Spanish News July 2017

Boat With Five Dead Found Off Murcia Coast

A raft with the bodies of five sub-Saharan African migrants was found off the coast of Cartagena on 16th June. They were discovered by a merchant ship, the Baltic Wave, the crew of which called the coastguard. The ship was told to stay in the area until rescuers got there.

It took around 2½ hours for emergency service aircraft to reach the scene, around 70 miles off the coast. Given that the bodies were already in a decomposed state, the coastguard opted to tow the jerry-built sailing boat back to Cartagena rather than remove the five deceased Africans.

Thousands of sub-Saharan migrants attempt the perilous crossing to Europe every year on barely-seaworthy and overcrowded crafts, and many do not make it to dry land.

Brexit and Gibraltar: Spain's foreign minister meets negotiators

Alfonso Dastis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has confirmed that Spain will not use any disagreement over Gibraltar to block the UK's exit from the EU and emphasised that any discussion over the sovereignty of 'The Rock' would be a bilateral one between the two countries.

The Minister was responding to questions regarding a veto by Spain over Gibraltar and its potential to affect the Brexit negotiations that began in Brussels on Monday.

Dastis highlighted the fact that Spain has requested that all future negotiations relating to Gibraltar be a matter for Spain and the UK only, once the framework of the UK's new relationship with the EU has been determined.

When asked whether the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would be authorised to talk about Gibraltar with his British counterparts as part of the negotiating mandate afforded to him by the remaining 27 countries, the Spanish minister replied that it was not a question of authorisation and that the guidelines are what they are.

Dastis also held a cordial courtesy meeting with David Davis, the UK's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Organ Donors Up By Over 10%

Spain may have broken the 5,000 barrier for organ transplants by the end of this year after a 10.2% rise in donors.
Donations in 'asistolia' (donors with no heartbeat) have risen by 27%, although live donations have also grown, typically kidneys or parts of livers.

Lung transplants have increased by 25% year-on-year, whilst liver transplants have gone up by 17% and kidneys have risen by 9.3%.
Bone-marrow donations have gone up by 15%. This is partly thought to be due to a global appeal by young leukaemia patient Pablo Ráez, who started a Twitter campaign to find a million donors.

85% of families in Spain are in agreement with donating their loved ones' organs. Spain continuously holds the world number one slot for donation and transplant numbers and are hosting the International Transplant Games this year, which started on June 25th in Málaga. 2,218 sportsmen and sportswomen from 50 countries will be pitting their skills against each other. The Spanish team is made up of 77 competitors, including four children.

Spain Ups Security In Holiday Hotspots

Extra police will be stationed in major tourism belts this July and August to increase security in light of the general threat of terrorism across Europe.

At least 2,600 additional officers will be on the beat in the Balearics and Canary Islands, Valencia, Andalucía, Madrid, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. Reinforcements will be brought in to cover officers' summer holidays. Police from the UK, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Romania will spend the summer in Spain to be able to assist tourists in their own languages.

The mobile phone App, AlertCops, is due to be relaunched in several languages to make life easier for holidaymakers

DGT Reaps €31.3 Million In Fines In 80 Days

These were for road traffic fines during the first quarter of 2017 (between January 1st and March 21st)

During this period of 80 days and excluding roads in Catalonia and the Basque Country, where road traffic fines are issued by a separate authority, the DGT issued 801,936 fines to drivers for violating traffic regulations, equating to 10,024 fines and 392,104€ collected per day.
The provinces that raised the most amount of money in fines were Madrid, with 2,078,152 euros, ahead of Málaga (1,658,715), Sevilla (1,479,640) and Valencia (1,493,150).

Undersea high-speed data cable linking USA and Europe arrives in Spain

The Marea high-speed cable being laid under the Atlantic by Facebook, Microsoft and Telefónica in order to link the USA and Europe has arrived at Arritera Beach in the Basque town of Sopelana.

According to Microsoft, Marea will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic, featuring eight fibre pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps (TeraBits Per Second).

That is 16 million times faster than a standard home internet connection.

The Spanish Environment Ministry has granted a 25-year concession to operate and manage the cable to Telxius, a unit of Telefónica. They will control 27,861 square metres of public domain spread over land and sea. The telecoms infrastructure firm will pay the Spanish state a fee of around €1 million for occupying that space throughout the concession period.

There are plans to extend the cable at a later date into the Near East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

José Mourinho Accused Of Tax Fraud

Former Real Madrid manager José Mourinho has been accused of defrauding €3.3 million from the Spanish tax authorities over the years 2011 and 2012.

According to the treasury, on some 'indetermined' date, but prior to September 17, 2004, Mourinho ceded his image rights to a company known as Koper Services, S.A., with its head office in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven. Mourinho signed a new contract to the same effect, but ceding his rights jointly to Koper Services and to the Irish-based Multisports & Image Management Limited. Four years later, the Irish firm subscribed with Polaris Sports Limited, also in the Virgin Islands, so that they could seek out and negotiate advertising contracts.

Spain's tax authorities said it was clear how Mourinho used an offshore company structure to hide his earnings from royalties for his face being used in advertising.

Mourinho moved to Spain in 2010 after leaving Chelsea FC and joining Real Madrid, becoming a Spanish tax resident, but did not declare his image royalties from 2011 and 2012. He filed a Non-Resident Tax Declaration in 2013, providing documents issued by Global Directors Limited which showed that Koper Services was 100% owned by another company, Operating Nominees Limited.

The resulting undeclared sums were for just under €3.25m in 2011 and just over €2.8m in 2012, on which a total of €3.3m in tax should have been paid. In addition to this sum, the ex-Madrid manager will also be hit with a fine of nearly €1.147m.

Tax authorities say Koper Services was set up deliberately as a front company and is the 100% owner of a dormant trust in New Zealand founded by Mourinho, who is joint beneficiary along with his wife and children.

As the amount of 'deliberately' unpaid exceeds €120,000, the tax evasion case is considered a criminal offence.