Política, Brexit, turismo, actualidad, mercado inmobiliario, finanzas, Cataluña, medios y ecologismo son algunos de los temas que trata este boletín informativo

09/07/18. Opinión. El periodista Lenox Napier repasa la actualidad española en su boletín semanal Business Over Tapas, al que puede suscribirse por 60 euros anuales. Puede obtener más información en su web (AQUÍ) o en su perfil (AQUÍ). EL OBSERVADOR / www.revistaelobservador.com ofrece este contenido tres días después de su lanzamiento...

EDITORIAL

WE are defended from the threat of ‘invasive species’ by laws, the Ministry of the Environment and the sterling is sometimes arbitrary work of the ecologists. Without them, Spain would be full of peculiar animals, fish, birds and plant-life. As we know, it pretty much is anyway.


TO combat the uninvited guests that sometimes take over from the autochthonous species (no Briton is unaware of the Gray Squirrel that was introduced from Canada to the UK a hundred and fifty years ago, only to drive the native Red Squirrel almost to extinction), the front-line in our defence is sometimes pushed to take extreme measures.

WHILE no one will admit it, the Black Snout Weevil (here), cousin to the palm-killing Red, was almost certainly brought in to eradicate the Agave plantation near the Almería airport – a plantation that’s been there for around 100 years and has been an indignant thorn in the flesh of every true-blue ecologist since then. Why, we have no idea, since nothing else grows there anyway. Their large white grub, by the way, is that thing you find in the bottom of a bottle of mescal.

THE snout weevils have now been introduced – one way or another – and are doing a splendid job in reducing the agave not only near the airport, but in private gardens across the province, joining the Red Palm Weevil and the Cochineal Fly in killing Spain’s palm trees and prickly pear (all, even the palm tree, ‘invasive species’). Another concern of our zealous friends are the cotorras (here), the large green Argentinean parrots that have escaped from captivity and currently infest city parks in much of the Spanish territory. This ‘green demon’ – around 30,000 of them – is taking over from the Madrid sparrow, says Antenna 3 (video).

THE ecologists, including SEO-Birdlife, Amigos de la Tierra, Greenpeace, WWF and Ecologistas en Acción, are currently at odds with the Government which is allowing certain ‘invasive species’ the right to stay – as they are fun to hunt and eat. The Black Bass, carp, pike, catfish and so on (here).

NOT that one should worry unduly – but there are probably some ecologists who might go so far as to consider us foreign residents as ‘an invasive species’. Just kiddin’.

HOUSING

A new clause appearing in some urbanisations and communities makes the buyers agree never to offer their apartments or homes to Airbnb and similar tourist schemes – the story is at Hay Derecho here.


‘THE number of Brits buying their dream home on the Costa del Sol has doubled in the run-up to Brexit. Estate agencies have reported a 100% year-on-year increase in purchases by UK buyers over the past 12 months...’. From The Olive Press here.

EL Mundo must have seen last week’s BoT editorial: here they are comparing the population increase in the Scottish Highlands due to some intelligent planning with the abandoned interior of Spain.

THERE has been lots of talk about how Brexit will hit Brits living in other EU countries, but what about people who live in the UK but own property on the continent? Plenty of Brits have bought holiday homes across the other 27 EU states, both for their own use and to rent out to other holidaymakers. They benefit hugely from EU membership, which makes it much easier to buy properties abroad and protects them from local laws which may affect them adversely...’. A (panicky?) article at In Facts here.

TOURISM

DESPITE occasional news suggesting that Spain had reached its peak in international tourist numbers, Agent Travel reports that in the first five months of 2018, visitors increased by 2% over 2017 (that’s to say: a count of 28,600,000 January – May). El País is nevertheless rather gloomy with the same figures to hand, noting a fall in British and German visitors.

SPANISH chambermaids (known in Spain as ‘las Kellys’ – ‘We get just 2.30€ to clean a hotel room’: 20 Minutos here) are fed up. The Guardian reports that they are seeking the help of Tripadvisor to get better conditions.

FINANCE

HACIENDA prints its annual list of those who owe more than a million euros in tax. The list is here. The story, with El Mundo, here. One of the debtors is Arturo Fernandez and his four ‘Cantoblanco’ companies says El Independiente here.


WILL this be taken further asks El Independiente: ‘The Government proposes a fiscal revolution to make the self-employed (‘autónomos’) pay for their real income. "It is unreasonable for a self-employed person with an income of 150 euros per month to have to pay a fee of 300 euros", says the Minister of Employment’.

PREFERENTE writes ‘In Defence of the AVE’ here. Following the critical report from the European Court of Auditors about the AVE (see it here), the newspaper accepts the high level of corruption within the service but says ‘...The AVE is not the problem, then, since the train is socially and environmentally profitable. And the AVE, even without enough passengers, is taking Spain - which until 25 years ago was one of the western European states with the worst rail communications - out of the times of deficient communication, still suffered today in Extremadura, parts of Andalucía, the Basque Country and the territories of the coveted Mediterranean Corridor. The problem is not the AVE, nobody should be mistaken, but corrupt management in the decision-making on many of the routes and priorities’.

‘ANDALUCÍA will allow fortune to visit the regional marinas by extending their franchise by another 75 years. The PSOE, PP and Ciudadanos agree on a law to ensure that marinas such as Puerto Banus, Sotogrande, Almerimar etc are not affected by the Ley de Costas. This agreement contravenes the Government's guarantees’. More at El Confidencial here.

WHILE the PP idea seemed to be - allow large building companies and banks to build toll roads (and then get the State to buy them back when they weren't being used enough by the motorists), the PSOE leans towards freeing up these roads when their franchise expires and making them toll-free. This item though, from La Ser, is about how medium-sized builders want 'in' on this and are supporting the idea of making all motorways toll-roads - the income to be spent on building more public infrastructure.

POLITICS

THE new leader of the Partido Popular should be more or less decided today. Of the six runners, the most likely continues to be Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría followed by Pablo Casals. The ‘primaries’ vote is held today Thursday, followed by an official party vote at the party congress to be celebrated on July 20th and 21st in Madrid. More at El Mundo here.


THE intention of vote in Andalucía is not changing much, with the PSOE still leading at over 38% support, Ciudadanos edging upwards into second and the PP downwards into third, and the Union Podemos remaining in fourth place. The left-wingers are trying a new tactic, says El Diario here, with ‘Podemos and IU presenting Adelante Andalucía as “an alternative to Susanismo without overtaking on the Right”’.

CATALONIA

‘ORIOL Junqueras and the rest of the imprisoned politicians arrive at the Catalan prison of Brians 2 while the two female prisoners Forcadell and Bassa travel to Puig de les Basses prison, in Figueres’. El País has the story.


GIBRALTAR

NO change. ‘Pedro Sanchez maintains the demands on Gibraltar in the 'Brexit' negotiations. The EU supports Spain in its request to the United Kingdom to accelerate the dialogue on the future of the Rock’. Headline from El Mundo. ‘Brexit ‘must work for Gibraltar’, PM tells Commons’ – the headline from The Gibraltar Chronicle here.


CORRUPTION

‘THE legal power to install a radar for speed control in the streets has been transferred to the town halls, and this is what Aplicaciones Gespol SL, a company integrated in Sacyr, took advantage of to obtain contracts in towns throughout Spain in exchange for commissions and gifts to mayors, councillors and municipal police chiefs. UDEF's ‘Operación Enredadera’ has resulted in 40 arrests and more than 92 searches says El Español here. The towns concerned are listed by El Confidencial here.


‘THE General Secretary of Justice of the Andalusian Regional Government, Eugenio Pizarro Moreno, has presented his resignation after being sentenced by the Criminal Court number 5 in Cádiz to one year in prison and to pay compensation of 4,940€ to his mother-in-law, from whom he stole jewellery from the family safe and then sold it in a gold shop...’. The incident occurred before his appointment as general secretary. La Información has the story here.

A dental franchise called iDental, which has collapsed, has produced one slightly disturbing consequence – all customers of the rogue company have been advised to take an HIV and Hepatitis C test says La Voz de Almería here.

BREXIT

‘BREXIT: the Human Cost’: a video in Spanish from La Ventana Rota at YouTube here.


‘BRITISH expats are living on one of Brexit’s front lines. But on a trip to the Costa del Sol, The New European finds them every bit as divided as those back in the UK, albeit with some crucial differences...’. Here, a rather bland article.

MEDIA

‘THE Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, also known as EU Copyright Directive and file 2016/0280(COD), is a proposed European Union directive with the stated goal to harmonise aspects of copyright law in the Digital Single Market of the European Union. It is an attempt to adjust copyright law for the Internet by providing additional protection to rightsholders. The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs approved the proposal on 20 June 2018, with further voting by the entire parliament required before it becomes law.


THE directive's proposals include giving publishers the ability to request payment for the use of short excerpts of text,  requiring for-profit websites who primarily host content posted by users to take "effective and proportionate" measures to prevent unauthorised postings of copyrighted content, and giving copyright exceptions for text and data mining by scientific research institutions.  As with all EU laws, both licences and exceptions will have to be implemented on a national basis. UK Member of Parliament Stephen Doughty also wants to see similar upload filters used to prevent "extremist material" on the Internet.

ON 26 April 2018, 145 organisations from the fields of human and digital rights, media freedom, publishing, libraries, educational institutions, software developers and Internet service providers signed a letter opposing the proposed legislation. Some of those opposed include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, European Digital Rights, various Open Knowledge chapters and Open Knowledge International itself, various Wikimedia chapters and as of 29 June 2018 the Wikimedia Foundation, owner of Wikipedia. Individuals who have publicly opposed the law include Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf, who raise concerns regarding the costs and effectiveness of upload filters and the negative effects on free speech online. A Change.org petition opposing the directive has garnered more than 720,000 signatures as of 3 July 2018. Groups that support the directive include many publishers and media groups. This includes David Guetta, three major music labels and the Independent Music Companies Association...’. From Wikipedia here.

‘COPYRIGHT Industries Reveal Their Ultimate Goal: An Internet Where Everything Online Requires A License From Them’. Headline from Techdirt here.

‘MUSIC publishing giants Warner/Chappell, Peer Music, Sony/ATV, Universal Publishing and BMG could leave Spanish rights’ society SGAE by the start of next year as a months-long spat over the “mistreatment” of broadcast rights heats up. ... “The goal could be to withdraw the management of most of the remaining rights within five years,” putting the publishers in direct competition with SGAE...’. From The Industry Observer here.

THE government has approved new directors for the national RTVE, swinging the TV and radio away from its previous right-wing tilt. El País has the story here.

CIUDADANOS manages to have a video critical of the party withdrawn from YouTube says Spanish Revolution here.

THE lawyers for the disgraced politician Cristina Cifuentes are seeking five years prison for both the editor and the journalist from El Diario for their revelation of the fake-master’s issue here.

WHAT’S the favourite TV channel, by region. Here (depressing).

WHY wait for the newspaper shop to open: Spain’s front-pages at Kiosco.net here.

ECOLOGY

EL Español has the eight most dangerous critters than live in Spain here.


FROM The Economist: ‘Forests in countries like Brazil and Congo get a lot of attention from conservationists, and it is easy to see why. South America and sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing deforestation on an enormous scale: every year almost 5m hectares are lost, net. But forests are also changing in rich Western countries. They are growing larger, both in the sense that they occupy more land and that the trees in them are bigger. What is going on? Forests are spreading in almost all Western countries, with the fastest growth in places that historically had rather few trees. In 1990 28% of Spain was forested; now the proportion is 37%...’.

MALDITA Ciencia is another site that corrects misinformation, fake scientific news and bulos. Here it looks at ‘detox drinks’ and considers them all a scam. Makes for good reading!

VARIOUS

THE Hooters franchise – the American restaurant with generously-endowed serving girls, beers and plates of chicken-wings – is popular with the fellows, but not with the blue-stockings. Spain’s only Hooters, in Castelldefels, has been closed down because it, ah, exploited the women working there. Poor things are much happier now, unemployed again.


‘ANDALUCÍA model makes history becoming first ever transgender woman crowned Miss Universe Spain. Seville-based Angela Ponce will represent her country at the finals later this year’. Headline from The Olive Press here.

TAKE your news with a pinch of snark – here’s Tim Parfitt.

THE IX Century Vozmediano Castle in Soria is collapsing, says El Español here.

FROM El Cano Royal Institute: Moroccans and the second generation among Jihadists in Spain’ (in English) here.

‘HOW to survive running with the bulls in Pamplona’ with The Local here. The Sanfermines start this Saturday.

SEE SPAIN

FROM Eye on Spain: ‘One of the finest examples of Spanish Gothic art - Burgos Cathedral’, here.

THE remarkably well-preserved remains of the Caliphate city of Medina Azahara, a medieval Arab Muslim town near the Spanish city of Córdoba, was added to Unesco's list of World Heritage sites on Sunday. The 10th-century Moorish site provides "in-depth knowledge of the now vanished Western Islamic civilisation of Al-Ándalus, at the height of its splendour," said Unesco's World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Bahrain...’. Item from The Local here.

GRANADA Hoy is pleased to say: ‘Spain’s premier walking city. Granada, with 91 kilometres of its streets closed to traffic, has been chosen by the Holidu holiday rental finder as the best place to go walkabout’.

FROM Mike Arkus: ‘Valencia, part 2: A fireworks extravaganza in broad daylight’. Here.

LETTERS

WILL linking to news items be taxed in some way? Apart from the obvious 'bringing fresh visitors to a news-site' and the suggestion that news now 'belongs' to those who report it (first), there is also the consideration that the Internet is a way of bringing information to all, rather than the apparent proposal of limiting its use to he who has a penny to spare. Lenox (from a Reddit discussion here).


UNDER the JURI proposal, the mere act of hyperlinking is to be exempt. But many hyperlinks carry with them fragments of material, such as a headline from a story or perhaps a thumbnail. The latter may be regarded as falling outside the exception introduced into Art 11(2a). In effect, the most useful links that provide information that will lead you to click might fall within the right. If so, using them would require the permission of the press publisher.

THERE is, however, uncertainty about this. The question will be how a tribunal is to assess what is a reproduction of "a part" of a "press publication." The Council version, on which they have delegated authority to negotiate in the "trialogue" part of the (bizarre) EU legislative process, leaves the criterion for assessing "part" to a Member State. So, it might be that these fragments will be covered in some but not all Member States. The JURI Committee has not altered the Commission proposal which itself gave no indication about how a "part" should be assessed. As I say elsewhere, some advocates for press publishers have stated their view that the right does cover the smallest fragments. All I can say is that if the Commission text is left as it was, we won't know until the matter has been decided by the Court of Justice of the EU.

PROFESSOR Bently is a Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property and Co-Director of Centre for Intellectual Property and Information law (CIPIL).

FINALLY

FROM the Clasijazz channel on YouTube: El Americano - Big Band de la Universidad de Almería here.