Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ponters Pensées 13.4.16

A Very Spanish Tale: Accuracy is not guaranteed . . .
1988: A guy becomes head of a bank. Starts embezzling funds.
1993: The failing bank is bought by the Bank of Spain.
1994: He's arrested after a €3.6bn fraud is uncovered and a 'hole' of €3bn found in the accounts.
1994: He's released on a bond of €12m.
1995: A total of €23 million is found to have 'leaked out' of the bank.
2000: He runs for President.
2000: He's sentenced to 10 years. Enters a 'luxury' jail near Madrid. More than 10 years after the offences were committed.
2002: His sentence is increased to 20 years.
2004: The governor of the jail is sacked for giving him preferential treatment.
2005: He's given 'Grade 3' terms and released on probation, after only 5 years in clink. Or maybe 11.
2008: He again runs for political office.
2016: He's arrested again - along with 6 members of his family - and charged with laundering €14m into Spain from Switzerland, Luxembourg and the UK starting in 1999. One way or another.
Somewhere along the line he capitalised on his 'career' by publishing 2 books. As of now, he's said to be facing another 12 years of porridge. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, say some. Anyway, here's the NY Times take on the affair.

Another Spanish Tale: The ambassador to Belgium has been fired on the grounds he was an intimidating boss and did little at the office, especially when he left it every day to attend Mass. Or when – usually – he stayed at home all day. Given that he made no contact with Madrid for 4 years, one's forced to ask why it took so long for anyone there to notice he was an idle bastard.

The Spanish Timetable: A whopping 75% of Spaniards are said to favour the abolition of the 3-hour lunch break and the introduction of a 9 to 6 working day. Who can the 25% be?

The Spanish Time Zone: If we really do move back to the (more logical) UK-and-Portugal GMT time zone, will Galicia have even more light during summer evenings? Or less? Will we really be barbecuing by sunlight at midnight? (By the way, who would ever think of saying 'fewer' light', even if they say 'less hours'?).

Spanish Fiestas: Here's a guide to the Feria de Abril down in Sevilla.

Flat Renting in Spain: This might well become something of the past. Stimulated by hotel owners and the like, the government has set about destroying direct renting in the traditional way – by suffocating it with bureaucracy. Laws have already been introduced in the South and will shortly arrive here in Galicia. At the same time – and legitimately, of course - the tax office is trawling the internet to identify those who should be declaring rental income. A double whammy then – lower (post-tax) income and massively increased costs and hassle. Classic. The Tax Office is catching up just when the business is about to plummet, if not collapse. As usual in Spain, it pays to get in and out early.

Galician Roundabouts(Circles): It's reported that drivers here are finally coming to terms with these. So much so that they're no longer responsible for 25% of accidents. Now it's only 10%. Given that conflicting advice is given in the media about how to approach this challenge, I fear it's unlikely to get anywhere near zero percent. Unless the new turbo-rotundas – with their 'helpful' lines - are as effective as hoped.

Finally . . A British comedian last night cited this as the funniest cartoon ever, by Bill Tidy. I've had  it in my collection for several decades, after cutting it out of an issue of the now-defunct Punch magazine. 
Needless to say, said comedian got it wrong, twofold – saying there were 2 polar bears at the back of the line. Idiot. But funny.

No comments:

Search This Blog