Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another day without much news, in contrast to last week, which was pretty hectic because of the terrorist cell and the stock market. At noon the Ibex 35 was up 0.5%, while all the other European markets were down about a point. Meanwhile, the economics ministry announced that Spain's economy is slowing down just a little, but 2007 economic growth was 3.8%, which is very healthy.

In the last three weeks, three women have died in Barcelona after undergoing weight-loss surgery; one had a gastric bypass, one a stomach reduction, and one a lipoectomy, and they all died. I think I would avoid entering a hospital in Barcelona if possible; there's no telling what you're going to get infected with.

Fortunately, however, the death rate in Spain declined by 4% in 2007; AIDS deaths were down 9% and traffic deaths down 7%, which is excellent news. Suicides are also down 5%. The most common cause of death was cardiovascular illness; second was cancer, and third was respiratory illness.

The Constitutional Court upheld a very silly law that forces political parties to give half (between 40% and 60%) of the spots on their list of candidates to women. That's just plain undemocratic. Each party should be allowed to nominate whatever candidates it wants, and if they're all men (or all women), well, let the people vote and we'll see who gets elected.

You may have heard about the jerk in La Rioja who ran over a teenager on a bicycle and then sued the kid's family for the damage done to his car. He quickly became the most hated man in Spain, and he has withdrawn his lawsuit. What a scumbag.

Every time they do this it just pisses me off. The Nissan plant here in Barcelona has decided to lay off 450 workers. (Note that these people are not just being kicked out into the cold; they will each receive a large indemnization whose size depends on how many years they have worked there. Someone with twenty years' seniority will get about two years' salary.)

So 1500 of them downed tools in protest. Fair enough, they've got the right to strike and the right to express their ideas. But they then went out and blocked off the Ronda Litoral, the loop around the south of the city, for half an hour. That is, they interfered with everyone else's rights by blocking the public highway and causing a traffic jam of major proportions. Of course, no arrests were made, and the second and third shifts at the plant are going to do the same thing later today.

The Catalan Association of Universities announced that their students can't read or write correctly. Their president claimed that it's not the educational system's fault, but rather that the kids are lazy and don't try hard enough.

La Vanguardia gives the first two full pages in its international section to the Florida primaries, showing how seriously they're taking the US presidential campaign. There's no ridiculous editorializing to make fun of today, though.

It's Crown Prince Felipe's fortieth birthday. Yippie-skippie.

No comments: