A dispute between Spanish authorities and Catalan separatists over a yellow ribbon symbol is building into a hot issue ahead of Spain’s general election next month.

The independence-minded Catalan government has failed to obey an order from the country’s electoral board to remove from the region’s public buildings the large ribbons, which are a protest at the imprisonment and trial of separatist leaders for their role in a failed attempt to declare independence in 2017.

Quim Torra, Catalonia’s regional president who always wears a small yellow ribbon in his lapel, has asked the board for more time to remove the symbols after a deadline passed.

Pablo Casado, the leader of Spain’s main opposition Popular Party, on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to take a tougher stance against Catalan separatists.

Source: Fox News World

The leader of Spain’s far-right Vox party says that Spaniards should be allowed to possess firearms and use them for self-defense without legal consequences.

In an interview published Wednesday by a website specializing in weapons, Santiago Abascal says that "the concept of legitimate defense needs to be widened" in Spain.

Abascal is Vox’s candidate in the upcoming general election on April 28. He has bragged in the past about carrying a handgun himself because his family was for years a target of the Basque militant group ETA.

The 42-year-old politician says laws should allow those without criminal records to have a firearm at home and use it to face "real life-threatening situations."

Official statistics show that Spain’s rates of homicide and burglary are lower than most of its European neighbors.

Source: Fox News World

Tens of thousands are marching in Madrid to support Catalan politicians and activists standing trial for their attempt to secede from Spain.

The nine defendants face decades in prison on rebellion and other charges for staging a banned referendum in October 2017 and declaring Catalan independence, although they took no action to implement that.

Many supporters believe the defendants are "political prisoners."

Large pro-independence protests have been staged in Spain’s northeastern region and in some European cities, but Saturday’s is the first major separatist march in the Spanish capital.

Organizers expect 50,000 protesters, most of them traveling from Catalonia in some 500 buses.

A banner reading "self-determination is not a crime" opened the march.

Authorities in Madrid have deployed more than 500 police officers including riot police.

Source: Fox News World

Spain is joining Europe-wide efforts to fight disinformation and online sabotage with new resources ahead of elections.

Spanish deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, announced Friday that the government has readied protocols to shield the April 28 general election from cyberattacks. That will take place one month before the May 26 European election.

Calvo also said the government would fight intentionally misleading or wrongful information before, during or after voting.

To that effect, the Interior Ministry announced a team of 100 officers who will scour social networks and the so-called deep-web from early April.

Spain is also joining other EU members from Monday in the launch a rapid alert system against disinformation.

Source: Fox News World

Spain’s Socialist government has set June 10 as the date for relocating the remains of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco from a self-aggrandizing mausoleum to a more discreet grave in a public cemetery in Madrid.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is trying to remain in power in an April 28 general election, had promised to exhume Franco’s embalmed body from the Valley of the Fallen by the end of 2018.

However, his call has been hampered by opposition from Franco’s relatives and the abbot of the basilica where the dictator was buried in 1975.

The country’s Supreme Court is set to deliver a preliminary decision in coming days.

Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said Friday that the government would comply with whatever the judges decide.

Source: Fox News World

Investigators from Spain’s National Intelligence Center (CNI) and the Spanish police have linked a February 22 attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid to the CIA, according to El Pais.

On February 22 at approximately 3pm, 10 masked men carrying fake weapons broke into the embassy, tied up eight people, put bags over their heads, and proceeded to beat and interrogate them for two hours. One woman was able to escape through a second-floor window, and police were called after a neighbor heard her screaming.

When officers arrived at the embassy, a man opened the door and told them that nothing was going on. “Minutes later, two luxury vehicles sped out of the embassy,” according to the report. The getaway cars – belonging to the diplomatic mission, were abandoned in a nearby street.

According to the report, at least two of the 10 assailants have been identified and have connections to the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA has denied any involvement, however, Spanish government sources say their response was “unconvincing” according to El Pais.

If it is proven that the CIA was behind the attack, it could lead to a diplomatic spat between Madrid and Washington. Government sources say that it would be “unacceptable” for an ally to take such action. Not only would it mean that the US agency had operated on Spanish soil without asking for authorization or informing the authorities, it would also be a violation of the international conventions that protect diplomatic delegations.El Pais

The North Korean government has criticized the Democrats for “chilling the atmosphere” with their negative comments on the current peace talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

Investigators from CNI and the General Information Office (GNI) ruled out common criminals – instead saying that it was a perfectly planned operation as if it were carried out by a “military cell,” according to sources close to the investigation. “The assailants knew what they were looking for, taking only computers and mobile phones,” reports El Pais.

Spain’s High Court – the Audencia Nacional, will review the highly secretive investigation. That said, government sources admit that it may prove difficult to prove the CIA was involved.

(Photo by Stephan / Flickr)

Kim Hyok Chol

According to the report, the intended goal of the attack was to obtain information on former North Korean ambassador, Kim Hyok Chol – who was expelled from Spain on September 19, 2017 over ongoing North Korean nuclear tests, by then-Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis.

Kim Hyok Chol, who was declared persona non grata by Spain and was invited to leave the country before the end of the month, is currently one of Kim Jong-un’s highly trusted diplomats, and one of the architects of the failed nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jon[g]-un in Vietnam. The meeting, aimed at securing North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, ended in failure without any agreement on a timetable for disarmament or on future negotiations.El Pais

Kim Hyok Chol also led the North Korean delegation which negotiated a nuclear disarmament plan with US special envoy Stephen Biegun in exchange for easing sanctions.

Yellow vest protesters have damaged a Masonic lodge leading some to say they have gotten out of hand, however Leo Zagami joins Owen to reveal the reasons they chose to storm this lodge.

Source: InfoWars

The former president of Spain’s Catalonia region who fled the country after leading an attempt to secede in 2017 says he will return if he is elected to the European Parliament in May.

Spanish authorities consider Carles Puigdemont a fugitive, but he told Catalan radio Rac1 in an interview Tuesday that being a European lawmaker would entitle him to immunity from prosecution in the bloc.

Spanish officials made no immediate comment.

The 56-year-old politician fled to Brussels after the failed secession effort, which has landed other Catalan officials in court.

He has successfully fought his extradition to Spain from both Germany and Belgium.

JxCat — or Together for Catalonia, which includes the conservative separatist PDeCat party — says Puigdemont will be its main candidate in the May 26 ballot.

Source: Fox News World

Spanish activist Helena Maleno says Moroccan authorities have dropped a case against her that sought human trafficking charges for her calls alerting maritime rescue services to the presence of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

In 2012, Spanish police investigated what they alleged were possible links between Maleno and human trafficking gangs. A Spanish court later dropped the case. Moroccan justice carried out a parallel investigation until it was closed on Monday.

Maleno, who lives in Morocco, has made it her cause to inform Spanish and Moroccan rescuers when migrants set out in flimsy boats to make the perilous crossing from African to European shores.

Maleno said from Tangier the "fact that this case was dropped sets an example for us to continue our work."

Source: Fox News World

Conservative European lawmakers who were barred from entering Venezuela this weekend are urging the European Union’s top diplomat to suspend contacts with Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Esteban Gonzalez Pons, the head of the European Popular Party parliamentary group, is also calling for European sanctions against Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, who had ordered that the lawmakers should be barred on the grounds that they were conspiring against the government.

The five visitors were invited by the opposition-led congress led by Juan Guaido, whom the European Parliament and a majority of the EU’s members recognize as Venezuela’s interim leader.

Speaking to reporters in Madrid on Monday after returning from Caracas, Gonzalez Pons said that the EU’s foreign affairs commissioner, Federica Mogherini, should cancel the International Group of Contact that seeks talks in Venezuela.

He also called for the bloc’s members to oust Maduro’s ambassadors, and he vowed to return to Venezuela on Saturday.

Source: Fox News World

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