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Catalonia calls independence referendum

The president of Spain's Catalonia region, Artur Mas, signed a decree on calling an independence referendum on November 9.

The central government has said the vote would violate the constitution and has promised to block it.

Catalonia's independence supporters and Spanish unionist supporters wave flags in front of Catalonia's Parliament. Credit: Reuters

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called an special cabinet meeting to challenge the vote in the constitutional court.


Activity of Spanish Navy vessel raises "serious concerns"

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has raised "serious concerns" after a Spanish Navy vessel wrongly claimed commercial ships off Gibraltar were in Spanish waters.

Spanish Ambassador Federico Trillo has been summoned to appear at the Foreign Office following the incident, which occurred in international waters.

The FCO says the Spanish vessel's actions constitute a breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The activity of a Spanish Navy vessel has led to the summoning of Federico Trillo, the Spanish Ambassador to the UK, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Credit: PA

Minister for Europe, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, said: “I am extremely concerned by the actions of a Spanish Navy vessel which sought to redirect two commercial vessels heading to and from the Port of Gibraltar, wrongly claiming they were in Spanish waters.

“I condemn this provocative activity and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated. Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take whatever action we consider necessary to uphold the interests of Gibraltar, its people, its security and economy."

Prime Minister David Cameron raised Gibraltar with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the margins of an EU Council meeting.

He made it clear there must not be a repeat of last summer's disruption when the imposition of additional border checks by the Spanish led to long delays at the frontier.

Brit 'in agony' after being trampled by bull in Spain

A 23-year-old British man is recovering in hospital in Spain after he was trampled during Spain's San Fermin festival of running with the bulls in Pamploma.

A runner attempts to fend off one of the six bulls that ran this morning at San Fermin. Credit: Reuters

Tom Hadfield fractured four ribs and a punctured lung after he was trampled on Tuesday morning. Speaking from hospital this morning he said:

"I've never experienced pain like this before. It's agony. I think a few of them trampled me. It's a miracle they didn't crush my skull or break my back."

"Afterwards I got up and carried on running for a bit. Then I started to get dizzy and found somewhere safe to keel over.

"Next thing I know I'm vomiting blood on the street and there is a big crowd around me. Then I passed out and woke up in the ambulance. Pretty scary. I thought I was paralysed."

Many people are injured every year in the festival, and 15 people are believed to have died since they started keeping records in 1910.


MPs: People in Gibraltar feel 'under siege'

People in Gibraltar feel "under siege" due to the territory being the subject of diplomatic wrangling between the UK and Spanish governments, the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee has said.

"The combination of direct pressure on its border and sovereign waters as well as

diplomatic pressure at the EU, UN and NATO, have resulted in a feeling in Gibraltar of

being under siege," the cross-party committee's latest report says.

The committee accuses Spain of "aggressive policies" towards Gibraltar and says the Government "has responsibilities toward Gibraltar and cannot ignore actions by Spain that are intended to make the lives of Gibraltarians difficult".

Govt 'has never been on the fence' on Gibraltar

The Government has rejected the suggestion from a committee of MPs that it needs to "get off the fence" and act more vigorously to protect British interests in Gibraltar.

A Government spokesman said: "This Government has never been on the fence when it comes to Gibraltar."

"We've been absolutely clear that we will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes. And we protest each and every illegal incursion by Spanish state vessels into Gibraltar territorial waters."

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