The treasury department (hacienda) of the Spanish government is asking the country's autonomous communities to return money owed, despite the fact that the regional governments are struggling both with a lack of capital and problems getting money they are owed in turn from suppliers (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The central government presented a 'settling of scores' with the autonomous governments yesterday and is seeking a total of around €18 billion from them, an amount that nobody knows how it can be paid. The money claimed corresponds to a supposed excess in a calculation made regarding income that the communities were due to receive through taxes. The government advanced the money to the communities in accordance with income forecasts, but the amount of taxes collected in the years 2008 and 2009 plummeted and now the treasury wants the regional governments to return the money that they received in advance but that the state didn't actually earn later. However, the current financial crisis has hit all the regions hard and the autonomous communities have already spent the money received (and some more than that), and now they are unable to return the money owed. Just a few days ago, the president of the Madrid community, Esperanza Aguirre, admitted "We're completely skint" ("No tengo ni un puto duro"). Andalucia has similar problems and was the community that benefited the most from the advance from the central government, meaning it now has to return €4.6 billion. The community that owes the least is the Balearic Islands, which needs to pay less than €180 million.
The Spanish Constitutional Court has published a provisional ruling that home evictions due to mortgage defaults do not affect a person's fundamental human rights and, as such, are not unconstitutional (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Financial entities are able to arrange such evictions to take possession of a property if a home-owner is unable to pay their mortgage. As such, the court has rejected a study of the question of unconstitutionality that was raised by a judge in Sabadell in September 2010. The judge concerned, Guillem Soler, considered that these processes of eviction can harm people's right to effective judicial protection and dignified housing because it impedes the analysis of the possibly "abusive nature" of mortgages. However, the magistrates of the Constitutional Court said that there was no foundation for such a consideration of unconstitutionality because the current law regarding mortgages has been endorsed by various court rulings, which consider that the limitations that those affected have available to stop the process of eviction are constitutional.
A growing number of people are complaining about the misuse of photos of minors on the internet (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The office of public prosecution for minors in Barcelona says that it is receiving between two and three complaints each week for crimes committed by and against underage citizens regarding the inappropriate use of images that have been posted on social networks. "An increase of these complaints is taking place," said the public prosecutor in charge of the service, Juan José Márquez, during the presentation of the department's 2010 report. The public prosecutor is taking action regarding these crimes, which not only deal with the misuse of images but also the humiliating and insulting comments that are made on networks against the individuals featured in them. However, such crimes are difficult to investigate, as it can be complicated to trace the origins of photos across the internet and attribute a crime to a particular person. Many times, it's the victims themselves who have posted the image that ends up in the hands of strangers and can provoke taunts, blackmail, insults and coercion. "The delivery is voluntary, but afterwards it's not possible to control its circulation," said Márquez.