A cash-strapped Spanish town has surprised its residents by asking them to pick up a broom and sweep their own streets and pavements.
The official request by the mayor of Esparreguera, a town of 22,000 people in northeastern Spain’s Catalonia region, did not go down well with all inhabitants.
“The town hall does not have the financial means at the moment to improve municipal cleaning and gardening services,” said the request by Mayor Joan-Paul Udina.
“To return to the habits our grandparents had, we ask you to regularly sweep the portion of the pavement and road in front of your house,” he said.
Townspeople were also asked to water municipal trees and gardens outside their front doors.
“I am unemployed. I don’t earn anything. And in addition they want to put me to work for free to clean the rubbish,” 53-year-old Jose fumed.
“There are still sweepers here. It is not true that there is no money to do it, we pay our taxes,” said the former Seat car factory worker, who has been seeking work for three years.
However, Dolores Serrano, 56, said it was an “excellent idea.”
“I have already watered the tree in front of my door because I don’t want it to die,” she said, adding the mayor had issued a simple request, not a directive.
Spanish towns are hard-up. By the end of June, municipal debts amounted to 37.64 billion euros (US$51.81 billion), or 3.5 percent of GDP.
With YouTube videos “debunking” allegations of human rights abuses and diatribes on Western “conspiracies” against China, an unlikely set of foreigners is loudly defending Beijing against international critics. They are teachers and business owners from the UK, Colombia and Singapore, a collage of YouTubers garnering fame for their video takedowns of what they say are unfair accusations against Beijing. Videos alternate between praise of China’s rapid development and rebuttals of negative foreign reports about the country. Experts say they are being deployed as a weapon in the information war against China’s critics, with hundreds of videos reaching millions of viewers. “I am trying to
Hospitals are overwhelmed, ventilators are difficult to find and there is no longer enough space at the main cemetery for COVID-19 victims in Mauritius. Barely three weeks before it fully opens its doors to international travelers at the start of the peak tourist season, the island nation is struggling with an alarming explosion in COVID-19 infections and deaths. In just two months, cases have jumped more than fivefold to more than 12,600 as of Friday, by far the largest increase across Africa during this period, data compiled by Agence France-Presse showed. Since the pandemic started, Mauritius has recorded 1,005 cases of COVID-19 per
ELEVATED PARTNERSHIP: The agreement enables Japan to share its equipment and technology, as the countries deepen defense ties amid China worries Japan is to give defense equipment and technology to Vietnam under an agreement signed on Saturday, as the two countries step up their military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence. Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi said the deal elevates the countries’ defense partnership “to a new level,” and that Japan and Vietnam plan to deepen defense ties through multinational joint exercises and other means. Details about the transfer of specific equipment, including naval vessels, is to be worked out in subsequent talks, the ministry said. Kishi’s meeting with Vietnamese Minister of Defense Phan Van Giang in Hanoi
A city in southern China that is trying to contain a COVID-19 outbreak told the public on Sunday not to leave, suspended bus and train services, and closed cinemas, bars and other facilities. Anyone needing to leave Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in China’s Fujian Province, for an essential trip must have proof of a negative coronavirus test within the past 48 hours, the city government said. China declared the virus under control early last year, but has suffered outbreaks of the more contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. Authorities say that most cases have been traced to travelers arriving from