回顧星期天LBS - 西班牙相關時事趣聞 All about Spain

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English,國際時事跟讀Daily Shadowing

Topic: Spain Turns to Corruption Rehab for Officials Who Can’t Stop Stealing

Carlos Alburquerque isn’t your typical rehab candidate. He’s a 75-year-old grandfather living in Córdoba, a city in southern Spain. He was a town notary before he retired in 2015. He hasn’t touched drugs or alcohol in years.


But his isn’t your typical rehab program: It’s an 11-month boot camp to reform corrupt Spanish officials and “reinsert” them into mainstream society.


“Repairing the damage is what is left for me in this life,” said Alburquerque, who is serving a four-year prison sentence for stealing around 400,000 euros (nearly $500,000) in his work drawing up contracts and deeds.


Over the course of 32 sessions in an austere conference room in Córdoba’s penitentiary, Alburquerque will be monitored by a team of psychiatrists. He will sit for group therapy sessions with titles like “personal abilities” and “values.” He is, in some ways, the guinea pig of an experiment meant to answer an age-old question: Buried deep in the soul of a swindler like Alburquerque, might there be an honest man?


That such a program exists in Spain may say much about the country’s belief in second chances as it does about how corruption has captured the public imagination here. Flip open a newspaper or turn on the radio: You will hear of schemes, scandals and skulduggery.


Ángel Luis Ortiz, a former judge who now runs Spain’s prisons, said the boom-bust cycles of Spain’s economy had led it to a long history of fraudsters and betrayals of public trust.


But at least, corruption rates in Spain were no worse than in other European nations, Ortiz said, just 5% of all crimes.It was Spain’s will to rehabilitate the offenders that set it apart from the rest, Ortiz said.


Nine prisons are running programs so far, which began in March. Prisoners don’t get reduced sentences for joining, but officials say participating is looked on favorably when it comes time to request parole.


Yet for all the volunteers, Ortiz still thinks his biggest challenge may be convincing Spain’s corrupt officials that there actually might be something wrong with them.


For that, the government turned to Sergio Ruiz, a prison psychiatrist who helped design the program. Ruiz said that in addition to getting participants to recognize their flaws in group therapy, inmates would eventually be asked to participate in “restorative justice” sessions where they would ask for forgiveness from their victims.

政府為此求助於監獄精神科醫生塞吉奧‧魯伊茲,他幫忙設計了這個計畫。他表示除了讓參加者在團體治療中認識到自身缺陷外,最終還會要求他們參加「修復式正義」的課程,請求受害者饒恕。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5495283

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Topic: ’Best birthday present ever!’ says Spanish diver after saving trapped whale

In a gripping underwater rescue, Spanish divers have freed a 12-metre long humpback whale entangled in an illegal drift net off the Balearic island of Mallorca.


One of the divers, 32-year-old marine biologist Gigi Torras, said last Friday’s rescue and a little gesture of appreciation from the giant mammal were also a birthday present for her - the ’best ever’ in her words.


The weakened whale had been spotted by a ship about three miles off the eastern coast of Mallorca, prompting Palma de Mallorca’s Aquarium marine rescue centre into action.


After initial attempts to cut the net from a boat failed, divers plunged into the sea to remove the mesh with their knives in a daring 45-minute operation.


Nicknamed "walls of death" for the quantity of other sea life they catch in addition to the fish they are set for, drift nets were banned by the United Nations 30 years ago.


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Spanish engineers extract drinking water from thin air 西班牙工程師從稀薄空氣中取水

A Spanish company has devised a system to extract drinking water from thin air to supply arid regions where people are in desperate need.


"The goal is to help people," said Enrique Veiga, the 82-year-old engineer who invented the machine during a harsh drought in southern Spain in the 1990s. "The goal is to get to places like refugee camps that don’t have drinking water."


The devices made by his company, Aquaer, are already delivering clean, safe water to communities in Namibia and a Lebanese refugee camp.


The machines use electricity to cool air until it condenses into water, harnessing the same effect that causes condensation in air-conditioning units.

這種裝置的運作原理類似冷氣機的冷凝作用,利用電力將空氣降溫,直到凝結成水。Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1521149 ; https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/paper/1467078

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Topic: Spain to make some train journeys free from September

Public transport prices on state-owned service across Spain have already been slashed in half in response to rapidly rising energy and inflation rates. Now the government has announced further 100% discounts.


As of September, passengers will be able to travel across various trains operated by public train network Renfe for absolutely nothing.


Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced that multi-journey tickets for trains operated by the network’s public services Cercanías, Rodalies and Media Distance (equivalent to local and medium-distance journeys) are to be free of charge from September 1 up until the end of the year.

西班牙總理桑切斯宣布,從9月1日到今年年底,西班牙國家鐵路公司將免費提供Cercanías、Rodalies和Media Distance營運的火車聯程車票(相當於本地與中距離旅程)。

The measure excludes single-journey tickets, or long-distance travels, according to public broadcaster TVE. Multi-journey tickets include a minimum of 10 return trips.


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Topic: Spain horse whisperer’s animals mirror stress sufferers’ state of mind 西班牙馴馬師的動物反映


In the Guadalix mountains outside Madrid, Argentine horse whisperer Fernando Noailles uses his animals to help people suffering from stress and anxiety.


The 57-year-old, who spent many years in the Patagonian wilderness living with horses, uses the animals as a way for patients to interpret and control their emotions.


People who come to his sessions spend time with the horses and learn through the movement of the animal what mental state they themselves are in, says Noailles, who charges up to 120 euros per session.


"The horse is a mirror," he says. "They are gregarious creatures, born to live in herds."


The therapy consists in monitoring how the horse responds to the client’s moods. From watching the horse’s reaction, the client learns how to identify and control emotions, he says.


"People in the first session, when they are in a difficult state of mind, see a horse that doesn’t stop, that moves, that even gallops. The horse is showing you a mind that doesn’t stop, that is tormented," he says.

他說:「處於困難心理狀態之中時,民眾上第一堂課,看著一匹動不停、甚至狂奔的馬兒。這匹馬對你顯示了一顆受到折磨的不停歇的心。」Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1530547 ; https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/paper/1205649