Twenty-Three Reasons for Optimism in Spain Reply

Instituto Alcano Spain

Editor’s note: These folks are paid to be optimistic

Facts on Spanish economy published by the Secretary of State for European Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Spain).

  1. Spain has emerged from recession and dispelled the risk of a bailout that hung over our country in 2012. In the third quarter of 2013, the Spanish economy began to grow again. In the third quarter of 2014, this growth has continued at a rate of 1.6%. The European Commission’s forecast for Spain indicates a growth rate of 1.2% for the current year, and of 1.7% for 2015.

  2. In the year 2012, public deficit was reduced by nothing less than two GDP percentage points, that is, in one single year and during a recession —one of the greatest fiscal consolidations seen in the Eurozone. When the year 2013 ended, Spain had a deficit of 6.33%, lower than our target figure. In the first eight months of 2014, public deficit has been cut by another 12.4%.

  3. The balance of payments current account deficit, which reached 9.6% of GDP in 2008, had dropped to 0.9% by the first half of 2014, thus providing the world with the clearest indicator that Spain has cleaned up its trade situation.


Spanish Government Criticized Over Housing Crisis Evictions Reply

eviction in Spain

A Spanish citizen movement has accused the conservative government in Madrid of failing to tackle the housing eviction crisis, as the number of people being removed from their homes continues to rise.

Press–The Mortgage Victims’ Platform (PAH) made the accusation on Sunday, saying the measures imposed by the ruling People’s Party led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have had no positive impacts on the crisis and have instead worsened the situation. The PAH called for a number of measures, including a halt in evictions and the creation of a social rent pool. In addition, the group called for the penalization of financial entities and big owners that are holding empty houses despite the housing crisis.

The comments come as official figures by the country’s Judicial Power General Council earlier this week showed that, in the third quarter of this year, 13,341 evictions took place, up 7.3 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Of those who were evicted between July and September, 43.3 percent were forced out of their homes due to falling behind on mortgage payments, and 51.3 percent for unpaid rent and the remaining 5.2 percent for other reasons.


Skype’s Newest App Translates English-Spanish in Real Time Reply

Microsoft’s Skype software will start translating voice calls between people today. As part of a preview program, Skype Translator makes it possible for English and Spanish speakers to communicate in their native language, without having to learn a new one. It sounds like magic , but it’s the result of years of work from Microsoft’s research team and Skype to provide an early working copy of software that could help change the way the world communicates in the future.

Skype Translator Preview works on Windows 8.1 or preview copies of Windows 10, and it works by translating voice input from an English or Spanish speaker into text and translated audio. An English speaker will hear a translation from a Spanish speaker, and vice versa. Microsoft previously demonstrated the technology working between English and German, but Spanish will be the only language outside of English that will be initially supported during the preview.

Microsoft is marketing Skype Translator as a tool for schools, and the company tested it out with students in the US and Mexico. Skype is already popular in the classroom, with teachers participating in video conferences around the world to connect their schools to classrooms across the globe. While tests and demonstrations have been in limited and controlled experiments, Microsoft’s move today opens up its Skype Translator to a much wider audience to test it in the real world.

Spanish Nurses Hunted by British Health Service Reply

Spanish nurse NHS

Spanish nurses are being hunted down in the workplace, as a zealous recruitment drive in the UK as seeing them targeted with offers for work in the UK NHS.

Mark Nolan writes for The–The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that a trip by three members of the hospital to Madrid last month has resulted in five new nurses being recruited for the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital.

The reason for the Spanish recruitment campaign is said to be due to a struggle to fill nursing positions locally, and so a Human Resources Manager, accompanied by two nurse recruiters, jetted off to Spain, where they interviewed just 8 candidates, offering 5 of them a new job in the New Year.

With the offer of a relocation package that includes on-site accommodation, rotational experience around the hospital and in community and a training programme, as well as an attractive salary, it seems like the loss to the Spanish healthcare system is nothing but a gain to the NHS.

Earlier this year, the CHFT admitted that it needed around 70 full time nurses to meet the minimum staffing requirement at their hospitals, with staffing level figures revealing shortages in more than half the wards at the hospitals, with countless shifts in October seeing too few nurses available to cover the shifts determined by NHS guidelines.


Google Is Pulling the Plug on Spanish News Reply

Google leaves Spain

The–MADRID | Google is locking Spanish publishers out of its popular Google News service in response to a new Spanish law that imposes fees for linking to the headlines and news stories on other websites. The move announced Thursday will reverberate around the globe. Besides closing Google News in Spain, Google Inc. also is blocking reports from Spanish publishers in the more than other 70 other international editions packaged by Google News.

Google News’ exile of Spanish publishers begins Tuesday, a couple weeks before the start of a Spanish intellectual-property law requiring news publishers to be paid for their content, even if they are willing to give it away. That means people in Latin America, where Spanish news organizations have sought to boost their digital audiences, won’t see news from Spain via Google News. Also set to disappear are reports in English from Spanish publishers like Madrid’s leading El Pais newspaper.


What Happens after Spain’s Stolen Children Meet Their Birth Mothers? Reply

Stolen children Spain

Those illegally adopted during Franco dictatorship often struggle to bond with real parents

El País in English–Benedicta García’s living room is filled with photographs of her daughter, so many in fact, that there is barely space on the walls for a 2014 calendar in which the date November 28 is ringed in red. “Three years since I found Pili,” reads the note next to it. On a shelf, as though they were trophies, are around a dozen videos that Benedicta’s daughter, Pilar Monclús, has sent her mother showing some of the main events of her life from the previous 46 years since she was given up for adoption without her mother’s consent.

Benedicta and Pilar’s story is just one of the more than 3,000 known cases of systematic child theft carried out by convents and hospitals throughout Spain for decades up until the 1970s. Since the first stories of child trafficking emerged in 2001, few mothers and their children have been brought back together, and for those who have, establishing a relationship has proved challenging for both parties.


The Spaniard Behind the Smallest V-12 Engine in the World Reply

Jose Hermo Barreiro

La Informació–José Manuel Hermo Barreiro, “Patelo”, is a pensioner from Galicia (Spain). This retired naval mechanic has built a collection of the smallest engines in the world. Having created by hand eleven minute and highly-complex, multi-cylinder miniature internal combustion engines he still considers himself a very impatient person and refers to his hobby as “passion for mechanics.” This is his story in a compelling seven-minute video with English subtitles. (Note to women readers: You may be surprised to find this interesting.)

Music: “Tafelmusik Teil II – IV. Trio: II. Allegro (Telemann)” by Ensemble Pian & Forte, Gabriele Cassone


Put Down Orwell and Pick Up Contemporary Spanish Literature Reply

Anton Mallick SpainA small publishing house in Madrid is hard at work changing perceptions of Spain abroad. Hispabooks, set up by two English-speaking Spanish editors, published seven contemporary works of translated Spanish literary fiction last year.  These works, diverse in their style and content, are challenging the stereotype of modern Spain.  The Anglocentric reading of Spain as an exotic, balmy, bull-fighting, jamon-eating land is shifting, as topical books by innovative Spanish writers are made availableOnly 3% of books in the global English publishing market are works of translation, leaving little room for Spanish authors to tell their story of modern Spain.  The millions of English-speakers that travel through the country ever year, and the thousands that are not quite there yet with Castellano, but live somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula would find this publisher a useful and eye-opening resource.  Spanish speakers are presented with a much bigger opportunity to read contemporary English fiction however, with 30% of the Spanish book market featuring translated works.


Cheering the Art of the Dance in ‘Flamenco, Flamenco’ Reply

Saura Flamenco Flamenco

Boston–Two “Flamencos” are better than one. “Flamenco,” octogenarian Spanish director Carlos Saura’s 1995 celebration of the musical genre that has long been his obsession, presents an eclectic bill of dancers, singers, and instrumentalists in an unadorned format. It is a delight for flamenco fans and provides a fascinating introduction for those unfamiliar with the music. But as cinema, despite the lush cinematography of Vittorio Storaro, it is lacking.

Not so 2010’s “Flamenco, Flamenco,” which more than doubles the artistry of the first film. With a conceptual structure as inventive as that of Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense” and a use of theatrical effects and staging as ingenious as that in the films of Hans Jürgen Syberberg, the newer film combines images (again photographed by Storaro), sound, editing, and a poetic narrative of sorts to integrate the power of film with the seductive passion of the music.


Lorca Mystery May Soon Be Solved But Much of Spain’s Past Remains Buried Reply

Federico Garcia Lorca

Archeologists believe they may be close to finding body of playwright and poet killed by firing squad in 1936 but campaigners say searches of more than 2,000 mass graves around country are becoming increasingly difficult to carry out

The–In the hills overlooking Granada, forensic archeologists buzz excitedly around a cordoned-off site. A blue tarp sits in the middle, marking the spot where they believe lies the answer to one of Spain’s great mysteries of recent times. Since mid-November, the team has been working from sunrise to sunset to locate the remains of playwright and poet Federico García Lorca.

It is on this barren patch of land, just up the road from the tiny village of Viznar, that the author of Blood Wedding and The House of Bernarda Alba is thought to have been shot by a right-wing firing squad in 1936.