Is It Possible: Spanish PM vows to abolish prostitution

In what is generally believed to be the oldest profession in the world Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pledged on Sunday to outlaw prostitution in the country. Speaking to supporters at the end of his Socialist Party’s three-day congress in Valencia, Mr Sanchez said that the practice “enslaves” women. Prostitution was decriminalised in Spain in 1995 and in 2016 the UN estimated the country’s sex industry was worth €3.7bn (£3.1bn, $4.2bn). A 2009 survey found that up to 1 in 3 Spanish men had paid for sex. However, another report published in 2009 suggested that the figure may be as … Continue reading Is It Possible: Spanish PM vows to abolish prostitution

Catalan separatist Puigdemont arrested in Italy

Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has been detained in Sardinia on a Spanish arrest warrant.Carles Puigdemont has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium Spain has accused him of sedition, saying he helped organise an illegal independence referendum in 2017. Mr Puigdemont, the ex-president of the Spanish region of Catalonia, fled Spain after the vote. He now lives in Belgium and sits as an MEP. He is expected to appear in court on Friday, his lawyer says, and could be extradited. The 2017 referendum prompted a political crisis in Spain, with the Catalan regional parliament declaring independence from the country, … Continue reading Catalan separatist Puigdemont arrested in Italy

Spain PM in Barcelona to reopen Catalan separatist talks

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visits Barcelona Wednesday to resume dialogue with Catalonia’s separatist leadership on resolving the political crisis triggered by the region’s 2017 failed independence bid.Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (l) and Catalan leader Pere Aragones meeting last July. They will hold fresh talks on Wednesday but expectations are low “I will lead this negotiation on behalf of the Spanish government,” Sanchez said late Monday, confirming he would meet Catalan leader Pere Aragones on September 15 for talks on the region’s political situation. Since the crisis of October 2017, Catalonia has been a dominant theme in Spanish politics … Continue reading Spain PM in Barcelona to reopen Catalan separatist talks

French police car crashes after officer fires Taser at driver

A police car crashed in northern France after an officer in the passenger seat fired her Taser in the direction of the driver, prosecutors say. Six officers were in the vehicle when the driver lost control and hit a parked car in Roubaix, near Lille, on Saturday. The police car left the scene without stopping, prosecutors said. There were no reports of injuries. Three officers, including the one who discharged the Taser, are in custody. The incident happened while the officers were en route to Roubaix after finishing their shifts, local media report. Maître Emmanuel Riglaire, a lawyer for the … Continue reading French police car crashes after officer fires Taser at driver

Irish population tops 5m for first time since 1851 census

The population of the Republic of Ireland stands at an estimated 5.01 million, according to the Irish Central Statistics Office. It is the first time that the population has risen above five million since the 1851 census when the comparable population was 5.11 million. It also represents an increase of 2.19 million on the census of 1961. The CSO said positive net migration and a natural increase meant a population growth of 34,000 in 12 months. Meanwhile, the population aged 65 and over increased by 22,200 up to April 2021. There were 742,300 people living in the Republic Ireland aged … Continue reading Irish population tops 5m for first time since 1851 census

Sparks fly over plans to honour inventor Nikola Tesla with coin

Nikola Tesla, pioneer of alternating current electricity, might have been shocked to know how his legacy would cause a row between European states. Serbia’s central bank has threatened to take action with the EU if its neighbour Croatia puts the late great inventor on its coins. Croatia wants his face on its euros when it joins the currency in 2023. But Serbia claims him for its own because he saw himself as a Serb though born in what is now Croatia. The two countries are old rivals with a tragic history. Croatia’s national bank said it would put the inventor … Continue reading Sparks fly over plans to honour inventor Nikola Tesla with coin

Golden Dawn fugitive Christos Pappas arrested in Greece

The fugitive deputy leader of Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn has been detained in Athens after months of evading arrest, media reports say. Christos Pappas had been wanted by police since October, when the entire leadership of Golden Dawn was convicted of running a criminal organisation. Pappas was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but refused to hand himself in. He is known for having an obsession with Nazism and was considered a leading ideologue of Golden Dawn. A police source told AFP news agency Pappas was eventually caught at a home in the Athens district of Zografou. A police … Continue reading Golden Dawn fugitive Christos Pappas arrested in Greece

Racism: Belgian manhunt for heavily armed far-right soldier

Special Belgian police units are searching for a heavily armed soldier with far-right views who they believe poses a serious threat. The suspect has been named as Jurgen Conings, a military shooting instructor who took weapons from a barracks. He is said to have made threats in the past against virologist Marc Van Ranst, who led Belgium’s public health response to coronavirus. Mr Van Ranst and his family have been taken to a safe place. Latest reports say as many as 350 police and some military have been deployed in and around a national park near the Dutch border. Six … Continue reading Racism: Belgian manhunt for heavily armed far-right soldier

French army chief tells soldiers to quit over civil-war letter

The French army chief of staff has urged soldiers to resign if they signed a controversial letter that warned of a civil war trigged by religious extremism in the country. The letter, published in a right-wing magazine, accused the French government of granting “concessions” to Islamism. It followed a similar letter three weeks ago signed by 20 former generals, both letters were condemned by the French government but praised by right-wing politicians. On Tuesday, General François Lecointre addressed the latest letter in a message to military personnel. “The most reasonable step is certainly to leave the institution in order to … Continue reading French army chief tells soldiers to quit over civil-war letter

LOL: Belgian farmer accidentally moves French border, makes France smaller

France got a little smaller, and Belgium a little bigger, thanks to an annoyed Belgian farmer. The farmer in the border village of Erquelinnes moved a stone in the path of his tractor, according to BBC. It turned out not to be just any stone, but one marking the boundary line between the two countries. In moving it, the Belgian gave his country 7.5 more feet (2.29 meters), by taking that same amount away from France. “Gonna have to put things back in place,” wrote the mayor of the Belgian village that gained territory. The stone has history on its side: The … Continue reading LOL: Belgian farmer accidentally moves French border, makes France smaller

German police arrest couple suspected of trading newborn babies

Two people have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of trading newborn babies, police said Monday. Officers arrested the two Bulgarian nationals in Neunkirchen, in the state of Saarland, on Thursday, police said in a statement. The 58 year-old-man and his 51-year-old wife are accused of being part of a criminal organization that trades in newborn babies. Both are in custody, police said. The case originated in Bulgaria, where authorities had issued a European Arrest Warrant for the couple. The two are thought to have brought at least eight heavily pregnant women from Bulgaria to neighboring Greece. Once the babies … Continue reading German police arrest couple suspected of trading newborn babies

Spain’s Pamplona cancels bull-running festival for second year in row

The mayor of the Spanish city of Pamplona on Monday cancelled the San Fermin festival, which draws thrill-seekers from all over the world to run with fighting bulls through its streets, for a second year because of the coronavirus pandemic. “To my very despair, I’m forced to officially suspend the festival of San Fermin in 2021,” mayor Enrique Maya told reporters on Monday. He cited the high Covid-19 contagion in the Navarra region and the low vaccination ratio. Regional president Maria Chivite had said in February the festival would not be held this year, but at the time Maya had … Continue reading Spain’s Pamplona cancels bull-running festival for second year in row