Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bad bank cards; EU fraud; Cataluña; Ministresses; Pimping the economy; & Astronomical delights.

There were 86 bank executives, politicians and trade union reps who were given the now infamous 'black' bank cards by Caja Madrid and its successor Bankía. 84 of them made illegal hay with them, 3 spent very little and one person didn't use hers at all. One inevitably wonders if this is a representative cross-section of the population.

At an even higher corporate level, Brussels has demanded that the Spanish government do something about paying back illegal subventions made to companies such as Santander, Telefónica(!), AXA and Iberdrola. Is corruption really so institutionalised in Spain? Or do all these companies just have dumb accountants who can't follow the application rules?

The President of Cataluña has announced his region really will, after all, stage some form of public consultation on independence on November 9. This came as a shock to those who'd thought he'd cancelled it yesterday. The Spanish President has not yet withdrawn his expressions of delight of yesterday. But there's been the usual exchange of insults at lower levels.

The ('relegated') Ministress of Health has defended herself and her Department against accusations of negligence and incompetence around the treatment of Ebola patients. "We did nothing wrong", she said. "We complied with all the protocols. It's just that the protocols were inadequate". I suspect the average 4 year old could find fault with this logic.

Another Ministress, of Development, assures us that the AVE high-speed train from Madrid to Galicia will be operative by 2018. As I recall, this was the joke date I suggested back around 2004. When the promise was 2010. I don't know why she bothers. I hope I live to travel on it.

Shops, bars and restaurants continue to close in Pontevedra, 7 years after the bubble burst in 2007. And yet Spain's economic growth is said to be the best in the eurozone, even if it's pretty low. Surely it can't simply reflect the inclusion of prostitution in the 'white' economy.

Today was the day when the sun rose directly above the river below me. Consulting my records, I confirmed this was exactly the same date as last year. I guess this is how astronomy began.

Finally . . . I downloaded Apple's new Maverick OS overnight. As you'd expect, I had a lot of fun today trying to deal with the consequences. Honest. So far, the only advantage I can see is the Reader app.

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