The Spanish (non)Government: The king has tried to bang heads together, to no apparent effect. The 3 potential coalition parties continue to slag each other off and 'negotiate' without success. Here's The Economist on the subject – Spain stumbles towards another round of elections.
That Spanish Tale: It seems that banker chappie filched €14-15 million and stashed the cash in as many as 8 European countries. And then started returning it to Spain – in small amounts – in 1993, setting off alarm bells. But he's given back to the authorities only €1.5m. As to how much of his 20 year sentence he actually spent in the (luxury) jail . . . I've now read, 1.5, 6 and 11 years. So this remains an open question. Astonishingly, my neighbour – the lovely Ester – last night expressed some sympathy for him on his 3rd arrest. Not sure why. I think it's because much bigger crooks - poiticians, usually - have got off scot free.
Our Local Gypsies: Almost every day, I drive through a small industrial park which borders one of our permanent gypsy encampments. Invariably, there's someone standing on one of the corners near the latter. It's known to everyone as the trading spot for drugs of all sorts, though I doubt the look-out there ever carries anything on his/person. But there's been no one there for 3 days this week, after the police raided the camp at 5am on Monday morning, arrested 11 people and carried off drugs, cash, arms and stolen goods stashed there. In the case of jewellery, this was in strongboxes in a Hummer. Though this might have been in another of the camps in southern Galicia raided at the same time. The particular target of the police was the Morones clan, which was implicated in a shooting not so long ago and which is known to run extortion and protection rackets among the region's market-traders. Among those arrested were the 69 year old patriarch of the clan and the President of the Galician Gypsy Association, also a member. It hardly needs saying that the list of alleged crimes includes social security fraud and money laundering. Under advice from their lawyers, the accused all availed themselves of their right to stay silent when taken before the investigating judge. But, anyway, if you want my guess, it won't be long before there's someone standing in the traditional retail spot (or is it 'wholesale'?). That's how things seem to go here. We now await the various trials and appeals, over the next X years.
Which reminds me . . .
The Spanish Justice System: Unless I take a course in this, there's little likelihood I'll ever understand it, no matter how long I live here. Up in Lugo here in Galicia, the instructing judge has already spent 5 years investigating the Pokemon case, involving various types of corruption. And she's just been granted another 18 months to bring things to a close. After this, it seems, the investigation has to stop, for the trials which will take even longer – allowing some of the accused to get off because of the statute of limitations. No wonder there was a judge in the papers yesterday calling for swifter justice and 'common-sense laws'.
Spanish Arrangements: I agreed to give a class last night to 2 Spanish women on how to cook a curry. The time was set for 7. The first arrived at 7.45 and, when we rang the second, she said she was coming, with the meat, at 9.30. Sometimes I think I must be Alice.
Alternative Medicine: This can be either harmless or iniquitous, especially when dished out by charlatans. Here in Spain, a father is making legal history by suing a "naturopath" after his 21 year old son died from leukaemia while being treated for cancer with vitamins. The therapy cost €4,000 and allegedly also involved "fungi and alcohol". The father accuses the alternative medicine therapist of convincing his son to turn down a transplant and stop his chemotherapy. Let's hope he wins.
Finally . . . Did you know that dancing both wards off ageing and delays death more effectively than sessions in the gym? And it's less boring, of course. Not to say cheaper. I'm signing up for tango, milonga, and zumba. Not to mention yoga, which apparently burns up the calories as well. But I think I'll give Pilates a miss. Whatever it is.
Can't recall whether I've already posted this nice cartoon. Apologies, if I have.
And, of course, apologies to women everywhere . . . . Just a joke. Honest.