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MADRID, July 17, 2018 (News Wires) - Spain's Maritime Rescue Service said on Tuesday that at least 328 people have been rescued in the Mediterranean Sea despite strong currents in the Strait of Gibraltar area, the closest stretch of water separating Europe from North Africa.

The service said 82 migrants, including 16 women and 3 children, were found in a boat attempting to navigate the strait's wild waters on Tuesday after departing from Morocco.

Other boats carrying 189 more people were found further east in the Mediterranean on Tuesday. Another group of 57 migrants landed at tiny Alboran Island, where the rescue service says Spanish soldiers assisted them.

The United Nations migration agency, IOM, says more than 18,000 migrants reached Spain by sea from the beginning of 2018 until mid-July.

 

 

 

MADRID, July 17, 2018 (News Wires) - Spain's Constitutional Court said on Tuesday it had blocked a motion approved by Catalonia's parliament to resume steps to declare independence of the wealthy northeastern region.

The court's formal suspension of the secessionist motion approved on July 5 by the Catalan assembly in Barcelona followed an appeal against the move filed by Spain's central government in Madrid.

The Catalan parliament may appeal against the Constitutional Court decision within the next 20 days. Both the top court and the Spanish government have said Catalonia cannot hold a referendum on independence under Spain's constitution.

Last week Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez signed up to joint initiatives with Catalonia's leader Aqim Torra but again ruled out any moves towards regional independence.

Catalonia's secessionist campaign is one of the thorniest issues confronting Sanchez after he toppled centre-right premier Mariano Rajoy on June 1 in a vote of no-confidence.

Catalonia unilaterally declared independence last October following a referendum, prompting Rajoy to impose direct rule from Madrid and to call a regional election - in which pro-independence parties again won a parliamentary majority.

As a result, Torra said Catalonia's secessionist quest would continue under the new administration.

Sanchez, while opposed to Catalan independence, has adopted a more emollient approach to the problem than Rajoy, favouring dialogue and a removal of financial controls on Catalonia.

 

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - The Spanish Football Federation has appointed Luis Enrique as Spain's new national team coach, the president of the federation Luis Rubiales said during a press conference on Monday.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King's Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.

He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca's reserve team and has spent the past year on sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in May 2017.

Spain were eliminated in the World Cup last 16 after a disastrous campaign.

On the eve of the World Cup, Julen Lopetegui was sacked. That was down to his announcement as the new Real Madrid boss - without telling the head of the SEF (Spanish FA) Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales, understandably, was a bit miffed but many felt he was too blunt with sacking Lopetegui so close to the tournament.

Fernando Hierro took the job, but opted not to stay on during the week.

Spain won Group B after a thrilling draw with Portugal was backed up by wins over Morocco and Iran. However, a penalties defeat to the hosts sent them packing.

Enrique will lead his country into the qualifying campaign for Euro 2020. He'll likely get a chance at the 2022 edition in Qatar.

Enrique left Barcelona at the end of the 2016/17 season after three years with the club. He had been linked with the vacant Arsenal job since Arsene Wenger resigned, but it was given to Unai Emery.

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met pro-independence Catalan leader Quim Torra on Monday for the first time, in a move that signals a softening of tensions between Madrid and Barcelona after a bitter political standoff.

Catalonia unilaterally declared independence last October, prompting the then-conservative government of Mariano Rajoy to impose direct rule from Madrid. Torra's newly-elected administration in the wealthy region continues to push for a split from Spain.

Sanchez, a Socialist, has taken a less hardline tone on Catalonia than his predecessor Rajoy, whom he replaced in June, but he has also made clear he is resolutely opposed to any independence referendum or attempt at secession.

He has made a gesture of goodwill by moving jailed Catalan separatist leaders closer to home but other concessions are unlikely to be announced on Monday after the meeting at the prime minister's residence in Madrid.

Political party sources say both Sanchez and Torra will take it as a sign of success if they come away from Monday's talks with another meeting planned - a sign that any process of reconciliation will be long and complicated.

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - The Spanish Football Federation has appointed Luis Enrique as Spain's new national team coach, the president of the federation Luis Rubiales said during a press conference on Monday.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King's Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.

He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca's reserve team and has spent the past year on
sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in May 2017.

MADRID, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is to be named as the new Spain coach, according to widespread reports in the Spanish media on Monday.

Leading newspaper Marca said on their front cover the 48-year-old has been chosen by Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales as the successor to Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked the day before the World Cup.

The story was echoed by radio station Onda Cero and the website of daily AS.

The Federation have scheduled a media conference on Monday to announce changes to the organisation's structure after Fernando Hierro, who took charge of the team during the World Cup, left his role as sporting director.

The 2010 champions were knocked out of the tournament by hosts Russia in the second round, losing 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

A former midfielder for Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Luis Enrique won two Liga titles, one Champions League and three King's Cups as Barca coach between 2014 and 2017.

He also coached Celta Vigo and Barca's reserve team and has spent the past year on sabbatical since leaving the Nou Camp in May 2017.

The Spanish Football Federation were not immediately available for comment.

 

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