Friday, June 16, 2017

 

Looking a Gift Horse in the Wallet



The richest man in the world – sometimes, when he isn’t ousted to second place by Bill Gates – is Spain’s Amancio Ortega. He is estimated to have 71 thousand million euros as of November last year. (His daughter Sandra has another 7,600 million). Sr Ortega’s wealth comes from his Inditex fashion group, best known for its chain of Zara clothing and accessories retail shops (Wiki). He started pretty much from scratch in around 1950 after leaving school at 14 and finding employment in ‘the rag trade’; his father a lowly railway worker. He opened his first Zara shop in 1975.
Inditex itself is doing exceptionally well, with El País reporting that ‘Inditex, the group that owns chains like Zara, Oysho or Massimo Dutti, recorded a strong rise in sales in its first fiscal quarter, from February to April. Specifically, they stood at 5,569 million euros, up 14% on the same period in 2016. This led to its profits rising: the net result amounted to 654 million, an increase of 18%...’.
Amancio Ortega has recently captured the attention of his countrymen after he ‘...donated 320 million euros specifically for the acquisition of 290 pieces of oncology apparatus. It is one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made in the country. According to a statement by the Amancio Ortega Foundation, the charity set up by the billionaire in 2001, equipment would “allow more accurate diagnoses and provide patients with less aggressive, more effective and shorter treatments."...’. (From Newsweek here). However, not everyone was happy.
‘Why do we reject the infiltration into public health of Big Business and wealthy magnates? Asks Nueva Tribuna here.
El Mundo reports that some public health associations say that the gift should be returned, as ‘We aim towards adequate financing of our needs through a progressive tax system that redistributes resources prioritizing public health’, rather, they say, than through a gift which  – while a huge amount – is small compared to the 1,256 million in dividends earmarked to go to Ortega from Inditex this year.
So, for Sr Ortega, perhaps the donation is a small thing: perhaps it is an exercise in self-promotion or a sop towards his creative tax activities. Should we accept such largess? Perhaps a better question might be – shouldn’t we encourage it?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

 

Banco Popular



On Wednesday, the announcement was made. The Banco Popular had been sold to the Banco Santander for one euro. El País in English says – ‘Spain’s Banco Santander has bought the struggling Banco Popular for one euro in order to prevent its collapse, according to a statement released on Wednesday morning by the EU’s Single Resolution Board (SRB). The decision was adopted after a week in which Popular shares had plummeted. According to the European Central Bank, Popular was “failing or likely to fail.” The takeover has been endorsed by the European Commission. Shareholders in the stricken bank have lost everything, says Intereconomía here. Around 5,000 jobs are expected to be lost according to El Independiente here.  The Banco Pastor, part of the Banco Popular group, has now disappeared says La Voz de Galicia here.
Minority shareholders consider the takeover as an ‘expropriation’ and have joined together to consider legal action , says Bolsamanía here.  A rather larger shareholder, Antonio del Valle, says he has lost 550 million euros through the fall of the Popular. The story at La Voz de Asturias here.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

 

Business over Tapas

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

 

If Catalonia Were To Go...

Spain's numbers would change with the departure of Catalonia.
'It would mean the loss of 25-30% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP), says Spain’s Minister of the Economy, Luis de Guindos. And that’s something the government “will never let happen.”...'. Quote taken from Wolf Street here.
Tourist figures would have to be reconsidered. 17 million of the 72 million international tourists that visited Spain last year went to Catalonia for their holidays.
The size of Spain itself would shrink from 506,000 square kilometres to 474,000 km2. The population would shrink from 46,400,000 to around 38,900,000, and with the departure of Catalonia and its average GDP per person of $33,580 per year, the Spanish production, currently at $26,650 would fall as well.
The Catalonian independence groups, currently running the government there, want a referendum on secession from Spain to be held in September, or, they say, they might just declare a unilateral state of independence beforehand (maybe in August, when Madrid in on holiday).
From the figures above, it's not likely that Madrid will allow any of this to happen.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

 

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 

Beach Bars Go, But Puppies Have Another Place to Walk.

Mojácar is known for its narrow winding streets, its tumble of white houses on the last hill of a mountain chain and its views of the coast and the surrounds. Down on the coast itself, Mojácar is known for its beach bars.
The Town Hall has shown itself keen to reinvent Mojácar as a 'family' tourist destination, buckets and spades, ice creams and a large lunch in a - preferably - locally-owned venue. One councillor is keen on attracting Belgian cyclists, who like to clog up our roads in the low season, but the main thrust by our leaders is to encourage a brief visit from people whom don't wear Spandex, and keep their wallets ready for the souvenir shops (every family has one) and the aforementioned paellas.
So, in light of this, who needs beach bars?
Today's plenary session turned on this very point.  The new beach promenade, a wide affair with a wall, a walkway, benches and planters and a cycle path, is planned to reach as far as Garrucha, or perhaps even Barcelona one day in the far-flung future.
For the present, the three million euro plan is to extend some 650 metres from the Red Cross building along the increasingly narrow beach until the roundabout next to the Maui. The elevated structure would not only keep the sea serpents out, but also the surviving beach bar customers without a sea-view. Since the plan calls for expropriation of part of the beach bars, around 1,400 metres between the six of them (plus the half of the car-park owned by the Aku), there will not be much of the chiringuitos left, indeed, they will be lucky to hold on at all.
In the plenary session, both Jessica from Somos Mojácar and Manolo from the PSOE were against the plan, with Manolo being thrown out finally by Rosmari 'for cheek'. In the end, the motion to build the Paseo Maritimo through that particular chunk of the beach was carried with the rubber-stamp support PP and Lucas from the Mixed Group.
(We wondered - had any of the PP every actually been to a beach bar? Probably not)
The public gallery was full (for once) and all present applauded Jessica's and Manolo's remarks. 
Our pictures show support of the beach bars from Jessica, Manolo and Rosa. The other shows the ordered departure of Rosmari and her group until Manolo had left the Chamber.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

 

El Centro Ecuestre Albero





     Some photos from this past Sunday. Loli and her students ride their beautiful horses in La Cañada.

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