Some of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, including the chairman of OAO Gazprom, a deputy premier and two former ministers, helped one of Russia’s largest criminal groups operate out of Spain for more than a decade, prosecutors in Madrid say.
Members of St. Petersburg’s Tambov crime syndicate moved into Spain in 1996, when Putin was deputy mayor of the former czarist capital, to launder proceeds from their illicit activities, Juan Carrau and Jose Grinda wrote in a petition to the Central Court on May 29, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.Sponsored Ads
The 488-page complaint, the product of a decade of investigations into the spread of Russian organized crime during the Putin era, portrays links between the criminal enterprise and top law-enforcement officials and policy makers in Moscow. The petition, based on thousands of wiretaps, bank transfers and property transactions, is a formal request to charge 27 people with money laundering, fraud and other crimes. Approval by a judge would clear the way for a trial, but Spain doesn’t try people in absentia.
“The rules of the city and the country are mandatory for everyone, and Mollet del Vallès will be uncompromising toward any kind of radicalism or blackmail.” — Josep Monràs, Mayor of Mollet del Vallès, Spain
Police in Spain have forcibly removed Muslim activists from an illegal mosque in a small town in Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain that is home to the largest Muslim population in the country.
The eviction ends — for now, anyway — a highly public one-year standoff in which Muslim immigrants in the Catalan town of Mollet del Vallès openly and aggressively challenged the authority of municipal officials to evaluate and determine the proper location of new mosques based on established urban planning regulations.
The dispute over the unauthorized mosque is the latest in a growing number of mosque-related conflicts resulting from efforts by towns and cities across Spain to relocate overfilled mosques from congested downtown areas to uninhabited industrial parks.
The euro-zone crisis has slipped off the radar screen during the past couple of weeks as gun control and the Boston bombers have dominated U.S. news. But none of the euro zone’s problems have gone away. Political crises beset France, Italy and Spain. Smaller countries, from Portugal to Cyprus, face even more pressing financial troubles. Germany grows less and less willing to foot the bill for bailouts. And for the first time, serious public figures in Europe have begun openly discussing the pros and cons of allowing countries to default on their national debt.
There is, in fact, a historical case for tolerating default. …
Brussels identifies 13 countries, including France, in need of urgent action, underlying growing scale of eurozone crisis
In a hard-hitting report on the countries facing macroeconomic imbalances, such as overvalued housing markets or hefty government debts, the European commission identified a total of 13 member states – including France, the Netherlands and Belgium – which it said should take urgent action to restore the health of their economies.
In the beginning, it was just the “Greek debt crisis”. Then markets realized Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain were in bad shape too, and the PIIGS (or GIIPS) were born. But now Cyprus and Slovenia have run into trouble as well, giving us the … SIC(K) PIGS? At this rate, we’re going to have to buy a vowel soon, assuming Estonia doesn’t end up needing a bailout.The euro crisis is entering its fourth year, and, sorry world, this won’t be its last. Now, its long periods of boredom have gotten a bit longer, and its moments of sheer financial terror a bit less terrifying ever since the European Central Bank (ECB) promised to do “whatever it takes” to save the common currency. But, as Cyprus and Slovenia show, the battle for the euro isn’t over yet. Not even close.
“In Spain there are signs that Islam will dominate once again.” — Hizrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Spiritual Leader, Ahmadiyya Community, Spain
From Belgium to Greece and Spain to Germany, 2013 is shaping up to be another banner year for the construction of mosques in Europe.
In Belgium, work is about to begin on the construction of a mega-mosque in Liège, the third-largest city in the country. The largest mosque in Wallonia (the French-speaking region of Belgium) will be built on an 11,000 m² (118,000 ft²) plot and will consist of a main building with a capacity for 1,000 worshippers, a library, a cafeteria and several shops.
Plans to build two 30 m (98 ft) minarets were scrapped after opposition from local residents. The new plan involves one 18 m (60 ft) minaret which will be automatically illuminated during calls to prayer.
Isn’t this another bad sign about the decline of Christianity? Europeans don’t even know enough to keep out Islam. Very sad. Too bad the US is following the same path.
Barely had European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso declared yesterday that the worst of the eurozone crisis was behind us than the European statistical office, Eurostat, released the kind of unemployment data that could make your hair stand up on end.
Greece and Spain, the figures showed, now have jobless rates of 26 and 26.6 percent respectively.
The more you look into it the worse it gets. Since November 2011, the Spanish unemployment rate has risen by 3.6 percentage points while Greece’s unemployment rate has soared by 7.1 percentage points.
The trend, in other words, is emphatically upwards. Few could be surprised if either or both of these countries passed the 30 percent mark by the end of this year.
Delving deeper, it gets worse still. …
The trailer truck contained 44 valves made of a nickel and chromium alloy that, due to their “high resistance to corrosion, make them particularly apt for use in the nuclear industry,” the ministry said.
Police also seized mounting accessories, export documents to Iran, bank statements and computer information, it said.
The traffic stop at the toll booth resulted, the ministry said, from an investigation that began in Spain last March aiming to restrict the flow of materials and technology of so-called “dual use” items, which can be used for nuclear weapons programs.
Why France could become the biggest danger to Europe’s single currency
Unless Mr Hollande shows that he is genuinely committed to changing the path his country has been on for the past 30 years, France will lose the faith of investors—and of Germany. As several euro-zone countries have found, sentiment in the markets can shift quickly. The crisis could hit as early as next year. Previous European currency upheavals have often started elsewhere only to finish by engulfing France—and this time, too, France rather than Italy or Spain could be where the euro’s fate is decided. Mr Hollande does not have long to defuse the time-bomb at the heart of Europe. Advertisement
Europe’s rising tide of nationalism swept over Belgium on Sunday when separatists seeking independence for the country’s Dutch-speaking north surged in local elections to take power in city halls across the region.
Separatists also made news in Scotland, where the first minister signed an agreement on Monday setting up a referendum on breaking away from British rule. And in Spain, the president of the Catalonia region vowed to push for the right to hold a similar vote on independence.