Seventeen people lost their lives this weekend on Spanish roads as millions took off for their August vacations (article in La Vanguardia in Castilian). There were 14 fatal accidents, most of which took place on Saturday and Sunday, with just three of the accidents taking place on Friday. Between January and July this year, 1,117 people died in traffic accidents in Spain. This is 165 less than during the same period in 2008, which represents a drop of almost 13 percent.
Spanish consumer confidence rose in July for the fifth consecutive month bringing hope for a more rapid recovery (article in El Pais in Castilian). The Indicador de Confianza (Confidence Indicator) measured by the Instituto de Credito Oficial showed an increase of 9.7 points, taking it up to 76.1 points, the biggest increase since the beginning of the economic crisis. The Indicator measures people’s perception of the current situation as well as their expectations for the future. It is still a long way from the euphoric score of 94.4 in April 2007, but has come a long way since July 2008 when it measured just 46.3. It is hoped that this renewed confidence will lead to a rise in consumer spending over the next months.
The forest fire in La Palma (Las Canarias) is still raging, although one of the fronts is now under control (article in El Pais in Castilian). Since Friday night over 200 fire fighters and nine helicopters have been fighting to get the fire under control. Over 2,500 hectares have been burned and hundreds of homes have been lost. Today, José Luis Zapatero visited the affected area and promised that the government would respond to the needs of victims, after criticisms were made of the small amount of money victims would receive. According to a report by Greenpeace in 2007, the causes of approximately 47 percent of forest fires in Spain are never known. In over 50 percent of the rest of cases, the cause is imprudent farming or agricultural practices.