Mercedes Coghen, an Olympic field hockey medallist in Barcelona 1992 and CEO of Spain’s Olympic bid, admitting to ‘bittersweet’ feelings when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation commission report was published on September 2.
Rio de Janeiro’s presentation of the bid was described as ‘very high quality,’ while Chicago’s and Tokyo’s were called ‘high quality.’ In the case of Madrid, however, IOC officials said the bid from the Spanish capital was ‘varied in quality.’
‘The Spanish media put the accent on the presentations, though the report was very, very good for Madrid’, Coghen told German Press Agency dpa.
Being incapable of selling one’s project is no small matter when you depend on 106 IOC members of very different nationalities, cultures and age groups. These communication shortcomings were striking for a country whose Juan Antonio Samaranch was IOC president 1980-2001 and that hosted one of the best Olympics 1992 in Barcelona.
Coghen said stepping down was not an option for Madrid, whose delegation in Copenhagen is led by King Juan Carlos.
But as things stand, the city knows that it will not be able to count on the Hispanic world in the first round of voting, although bid officials also know that they will get those votes back if they progress a round further than Rio.
This is Madrid’s third attempt to host the Olympics, after most recently losing out for 2012.
With King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofía and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Copenhagen, the goal of Madrid’s bid is threefold: surviving the first vote, strengthening itself as a ‘second option’ for IOC members and scraping a handful of votes that could be crucial for Madrid to reach once again the home stretch of the race for the Olympics.
More than 15,000 people took to the streets of Zaragoza in northeastern Spain Saturday to protest feared job cuts at the Opel auto plant by Canadian car parts maker Magna.
Spanish Opel workers carried banners reading “Opel and its subcontractors: for a viable industrial plan” and “We are going to win this fight.”
Under a deal unveiled on September 10, US auto giant General Motors agreed to sell a 55-percent stake in Opel to Magna and to state-owned Russian lender Sberbank. GM will retain 35 percent and employees the rest. The deal covers all GM’s European operations except Swedish unit Saab.
With Magna expected to cut 10,000 jobs, there are concerns throughout Europe over where the axe would fall.
Opel has about 7,000 employees at its factory in the Spanish city of Figueruelas near Zaragoza, in the northeastern region of Aragon. The head of the Opel works council in Spain Saturday called for a “firm and massive” rejection of the planned job cuts.
The mayor of Zaragoza, Juan Alberto Belloch, called on Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to become personally involved in the debate.
It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) again across the US and a good time to review the status of Latinos and Spanish speaking communities across the country.
The US Census Bureau reports there are now nearly 47 million Hispanics living in the US. That’s the second-largest Hispanic population in the world, second only to México’s 110 million people.
And the browning of America will continue unabated in the next several decades. The Census Bureau projects the US Latino population will reach nearly 133 million by 2050, or 30 percent of the nation’s total population.
If you’re wondering what continuing education course to take this fall, I recommend conversational Spanish. Thirty-five million americans speak Spanish at home. And 78 percent of US Hispanics age 5 and older speak Spanish at home. In New Mexico, 45 percent of us are Hispanic, the highest percentage of any state in the union. And in New Mexico, at least one-in-five residents speaks Spanish at home. That includes ALL New Mexicans–Hispanics, Whites, Blacks, First Americans and Asians, y’all.
New Mexico is coming full circle on this Spanish-language thing. When the US ripped-off one-third of México’s territory in 1846 and dictated surrender terms to the Mexican government, there were about 110,000 Mexicans living in the newly-conquered territories—Nuevo México, Tejas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, California and parts of other states. Most of those Mexicans, however, were heavily concentrated in New Mexico. Of the 110,000 Mexicans who suddenly found themselves in a new country, 90,000 were living right here in the Rio Grande Basin.
Today in New Mexico, it’s possible once again (or still possible) for a Spanish-only speaker to live a fully-realized life here, just as it’s possible for an English-only speaker to live a fully realized life here.
Imagine how much richer all of our lives would be if we all spoke several languages?
Spanish teacher training in Australia reaches a new pitch of activity this month with an unprecedented national round of workshops and meetings.
The universities of Queensland and Salamanca, as well as the Spanish government, are backing an inaugural three-day workshop in Brisbane starting on September 18.
Virgilio Borobio, a leading expert in Spanish as a second language, also will speak at meetings this month for teachers in Auckland, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, where the venue will be Australia’s first Cervantes Institute.
Although Spanish is a rare success story among first-year language programs at university, it has a weak presence in school compared with entrenched European languages such as French and with Asian tongues, which enjoy a degree of official support, especially in Kevin Rudd’s home state of Queensland. By international standards, languages get little promotion from Australian governments.
Against this background, “it is difficult to find teacher training of quality for Spanish teachers,” said Javier Santos, Sydney-based adviser with the Spanish government’s Education Office in Australia and an organiser of the September activities.
Mr Santos said Spain’s education ministry was striking alliances with universities such as Sydney, Queensland and La Trobe to lift the quality and number of teachers in public as well as private education.
With Bank of America leading the firms offering Spanish language sites the race is on for big business to address the Spanish speaking population.
Over the past several years, 71% of the nation’s largest online and click-and-mortar banks have added foreign language content to their public websites, providing important product information and services in Spanish for the approximately 45 million Hispanic Americans living in the United States. The addition of this content should spark greater interest in these firms’ deposit products and services and offer opportunities for growth, a key objective given today’s challenging business conditions in the retail banking industry.
Recent immigrants to the United States are often identified as ‘under-banked,’ which is unsurprising since most banking information and services have traditionally been offered almost exclusively in English. As the Spanish-speaking population of the USA grows in both size and affluence, top retail banks have come to recognize the importance of serving this group through Spanish language site content, customer service support and account statements.
A radio station that went off the air a year ago is back providing news and information to the Arizona Valley’s huge Spanish-speaking population.
But KNUV-AM (1190) is operating with just a fraction of its original staff, which at its peak numbered 43 people, including three reporters. And while the station’s skeletal staff still delivers news and information, it has adopted a new format popular among many Spanish radio stations in the Valley: KNUV now relies not on advertising but rather paid programming to generate revenue.
KNUV isn’t the only Spanish radio station that sells paid programming without telling listeners. The format has become a popular way for Spanish radio stations to make money and keep costs down, especially during the recession, said Michael Nowakowski, general manager of KNAI-FM (88.3) a non-profit radio station known as La Campesina that offers regional Mexican music, news and talk shows.
Who says you can’t teach an old bear new tricks?
At Smokey Bear’s 65th birthday party today in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Forest Service will reveal that it’s iconic fire prevention symbol is bilingual, as it releases the new Smokey Bear Story “big book,” an illustrated educational book in English and Spanish that officials hope will introduce his messages to a new generation of children.
“Smokey Bear is one of the most beloved symbols in American history, and his important message has been communicated to generations of Americans during the past 65 years,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said that by translating the story book into Spanish, “this new book will help mentor a new generation in carrying on Smokey’s message.”
Smokey Bear — often erroneously referred to as Smokey the Bear — took over as the Forest Service’s mascot from Bambi, who was on loan from Walt Disney for a year after the 1942 release of the animated feature film that bore his name.