Thousands of striking taxi drivers protest in central Madrid

admin   •   January 29, 2019   •   1727

Thousands of protesters at Sol Square in Madrid, Spain seen from top shot on January 28, 2019 | Reuters

Thousands of Madrid taxi drivers staged a protest on Monday (January 28) at Sol Square in central Madrid against the online ride-hailing sector, including companies like Uber and Cabify which they say ignore regulations and pose unfair competition.

The protest joined by taxi drivers from across Spain and Portugal ended a day of demonstrations that started with the blockage of Madrid’s most iconic avenue earlier in the day.

Spain’s government agreed to pass new regulations in September guaranteeing a cap on licences for Uber and similar services at a ratio of just one permit for every 30 taxi permits.

The regulation also permitted Spanish regions to adopt their own restrictions on the services as they see fit.

But taxi workers demand further restrictions such a law that would force customers of ride-hailing services to order transport an hour beforehand.

Taxi drivers have been on strike since Monday (January 21). — Reuters

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Evacuees fleeing Canary Islands wildfire rise to 8,000

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Around 8,000 people have been evacuated as firefighters battle an out-of-control wildfire in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, regional authorities said on Monday (August 19).

The blaze, which began on Saturday (August 17) near the town of Tejeda, is advancing on several fronts, propelled by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

So far, the fire is affecting the mountainous central part of the island rather than coastal areas busy with tourists in the summer months.

A spokeswoman for emergency services in the region told Reuters the fire was very serious and remained out of control.

Sixteen planes and helicopters, as well as more than 700 firefighters, are currently working to contain flames as high as 50 meters, authorities said.

More than 3,400 hectares have burned so far and the fire is moving aggressively towards the northwestern Tamadaba natural park, home to some of the island’s oldest pine forests.

The regional president of Gran Canaria said it was impossible to use airborne means to extinguish the fire in areas where the flames were 50 meters high.

Some 400 firefighters spent the night battling the fire’s flanks, hoping to choke it off as it moved towards more populated areas.

The blaze marks the second time that Tejeda has been evacuated this month due to wildfire. (Reuters)

(Production: Borja Suarez, Catherine Macdonald)

Wildfire rages in Gran Canaria, 1000 residents evacuated

Marje Pelayo   •   August 12, 2019

Aerial shots of the Gran Canaria wildfire taken from a plane transporting police to assist the firefighting effort | Courtesy: Reuters

 SPAIN – About 1,000 people were unable to return home in Gran Canaria on Sunday (August 11) after several towns were evacuated as a vast wildfire spread towards a National Park and an area popular with holidaymakers on the Spanish island, emergency services said.

Firefighters used planes and helicopters to fight the fierce blaze about 20 miles from the capital Las Palmas. The fire poses a threat to several towns as well as the Tamadaba national park on the west of the island, authorities said on Twitter.

Police said they believe the fire was started by someone using a soldering iron. A 55-year-old man was arrested on Saturday (August 10). – REUTERS

Spain is 2019’s healthiest country – Bloomberg

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index named Spain as the healthiest nation in the world.

The data company ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO); United Nations Population Division (UNDP); and the World Bank.

Spain, which placed sixth in the previous report published in 2017, scored 92.8, surpassing Italy which slipped from number 1 to number 2 spot with 91.59.

Other nations in the top 10 include:

Iceland (3rd) with 91.44;

Japan (4th) with 91.38 climbing from seventh spot in 2017;

Switzerland (5th) with 90.93;

Sweden (6th) with 90.24;

Australia (7th) with 89.75;

Singapore (8th) with 89.29 dropping from 4th spot in 2017;

Norway (9th) with 89.09;

and Israel (10th) with 88.15.

Variables weighed include life expectancy, while imposing penalties on health risks i.e. tobacco use and obesity, plus environmental factors like access to clean water and sanitation.

Based on data from the UNDP, Spain is forecast to have the highest lifespan in 2040 at almost 86 years having the highest life expectancy at birth among European nations, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

The main factor for Spaniards and Italians being the healthiest, according to researchers from the University of Navarra Medical School, is their eating habit – a “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet”.

The United States, meanwhile, ranked 35th, a 1-point drop from 34th in the 2017 results as life expectancy in the country on downtrend due deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

Bloomberg analysis focuses in its final index nations with at least 0.3 million population and sufficient data and 169 WHO states met such criteria. – Marje Pelayo

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