UK & World News
Fury At Spanish King's Hunting Trip Amid Recession
Spain's King Juan Carlos has sparked fury after going on a lavish private hunting trip to Africa while his country teeters on the brink of financial meltdown.
The expedition to Botswana is reported to have cost $26,000 (£16,000) at a time when ordinary Spaniards are struggling to make ends meet.
The row emerged as Spain's cost of borrowing on the international debt markets rose sharply on Monday, raising concerns that the country may follow in the footsteps of Greece, Ireland and Portugal in needing a financial rescue plan and eurozone bailout.
Spain's youth unemployment now exceeds 50% and with the country facing unprecedented spending cuts amid a public debt crisis and a record 4.75 million people out of work.
The Spanish media has attacked the 74-year-old monarch's lifestyle with several newspapers splashing a photo of him with a dead elephant, taken during a similar hunting trip in 2006, across their front pages.
"It was an irresponsible trip, taken at the worst possible moment," said the daily El Mundo.
"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."
The picture has triggered calls for greater transparency of the royal household's finances - and a storm of angry comment on the internet.
Details of the trip came to light after the king tripped and fractured his hip and had to be flown back to the Spanish capital Madrid for emergency surgery.