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A night at the museums: The essential guide to Madrids Noche de Los Museos

The museums of Madrid are throwing open their doors long into the night. Photo: Museo Nacional Thyss..



The museums of Madrid are throwing open their doors long into the night. Photo: Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

To mark International Museums Day 2018, the cultural institutions of Madrid are throwing their doors open to give the public a special welcome this weekend.

Much like during Art Night London or the Nuit Blanche in Paris, museums in the Spanish capital will be extending their opening hours into late Saturday night, allowing free access to exhibitions and displays that are normally paid for, as well as presenting talks, performances and other special events.

Agnish Ray a museum lover who lives in Madrid highlights what to look out for during La Noche de los Museos this weekend.


Fashion and virtual reality, at The Thyssen

A sumptuous exhibition is spread across the Museo Sorolla and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, presenting Spanish impressionist Joaquín Sorollas portraits of decadently clad men and women from the various ranks of Spanish society. Alongside each portrait stands a mannequin sporting the same, real life garments as those worn by the subject of the painting.

The Thyssen also presents a cutting-edge virtual reality experience this weekend – special 3D headgear let visitors virtually enter into the spaces of the paintings they stand before, allowing them to walk the meadows of Auvers painted by Van Gogh and the streets of New York that inspired Mondrian.

Modernist interior design, at CaixaForum

Design enthusiasts should visit the Herzog & De Meuron-designed CaixaForum for a chance to see Spains first exhibition on Austrian-Czech architect Adolf Loos, one of the key figures of Viennese fin-de-siécle modernist design. Loos once said: “The home must be pleasing to everyone, unlike a work of art, which doesnt have to please anyone. The artwork is a private matter of the artist – the home is not.”

The show presents a collection of 120 furniture and household items, as well as drawings, photographs and maquettes, all exploring this designers pioneering position in the debate on private and public spaces.

Belle Époque and dancing, at the Museo del Traje

An exhibition at the Clothing Museum looks at the world of dressing during the period between 1890 and 1914, displaying pieces of tailoring and sewing equipment, department store catalogues, tailoring manuals, clothing accessories, and fashion spreads from various magazines and newspapers in the Spanish and foreign press from the period.

Visitors can also experience the dances of the Belle Époque period, such as the vals, the tango and the scandalous cancan, in performances and workshops taking place over the weekend.

Yesterday and today, at the Museo del Romanticismo

The Romanticism Museum is looking to highlight the surprising connections between 19th century and 21st century needs, sensibilities and ways of living. The museum will hide pieces of IKEA furniture in its 19th century living rooms, challenging visitors to identify which ones they are. The exercise will illustrate the how our modern appreciation of comfort and its association with living room furniture, in many ways, originate in the Romantic period.

A separate event will see dancer Patricia Ruz and pianist Ramón Grau performing a piece of contemporary dance and music in homage to the women of the Romantic period and their achievements in poetry, journalism, painting and performing arts.

Paintings on stone and a Rubens retrospective, at The Prado

The Museo Nacional del Prado is allowing late-night access to two of their special temporary exhibitions. The first is a selection of paintings on monochrome stone (slate and white marble) from the early decades of the 16th century, highlighting the relationship between painting, geology and archaeology.

The second is a collection of over 70 paintings by Flemish Baroque master Paul Rubens, loaned from leading institutions around the world. The display is the culmination of an exhaustive research project directed by the museum, offering an analysis of Rubens as the most important painter of oil sketches in the history of European art.

Ancient Chimú culture, at the America Museum

The special activity at the Museo de América this weekend is programmed around one remarkable centrepiece – an ancient silver vessel from the Chimú civilisation, a powerful kingdom on the deserts of Peru's north coast, spanning the period 1000-1470. Precious metal production was prolific in this region during the time of the Chimú. The silver artefact going on display in Madrid has been loaned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibition Between Birds and Gods remains on display at the Museo de América until September.

Circus and magic, at the Anthropology Museum

Isnt the circus the greatest show in the world? Thats the question posed by the Museo Nacional de Antropología this weekend. Clowns, acrobats, magicians and street-artists from avant-garde Bambolea company will transform the museum into a contemporary circus space, for one night only. Bambolea specialises in promoting circus arts with the aim of giving them greater recognition within the broader landscape of contemporary culture.

For a list of all the activities on offer during the Day and Night at the Museums. Look at the guide published by Spain's cultural ministry.

Agnish Ray lives in Madrid. To see more of his work visit his website and follow on Twitter and Instagram

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Spain’s far-right Vox seek to make gains in 28 May local and regional elections



Spain’s third largest political group in the national parliament, the far-right Vox party, is looking to make gains in the local and regional elections due to be held across the country on 28 May.

Since it entered a regional government for the first time in Castilla y León last year, Vox has attacked the unions and pushed polarising positions on social issues, including abortion and transgender rights.

It is now poised to spread its influence beyond the sparsely populated region near Madrid, with the party hoping to make gains in the elections at the end of May.

Surveys suggest the main opposition, the right-wing People’s Party (PP), could need the support of Vox to govern in half of the 12 regions casting ballots, just as it did in Castilla y León last year.

Polls also indicate the PP is on track to win a year-end general election but would need Vox to form a working majority and oust socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his coalition government from office.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal [pictured at a recent rally in Chinchón, near Madrid] has called the PP-VOX coalition government in office in Castilla y León since March 2022 a ‘showroom’ and ‘an example of the alternative Spain needs’.

It is Spain’s first government to include a far-right party since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In Castilla y León, Vox has slashed funding to unions, which the party has vowed to ‘put in their place’ if it comes to power nationally. Trade union UGT was forced to lay off 40% of its staff in Castilla y León last month and scale back programmes to promote workspace safety. Spain’s other main union, the CCOO, is reportedly preparing to follow suit.

Vox has also angered LGBTQ groups by refusing to allow the regional parliament to be lit up in the colours of the rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement, for Pride festivities as in past years when the PP governed alone.

In addition, the regional vice-president, Vox’s Juan García-Gallardo, has railed against a law passed by Spain’s leftist central government that extends transgender rights.

The 32-year-old lawyer warned earlier this month that women would now be ‘forced to share locker rooms with hairy men at municipal swimming pools’.

Vox’s most contested initiative was a proposal that doctors offer women seeking an abortion a 4D ultrasound scan to try to discourage them from going ahead with the procedure.

The idea was swiftly condemned by Spain’s leftist central government, and Castilla y León’s PP president Alfonso Fernández Mañueco stopped the measure from going ahead.

The issue highlighted the hazards for the PP of joining forces with Vox, which was launched in 2013 and is now the third-largest party in the national parliament.


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Spain – Gas falls below 90 euros per MWh for the first time in almost two months



The price of TTF natural gas for delivery next month has fallen below 90 euros on Friday for the first time in almost two months and closes a week marked by the decision of the European Commission to cap gas with a drop of 29, 36%.
According to data from the Bloomberg platform, gas closed this Friday at 83 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), 8.9% less than the day before and the first time it has lost 90 euros since last October 31.
After months of negotiations, the EU agreed on Monday to set a cap of 180 euros on contracts linked to the Amsterdam TTF index with a price difference of at least 35 euros above the average price of liquefied natural gas in the markets.

EU countries agree on a cap of 180 euros for gas with the support of Germany
In a report this week, the Swiss investment bank Julius Baer indicated that the chances of the mechanism being activated are low and pointed out that the chosen formula was not very effective in avoiding the multiplier effect that gas has on the price of electricity. However, he reiterated what was said in other previous reports: “Energy supply risks are minimal and prices should continue to decline in the future” due to the availability of raw materials from Asia to offset cuts from Russia.

Gas tends to fall during the hot months due to lower demand, but this summer it has reached historic heights as European countries were buying to face the winter with their tanks full and reduce their dependence on Russia. The price fell in September and October due to lower demand once the warehouses were full due to the high temperatures at the beginning of autumn, but in November it picked up again and 66% more expensive.

This article was originally published on Público

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Spain – The retirement age rises to 66 years



Ordinary retirement at age 65 ends for those who have contributed less than 38 years. In fact, 2023 will be the last year in which this can be done since it will be necessary to have a contribution career of a minimum of 37 years and nine months to be able to retire with the reference age of the last century, since it was established in 1919, and once the year is over another quarter will be added to be able to do it without cuts in the benefit.
This requirement means that to access ordinary retirement at age 65 without loss of pay, it will be necessary to have been working, at least, since April 1985 for those who exercise this right in December 2023 and since May 1984 for those who intend to do it in January.

More than ten million contributory pensioners
In the last decade, and coinciding with the implementation of the delay program, the real retirement age of Spanish workers has increased by one year, from 63.9 in 2012 to 64.8 in mid-2022, according to data from the Financial Economic Report of the Social Security included in the General State Budget.

Contributory pensions will have a historic rise of 8.5% as of January as a result of the disproportionate increase in the CPI, while for non-contributory pensions the revision will be 15%. This review will place the average pension of the contributory system at 1,187 euros per pay, while the retirement pension will rise to 1,365, the disability pension will reach 1,122 and the widow’s pension will reach 847, as a result of applying the 8.5% increase.

The Social Security forecasts point to next year, and while waiting to find out the real effects that the rise may have on the payroll due to its “call effect” to bring forward retirement given the opportunity to alleviate with it the penalties for anticipating it, the number of pensioners will consolidate above ten million, with almost two-thirds of them (6.37) as retirees, to which will be added 2.3 million widows and almost one affected by work disabilities.

This record number of pensioners will place the cost of pensions at 209,165 million euros, the bulk of which (196,399, 93.8%) will be used to pay benefits, including non-contributory ones. Health care has a budget of 1,890 million euros and social services another 3,791, while the remaining 7,144 are dedicated to operating expenses.

On the revenue side, the largest contribution comes from the contribution chapter, which will amount to 152,075 million and will leave the gap with contributory benefits at 36,765.
The imbalance will be covered by a contribution of 38,904 from the Government, to which is added a chapter of others worth 18,116 and which includes everything from sanctions to asset disposals, among other concepts.

Read more of this from the source Público

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