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Spain's shadow economy flourishes in downturn

About 40 men pace around on a busy Madrid square to keep warm as they wait to be hired for the day at building sites across the Spanish capital. Every day at 6:00 am Carlos Gonzalez, who moved to Spain from Peru in 2004, arrives at the Plaza Eliptica in southwestern Madrid, a meeting place for electricians, plumbers and other construction workers looking for work in Spain's underground economy.

RugbyU: Ireland beat Scotland in Six Nations clash

Ireland opened their Six Nations campaign with an impressive 28-6 win over Scotland at Lansdowne Road on Sunday. The Irish will go on to face two-time defending champions Wales, who beat Italy on Saturday, next Saturday in Dublin while the Scots face England, who lost to France also on Saturday. pi/nr

Gov't estimates Spain's black-market economy worth 24.6 pct of GDP

Madrid, Jan 29 (EFE).- Spain's illicit economy is worth an estimated 24.6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, or roughly 235.14 billion euros ($320 billion), according to a study by the Finance Ministry. The estimate is based on late-2012 data, the most recently available, according to the director of the study, university professor Jordi Sarda.

Liechtenstein closes its only maternity ward

Liechtenstein will close its only maternity ward, where some 200 babies are born each year, after all the gynaecologists working there quit at the same time, the government said Wednesday. "The government regrets the closure of the maternity ward," Health Minister Mauro Pedrazzini said in a statement. The doctors had decided to leave amid uncertainty over the future of the establishment, the authorities in the tiny landlocked country between Switzerland and Austria explained, saying the ward would close for good during the spring.

Liechtenstein closes its only maternity ward

Liechtenstein will close its only maternity ward, where some 200 babies are born each year, after all the gynaecologists working there quit at the same time, the government said Wednesday. "The government regrets the closure of the maternity ward," Health Minister Mauro Pedrazzini said in a statement. The doctors had decided to leave amid uncertainty over the future of the establishment, the authorities in the tiny landlocked country between Switzerland and Austria explained, saying the ward would close for good during the spring.

Cameron accepts Spanish assurances on Gibraltar bag row

Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that Spain has promised there will be no repeat of an "extremely serious" incident in which its officials searched British diplomatic bags at the Gibraltar border. Cameron's assurances came despite claims from lawmakers that Spain was acting like "the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe" in the latest in a string of bad-tempered confrontations between London and Madrid. "It's an extremely serious action that took place," Cameron told parliament.

Britain calls in Spanish envoy over Gibraltar

London, Nov 19 (EFE).- The British government on Tuesday summoned Spain's ambassador in London to receive a protest over an incursion by a Spanish research vessel in what Gibraltar claims as its territorial waters. Federico Trillo was told that London considers such excursions to be both unlawful and "unacceptable," Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.

EC: Spain border checks at Gibraltar do not violate EU law

Brussels, Nov 15 (EFE).- The European Commission said in a press release Friday that Spain's custom checks at its border with Gibraltar have not violated EU law. The European Union's executive arm, which organized a technical visit in September to better understand the situation at the international boundary, said in the release that it communicated its findings in separate letters to Spanish and British authorities.

Britain challenges EU findings on Gibraltar border dispute

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it was confident that Spain was breaking European Union law by imposing "politically-motivated" checks at its border with Gibraltar despite the EU executive saying it thought Madrid was acting lawfully. "We remain confident that the Spanish government has acted - and continues to act - unlawfully, through introducing disproportionate and politically motivated checks," Britain's Foreign Office said after the European Commission said it had found no evidence Spain had acted illegally.

EU clears Spain in new row with Britain over Gibraltar

The EU executive on Friday said it had found no proof of British claims that Spain had violated European Union rules on border and customs checks at Gibraltar's border. "The Commission has not found evidence to conclude that the checks on persons and goods as operated by the Spanish authorities at the crossing point of La Linea de la Conception have infringed the relevant provisions of Union law," a European Commission statement said.
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