The abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit is one of the most famous buildings to be sold after the city filed for bankruptcy. It’s famous both for its mammoth size — 40 acres in the eastern part of the city — and its state of ruin. The plant has been closed for more than 60 years and aerial photos make it look like a scene from a disaster film. But that doesn't seem to daunt Spanish developer Fernando Palazuelo, who lives in Lima, Peru. He recently bought the Detroit plant at an auction.
In 2008, 1.9 million Portuguese workers in the private sector were covered by collective bargaining agreements. Last year, the number was down to 300,000. Spain has eased restrictions on collective layoffs and unfair dismissal, and softened limits on extending temporary work, allowing workers to be kept on fixed-term contracts for up to four years. Ireland and Portugal have frozen the minimum wage, while Greece has cut it by nearly a fourth. This is what is known in Europe as “internal devaluation.”
The collective mood of a nation mired in a prolonged economic recession shows many of the symptoms of clinical depression: despair, fatalism, an inability to make decisions, lack of motivation, and irritability. This is one of the impressions I got from a recent trip to Spain and Italy, two nations I know well and visit often. While both countries have recently made small strides on the path to recovery, I nevertheless came away with the strong sense that their economies are in recession and their societies are in depression.
With the launch of a Portuguese-language internet edition on Tuesday, EL PAÍS has embarked on what is probably its biggest professional and business venture since the newspaper was founded 37 years ago. The Spanish daily has always had the vision of becoming a global newspaper, something that was proved in March when it launched an Americas edition. Now the Portuguese internet portal, EL PAÍS Brasil, broadens that scope.
This evening, 21st November, 2013, Europe met Asia on the lush and verdant lawns of the Spanish Ambassador’s residence in New Delhi. Two of the greatest performers of Flamenco guitar music, with a singer and accompanist and a powerfully expressive female Flamenco dancer performed before a select audience of about 200, the Indian capital’s glitterati. They were joined on the stage by a group of seven Langa musicians and singers from the land of Marwar in Rajasthan.
On Wednesday, the Spanish government announced a draft proposal to introduce anti-protest measures that would make Russia’s handling of activists look magnanimous in comparison. If passed, the bill will penalize many accepted forms of peaceful protest with fines and prison sentences, which isn't a great look for a country with a fascist past.
Madrid is the first city we lived in (seven weeks there, seven months Berlin, three months Paris) and is the cleanest of them. Every day, I believe, Plaza de la Paja, the oldest square in Madrid, on which we lived, was hosed down, and garbage collected. Contrary perhaps to stereotype, Berlin was dirtier than Madrid (and Paris dirtier than both).