Midwest Correspondent
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May 27, 2013

The maverick challenging Spanish politics

MADRID, May 27 (Reuters) – Spain’s rising political star is
a 61-year-old former Socialist whose message of changing the
system from within is drawing voters in despair at economic ruin
and official corruption in the euro zone’s fourth biggest

Lacking the raucous anti-establishment appeal of Italy’s
Beppe Grillo and Greek leftist hero Alexis Tsipras, Rosa Diez
relies on sharp debate to deliver her reform message to a
country pushed to the brink by the euro zone debt crisis.

May 8, 2013

Spain’s Rajoy balks at making deeper reforms

MADRID (Reuters) – After a year of radical reforms that made Spain more competitive but also exacerbated a deep recession, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has largely lost his appetite for aggressive and unpopular cuts to pensions or state bureaucracy.

His plunging approval rating at home is holding him back as unemployment soars to 27 percent. Sources within the government say he has also reached the view that deeper reforms at home will win him few points in negotiations with European partners.

Apr 22, 2013

Spain’s population falls as immigrants flee crisis

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s official population fell last year for the first time since the 1940s as immigrants fled a five-year on-and-off recession that has sent unemployment soaring.

The number of residents fell by 206,000 to 47.1 million, the National Statistics Institute said on Monday, a figure entirely accounted for by the fall in the number of registered foreign residents.

Apr 15, 2013

Alleged HSBC data thief in extradition hearing in Spain

MADRID (Reuters) – A former HSBC employee wanted in Switzerland on allegations of stealing data on tens of thousands of bank accounts came before a Spanish court on Monday for extradition proceedings, arguing he was a whistleblower fighting corruption.

The data caused a furore in 2010 when it ended up in the hands of tax authorities in France, Italy, Spain and other European countries, which have used it to seek to recover billions of euros in lost taxes.

Apr 11, 2013

A hit TV show rises from the ashes of Spain’s crisis

BARCELONA, Spain, April 11 (Reuters) – Every Sunday evening
up to 4.3 million people in Spain tune into a quirky but
hard-hitting news show that has become an unlikely television
success as crisis-plagued Spaniards try to figure out how their
country got into the mess it is in.

On “Salvados”, which means “Saved” in English, journalist
Jordi Evole, 38, asks experts and ordinary people disarmingly
simple questions to explain the costly bailout of Spain’s banks
or the looming hole in the pension system.

Apr 4, 2013

Spaniards lose patience with rotten institutions

MADRID (Reuters) – When a corruption scandal hit Spain’s ruling party earlier this year, attention turned to the Accounts Tribunal, an obscure body that audits public spending.

Surely this independent institution, with an annual budget of $78 million and 800 workers, could shed light on allegations in the media that a former treasurer for the People’s Party had run a slush fund from party headquarters.

Mar 30, 2013
via FaithWorld

Spain’s Holy Week parades thrive despite falling Catholic faith


(A penitent of “La Lanzada” brotherhood walks to a church to start his penance during Holy Week in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain, March 27, 2013. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo)

It is 1 a.m. on Good Friday and thousands of people hush their chatter in Seville’s Duque Plaza. A cloud of incense is the only sign of what approaches.

Mar 29, 2013

Spain’s holy parades thrive despite falling faith

SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) – It is 1 a.m. on Good Friday and thousands of people hush their chatter in Seville’s Duque Plaza. A cloud of incense is the only sign of what approaches.

First come the penitents, hundreds of mute figures in cone shaped hoods and long robes. They carry meter-long white candles. Then the centerpiece sways into view – a gilded float with an 18th Century wooden statue of Jesus.

Mar 19, 2013

As scandal swirls, Spain probes king’s businesswoman friend

MADRID (Reuters) – The head of Spanish intelligence was quizzed behind closed doors in parliament on Tuesday over whether public money had been spent on a woman whose friendship with King Juan Carlos has fueled talk of scandal and abdication.

Members of the parliamentary committee which oversees security spending and Felix Sanz of the National Intelligence Centre were bound by official secrecy not to reveal the content of the hearing, which lasted for some two hours in Madrid.

Mar 14, 2013

Spain rules out tougher provisioning rules for banks-official

MADRID, March 14 (Reuters) – Spain is ruling out asking its
banks to set aside more provisions to cover potential losses on
loans on top of writedowns enforced in 2012, a senior official
from the economy ministry said on Thursday.

“Absolutely not,” said the official, who spoke on condition
of anonymity, in response to a question on further provisions.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Ortiz is a general news correspondent for Reuters Americas based in Chicago and covering the Midwest. Previously, she was Reuters' chief correspondent in Madrid, where she covered political and economic news and ran a bureau of some 25 correspondents who wrote about everything from the debt crisis to sports. Fiona has been with Reuters since 1996 and has had assignments in Guatemala, Mexico, Chile and Argentina."
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