Listen to music while browsing

Spanish king sorry after Africa hunting trip

By AFP

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish King Juan Carlos apologised Wednesday for a hunting trip to Botswana which sparked indignation in recession-hit Spain, as he emerged from hospital after breaking his hip on the visit.

"I am very sorry. I made a mistake and it won't happen again. Thank you for your interest," the 74-year-old monarch said during his televised departure from a Madrid hospital.

Looking serious, the king said he was feeling "much better" after the hip replacement at the capital's USP San Jose Hospital and was looking forward to resuming his official duties, before exiting the hospital on crutches.

Doctors discharged the head of state a few hours earlier, saying in a statement that after a "very satisfactory" recovery since Saturday's operation and was now able to get around by himself.

The king, though widely respected for his role in steering the country to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, was harshly criticised for his Botswana hunting trip.

Many were angered by the extravagance of the holiday, coming at a time when millions of Spaniards are suffering in recession, and the fact that he was hunting big game.

Leaders of the two main political parties have refrained from explicitly criticising or defending the king.

But newspapers were not so forgiving.

The conservative daily El Mundo branded the trip "irresponsible" and "inopportune" in an economic crisis.

"The sight of a monarch hunting elephants in Africa when the economic crisis in our country is causing so many problems for Spaniards does not set a good example," it said.

Many papers published a photograph dating back several years of Juan Carlos posing with an elephant during a hunting trip.

Animal rights groups also protested near the hospital during the king's convalescence, holding photographs of elephants and baby seals to denounce the trip.

The Spanish branch of the wildlife charity WWF, which names the king as its honorary president, said this week it would make comments to the royal palace and reiterate its commitment to the conservation of elephants.

A petition on the online forum Actuable listed 40,000 signatures urging the king to give up his presidency of the Spanish WWF.

Botswana authorities confirmed Monday that Juan Carlos fell and broke his hip during an elephant hunting expedition in the north of the country but said he slipped in his chalet, not in the bush.

Doctors said he had tripped on a step at 2:00 am on Friday morning in Botswana, but gave no further details of the accident.

Juan Carlos has suffered a troublesome few months marked by an embarrassing corruption scandal implicating his son-in-law, the Duke of Palma, Inaki Urdangarin.

The senseless is always at the end of the journey...
By: Annobil

Sierra Leone goes door-to-door to f

Healthcare workers are fanning out across remote parts of western Sierra Leone after a spike in Ebola cases attributed to unsafe burials and patients being hidden from the authorities.  By Francisco Leong (AFP/File) Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Freetown (AFP) - Sierra Leone launched a two-week door-to-door search Wednesday ...
read more »

Mali government signs peace deal, T

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra at the signing of a peace agreement between the Malian government and armed groups in the north of Mali, on February 19, 2015 in Algiers.  By Farouk Batiche (AFP/File) Sunday, March 01, 2015

Algiers (AFP) - The Malian government signed a peace agreement with some norther ...
read more »

Ghana opposition protests power sho

Supporters of Ghana's main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) take part in a demonstration in Accra against the worsening power crisis and economic challenges on February 18, 2015.  By Daniel Amoo (AFP) Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Accra (AFP) - Several thousand opposition supporters marched through Ghana's cap ...
read more »

Tunisia court to rule on blogger's

Reporters Without Borders had warned against returning to the censorship that prevailed in pre-revolution Tunisia.  By Robyn Beck (AFP/File) Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tunis (AFP) - A Tunisian court said Tuesday it would rule next week on a blogger ...
read more »