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Francisco José García de Zúñiga, a farmer in Jaén, Spain, is facing a challenging harvest season due to consecutive years of drought in 2022 and 2023. Jaén is a crucial region for olive oil production, with Spain being the world’s largest producer, contributing to 70% of European Union consumption and 45% globally.

The persistent lack of rain in olive-producing areas like Jaén has led to a significant impact on both the quantity and price of olive oil. Mr García de Zúñiga emphasizes that Spain’s challenges affect global production, adhering to the basic law of supply and demand. As Spain produces less oil, global supply decreases, and if demand remains constant, prices rise.

In Spain, olive oil prices have surged by over 70% this year, following a substantial increase in 2022. Factors contributing to this surge include rising costs of fuel, electricity, and fertilizers over the past two years, but the primary factor is the extended period of drought. The Nuestra Señora del Pilar cooperative, one of the world’s largest olive oil factories, experienced a severely low olive harvest in the 2022-23 season.

Cristóbal Gallego Martínez, the cooperative’s president, highlights the impact of climate change on traditional agricultural assumptions. Dry periods are lasting longer, and the usual cycle of poor and good harvests is disrupted. He calls for government measures, such as investing in irrigation systems, to address the changing climate patterns.

The rise in olive oil prices is not limited to Spain, as it has been observed across Europe. Some neighboring countries have seen a less sharp increase, leading to Spaniards crossing borders to purchase slightly cheaper oil. The UK and Ireland, for instance, have lower prices due to having bought oil at a lower cost several months ago.

Despite the economic considerations, experts warn against opting for cheaper alternatives, as olive oil is a vital component of the Mediterranean diet, known for its health benefits. Lower-cost alternatives, such as sunflower oil, might lead to a loss in nutritional value. Fernando López-Segura, from Córdoba’s Reina Sofía hospital, underscores the cardiovascular benefits of consuming [virgin extra] olive oil, emphasizing the importance of maintaining its place in the Mediterranean diet. However, current consumption trends are influenced not only by health considerations but also by the unpredictable patterns of rainfall.

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Italy clinched their first Davis Cup title in 47 years as Jannik Sinner dominated Alex de Minaur, securing a 2-0 victory over Australia in Malaga, Spain. Matteo Arnaldi set the tone with a tense 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over Alexei Popyrin in the opening singles, giving Italy a 1-0 lead. Sinner, in exceptional form, then cruised to a 6-3, 6-0 triumph against De Minaur, sealing the historic victory.

The win marked Italy’s second Davis Cup triumph, the previous one dating back to 1976. Sinner’s outstanding week, including a crucial win against Novak Djokovic in the semi-final, underscored his late-season brilliance. Italy’s path to victory also featured Matteo Berrettini’s positive contribution.

Sinner, ranked fourth globally, showcased his dominance by breaking De Minaur early and maintaining control throughout. The victory was not only a result of individual brilliance but also a collective effort, with Arnaldi playing a crucial role in securing the initial lead.

The Australian team, aiming for their 29th Davis Cup title, faced disappointment after back-to-back final losses, having been defeated by Canada the previous year. Italy’s triumph was a testament to their resilience, overcoming challenges and celebrating the win with jubilation.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni congratulated the team for their talent and commitment, acknowledging the historic achievement. The week in Malaga was marked by a fabulous atmosphere, reigniting debates about the competition format while affirming the success of the event organized by Malaga and the International Tennis Federation.

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Novak Djokovic secured his record seventh ATP Finals title with a commanding victory over Jannik Sinner, avenging his earlier loss in the group stage. The 36-year-old Serbian’s 6-3, 6-3 win in Turin, Italy, marked another milestone in a remarkable season where he set records in rankings and titles. Djokovic expressed that it was one of the best seasons of his life, especially significant to crown it against the hometown hero, Jannik.

Before the singles final, British success was celebrated in the doubles as Joe Salisbury and his American partner Rajeev Ram retained their title. They claimed victory in straight sets against Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.

In the singles final, Djokovic took control early with a break and dominated, dropping only two points on his serve in the flawless opening set. Despite Sinner’s efforts, Djokovic secured another break in the second set, sealing his victory with a double fault from Sinner on the first match point. This win marked Djokovic’s seventh ATP Finals title, surpassing Roger Federer’s six.

Djokovic reflected on his tactical adjustments from the group stage and described the week as phenomenal. He acknowledged the need to step up his game against younger challengers like Sinner and attributed his success to a brilliant performance, winning an impressive 91% of first-serve points.

Djokovic’s victory in the ATP Finals added to his list of achievements in a record-setting year. He surpassed Federer for titles won at the ATP Finals, secured the year-end men’s world number one position for a record eighth time, and spent a record 400 weeks at the top of the singles rankings. This year, Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slam singles titles, overtaking Rafael Nadal’s men’s tally and tying Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24. The victory in Turin set the stage for Djokovic’s pursuit of a 25th major at the upcoming Australian Open in January. Despite the tour season ending, Djokovic continued his playing season at the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga, Spain, where he led Serbia in the quarter-final against Great Britain.

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Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez has successfully navigated weeks of negotiations to secure a parliamentary vote, allowing him to serve another term as Spain’s prime minister. Despite the Popular Party winning elections in July, their leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, failed to form a majority. Sánchez, however, clinched a four-seat majority in the 350-seat chamber, solidifying his position.

One key aspect of Sánchez’s success was the sealing of an amnesty deal for Catalans involved in a failed bid to secede from Spain. This move was pivotal in gaining support from two Catalan pro-independence parties, even though it has stirred controversy. Critics argue that Sánchez’s proposed amnesty for politicians and activists may reignite secessionist sentiments, posing a threat to Spain’s territorial unity.

The amnesty deal, covering actions dating back to 2012, has been a point of contention, with many in Spain’s judiciary criticizing the proposal. Despite opposition, Sánchez defended the move, stating that it would help “heal wounds” and promote reconciliation. However, the main judges’ association condemned it as the “beginning of the end of democracy.”

Sánchez’s reliance on Catalan pro-independence parties has sparked protests across Spain, with tens of thousands expressing their discontent. Opposition leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo accused Sánchez of prioritizing personal interests over the country’s, emphasizing the potential risks to Spain’s unity. The political atmosphere became tense, with incidents such as protesters booing MPs and right-wing Catholic organizations displaying anti-Sánchez messages, further highlighting the divisions.

Despite the controversies, Sánchez rejected claims that his government is dependent on parties seeking to break up Spain. His swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, signaling the official continuation of his leadership. However, the fragility of his new government is evident, as tensions persist and some coalition partners, like Podemos, express dissatisfaction with their role in the administration.

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Protests led by right-wing groups against Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez have escalated in violence, underscoring the tensions surrounding his push for a contentious amnesty law. Approximately 7,000 demonstrators converged outside the headquarters of Sánchez’s Socialist party in Madrid on Tuesday. The Prime Minister is striving to secure an investiture vote that would enable him to form a new government and avert a potential snap election.

To attain parliamentary support, Sánchez must enlist the backing of Catalan separatists. The demonstrations in Madrid, along with other cities, have grown increasingly aggressive, with 29 police officers and 10 protestors sustaining injuries during Tuesday night’s clashes. Sánchez took to social media to assert, “They will not break the Socialist Party.”

Following the failure of the conservative People’s Party (PP) leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo to establish a government in September, Sánchez, who came second in the July general election, is on the verge of securing adequate parliamentary support for a coalition government with the left-wing alliance Sumar.

To gain the support of Catalan parties, Sánchez has agreed to an amnesty for several hundred Catalan politicians and activists facing legal action related to the failed secession attempt in 2017. This move has faced intense criticism, with opponents accusing Sánchez of jeopardizing Spain’s unity and manipulating the amnesty for political survival.

The opposition, particularly the far-right Vox party, has vehemently opposed the amnesty, calling for continued protests and urging the police to defy ‘illegal’ orders. Despite internal support within the Socialist Party, several senior members, including former Prime Minister Felipe González, have spoken out against the initiative, emphasizing its potential to disrupt social harmony in Spain. A division has also emerged within the judiciary, reflecting the deep political polarization over the amnesty.

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Spain’s Aitana Bonmati, 25, clinched her first Women’s Ballon d’Or after a stellar year with Barcelona and the Spanish national team. Her contributions led Barcelona to triumph in both the Spanish top flight and the Champions League, while she played a significant role in Spain’s World Cup victory. Additionally, she was honored as UEFA’s Player of the Year in August.

Among the nominees were several English players, with goalkeeper Mary Earps placing fifth, Rachel Daly at 10th, and Millie Bright and Georgia Stanway also in the running. Second place went to Chelsea and Australia’s Sam Kerr, while Barcelona and Spain’s Salma Paralluelo secured third place, and Fridolina Rolfo of Barcelona and Sweden finished fourth.

In her acceptance speech, Bonmati expressed her pride in winning the award, acknowledging the collective effort of her teammates and staff. She also commended her fellow nominees, emphasizing the responsibility of athletes as role models both on and off the field, advocating for a more inclusive and peaceful world.

Bonmati’s World Cup success with Spain was marred by controversy surrounding Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales, who was criticized for allegedly kissing Jenni Hermoso without her consent after the final. During the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, Bonmati netted three goals, helping Spain secure victory against England in the final.

With four league titles and two Champions League titles under her belt, Bonmati continues to solidify her reputation as a key player for Barcelona. This year marked the fifth edition of the Women’s Ballon d’Or, with Bonmati’s teammate Alexia Putellas having won the prestigious award in the previous two years.

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According to a recent report by Spain’s ombudsman, more than 200,000 children have reportedly suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in Spain. The ombudsman, Angel Gabilondo, expressed deep concern over the “devastating impact” this has had on the victims. He criticized the Church for its silence and attempts to conceal or deny the abuse, emphasizing that this silence has facilitated such atrocities.

The comprehensive 700-page report, commissioned by Spain’s Congress last year, was based on a survey of 800,000 members of the public. The findings indicated that approximately 0.6% of the adult population, roughly 39 million people, reported experiencing sexual abuse as children by clergy members. When allegations of abuse by lay individuals in Church-run institutions were included, this percentage rose to 1.13%, accounting for over 400,000 people.

Mr. Gabilondo urged caution in interpreting these numbers and highlighted the emotional toll detailed in the statements of more than 487 abuse survivors. The report called for urgent action to address the suffering that has long been concealed by a pervasive culture of silence.

In response to these findings, the ombudsman proposed the establishment of a state-funded compensation program for victims of abuse. The investigation was initiated following an earlier inquiry by the El Pais newspaper in 2018, which had already cataloged over 1,000 alleged cases of abuse. Although the Church partially cooperated with the commission, Mr. Gabilondo noted their lack of active engagement and the resistance of certain bishops in collaborating with the inquiry.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez hailed the report as a “milestone” in the nation’s democracy, stressing that it has brought to light a reality that had long been known but not openly discussed.

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Spanish World Cup-winning footballer Jenni Hermoso has disclosed that the former chief of Spain’s football federation, Luis Rubiales, kissed her on the lips without her consent following Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory in Sydney, Australia. In her statement to prosecutors, Hermoso expressed feeling disrespected by Rubiales’ actions and stated that her image had been tarnished by the Spanish Football Federation. Rubiales, who denied any wrongdoing, eventually resigned from his position amid the controversy.

An investigating judge is now assessing whether the allegations should proceed to trial, and the scope of the inquiry has expanded to include other officials in the Spanish football federation. Hermoso’s statement also highlighted the pressure she faced and her reluctance to steal the limelight during the initial incident. This revelation has brought renewed attention to the issue of consent and boundaries in the sporting world.

Furthermore, Hermoso recounted her experience of the pressure she faced after the incident, including being asked to sign a press statement indicating that the kiss was mutual. She felt coerced by football federation officials to comply with their narrative. Despite discussing the incident with her teammates, she found it challenging to address the situation without overshadowing the team’s victory celebrations.

The former team coach, Jorge Vilda, has also appeared before a judge, who is investigating whether he was part of an attempt to pressure Hermoso into stating that the kiss was consensual. Vilda denied trying to coerce Hermoso and claimed he did not witness the kiss as he was at the back of the group receiving their winners’ medals. However, he acknowledged speaking with her brother during their flight back to Madrid when he realized Hermoso was unhappy.

The pressure from federation figures continued even after the team returned to Spain, with additional officials attempting to use Hermoso’s family and a friend to communicate with her. The RFEF’s marketing director, Rubén Rivera, has also appeared before the judge and denied trying to persuade Hermoso or her brother to absolve Luis Rubiales from any blame. These revelations highlight the complexities of power dynamics and consent within the realm of professional sports.

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FIFA has confirmed that the 2030 World Cup will be hosted across six countries spanning three continents. Spain, Portugal, and Morocco are set to co-host the tournament, with the opening matches taking place in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay to commemorate the World Cup’s centenary. This decision is expected to be ratified at a FIFA congress next year.

The choice of co-hosting the tournament across multiple continents has drawn criticism, with concerns raised about its impact on fans, the environment, and human rights. FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, emphasized the unique global footprint this approach would create, uniting Africa, Europe, and South America.

This proposal signifies a significant change for the World Cup, as teams may find themselves playing in two different seasons due to the hemisphere switch. If approved, Morocco will become only the second African nation to host a World Cup. Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay will also qualify automatically as co-hosts.

In addition to the World Cup announcement, FIFA revealed that only bids from countries within the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation would be considered for the 2034 finals. This led to Saudi Arabia announcing its bid for the 2034 tournament. The deadline for prospective hosts to express interest is October 31.

FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup across three continents has raised concerns about sustainability and climate impact, given the significant air travel and emissions associated with such a large-scale event.

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Colombian pop sensation Shakira finds herself facing another round of legal troubles as the Spanish government has charged her with tax evasion for the second time. The allegations come from prosecutors in Spain, who claim that the singer defrauded the state of a staggering €6.7 million ($7.1 million, £5.8 million) in 2018.

The charges stem from Shakira’s alleged failure to declare millions in advance payments related to her El Dorado World Tour and other earnings. The Spanish prosecutors initiated this second investigation in July 2023, finally releasing the details to the public.

Shakira, who is now 46 years old, is reportedly aware of the new charges. However, her legal team in Miami, where she currently resides, has not yet been officially notified. Their primary focus has been on preparing for the trial related to the 2012-2014 fiscal years, scheduled to begin on November 20.

The core issue in the new charges revolves around Shakira’s residency in Barcelona with her partner, football star Gerard Piqué, in 2018. Spanish tax authorities argue that she was obliged to declare all her international earnings in Spain at the time. They contend that instead of complying, she diverted her income to “companies domiciled in countries with low taxation and high opacity.”

This is not the first time Shakira has faced such allegations. She already faces a trial over six separate alleged tax crimes in Barcelona this November, where she has been accused of failing to pay €14.5 million ($15.3 million, £12.6 million) in taxes between 2012 and 2014. Shakira has consistently denied any wrongdoing and expressed confidence in her case, stating in September that she has enough evidence to support her innocence and believes justice will ultimately rule in her favor.

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