Posted on May 12, 2011 by marbellafamily
Here are the latest facts (from Diario Sur) about the earthquake that hit Lorca, a small town of 93,000 people in the Murcia province of Andalucia:
- May, 11, 2011- First tremor of 4.4 on the Ritcher scale hit around 17:05.
- Location: between 5 and 10 km from Lorca´s center. Earthquake felt in the Murcia province, but also in some cities of Almeria and Albacete provinces.
- Six tremors between 1.4 and 2.3 on the Richter scale follow.
- At 18:47, the largest tremor (5.1 on Richter) hits Lorca, followed by 18 successive tremors between 0.7 and 4 on Richter scale, until 22:45.
- Various buildings collapsed.
- 8 deaths reported so far – 3 people in critical state – 119 people injured.
- At least 10,000 people spent the night outdoors fearing additional tremors. Luckily, the weather was pleasant.
- This was the most mortal earthquake in Spain in the last 50 years.
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: Andalucia, earthquake, Spain, statisitics | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 14, 2011 by marbellafamily
According to a survey of 196 nations by British risk-assessment company Maplecroft, Spain and Italy are the only two countries in the Western world representing a medium risk for business to invest in.
As shown on the map in this press release (mostly talking about the extreme cases like Russia), all countries in Western Europe or North America represent a low risk, except Spain and Italy!
Filed under: Work | Tagged: Spain, statistics, Work | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 12, 2011 by marbellafamily
The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have just issued a joint paper on economic opportunity and prosperity across the world. It ranks countries according to the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom based on criteria such as Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Government Spending, Property Rights, Freedom from Corruption, Labor Freedom…
The full list of the ranking can be viewed here. The freest economies are Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Interestingly the USA rank 9th, UK – 16th, Germany – 23rd, Spain – 31st, France – 64th, Russia – 143rd.
Here is the summary for Spain:
Spain’s economic freedom score is 70.2, making its economy the 31st freest in the 2011 Index. Its score is 0.6 point higher than last year, reflecting improvements in half of the 10 economic freedoms that offset a decline in freedom from corruption. Spain is ranked 17th out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is well above the world average.
Spain’s economy performs well in business freedom, trade freedom, and investment freedom. Business formation procedures have become streamlined, and the overall entrepreneurial environment supports private-sector development. Steps taken in 2010 to reform the labor market make it less costly to dismiss a permanent worker and give employers more control of employee organization.
Challenges include fiscal freedom, government spending, and labor freedom. Total government spending is over 40 percent of GDP. Wage growth has outpaced that in other European countries, and home ownership has been heavily subsidized. Recent large fiscal deficits and rising public debt necessitate sound public financial management and a return to a sustainable level of public spending.
Filed under: Work | Tagged: economy, Spain, statistics, world | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 9, 2011 by marbellafamily
Since the beginning of the year, nobody can smoke in any public place in Spain. This new law is much more restrictive that the previous anti-tobacco regulation which, as I witnessed many times, was followed in a typical relaxed mediterranean fashion…
The new regulation is very strict and has generated some uproar, particularly among bar and restaurant owners. One of Marbella´s own could not avoid becoming the standard-bearer of this rebellion. The owner of El Asador of Guadalmina posted a sign saying that he won´t respect the law and that customers are welcome to smoke in his establishment. He risks a fine between 6,000 and 600,000 euros. He also made the news in many newspapers and even appeared on national TV.
Naturally, reactions have come from all sides:
- Some people have interpreted his actions as a great marketing ploy, reminiscent of the cocky behavior of the Gil era (in reference to the former mayor who treated Marbella´s assets as his own and disregarded many national laws).
- Some have empathized with the facts that 80% of his customers smoke and that he is rightly defending his livelihood.
Although a non-smoker, I am very sceptic to any new regulation restricting personal freedom. However, this law was passed by a divided parliament based on damning health care statistics that even a strong pro-tobacco lobby could not refute. So I tend to think it is a good thing.
Some may reply that similar restrictions could be applied to serving alcohol or fatty/sugary dishes that also generate a health burden on society. So where do we draw the line? Second-hand smoking is the answer. Contrary to alcohol consumption or a poor diet that only affect the health of the consuming individual, smoking affects the health of people not necessarily sharing the experience. When your activity puts in danger the life of others, it should be curtailed (the no-drinking and driving law follows the same principle). The problem with the previous regulation (with separate smoking and non-smoking areas) is that the separation was never good enough as smoke tend to wander around. It also forced the staff of the establishments to serve in smoking areas and suffer the consequences of second-hand smoking.
As for the owner of el Asador Guadalmina, his business will survive. It would only fold if all people completely stopped going to restaurants, a very unlikely event. If restaurants continue to exist, his customers will probably remain loyal to his place as they will not find another venue where smoking is allowed. His stance is an acceptable ploy to try curbing the law, but he should be ready to face the consequences of his acts in the probable event that his actions do not result in a modified legislation.
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: Spain | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 6, 2010 by marbellafamily
If cursing works, the families of the 2000 Spanish air controllers are in for a long time of suffering in eternity. The unexpected strike of only 2000 people paralyzed the country and pushed the Spanish government to decree a “State of Alarm” and send the military to the control towers.
On TV, the whole world turned against the controllers. The media showed images of distraught passengers, of the government acting firm, complaining about these spoiled workers, claiming that some made up to 900,000 euros a year… but we have heard very little from the controllers. How is that?
Is it because they are such a small number? Is it that the press is not playing its role of analyzing events and it is toiling the official line?
I have always been against salvage strikes but I still want to hear a proper analysis of the situation, without demagogy and simplistic claims from the government. What I have read on various blogs tend to indicate that the situation is not as clear cut about responsibilities. Here is a link in Spanish about the controllers’ side of the story. You make up your own mind.
Democracy needs a more incisive, impartial press (did I mention wkileaks?). I just wonder how the Spanish media would have reacted if it was a right-wing, and not a socialist government, which would have decreed this state of alarm….
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Spain, thoughts, Work | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 7, 2010 by marbellafamily
Playing the National Lottery is a very old and popular tradition in Spain. Here are some interesting facts about the Spanish National Lottery:
- The Spanish National Lottery was introduced at the beginning of the 19th century as a way to generate revenues for the Napoleonic war of independence. To this day, the selection of the winning number follows the same ritual.
- The modern lottery is run by an institution controlled by the Ministry of Finance. It manages eight different weekly games, of which the most popular are la Loteria Nacional, la Primitiva, el Bono Loto, EuroMilliones, la Quiniela, el Gordo de la Primitiva.
- Spaniards spend about 2% of their income on the Spanish lottery and other gambling venues, one of the highest rate in Europe.
- El Gordo, the December 22nd draw of the Loteria Nacional, is the largest money pool in the world with 2.3 billion euros in prizes.
- The draws of El Gordo and El Niño are an integral part of the Spanish Christmas and Three Kings holidays.
- El Gordo is played by 3 out of 4 Spaniards. Because of the way it is organized (with billetes divided in decimos), it plays a social and associative role through the exchange of decimos between friends, relatives, business relations…
- The probability to win El Gordo is 1 out of 85,000.
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: Spain | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 1, 2010 by marbellafamily
The Spanish Health Ministry issued its last weekly update about the H1N1 virus to coincide with the New Year. With a rate of 41 cases for 100,000, the extent of the flu is now 10 times lower than its peak of a month ago. Given the lower incidence rate, the Ministry decided to terminate issuing its weekly updates about the disease.
The epidemic is officially considered over in Spain leaving behind 271 deaths to-date, a huge population scare and probably much unnecessary public spending.
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: H1N1, Spain, statisitics | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 22, 2009 by marbellafamily
The holiday season in Spain is quite different to that of other countries. The main reason is that Christmas has traditionally been a minor family celebration. Spaniards have always considered the coming of Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings – on January 6th), as the major holiday and the time to shower children with gifts. So whereas in most Western countries the season culminates between December 25th and 31st to fade after that, in Spain it goes crescendo until January 6th.
Only recently, more families have started to celebrate Christmas because of pragmatic reasons linked to the scholar calendar: schools tend to reopen a day or two after Los Reyes and that gives little time for the children to enjoy their toys and gifts!
The Spanish holiday season starts in earnest on December 22nd when the children of San Idelfonso school sing the results of the Spanish Christmas lottery. This 200-year-old tradition is the real kick-off to the festivities and keeps the country on hold for a few hours until El Gordo, the main lottery prize, is announced. The winners celebrate with Cava on the front page of all newspapers and TV channels. The rest are thankful for their health, hoping to have another shot at it the following year, and are happy that the next big lottery draw (El Niño) is coming soon on January 6th.
This year, El Gordo was mostly sold in the province of Madrid. La Cañada in Marbella sold parts of the fifth prize earning 50,000 euros per full lottery ticket. Luck anyone?
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: Christmas, holiday, Spain | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 28, 2009 by marbellafamily
This week, my daughter was sent home from school for a slight runny nose. In her class, half of the students stayed home and two out of three Year 5 teachers were absent. At my gym, attendance by ¨regulars¨ was clearly down. Everywhere I turned, it appeared that people were sick with the flu… Nothing too serious, just a few days of slight fever and general fatigue seemed to be the norm.
I looked at the official statistics from the Spanish Health Ministry and created my own graph about the evolution of the H1N1 virus in Spain. On this graph, I plotted the weekly number of flu cases per 100,000 inhabitants (in blue) and the cumulative death number attributed to H1N1 (in green) during the past three months:
We observe a sharp increase in the number of flu cases in Spain after October 21st. The spread of the virus appears to slow down in the last week as the curve flattens just below 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, for a grand total of 160,000 people affected in Spain. Next data points will be critical to see whether this is just a fluke or the worse is really behind us for now…
135 deaths are attributed to H1N1 so far in Spain. The mortality rate per 100,000 people affected by the virus is 0.13 on November 26. This is the lowest rate in the last three months indicating that the severity of the virus is under control…
The big scare drummed up by the press and governments regarding the H1N1 risk has not materialized so far, but experts tell us that the number of people affected by the flu usually peaks in January… So let´s wait a few weeks more and see if this was another ploy for governments to distract and worry the population, for the press to sell more sensational news and for lobby groups to make more money… It would not be the first time it happened…
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: H1N1, Spain, statisitics | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 4, 2009 by marbellafamily
In the last week, France started a campaign to vaccinate the entire population against the H1N1 flu virus. Ukraine closed all schools for three weeks (!) and restricted public events for fear of a pandemy. These are major developments in the fight against the swine flu worldwide.
Whether these measures are precautionary in nature or taken for political expediency (there are some elections coming up soon in Ukraine), it is interesting to note that the H1N1 virus is not much present in the Spanish press these days. So I decided to look at the official data to see where we stand…
Here is the latest Spanish information released by the Health Ministry on October 29th, 2009:
- 63 deaths are so far attributed to the virus.
- The death rate is 0.15 for 1,000 individuals infected by the virus.
- During the week of October 18 to 24th, there were 182.5 general flu incidents for 100,000 individuals.
- It is estimated that 99.3% of these incidents tested positive for the H1N1 virus, which would translate into 80,901 cases of H1N1 flu.
- The quasi totality of these incidents presented light symptoms and were well treated by conventional methods.
Come back to this blog for further updates on the virus…
Filed under: Life in Marbella | Tagged: H1N1, Spain | Leave a Comment »