Monday, April 16, 2012

Spain's King Carlos under fire over costly hunting trip to Botswana

Source: Press TV

Enmeshed with second recession and serious economic crisis, the Spaniards have expressed outrage over an “irresponsible” and costly elephant-hunting trip of the country’s King Juan Carlos.

King Juan Carlos came under media fire after going on an expensive elephant-hunting trip in Botswana while ordinary Spaniards are challenged by soaring unemployment and harsh austerity measures.

"It was an irresponsible trip, taken at the worst possible moment," the daily El Mundo said in an editorial. "The image of a monarch hunting elephants in Africa at a time when the economic crisis in our country creates so many problems for the Spanish people is a very poor example."

Spanish newspapers were filled with accounts of how hunting trips to Botswana cost more than most Spaniards earn in a year.

The cost to arrange a hunting trip in Botswana to kill an elephant usually comes in at USD 57,850, about twice the country's average annual salary, Spain's leading newspaper, El Pais said.

Most Spanish dailies and TV channels on Sunday showed a picture of the king in front of a dead elephant, taken on a similar trip to Botswana in 2006.

The news of the hunting scandal broke after the 74-year-old monarch, who had earlier claimed that he could not sleep due to concerns over the country’s unemployment, tripped on a step during the latest hunting experience, fractured his hip and was flown back urgently to Madrid to undergo hip replacement surgery on Saturday morning.

The troubled king cancelled his regular weekly meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy because he had already left for Botswana for holiday.

Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy dipped into recession in the second half of 2008, taking millions of jobs with it.

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