Sunday, January 31, 2010

Paginas nuevas en español (New pages in Spanish)

Hoy al nuevas en español por ‘dropdown’ menú

Dos capítulos del mi libro “El padre re-hecho.” (Traductor: Lluïsa Garriga.)

- Una Biografía: Versión en español

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good news for anyone who drinks or uses water

The tide in Europe is turning back towards water and other essentials being controlled by public institutions, instead of private companies.

"The privatisation of water facilities has proven all over the world to be a major mistake, both in terms of prices and of the quality of services provided to the citizens," said Olivier Hoedemann, a member of the watchdog organisation Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

As this article reports, several German municipalities have recently bought back water rights on behalf of their populations, and in Paris “the municipal administration will this year regain control of all water services for the city, ending a private monopoly that has lasted more than 100 years.”

In Spain, 60% of the population is served by private water companies which operate under concession contracts with municipalities, though this country still has one of the lowest water rates in Europe.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An interview about Spain for Australian radio

This week I will be interviewed on Australia’s ABC Radio about current events in Spain and our lives here in Catalonia. The program is Overnights – Round the World and will be at approximately 4.15am on Saturday AEST.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do not be alarmed...

Yes, this is the same blog as before, but it's now not just my name (a bit dull really.) I've just changed the name with an adaptation of a Bob Dylan song title.

The hypocrites are victorious in Vic

The small Catalonian town of Vic passed an ordinance on Wednesday that prohibits illegal immigrants from registering on the municipality’s rolls — a compulsory norm for all who live in Spanish territory.

The conservative Catalan Nationalists (CiU), with support of the Catalan Socialists (PSC) and Catalan Republicans (ERC) decided that in this town, where 24%of inhabitants are foreigners of almost ninety different nationalities, anyone who has not already begun the process of getting work or residence permits, will not be allowed on the town’s residential register.

In other words, the so-called “sin papeles” of Vic will not be guaranteed the right to basic public services such as education and health care.

What this really means is that the town council of Vic is saying to these immigrants “You are lucky to work here and get paid an often sub-standard wage, but if you get sick or have children you do not exist. We want your labour but we don’t like you getting anything more than just enough to live on, in return. You can fix our streets or put up our buildings but don’t go thinking you are equal with the rest of us.”

It is likely to be of no comfort to illegal migrants here that Spain’s central government does not approve of the new ordinance in Vic, with Labour and Immigration Minister Celestino Corbacho saying he will adopt a “wait and see” approach. In the meantime, it will simply mean that many “sin papeles” will have little option but to try and move elsewhere, possibly to neighbouring areas.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why the smoking ban should be extended

More good reasons for Zapatero’s governemnt to go ahead this year with their plan to intensify the banning of smoking in public places.

This weeks statistics make a convincing case: the number of people hospitalised because of heart attacks went down by 10 percent and more than a million people (a reduction of 8 percent) quit smoking in the first two years after the law went into effect four years ago.

Strangely though, tobacco sales decreased by only 2.8 percent in 2006, which suggests that a stronger ban will be needed to have a long lasting effect on the problem.