Friday, September 23, 2011

Asuntos Propios

Usually on the way to pick of the kids, I listen to a program called “Asuntos Propios”, which provides me with a dose of good humor to deal with the fact that I’ve wasted yet another day trying to get work done, despite being way to sleepy to actually think straight.

(Usually my day consists of “Do X”, “Realize X is a stupid idea”, “Undo X”)

Yesterday, they were asking listeners to send in questions that they should ask Mariano Rajoy. My favorite of the bunch:

“Does it hurt your feelings when people call you Mariano Chips-Rajoy?”

They also have a section on amusing mispronounced words, which most of the time go over my head, although sometimes I get it… asking someone for their “encabronamiento” instead of “empadronamiento”, or saying that your mobile phone has no “cubiertura” instead of “cobertura”.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Perhaps they should have called it Botifarra Voladora after all…

The Generalitat is injecting another 50 million euro into the airline they bought back in 2009. Exactly why the government needs to own an airline in Catalonia? First class tickets to Catalan politicians? Direct Llieda-Barcelona flights?

Hungary to Austria: So long, suckers

A couple years ago, banks in Austria had a brilliant idea: write mortgages for Hungarians in Swiss Francs instead of the local currency. Given that interest rates were much lower in Switzerland, the Hungarians went crazy and nearly a million of them switched their mortgage to Swiss Francs.

Then the financial crisis hit and the Swiss Franc went crazy (and the Hungarian Forint crashed):

image

Rather than bankrupt the country trying to pay off these loans, the Hungarians just passed a law that allows property owners to pay off their loans at an exchange rate of 180 Forints to 1 Swiss Franc, which is an effect cram down of about 33%.

Unfortunately for Austria it means that their banks are on the hook for a 3 billion dollar loss (if everyone converts). Oh well, couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of people.

If this works out for Hungary, expect the rest of Eastern Europe for follow… for example, Poland alone has about 50 billion in Swiss franc mortgages.