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CLARIN (Argentina), EL PAIS (Spain)

Worldcrunch

BARCELONA - This so-called Robin-Hood pursuit, which appeared to come to a head in March 2009, is back on again.

It was four years ago that the then 32-year-old Catalan man, Enric Durán Giralt, was sentenced to prison by a Barcelona judge for stealing from banks -- and giving to his favorite leftist causes.

Between 2006 and 2008, Durán had falsely identified himself and his intentions in obtaining 68 personal and commercial loans from 39 different banks for a total value of 492,000 euors. Before the judge, Durán confessed that a significant portion of the money had been donated to social movements that he refused to identify, and the rest he spent on the publication of 300,000 copies of two editions of a magazine called “Crisis,” denouncing the inner workings of the global financial system.

A member of various anti-capitalist movements, Durán released a video and an online article in 2008 declaring: “I have robbed 492,000 euros from those who rob us most.”

According to El País, he was soon after dubbed the "Robin Hood of Banks," and he committed his crimes knowing that he could go to jail: “I knew that this crisis would come one day. Capitalism is all over the planet and resources are finite. We cannot grow more, and, like this, we cannot keep functioning … Banks are the prime responsible for this crisis. We must invent a financial system that does not create money out of nothing and establish economic relationships in the local sphere.”

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(Durán in 2011 - photo: Zaradat)

Fearing arrest, Durán fled to Venezuela and Brazil, but would eventually return to Spain -- and dared to publish another magazine. Six months after his public confession, the Catalan police detained him while he was in a press conference in the University of Barcelona.

“They detained me because of the risk of me fleeing again, I came back because I wanted to. At least, jail will only serve to give my actions more publicity: they preferred for me to have never come back,” he said. Durán didn’t spend much time in jail, after a group of collective socialists posted the 50,000 euro bail.

But when Durán failed to show up last Tuesday to the beginning of the trial, where the prosecutors are asking for an eight-year sentence, this latter-day Robin Hood was back to his fugitive life. Durán released a statement on his website that his followers took to the Provincial hearing in Barcelona, in which he declared: “Disobedience, it's the only option I have for my rights to be respected today.”

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

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For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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