Friday, February 19, 2016

Stuff & Nonsense

Spanish-Chinese Relations: These have taken a huge knock following the arrest of 5 executives of the Madrid branch of China's largest bank – ICBC. Beijing, using the language of disguised threat, has asked Spain to to "safeguard the legal rights and interests" of the employees. They shouldn't worry; no one ends up in prison in Spain for fraud, money-laundering and the like.

Which reminds me . . .

Spanish Taxation: An columnist in the Voz de Galicia stresses that Spain is effectively a fiscal paradise for her crooked politicians and businessmen. But a different kind from Lichtenstein et al, where this prevails under the law. Here it happens in violation of the law. He stresses that rates of tax here are at EU levels but provides this table to show that the problem here is evasion of taxes. These are the percentages of total wealth generated collected represented by taxes:-
France 54
Italy 48
Greece 46 [!!]
Portugal 45
Spain 39
So, there you have it – the Spanish are the West European champions at evading taxes. Who'd have thought it?

Upsetting (Some) People: In 2011, a young woman bared her chest in a Madrid university chapel. Arrested for 'outraging religious sentiments', she is finally having her day in court this week, 5 years later. I wonder if it's illegal to offend Satanists as well. Or even just common-or-garden atheists. We all have sensibilities, after all. Why should theists be privileged over the growing number of the rest of us?

The EU: Can you think of anything more stupid than starting a crucial discussion at 3am? I can – Having an equally critical debate around a lunch table involving 28 people. Que va!

Satan: As you might now, this word derives from the Persian, Sheitun, commonly pronounced Sheitan. One of the many alternatives is Lucifer, 'Bearer of light'. In Spanish, this becomes Luzbel, 'Beautiful light'(Luz Belleza).

Local News:
  • There's a trial going on in Pontevedra of a gypsy chap who killed his wife, “in self-defence”. I say it's going on but it isn't really. It's been suspended because relations of the woman keep trying to assault the accused. A colourful lot, our gypsies.
  • Some readers might recall that a house below mine began construction in spring 2012. And that I've noted its non-completion a couple of times since then. Well, I can now report that , as you can see, it's still unfinished.

    Someone has clearly run out of money. It's a shame because it has its own new rubbish containers right in front of it. We could have done with them in our street.

Finally . . . A Personal Note: Long time readers will recall that a couple of years ago I received a 2 month water bill in excess of €600, thanks to an undetected leak in the front garden. Since then, I've been husbanding and using both rain water and the run-off from the hot tap. Plus I've disciplined myself to use as little water as possible. In this way, I've reduced my volume by more than 60%. And I expect to 'get back' the excess payment within 2 or 3 more years. It'd be earlier if the fixed charges weren't so outrageously high. Of course, I don't expect visitors to impose the disciplines upon themselves. So, summer is always a setback. The magnitude of which depends on numbers, of course. I just grin and bear the cost.

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