Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The eight (not ten) Catalan women who were deported from Cuba have arrived in Madrid safe and sound. Congratulations to them and their initiative. Get this: The Barcelona city council, controlled by the Catalan Tripartite (Socialists, Communist-Greens, and national socialists), said it had no position on the affair. So Francina Vila, their fellow councilwoman, gets detained, held against her will, and deported by a Communist dictatorship for holding up a banner saying "Democracia," and they've got nothing to say about it.

Tragedy in Algiers: Somebody, probably Al Qaeda according to Algerian authorities, set off two car bombs in the center of the city, killing at least 62 people and wounding scores more. One went off near the supreme court building, blowing up a school bus full of kids and killing most of them, and the other went off near a police station and a UN office. The first bomb did tremendous damage, nearly destroying the supreme court building.

Economics minister Pedro Solbes says that Spain's economic growth for 2007 will be about 3.8%, which is pretty good. He predicts growth of about 3% for 2008, with the slowdown due to high oil prices and "financial turbulence." Solbes warns of high inflation between now and about April, when price increases should level out. Exports are up, though consumer spending is down, and investment in capital goods is up though the construction sector is down. Unemployment should continue decreasing, says Solbes.

The Guardia Civil de Trafico is going to crack down big time on drunk driving at the Christmas holidays, so be forewarned; they will be setting up checkpoints and plan to do 200,000 breath tests. Sounds like a good idea to me. I was downtown in Barcelona yesterday evening, and I noticed a lot more cops, both Mossos and Urbanos, than usual, so maybe they are cracking down on the muggers and pickpockets too. About time.

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