(Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Spanish woes continue. The death toll from severe flooding
has risen to 10 and one woman, belived to be a Brit, is missing. Added to this parts of Spain experienced a Tornado
yesterday. It hit a fairground, knocking over a Ferris Wheel and lnjuring 35 people. Across Spain, in Madrid, disgruntled and disheartened Spaniards took to the streets to protest the latest austerity measures. Similar protests took place in the capital of Portugal as Portuguese people also feel the pinch.On Friday the Conservative government of Spain passed a tough budget for 2013.
The draft budget will cut overall spending by €40 billion ($51.7 billion), This will involve a pay freeze for public sector workers, cutting spending for unemployment benefits and reducing spending for Spain's royal family by 4 percent. The last measure is laughable. If you are paid peanuts a 4% cut matters a great deal. If you are an overpaid Royal it is meaningless.Portugal saw more protesters on the streets of Lisbon than Madrid. The protests here were by and large peaceful. People from the young unemployed to retired people, with what was once a good pension, are being hit by austerity measures.
They are rightly very angry. People are hurting and they can only take so much. Governments in the EU expect people to willingly "bleed" whilst they live off the fat of the land. Perhaps they should take a look back to history. These latest austerity measures could represnt "the straw that broke the camel's back".Countries may have tough economic times ahead but unless that is true for all expect trouble. Yesterday's protests soon became violent.
Tens of thousands took part in a show of strength in Lisbon but less in Madrid. There had been peaceful marches and protests during the day in Madrid but trouble flared when a group of protesters refused to go home. Police decided on a heavy handed approach to disperse those who were close to Parliament as midnight approached. It was not that trouble had flared simply that the protesters did not have permission to protest. Batons were used and there is at least one substantiated report of a protester being violently beaten by officers. That person was eventually removed, by ambulance!Two people were reported to be hurt and 12 others arrested. This was less than protests earlier this week. As Police are public servants we have to wonder if the government has not hit them with austerity measures yet. Perhaps their numbers are not being cut nor their pay frozen. After all they will have "dirty work" to do over the coming weeks and months.
If the police service is not protected from austerity measures they would be better joining the protesters, ioho.Spain has some tough choices to make in the coming days and weeks. With the highest unemployment figure in the EU
it will not be easy. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is pushing through austeroty measures quickly. Too quickly in many people's opinions. He probably has had his orders from the EU.
In the UK it has been proven that, too much too soon as far as austerity measures go, does not work. The Conservative government of Spain is firmly in place with a good majority, at least for now. Of course the EU
will simply add to that country's woes.
You have to feel for the people of Spain. The people of that beautiful country have experienced wildfires, drought, violent protests, severe economic woes and now intense flooding in 2012.
Heavy rain, in what had been a drought hit region, has caused chaos. The worst hit areas are reported to be the Mediterranean provinces of Malaga in the south and Murcia and Almeria in the southeast of Spain.
At time of writing seven people are reported to have lost their lives. The dead include two young children who drowned in a car. An official spokesperson said "In Malaga province, there are 800 staff working to return things to normal as quickly as possible. The rains are decreasing and seem to be shifting towards Granada and Almeri."
As the flash floods which swept through the affected areas gained momentum a bridge was brought down, cars were swept away and roads become rivers or seas of thick murky mud. The structural damage which will cost a small fortune to put right. Then there is the loss of money to the economy due to closed businesses. All in all a no win situation.
Some of the Spaniards affected have started the big clean up operation. It seems though that they may have jumped the gun. More rain is forecast for this weekend which means they are not out of the woods yet. Not by a long chalk.
Above all the loss of life is the true cost and tragedy of such natural disasters. They cannot be replaced at any price.
The latest massacre in the US has left us wondering if such crimes are on the increase in that country. The majority of US citizens want to protect and keep their "right to bear arms" but at what price? The USA is a vast country with varying laws in each State. This means that gun laws are tighter in some States than others. In an election year both potential leaders of the USA will shy away from tackling the subject of gun crime. There is money in weapons. It is big business. Daring to air views which may come from the heart could add a nail in the political coffin of a presidential candidate. Surely though something will have to be done?
Early yesterday September 27, 2012, an employee was sacked from a Minneapolis sign making company. Later that day he returned to his former place of work, burst in and opened fire. His deadly gun attack killed four people. He then turned the gun on himself. Five deaths for what?
The killer has been identified as Andrew J. Engeldinger, 36. The dead include the owner of the company. The killer however appears to have had some people in mind as targets. It has been reported that when he entered the premised of the Accent company he walked past some people selecting those who he obviously had a gripe with.
Police who have searched the killer's home today found 10,000 rounds of ammunition. That sounds a huge amount to us but look online and it seems that Americans who support their gun policy would disagree. Why though would any law abiding citizen need such an amount of ammunition? If you follow the premise that people own guns for protection then 10,000 rounds of ammunition is a ludicrous amount. It is a tragedy waiting to happen.
In 2012 the US has experienced gun massacres in Aurora, Wisconsin,
New York and more. Instead of such tragedies encouraging Americans to turn away from gun ownership it has increased the sale of guns in some places. The Aurora Cinema
shootings led to an increase in gun sales as people sought to protect themselves from potential future attacks.
It is like a never ending spiral into insanity. More killings leads to more guns owned and therefore more gun incidents Insanity pure and simple. Whether there have been more gun massacres in the USA in 2012 or not there have been far too many incidents and deaths.
There may be tons of important news out there lately but today PM David Cameron's appearance on the American David Letterman show is making headlines. It sees that he impressed many of the American members of the TV audience with his charm and good nature. Both are qualities he is not renowned for in the UK.
After the event those members of the audience who were asked an opinion on Dodgy Dave Cameron gave positive comments. We well remember former UK PM Margaret Thatcher impressing those on the other side of the Pond. Of course they did not have to live under her damaging policies.
It is odd, isn't it how leaders are often popular in other countries. Many in the UK are still greatly impressed with President Obama but of course we do not live in the US. The same seems true of Cameron in the USA. Leaders of course do have an affect on world affairs and those in other countries but it is each country's leader that directly impacts on their own citizens.
Some in the US were impressed at how Cameron responded to unscripted questioning. They commented that Obama would not allow that. His questions were scripted and rehearsed. We are not 100% sure that Cameron's appearance was not rehearsed or scripted also.
The fact that he did not know what Magna Carta meant was hard to believe. Educated on the playing fields of Eton he would be fully conversant with Latin. Do we believe that he did not know that the Magna Carta was a Great Charter? Do we hell.
It seemed more like a well staged performance rather than an off the cuff interview. As such Cameron would play his part well. After all he is good at acting a part and pretending.
Shame he is no good at running the UK.
The Human Jungle
Veteran, Czechoslavakian born actor Herbert Lom had died aged 85. He was born Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in 1917.
We remember him in the British TV series of the sixties, The Human Jungle. Perhaps slightly younger audiences may be more familiar wit Lom as the ravaged Chef Inspector Dreyfuss in the original Pink Panther series of the films.
During his long career Herbert played more dramtic roles than Comedy ones. He did however appear in the original film of the Ladykillers as well as the Pink Panther.
Although he was based in UK Lom was not born in that country. His family were members of the Aristocracy of Prague. They were not wealthy though. He moved to the UK and made it his home just prior to the Second World War.
He always appeared more foreign than British. A slight accent could soon be mustered into something more. Where Mr Lom died and the cause of death are not yet known. However having reached such a great age it could have simply been that. Death due to old age.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, wanted in Sweden for alleged sex crimes, has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He belives that he will soon be extradited to the USA should he give in and allow himself to be moved to Sweden. With that in mind he has no plans to go anywhere. His voluntary incarceration in the Embassy has already lasted 100 days. It now seems that it could last ten years unless the stalemate is broken.
Ecuador have granted Assange asylum in that country but are unable to transport him there. If Julian steps foot outside of the embassy he faces immediate arrest.
This means that the UK is spending a great deal of money and police officer time in order to ensure that he does not manage to flee the UK. When you consider the amount of wrong doers who often escape the law the situation is farcical. For the UK government it has either become a principle or they are working on behalf of the US administration. There are no other conclusions we can draw.
Yesterday Assange spoke by video link to the UN. He again reiterated his belief that it is the US who are his biggest threat. He is in a no win situation. Either way he faces a long period of voluntary incarceration, a life almost on the run in Ecuador or extradition to the USA and or Sweden and jails terms. With no assurances that he will not be extradited to the USA in the future being made Assange will not surrender.
UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague is to meet with the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.at the UN in New York. They will discuss Mr Assange and how both sides can forward in this matter. That will not be easy. The UK is sticking by its statement that Assange will be arrested should he leave the embassy and Ecuador maintains it has made a firm commitment to Julian.
Evergreen popular entertainer Andy Williams has died aged 84. He had been fighting bladder cancer for more than a year.
Mr Williams has remained a popular middle of the road singer as musical fashions have come and gone. Like so many long standing singers he has seen an increase in hs popularity in recent years. He had become something of a legend in the World of entertainment.
It seems that all entertainers, especially singers go through a period when they are classed as unfashionable only to see their Star rise again.
Andy was famous for performances of songs such as Moon River, Solitaire, Can't get used to losing you and Can't take my eyes off you. Having announced his illness last year Williams had promised fans that he would return and perform an anniversary concert this year. It was to be to celebrate 75 years in showbusiness. It was not to be.
Andy had a smooth, mellow voice which sounded relaxed and chilled. When some years ago he had his own TV series he always gave the impression that was the sort of man he was.
European leaders are still clinging to the hope that the EU and the Euro can be saved. The dream turned to nightmare
many moons ago and nothing has changed. Not for the better that is. Surely by now it is obvious that the EU is doomed?Yesterday there were protests against austerity measures in Spain. The Police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to control the situation. Whatever happened to democracy and the right to protest? It seems that western leaders want to advocate such fre
edoms in countries such as those of the Middle East but not in their own backyards. The Spanish government is yet another political force in Europe expecting the people to gaily tighten their belts and live in poverty whilst they continue to prosper. It will not wash. 21st Century citizens are not quite the same as those of the past. Those who were happy to struggle to survive on the promise that the meek would inherit the earth. Most people these days
want a fair wage for a fair days work and not promises for the so called after life. We know that the Elite are privileged but we also know now that they are not our "betters". Far from it.
Today September 26, 2012 in Greece the country is experiencing a General Strike. Not its first for sure but no less damaging. Spain and Greece have huge financial problems and the Eurozone is at the heart of their problems. It is way past the time for surrender. The EU crisis will not be solved. It is not possible to do so. All that happens is it lurches from one crisis to another. Somewhere along the line something will have to give. It is time for Ministers to cut their losses.
If not one of the few things that in a way will resolve the situation, War, will happen.The economies of Greece and Spain are on a downward spiral. They are spiraling out of control. Yesterdays protests in Spain involved around 6,000 citizens. Not vast but problematic. In time such protests will grow.
Perhaps the police who responded with batons and rubber bullets were trying to send out a stark warning to others. If the economic situation deteriorates further more people will protest.Strikes and protests do nothing for the economy but you cannot blame the workers. After all it is the very leaders who are trying to implement austerity measures who helped cause the mess in the first place. Now they want the poorest people to pay for their incompetence.A heavy police presence in Athens means that today's 24 hour strike could turn violent. Marches and protests will quickly become heated.The markets have responded in typical fashion. The events in Spain and Greece have hit confidence in the EU, Europe, the Euro and more. A big sell off is underway amidst fears that the Euro and Eurozone are doomed. Tell us something we did not know. We have been saying that for months.The downward spiral will spin faster and ever more out of cotrol until what? You tell me.
It certainly will not be resolved.
UK PM David Cameron is out of the UK. He is in the USA allegedly promoting the UK. After the long Summer recess and with the up and coming Tory conference you may have thought he would be in the UK working hard to address problems at home. On the agenda at the UN there will no doubt be Iran's nuclear capabilities and Israel. Let's hope that deals are not done which will take the World one step closer to war.
Today he is addressing the UN on the Middle East crisis. The West, having thrown its weight by so many rebels in so many ME countries, is now left with a destabilised region. A vast area that will be a melting pot for terrorism and hate if we are not careful. Perhaps we should have thought of the long term when we interfered.
It is expected that today Cameron will offer advice and financial help to areas of the Middle East. Whilst we all have a vested interest in making sure that the Middle East is a safe and secrue region of the World the UK needs to concentrate on the home front for once.
Austerity is the name of the game in the UK and most people will face further cuts to their income and negative changes to their way of life. The UK already contributes vast sums of money to countries such as Pakistan that have ample money to spend on nuclear weapons. A farce through and through.
Yesterday Cameron pledged UK aid to countries around the World asking other countries to honour commitments already made. As each country faces financial challenges this does not sit well. It also leads to sneaking suspicions that we are not as poor as leaders are making out. Once again when it suits we have money to waste. No doubt if some countries withdraw aid the UK will offer to fill the gap. Another farce.
Cameron used fine words to answer those who say the UK cannot afford to continue supplying aid, "I think it is important that countries that make promises keep those promises. "To those who are sceptical, I would say it is not only a moral obligation that the better-off countries have to tackle poverty in our world when we still have over a billion people living on less than a dollar a day, but it's also in our interests that we build a more prosperous world.
"If we don't, the problems of conflict, the problems of mass migration, the problems of uncontrollable climate change are problems that will come and visit us at home. "So I think it's the right thing for us to do morally, and it's right to keep our promises, but it's also in our self-interest to do so."
Egyptian assets stolen by former President Mubarek are still frozen in Banks in the UK. These cannot yet be handed over to the ew government. Cameron is expected to discuss the release of these funds.
Later today Cameron will become the first serving UK PM to appear on the Letterman show. His appearance will no doubt reinforce the Downton Abbey view that some Americans have of we Brits.
Perhaps then he will finally return to the UK and do the job that he is paid to do, that is help the UK get out of its financial mess.
The death toll
for British soldiers serving in Afghanistan has risen by three in recent days. On Friday there were reports of two deaths and yesterday another. Each of these three deaths was not due to hostile action.
29-year-old Capt James Townley
of the Corps of Royal Engineers died on Friday September 21, one day before his 30th birthday. Capt Townley had returned to Afghanistan on September 5 for his third tour of duty. He had volunteered to return. It is believed that he committed suicide.38-year-old Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups
died at Camp Bastion on September 21, in a separate incident. He leaves behind a wife and three children. His death is under investigation but was not due to hostile action.Today there has been an announcement that a British Marine died in Afghanistan yesterday, September 24, 2012. His name and personal details have not been released yet. This will gve his loved ones a brief period of time away from press intrusion. It has been reported that he died of natural causes.This year has seen an increase in green on blue attacks, that is local people in uniform turning their weapons on the ISAF members. It must be nerve wracking working alongside locals in light of this, yet it is vital to this mission, as far as military commanders and politicians think. With a deadline for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan there is little to reassure that the country is any safer than before this lengthy conflict.
Add to this the risk of death by so called "friendly fire" and Afghanistan is one country fraught with danger for foreign troops.When the conflict finally ends and the military men and women who have played an active role return to the UK, or their home countr,y how will they fit back into society?
Not easily we think.RIP and condolences