Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Daily Telegraph is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Picasso's death (Why?) with 20 facts you might not know about him. And here they are.

Talking of death . . . the Spanish Royal family is desperately trying to retrieve public goodwill – or at least slow the growth of badwill – by volunteering to publicise its expenses. Can't see it doing much good. Rather the opposite, I suspect. Though it had to be done.

And still on death . . . the Galician President, Sr Feijoo, is trying to keep his career alive after the publication of evidence of his association throughout the 1990s with one of our biggest drugs dealers. Of course, this wouldn't necessarily disqualify him from office here in Galicia but things may be viewed differently from Madrid, where he's been seen as the natural successor to the current Spanish President, Sr Rajoy. Sr Feijoo's explanations so far have been less than convincing – Damn those fotos! - so he and his team have taken a few days off to brainstorm a better story. It better be good.

The Princess Cristina will not now have to go before a judge later this month to answer questions in respect of the fraud in which her husband is implicated. The Public Prosecutor has told the judge to lay off because he “considers the summons to be based upon 'mere personal suspicions' and that the circumstances cited as justification were 'innocuous, inconsistent and incorrect'.” As if that wasn't bad enough for the poor judge, the Public Prosecutor has said he refutes every one of his 14 reasons for bringing charges against Princess Cristina.” The Spanish government, in the person of the Foreign Minister, has said that “Anything that affects an institution that has been seminal in the transition to democracy in Spain and is seminal for its prestige abroad is a source of enormous concern.” He added that the PP would respect the decision “as it does all judicial decisions.” So, it's all just a coincidence that the investigating judge has been slapped down

Talking of judges . . . They do seem to wear funny headwear, whichever country they operate it. Spain's wear a sort of large fez, with tassels all around the sides. Though possibly only on ceremonial occasions. And possibly only the Constitutional Court.

Until recently, foreign buyers represented around 12% of the Spanish property market, with growth in this segment being much higher than in others. But there are now fears that Spain's new law forcing foreign residents to declare overseas assets will send the market into a tailspin. As one expert has put it:- “Its complex reporting requirements and disproportionate fines will put many, if not most foreigners with assets abroad, off the idea of living in Spain. Many expats already here will leave, if they can sell their homes: I am already hearing anecdotal evidence of the first signs of a stampede for the exit.” Interesting times. Will the Spanish government have a re-think? I suspect not, as this would involve loss of face.

Finally . . . I don't have a smartphone; I have what I call a dumbphone. Today I learned that the industry name for these is "feature phones". Which sounds a lot less unimpressive.

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