miércoles, 26 de diciembre de 2012

Over 100 Madrid health chiefs threaten to resign in privatization protest

The directors of over 100 healthcare centers in Madrid are offering their resignations in a bid to pressure the regional government into giving up plans to privatize part of its health system.
At a meeting of representatives from the region's 270 health centers (above) - called to decide whether they should quit en masse as a protest measure - the management teams of 118 clinics on Thursday made their position clear by showing up with their resignation letters already signed.
The assembly at the Madrid Medical School decided that the letters should all be presented together on December 27, the day the regional parliament will vote on the bill which, together with the 2013 regional budget - approved by deputies on Thursday - establishes the privatization plans.
The Popular Party-run Madrid administration is proposing to turn the management of six hospitals and 27 health centers over to private companies.

Rajoy pledges to keep troops in Afghanistan after NATO mission ends

In his Christmas message to Spanish troops serving abroad on humanitarian missions, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday reminded members of the armed forces that their main objective was to “make the world a safer place.”

“Spain obtains more prestige each time you make a sacrifice,” the prime minister said in a televised video conference call to troops serving in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia, Djibouti, Uganda, Antarctica and the Indian Ocean.

On Saturday, Rajoy made a quick visit to meet with Spanish troops in Afghanistan. He also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whom he told that a contingent of troops will remain in the country after 2014, when the NATO multinational mission is due to withdraw its forces.
There are currently some 1,400 Spanish soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

viernes, 30 de noviembre de 2012

Madrid Arena tragedy claims fifth victim

The stampede at a Halloween party in the Madrid Arena venue has claimed a fifth victim. María Teresa Alonso, aged 20, died on Thursday at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz hospital as a result of the injuries she sustained at the dance-music event. According to doctors, the cause of death was “severe brain damage,” suffered when she was caught in the crush.
A number of her friends and family made their way to the Madrid hospital when they heard the news. Friends of María Teresa, who said they had known her “since kindergarten,” said they were devastated.
The incident, which took place in the early hours of November 1, left Alonso in a coma and connected to a respirator.
Three of the five victims — Katia Esteban Casielles, Rocío Oña Pineda, and Cristina Arce de la Fuente — died on the night of the tragedy, while a fourth, Belén Langdon del Real, passed away in hospital several days later. All five were aged between 17 and 20.
An investigation into the tragedy and CCTV footage from Madrid Arena have revealed that the venue was over its 10,600 capacity, with as many as 6,000 extra tickets thought to have been sold. Due to the large number of people, partygoers were unable to easily enter and leave the dance floor. Several bottlenecks were created at the exit where the lethal crush took place.
It also emerged on Thursday that the Samur emergency service was not properly notified of the party by the city council, which owns Madrid Arena, finding out about it by chance just a few hours before it began. As such, Samur was only able to send a basic medical team to the site. These claims, aired during a commission to investigate the incident, were flatly denied by a council representative.

sábado, 17 de noviembre de 2012

Iberoamerican meet to kick off in Cádiz without Argentinean president

The 2012 Iberoamerican Summit is due to get underway on Friday in Cádiz with host Spain at the forefront as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will try to seek Latin American investors for his country in an effort to help his government emerge from the ongoing crisis.

This will be the third time Spain plays host to the annual summit of mostly Latin American and Caribbean leaders. And it is expected that it will be the first time that the Spanish government actively pushes South and Central American nations — which have not been crippled by the world economic crisis — to invest in Spain.
In the past, Spain has been a big investor in Latin America and “is responsible for that growth process in the region,” explained Jaime García-Legaz, secretary of state for commerce. Spain has “a cheap and attractive economy” for those countries that have now become “transmission beacons for investments,” he added.
The two-day summit also coincides with the bicentennial celebrations of the liberal 1812 Spanish Constitution, popularly known as “La Pepa.”
King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will preside over the summit. The prime minister will meet privately with different regional leaders to give them an overview of the euro-zone crisis, Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said. European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso and Catherine Ashton, the EU´s top foreign affairs official, are also expected to join the summit.
The presidents of Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Guatemala, Paraguay and Uruguay have announced that they won’t attend, sending top government representatives instead. In the case of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the Argentinean leader, who has been at odds with the Spanish government since her government nationalized Repsol’s YPF affiliate in May, excused herself on doctor’s orders after suffering a hypertension bout. Uruguayan President José Mujica also announced that he won’t be attending because of health reasons.

viernes, 9 de noviembre de 2012

Madrid Arena

Madrid Arena was denied permits to hold large scale events two years ago, says city.

Madrid city officials revealed on Sunday that the Madrid Arena venue in the Casa de Campo — the site of the Halloween night tragedy, in which four girls were crushed to death — was never granted a license     to hold concerts or massive party events.

On Friday Madrid Mayor Ana Botella announced she was prohibiting the use of the arena and other city venues for mass events like last Wednesday’s Thriller Music Party, where the incident took place