News for prayer for Week of May 16, 2022

Headline News:

Addictions are seeing a rise here in Gipuzkoa. One organization that helps people with addictions saw a ~18% increase in people seeking them for assistance. While alcohol is the largest substance abuse, they say it has stabilized. Cocaine saw the greatest increase for substances people needed help with.

The celebration of first communion is quite large here. For the first time in 2 years they are being celebrated without restrictions. Some 2000 young boys and girls will take part in the ceremonies. Restaurants, dress and suit stores, photographers and hairstylists are reporting a significant increase in use of services for this celebration. The paper reported that families usually spend ~2600€ for the event.

COVID cases were not mentioned in the papers I bought. It seems to be focused currently on the impacts and not so much on the number of cases. I’ll include updates as appropriate moving forward.

Economy:

Amazon has decided not to open a second facility here in Basque Country. This had been in the planning stages for over a year and several businesses were not excited about the facility opening due to the impacts to businesses that could happen. The owner of the facility believes others will be interested in using the space for transportation.

Inflation in the Basque country was reported at 8.4% in April, slightly down from the 9.5% in March. During this time salaries have only increased 1.5%. Questions are being asked on what to do in order to help with the situation. 

The IBEX35 ended last week on a small upward trend closing at 8,338.10,  a 0.19% increase last week.

Political:

The number of ETA prisoners in jails that are in Basque Country or Navarra is currently at 104. While the remaining prisoners are in other parts of Spain (65) and France (29). Most of the moves to bring the ETA prisoners closer to Basque Country have occurred while Sánchez has been the leader of the Government.

The national security agency in Spain continues to make headlines for the installation of spy software on cell phones. New leadership has been installed and they realize the difficult road ahead of them as they try to re-establish confidence in the job needed to be done to protect Spain after the incident. This is also affecting Pedro Sánchez as he looks for how to manage the crisis that happened during his leadership. The judicial system is also reviewing what role it played in the approval given to the agency and sees some faults.

International:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to carry a significant portion of international coverage. A few other headlines were: COVID cases starting in North Korea, elections in the United Kingdom and Finland and Sweden requesting to join NATO.

Sports:

Real has won the last two games they played and secured a spot in the Europa League for next year. The team has one game left in the season on Sunday against Atletico Madrid.

GBC is currently in 11th place and in order to qualify for the end of the season playoffs they will need to move up 2 places. They play the 9th place team this weekend, so a chance does exist that they qualify though it requires help to do so.

The women’s handball team Bera Bera won another league title over the weekend. This team has had quite the history over the past 15 years. They have won the league title 8 times and 13 other titles from tournaments. Quite the accomplishment for this club!

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Addiction Recovery
  • Inflation Impacts
  • Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the wide reaching impacts

The verse for this week was focused on lament, this one seemed to fit well.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!

Psalm 130:1

News for prayer for Week of February 21, 2022

Headline News:

The big headline as of late last week is the schism that happened in the PP party. I’ll discuss it in the political section below.

Over the last week COVID cases have continued the downward trend. This is good news considering that our restrictions have been greatly reduced. Night clubs are open and the first large community gatherings are starting to happen. One happened this past Saturday night, called Caldereros here in Donostia. Then tomorrow (Thursday, February 24) Fat Thursday starts the kick off of carnaval in a nearby town of Tolosa.  With the number of cases down significantly normal surgeries have restarted at the hospital.

The trial of a serial sexual predator who assultated women for 7 years in Lasarte-Oria (small town just outside of Donostia) has started. They believe he assaulted at least 10 women. During the trial it was reported that he used chloroform to subdue the women in the attacks. They were able to confirm his identity thanks to DNA.

The sexual abuse that happened in the catholic church continues to be reported on. An independent council of 18 people has been established to review all the cases. The two focuses of the council are to review the previous work done by the dioceses and to establish contact with the victims. The Basque Government made a statement that it condemns what happened and will make available all protocols to hold those responsible for what happened.

Economy:

The cost of inflation for January reported at 6.1% which is down 0.4% compared to December. This was the second straight month that it was above 6%. These levels have not been seen in almost 30 years. Salaries are not expected to match this pace. The expectation for February is to be 7.1%, while the whole year is expected to be 4.6%.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a small upward trend closing at 8,590.00, a 0.01% increase for the week.

Political:

As stated above, the headlines have been focused on the schism that is happening in the PP party, who are considered conservative. The news broke last week after Ayuso (a member of the PP who leads the city of Madrid and has been rising in popularity) made accusations against Casado, the current leader. The accusations are that the leaders in the by PP party were attempting to discredit Ayuso and were investigating irregularities with a purchase made in April of 2020. The purchase in question was done by Ayuso’s brother for 250K FFP2 and FFP3 masks for ~1.5 million euro. One leader has already stepped down and there is a call for Casado to step down as well.

International:

The focus of a majority of the international headlines has been the conflict between Russia – Ukraine and the response of the rest of the world. Easing of some EU border control regarding COVID restrictions starting March 1 was also reported on.

Sports:

Real Sociedad played two games last week. The first was for the Europa League, in which they are in the playoffs of one home game and one away game. The first game was played in Leipzig (Italy) and the result was a 2-2 tie. The next game is at home tomorrow (Thursday, Feb 24). On Sunday it was back to La Liga play in which they played their Basque rival Athletic Bilbao to the result of a 0 – 4 loss. This moves the team to 7th place overall. The next La Liga game is Sunday against Osasuna. 

GBC has played two games since my last update. The first was against Estudiantes which was a 54 – 72 loss. Next they played against in-province rival Juaristi Iraurgi. The result was a 80 – 70 victory. The team is currently in 9th place, last spot for the end of the season playoff. The next game is March 6 against Leyma Coruna.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • COVID-19 continue downward trend
  • Impacts of inflation
  • Political stability in Spain & the world

The verse for this week focused on peace given all that is going on. I thought this verse fit well:

And the Peace of God, Which Transcends All Understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:7