Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spain's returnees;The abortion bill; Internet speeds; Ceuta deaths; The AVE's progress; & Ugly English

To no one's great surprise - I hope - the news that Spain is to allow dual citizenship to Sephardic Jews has been greeted by Muslims with the cry "Why not us? We were booted out too". To which the only logical answer appears to be "Yea, well. The Jews didn't invade us first".

Talking of religions . . . The Spanish government won a free vote in parliament yesterday on the Bill that will take abortion law back 30 or 40 years. After which, its proposer Sr. Gallardon gave the impression there'd been some sort of divine intervention on his side. Which, as a good Opus Dei member, he probably does believe. Cue more protests within and outside of Spain. The affair is far from over.

Staying with my Dutch friend Peter the last couple of nights, I've been able to assess Spanish TV again, with particular reference to intrusive advertising. This is now at a surreal level. At the end of the weather forecast, the presenter slid straight into a pitch for one of the banks. And a football manager sitting in front of the usual array of ad panels also had right in front of him 3 oversize bottles, almost obscuring his face - one of water, one of cola and one of beer. I may be fooling myself but I believe this would be unacceptable elsewhere. Or is this just a desperate hope?

Peter lives in a little village 12km south west of Santiago. Even so, his internet download speed is 2.5megas. Which rather points up - as if it needed to - the pathetic 0.7megas that I'm getting as I write this, 2km from Pontevedra, the provincial capital. As both of us are with Telefónica, you'll forgive me if I regard this as a Good News Headline:- Telefónica has been fined €500,000 for two “very serious” breaches of competition rules in its home market.

Another Good News Headline:-Spanish car production grew 9% to 2.3m units last year, "thanks in large part to new, more flexible labour laws".

A few days ago, at least 15 'sub-Saharans' died trying to swim round the razor-wire fence keeping them out of one of Spain's North African possessions, Ceuta. The police fired rubber bullets at them. Some say into them and the police say above them. The responsible local politician insists that the police acted 'impeccably'. But the relevant video appears to have been mislaid. Which speaks volumes. 

I believe work is still continuing on construction of the AVE high speed train tracks here in Galicia, though plans for a Vigo-Oporto extension have been scrapped. Here, from David Jackson, is an amusing account of developments down in his neck of the woods. Where it possibly isn't raining.

Finally . . . The expansion of English: On a podcast this morning, I heard the word responsibilise. Pleasingly, my spellcheck doesn't recognise it. Or responsibilize. They are each 4 syllables longer than blame and, for this reason alone, should be banned. Plus they're ugly. Not every neologism is a a good one. 

The Environment 

January: 31 days. On which it rained: 28 - 93%

February: 12 days. On which it has rained: 12 - 100% . 

No comments: