Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh, Lordy, the Spanish stock market's sliding again; it was down 2.5% at 10:30 this morning, and it's expected to fall further, as the other European markets are also down: London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Milan are all down between 2.5% and 3.5% this morning. In Spain, the biggest losses are in the banking sector, with Santander and BBVA both down more than 3.5%. La Vanguardia blames the decline on the Federal Reserve's interest-rate cut, the fall of the dollar to $1.60/€, and the collapse of Bear Stearns.

El Pais reported yesterday that Esperanza Aguirre was planning a coup the Monday after the election, but she discovered herself with no support outside of the Madrid branch of the party. Key support for Rajoy came from PP bosses Javier Arenas in Andalusia and Francisco Camps in Valencia. With typical Spanish media glee at being able to slam other media outlets, El Pais says that El Mundo, Cope Radio, and Telemadrid were all backing an Aguirre takeover of the party, and that Rajoy's media support came from ABC. Now, since El Pais is notoriously pro-Socialist, one might want to take this with a couple shakers full of salt.

This morning a gas explosion in the La Verneda district of Barcelona killed three people and injured thirteen. Firemen had to rescue 37 people from the apartment building. Another gas explosion in Alcala killed one person. This happens entirely too often in Spain.

Abba's former drummer, Brunkert Ola, was found dead in slightly suspicious circumstances at his house in Mallorca; his throat was cut and he bled to death. He apparently fell headfirst through a window and cut his throat on the broken glass. The Guardia Civil is investigating.

Last weekend eighteen people were killed on the Spanish highways, which are three-and-a-half times more dangerous than British highways. Get this: Eighteen deaths in a weekend is considered a very good sign in Spain, since the death toll last year during the weekend before Semana Santa was double that.

So Tikrit Tommy Alcoverro went to Teheran. He has a hot breaking news flash scoop: The university of Teheran is offering Catalan classes. There are 17 students. The students are reading a Josep Pla book from 1918. Exciting.

Barça choked last night in Almeria, giving up two goals on corner kicks, and they got out with a 2-2 draw. They played lousy against a team that's not very good, and they're seven points back of Real Madrid with ten games to go. Meanwhile, Villarreal has closed within two points of Barcelona. It's clear that Levante and Murcia will be two of the three clubs to be demoted to Second; the third spot is still up for grabs. Somebody will play badly enough to clinch it pretty soon.

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