Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Spain's Wednesday News: Zapatero & Rajoy; Bread & Butter; Valencia & Dubai


Zapatero vs. Rajoy: The big story today was the State of the Nation debate between socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy.
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Some say Zapatero was kicking off his re-election campaign with his promise to give families €2,500 ($3,400 or £1,700) for every newborn child. However, he claimed it was one way to encourage childbirth in a country with one of the lowest birth rates in the world. "We need more families and more children to progress in Spain," Mr Zapatero said.
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He also promised that the country would reach full employment within the next five years and to reduce the number of Spaniards with only temporary employment.
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Regarding ETA, he accepted responsibility for the failed negotiations, saying he was aware of the risks and the opportunities in trying to talk with the terrorist organization. However, he said that was over now and in future his government would do everything it could, including asking for international assistance, to make the terrorists' lives "impossible".
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For his part, Rajoy focused much of his time on terrorism. He said that negotiating with ETA was the most important failure of Zapatero. "While your government has been taking a three-year siesta our neighbours have been using economic reforms to increase competitiveness and productivity. We need more competition, more flexibility, a better education system and a better image abroad" he said. He also challenged Zapatero on his handling of the deaths of Spanish soldiers in Lebanon and Afghanistan and illegal immigration.
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National elections are due to be called by next March.
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Bread & Butter Returns to Barcelona: Urban Style Fair Bread & Butter, which began in Cologne, in 2001, jumped to Berlin in 2003 and then spread to Barcelona 2005, starts it's 2007 version today. What's involved? Fashion shows, concerts, dances, art exhibitions and parties. For more details here's the official BREAD & BUTTER BARCELONA web site.
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Valencia or Dubai in 2110: Now that Valencia's successful hosting of the America's Cup has resulted in another win for Alinghi of Switzerland, news reports are saying that Alinghi will probably keep the event in the Spanish city for the next competition, although Dubai is apparently in the running. For more details here's the official America's Cup web site.

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