Even as the first Greek act in the developing euro-crisis plays on – now with fatalities, as three people die during violent demonstrations in Athens – the focus of public attention is starting to shift to a feared second act in other countries with similarly weak finances, like Portugal or Spain. With that come calming assurances from high EU officials, like EU Council President Herman van Rompuy (remember him?) who characterized any such fears of financial contagion as “irrational.” Going to the horse’s mouth, though – so to speak – we find them to be anything but, as we can see from an article by Luis Doncel (Spanish risk runs rampant) in the mainstream Spanish paper El País. (The hat-tip for discovering this article goes to Eurointelligence – in English, of course – whose piece itself offers a potpourri of interesting current news items on the Greek crisis.) (more…)
Time to go back to that “Europa XL” series from the Danish newspaper Politiken, now that I’ve rediscovered it on the re-designed Politiken website. For those who came in late, that’s the series-of-photo-series in which the culture of each of the current European Union member-states is depicted via choices in a fixed set of categories (“Painting,” “Photograph,” etc.) made by a leading current literary figure from that country.
(Note that, while the good news is that I now know again where this “Europa XL” series is to be found on the Net, it’s also true that they’ve modified its format so that it’s only viewable in Internet Explorer, not in the Opera or Mozilla browsers.) Later update: That’s no longer true, the pages render fine in Opera.
Now we get into terra incognita, since today I’d like to discuss the presentation on Portugal, as chosen by writer Agustina Bessa-Luis, “a living myth among the Portuguese,” best known for her 1954 novel “The Sybille,” which has also been translated into French and German. (No mention of English or even Danish.) This is a country whose language I don’t even know per se, which I instead try to approach, when I need to, via similarities with Spanish. (more…)