Thursday, 22 June 2017

Catalonia Arranges Latest Independence “Referendum”

Catalonia Arranges Latest Independence “Referendum”

Catalonia again tries for independence
The regional government of Catalonia has long-sought independence from Spain, and continues to be the proverbial thorn in Madrid’s side by calling for a referendum later in the year.

The Catalan government – led by spokesman Carles Puigdemont – is to oversee a simple vote of “In or Out” that, even though it will likely draw a lot of interest and bring a big turnout, will unfortunately have no legal standing in Spain at all.

This basically means that unless the Madrid government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sanctions the referendum – and they won’t – then the referendum will only be symbolic.

No one will be surprised to hear that the Catalan separatists continue their push for independence. It wouldn’t even be the first time that they have held a symbol referendum like the one being held later this year. Something similar happened back in 2014. The calls for separation from the Catalan people went unheeded back then by the Madrid government, and it’s likely going to be the same this time around.

There is a difference this time in that the referendum has been organised by the Catalan government rather than by passionate voters, which is what happened in 2014. This has led to people expecting that over 2 million people might make their voices heard, even if the result is still likely to only be symbolic. If the referendum gets a lot of support for independence then it will make it even harder for Madrid to continue to ignore the demand for change and independence.

While it is unlikely for Madrid to grant complete independence for Catalan, there could be regional elections for Catalonia in the future. It’s possible that Spain could at least afford the region some more autonomy, if not independence.

Madrid currently holds power to directly intervene in the Catalan government – something that continues to irk politicians and Catalans alike. The region has its own language and can turn Barcelona into their own internationally-recognised and respected capital city.

However, the Spanish economy has continued to grow and recover in the past few years, which has diminished the calls for independence in Catalonia somewhat. The latest official polls suggested that 48.5% of Catalans are interested in maintaining the current status quo. Only 44.3% of those polled were looking for independence from Spain.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Study Finds People in Spain Don’t Drink Enough Water

Study Finds People in Spain Don’t Drink Enough Water

Its a fact, we all need to drink more water

As the temperature in Spain continues to rise for the summer, there’s a strong urge to throw yourself into the nearest body of water. There’s also the temptation to find a sweet shaded spot and enjoy a chilled wine or a fruity sangria.

Such are the simple pleasures of life in Spain that have been embraced by the Spanish and expats alike. Heat also brings dehydration however, and a recent study by the Spanish Royal National Academy of Medicine has discovered Spanish men and women aren’t getting enough water. The issue could quickly give rise to serious health problems down the line.

The study showed that less than one in five Spanishresidents was getting the daily recommended amount of 2.5 litres of water per day (for men) or 2 litres of water per day (for women).

The snarky among you might comment that they drink more than 2 litres of beer in a few hours, but the truth is wines and spirits, and even tea and coffee, are diuretics. This means that they cause you to pee more, leaving you dehydrated rather than rehydrated.

The way to stay hydrated is to drink juice and water, but the study showed that the average Spanish man drinks 1.7 litres of water a day, while the average woman consumes 1.6 litres.

Both sexes can expect to be left feeling tired and dehydrated when consuming just 20% less than the recommended amount. This can impair their work performance and increases the risk of a fatal road accident.

Being thirsty is a prime sign that your body is already dehydrated. It shouldn’t be considered a sign that you’re good to crack open another beer and drink some wine.

There’s no need for things to stay this way however. Spanish tap water is completely safe to drink, and can actually be quite delicious – as long as it’s not from Majorca! Bottled water is cheap and plentiful in Spain as well. If you feel that 2 litres of water is just too much, then remember that it’s just four bottles of 500ml or three pints of water. Anyone can fit that into their day.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on the colour of your urine. Yellow urine – to the point it’s darker than straw – is a sign that you’ve become dehydrated and should grab a glass of water.

Staying hydrated is a major issue in Spanish summertime, when being dehydrated can lead to sun and heatstroke, especially as the temperatures reach up to the mid-30s; which they do every single Spanish summer

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Sotogrande to Receive €50 million Boost to Infrastructure and Leisure

Sotogrande to Receive €50 million Boost to Infrastructure and Leisure

Sotogrande continues to grow with more infrastructure
The luxurious Spanish resort of Sotogrande will soon be provided with a €50 million investment as the owners of the estate – private equity funds Orion and Cerberus – aim to improve upon the reputation the resort has for being a high-class and laid-back place to live and work.

The Financial Times say that Cerberus and Orion will use the money to develop new offices, properties, and sports facilities as the popularity and interest in Sotogrande continues to rise.

Reports from estate agents in the area show that property prices are around 30% less than they were in the peak of 2007, and that home sales increased 23% year-on-year in the fourth and final quarter of 2016.

There is already a new development under construction, known as La Reserva. It will feature over 200 new villas to the outskirts of Sotogrande, seven of which have one hectare of private land.

Sotogrande is for people who want to avoid publicity. It is designed to be discreet. It’s the kind of place where VIPs can leave their bodyguards at home and feel truly free. Families go to the resort because they enjoy the open space and safety on offer.

Sotogrande certainly enjoys a slower pace of life compared to Marbella – which is just a 40-minute drive away. In recent years the resort has begun to rival Marbella in terms of stylish boutiques, luxury property, and world-class restaurants.

The resort has become famous for the harbour, golf course, and polo grounds. It continues to bring in the elite among the elite. While Sotogrande has just 6,000 permanent residents, as many as 30,000 people are housed there during the summer months.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Barcelona District Set to Trial Universal Income Scheme Worth €13 million

Barcelona District Set to Trial Universal Income Scheme Worth €13 million

People remain divided on the issue of a universal basic income. Many people feel that the idea is impractical. Switzerland recently held a referendum on introducing universal basic income – which would see every adult in the country receive money from the government each month – but the plan was rejected.

The idea lives on however, as one of the poorer regions of Barcelona is to begin a trial scheme where people on the brink of the bread line are given government grants.

The pilot scheme will roll out in the Besós district of the city. €13 million has been set aside for the scheme by the EU. The scheme will look into creative and innovative solutions to the problem of urban property. Barcelona is just one region trialling the new approach. Also getting involved are Helsinki in Finland and Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The grants are going to be available for two years, with the money going to some of the poorest people in Besós. The participants will be randomly chosen from 1,000 households with the lowest income for the district. These participants will be given between €400 and €525 per month.

There are four separate groups in all. The program officials are analysing the four groups living in the area to understand how they spend the money and how they can improve on the idea of providing funding to impoverished areas.

The people selected to participate in the program are also expected to participate in schemes looking to find long-term employment and will be expected to join social inclusion projects. The aim of the program is ascertaining what kind of difference can be made to people in low-income housing after their basic cost of living is taken care of for them.

Barcelona City Hall is looking to monitor the kind of impact the scheme will have after guaranteeing the right to housing for these people. The scheme is intended to revolutionise the current fight against urban poverty, taking it to new places.

It aims to see how poverty can be reduced by providing universal economic support alongside access to a range of services including housing, education, community participation, and working.

The ultimate aim is to create an efficient welfare state not just in Spain, but across the whole EU. The people behind the scheme deserve a round of applause for coming up with such an innovative method of reaching out to the poor people of Spain and finding new ways to understand them and their situation.