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The week at a glance ... Europe

Europe

Madrid
Mass strike: Public sector workers in Spain staged a mass walkout this week to protest the government’s planned spending cuts. Spain has a massive budget deficit, and there are fears that it could follow Greece into economic meltdown. Prime Minister’s José Luis Zapatero’s austerity plans include pay cuts of 5 percent for 2.5 million public sector employees followed by a pay freeze next year. Similar programs are being announced across Europe, but public resistance is particularly acute in Spain. Zapatero won re-election two years ago on a promise of full employment, but the jobless rate now stands at more than 20 percent.

York, U.K.
Roman gladiators unearthed: Archaeologists have discovered an ancient cemetery in northern England holding what they believe to be the remains of Roman gladiators. After seven years of research, 80 skeletons have been unearthed, all of them 1,600 to 1,900 years old, dating from the Roman occupation of Britain. Many of the skeletons appear to have had muscular right arms, suggesting the use of heavy weapons; most had been decapitated. One skeleton appears to have been bitten by a lion, tiger, or bear, an injury that archaeologist Kurt Hunter-Mann said “must have been sustained in an arena context.” That skeleton was also decapitated, which archaeologists speculate was the fate of losers in the arena.

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