News for prayer for Week of June 13, 2022

Headline News:

The Spanish legislature is attempting to introduce legislation that would make prostitution illegal, as currently it’s not illegal and quite a gray area in the law. In Gipuzkoa it is estimated that ~700 people work in this industry. Most of them are from Brazil and Columbia. An organization that works with these women in Gipuzkoa is concerned that the new law will make it worse for these women and push them further to the fringe of society.

The Sunday paper included an article with interviews from 4 different people of Catholic faith. They were a young pastor, retired pastor, person of faith (catholic roots) and a catholic. The article title included the following statements: the church not being in style, problems of the church and Gipuzkoa becoming more secularized. All 4 of the people had hope and different suggestions for how the church could become relevant in society again.

Economy:

The restaurant businesses are quite concerned about the upcoming summer season because they do not have the wait staff to support the demand they are expecting this summer. This will be the first summer in 2 years that will not have restrictions on hours open, mask mandates or limits on maximum people inside/at a table. This industry was hit particularly hard during the pandemic and hiring of new staff has been slow for them. Options are being explored on how to help this industry including how foreigners, who may not have full residency, can be hired and changing the minimum wage.

The Central European Bank announced that at the end of July they will be raising interest rates. This will be the first time for a rate increase in 11 years. The current plan is for it to be 0.25%. They will monitor the inflation situation and may make another adjustment in September.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 8,390.60,  a 3.83% loss for last week.

Political:

June 29 & 30 Madrid Spain will be hosting a meeting for NATO. The meeting will have leaders of 30 different nations visiting the city. Security for the event is a key item. The air space in Madrid will be restricted and the city will have an additional 35000 security personnel to ensure protection. The three areas they currently have concern about is an attack are: Jihadist, violent protest from opposition groups or a group upset about the Russian-Ukraine invasion.

The Spanish court system ruled last week that ETA prisoners would no longer be required to write an apology letter to victims as part of the transfer process. It was argued that some did not have definitive victims and it should not be required. The article ended with parts of a letter from a prisoner talking about his reflections of his actions.

The diplomatic relations between Spain and Algeria are a bit tense at the moment. Last week Algeria attempted to put some economic sanctions in place against Spain. They are saying this is due to Pedro Sánchez having conversations with Moroccan authorities to discuss some trade options. The EU is stepping in and trying to better understand the situation and help address the tension.

International:

The Russia-Ukraine invasion still has a good amount of coverage in the international section. Other articles were: Celebration of Queen Isabel II Platinum jubilee, another French election and US gun violence/control.

Sports:

The Spain National Team is currently playing in the UEFA Nations League Tournament. They are currently in League A Group 2, where they finished in 1st place. The next set of games will be in June of 2023.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Women working in prostitution
  • Church influence in Gipuzkoa
  • Basque Economy (Restaurants & workers)

The verse for the week:

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2 NLT

News for prayer for Week of March 7, 2022

Headline News:

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.

Economy:

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.

Political:

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 Sánchez 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.

International:

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.

Sports:

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:

Prayers points:

  • Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the wide reaching impacts
  • COVID-19
  • 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