Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thank you!

So my semester assignment is ending, and I have to say I have really enjoyed blogging! It was definitely something new for me, and it was refreshing to be able to educate myself and others on another country, and their current events. Thank you to everyone who was able to check out my page, comment on my blogs, and display interest for my assignment. I hope to be able to have time after I graduate to continue, but for now, gracias y adios!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

ETA Assassination Plans for King Revealed

The French intelligence revealed news of ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) - a Basque group for "Basque Homeland and Freedom", previous 2004 plan to bomb the plane carrying King Juan Carlos. The plans state that this was to be done with use of surface to air missile, according to an article. The plans, found by French security on property close to the Spanish border in southern France, according to an article, also contained plans targeting the prime minister and his cabinet. The materials were said to not have progressed to "planning stages" according to statement provided by Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba to AP the plans never made it to planning stages. According to another article, it was said by the Spanish publication, El Correo, that the authorities on the case "consider that the information gathering phase was very advanced." When they arrived at the location, they found CDs that contained the information which proved the plans, along with leftovers from an fired missile. There was also a previous threat in 1995 the police arrested three ETA hit men who had set up a rifle on a tripod in attempts to shoot the King on his yacht in Balearic, the capital of Palma.

(Photo credit: Junko Kimura/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Cabinet Shuffle Provides Spain with New Minister for Education

Under the ever recent popular cabinet shuffle, Prime Minister Zapatero has appointed a new minster for education as well. Ángel Gabilondo, who according to an article, is the senior academic and administrative officer for University of Madrid since 2002, and will also be taking responsibility for the Spanish universities - assuming the duties from Christina Garmendia. The decision seems to be a positive one, as Gabilondo is respected amongst the other universities and has, according to an article, already promised, ""‘firmness and dialogue’ with students in what is known as the Bologna Process, the creation of a European Higher Education Area by 2010 by establishing a common structure of higher education systems across Europe."" I really appreciate and respect the emphasis he has also placed on decreasing the failure rate in universities, and his motivation to create an overall flow in all levels of education throughout the country. His overall theme and view for the next few years: "achieve an ‘integrated and global view of education".
(Photo Credit: EFE)

El Mundo

One of Spain's main newspapers, El Mundo, has reviews recorded on a website, The website provides a review of each daily newspaper, including an overview of what the publication provides for its ever dedicated readers, and those who are just curious. I think it is a great way of catching up on the current events in the country, as the site has summaries of all published stories. Click on the link provided below to see whats new today en la España!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spain begins Alhambra Inscription Translation

As far as I knew, the Alhambra was a hotel here in St. Augustine - not a previous place designed for military use, then eventually residency for royalty in Granada, Spain. According to an article, experts in Spain have decided to take on the project of translating and cataloging all estimated 10,000 Arabic derived carvings of the Alhambra. According to the article, some of the researchers are surprised this has never been a projected task before, ""It is hard to believe that this had never been done before," lead researcher Juan Castilla told The Associated Press.""
Since the turnover of Muslim "law" in Spain in 1492, the translation of the Alhambra has been a goal of the ruling royalty. Since the turnover of Muslim “law” in Spain in 1492, the translation of the Alhambra has been a goal of the ruling royalty. The projected completion date is 2011, with already a third of the inscriptions recorded on CD including translations to Spanish-language, according to the article, only 10 percent of the translations will follow back to Qu'ran origin; contrary to the majority belief that all translations would originate from the Islamic religious text. According to the article, the reasoning for all the inscription was because the the "sultan's wanted to leave a record of their presence" - evidence of their convictions for belief in God and it was also their way of decorating, as Islam doesn't encourage a "representation of art". The art, the inscriptions, are said to create a book of poetry on the walls, one that will hopefully be fully revealed under the time plan Spain's experts have of now.

(Photo Credit:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Controversial Abortion Powerpoint in Classroom Sparks More Law Reformation Issues

The level of controversy amongst Spain's Catholic residents, and the Prime Minister is at a steady increase. In the past month or so there have been multiple protests, on both sides of the issue, and in particular a north Spain parochial school, Purísima Concepción y Santa María Micaela school, located in Logroño (northern Spain). The teacher, Sister Maria Victoria Vindel, according to an article, showed her 15 year old students a PowerPoint presentation which contained graphic images of aborted children. The images provided by Sister Vindel were classified by the regional government, which is run by Popular Party, as "inappropriate" and could "constitute "moral aggression"". This uproar is just one of the several ways the Catholic community is rejecting prime minister Zapatero's abortion law reformation. The article, 'Spanish Leader Picks Fight With Catholic Church' has a bit of a negative undertone, but directly applies to the situation at hand. Although there appears to be an even distribution of opinion to each side, Spain being dominantly Catholic, this continued topic of reformation has spiked some upset among those against and for it. According to the article, members of some of the Catholic brotherhoods who are participants in the processions for Holy Week have pinned white ribbons on their robes, with tiny footprints on it as a sign of protest. Bishops are beginning to reflect their opinion and their strong advisement to not adhere to the new reformation in their sermon's at Sunday mass celebrations. Zapatero's push for this reformation is unfortunately going to cause a lot of issues in the country he needs to keep and continue to gain favoritism in. It is thought by some that the reformation of the law may keep women from late term abortions, but there have been cases before that show this would mend this issue.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Solbes Ousted Under Pressure

During Spain's cabinet "reshuffle" today, Prime Minister Zapatero's most experienced cabinet member, Finance Minister Pedro Solbes was outsted. Although he does hold a strong background, his, according to an article, "...weariness with dealing with a collapsing economy and with battling within the government against extending Spain’s fast-growing fiscal deficit had become palpable." Solbes has been replaced with trained engineer, and minister for public administration, Elena Salgado. Salgado has served under Zapatero once before as a minister, and is praised by the Prime Minister for her management skills. Zapatero and Solbes have had their differences on several issues including public sector spending; which according to the countrys stimulus plan escalated to €50 billion, $66.3 billion. Although Solbes proved decline in
ability to manage the growing economic crisis, the fact that Zapatero has chosen someone from his "inner circle" makes those around him question Salgado's ability to fill the shoes, and to improve the current standing. The concern is that he, Zapatero, according to an article, is, "putting his immediate political concerns ahead of economic management." Luckily, Solbes left office having said just four months prior, once hearing of a planned shift in cabinet, that, "at a certain age, one thinks that one has to have a life too." Hopefully Salgado will be able to prove the initial judgements wrong, and assist Spain in a push towards a more positive direction. (Photo credit: