Política, Brexit, turismo, actualidad, finanzas, Cataluña, ecologismo, medios o corrupción son algunos de los temas que trata este boletín informativo

22/01/24. 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:

Why do we dislike adverts so much in our daily encounter with the computer?

It’s one thing, I suppose, to be bombarded with commercial messages when the service we use is free - like Facebook - but even there, the main product which that company - and don’t forget its grasping shareholders - lives from, is us chickens. 
We are the ones, we and our information, likes, dislikes, gender, age and location, which is sold to the companies who wish to better direct their products. The fact that a proportion of those advertisers (or ‘sponsors’) are attempting to sell us a dodgy product with ‘last few days’ discounts should warn us: but no - we fall for all these scams and traps.
Right now, a targeted advert from some obscure company which probably started business a week ago arrives every tenth post or so, telling me of the virtues of some household product which can cure everything, please read on… It's just a form of click-bait, a bit like the one you see in downmarket newspaper headlines. If you turn to it, the new page will offer a wordy article about the hundred different uses for Vicks Vapour Rub, for example, interspaced with endless adverts. Yes, the client company pays young Mark Z to place its advert, which is in turn, full of targeted adverts.
What are the moderators really there for - to stop some delightful girl from Denver writing to me out of the blue proposing a relationship if I only send her five thousand dollars?
If we expect it with Facebook (or the other social media pages which I must admit I’ve not sampled), then what of the ordinary news-sites?
Once again, if you don’t know what the product is, then it’s you. Which is why advertisers advertise.
This is particularly unarguable with a free newspaper. The blurb is just space that wasn’t sold by the sales-reps or the ad-manager. ‘We need some filler for page eight’ calls the fellow from layout from his bunker in the back office. Then perhaps, there’ll be some advertorial (that’s to say, paid-for copy) on page nine.
Adverts: so long as they aren’t too much of an irritation, then fine. But what about - and we return to the computer or the television screen - the pop-up advert that suddenly interrupts one’s reading?
Of course, the medium needs an income. There are staffers, writers, printers, photographers, distributors, lawyers, owners and shareholders to pay. But we have pay-walls, subscribers and a wealthy parent-company putting out its own angled-copy. So yes, advertisers too, but my point is that we don’t have to like them (Sorry!). Elon Musk certainly doesn’t.
As for the media-sites with pay-walls - do they expect us to get our news from a single source and shouldn't they be, in consequence, advert free? How many annual ransoms should one be paying to get the full range of reporting?
Mostly, one can get around them anyway with a simple paywall-bypass.
Then we have the war between the useful ad-block extension (a practical tool for the consumer) and the ad-block blockers, increasingly used by the media. It’s a struggle which will never end.
And so we come to YouTube, which will drop an ad-bomb half-way through a spoken sentence. In the same spirit of disorder, Spanish TV - which I rarely watch - will think nothing of interrupting a film with adverts, which understandably irritates the viewer while the mood is irretrievably lost. As a result of this, along with the manipulation in the news, along comes a report to say that TV watching has fallen again in favour of other options.
But what of subscription TV? How about when one has paid to be rid of those pesky plugs that ruin our viewing? What have we learned here? 
Simply this: that advertisements, or commercial interruptions, are a nuisance and a pest. If you pay enough as a subscriber and a streamer, you might be relieved of them.
At least in the novel I’m currently reading, which I got from the library, there aren’t any endorsements.
And then there’s the cinema - at least no one would dare stop the film to promote a fruit-drop.
Which brings us to this question - do we ignore the advertisers buzzing around like flies at the stables, or actively decide to avoid their products? 
It’s easy enough when it’s a BMW, but what about - and it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day - a certain fragrance pour l’homme, or maybe a lengthy message about the many uses for potato-peel?
One thing’s for sure - this article will never appear anywhere outside of my blog…

Housing:

Gerardo Vásquez is an Anglo-Spanish lawyer who has been concentrating on the issues of the ‘illegal homes’ in Andalucía and elsewhere since the scandal began in 2008. Here at Facebook, he writes in detail about AFOs (una vivienda Asimilado Fuera de Ordenacion). These are licences to inhabit an illegal property under certain conditions.

From Idealista (in English) here: The eviction process for unpaid rent is the judicial process that allows the landlord to regain control of their property if the tenant defaults on rent payments. Now, who can initiate an eviction process for unpaid rent? What is required? We explore all in this article.

An amusing article at Monocle tells us how to manage one’s way around Spain’s leading property site. It begins, ‘Idealista is the go-to property website in Spain (it also holds the same status in Italy and Portugal). It’s the perfect place to fritter away an hour of your life imagining a fresh start in Zaragoza, Valencia or a leafy suburb of Madrid (or to simply see how much your neighbours are selling their home for). Though it takes some getting used to, there’s a little tool that enables you to draw a search box on a map with the accuracy of a military drone operator. You can, for instance, pull up homes on a single street and then add numerous search filters. Nowhere can escape…’

Tourism:

FITUR is practically upon us (January 24th to 28th). The tourist fair in Madrid is the second largest in the world. Ifema has the details here.

From The Olive Press here: ‘Ryanair emerged victorious in its legal battle to be able to decide its own cabin baggage policy. The landmark ruling by a court in La Coruña underscores the airline’s ability to continue its policy of allowing one small personal bag for free. The free bag must measure 40 x 20 x 25 cm and fit under the seat in front, while for a fee a 10 kg piece of luggage (55 x 40 x 20 cm) can be brought on-board and stored in the overhead compartment...’

Ninety 180 is the simple, user-friendly, and accurate tool to check, plan, and maximise your 90 in 180 day rule visa-free Schengen travel allowance. The calculator performs the "rolling-window" calculation for you, allowing you to optimise your travel dates to make the most of your 90 in 180 day allowance.

Finance:

The minimum wage (salario mínimo inteprofesional) has risen retroactively from January 1st to 1,134€ per month (14 payments per year). Onda Cero has more here.

A graphic at 20Minutos shows what products have gone up the most in price in the past twelve months (and which ones fell). Examples: olive oil up by 55%; fruit juices up 15.5%. Natural gas down 20%; other cooking oils down 29%.

‘Spain is Doing Well - Such is the slogan PM Pedro Sánchez trumpets time and again when confronted with any topic concerning the Spanish economy. Former VP Nadia Calviño used to provide a more reasoned approach than this self-complacent appraisal. Growth, while modest, ranks higher than other European countries, fuelling reasonable employment rates even in a sluggish environment. Prices, little by little, are coming under control. Excessive public deficit and indebtedness are not running out of tune compared to others…’ Since this comes from The Corner here, there’ll be a ‘but…’

Politics:

Last Week’s shambles in the Parliament, where Podemos voted together with the PP, Vox and UPN to defeat the Government over increases in pensions, brings some questions beyond the obvious one of ‘what an earth is a small far-left party doing, joining against its brothers?’ elDiario.es calls it a ‘grave error’.

The Partido Popular has called for another anti-government demonstration for Jan 28, Vox say they won’t join in. El Independiente has the story. Together with the protests, the PP say they will open a barrage of legal actions against the Government over its submission to Junts per Catalunya and their erstwhile leader Carles Puigdemont says Expansión here.

‘Santiago Abascal seeks total control of Vox in the face of the new electoral cycle. His unexpected decision to bring forward to January 27 the National Assembly in which he will renew the leadership is internally interpreted as a sign of “weakness” and “fear” of a potential collapse of the far-right party’ says elDiario.es here. Indeed, by Wednesday, he had shuffled his team, putting Ignacio Garriga as his new vice-leader and moving both Jorge Buxade and Javier Ortega Smith back a step. Cadena Ser has the details.

Galicia:

Everyone is excited about the forthcoming regional elections in Galicia. This PP-held region will almost certainly remain true – and that is the hope not only in the capital Santiago de Compostela (La Coruña) but also in the breasts of the PP leadership in Madrid. Alberto Núñez Feijóo was the previous president of Galicia and it wouldn’t look good to lose this jewel in the PP’s crown. Galicia is four provinces (Pontevedra, Orense, La Coruña and Vigo), and the only likely rival is the regionalist BNP (but maybe, with the PSOE, they would have enough seats). Sumar and Podemos, stupidly at odds with each other, have probably little chance of gaining representation there. But wait, what is this- Izquierda de Almería (and, no, I’ve never heard of them) is fielding a candidature in Lugo for the elections.
Electomanía Galicia elections poll January 15th here.

Europe:

From Sur in English here: ‘Britons in Spain can now register to vote in the UK as the 15-year-away rule ends. Registration can be done via the UK government website from 16 January and voters do not need to have been registered previously’.

Health:

Flu is rampant, say the experts – get your jabs and stay safe. 20Minutos elaborates here.

Spain has been the world leader in transplants for the last 32 years and breaks its own record with 5,861 transplants in 2023 says Público here.

El Mundo looks at the yoghurts on offer in the supermarkets – which ones are genuine.

Corruption:

It’s no secret that the government of Mariano Rajoy was corrupt on various levels (it indeed fell thanks to a moción de censura in June 2018 - wiki), but new information has come to light showing how the then government practiced improper investigations on its rival parties. From elDiario.es here: ‘Rajoy's Government illegally investigated pro-independence parties for at least five years. The Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz personally received notices from different police units where false evidence was fabricated to attack the Catalan leaders’.

Media:

El País interviewed Pedro Sánchez this weekend and a shortened version of the video (eight minutes) is here. The full video is here. The headline reads: ‘The President of the Government assures that the legislature will be long and that political fragmentation implies reaching agreements with other political forces’.

Las Chirigotas are a tradition from Cádiz – where groups of minstrels dress up in outlandish costumes and perform comic songs at the expense of the Establishment during the Carnival Season (Wiki). This year though, they won’t be heard across Andalucía on Canal Sur Radio as at least one of the songs is critical of the President of Andalucía’s recent increase in wages. Only listeners in Cádiz will enjoy their songs this time. An example here.

‘The Xunta de Galicia distributes one million euros in institutional advertising to the media in the midst of the pellet crisis just 40 days before the regional elections’ elDiario.es here. Mind you, it spent a further 17 million in institutional advertising in the previous five months (Público here). Typically, these will be adverts placed in the media to promote Galician cuisine, tourism, industry or culture.

The PSOE requests that the accreditation in Congress be withdrawn from the pseudomedia that called the New Year's Eve protests in Calle Ferraz. The party considers that the events as reported in front of their national headquarters are of “extreme seriousness” and announces that it will withdraw the access credentials to the PSOE events from “all the pseudomedia participating in the broadcast of the event.” The media mentioned in the article at elDiario.es being: ‘EDA TV, Ok Diario, La Gaceta, Informa Radio, InfoVlogger, La Cosa Está Muy Negra and Periodista Digital’.

Various:

The King of Spain Felipe VI called for the international recognition of a Palestinian state in a speech last week, catching the PP and Vox parties on the wrong foot. We read that the PP has now expressed its plan to support the initiative.

Demonstrations against the war in Palestine are scheduled ‘for 78 Spanish cities’ on Saturday says Público here.

EH Bildu is the Basque left-wing party that emerged from Batasuna and the old days of ETA. It is one of the targets of the far-right, which has a long, if selective, memory. A councillor for Vox in the Diputación de Zamora recently brought along a bullet with him to the plenary session to illustrate his opprobrium over the recent change in government in Pamplona. 20Minutos has the story here.

Not everyone is enamoured with el feminismo. Apparently 44% of men think that the feminists have gone too far says CMMNoticias which breaks down the details here. Público says that conservatives are less keen on feminism that are the lefties (no surprise).

Following the times of the Civil War in Spain, food was scarce and recipes were simple: all in the pot. A new book called Las Recetas del Hambre (Amazon here) discusses the options available in those not-so-distant kitchens. Arroz de Franco (prepared with wheat instead of rice) anyone?

A tragic report from The Guardian here: ‘An average of 18 people a day died trying to reach Spain in 2023. The figure from the NGO Caminando Fronteras is nearly triple that of 2022, making last year the deadliest on record along the migration route’.

The latest entity to be hit with a cyber-attack is the town hall of Calvìa (Mallorca). The mayor says he won’t pay the ransom of nine million euros says Genbeta here. There’s more at The Olive Press here.

See Spain:

Ribadavia (Orense): ‘The fascinating town that became the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia: wine, a castle and a historic Jewish quarter’. 20Minutos has the story here.

From The Olive Press here, we read that Cudillero in Asturias (wiki) is a ‘fairytale’ location, full of ‘charm’ and empty of tourists. How long it will remain empty of tourists will be down to how many people read either The Olive Press or Business over Tapas.

An underground river is navigable by boat for 800 metres out of its three kilometres says EPE here. The adventure is in Coves de Sant Josep in Castellón.

Finally:

An hour and a half of ‘Beautiful Spanish Guitar Music, "Flamenco Guitar" Relaxing Music’ on YouTube here.

Too long? Here’s Gilipojazz with their peculiar Titotitoto.