World Bulletin/News Desk
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday threatened unilateral measures in a spat with Gibraltar over fisheries although he also said he hoped for talks soon with Britain about the disputed territory.
Tensions over Gibraltar - a British overseas territory to which Spain lays claim - flared up this month after Spain complained that an artificial reef being built by Gibraltar would block its fishing vessels.
"I hope that this doesn't go any further, but it's clear that Spain has to defend its national interest and that's what we're going to do," Rajoy told reporters after a meeting with Spain's King Juan Carlos in Mallorca.
Among the measures under consideration were a 50-euro ($67) fee for people entering or exiting Gibraltar, tax investigations of Gibraltarians with property in Spain, and restrictions on use of Spanish airspace for flights heading to Gibraltar.
The recent war of words over Gibraltar has been more heated than similar tiffs in the past. Opposition politicians have accused Rajoy of using the situation to distract Spaniards from the country's severe recession and a corruption scandal that has damaged the credibility of his conservative party.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Rajoy spoke on Wednesday to try to defuse the conflict but both sides seemed reluctant to back down from their public positions.
Rajoy played down a scheduled visit by British navy vessels to Gibraltar in the coming weeks, saying it was routine and had been planned well ahead of time.
Spain's right-leaning media ran testy headlines on the coming arrival of the ships. "Cameron intimidates Rajoy with his fleet," El Mundo newspaper blared on Friday morning.
Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht 300 years ago. The tiny rocky promontory near the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula has some 30,000 residents who live off tourism, on-line gambling operations and financial services.
Friction over Gibraltar has ebbed and flowed over the centuries. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco sealed the land border for years, forcing the British enclave to get supplies from across the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco.
The latest dispute arose after Gibraltar sank a number of concrete blocks into a bay to extend an artificial reef it says is aimed at fostering fish populations.
Previously, Spanish police would check some incoming cars for smuggling - particularly for cigarettes from lower-tax Gibraltar - either randomly or based on concrete suspicion, while letting other vehicles pass without delay.
Now, nearly every car is examined and others are forced to wait until an inspection is finished. Britain has criticised the new border controls as excessive.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo spoke with his British counterpart on Wednesday and said they agreed to set up working groups on issues such as fishing. But
Gibraltarian authorities said no working groups had been agreed, clouding the diplomatic prospects.
Rajoy said any talks must be four-way, involving Spain, Britain, Gibraltar and Andalusia, the Spanish region that abuts Gibraltar and is home to many workers who cross the border into the British territory every day.
($1 = 0.7471 euros)
U.S. President said that the priority of the U.S. is to make sure that the gains that ISIL has made in Iraq are rolled back
Two miners may have been killed in the collapse at the Bonanza mining project, about 260 miles (420 km) northeast of the capital Managua
The red warning code indicates that an eruption is imminent or underway, with a risk of ash.
Kenya recently identified eight new offshore exploration blocks available for licensing, and all but one of them are located in the contested area.
The questions surrounding Akong Rinpoche's death underscore the distrust that many Tibetans have of the Chinese government.
Kiev has accused Russian troops of illegally entering eastern Ukraine and, backed by its U.S. and European allies, has said it will fight to defend its soil.
“I think Israeli people wants more Palestinian to be killed,” Elifelet Sara, 31 year-old Israeli Jew tells AA.
In a statement on its website, the government said that it places itself "at the disposal" of the Libyan parliament and voiced hope the legislature would pick a new government that "represents all segments of the Libyan people."
The defendants faced several charges, including assaulting security personnel and illegally demonstrating in Upper Egypt's Minya province.
Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia's construction of a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said that he top commander of the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades Mohamed Deif is safe despite losing his wife and daughter in an Israeli attack.
On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and that negotiators are set to demarcate the borders.
The self-styled IIslamic State group had threatened to start killing soldiers as of Wednesday.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has declared Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons totally destroyed.
The largest increase in rates of heroin overdoses was seen in the city's wealthiest neighborhoods
The exercise, called Ample Strike 2014, will involve 1,400 troops including 300 foreign soldiers from 11 NATO member countries and around 30 aircraft