April 16 - Spain's king comes under fire for an elephant hunting excursion to Botswana that some say is irresponsible considering the country's economic concerns. Deborah Gembara reports.
It was a story that may have never come to light had Spain's King Juan Carlos not tripped on a step and fractured his hip. His wife Queen Sofia was seen arriving at a Madrid hospital on Monday. In Spain --- where almost fifty percent of the young men are unemployed -- news that the King was on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana struck many as irresponsible. Spanish news programs and newspaper ran these images from a similar trip the royal made several years ago. SOUNDBITE: RESIDENT JUANA CONGOSTO SAYING (Spanish) : "We are in a very bad situationthrowing money away. That is what I think. But, of course, they are the royals." The King's vacation wasn't public knowledge until he had to be flown back urgently to Madrid to have his hip treated. Most irksome to some Spanish politicans is the fact that the King has in recent months, made a point of urging leaders to set a good example in these times of financial crisis. INAKI ANASAGASTI is a senator and member of the Basque Nationalist party. SOUNDBITE: SENATOR FROM THE BASQUE NATIONALIST PARTY (PNV) INAKI ANASAGASTI SAYING (Spanish_: "This demonstrates the insensitivity of a the king who in the middle of an economy crisis goes elephant hunting when we are in trouble with Argentina, when there is trouble in each home of this country and when he says, with a straight face, that there were times when he could not sleep because of concern about Spain's youth unemployment problem." Public outrage not withstanding, the King is reportedly in good condition and could be discharged on Tuesday. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.