Rail Scare
One of Spain’s busiest train stations was partly evacuated yesterday morning after security services spotted what appeared to be a grenade in a passenger’s luggage.
The alarm was raised at Barcelona’s Sants Statiion where the woman was boarding a train to Madrid.
After searching the suitcase, officials discovered the object was in fact a belt buckle shaped like an explosive device. By this time the passenger was already on their way to Madrid.
It is unclear how the woman was able to board the train and travel across the country without being stopped after officials in Barcelona noticed the suspicious “device” during a luggage scan.
The incident caused the evacuation of two high speed trains, as well as a partial shutdown of Sants and the creation of a “security zone” on a platform at Madrid’s Atocha station.
Rail operator Adif said an investigation into the incident and security measures has been launched.

Stamp Duty
The Spanish government says it is looking to enact legislation to make banks, and not their customers, liable for paying future taxes on housing loans.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the reform, which would need to be approved by parliament, aims to provide certainty after weeks of confusion following conflicting rulings by the country’s Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the court ruled that it was clients who had to pay for stamp duties on mortgages, sparing banks from reimbursing billions of euros to borrowers for past taxes.
That was a reversal from the same court’s mid-October ruling, which said lenders should be the ones paying those taxes, a decision that the country’s bank industry protested against.
Spanish bank shares gave up some of their earlier gains following the government’s announcement yesterday.

The regional president of Catalonia made official the withdrawal of his party’s support for the fragile minority government in Madrid yesterday including the budget proposal for next year, and said his cabinet would intensify its diplomatic efforts to obtain outside mediation in the territorial conflict pitting the region against the central executive.
Quim Torra told lawmakers in the Catalan regional parliament that the arguments put forth by the state prosecution against separatist leaders in their ongoing trial for alleged rebellion and sedition made it impossible to back the Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.