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Spain is breaking the Council of Europe's code with its arms exports

According to a UNESCO report concerning Peace and Human Rights prepared by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain sells weapons to seventeen countries which do not comply with criteria established in European legislation. 10 of these countries are involved in conflicts, and thirteen are responsible for systematically violating human rights. At the head of the list is Turkey, Europe's most militarised country, currently in conflict with Kurds and with Greece, as well as having been reported on numerous occasions for human rights violations. 3,655 million pesetas' worth of weaponry was sold to Turkey. A code of conduct, passed by the Council of Europe in 1998. establishes eight conditions which need to be met before arms can be sold to a country. These include: respecting international embargoes,   human rights, possible conflicts of security, attitudes towards terrorism and the possible risk of arms being diverted onto the black market. The report was compiled at the request of various NGOs, including Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Intermon and Medicos sin Fronteras. Eighteen parameters were used to measure compliance with the conditions. For example, if a country has signed international treaties, if military spending is more than 4% of GNP, if the death penalty is applied and so on. The countries which failed to comply with the most conditions were Afghanistan, Eritrea and Myan-mar. followed by the Congo. Iraq, Sierra Leone and Sudan.      

The report says that during the first six months of last year, Spain sold arms worth 20.000 million pesetas, some 5,000 million more than official government figures. "Not a single penny of naval spending is included,  nor is much of munitions or transport aeroplanes,   although they are for military use," says Vincent Fisas, head of the UNESCO chair at the university. Arms have also been sold to countries under international embargoes, such as Bosnia, Croatia and Indonesia. In this lastcase, the Government says that licences for export were granted before the embargo started.The sale of light arms is not recognised as armament export. However, as Carlos Bravo of Greenpeace points out, these are responsible for 90% of the victims in conflicts. Where there's money to be made.. (F)




   Fog causes delays* and 40 flights are cancelled The 22nd December saw the return of delays and cancelations to the airport of Barajas. At the start of December, during the long Constitution Bank Holiday*, the airport suffered serious problems due to the weather and the extra holiday traffic. Bad weather, early morning fog, was the cause this time of the problems that left hundreds of passengers stranded* in the departure lounge. The lack* of visibility meant that the various airline companies that operate in the airport had to cancel forty flights. The bad weather also meant that more than fifty flights took ofr* or landed* with considerable delays.    The two airlines that were most affected by the problems were Iberia and Air Nostrum. Due to the fog that covered the zone at dawn* the airport authorities were forced to implement the 'low visibility programme'' that drastically limits the amount of flights that can enter or leave the airport. The average delay was of sixty minutes but in some cases it was as long as eight hours. An American passenger explained what seemed to be the general situation: "They have cancelled my flight to Bologne and they have sent me to five different places. They are bouncing* me from one side to another and nobody has explained ho~w I can solve my problem. " By one o'clock the airport was operating at its maximum capacity again. (E)


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