Ukrainian anti-Franco fighter’s monument vandalized

This Deutsche Welle video from Germany says about itself:

Franco’s terrible legacy | Focus on Europe

13 October 2016

The bodies of over 100,000 victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship have yet to be recovered. Spain is littered with mass graves. Many Spaniards are now searching for the remains of lost relatives.

By James Tweedie in Britain:

International brigader‘s statue torn down in Ukraine

Wednesday 6th December 2017

THE International Brigades Memorial Trust (IBMT) has condemned the desecration at the weekend of a monument to a Ukrainian who died in the Spanish Civil War.

Trust secretary Jim Jump spoke out after the statue of Yuriy Velikanovich in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv was toppled on Saturday night and scrawled with the graffiti “commies out.”

Mr Jump told the Morning Star that the IBMT “deplores such acts of vandalism” which were “sadly part of a trend in eastern Europe and elsewhere to denigrate those who fought fascism in the 1930s and ’40s.”

Mr Velikanovich was killed at the Battle of the Ebro, the largest and bloodiest of the three-year war, on September 4 1938 while fighting with the Taras Shevchenko volunteer company, named after the Ukrainian national poet.

He was a teacher by profession and served as a war reporter in Spain before joining combat.

His monument, designed by Theodosia Bryzh, was erected in the city’s Iron Water Park in 1982. Vandals cut the head off the statue in 2015, a year after the far-right Euromaidan coup, but it had been repaired.

A street in the city was also named after him but was renamed in 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Yuriy Velikanovich monument in Lviv before the vandalism


Spain, Franco and Catalonia

This video says about itself:

The Spanish Government Still Loves its Fascist Dictator

24 November 2017

Ever wondered why Catalonia is seeking independence from Spain? Here’s one reason.

Spanish monarchists angry about football team’s shirts

Spanish national football team's new shirts, EPA photo

This photo shows the Spanish national football team’s new shirts, intended for the world championship in Russia in 2018.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:

New red-yellow purple shirts of Spanish team are ‘attack on monarchy

There is a problem with the new Spanish national team football shirt: it is supposedly a secret tribute to the Republican flag.

Spanish republican flag

The football federation president is said to even have received from the highest circles – the king, it is whispered – complaints about the design. On social media, many opponents are calling for a boycott.

By Maartje Bakker

The jersey of the Spanish team is traditionally red and yellow, often with a dash of blue. This time, Adidas, the creator of the shirt, chose to apply thin blue stripes to the red. Any toddler knows: that gives a purple effect. Red-yellow-purple, which are the colours of the Spanish Republic in the thirties. So, an attack on the monarchy and constitution. And just at a time when those, especially from Catalonia, are already very much under fire.

The republican flag always accompanies Catalans demonstrations. The region retains good memories of those years when the Catalan republic (within the Spanish state) was proclaimed, with far-reaching self-government.

Left-wing politicians are delighted with the new national colours. “It’s been a long time since the Spanish selection had such beautiful shirts,” provokes Pablo Iglesias, leader of the socialist protest party Podemos, on Twitter. …

The soccer players seem to be wisest this time. “I think it’s a beautiful shirt”, said Vitolo.

Spanish government jails Catalans as political prisoners

This video says about itself:

2 November 2017

Pro-independence crowd demonstrated in front of the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government) in Barcelona as a Spanish judge on Thursday ordered eight members of the deposed Catalan government detained pending further probes into their role in the region’s tumultuous quest for independence. A European arrest warrant was also issued for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont who is now in Belgium.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 4 November 2017


TENS of thousands have demonstrated in Barcelona in protest at the jailing of eight deposed Catalan ministers who have been remanded in prison by a Spanish high court judge over the region’s push for independence.

The protesters waved placards saying ‘free political prisoners’. The remanded ministers are accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Catalonia’s former business minister Santi Vila yesterday called on the Spanish state to ‘end the terrible situation that has resulted in politicians being imprisoned’ after leaving a detention centre in Madrid on bail.

Vila, who resigned the day before the declaration of independence on October 27th, was the only one granted the chance to be freed if he paid a bond of 50,000 euros.

The other eight remain in prison. After paying his bond, Vila left a detention centre in Estremera yesterday afternoon. The 44-year-old stopped briefly to speak with reporters before departing in a car.

He said: ‘Disproportionate measures have been taken. I’m convinced democrats of the world do not understand it.’ He called upon the major authorities in the Spanish state, including PM Mariano Rajoy, President of the Congress of Deputies Ana Pastor and President of the Senate Pio Garcia-Escudero to ‘end this terrible situation that has resulted in politicians being imprisoned’.

‘Take action in the matter and take political initiative. This won’t be solved in courts; it will be solved with politics’, he insisted. Meanwhile, deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert told Flemish television channel VRT that a European arrest warrant ‘has been issued against the president and four other ministers who are in Belgium’.

He said he expected that the Spanish judiciary would send an extradition request to Belgian federal prosecutors, adding that Puigdemont would appeal if a Belgian judge approved the request. The EU continues to support the Spanish government.

European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told journalists: ‘This is a matter entirely for the judicial authorities whose independence we respect fully.’ German Chancellor Merkel’s press chief Steffen Seibert told reporters:
‘As government spokesman, I see no reason at all to comment on decisions made by Spanish courts. We continue to support the clear position of the Spanish prime minister (Mariano Rajoy).’

Spanish army threatens to intervene in Catalonia as ministers are jailed: here.

Giraffe ancestor discovery in Spain

This video says about itself:

1 November 2017

Ancient Fossil Offers a New European Ancestor to Giraffes

A near-perfect fossil unearthed close to Madrid appears to be an ancient European ancestor of giraffes, representing a new species in the family and one that had two sets of bony bumps on its head rather than the single set of modern giraffes.

Older fossils in the family known as giraffids have been found before, but none in such pristine condition, said Ari Grossman, an associate professor of anatomy at Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., who was not involved in the finding but said the whole field would benefit from it.

“It’s something most paleontologists dream of and very rarely find,” Dr. Grossman said. “The discovery in and of itself was breathtaking.”

Fossils of three other animals of the same species named Decennatherium rex by the researchers were also found, according to a new study in the journal PLOS One. They were not as complete, but all are about nine million years old and provide evidence that ancestors in the giraffe family lived deep inside Europe much earlier than had been suspected. The fossils also suggest that there were physical differences between males and females.


Newly described giraffid species may help trace evolution of giraffe ancestors

Unusually complete fossil extends range, timespan of sivathere-samothere giraffids

November 1, 2017

A new giraffid species from Spain may extend the range and timespan of the ancestors of giraffes, according to a study published November 1, 2017 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by María Ríos from the National Museum of Natural History, Spain, and colleagues.

The giraffids, a family of ruminants that includes modern day giraffes and okapis, are thought to have existed as far back as the early Miocene epoch. While fossils from over 30 extinct species have been described, the lack of fossilised skulls has been a barrier to determining evolutionary relationships.

The authors of the present study describe a new large giraffid species, named Decennatherium rex sp. nov., from the Spanish province of Madrid. The fossilized skeleton is thought to date from the late Miocene and is unusually complete, providing the researchers with new anatomical and phylogenetic data.

The authors conducted a phylogenetic analysis to help elucidate evolutionary patterns. The results suggest that the Decennatherium genus may have been the most basal branch of a clade of now-extinct giraffids containing both sivatheres, the largest known giraffids, and samotheres, whose appearance was somewhere in between that of okapis and giraffes. All giraffids in this group feature four horn-like skull protuberances known as ossicones, two over the eyes and two larger ridged ossicones at the back of its head. The authors state that Decennatherium was likely the earliest-evolving example of this ossicone layout.

The inclusion of Decennatherium in the sivathere-samothere clade would extend its timespan back to the early late Miocene and its range as far as the Iberian peninsula, making the clade one of the most successful and long-lived of all the giraffids.

As Ríos summarizes: “New four horned extinct giraffid Decennatherium rex from Cerro de los Batallones (9my, Madrid) sheds light on the evolution of the giraffid family and the extinct giant Sivatherium.”