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Posts Tagged ‘spain

[LINK] “Catalonia Attacks ‘Infinite Cynicism’ as Spain Curbs Powers”

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Esteban Duarte of Bloomberg examines ongoing controversies in Spain over federalism. I can easily imagine ways this could spiral out of control.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has introduced rules that effectively revoke the powers of the Catalan government, the regional president’s right hand man said, before a vote that could fuel separatists’ bid to split from Spain.

Rajoy is forcing regional officials to get approval from the central government before paying commercial creditors, Francesc Homs, the head of the Catalan’s presidency department, said in an interview in Barcelona Wednesday. The national government in Madrid has also ruled that laws only come into force once they’ve been published in the Spanish Official Gazette, preventing regional leader Artur Mas from introducing legislation using the Catalan equivalent, Homs said.

Mas’s bid for independence has set him on a collision course with Rajoy who says that his plans are unconstitutional. Mas has framed the Sept. 27 regional election as a ballot on independence after Rajoy blocked his attempt to hold a referendum last November.

“When someone says we could get the region’s autonomy suspended, I tell them they’ve actually done it already,” Homs said. The central government is acting with “infinite cynicism,” he added.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm

[LINK] “How Spain Fixed Its Economy”

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The editors of the Bloomberg View suggest that the Spanish economy is well on its way to recovery. This is critical, not only for Spain but for Mediterranean Europe and the wider Eurozone generally. If Spain recovers while part of the Eurozone as a consequence of policy, this undercuts certain Greek claims.

The economy suffered a crippling downturn in the financial crisis, then hobbled along until 2012 without anybody doing much about it. At that point, the government applied for a 100-billion-euro rescue package from the European Union. The situation was grim. Spain’s real-estate bubble had burst, unemployment (a blight on Spain for years) had climbed above 25 percent, and cascading bankruptcies further undermined confidence. The yield on 10-year Spanish bonds in July 2012 ran more than five percentage points over Germany’s, prompting the European Central Bank to step in to save Spain from speculative runs on its sovereign debt.

The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy bowed to austerity demands, cut public-sector wages and benefits, and increased VAT to 21 percent (with exemptions) from 18 percent. Had he stopped there, Spain might have bumped along the bottom for a good while longer, rather than seeing the recovery it’s now enjoying.

Low inflation, a cheap euro, the fall in energy prices and renewed financial stability in Europe have supported consumer spending and lifted Spain’s beleaguered retailers. Holidaymakers have favored Spain this season, too — in part because visiting Greece without bundles of cash has presented difficulties. Put much of all that down to luck.

But Spain’s recovery today also owes a lot to hard reform aimed at particular failings in the economy. The Rajoy government braved street protests and the rise of an anti-reform left-wing opposition and persisted in a deliberate rewiring of the Spanish economy, with an emphasis on far-reaching labor-market and tax reforms.

In 2014, the government said it would gradually lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 30 percent. The top marginal rate on personal income will fall to 45 percent from 52 percent. The government is limiting deductions, broadening the tax base and making a serious effort to curb evasion.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 5, 2015 at 5:19 pm

[LINK] “Catalans Spur the Remaking of Spain With Battle for Independence”

Esteban Duarte’s Bloomberg report keeps me up to date about the events in Spain. This could be big, bigger than Scotland.

Catalonia’s bid for independence has opened the floodgates: Now all Spain’s major parties are looking to remake the way the state’s power is carved up.

Catalan President Artur Mas plans to use voting for the region’s parliament on Sept. 27 — weeks before national elections are due — as a de-facto referendum on leaving Spain. Just as the Scottish independence movement has prompted a rethink of how the U.K. is governed, Spain’s national parties are responding with plans to prevent the disintegration of a country whose mainland borders are unchanged since the 17th century.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is seeking to give the regions much more say in the Senate in Madrid. The main opposition Socialists are proposing a looser federal state, while the insurgent Podemos and Ciudadanos parties are floating their own ideas.

“Mas has contributed to reopening the debate about how Spain should be governed and taxes should be distributed,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “With Mas or without him, that’s going to be an issue that Spaniards will face over the course of the next legislative term.”

Spain’s 1978 constitution set up regional administrations with varying degrees of autonomy. But over the past three years, Mas has moved from seeking more control over taxes to demanding the right for Catalans to break away completely.

He’s already campaigning for September’s regional election. If separatist groups win a majority in the legislature in Barcelona and the central government refuses to negotiate, he says he’ll make a unilateral declaration of independence.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes that ferry tickets for the Toronto Islands can now be bought online.
  • Discover‘s Crux considers SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering habitable exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars, defends the potential existence of exoplanets at Kapteyn’s Star, and looks at the Epsilon Eridani system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that a second Scottish referendum on independence is possible, according to Alex Salmond.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Mormons are unhappy with the Scouts’ gay-friendly shift.
  • Language Hat considers the history of family name usage in Russia.
  • Languages of the World examines in two posts the argument that primitive peoples have simple languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the strategies of Spanish populist group Podemos.
  • Peter Watts considers the peculiar thing of people lacking large chunks of the brain who nonetheless seem normal.
  • Diane Duane, at Out of Ambit, is quite unhappy with an impending forced upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes how labour-saving technologies improved the lives of women.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers proposals to explore small solar system bodies.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what would happen if Bernie Sanders won the nomination of the Democratic Party.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to statistics on the population of Abu Dhabi.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the depopulation of South Ossetia and looks at the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostility to Ukraine’s Uniate Catholics.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes that although Labour apparently did a good job of convincing potential voters it was right, it did a worse job of getting them to vote.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Crooked Timber’s John Holbo wonders about people who are foxes and hedgehogs, following Isaiah Berlin.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one examination of carbon and oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres and links to another noting how white dwarfs eat their compact asteroid and other debris belts.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the dinosaurs disappeared in the Pyrenees amidst environmental catastrophe.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Liberty University is liable for helping a woman hide her child away from her lesbian partner’s custody.
  • Language Hat notes an apparent mistake in prose.
  • Language Log examines new frontiers in negative negation.
  • Languages of the World notes the role of Dante in establishing an Italian literary language.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders what books contain the most wisdom per page.
  • The Search notes one librarian’s experience with web archiving.
  • Torontoist shares photos of the Pan Am Games.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that genetic engineering of babies for IQ will occur as soon as the technology becomes possible.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that support is growing for an enquiry into the Malaysian Airlines shootdown, notes military reform’s stagnation in Russia, and looks at a Crimean Tatar meeting in Turkey.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes that Spain has come out weaker of this round of Eurozone negotiations.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes a house on downtown Toronto’s Jersey Avenue, a near-laneway, that is on the market at nearly eight hundred thousand dollars.
  • Centauri Dreams warns that with the passage of Dawn and New Horizons and Cassini, an era of unmanned space exploration will come to an end.
  • Crooked Timber’s Belle Waring considers Western/Asian cultural differences on gender.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper seeking to detect exoplanet rotation rates and other data via eclipses, and links to another noting the discovery of N2H in a ring around TW Hydrae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the results of a genetic analysis of the dwarf mammoths of Wrangel Island.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at how the Second World War started Ireland’s break from the Sterling zone.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the good of tech criticism.
  • Joe. My. God. celebrates a decade of same-sex marriage in Spain.
  • Language Hat looks at how promoters of a literature or a work can get things they champion translate.
  • The Planetary Society Blog has two posts celebrating its role in the New Horizons probe.
  • Towleroad notes that YouTube star Shane Dawson has just come out as bisexual.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at an incipient Cossack separatism.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Anthropology.net notes the discovery of some Neanderthal skeletons showing signs of having had the flesh carved off of them.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the messages carried by the New Horizon probe.
  • Crooked Timber makes the case for the continued relevance of Bob Marley.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at recurrent streams on Mars carved by perchlorate-laced water.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh argues that Spain is still digging out of the long crisis.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the story of a Louisiana trans man fired from his job for not detransitioning.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that China is not really a revisionist power.
  • Justin Petrone looks at ways in which young Estonian children are demonstrating and developing a fear of Russia.
  • The Planetary Society Blog examines the failure of the Dragon rocket.
  • Towleroad notes that the Russian-language version of Siri is quite homophobic.
  • Understanding Society looks at the criticial realist social theory of Frédéric Vandenberghe.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at trends in violence in the North Caucasus and warns of Central Asian alienation from Russia.
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