Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ETA bombing update: They used a car bomb loaded with more thn 100 kilos of explosives. The explosion scattered debris in a radius of 100 meters. Serious damage was done to the barracks. The four wounded officers are in good condition at the hospital; one was trapped in the wreckage for two hours, and is currently in intensive care, but he's going to live. The cops found the car the terrorists escaped in; it was booby-trapped and the bomb squad deactivated a gasoline incendiary bomb. Can we please not negotiate with these terrorists ever again?

Electricity prices, which are regulated by the government in Spain, are going up; the National Energy Commission has approved an 11.3% rate hike to take effect in July. Econ minister Pedro Solbes says the administration will almost certainly sign off on the increase. The problem is that electricity rates are fixed by the government below the market price, and the utilities are €5 billion in the hole this year and €15 billion all totaled. It just doesn't work to force businesses to charge less than cost price for their goods. Looks like we're going to have to do a bit of belt-tightening around here, with higher mortgage rates, high food and gasoline prices, increased unemployment, and low economic growth. Every boom has its bust.

Speaking of which, Spanish GDP growth in the first trimester of 2008 was 2.7%; it was 3.5% in the last trimester of 2007. Solbes is calling it "rapid deceleration." Good news: Telefonica posted a €1.5 billion profit for the trimester, which will help out everybody's pension plan and mutual funds.

PP news: Maria San Gil has threatened to resign as PP president in the Basque Country if Rajoy doesn't move away from his new moderate position on regional nationalisms. Ms. San Gil, we all respect your courage and decency, but we've lost two elections in a row and something's got to change. Either get on the bus or get out of the way with as little fuss as possible. She has, by the way, ruled out challenging Rajoy for party leadership at the June convention.

Remember the Jose Couso case? He was the journalist killed in Baghdad when the Americans took the city back in 2003. He was pointing a camera out the window of the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad and an American tank fired on him, thinking he was an enemy fighter or spotter. His family and the Spanish far left have never stopped trying to take the US Army, and specifically the three soldiers involved in Couso's death, to court in Spain for "murdering" him. So Spain's National Court has just thrown out their case for the second time. Maybe they'll get the message now: we're sorry he got killed, but bad things that are not crimes happen in battles.

Barça report: There's a movement taking shape to call a no-confidence motion against club president Joan Laporta. I bet it doesn't work. Supposedly they've already signed Alves from Sevilla, they're interested in Hleb and Drogba, they've offered Ronaldinho, Zambrotta, and €20 million to Milan for Kaká, and Puyol is mad and is talking about leaving.


JordiT said...

I don't like the PP at all, but I have a deep respect for San Gil. She was the personal secretary of Gregorio Ordoñez, president of the party in San Sebastian and candidate to be the city's mayor in the 1995 local elections, who was killed by ETA in a restaurant in 1994, with San Gil sitting by his side. Besides, she overcame a cancer recently.

However, her political career is not really that bright. She was the candidate to be the lehendakari in the basque elections in 2005, and the PP results were close to disastrous, losing 4 seats, 5 points and 116.000 votes.

Goriaïnoff said...

I am no fan of the PP and I hope Rajoy does win his party's pretend-election. It is the best way to ensure that backward and corrupt (no less corrupt that the PSOE) party remains out of office until, at least, 2012. Probably beyond.

From where I stand, there are no Cameron's in Spain's PP. If only!