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Scheme cracked for bringing immigrants to Spain as basketball players

Las Palmas, Spain, Apr 11 (EFE).- Fifteen Dominicans were arrested for illegally bringing into Spain some of their countrymen by having them pass for professional basketball players, Spanish police said Friday. The police operation, rolled out here in the Canary Islands and in Barcelona, was launched last year after suspicions were aroused by two Dominicans who had come to Spain with contracts to play for the Guayacanes Basketball Club. Police determined that the club was not even affiliated in the years when the two individuals arrived on Grand Canary island.

Scheme cracked for bringing immigrants to Spain as basketball players

Las Palmas, Spain, Apr 11 (EFE).- Fifteen Dominicans were arrested for illegally bringing into Spain some of their countrymen by having them pass for professional basketball players, Spanish police said Friday. The police operation, rolled out here in the Canary Islands and in Barcelona, was launched last year after suspicions were aroused by two Dominicans who had come to Spain with contracts to play for the Guayacanes Basketball Club. Police determined that the club was not even affiliated in the years when the two individuals arrived on Grand Canary island.

'Catalonia outside of Spain' is inconceivable: Spanish PM

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday he "could not conceive of a Catalonia outside of Spain" during a debate in parliament over the region's bid to hold an independence referendum. "I defend that Catalonia should remain in Spain because I can't conceive of Spain without Catalonia nor of Catalonia outside of Spain and Europe," he told the assembly. "Together we all win and separate we all lose," he added. "It is not possible to grant what the Catalan parliament requests of us because the constitution does not allow it."

Thousands march in Spain against austerity

Tens of thousands of people marched in dozens of Spanish cities on Thursday against austerity measures enacted by the government, which is under pressure from the EU to reduce its public deficit. Rallies were staged in Madrid and 53 other cities by more than 100 organisations, including Spain's two largest trade unions, the CCOO and UGT, as well as groups representing health and education services.

Spain says 184 people a day evicted from homes in 2013

Spanish courts reported Friday an average of 184 home evictions a day in 2013 as debt-struck residents struggled with the aftermath of a 2008 property crash. Spain's General Council of Judicial Powers gave for the first time the total number of evictions of renters and mortgage holders carried out in a year: 67,189, or 184 a day, in 2013. The courts said they had issued a total 82,860 eviction orders for the year, not all of which were carried out.

Spain, Morocco, arrest seven in jihadist cell bust

Spanish and Moroccan security forces have broken up a major jihadist network suspected of sending fighters to Syria and other conflict zones, the two countries said Friday. "It has been a very big operation that has dismantled an international cell, without doubt the biggest and most active in Spain and one of the biggest and most active currently in Europe," Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told a news conference.

Spain, Morocco, nab seven suspects of jihadist cell

Security forces have broken up a Spanish and Moroccan network suspected of sending jihadist fighters to battle Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, arresting seven suspects, Madrid said Friday. Spain's government said it was the "most important" cell it had detected sending jihadists to Syria and other conflict zones. "The operation is still ongoing," Spain's interior ministry said in a statement. Security forces arrested four of the suspects in Spain, including the head of the network, and another three in Morocco, the ministry said.

Spain patient gets pneumonia by e-cigarettes

A patient in Spain caught pneumonia from smoking an electronic cigarette too much, the second ever recorded case of lung illness from the devices, the hospital treating him said Thursday. The patient, identified by media as a man aged 50, was admitted in the northwestern city of A Coruna for a separate illness and came down with the lung complaint while there, a source at the hospital told AFP. "He was diagnosed with exogenous lipoid pneumonia caused by an excessive use of electronic cigarette," said the source at the A Coruna University Hospital, who asked not be named.

Spain police foil liver-trafficking bid

Spanish police said Wednesday they had arrested five people accused of offering cash to poor immigrants to buy a liver for transplant, the first such trafficking racket uncovered in Spain. "Five people were detained for offering 40,000 euros ($55,000) to immigrants without resources so that they would offer themselves for a liver transplant... the first attempted sale of organs detected in Spain," a police statement said.

Spain votes to curb trials of foreign atrocities

Lawmakers in Spain approved a bill Thursday that will curb courts' powers to probe cases of human rights abuses committed abroad, a practice that has irked some foreign capitals. The ruling party's proposal to limit the use of the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, which allows judges to try certain cases of crimes against humanity that took place in other countries, was passed by 180 votes to 137. Spain has pioneered the use of the doctrine since it was passed into national law in 1985.
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