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Spain unemployment tops 17%

According to official statistics, Spain‘s jobless rate reached 17.4%, with slightly more than four million people unemployed. The figures have doubled over the past twelve months, the National Statistics Institute reports.

The numbers are an increase over the previous jobless rate of 13.9%, which was revised in the fourth quarter of last year. Spain now has the highest level of unemployment in the European Union. Read More…

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Storm across France and Spain

The January 2009 Mediterranean storm is a European windstorm that has hit most of France and Spain, said to be the most damaging since that of December 1999.

The coast of the Basque Country

The coast of the Basque Country

The storm has caused widespread damage across the countries, especially in northern Spain. It was also known as Klaus, after Klaus Schümann, following the naming scheme of the Free University of Berlin.

Twelve fatalities have been reported as of January 24 as well as extensive disruptions of public transport, power outages to homes including over a million households without electricity in southwestern France alone, severe damages to public and private buildings and major forest damage through windthrow.

Peak gusts have been 50 m/s, sustained winds of over 170 km/h (106 mi/h)have been observed.

Spain launches €11 billion stimulus package

Spain has launched a 11 billion stimulus plan, which aims to boost the weakening economy and create 300,000 jobs. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain, says that the money will be spent mostly in infrastructure and public works.

A portion of the package will aim to assist Spain’s auto industry, which accounts for a fifth of Spanish exports and has been hit hard by the economic crisis, having seen sales plummet 54.6% since the beginning of the year. Read More…

First transplanted human organ from stem cells

The first successful tracheal transplantation using a tissue-engineered organ created from the patient’s own stem cells is performed in Spain by Paolo Macchiarini, at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona on Claudia Castillo, a Colombian female adult whose trachea had collapsed due to tuberculosis.

Researchers from the University of Padua, the University of Bristol, and Politecnico di Milano harvested a section of trachea from a donor and stripped off the cells that could cause an immune reaction, leaving a grey trunk of cartilage. This section of trachea was then “seeded” with stem cells taken from Ms. Castillo’s bone marrow and a new section of trachea grown in the laboratory over four days. Read More…

Eurozone in recession

The Eurozone is now officially in a recession, due to the recently released figures showing that, in the third quarter of 2008, the economy shrunk by 0.2%.

European Central Bank

European Central Bank

For a recession to be official, the economy must have shrunk for at least two consecutive quarters. This is the case as the Eurozone’s economy also shrunk by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year.

Howard Archer, the chief European economist for Global Insight commented on these results. “Not only did the third quarter contraction in GDP confirm that the Eurozone is now in recession, but latest data and survey evidence indicate that the fourth quarter is likely to see a sharper fall in GDP as the financial crisis bites harder,” he stated.

This development comes after two large countries in the Eurozone, Germany and Italy announced that they were in a recession. Read More…

Zapatero speaks on economic crisis

In an interview with Público, a Spanish newspaper, the prime minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has stated that ” if there is a global recession, it seems logical to expect that Spain will enter the recession in 2009 .”

Photo Guillaume Paumier

Photo Guillaume Paumier

In the interview Zapatero also described the worldwide economic situation as “difficult.” He recognized that ” the developed countries are or are going to experience negative growth, and developing countries are also going to see falling growth; resulting in a worldwide loss of jobs.”

Regarding the global financial situation, Zapatero continued by saying that “the financial system is a part of the economy, a crucial part.

We have a year-long financial crisis, which has had its most acute moment in the past two months, and I think now the financial markets are beginning to recover.”

Asked about whether it would be desirable to another plan to help those overwhelmed by the size of their mortgage, Zapatero reiterated the falls in the Euro Interbank Offered Rate. Read More…

Spanish airline LTE suspends all flights

Spanish budget air carrier LTE International Airways has suspended all of their flights due to financial trouble. Around 800 passengers have been stranded by the move and are being accommodated in hotels while alternative transport is arranged.

The airline was founded in 1987 and has been known as both LTU and Volar Airlines in the past. The company’s fleet of seven Airbus A320 aircraft were used for scheduled and chartered passenger services, and available for lease to other businesses. Read More…