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Spain’s socialist PSOE votes to abstain in prime minister confidence vote

اسپین کی سوشلسٹ جماعت نے قدامت پسند حکمران پاپولر پارٹی کو اقلیتی حکومت بنانے کی اجازت دے دی ہے۔ گزشتہ برس بیس دسمبر سے اسپین میں کوئی مستقل حکومت نہیں ہے۔ متعدد انتخابات میں غیر فیصلہ کن نتائج کے بعد اسپین میں حکومت سازی کے عمل میں کئی پیچیدگیاں دیکھنے میں آئی تھیں۔ سوشلسٹ جماعت پی ایس او ای کے ترجمان کا اتوار کے روز کہنا تھا کہ وہ پاپولر پارٹی کی جانب سے حکومت سازی کی مخالفت نہیں کریں گے۔ اتوار کے روز سوشلسٹ پارٹی نے پارلیمنٹ میں ہونے والی رائے شماری میں حصہ لیتے ہوئے اس قراردار کے خلاف ووٹ ڈالے جس کے ذریعے پاپولر پارٹی کو حکومت سازی کے لیے روکا جانا تھا۔ یوں دس ماہ سے جاری سیاسی عدم استحکام ختم ہونے کا امکان ہو گیا ہے اور نئے انتخابات کی ضرورت شاید اب نہ پڑے۔ سوشلسٹ پارٹی کی کمیٹی کے ایک سو انتالیس ارکان نے وزیر اعظم ماریانو راخوئے کے خلاف تحریک عدم اعتماد میں ووٹ نہ ڈالنے کا جب کہ چھیانوے نے اس کے خلاف فیصلہ کیا تھا۔ راخوئے کو اس وقت تیس سو پچاس رکنی پارلیمنٹ میں ایک سو ستر ارکان کی حمایت حاصل ہے، جس میں ایک سو سینتیس کا تعلق پاپولر پارٹی سے ہے۔ تاہم ان کو عدم اعتماد کی تحریک کے خلاف دیگر جماعتوں کے ووٹ یا ان کا ووٹنگ میں شریک نہ ہونا درکار تھا، جو کہ سوشلسٹ پارٹی کے فیصلے کے بعد ممکن ہو گیا۔ تین دہائیوں سے اسپین میں دو جماعتی نظام قائم ہے، جس میں پاپولر پارٹی اور سوشلسٹ برسر اقتدار رہے ہیں، تاہم دسمبر میں ہونے والے انتخابات کے نتیجے میں کئی چھوٹی جماعتوں نے بھی عمدہ کارکردگی دکھائی۔ دسمبر کے انتخابات کے نتائج کو وزیر اعظم ماریانو راخوئے کے لیے بڑا دھچکا قرار دیا گیا تھا۔ اسپین کی سیاسی تاریخ میں یہ پاپولر پارٹی کی خراب ترین کارکردگی تھی۔ سیاسی تجزیہ کاروں کے مطابق حکومتی سطح پر بدعنوانی کے متعدد اسکینڈلز اور ملک میں بڑھتی ہوئی بےروزگاری نے ہسپانوی عوام کو حکمران جماعت سے بدظن کر دیا تھا۔ دوسری جانب سوشلسٹ پارٹی اس صورت حال سے کوئی خاص سیاسی اور انتخابی فائدہ اٹھانے میں ناکام رہی۔ اسپین کی صورت حال پڑوسی ملک پرتگال سے مطابقت رکھتی ہے، جہاں گزشتہ برس اکتوبر میں ہونے والے انتخابات میں قدامت پسندوں کو فتح تو حاصل ہو گئی تھی تاہم حکومت بنانے میں سوشلسٹ کامیاب ہوئے تھے۔ اسپین میں ایک نئی سیاسی طاقت پوڈیموس پارٹی بن کر ابھری ہے۔ یہ جماعت بجتی کٹوتیوں کی مخالف ہے۔ سوشلسٹوں کی جانب سے راخوئے کی حمایت سے قبل حکومت سازی کے لیے اس جماعت کی حمایت حاصل کرنا ضروری سمجھا جا رہا تھا۔ مبصرین کے مطابق یہ صورت حال یورپ بھر میں ایک رجحان کا اشارہ دے رہی ہے۔ دو بڑی جماعتوں کی اجارہ داری ٹوٹ رہی ہے اور نئی جماعتیں، خواہ وہ بائیں بازو کی سیاست کر رہی ہوں یا دائیں بازو کی، یورپی ممالک کی سیاست میں نمایاں ہو رہی ہیں۔

The Spanish socialist PSOE party has voted to abstain in a confidence vote, paving the way for a minority conservative government. Leaders of Spain’s center-left Socialist Party (PSOE) agreed on Sunday to abstain from a confidence vote in the conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Senior members of the party voted 139 in favor of abstaining in the vote, with ... Read More »

Catalans hold mass demo for independence from Spain

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets across the region to demand independence from the Spanish state. The demonstration coincided with Catalonia's national day. Some 800,000 people took part in the Barcelona rally on Sunday, according to police, many of them wearing white T-shirts bearing the word "Ready." Participants - many draped in blue, red and yellow pro-independence banners - gathered in the city's Ciutadella park ahead of the demonstration, holding aloft yellow cardboard signs to simulate a beating heart. The event was held on Catalonia's national day, the "Diada," which marks the 1714 conquest of Barcelona by Spain's King Felipe V after a siege that lasted more than a year. Secessionist parties won a clear majority in Catalonia's regional parliament for the first time ever last year, and approved a plan to achieve independence in mid-2017. However, the plan ran into trouble in June when the winning coalition government lost the support of the small anti-capitalist CUP party, which has a hard line on independence. Time running out? Pro-independence supporters said they hoped the mass protest would reinvigorate the process of secession. "This is the moment to stand united for the 'yes' to the Catalan Republic," said Jordi Sanchez, head of the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly organization. "We are impatient," he added. The head of Catalonia's regional government, Carles Puigdemont, told a meeting of foreign journalists ahead of the rally that "critical decisions" were to be taken in the months to come. All across the region In addition to the as the rally in Barcelona, demonstrations were also held in the cities of Tarragona in the south, Berga in central Catalonia, Salt in the north and Lleida in the east. For years, separatists have tried in vain to gain approval from Spain's central government to hold an independence referendum similar to the one held in 2014 in Scotland, which resulted in a "no" vote to independence from Britain. However, the central government in Madrid, led by conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy remains steadfastly opposed to the idea. The separatist movement bust into life in 2012, amid deep economic crisis and the deepening stand-off with Madrid.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets across the region to demand independence from the Spanish state. The demonstration coincided with Catalonia’s national day. Some 800,000 people took part in the Barcelona rally on Sunday, according to police, many of them wearing white T-shirts bearing the word “Ready.” Participants – many draped in blue, red and yellow ... Read More »

Spain’s Prime Minister Rajoy warns of consequences of ongoing political deadlock

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned that the country may be forced to hold a third round of elections within a year. He accused his Socialist rival of refusing to cooperate in forming a government. Even as parties in Spain reiterate the need for a stable government after repeat elections, none appear ready to overcome their differences to form a coalition deal - including Socialist party chief Pedro Sanchez, according to Prime Minister Rajoy. "If Mr. Sanchez continues to say no, we will go to repeat elections," Rajoy told reporters. His conservative Popular Party (PP) had come first in the country's June polls, leaving him with the seemingly insurmountable task to form a coalition or minority government. "A country that holds three elections in a year - or one in which its political leaders are incapable of agreeing - will not see its reputation improve," he said, adding that another round of election would amount to an "absurdity." "With this Socialist 'no', the situation remains blocked and this takes us to a third election," Rajoy added. His comments came after Spain's two main political parties had finished another round of fruitless talks to form a new government. Spain has been without a fully functioning government for more than seven months following two inconclusive polls resulting in hung parliaments, leaving the country in political limbo. Concerns for economic stability A rapidly-approaching deadline to present 2017's budget to the European Commission in Brussels by mid-October has added urgency to the issue; missing that deadline could cause concern as Spain tries to trim its public deficit. But many are already fed up with years of crisis-sparked austerity in Spain amid repeated corruption scandals. Spain's economic recovery process has largely managed to weather the country's political uncertainty due to marked growth in the tourism sector; however, economists believe that 2017 could be a rocky year for Spain's struggling markets.

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned that the country may be forced to hold a third round of elections within a year. He accused his Socialist rival of refusing to cooperate in forming a government. Even as parties in Spain reiterate the need for a stable government after repeat elections, none appear ready to overcome their differences to form ... Read More »

Euro finance ministers agree Spain, Portugal violating budget rules

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed Spain and Portugal are in violation of budget rules. Any potential penalities are likely to be soft in order to avoid an anti-EU backlash or hamper economic growth. Eurozone finance ministers on Monday agreed that Spain and Portugal are in violation EU budget rules, potentially setting the stage for unheard of penalties being imposed on the euro currency users. The eurogroup finance ministers agreed with an assessment issued last week from the European Commission, the EU's executive, that Madrid and Lisbon failed to live up to their commitments to slash their budget deficits. The issue will now go before the all 28 EU finance ministers on Tuesday. "The eurozone members tomorrow ... will vote to support the commission's recommendation unanimously," said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the 19 finance ministers from EU countries that use the euro currency. Once the decision is made, the Commission will have 20 days to prepare penalties. Spain and Portugal are expected to submit a request for no sanctions within 10 days. Such a request would come with pledges to improve their budget outlook. Following the UK vote to leave 28-member bloc, there is pressure on the EU to avoid stoking euroscepticism by penalizing Madrid and Lisbon. Portugal is considered a strong reformer, while Spain has been embattled by two recent elections and political uncertainly. The political environment within both countries has made it difficult to push through further budget cuts. The two Iberian nations had enacted extensive austerity measures as part of bailout agreements reached during the eurozone crisis, and have since faced widespread popular resistance. Under EU rules, the bloc's executive may impose fines of up to 0.2 percent of GDP if a eurozone member repeatedly ignores the 3 percent of GDP deficit limit. It has never slapped sanctions on a country, even as other countries have gone over the budget cap. EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the EU was not looking to punish countries, noting there exists an "intelligent" way to impose rules without hampering growth in Spain and Portugal. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Monday any action against Portugal should be soft. "Portugal has made enormous efforts in the past years. It does not deserve excessive discipline," said Sapin. Defending his country's deficit slashing, Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said he was optimistic the commission would avoid "the sheer nonsense that a fine against Spain would signify." Led by Germany, some other eurozone members have called for the budget rules to be more stringently imposed. Spain and Portugal have been under the EU's excessive deficit procedure since 2009. Spain has cut its budget hole in half from nearly 10 percent in 2012. However, it remains off the 4.2 percent target set by the commission and above the 3 percent EU threshold. Portugal was slashed its budget from nearly 10 percent of GDP in 2012 to 4.4 percent last year, but that also misses targets and the 3 percent limit.

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed Spain and Portugal are in violation of budget rules. Any potential penalities are likely to be soft in order to avoid an anti-EU backlash or hamper economic growth. Eurozone finance ministers on Monday agreed that Spain and Portugal are in violation EU budget rules, potentially setting the stage for unheard of penalties being imposed on ... Read More »

Vicente Del Bosque quits as Spain coach following Euro 2016 exit

Following Spain's premature exit at Euro 2016, their World Cup and European Championship winning coach is has told Spanish Radio that he is quitting. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has resigned his post after the national team crashed out of Euro 2016, Spanish sports dailies AS and Marca reported Thursday. Del Bosque informed Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria Villar of his decision on Tuesday, a day after Spain were eliminated from the tournament following a 2-0 defeat to Italy, the reports said. Villar asked Del Bosque not to make the decision public until the next RFEF assembly on July 15, or at least until he has announced a replacement for Del Bosque, the newspapers added. Del Bosque, 65, guided Spain to wins at the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012, but then oversaw their shock group-stage exit at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. His contract runs until the end of Euro 2016, and up until now the former Real Madrid coach had been coy on his future plans but said he would discuss the issue with Villar. After the loss to Italy, he said: "There is no point going over and over this, I will speak with the president and decide the best thing for the national team."

Following Spain’s premature exit at Euro 2016, their World Cup and European Championship winning coach is has told Spanish Radio that he is quitting. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has resigned his post after the national team crashed out of Euro 2016, Spanish sports dailies AS and Marca reported Thursday. Del Bosque informed Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Angel Maria ... Read More »

Euro 2016: Takeaways from the Round of 16

Eight games in three days sent some big teams packing and left a mixture of the familiar and the first-timers in the quarterfinals. We know who is in and who’s out but what else did the first knockout stage teach us? Organization and tactics trump star names Italy were supposed to be a side on the wane, lacking any real magic up front and with an Andrea Pirlo-shaped hole at the base of their midfield. Iceland were supposed to be the beneficiaries of an expanded tournament, just happy to make up the numbers in the knockouts. But these two are through while the much-vaunted stars of Spain and England pack their toiletries in see-through plastic bags for the journey home. What Iceland and Italy have in common is a plan. Antonio Conte and Iceland duo Lars Lagerbäck and Heimir Hallgrimsson have drilled their sides to play to their strengths, with the team triumphing over the individual. Italy’s three center halves have all been at the top of their game, their midfield is hard working and the pace of Eder and hold-up play of Graziano Pelle is used to full effect on the break. Iceland favor a simple 4-4-2 relying on discipline, set pieces and a direct style that has unsettled sides throughout the tournament. Unlike their opponents, the players in the Iceland and Italy side appeared to know their jobs and understand how their roles fitted in to the team shape. England’s Roy Hodgson tried to shoehorn Wayne Rooney - a once great player now visibly declining almost week by week - in to his side despite a lack of form and a lack of familiarity with his position, while many of the Spanish old guard, particularly David Silva, looked off the pace. Big attacking players starting to come to the fore The group stages were largely defined by defensive displays and late goals but the first round of knockout games has seen some of the tournaments big name attacking players come to fore. First Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann came to France’s rescue with a well-taken brace to help the hosts squeeze past Ireland. Then Germany’s improvement continued, with Julian Draxler impressing and Mario Gomez scoring for the second match in a row. Perhaps best of all though was Eden Hazard’s swashbuckling display in Belgium’s 4-0 win over Hungary - probably the best individual performance of the tournament and one that suggested he has put a inexplicably poor domestic campaign behind him. Despite the improved attacking displays, there are still a few players who are yet to hit their straps. Poland will need more from Robert Lewandowksi if they are to find a way past Portugal, while Thomas Müller and Olivier Giroud need to find their scoring boots for Germany and France respectively. Hosts still struggling to catch fire but have the potential The Arsenal striker isn’t the only France player struggling though, with the hosts yet to fully convince. The displays of Griezmann and Dmitri Payet - along with moderate opposition - have papered over the cracks for now but Iceland have proved capable of exposing weaknesses in more-fancied teams. With defender Adil Rami and holding midfielder N’Golo Kante suspended for the next match, coach Didier Deschamps must decide whether the attacking style he employed in the second half against Ireland - when Kante was replaced at half-time by Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman - is the way forward. Shocks would’ve happened without expansion Those in favor of the expansion of the championships to 24 teams may point to the presence of Wales and Iceland in the quarterfinals as evidence that expansion has made for a more exciting and unfamiliar line up in the last eight. But in reality, both these teams would’ve escaped the group stages anyway, with excellent displays and not tokenistic tournament organizing propelling them to first (Wales) and second (Iceland) in their group. Both sides also qualified for the tournament without the need for a play off. Their progression is reward for spirited and skillful displays not for UEFA’s bizarre and unnecessary re-organization of a tournament that already threw up plenty of surprises - Greece or Denmark anyone? This is Belgium’s biggest chance Much has been made of the apparently lopsided nature of the draw. While the displays of some of the lesser-rated teams so far should serve as a warning, Belgium should be confident of at least a final berth. A last 16 tie against Hungary, followed by a quarter final against Wales and a potential semifinal date with Portugal or Poland - both largely underwhelming so far - is about as kind a draw as coach Marc Wilmots could have hoped for. This generation of Belgian talents, with Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Toby Alderweireld to the fore, have so far only delivered a World Cup quarterfinal exit and a failure to qualify for Euro 2012. They won’t get a better chance to win a tournament than this.

Eight games in three days sent some big teams packing and left a mixture of the familiar and the first-timers in the quarterfinals. We know who is in and who’s out but what else did the first knockout stage teach us? Organization and tactics trump star names Italy were supposed to be a side on the wane, lacking any real ... Read More »

Three kidnapped Spanish journalists freed in Syria

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre have been freed and are to fly back home after 10 months in captivity. The three went missing while working in the northern city of Aleppo. "All three have been released... and are on their way (to Spain)," said Elsa Gonzalez, the president of the Spanish Press Federation (FAPE). The Spanish government also confirmed the journalists' release, adding that acting deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria had made contact and spoken with the trio. A spokeswoman said: "All three are well." Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre entered Syrian from Turkey on July 10 and went missing shortly afterwards. Few details have since emerged about their situation. They were last seen in July 2015 in Aleppo where they had been reporting on the conflict. Several other journalists have gone missing from the same area. Respected reporters Pampliega, who is 33, has contributed to Agence France-Presse's (AFP) coverage of the civil wars in Syria and Iraq. 45-year-old Lopez is a prize-winning photographer who filed images to AFP from several war zones, including Syria. Sastre, 35, had also worked in trouble spots around the world for Spanish television, radio and press. El Pais newspaper reported that the men were now in Turkey and waiting to be brought back to Spain by authorities. Media rights group Reporters Without Borders ranks Syria as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. In August 2014, the Islamic State group decapitated US journalist James Foley, who was seized in northern Syria two years earlier. In 2013, three other Spanish journalists were seized by Islamic State, but were all released.

Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre have been freed and are to fly back home after 10 months in captivity. The three went missing while working in the northern city of Aleppo. “All three have been released… and are on their way (to Spain),” said Elsa Gonzalez, the president of the Spanish Press Federation (FAPE). The Spanish government ... Read More »

Investigators seek cause of fatal bus crash in Spain

یورپی ملک اسپین میں غیر ملکی طلبہ کو لے جانے والی ایک بس کے حادثے کے نتیجے میں کم ازکم 14 افراد ہلاک جبکہ تیس سے زائد زخمی ہو گئے ہیں۔ یہ طلبہ بارسیلونا یونیورسٹی میں زیر تعلیم تھے۔ کاتالونیا کے علاقائی حکام کے مطابق یہ حادثہ ملک کے شمال مشرقی حصے میں اتوار 20 مارچ کی صبح پیش آیا۔ یہ بس بارسیلونا یونیورسٹی میں رجسٹرڈ ایسے غیر ملکی طلبہ کو لے کر واپس آ رہی تھی جو ’یورپیئن ایراسمُس ایکسچینج پروگرام‘ کے تحت وہاں تعلیم حاصل کر رہے ہیں۔ خبر رساں ادارے اے ایف پی کے مطابق یہ حادثہ چھوٹے سے شہر فریجنالز کے قریب پیش آیا جو بارسیلونا سے 150 کلومیٹر جنوب میں واقع ہے۔ یہ بس اسپین کے مشرقی شہر ویلنشیا میں ہونے والے معروف ’فالاس‘ آتش بازی کے میلے سے واپس لوٹ رہی تھی۔ فریجنالز کا شہر ویلنشیا اور بارسیلونا کے قریب درمیان میں واقع ہے۔ ہسپانوی صوبہ کاتالونیا کے داخلہ معاملات کے سربراہ جورڈی جین نے خبر رساں ادارے اے ایف پی کو بتایا کہ بس ’ پہلے دائیں جانب واقع حفاظتی ریلنگ سے ٹکرانے کے بعد بُری طرح ڈگمگائی اور شاہراہ کی دوسری جانب چڑھ گئی۔‘‘ جین کے مطابق بس کی ٹکر مخالف سمت سے آنے والی ایک گاڑی سے ہوئے جس سے اُس میں سوار دو افراد زخمی ہوئے۔ خبر رساں ادارے ایسوسی ایٹڈ پریس کے مطابق بس ڈرائیور کو ٹورٹوسا نامی شہر میں پولیس کی حراست میں رکھا گیا ہے۔ کاتالونیا کے داخلہ معاملات کے سربراہ کے مطابق حادثے کے وقت سڑک کی صورتحال ٹھیک تھی۔ حادثے کی وجوہات جاننے کے لیے تحقیقاتی عمل شروع کر دیا گیا ہے۔ اے ایف پی کے مطابق اس بس میں ڈرائیور سمیت 57 افراد سوار تھے۔ جورڈی جین کے مطابق ان میں سے 43 افراد زخمی ہوئے۔ 30 افراد کو فوری طور پر ہسپتال منتقل کیا گیا۔ ابھی تک ہلاک ہونے والوں کی قومیتوں کے بارے میں کوئی معلومات دستیاب نہیں ہو سکی ہیں۔ ایراسمُس پروگرام کے تحت 28 رُکنی یورپی یونین میں شامل ریاستوں کے طلبہ کو اس براعظم کی بہترین یونیورسٹیوں میں تعلیم حاصل کرنے کے مواقع فراہم کیے جاتے ہیں۔ حکام کے مطابق حادثے کے بعد امدادی ٹیمیں شاہراہ کو کھولنے کے لیے کام کر رہی ہیں جبکہ اسپین کو فرانس سے ملانے والی شاہراہ کے متاثرہ حصے کو فی الحال بند کر دیا گیا ہے۔

At least 13 international students have died and dozens were injured after a bus careened off the road in northeastern Spain. Investigators are still seeking the cause of the crash. Authorities in Spain say the crash occurred just before 6 a.m. (0500 UTC) Sunday near the town of Freginals, 150 kilometers (95 miles) south of Barcelona as the students were ... Read More »

New Spain elections ‘most likely’ in June, says prime minister

After weeks of political deadlock, Spain's acting PM Mariano Rajoy has said his country will "most likely" schedule a new election in June. Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez has called the Rajoy's comments "pitiful." Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday told British Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels that the Iberian country would "most likely" hold new elections on June 26. Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) lost its absolute majority in December's general election, despite gaining the most seats. "The most likely thing is that there will be elections on June 26," Rajoy said in comments caught on camera in Brussels as the two leaders met for the EU summit. "We have an investiture ceremony in March and I believe it will not work out," Rajoy added. Socialist Party chief Pedro Sanchez, who is attempting to garner support for a minority government, took to Twitter to comment on Rajoy's remarks. "I am working for Spain to have a progressive government while others in Brussels already talk of new elections. Pitiful," said Sanchez in a tweet. Sanchez faces difficulties in including one of the two new upstart parties - anti-austerity Podemos and business-friendly Ciudadanos - that came in third and fourth in the general election. Podemos has outright rejected building a minority government with the socialists if Sanchez also reaches out to Ciudadanos, which the leftists consider right of center. A parliamentary vote of confidence is scheduled for early March.

After weeks of political deadlock, Spain’s acting PM Mariano Rajoy has said his country will “most likely” schedule a new election in June. Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez has called the Rajoy’s comments “pitiful.” Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Thursday told British Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels that the Iberian country would “most likely” hold new elections on ... Read More »

Germany wins European handball championship, qualifies for Olympics

Germany has ended its 12-year drought in the European handball championship, beating Spain 24-17 to advance outright to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Germans are European handball champions, trouncing Spain 24-17 in the final of the European championship in Krakow on Sunday to lift their first title since 2004. The victory not only gives Germany its second title, but also qualifies the team outright for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Following a tight semifinal with Norway, Germany was in full control against Spain. The team jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, with Friday's hero Kai Häfner scoring three goals in two minutes. Germany held that margin until halftime. Germany widened it quickly after the break thanks to goals by Tobias Reichmann and Hendrick Pekeler. But despite three seven-meter goals in the second half, the Spaniards didn't seem to have a comeback in them. Germany now join host country Brazil, France, Argentina, Qatar and Egypt in the Olympic field. Spain and Croatia, winner of the third place match earlier Sunday afternoon, now advance to the final Olympic qualifying tournament in April.

Germany has ended its 12-year drought in the European handball championship, beating Spain 24-17 to advance outright to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Germans are European handball champions, trouncing Spain 24-17 in the final of the European championship in Krakow on Sunday to lift their first title since 2004. The victory not only gives Germany its ... Read More »

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