Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekly Recap: April 4th - 10th

The major news this week was the devastating earthquake in Italy that has left at least 260 people dead and an estimated 10,000 buildings destroyed. In response to the deadliest natural disaster there in 30 years, President Silvio Berlusconi caused an international stir when he suggested the recently displaced think of their tent cities as campgrounds or head to the beach, while the scientist who warned of the quake was called an imbecile. 

In Spain, the start of Semana Santa and the first long weekend of the year saw the Spanish anxious to escape for a little R 'n R.  Here, in Barcelona, an estimated 350,000 cars are expected to be on the roads, so plan for major congestion and long drives in the rain.  Meanwhile, in the wake of a gloomy economic forecast from the Bank of España, President Zapatero shook up his economic team by putting in charge a loyal minister with little economic experience, stroking fears of a more centralized response to the crisis from the major Catalan party, while the opposition Popular Party offered an increase in tax-deductions to spur housing purchases at a time when the average price of a flat is twelve times that of the median salary.

Sports this week was highlighted by the return of the Champion's League, and Barca's destruction of Bayern Munich, proving in football size sometimes doesn't matter, while Pau Gasol and the Lakers continue to battle the Cleveland Caviliers for the top spot in the NBA.

Finally, in a story that'll make you think the next time you see them on the metro - According to the Barcelona Reporter, a Romanian gypsy (currently in the hospital expecting her second child) offered to sell her first as a begging prop.  The price: 2,000-euros.  And, on a lighter note, stoners everywhere can rejoice at the news that one half of the famous Harold and Kumar duo is heading to the White House.

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