New COVID cases are continuing a downward trend. One of the big discussions is when do masks go away for indoor spaces. Initially they were talking they would go away before Holy Week, however today it was communicated that it will be going away on April 20. Places where you will still need to wear one are hospitals, public transportation and assisted living homes. The majority of people who have had the vaccine are reporting very mild symptoms. However, 76% of women who have symptoms are reporting them to be severe.
The truck strike finally ended last Wednesday March 30 after 17 days. One of the changes that happened is the government is providing a 0.20â‚¬ rebate on gasoline. This does help, though the cost is currently up over 50%, which has far reaching impacts. Not everyone supported stopping the strike, as the vote was 50 for stopping, 31 to continue and 8 abstained. The traffic in one of the busiest ports here in Gipuzkoa reported that truck traffic returned to normal on April 1, the day after the vote happened.
There was a headline story about the increase in opioid use. In the last 6 years they have seen it double. They believe that between 11% to 17% of the population in Spain has chronic pain. To help with the control of opioid use moving forward they are looking to put additional measures in place given its addictive nature. Another story explained that Gipuzkoa has approved space for the burial of Muslims. They have made adjustments in the laws to accommodate Muslims since they do not use coffins and need to face Mecca. They have been working on this approval since 2018.
Bars & Restaurants are having to raise prices due to the increase in the cost of electricity and impacts from the Russian invasion of Ukraine on some items. The owners of restaurants feel they have to increase the prices in order to survive the current environment. The increases are small, 0.10 â‚¬ on drinks and .50â‚¬ on plates, though menus and other material will need to be updated to reflect the change.
The IBEX35 ended last week on an upward trend closing at 8503.70, a 2.08% increase for last week.
Urkullu, the leader of the Basque autonomous region, has started his talks with the other political parties. These are regular talks he has with all the different political leaders represented in the legislature. He plans on discussing the recent trucker strike, the energy crisis and impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The PP party held its 20th congress to approve new leadership. After the recent departure of its leader Pablo Casado, new leadership was elected. Alberto NuÃ±ez FeijÃ³o was elected with 98.35% of the votes and the other leadership roles in the party were filled. This Thursday April 7, FeijÃ³o will meet with Pedro Sánchez for an initial conversation.
The big item here continues to be the Russian invasion of Ukraine. To date they have seen 1500 to 2000 Ukrainians move into Basque Country. The school system has seen an increase of ~250 students (including a girl in our daughter’s class). Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, gave a speech to the Spanish congress on Tuesday April 5. During the speech he referenced the current situation to similarities of an attack that happened in 1937 to the Basque town of Guernica. Spain also deported 27 Russian diplomats yesterday for security and Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
French elections for president happen on April 24. Macron, the current leader, has been in power for 5 years. He is currently the favored candidate, though Éric Zemmour, a strong candidate on the extreme right, is making a big push.
Real Sociedad had a special pullout in the paper on Sunday as it was the 1 year anniversary after the team won the Kings cup against Basque Country rival Athletic Bilbao. It was such a special win for the team and city last year. They played Espanyol on Monday April 4 to a 1-0 victory. With that victory the team is in 6th place overall.
GBC has played two games. The first was against Basquet Girona and was a 88 – 91 loss in overtime. Next they played against Oviedo and it was a 79-77 win. Two very close games the past couple of weeks. They are currently in 11th place overall and play again on Friday against Forca LLeida.
Itzulia is a cycling race that started in the Basque country city of Hondarribia on Monday April 4th and will go for the next 6 days. The race has 23 different teams, even some of the contenders for this year’s Tour de France.
Prayer Points and verse for the week:
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the wide reaching impacts
- Truckers Strike
The verse for this week was from a recent daily verse:
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalms 40:1-2 NLT