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Europe's Ancient Ports Have New Infestation: Tourists

Cruise ships bring in visitors by the tens of thousands daily

(Newser) - It all started with Venice. The Italian port city on the Adriatic Sea has seen its population dwindle since the 1950s as locals are forced out by what the BBC calls "hordes of cruise-ship visitors." Nowadays, the problem of cruise ship tourist invasion has spilled over to many... More »

Barcelona's New Tourism Plan: Keep Tourists Out

Make that anti-tourism plan?

(Newser) - While many cities would welcome 32 million annual visitors, Barcelona has had quite enough of tourists, thank you very much. Though tourism represents 14% of the Spanish city's economy, a tourism plan presented by Mayor Ada Colau this week lays out measures meant to dissuade tourists from rubbing elbows... More »

Barcelona Officials Want to Rip Down Columbus Statue

Barcelona council members say it glorifies colonialism, explorer's 'conquest of America'

(Newser) - Just a couple of years after the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor, a statue of Christopher Columbus was erected to grace Barcelona's skyline—and while the former represents freedom and friendship, local council members say the latter should be torn down for symbolizing the worst... More »

Catalonia Defies Spain, Approves Secession Plan

Regional parliament sets up road map to break away from central government

(Newser) - The regional parliament of northeastern Catalonia approved a plan Monday to set up a road map for independence from Spain by 2017, in defiance of the central government. The Barcelona-based chamber passed the motion by 72 votes to 63. The proposal was tabled by pro-secession lawmakers from the Together for... More »

Catalonia Scraps Independence Vote

Leaders say they'll consult citizens another way

(Newser) - Spain is definitely staying in one piece, for now: The government of Catalonia has decided to call off a vote on independence for the wealthy region that was scheduled for Nov. 9, reports AFP . The Spanish government declared the non-binding referendum unconstitutional last month, and Catalan leaders, who plan to... More »

How Olympics Hurt Host Cities More Than Help

3 reasons cities should avoid Games: Andrew Zimbalist

(Newser) - Cities go nuts trying to bring the Olympics home—and they may not be doing themselves any favors. Sure, if everything runs smoothly, the Games might offer a "small windfall." But the economic reality is far more complicated, writes Andrew Zimbalist at the Atlantic :
  • Private companies, not cities,
... More »

Occupy Plots Global Protests Tomorrow

115 US cities plan to reignite movement

(Newser) - We haven't heard much from Occupy Wall Street in a while, so protesters are looking to make some noise tomorrow. Groups from Barcelona to London to Kuala Lumpur, as well as in 115 cities across the US, are getting ready for May 1, known as International Workers' Day. "... More »

Strike, Protests Paralyze Spain

Millions protest austerity drive, labor laws changes

(Newser) - Spain's leaders insist that the country will not become the next Greece, although yesterday's events certainly looked familiar to residents of Athens. Police clashed with demonstrators who torched trash bins and cars in Barcelona amid a nationwide general strike called by unions in response to labor law changes... More »

Barcelona: Sweaty Nike Shirts Weighing Us Down

By half time, the shirts are 2.5 times heavier

(Newser) - Nike is selling a ton of its new specially-designed Barcelona kits (that’s uniforms for the Americans in the audience), but there’s one big problem: The team hates them. Why? Because the eco-friendly shirts, which are supposed to improve performance somehow, actually get so dang sweaty that the players... More »

Bullfighting Ends Today in Barcelona

Catalonia ban comes after years of decline for blood-filled tradition

(Newser) - Today's bullfights at the 97-year-old Plaza de Toros Monumental arena in Barcelona will be the last ever for the venerable—and brutal—sport in Catalonia province, reports the BBC . The province voted to end bullfighting last year, the first ban on the corrida de toros in mainland Spain (it'... More »

Barcelona to Ban Public Nudity

So better get your streak on before it's too late

(Newser) - If you've ever had the urge to wander the streets of Barcelona wearing nothing but a camera and a smile, you might want to do it soon. Surprisingly, public nudity is perfectly acceptable in the city at the moment—but later this month, the city council is expected to... More »

Stinky Nativity Tradition: Pooping Catalan Doll

Cute 'caganer' adds a unique twist to Christmas

(Newser) - In Barcelona at Christmastime, you can find plenty of Nativity scenes, with shepherds, magi, baby Jesus, and the like. But you can also find one uniquely Catalan character hidden in the background—or squatting, with his pants down, the caganer, or "the defecator" (though our sources tell us the... More »

Barcelona May Ban Bullfighting

Catalonia vote pits tradition vs animal rights

(Newser) - Catalonia will vote today on whether to become the first mainland Spanish region to say adios to bullfighting. The spectacle has long been in decline in the region, and the capital, Barcelona, now only holds a dozen or so bullfights a year, with foreign tourists making up much of the... More »

Man Shows Off Full Face Transplant

Spaniard regains ability to speak, eat

(Newser) - The patient who had the world's first full face transplant showed himself to the world today, the AP reports. The 31-year-old, identified only as Oscar, thanked his doctors and the family of the face donor at a hospital in Barcelona. Though he underwent surgery in March, Oscar has only been... More »

Fun-Park Ride Busts Midair, Kills Teen

Basket plunges on top of another ride

(Newser) - The giant mechanical arm of a terrifying "free fall" amusement park ride in Spain broke in midair, fatally crushing a teenage rider. When the arm of "El Pendulo"—the Pendulum—broke, the basket carrying the girl plunged onto the top of an adjacent ride. Two other teens... More »

Zellweger, Cooper Dating

Couple gets cozy during Spain vacation

(Newser) - Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper are dating, the New York Daily News reports. The pair have been close since filming the upcoming Case 39 together. But the couple’s relationship appears to have taken off with a weekend trip to Barcelona, where they were spotted arm in arm at their... More »

Maddy Suspect Asked About Her 'New Daughter'

Calls flood in after request for tips about Australian woman

(Newser) - Private investigators working for Madeleine McCann's parents have received “hundreds of calls” from people with information about a woman who may be involved in the child’s disappearance, the Telegraph reports. A witness said the woman, described as a Victoria Beckham lookalike with an Australian accent, was pacing and... More »

Best Cities for Good Eats

Local cuisine is ranked

(Newser) - Paris is for lovers—food lovers. The city came in first on a Forbes list of the world’s best cities for eating well, based on a 2009 survey ranking 50 cities. Notably absent from the top 10 are New York and London, which don’t boast much of a... More »

3rd Spanair Flight Suffers Technical Problems

Issues force second diversion in 2 days for airline

(Newser) - Technical issues forced Spanair to divert one of its jets today, the second consecutive day that’s happened for the Spanish airline rocked by last week’s deadly crash in Madrid, the AP reports. An MD-80 jet—the same series as Wednesday’s ill-fated aircraft—returned to Granada after communications... More »

Emergency H20 Flows Into Parched Barcelona

Water tanker arrives as Spain suffers severe drought

(Newser) - Barcelona is having to ship in emergency supplies of drinking water as Spain suffers its worst drought since records began 60 years ago, the Guardian reports. The first shipment of 5 million gallons arrived yesterday and dozens more are scheduled. The city's reservoirs are down to a quarter of capacity... More »

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