News & Media - The Guardian News for Spain brings you a news feed direct from The Guardian with the latest news from Spain, Southern Spain.

The detention of a Spanish film actor over a blasphemy case is denounced by a group of humanist writers and performers, including Sandi Toksvig, Sara Pascoe, David Baddiel and Eddie Marsan

As actors, writers, comedians, and musicians, as well as patrons of Humanists UK, we were appalled to read in your pages about the detention of our colleague, the Spanish film actor Willy Toledo, in relation to the ongoing trial of three women accused of blasphemy in Spain (Spanish actor detained after ridiculing ‘God and the Virgin Mary’, 12 September).

Spain is one of several western European countries that continue to proscribe blasphemy in law – an unconscionable violation of the right to freedom of thought, belief and expression. As entertainers and as humanists, we cherish free expression and wish to see the prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, take urgent action to repeal his country’s blasphemy laws.

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Spanish foreign minister says US president advised tactic to stem migration across the Med

Donald Trump suggested the Spanish government tackled the Mediterranean migration crisis by emulating one of his most famous policies and building a wall across the Sahara desert, the country’s foreign minister has revealed.

According to Josep Borrell, the US president brushed off the scepticism of Spanish diplomats – who pointed out that the Sahara stretched for 3,000 miles – saying: “The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico.”

Related: Hundreds storm border fence into Spain's north Africa enclave of Ceuta

Related: On the road in Agadez: desperation and death along a Saharan smuggling route

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19 September 1970: Higgins, who calls himself El Canadas, is no joke. He is being taken more and more seriously by the Spanish press and bullfight aficionados

The Anglification of Spain’s Costa del Sol advances another step this Sunday when Mr Henry Higgins becomes the first Englishman ever to become a full matador. Higgins, who has been fighting bulls since 1963, takes his alternativa at five in the afternoon at Fuengirola, one of a string of towns on the coast more famous for their “Truly British Fish & Chips” and Carnaby Street boutiques than their paella or flamenco.

But Higgins, who calls himself El Canadas, is no joke. He is being taken more and more seriously by the Spanish press and bullfight aficionados. He is a classicist; his style has been modelled on the strict canons of bullfighting and he has been severely gored on three occasions. During his career he has had to overcome many obstacles and frustrations and he says that perseverance, above courage or skill, is the prime quality of the prospective matador.

Related: It was Spain’s ‘national fiesta’. Now bullfighting divides its people

Related: Spain urged to ban children from bullfights

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Man charged with murdering 22-year-old, whose body was discovered on Monday

Police in the US have charged a man with first-degree murder after the body of a promising young Spanish golf champion was found on a course in Iowa.

Celia Barquín Arozamena, 22, who won the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship in July was from Cantabria, northern Spain, and had been studying civil engineering at Iowa State University.

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Hervé Falciani leaked details of HSBC clients whom he said he suspected were evading tax

Spain’s high court has rejected an extradition request from Switzerland against Hervé Falciani for leaking details of thousands of clients of HSBC’s private bank.

Hailed as a hero by some for triggering investigations in several countries, Swiss courts sentenced Falciani in absentia to five years in jail for leaking details of HSBC clients, many of whom he said he suspected were evading tax.

Related: HSBC whistleblower given five years’ jail over biggest leak in banking history

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In Pontevedra, the usual soundtrack of a Spanish city has been replaced by the tweeting of birds and the chatter of humans

People don’t shout in Pontevedra – or they shout less. With all but the most essential traffic banished, there are no revving engines or honking horns, no metallic snarl of motorbikes or the roar of people trying make themselves heard above the din – none of the usual soundtrack of a Spanish city.

What you hear in the street instead are the tweeting of birds in the camellias, the tinkle of coffee spoons and the sound of human voices. Teachers herd crocodiles of small children across town without the constant fear that one of them will stray into traffic.

How can it be that private property – the car – occupies the public space?

As cities around the world close central streets to cars to mark World Car-Free Day, Guardian Cities is looking at the joys and trials of urban walking.

Related: ‘Would that all journeys were on foot’: writers on the joy of walking

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Valtònyc faces jail in Spain on ‘gag law’ charges including insulting the monarchy

A Belgian court has rejected a request from Spain to extradite a rapper sentenced to prison for charges including insulting the monarchy, a spokesman for the public prosecutor in the city of Ghent said.

Valtònyc, 24, whose real name is Josep Miquel Arenas, fled to Belgium in May after being sentenced in Spain to three and a half years for his lyrics, in which he also praised terror groups.

Related: Spanish anti-terror law has 'chilling effect' on satire, says Amnesty International

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UK fans at the finish in Madrid were well aware they had just watched history being made

Under a hot September sky and to the incongruous strains of Bad Moon Rising – not to mention those of the even less podium-friendly Another One Bites the Dust – Simon Yates completed the final few laps of his first Grand Tour victory in Madrid on Sunday night.

At 7.48pm local time, after 23 days, 21 stages and 3,254.7km, the 26-year-old rider from Bury finally crossed the line outside the Cibeles palace.

Related: Simon Yates’ Vuelta glory built on endless patience and iron discipline

Related: Simon Yates thanks ‘secret weapon’ brother after retaining Vuelta lead

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The prime minister is the latest politician to have his educational history scrutinised

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has published his doctoral thesis online in an effort to put an end to allegations of plagiarism and distance himself from the degree scandal that has dogged some of the country’s most high-profile politicians.

Sánchez, whose socialist party came to power in June after ousting the corruption-mired conservative government of Mariano Rajoy, has become the most senior political figure to find their educational history under intense scrutiny.

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After sightings in London and Paris, whale is now making waves in Spanish capital

Call me Ishmael. Or, better still, Spanish whale.

Madrid awoke on Friday morning to find that a 15-metre sperm whale had managed to swim up the Manzanares River before coming to an abrupt halt by the arches of the city’s oldest bridge.

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The final part of Zafón’s historical Spanish quartet The Cemetery of Forgotten Books is a giant, genre-crossing delight

Before starting the latest novel by the Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón, those who use books in the old-fashioned way might be wise to do some serious upper-arm work at the gym. Electronic readers should guard their clicking fingers against repetitive strain.

The 832-page book completes a quartet of novels – accumulating around 1,400 pages even before this instalment – that began with The Shadow of the Wind, a 15m-copy bestseller published in English in 2004, which was followed by The Angel’s Game (2009) and The Prisoner of Heaven (2013).

Zafón is a fine describer of city sights, vividly depicting both the touristic and obscure parts of Barcelona and Madrid

Related: Live webchat: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Ministers had said €9m sale would be called off over concerns about use in Yemen

The Spanish government has confirmed it will proceed with the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, days after saying the €9.2m (£8.2m) deal had been halted amid apparent concerns over the use of such weapons in the war in Yemen.

Josep Borrell, the foreign minister, announced the U-turn on Thursday, saying the government had reviewed the contract and felt it had to be honoured.

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Willy Toledo to face Madrid court after not showing up for questioning over Facebook post

A Spanish actor accused of ridiculing God and the Virgin Mary has been detained for questioning by a judge, police have said, in the latest high-profile case to raise freedom of speech fears in the country.

Willy Toledo, a cinema and television actor who is facing a complaint over a social media post last year criticising the blasphemy prosecution of three women, has twice failed to show up for questioning.

Related: Spanish rapper due to begin jail term vows to 'disobey fascist state'

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Reports name convicted robber Sean Hercules, 39, as man who died in shootout near Marbella

A convicted British robber has been shot dead by police in southern Spain after opening fire on officers as they tried to arrest him.

The man, named in media reports as Sean Hercules, 39, died in a shootout at a hotel in the resort town of Estepona, near Marbella, on Monday.

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Irregularities had been found in master’s awarded to Carmen Montón by Madrid university

Spain’s health minister, Carmen Montón, has resigned after becoming the latest senior politician to find her educational qualifications under scrutiny.

Montón stepped down on Tuesday night following a series of reports detailing irregularities in her master’s degree in interdisciplinary gender studies, which was awarded by King Juan Carlos University in Madrid seven years ago.

En 100 días al frente de @sanidadgob has recuperado la sanidad universal en nuestro país, has trabajado sin descanso para devolver y ampliar derechos.
Gracias, @carmenmonton, por tu compromiso con la igualdad y la justicia social. Tu decisión, valiente, te honra.

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Pro-independence supporters have packed Barcelona's Diagonal to celebrate Diada, Catalan national day, and to add their voice to secession calls since October's illegal independence declaration.

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Crowd at Diada event demands release of political leaders as polls suggest a divided region

About a million people have gathered in Barcelona to renew their calls for Catalan independence and to demand the release of jailed political leaders almost a year after the unilateral referendum that triggered Spain’s worst political crisis since its return to democracy.

The annual Diada celebrations commemorate the fall of the city at the end of the Spanish war of succession in 1714, but in recent years they have been used by pro-independence groups as a show of strength.

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Abandoned as a child, Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja survived alone in the wild for 15 years. But living with people proved to be even more difficult

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Jet2 flight from Manchester diverted to Toulouse where man was taken to hospital

A British man has died after needing medical attention on a flight to Ibiza.

The Jet2 flight from Manchester diverted to Toulouse on Saturday evening due to the medical emergency.

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Shop owner says 15th-century figures looked a bit dull, in latest case of artworks falling prey to a well-intentioned amateur

After the Ecce Homo Monkey Christ came the Tintin St George. And after the Tintin St George has come an unassuming trinity of late 15th-century statues that sit in a tiny shrine in the north-western Spanish region of Asturias, suddenly resplendent in freshly painted robes and, it seems, more than a touch of makeup.

The latest artworks to fall prey to well-intentioned amateur restoration are wooden statues of the Virgin and Child, the Virgin and Child with St Anne, and St Peter, in the hamlet of Rañadorio.

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