News, Summer 2012
In addition to this site we have a Facebook page. Most of our passing comment is now on that site. We hope it will help to involve more in praying for Spain.
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News from the Churches
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER 9th June. Madrid City Mission news. Another big concert in Madrid. TV time change doubles audience. Evangelical Alliance supports government revision of abortion law. Follow up of thousands now on! My Hope TV outreach in follow-up to Christmas TV campaign.
August 10th, recent news summary
Over the summer we are not keeping up our news, except via our Facebook page. Sorry for any inconvenience. Meanwhile, Spain continues to be troubled by a recession which is exacerbated by tax rises and government cuts; forest fires and various heat waves have struck more than in 2011; both ETA suspects and Al-Qaida members have been arrested... but TV sets have been tuned first to the victorious Euro 2012 football cup, followed by a rather lacklustre performance of most Spanish athletes in the Olympics. Further news can be read at the recommended news sites (click 'more' and scroll down).
Euro Cup - Spain draws with Italy. Barcelona and Madrid lose Champions' League semis. Madrid wins Primera. Nadal wins in Paris - for 7th time, Rome - for 6th time, 8th Monte Carlo, but fails in Madrid. Alonso 2nd in F1. Bikers doing well. Madrid and Barcelona reach ACB final. New English language version of sports paper launched.
First anniversary of the 15 M protest movement.
On 15th May, 2011, just a week before local elections across Spain, the youth of the country gathered in one of the most fascinating political movements since the establishment of democracy was completed in 1981. Young people began a camp-out in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol, to complain about their being side-lined by mainstream politics. With youth unemployment then running well above 40% - now 50%- young people felt that the parties were bankrupt on ideas to get Spain back to work. Protest spread quickly from Madrid to the centres of all major cities and lasted throughout the summer. Then, as students returned to University, the movement went local, abandoning the city centres and heading for where the young people live.
Bicentenary of first Constitution
19th March marks the bi-centenary of Spain's first modern Constitution. The 'Cortes' in Cádiz met in the shadow of war, as France occupied much of Spain and had recently forced the Spanish navy to face Nelson at Trafalgar, with disastrous results. The first Constitution was forged by 'liberals', but not so liberal as those on the French side of the war. The monarchy was retained, with the Catholic church as the only religious option. However, at least the Inquisition was abolished.
News Theme: The Economy
During the decade until 2007 Spain was seen as enjoying an economic miracle. Now Spain is among the worst hit nations in Europe, with economist all over the world, not least in Spain itself, hitting hard at the government for its policies. World economic woes are certainly affecting Spain, but it is suffering more due to local matters. Several billion Euros have now been thrown by the government at the problem, but unemployment reached over 5 million, or virtually 23% by the end of 2011. It is expected to continue rising until 2013, when it might reach 25% of the working population. The new government has so far done little to get Spain back to work and offers no hope of a quick fix. We offer our view.
Unemployment in Spain (The Economist)
News theme: Corruption
At PrayforSpain we do not regularly report on a topic which sadly generates Spanish newspaper headlines every day, that of corruption. During the construction boom of the past decade there appear to have been many occurrences of builders making friends with municipal and regional politicians and civil servants responsible for planning and finances. A multitude of cases have come to court, with new arrests or revelations seemingly almost daily. But the most extraordinary case appears to be that of the director of the Palau de la Música Catalana, a concert hall in Barcelona. He turned himself in for having embezzled millions of Euros unknown to anyone and apparently providing finance for a foundation close to a political party, as well as feathering his own nest.
News theme: Basque politics and ETA
On 20th October 2011 the Basque separatist organisation, ETA announced a definitive end to its activity. For the past half century this terrorist band has been a blight on the life of Spain and especially the Basque Country. The Guardian has a complete file of reports, including the full statement of cessation of activities.
News Theme, The immigration crisis
Reports, almost daily, of open boats known variously as pateras (coming from Marrocco or Algeria) or larger cayucos (reaching the Canary islands from further south), combine with stories of illegal 'paperless' immigrants attempting to cross the fences at Ceuta and Melilla. Add to these high profile stories the situation of hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans and Romanians, not to mention Asians and you have the appearance of a significant immigration crisis. Throw in the confusion and disagreement of politicians as to how to deal with the phenomenon and you have a real crisis, now doubly significant as the jobs they are hoping for have dried up.
A few more news items and where to find more news about Spain: