Category Archives: Reading

Irish abortion referendum: The people travelling #HomeToVote

Irish voters from around the world are returning to cast their ballots in today´s referendum on whether or not to repeal the country’s Eighth Amendment. That clause in the Irish constitution which in effect outlaws abortion by giving equal rights to the unborn.

Abortion is only currently allowed in Ireland when the woman’s life is at risk, and not in cases of rape, incest or foetal-fatal abnormality (FFA).

I am pro-choice. I am unapologetic about my opinion. I understand it´s an emotional topic.  I get why people are vehemently on one side or the other.  I get why many people don´t want to express their opinions on this issue for fear of being physically or verbally bullied, threatened and abused. I get it´s uncomfortable. I am pro-choice.

If you want to read more about the referendum, then check out this BBC news report. 

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Bathing banned on Fuengirola beaches following shark sighting

Sur in English reports:

A sighting of a three-metre-long blue shark caused alarm on the beaches of Fuengirola on Sunday, forcing a four-hour ban on swimming.

Several bathers warned of the presence of a shark only several metres from the shore in Torreblanca at around 12.15pm.Following the spread of several different videos on social media, the Guardia Civil sent out a patrol to find the shark, but failed to locate it.

The red flag was raised until around 5pm, when it was downgraded to yellow. According to several sources, the authorities tried to capture the shark and return it to deeper waters, but were unsuccessful in their search.

Malaga’s marine rescue service, Aula del Mar, said that the presence of blue sharks is not uncommon on the Malaga coastline. Juan Jesús Martín, biologist and director of the centre, explained that this species is the only type of shark that regularly ventures in shallow waters. “It’s not common, but it can happen,” he said.

Martín clarified that the blue shark is one of more than twenty species that live in the Alboran Sea, and although it can venture into areas with bathers, there has never been a documented encounter between the two.

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Left-wing Podemos leader under fire for his 540k home

Sur in English reports:

Pablo Iglesias, the high-profile national politician who is leader of the Podemos party that grew out of an anti-capitalist street movement, was under fire on social media and in the press this week for acquiring a luxury 540,000-euro home.

The purchase, made with his partner and fellow Podemos politician, Irene Montero, has come as a surprise to many, including those within his own party, due to Iglesias’s outspoken criticism of the supposedly comfortable life of MPs.

Back in 2012, Iglesias commented on the decision of a minister to spend a similar amount on a home by Tweeting: “Would you entrust the country’s economic policy to someone who spent 600,000 euros on a luxury penthouse?”

The new home of the radical Podemos couple is in the hills behind Madrid and is on a 2,000 -metre plot, including swimming pool and guest house. Iglesias has justified the decision saying he has earned the money and it is for living in and not speculating on. The couple are expecting twins and face a 1,600-euro-a-month joint mortgage.

Iglesias currently lives in a 60-metre-square flat.

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British people are becoming teatotalers!

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) more British people are giving up alcohol than ever before. The research does not suggest why this decline in alcohol consumption is occurring. However,  I hope that the main reason is connected to health improvement.

If you want to read more about this piece of research, then take a look at the online publication, The Conversation.

Companies sign up to pledge to cut down on plastic pollution

It has recently been announced by the BBC that more than 40 companies have signed up to a pact to reduce plastic pollution over the next seven years.

The companies, which include Coca-Cola and Asda, have promised to honour a number of pledges such as eliminating single-use packaging through better design. They have joined the government, trade associations and campaigners to form the UK Plastics Pact.

The companies are responsible for more than 80% of plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets.

Led by the sustainability campaign group WRAP, the pact is described as a “once-in-a lifetime opportunity” to rethink plastic both to make use of its value and to stop it damaging the environment.

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Simple ways to cut back on plastic

1: Stop buying bottled water:

In the UK we use more than 35 million plastic bottles every year. A simple way of reducing that number is to carry a reusable bottle with you everyday and the added bonus is that it will save you money too. In fact, there’s an app which actually tells you where you can refill your bottle for free.

2: Refuse plastic straws:

Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean ups so unless it’s a paper version going in your drink, say no.

3: Use material bags:

Since the 5p charge was introduced for plastic bags in England, there’s been a 85% drop in their use.

4: Buy loose:

Whether it’s fruit, veg or tins of beans, buying them loose means you avoid the plastic packaging that keeps them all together in a multipack.

If you want to read more about how to cut down on the use of plastic, check out this BBC newsreport.

Happy International Workers´ Day

According to Wikipedia, International WorkersDay – or, Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

Forget gin – drink whiskey!

I can´t stand gin, and really don´t get why so many people drink gin and tonic.

So, this spring, forget gin, and drink whiskey.  My drink of the month is whiskey and ginger.  Give it a shot; I can guarantee you will never drink a gin and tonic again.

Calling all music lovers!

If you do one new thing this April, then I would strongly recommend that you go and see a band at The Clarence Jazz Club. 

I went the other week with some mates, and had a complete blast. So, I know Jazz has a reputation for attracting pretentious people, who rub their chins, wear cool hats, and pontificate about the meaning of life.  However, diversity is definitely the spice of life, and thankfully there were lots of different types of people at the gig.  Consequently, if you fancy listening to a band, and you want to contribute to the preservation of our musical culture, then don´t delay, check out The Clarence Jazz Club in Málaga, you will not be disappointed!

The arts: why is it not valued in a capitalist society?

What is the purpose of art?  Well, according to the Ted Talks speaker, Hadi Eldebeck: ”The arts brings meaning to life, it is the spirit of our culture, it brings people together, and it´s a force of creativity and social cohesion.”

And yet, despite this undeniable truth, why do we invest so little in the arts? Why are artists valued so poorly? And, why do we actively discourage people from developing careers in the arts?

Improve your listening comprehension by listening to Hadi´s presentation.  And don´t worry if you think the level will be too difficult, there are spanish subtitles that you can turn on, or turn off.