COVID continues moving in a very positive direction as the overall number of cases continues to be low. With restrictions easing people are returning to activities that they used to do. One of those is going to a Cider house where they eat a meal and drink cider. The Cider houses are seeing a few changes in habits. People want to eat in the afternoons versus evenings/nights and they prefer to eat outside on terrazas versus inside. In the hospital system face to face appointments were very limited during the pandemic. Now with the current state of the pandemic people are able to make in person appointments. Another change is that quarantines for close contacts have been eliminated with or without a vaccine. Lastly they are tentatively talking about a date for the end of masks inside. It looks like it could be either March 21 (start of Spring) or April 11 (start of Holy week and the more likely date).
Tuesday March 8 was international women’s day. The paper had quite the coverage building up to the event. Then in the Wednesday March 9 paper they dedicated the first 7 pages of the paper to the coverage of the event. The focus continues on ensuring that women have the same rights as men. The paper included testimonies from 6 different people where one of them said that equality only exists on paper not in real life. Additionally the Basque Government passed a new law for the equality of women and men and life free of male violence. It includes government monetary assistance for those who have been affected and need economic assistance. It took more than 2 years for this legislation to get approved.
The impacts of the Russian invasion in Ukraine on the local economy were starting to be reported on. A study by the Basque government found that 5% of the economy depends on Russia. Additionally they are seeing the impacts on some raw materials and a rise in energy costs due to the cost of oil increasing. They are also starting to limit the purchase of sunflower oil as Spain imports ~20% of it from Ukraine and they are looking to prevent panic buying that happened during COVID. Additionally ~40% of natural gas imported in Basque Country comes via sea from Russia.
I feel like a broken record about the cost of electricity. The thought was the price would stabilize, though with the Russian invasion that has not happened. The costs are beginning to increase and setting records for the maximum for 2022.
The IBEX35 ended last week on a significant downward trend closing at 7,720.90, a 9.02% drop for the week.
Juan Carlos I the King emeritus in Spain is back in the headlines as the anti corruption investigation continues. They reported last week that he defrauded the tax authorities between 30 to 56 million euros. Pedro SÃ¡nchez believes that he owes the Spanish population an explanation for what he had done. Some are also looking for a way to reform the existing laws that protect the King without touching the constitution.
Urkullu (PNV) and Andueza (PSE), met to talk about two key items they have not been in agreement on publicly, education reform and autonomy status next steps. They also spoke positively of the collaborative work that exists between the two parties. They cited several different laws that have been passed under the current coalition. The talk for the education reform was timely as also last week results of the academic levels for Basque students were reported on. The results are from 2019 and were the worst seen in the last 10 years. The largest drops were in the areas of science and Basque language, along with lower results in math and English.
The main news item in this section is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Several times the invasion was the headline story, including a very graphic and powerful image showing the impacts of war. The people of Gipuzkoa have responded very positively to supporting the Ukrainians. This has been seen by positively receiving refugees, sending supplies, the Basque leaders speaking against the invasion or families who are already living here driving to pick up family members and return here with them. Basque Country currently has a population of ~3000 Ukranians and that number will be increasing as more arrive.
Real Sociedad has played against two LaLiga opponents. The first was Mallorca and was a 2-0 victory. Next they played against Real Madrid, who are currently in 1st place. The result was a 1-4 loss. Overall the team is in 6th place. The next game is Sunday March 13 against Alaves.
GBC has only played 1 game since the last news for prayer. It was against Leyma Coruna with the result being a 62-49 win. The current league standings with the win in 9th place overall. The next game is against Mallorca Palma on Sunday March 13.
Prayer Points and verse for the week:
- Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the wide reaching impacts
- Women’s Rights
The verse for this week focused on being a light and I thought this verse was appropriate:
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
Matthew 5:15 NLT