By Monitor

Light and dark
“Thousands of Balearic children living in poverty.” The front-page story on Thursday exposed a “darker side” to the Balearics. 63,000 children on the islands, according to a UNICEF report, are living in homes with incomes close to or at the poverty level. Moreover, the level of poverty in the Balearics was said to be far higher than the national average.
It was a disturbing report made more so by the proximity of the festive season, and in this context the Reverend David Waller spoke last Sunday about themes of “darkness and light”.
“The Church chose a long time ago to celebrate the birth of Christ at this time as a ‘light shining in the darkness’ of the world in which we live.”
 His words carried ever greater resonance in light (no pun) of the “darker side” of Balearics poverty. In something of a sharp contrast to the UNICEF report, Wednesday’s main story concerned Iñaki Urdangarin, the husband of Princess Cristina, who is facing a possible 19.5 year jail sentence for the embezzlement of over six million euros of public funds, 2.6 million of which were Balearics money.

Driving in Majorca
“Motorway madness” referred not to road rage or pile-ups but to a further incident in what has become a spate of stone-throwing at vehicles from bridges over the Palma-Inca motorway. An arrest had already been made but this had not put a stop to the problem. Police were looking for two young men said to have been involved in injuring another woman whose car windscreen had been smashed by a stone.
Cars were the focus of attention in an altogether different report by David Whitney on Wednesday. David looked at the Driving Mallorca Car Club’s event at the Llucmajor circuit and noted that “many rare and old cars (are) hidden away in garages” on the island, but of those which are not, there were Ferraris, Porsches and a Lamborghini among others at the Llucmajor event.

Majorcan Christmas food
With Christmas coming closer and attention turning to feasts (of the meal variety), Andrew Valente, under the heading “The three big days of a Majorcan Xmas”, provided an insight into traditional meals in Majorcan homes, such as the “sopa de Nadal” and “escaldums de pavo”, the turkey stew. And what’s more, he provided a recipe for making the stew.
On Thursday, Andrew turned his attention to chestnuts, noting that roast chestnut street vendors, “a traditional part of Palma’s Christmas scene” were in limited supply; only two had been observed this year compared with a more usual six or seven. Meanwhile, a Friday news item reported on the “Taste IBQuality” campaign, backed by the regional ministry of agriculture and designed to promote local quality food products through tasting events during December.

Weather and flights
The weather is of course never far from us, and Wednesday’s edition captured some of the effects of the gale force winds which struck the island on Tuesday, Puerto Pollensa having been particularly affected by winds that had reached 120kph, as photos from Oliver Cheetham showed. On Thursday, however, we learned that November this year had turned in some records for temperatures, which had been two degrees higher than usual in the Balearics.
And with this good weather news in mind, the issue of winter flights was raised once more, Jason Moore’s Viewpoint on Wednesday arguing that Majorca does have a future as a winter sun destination. While the possibility of the Balearics forming its own airline has been raised as a means of increasing flights, both international and inter-island, two letters took issue with this. Retired airline consultant Brian Pocock outlined reasons why such an airline would struggle to be viable, and the following day, Anton Barkhuysen agreed with him: a “voice of sanity about winter flights”.
But if not a specific Balearic airline, then what about local management of the islands’ airports? This has long been called for and it was raised again yesterday in a report which highlighted problems of increasing slots at Balearic airports which were said to stem mainly from a lack of appreciation of the situation in the Balearics on behalf of both the airports authority, AENA, and the national Ministry for Development.

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