Monday, January 20, 2014

Spain's pop; Contempt of court; The police; The Guardia Civil; TV; & Learning languages.

Having grown by a good 10% - to 48 million - in the last decade, Spain's population is now on the slide, as both foreigners and locals leave for pastures greener. Another factor is that the 2013 birth rate was even lower than in 2012. The government expects the population to fall by around 3 million over the next 10 years. Right now, here are 5.5 million foreigners in Spain, my guess being that most of these are from South America. And Rumania.

If, like me, you've regularly wondered what on earth the law is here on the reporting of cases in the courts, here's something which will help you. It's a note on the (absence of) laws on contempt of court in Spain.

In the table I cited the other day, the police were the least disliked institution in Spain. But they may just forfeit this honour after the news that 8 members of the Catalan police force have been charged with beating to death a 50 year old man in Barcelona.

Which reminds me . . . It's the Guardia Civil which is normally cited as the most highly appraised institution in Spain and I'm assured it'd be wrong to put them under the 'Police' heading. For they're a military body. Quite why Spain still needs a military force on top of national, regional, provincial and municipal bodies, I don't know. It's been suggested that the system of housing them in barracks away from their home towns makes them less open to corruption that the other security forces but I've no idea whether this is true or not.

I asked a Spanish friend whether there were ever any serious discussion programs on TV here. Say, something like the BBC TV's Newsnight at 10 every night. She said there certainly were, at 9 in the morning. By my rule of thumb, this is the equivalent of 7am elsewhere, when no one is watching. And I've just recalled a suspicion I had years ago that this was in fulfilment of some legal obligation to get serious occasionally.

Finally . . . The theory that women are more adept at learning languages than men used to comfort me when learning Persian with the mother of my two daughters. Or, putting that another way, my first wife. Here's an interesting article on this. Note how the weasel word 'converse' is used when the writer wants to make the point that women talk more than men.

I might add that our Iranian teacher of Persian (Farsi) had a very firm view on this subject; he insisted that woman learned more quickly because they has less in their heads to get in the way of new knowledge. I advised him not to float this notion past my wife.

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