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Spain falls back into recession

Spain confirms it is officially back in recession, as the country’s economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous three months.

(AFP) MADRID - Spain's gross domestic product shrank by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2012, equalling the slump in the final quarter of 2011, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute.

The return to recession, blamed on weak domestic demand only partially compensated by exports, comes barely two years after Spain emerged from the last downturn at the start of 2010.

It was no surprise just days after an even more pessimistic diagnosis by Bank of Spain, which estimated the economy shrank 0.4 percent in the first quarter.

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Society

Free Speech v. Sexual Deviance: French Cartoonist Accused Of Promoting Pedophilia And Incest

The prestigious Angoulême International Comics Festival has cancelled the participation of Bastien Vivès, a leading French cartoonist, after a petition accused both drawings and comments that seem to justify pedophilia and incest. The festival cited risks of violence after threats were made online against Vivès.

Photo of comic artist Bastien Vivès

Bastien Vivès at the international comics festival in 2017

Emma Albright

This story has been updated Dec. 14, 8 p.m. local time

From Charlie Hebdo to Xavier Gorce to R. Crumb, cartoonists in France have a history of provocation and courting controversy—and generally receive French public support in return. But the latest provocateur, Bastien Vivès, may have crossed the line on the limits of free speech and artistic expression.

The 38-year-old comic book artist from Paris is facing a sudden backlash to work from four years ago that has resurfaced, as well as more recent comments, that critics charge excuse, or even promote, incest and pedophilia.

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