The cover page images for the 4 papers last week were the following: Results of the Real Soccer Game against Alavés and Celta, the start to sales season and the winning numbers for a lottery drawing.
COVID continues to be the main story for this region. COVID passport’s are required to enter restaurants, concerts and movie theaters. The responsibility is on the owners to perform the check. One day the paper shared that compliance was very low as they entered several different restaurants and only had 1 ask them for the passport. School also restarted after the Christmas/New Years/Three Kings holidays. As they started 11,000 students and 100s of teachers/staff were confined. The restrictions for what happens in classrooms continue to be revised. The Sunday paper broke down data from each of the 6 different waves, which was interesting to see. One data point to note is that the 6th wave has more positive cases than the 3rd, 4th and 5th waves combined. An interview with a local Psychologist discussed the many different mental affects the pandemic has/is having on people. Last week also saw the cancellation announcement of Tamborrada, a city wide celebration for San Sebastian, for the second year. The mayor communicated that it was a very difficult decision to make, though with the current situation it made sense for them to cancel as they believe it would be difficult to maintain the health protocols currently in place during the celebration.
The Bilbao diocese has opened 5 different investigations after a report that was released by ‘El País’ concerning the abuse of minors, who had collected ~250 reports for Spain. They have set up a commission consisting of 5 different people. They will start by reviewing all the information that is currently available. Some of the incidents have only a little bit of information and a request was made for people to come forward. The diocese wants the truth to be known and ensure that the situations are addressed.
Economic growth for the Basque region is currently projected to be higher than it was at pre-pandemic levels. The lowest levels in the pandemic were seen in the second quarter of 2020 at -19.9% and the highest was at 18.6%, which happened in the second quarter of 2021. The current government projects growth to be 6.7% for 2022. The result would be a ~700 million € increase from 2021 and be a record for the region. Energy cost, material shortages and inflation are areas that may impact the growth of the economy. Additionally the unemployment numbers have returned to better than before the pandemic. Those who are currently unemployed are finding it difficult to find a job.
The passing of José María Baztarrica, leader of the CAF (Construction & Other Railway Service) from 1995 to 2015 and his impact was remembered last week. Under his leadership the CAF grew considerably. When he started the company was heavily dependent on Renfe, the train system operated by the Spanish government. He led them to become more international where they had 90 projects in 35 different countries. This growth added several new jobs and a rise in exports for the Basque Country.
The IBEX35 ended last week on an upward trend closing at 8,751.80, a 0.44% increase for the week.
After the July 2020 elections and a coalition formed between PNV and PSE resulting in a majority, it was believed that legislation would move quickly. However that has not been the case. Thus far they have approved 4 laws and 15 projects. They still have 17 projects initially identified and several laws under consideration. They are hoping that during the next session they will be able to address more given the majority that is in place.
This past Saturday a protest in Donostia and Bilbao called for the return of all the ETA prisoners to Basque Country without exception or delay. Leaders for this movement pointed to the fact that ETA ceased activity 10 years ago and how Spain has not taken a closer look at what happened under Franco. After the protest one of the political parties, PNV, announced that it would no longer be supporting this movement going forward. Before this protest, the leader of the Association of Terrorist Victims made a request to the Basque Government to prohibit such activity or the celebration when ETA prisoners are released. In the request they pointed to existing laws that would support the request. Later this month, they are also planning a meeting to discuss what else should be done to help those who are victims of terrorism. An article also shared how victims of ETA are asking that the violence that happened be condemned so that a path can be made to move forward.
Here are a few of the headlines/themes for news outside of Spain: Russia/Ukraine border concerns, US Capitol incident 1 year later and the upcoming presidential election in France.
Real Sociedad played against Celta Vago this past Saturday. The result was a 1-0 victory. The next game is against Atletico Madrid on January 19 and is part of the King’s Cup. In La Liga the team is currently in 5th place. Currently they are 1 point away from being in the top 4 which would qualify them for the Champions Cup.
GBC was scheduled to play Iraurgi S this past Sunday, however due to COVID cases the game was postponed. The next game is scheduled for January 15 against Prat Joventut. The team is currently in 7th place overall, which would qualify them for the end of the season tournament.
Prayer Points and verse for the week:
- COVID-19 (omicron) and it’s impact
- ETA victims & prisoners
- Catholic church as it proceeds through the investigations
The verse for this week centered on light. The following verse carried the message well:When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”