The Spanish Challenge: 19/04/2012

Hello loyal reader,

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1. **SPAIN IS GOOD AT SOMETHING…!!**. No, it really, really is. In 2010, it beat Germany as Europe’s top wind energy producer, although the Germans beat us in capacity. Now it’s third in the world, behind the US and China. ([ABC][wind])

2. **GROSS: SPAIN, AN UNTRUSTWORTHY TUMOUR**. Don’t get too excited, though. Bond company PIMCO’s cofounder, Bill Gross, has attacked Spain on CNBC. He says the Spanish debt market is “*an artificially controlled market*” that he doesn’t trust one little bit. ([CNBC][defiar])

3. **FORGET ABOUT ABDICATION**. Sources from the King’s Household have told Público that “*categorically*” there are to be no thoughts of abdication for the moment. ([Público][abdicar])

4. **LARA WANTS A REFERENDUM**. United Left is taking advantage of the moment to ask for a referendum on the monarchy in Spain. Don’t miss the quote: “*We don’t understand how someone, because he is someone else’s son, has to be head of State. What if he’s daft? Do we have to put up with a stupid head of State?*” After the King’s little trip to Botswana, I would say quite a few Spaniards would support this idea. ([Público][lara])

5. **EUROPEAN VOTE AGAINST ARGENTINA…?** The European Parliament is preparing a vote on the Argentina-YPF affair, and on whether or not to suspend tariff advantages Argentina enjoys. They’re only talking of a “*possible partial solution*”, though. I’m not seeing those ‘*clear and forceful*’ measures the Spanish government was talking about. ([El Mundo][ue])

6. **VIDEO GAME SALES FALL 15%**. Video games are a billion-dollar industry in Spain and we see today that sales of new games, hardware and accessories fell 15% in 2011. Spanish players spent €173 million less on video games than in 2010. This appears to fit with the logic of a general deleveraging and increasing biflation. ([5 Días][juegos])

7. **A GHOST MARINA WITH 1,200 MOORINGS**. The useless infrastructure story of the day comes via Libre Mercado. There is a marina up in Laredo (Cantabria) with 1,200 empty moorings, thanks to a financial disagreement between the local government and the company that was awarded the operating contract, to the tune of €28 million.([Libre Mercado][amarres])

8. **€30 MILLION SAYS THE KIDS DON’T GO TO SCHOOL**. In Valencia and Alicante, the school bus companies also have a financial disagreement with the Valencian education department, for about €30 million. This means children won’t be travelling to school on the bus on Wednesdays and Fridays from now on, starting next week. ([El País][tpt])

9. **ETA HAS NO WEAPONS OR EXPLOSIVES**. According to the Spanish Home Secretary, who further thinks the terrorist group has a: “*greatly weakened structure in the south of France*”and that the group “*does not have the operational capacity to attack again as it has done for 40 years.*” ([Libertad Digital][eta])

10. **SPANISH POPULATION NOW 47.21 MILLION PEOPLE**. New Spanish population figure out today: there are 47,212,990 of us here as of January 1, 2012, an increase of slightly more than 22,000 people compared to last year. 12.1% are foreigners. We need a new plan, quickly. ([La Razón][poblacion])

Thanks for reading.

Regards from Murcia,