Finding a "secret" Chinese restaurant in Madrid

The folks at Great Big Story went to Madrid to find a hidden Chinese restaurant known as "The Underground."

Underneath a plaza in Madrid lies one of Spain’s greatest culinary secrets. Cafetería Yulong Zhou is home to some of the best Chinese food in the country. Getting there, however is another story. With no exact address or email, trying to find the restaurant takes some expert sleuthing. With the help of a friend and a hint, we embarked on the journey. Spoiler alert: the dumplings made the trek totally worth it.

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Madrid will help police dogs to live their best dog lives

While police dogs are typically treated well by their handlers, they don't have the best life a doggo could imagine. While much of their training is framed as play and through task/reward, stuff pups live for, they're all too often exposed to loud, stressful situations and violence. The Spanish city of Madrid has 22 dogs serving on its police force. While nothing can be done to keep their dogs away from the stresses of police work, the city is going through a whole lot of trouble to ensure that their downtime will be as enjoyable as possible.

According to The Guardian, the city of Madrid has taken the time to figure out how to de-stress their police dogs at the end of their shift and has spent three months modifying their kennels to increase the animals' quality of life.

At the end of a long day of police work, the dogs can now return home to heated beds, toys and a play area. What's more, all of the dogs will be exposed to music therapy in order to bring down their stress levels:

The type of music and the amount to which they are exposed will depend on what tasks to which the dogs are assigned. While all the dogs are classified as detectors, each is specialized in a particular field, such as detecting drugs, explosives and counterfeit money, while some are dedicated to rescue operations.

No matter what classification the doggos are assigned for the work that they do, they share one thing in common: heavy metal music is off-limits. Read the rest

"Time capsule" letters from 18th century found in Jesus's butt

Preservationists restoring an 18th century statue of Jesus that was hanging in Burgos, Spain's church of St. Águeda found a two handwritten letters tucked into the figure's buttocks. Dated 1777, the notes were written by chaplin Joaquín Mínguez from the Burgo de Osma cathedral. The letters will be archived by the office of the Archibishop of Burgos while copies were put back into the statue's bottom. From National Geographic:

In his letters, Mínguez paints a picture of the region's day-to-day economic and cultural activity. The chaplain first notes that the statue was created by a man named Manuel Bal, who created other wooden statues for churches in the region. He then describes the successful harvests of various grains like wheat, rye, oats, and barley and stores of wine.

Mínguez also names diseases like malaria and typhoid fever plaguing the village during this time period, but adds that cards and balls were used for entertainment.

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Spanish central government fires Catalonian government officials, police chiefs

Yesterday, the Catalonian parliament declared independence from Spain; today, the central government in Madrid made good on its promise to impose direct rule on the region, firing the top tier of the government and the chiefs of the police force; Josep Lluís Trapero Álvarez, chief of the regional police force (Mossos d’Esquadra) has been charged with sedition for refusing to block polling places during the independence referendum earlier this week. Read the rest

Catalonian parliament declares independence from Spain

Days after the Spanish central government announced its plan to impose direct rule on Catalonia, deposing the elected regional government, the Catalonian government has declared independence, citing the outcome of a referendum earlier this month in which Spanish police fired rubber bullets and administered ferocious, unprovoked beatings against people heading to the polls. Read the rest

Spanish government announces plan to seize power in Catalonia, remove elected government

Yesterday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced plans to remove the democratically elected regional government of Catalonia and replace them with direct rule by the national government in Madrid. Read the rest

Papercraft haunted dollhouse furniture, housewares and decor

Spanish Etsy seller EasyPrintAndCut makes tiny, printable papercraft furniture, housewares and decor for haunted dollhouses: grimoires, vampire hunting kits, spooky wallpaper and wainscotting, tiny taxidermy, adorably tiny engravings from tiny gothic antique books and much more -- all for instant delivery. Read the rest

Catalonian General Strike called for tomorrow, separation imminent

The brutal repression that Spain's government meted out to Catalonians in yesterday's independence referendum has cemented the determination of many in the region to be shut of the government, which is perceived as authoritarian and in thrall to the banks (especially the bondholders who worked with the EU to impose punishing austerity on Spain). Read the rest

Spanish tech activists publish a "how-to guide for preserving fundamental rights on the Internet"

As the Spanish government was hacking the Catalonian independence movement, shutting down the .cat top-level domain, and engaging mass-blocking of websites and apps to control information about yesterday's referendum on Catalonian independence, the Xnet collective published a basic (but wide-ranging) guide to "preserving fundamental rights on the Internet," suitable for anyone living under the kind of state suppression that Spain underwent. Read the rest

Troops fire rubber bullets to prevent Catalan independence vote, injure at least 465

The Catalonian referendum on independence from Spain went ahead today, using the backup ballot boxes the opposition had secretly procured in anticipation of the brutal crackdown on the independence movement by the central government in Madrid, which included snatching elected officials and seizing ballot boxes. Read the rest

After Madrid seized Catalonia's ballot boxes, they unveiled their secret backup stash of ballot boxes

The austerity-crazed central government of Spain in Madrid is determined to prevent the citizens of Catalonia from voting on independence on October 1: they sent thousands of militarized national guards into the region (transporting them via a commandeered cruise ship) to seize ballot boxes and ballot papers, arrest members of the Catalonian government, and they've attempted to seize control over the Catalonian internet to prevent planning and discussion of Catalan independence, citing a Spanish court ruling that banned the referendum. Read the rest

Spain's right-wing government orders brutal police crackdown on Catalan independence referendum

The 2015 Catalan elections were widely viewed as a proxy referendum on independence from Spain and the brutal austerity imposed by Madrid, whose courts declared independence referendums to be illegal, augmenting its legal attacks against the Catalan independence movement with withering cyber-attacks, a brutal move that drove support for Spain's left-wing/anti-austerity parties. Read the rest

"Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?"

Julio writes, "That's the question that we, the people of Catalonia, will answer on 1 October, day of the referendum for independence. Some of us didn't want independence from Spain 15-20 years ago, but the central government (specially with the right-wing Partido Popular at the helm) has orchestrated a political and judicial prosecution of free speech in Catalonia. The corrupt Partido Popular has destroyed jobs, tried to dismantle public services, going to bed with the local oligarchs." Read the rest

Even by the standards of tax-havens, Gibraltar is pretty sketchy

As Brexit shambles on, UK Tory Parliamentarians and Theresa May are spoiling for a re-run of the Falklands Island debacle, this time over Gibraltar, a British outpost at the tip of Spain. Read the rest

Prison sentence for Spanish woman who tweeted jokes about the assassination of Franco's fascist successor

Julio writes, "A Spanish woman was sentenced yesterday for tweeting jokes about the 1973 assassination of Carrero Blanco (the appointed successor or General Franco). She was 16 at the time of her tweeting." Read the rest

Drone footage of a spectacular deep gorge river in Mallorca

The island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean has remarkable geologic formations, but one of the most stunning is Torrent de Pareis, a meandering stream that cuts through a steep gorge, emptying into the ocean at Sa Calobra. Max Winter captured this lovely drone footage. Read the rest

Barcelona government officially endorses Tor-based whistleblower platform

Xnet, a wonderful Spanish activist group, has created the Anti-Corruption Complaint Box, a whistleblowing platform for the city of Barcelona that allows people to file anonymous claims in a Globalleaks repository, with their anonymity protected by Tor. Read the rest

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