Published: 10:56 am, Dec 01 2016 (link)

Scientific Video Confirms Ecological Disaster In Mar Menor Sea

The video compares the Mar Menor in 2014 and 2016.

A new report and images published by the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO) and the South-Eastern Naturalists Association (ANSE) show 85% of the seagrass and related sea life in the 135 km² Mar Menor sea in Murcia has been wiped out by a process known as eutrophication. As part of an ongoing study, scientists from the two organisations began cataloguing 34,000 acres of seagrass in 2014, and recording images of the plants during diving trips. New images from this year, recording the same space, show an underwater wasteland devoid of life. The scientists say that from 2015, a massive proliferation of phytoplankton affected the sea, which first turned green and dark before becoming thick enough to prevent light reaching the seabed and photosynthesis from occurring. The nitrogen and phosphorus content of agricultural spills and urban waste "clearly highlight the influence of these spills on the seagrass", said ANSE.

Published: 11:51 am, Nov 30 2016 (link)

Spanish Police Arrest "Lone Wolf" Terror Suspect Near Madrid

Police in Aranjuez (Madrid) have arrested a Moroccan man living in the town on suspicion of terror activities related to the Islamic State, the Spanish Home Office said in a statement on Wednesday morning. The statement called him "a dangerous 'lone wolf'" in "an advanced state of radicalisation" who was "learning online how to carry out terrorist attacks against the population"; the man had "radicalised himself" over the past few months, "displaying an intense fanaticism and constant consumption of visual content" of an "extremely harsh" nature. The Home Office said he had been immersed in "relentless online activity", had few friends and had been watching and reading Islamic State videos and articles that referenced "suicide attacks by young mujahideen". The statement also said he was "a very active key member within the Islamic State's decentralised propaganda and indoctrination structure".

Published: 1:05 pm, Dec 01 2016 (link)

Government To Raise Taxes On Alcohol, Cigarettes And Soft Drinks

Spain's Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, announced on Wednesday that the new government is to increase tax on alcohol, tobacco and sugary soft drinks. The government will also try to reduce the limit for cash payments of invoices from €2,500 to €1,000, require large companies to report receivables and expense payments in real-time in order to better control Value Added Tax (VAT), and increase revenues from corporation tax, reportedly by cutting allowable deductions. More details are likely to be provided on Friday following a cabinet meeting at which the tax increases and changes are set to be approved.

Published: 11:21 am, Dec 01 2016 (link)

Two More Moroccans Arrested In The Basque Country On Terror Charges

Police arrested two more Moroccans in Spain on Wednesday for activities related to Islamic State terrorism and propaganda, the Home Office and Civil Guard said in statements. A 24-year old Moroccan man was arrested in San Sebastián (Basque Country) for "notable participation in the propaganda, apology and indoctrination area of the terrorist organisation Islamic State", said the Home Office about one man, adding he had allegedly published "fiery speech and articles supporting the Islamic State". The Civil Guard arrested another Moroccan in Irún (Basque Country) as part of an ongoing investigation into "a group of people who had been suffering a process of jihadi radicalisation". That man, said a Civil Guard statement, had recently undergone "a change of attitude and intensification of [his] pro-jihadi discourse". The two men were not named and the Home Office did not provide any information on the specific crimes for which they had been arrested.

Published: 1:19 pm, Dec 01 2016 (link)

Podemos And Catalan Separatists To Snub Constitution Day

Podemos leaders Pablo Iglesias, Iñigo Errejón and Xavier Domenech, along with United Left leader Alberto Garzón, have said they will not be attending the December 6 Constitution Day celebrations and open day in Congress. The alternative-left leaders wish to protest that the country's carta magna needs amending in order to respond to Spain's ongoing problems. Mr. Garzón and the previous United Left leader Cayo Lara did not attend in previous years. In Catalonia, Esquerra (ERC), the CUP and the Catalan European Democratic Party (formerly the Catalan Democratic Party, Convergència or CiU) have announced they will not celebrate the bank holiday either, and some will encourage MPs and councillors to work. Over the past few months, Popular Party (PP), Socialist Party (PSOE) and Ciudadanos politicians have taken to framing themselves as "constitutionalist" leaders versus, in their reading of the situation, the "anti-constitutional" populists of Podemos or the separatists in Catalonia.