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Early Elections Threaten in Spain as Coalition Talks Break down

Three-way talks headed by Spain's Socialists to form a new government broke down Friday less than 24 hours after they began, increasing the likelihood of a fresh election in June which would be the second in six months.

Negotiators from the Socialists, far-left party Podemos and centrist upstart Ciudadanos met on Thursday for two hours for the first time to try to end over three months of stalemate following an inconclusive December 20 general election.

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Police Suspect Driver Drowsiness or Distraction Caused Spain Bus Crash

Police investigating a weekend bus crash in Spain that killed 13 foreign students said Wednesday they suspect the driver either dozed off or became distracted by a conversation just before the accident.

The 62-year-old driver suffered chest injuries in Sunday's accident in the northeastern region of Catalonia and is in critical condition in hospital after his health worsened.

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13 Dead, 44 Hurt as Bus Carrying Foreign Students Crashes in Spain

Thirteen people were killed and 44 injured Sunday when a bus carrying foreign exchange students crashed in northeastern Spain, local authorities said.

All the dead were female, according to a regional government source who requested anonymity.

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Basque Leader Gets Hero's Welcome after Release from Jail

Thousands of people in the heart of Spain's Basque country gave a hero's welcome on Saturday to a veteran separatist leader, following his release after more than six years behind bars.

A crowd of more than 10,000 gathered in the velodrome of the town of San Sebastian to give a tumultuous greeting to Arnaldo Otegi after his release last Tuesday.

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Podemos Set to Block Socialist Bid to Form Spanish Govt.

Spain's far-left Podemos party said it would again vote against a bid by Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez on Friday to form a new government with centrist allies, following inconclusive elections last December.

"We are not going to sign a blank cheque" for the Socialists, Podemos number two Inigo Errejon told TVE public television.

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Spanish Police Seize 20,000 Military Uniforms Bound for Jihadists

Spanish police said Thursday they have seized about 20,000 military uniforms, "enough to equip an entire army", which were destined for jihadist groups operating in Syria and Iraq.

The uniforms were found in three shipping containers seized in the eastern ports of Valencia and Alicante last month when police uncovered an operation to smuggle arms to jihadists under the guise of humanitarian aid, police said in a statement.

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Spain's Socialists Face Doomed Vote to Form Government

Spain's Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez was set to lose his bid to form a new government on Wednesday after key parties vowed to vote against him in an evening vote of confidence in parliament.

Sanchez's Socialists, who came second in an inconclusive general election on December 20, face the vote after conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he did not have the support to form an administration himself.

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Barcelona Waits for Refugees... who aren't Coming

Half a year after Barcelona launched a municipal plan to welcome refugees fleeing wars in places like Syria and Iraq, Spain's second largest city is still waiting for them to arrive.

"This fills us with rage," Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, a former activist born out of the anti-austerity Indignados protest movement, told AFP.

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Spain's Podemos Agrees to Talk with Socialists, Breaking Deadlock

Spain's far-left party Podemos said Thursday it had agreed to negotiate with the Socialist party (PSOE) over forming a government, breaking a weeks-long potentially damaging deadlock in talks.

Podemos chief Pablo Iglesias had until now refused to sit down with the Socialists if they continued to talk with upstart centrist grouping Ciudadanos -- an ultimatum rejected by PSOE head Pedro Sanchez, who has been nominated by the king as candidate to lead the country.

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Court Hears of Lucrative Contracts at Spanish Princess' Fraud Trial

The first defendant to take the stand in Spain's landmark corruption trial involving Princess Cristina spoke Tuesday of lucrative no-bid contracts allegedly negotiated after playing sports at a royal palace.

Cristina, King Felipe VI's sister, is charged with two counts of tax fraud in the graft scandal centered on the business dealings of her husband, former Olympic handball medalist Inaki Urdangarin.

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