The royal family and corruption
Because of Christmas, it might have been expected that the past week would have been news-lite. It wasn’t. Princess Cristina would have been hoping for something more pleasant in her Christmas stocking than the order issued by Judge José Castro to stand trial on tax fraud charges. As news stories go, it was enormous.
“The first Spanish royal to go to court”, we noted. This alone made it a global news event reaching way beyond a court in Palma.
The Princess’s lawyer was reported in Tuesday’s edition as saying that he would launch an appeal.
“It is a serious, surprising and exceptional situation,” he stressed, given that the state will not be her prosecutor.
Cristina’s brother, King Felipe, delivered his first Christmas message since succeeding his father. He made no reference to his sister but, as Friday’s front page observed, he “lashed out against corruption”.
The King went on to say that “people need to be sure that public money is administered for the ends legally established, that there is no favouritism based on the public position one occupies”.

Lottery and apocalypse Christmas traditions
More in keeping with Christmas, there was “lottery joy” in Majorca. The Christmas lottery had a total pot of 2.5 billion euros, and the greatest joy in the Balearics was felt at the lottery office at the Carrefour hypermarket which was where tickets for a share of the 1,250,000 second prize had been sold.
 On the same day as we reported this glad news, we also carried an article which looked at the history of lotteries in Spain that dates back to 1763.
On the Enjoying Majorca pages last Sunday, the focus was on the Sibil·la, the chant which is sung in Majorcan churches on Christmas Eve.
 The Sibil·la, with its warning of the Apocalypse, was banned from church liturgy in the mid-sixteenth century (it was considered to be “offensive to our Lord”), but in Majorca it was revived only some years after the ban came into effect.
In recognition of its cultural tradition in Majorca it has been declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Fiesta of the Standard “pregó”
With Christmas done and dusted, time to move on to the New Year’s celebrations, and in Palma these include the Fiesta of the Standard, a two-day series of events to mark the conquest of Majorca by King Jaume I of Aragon in 1229.
As with other fiestas, there is an opening address (pregón in Castellano, pregó in Catalan) and this year’s pregó for the Fiesta of the Standard will be delivered for the first time by a foreigner, the American Jackie Waldren, who has lived in Deya since 1959.
In last Sunday’s interview, Shirley Roberts looked at Jackie’s life on Majorca and at her studies which have led to “the great honour that has been bestowed on her by the invitation to speak”.

Balearics’ tourism economy
Wednesday brought some joy of a different variety: “Spanish economic Christmas joy” said the front page. While the Bank of Spain had raised its growth forecast for 2014, in the Balearics there was specific economic news regarding the contribution of the islands’ tourism to Balearic GDP. It accounts for 45%, a significantly greater percentage contribution than any other Spanish region, and had risen by almost 6% in 2013.
This was good news, something which Andrew Ede recognised in an article on Friday, but it was also bad news on account of the dependence which is placed on tourism in the Balearics and national government’s treatment of Balearics’ tourism as a “cash cow”.

And the Spanish economy
Yesterday’s main story concerned Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy’s announcements regarding the Spanish economy. It will “take off” in 2015, he predicted.
This Christmas had been the season “of recovery” and expectations for 2014 had “been exceeded”, he added. But the leader of PSOE, Pedro Sanchez, warned against using the word “recuperation” in vain, and Humphrey Carter in the Viewpoint reminded us of what the European Central Bank had said a few months ago: Spain will endure four more years of pain.


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