead, according to the Clermont-Ferrand prosecutor’s office. The woman, who was the reported victim of domestic violence, sought refuge on the roof … Continue reading Breaking News: Three police officers shot dead, one wounded in France

Spain moves closer to legalising euthanasia

Spain’s lower house of parliament has backed a bill legalising euthanasia, despite strong opposition from religious groups, the legislation allows those with “serious and incurable” diseases that cause “unbearable suffering” to choose to end their lives. The bill now goes to the Senate which can suggest amendments, if passed, Spain would become the fourth and largest country in the European Union to legalise euthanasia. Such practices are currently only allowed in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The bill was approved by 198-138 votes in the lower house after a long debate on Thursday. Health Minister Salvador Illa told lawmakers it … Continue reading Spain moves closer to legalising euthanasia