The cover page images for the 4 papers last week were the following: The mayor presenting the honorary drum for Tamborada, children preparing for Tamborada, children in the street as they were preparing to perform in the Tamborada parade and image from a town showing the family where the last person born was 2017.
From the cover images you can see that Tamborada was a big story last week. While the adult parades were canceled, they still had parades for the children. The children’s parades were held in 5 different parts of the city, with only a small number of schools participating. On Wednesday there was a ceremony to present the different honorary positions for those who were participating in the children’s parade. The attendance was limited and the program much shorter to comply with COVID health requirements. The mayor communicated a message of hope that 2023 would see a return to what the past celebrations looked like. While there was no “official” Tamborrada kick-off at midnight some 300 people gathered in Constitution plaza, which is where it normally officially kicks off, as an impromptu start to the celebrations.
COVID continues to be a topic across a multitude of areas. One area impacted was the number of people who were unable to work. Over an 18 day period the hospital system communicated that 85,000 people were unable to work. They also shared that in a two week period they had received close to 1 million calls. The number of cases in the residential homes is also higher than the previous waves. In addition residential home workers are also seeing a high number of positives. Youth vaccination as of late last week had only seen about 50% have received one shot. This puts us at the average for the rest of Spain. The director of the Hospital Donostia shared that more than 1000 operations per month are being postponed due to COVID. The hospital workers and supporters had a protest on Sunday as they looked for more support. A large number of them are retiring and currently the investment from the Basque government is below the average when compared to the rest of Europe.
The first 4 pages of the Sunday paper talked about the population drop in Basque Country. The statistics are showing that the national population is decreasing and young people do not have a desire to have children. The government is exploring options to help increase the birth rates as a large percentage of the population is older and nearing retirement.
The Bank of Spain has come out making a commitment to have inflation under 2% by the end of the year. At the end of last year inflation was at 6.5%, which was the highest it’s been in almost 30 years. They are planning to follow the lead of the US system as it plans some rate adjustments during the coming year. The risks to the current outlook are geopolitical tension and steady salaries, which includes pension payments.
The Basque Country economy continues its recovery. In November for the first time since COVID started the exports were greater than before the start of the pandemic. The country saw a 22.7% increase in exports in 2021 when compared to the same time frame of Jan through Nov of 2020. Two of the biggest areas that have seen increases are ship building and agricultural and livestock.
The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 8,694.70, a 1.27% decrease for the week.
The tension between the Spanish and Basque Government is increasing. One reason is the changes to the labor laws and the impact the Basque government may be able to have over them. Another reason was how much was shared out of the EU funds that have been allocated to Spain. The amount shared was considerably less than what was expected based on the initial criteria communicated on for the distribution of those funds.
Spain has the CIS which is the Sociological Research Center and they perform regular surveys in the country. The recent survey for the political climate was released last week. It showed the current political power PSOE gaining 0.5%, PP, the party directly behind them gained 0.7% and VOX gained 0.1%. They also reported that 27.4% of those surveyed had confidence in Pedro SÃ¡nchez, while 69.3% said they had little or no confidence in him.
Here are a few headlines from the international section: Boris Johnson’s dealing with accusations over violations of COVID protocol, election of a new leader for European Parliament, which is Roberta Metsola – a 43 year old female from Malta, Russia and Ukraine conflict (Spain has already sent fighter jets to assist) and upcoming elections in Italy.
Real Sociedad played Atletico Madrid on January 19 which was the night before Tamborrada started. The team helped start the festivities with a 2-0 win. Though some of the fans got carried away as they impeded the exit of the Atletico Madrid team. The paper had several different interviews about how disappointed various leaders were with this behavior. On Sunday the team returned to LaLiga play where they played against Getafe with the result being a 0-0 tie. That puts them in 6th place overall in LaLiga. The next game is a King’s Cup Game on Feb 3 against Betis.
GBC has played two games since the last news for prayer. The first was against Prat which resulted in a 81 – 70 victory. This was the first game played at home since December 12, as such it was an important win for the team. The next game was against CastellÃ³n. It was a 69-77 loss. The team is currently 7th place overall. The next game is on Sunday against Alma.
In July of 2023 the Tour de France will spend the first three stages in Basque Country. The first is in Bilbao, second is a ride from Vitoria to Donostia and finally Amorebieta to Baiona. It is the second time for the city of Donostia to host the race. The route plans are being discussed and will include several different points in the region.
Prayer Points and verse for the week:
- COVID-19 and its continued impacts
- Interactions between the Spanish and Basque Government
- Basque population struggles
The verse for this week centered on moving forward as we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic. This verse spoke to me as I looked through different ones.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17