jueves, 23 de mayo de 2013

Francisco Goya

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanishromantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to theSpanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably ManetPicasso and Francis Bacon.

Vicente López Portaña - el pintor Francisco de Goya.jpg

Philip II of Spain

Philip II of Spain (Spanish: Felipe II; 21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598) was King of Spain (as Philip II in Castille and Philip II in Aragon) and Portugal as Philip I (Portuguese: Filipe I). During his marriage to Queen Mary I, he was King of England and Ireland and pretender to the kingdom of France. As heir to the Duchy of Burgundy, he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. Known in Spanish as "Philip the Prudent" (Felipe el Prudente), his empire included territories on every continent then known to Europeans and during his reign Spain was the foremost Western European power. Under his rule, Spain reached the height of its influence and power, directing explorations all around the world and settling the colonisation of territories on all the known continents including his namesake Philippine Islands. Philip coined the expression "The empire on which the sun never sets". However, he was also responsible for four separate state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1575, and 1596; precipitating the declaration of independence which created the Dutch Republic in 1581; and the disastrous fate of the 1588 invasion of England.
Philip was born in Valladolid, the son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, and his wife, Isabella of Portugal. He was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive." The Ambassador went on to say "He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious.

Portrait of Philip II of Spain by Sofonisba Anguissola - 002b.jpg

Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern EuropeanCatholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto (Turkish:İnebahtıGreekΝαύπακτος or Έπαχτος Naupaktos or Épahtos) met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina.
The victory of the Holy League prevented the Ottoman Empire expanding further along the Mediterranean side of Europe. Lepanto was the last major naval battle in the Mediterranean fought entirely between galleys and has been assigned great symbolic importance.?]

Battle of Lepanto 1571.jpg

Nadal thrashes Federer to claim seventh Masters title in Rome

Rafael Nadal outmuscled Roger Federer in the final of the Rome Masters to record a seventh title at the last major clay-court test before Roland Garros. On the evidence of the past two major tournaments in Madrid and the eternal city, there seems to be little to prevent the Spaniard sweeping to a staggering eighth victory on the clay of Paris next month. Few can keep pace with Nadal in the three-set format; those that can genuinely challenge over five can be counted on less than one hand.
David Ferrer ran his compatriot close in Madrid and Rome, while Ernests Gulbis came out swinging to take the first set of the quarterfinal match from Nadal 6-1. But when faced with top-10 opposition in the past three weeks the Spaniard, whose Rome win was his 41st clay title, has not been found wanting.
And all this — eight tournaments contested, eight final appearances, six titles — from a player who warned it would take some time before he was back to his best after a seven-month injury layoff.
Federer was out of sorts on Sunday, spraying 15 unforced errors around the court in the first set, which he ultimately ceded 1-6 with a routine volley placed long. A mini-rally in the second set saw the Swiss claw his way back from 1-5 to 3-5 after losing nine games on the trot, with Nadal’s serve broken for the only time in the match, but it only delayed the inevitable as the Spaniard served out on the second attempt.
Nadal now holds a 20-10 career record against Federer, with the world number four leading 14-6 in final meetings.
“It hasn’t been my day,” observed Federer. “It has been more Rafa’s day, something that happens quite often on clay.”

Spanish taxpayers declare assets held overseas worth nine percent of GDP

Spaniards and foreigners resident in Spain have declared assets held abroad in the form of bonds, shares, real estate and bank accounts of 87.7 billion euros, equivalent to nine percent of the country’s GDP.
As part of the government’s assault on tax evasion and fraud based on legislation passed last year, the Tax Agency now requires all taxpayers in Spain to declare assets worth more than 50,000 euros in any of four different categories of investment.
According to figures provided Wednesday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, 131,411 taxpayers declared assets held overseas, of which 129,925 were individuals and the rest companies. Individuals declared 67.1 billion euros and companies 20.6 billion.
A European Union summit on Wednesday approved measures to crack down on tax fraud and evasion. “Spain’s commitment against tax fraud is total,” Rajoy told a news conference in Brussels. Spain is estimated to have a huge black market, which could amount to about a quarter of its official GDP. “The EU is going to make life difficult for tax dodgers and lead the world on this,” Rajoy said.
The government launched an amnesty for tax evaders last year under which they could declare assets held abroad that had been previously undeclared, paying a fine of only 10 percent of the value of their holdings. The program unearthed 40 billion euros in previously undeclared assets. However, it swelled the state’s coffers by only 1.193 billion, when the government had been looking to raise 2.5 billion.
In an embarrassing development for Rajoy’s Popular Party government, the former PP treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, who has been implicated in the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts scandal, availed himself of the amnesty.

Brussels denies Madrid more time to tackle air pollution

The European Commission has rejected Spain's request for Madrid to be granted another five years to comply with its maximum pollution limits.
EU legislation permits a maximum annual average of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter. Madrid has failed to comply with the limit since 2010, when it was first introduced, and now faces sanctions.
"The Commission thinks that it is appropriate to make objections regarding the extension of the deadline for compliance with the annual and time value limit of nitrogen dioxide since the Spanish authorities have not shown the possibility of complying by 2014," reads the text of the decision, dated May 16, to which EL PAÍS has had access.
According to the time limit, maximum levels of nitrogen dioxide can only be exceeded 18 times a year. Madrid surpassed that at six monitoring stations in 2010 — one on 76 separate occasions.

The Spanish voice of Darth Vader and Clint Eastwood dies at 65

Constantino Romero, the Spanish voice of Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Darth Vader, died in Barcelona on Sunday at the age of 65 from a neurological illness. More than just a dubbing artist, he was also a presenter, journalist, radio announcer and actor. He had announced his retirement just five months ago, signing off with “That’s all folks” on his Twitter account on December 12 after a 47-year career.
Romero was born in Albacete in 1947, and after spending the first years of his childhood in Chinchilla, Castilla-La Mancha, he moved to Barcelona with his family at the age of nine. He began putting his voice to work at a young age and over the course of his career it acquired such a power that he would become one of the most distinctive and accomplished stage actors of his time, often working with the director Mario Gas.
Such was his skill that even those who usually disliked dubbed movies could admire what he did with his serious and resounding voice. Over the years, he provided the voices of Robert Redford, Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Kirk Douglas, Orson Welles, Schwarzenegger, Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King, as well as Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, among many others. “I wish I had the voice of the guy who dubbed me,” Hauer said after seeing the Spanish version of the movie. “It is much better than mine!”
But it was perhaps Clint Eastwood with whom Romero was most associated, dubbing his films from 1971 until the end. He never got to know him personally, but on the screen they were one and the same person. Even after his official retirement, he came back to dub Clint inTrouble with the Curve, admitting it would be his last work. And when Alex de la Iglesia wanted Eastwood to appear in the last scene of 800 Bullets, he had to make do with a double on screen, but he had Romero’s voice on the soundtrack.
Romero’s movie appearances in person were few. His film credits includeOlimpicament mort, Bigas Luna’s Lola, Carlos Benpar’s La veritat ocultaand Pau Freixas’ Héroes.
He made his theater debut in Gas’s 1984 production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, going on to work with the director on productions of Brecht and Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Aeschylus’ The Oresteia, Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra and Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. His last stage appearance was in Josep Maria Flotats’s production of Sacha Guitry’sBeaumarchais in 2010.

Two Spanish tourists taken by kidnappers in Colombia

Two Spanish tourists have been kidnapped while traveling through a remote area of northeast Colombia, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday, adding that their captors have demanded a ransom for their release.
The names of the couple were not officially released, but the Bogota daily El Tiempo has identified them as Ángel Sánchez Fernández, 43, and María Concepción Marlaska Sedano. Quoting several sources, news agency Efe reported that the woman is related to High Court Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska.
Authorities have not ruled out that the couple were taken across the border to Venezuela. According to the daily, the two rented a car in Bogota and were heading to the beach resort of Cabo de la Vela, in La Guajira department, before they were kidnapped on Friday.
La Guajira is considered a dangerous area because of the number of paramilitaries, drug traffickers, smugglers and guerrilla groups that operate there.
The couple left their luggage behind at a hotel in the region while their car was found with a broken window at a ranch about 85 kilometers outside of Uribia, El Tiempo reported.
During calls to the victims’ families back home, the kidnappers identified themselves as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), but authorities consulted by Efe have not confirmed this.
According to one source, it is not the guerrilla group’s modus operandi to demand a ransom the following day after a kidnapping.

Germany to create 5,000 jobs a year for young Spaniards

Germany has agreed to create 5,000 jobs a year for young Spanish workers as part of efforts to reduce youth unemployment in Spain, which hit 57 percent at the end of March.
A memorandum of understanding in this area was signed Tuesday in Madrid by Spanish Labor Minister Fátima Báñez and her German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen. It includes work combined with professional training and stable posts for qualified workers.
Báñez welcomed Germany’s “commitment” toward helping young Spaniards, adding that the accord would provide “many opportunities for many young Spanish people which today, because of the crisis they do not have in Spain, and which, however, they can have in other European Union countries on a temporary basis.”
The accord calls for the interchange of workers and cooperation in the area of labor affairs. There are currently 43,548 Spaniards affiliated with the German Social Security system, and 37,797 Germans in the Spanish system.
Both countries also agreed to work together on initiatives at the EU level to reduce youth unemployment. “This cooperation between Spain and Germany will very soon show itself in additional joint measures that will make a better life for our young people possible,” the two countries said in a statement
Von der Leyden acknowledged the reforms that Spain has undertaken, which she indicated would take time in bearing fruit. “Germany was the sick man of Europe ten years ago, with a very high unemployment rate [and, therefore,] knows what measures work,” she said.