News for prayer for Week of July 25, 2022

Headline News:

Last week this area experienced a heat wave for several days. It resulted in a red alert given the high temperature. The temperatures were in the upper 90s to low 100s for those days. Many in this region do not have air conditioning so cooling off can be a bit of a challenge especially in the small towns. The heat wave saw an increase in forest fires for Spain that have affected hundreds of acres of land thus far. Thankfully the heat wave broke and temperatures have returned to be more pleasant.

The results of the selectivity exam have been sent to students and the application process for university has opened. The number of applications is over 19000 to attend the Basque University system. The score of the selectivity exam is competitive as it determines which field they can study. When applying the students have to rank the areas they’d like to study. Most will likely get to the second or third choice depending on which one’s they chose.

Economy:

Inflation over the last week was a headline item and also discussed in the political and economy sections of the paper. The political conversation was what the government can do to help the current situation as inflation is over 10%. In the economy section the Central Bank of Europe raised rates 0.5% the most it has done in 22 years in an attempt to limit the future impacts. This is after a 0.25% raise in June. The article shared how the Eurozone was in alignment with the policy moving forward to address the issue. It was also a headline article on Sunday sharing how people in Gipuzkoa have reduced spending by 7.5%. Additionally, stores are seeing consumers move to general brands versus name brands as they look for ways to save in stores.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a small upward trend closing at 8,051.60, a 1.33% increase for last week.

Political:

Urkullu, the president of the Basque Country, is looking for ways to build pacts with other parties as the region exits the COVID-19 situation and moves forward. Parties are looking to address areas that have not been addressed recently. They have seen success with political cooperation in the past with updates made to the education system. A couple of the concerning areas highlighted in the article were the public hospital system, increase in social program spending, birth rate (which was reported as one of the lowest in Europe) and minimum income. The problems with public health care were front page news, as people are needing to wait longer for emergency care and to visit the doctor.

The PP party continues to gain momentum in Spain. Last week the latest poll figures were released. It showed that for the first time with the new PP leadership of Tezanos, now having 1.9% advantage over PSOE. PSOE is the party currently in power of the Spanish government. The PP party gained 3.1% in the poll, while PSOE lost 1%. PSOE leadership under Sánchez is trying to recover before the next election cycle. The current trajectory for the next elections would be a year and a half, though that could change.

International:

Here were some key headlines: The heat wave that affected the United Kingdom, Italy and France where temperatures were over 100º F, Russian invasion of Ukraine with the EU taking additional sanctions, Political situation in Italy as it will be the 68th new government since WWII.  

Sports:

Real Sociedad has started its preseason play. Over the off season they had several new players added and are looking forward to the return of Oyarzabal after his knee injury last year. They have played two games with one being a loss and the other a draw. Two more preseason games exist before the start of the season on August 14.

The Tour De France ended on Sunday. The winner was Jonas Vingegaard, a 25-year-old who suffered from anxiety at the start of every stage. It was reported that his favorite race in his career was the Itzulia, which happens here in Basque Country, he specifically talked about the 2021 race where he had a mental change. He will also be racing in the San Sebastián Classic that happens this Saturday.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Economic impacts from inflation
  • Political unity
  • Heat wave impacts

The verse for the week:

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

2 Peter 3:9 NLT

News for prayer for Week of July 11, 2022

Headline News:

COVID has made its way back into the news. One area is the impact they are now seeing on the admittance to the hospital for assistance with mental health. They reported that those between the ages of 11 to 17 have seen the largest increase, 45% since 2019. In 2021 they have also seen a rise in the number of patients that need to re-enter within 30 days after leaving, with a majority of those being girls. The other is the number of cases due to summer festivals. In this region some type of festival/celebration will be happening every weekend through September. For the areas that have had a festival they have seen the number of cases double. Some are calling this the seventh wave as people have once again started returning to pharmacies to buy at home tests.

It has been 25 years since the assassination of Basque politician Miguel Ángel Blanco. The paper I read had a 24 page pullout walking through the events of the assassination. On Sunday a ceremony was held to remember the event. Those in attendance included King Felipe, President Sánchez, Iñigo Urkullu, leader of the Basque government, several other leaders from the Spanish and Basque governments and members of his family. This event changed people’s perception to be more against ETA in Basque Country and greater Spain.

Economy:

Inflation has gone over 10% as of June, the final number was 10.2%. Previous months had it in the upper 9% range, as discussed before these numbers continue to be the highest seen in over 40 years. One of the principal reasons for the increase was the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the reduced availability of grains. These grains are basic ingredients in several items, one of them is feed for animals, which impacts meat prices as well. The government is attempting to figure out what can be done to address the issue.

With tourism starting to ramp up in the region the workers in the accommodations sector went on strike to improve some conditions. The agreement between workers and businesses had not been refreshed since 2019. Originally the strike was supposed to last for 3 days, fortunately it only lasted 24 hours. One key change was a pay increase of 0.8% in addition to inflation cost for 2022 through 2024. 

The IBEX35 ended last week on a slight downward trend closing at 8100.30,  a 0.93% decrease for last week.

Political:

On June 19 elections were held in Andalucia and the results were historic. The PP party won 32 seats and VOX gained 2. The absolute majority for the legislature is 55 so PP now has full control without needing an agreement with another party. Voter participation was at 58%, slightly higher than 2018. PP is also looking to see how they can have greater influence in Basque Country. PP is beginning to gain confidence about unseating PSOE as the currently prominent political party in Spain. 

International:

Here are a few key items from the international section here: French President Macron preparing the upcoming changes in government after his party lost the absolute majority, Boris Johnson, UK Prime minister, stepping down, and the assassination of Shinzo Abe in Japan. The Roe vs Wade decision got a special pull out on the Sunday after the decision was made, where the author was from Texas talking about the impacts the change has made in the state.

Sports:

The sports normally covered in this section are in the off season. One item of note is that San Sebastian is one of the 15 locations to be a host stadium for the 2030 FIFA world cup. The winner will be announced in May or June 2024.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Mental health
  • Impacts of rising prices on households
  • Political unity

The verse for the week:

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Romans 15:4 NLT