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ANDALUSIA

Games of Thrones star ‘barred’ from Seville set

One of the stars of the fantasy TV drama Games of Thrones, Danish heart-throb Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, has won new fans in Seville after he coughed up the entrance fee at the city' Alcázar Palace — even though scenes from the show are being filmed there.

Games of Thrones star 'barred' from Seville set
Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones. Photo: HBO

Since Monday, sections of Seville's stunning Alcázar have been cordoned off to prevent tourists from catching a glimpse of the biggest show in town: the filming of scenes for season five of Games of Thrones.

But Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau — who plays Jaime Lannister on the show — almost saw himself barred from filming recently when staff at the massively popular tourist attraction failed to recognize him, asking to see his ticket before he could enter the complex.

Instead of making a scene though, the actor simply returned to the ticket office, paid his €9.50 ($12.00) admission fee and reentered.

SEE ALSO: Top ten Spanish locations to film Game of Thrones

"He didn't say anything," one of the staff who checks tickets at the palace — the oldest royal residence in Europe still in use — said later.

The incident also recalls the family motto of the character played by Coster-Waldau: "A Lannister always pays his debts."

Seville's Alcázar is one of several locations in Andalusia being used as a location in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. The southern Spanish province of Seville is being used as a a stand-in for Dorne, the harsh desert region in the Games of Thrones universe.

The presence of actors from the show has added a touch of extra excitement to the city of Seville in recent days with locals getting themselves snapped with the stars.

It has even sparked a flamenco cover of the Games of Thrones theme song:

The arrival of Games of Thrones in Spain has not, however, been without its controversy. A gang of scammers are believed to have made up to €100,000 from a fake hotline aimed at eager extras for the hit TV series.

A casting call for 'slim' extras without tattoos also raised eyebrows. 

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ENVIRONMENT

Top EU court raps Spain over wetlands

The European Union's top court warned Spain on June 24th that it needs to do more to protect Doñana National Park, home to one of Europe's largest wetlands, which is threatened by intensive farming.

Top EU court raps Spain over wetlands
Doñana National Park. Photo: Ángel Sánchez / Pixabay

The massive park in the southern region of Andalusia boasts a diverse ecosystem of lagoons, marshlands, scrub woodland, beaches and sand dunes and is home to fallow deer, wild boars, European badgers and endangered species including the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx.

It is also on the migratory route of millions of birds each year.

Environmentalists have warned that over-extraction of water by neighbouring farms, often through illegal wells, is causing the lagoons and marshlands to dry out.

The area around the park is a major producer of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Green groups also complain that large amounts of water are being diverted to meet the needs of tourists.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled on June 24th that Spain was in breach of EU nature legislation because it “did not take into account the illegal water extractions” in the park and their impact on groundwater.

“It has not taken appropriate measures to avoid disturbances of the protected habitats located in the park which were caused by this catchment” of water, the court added.

The court was responding to a complaint filed by the European Commission in 2019 against Spain for failing to protect the park.

If Madrid does not follow the recommendations of the court it faces hefty fines.

Spain racked up more infringements of EU environmental laws between 2015
and 2018 than any other member state – and nearly three times the average per
member, according to the European Commission.

READ ALSO: Why thousands of trees in Spain’s capital are at risk of dying

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