Thursday, January 27

📩 NEWSLETTER | Meritocracy

Restaurants say that fear of the sixth wave is beginning to be noticed, reinforced by the omicron alert: there are companies canceling their dinners or their parties scheduled for this week and the next. The risk is obvious and the dilemma is the same as always: try to regain social ties or keep our guard up when we are going to reach year 2 of the pandemic. Here are some keys. Meanwhile, in the night of some big cities it’s already 2019.

Omicron. Little by little we are learning more about what exactly the appearance of the omicron variant means for the evolution of the pandemic. On the one hand, it is confirmed that the mutation makes the virus even more contagious than with the delta variant, which was already more promiscuous than the original version of the virus. Therefore, we will see more cases and perhaps more frequent outbreaks.

The potentially positive part is that it seems that omicron, although it moves fast, hits less hard; the disease it generates usually have milder symptoms that in previous versions, or at least that is what they begin to say both from South Africa and from WHO. If this is so, if it becomes the predominant variant and corners the rest of the mutations, we may see a less deadly Covid-19 in the coming months in those countries with high vaccination rates. However, in unvaccinated populations its capacity for expansion is enormous and may end up having a greater impact on total deaths and hospital admissions.

  • Three vaccines. In any case, both the pharmaceutical As more and more health and political authorities insist: the booster of the vaccine is the best defense also against omicron and if over time it is seen that they do not work as well as before, they can be adapted (money through, of course) quickly.
  • Data. The incidence is placed in 290 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Spain. It has risen 40 points during the bridge, in which there have been 78 more deaths.

Ministers among ministers

Today on the podcast, a bit of recent history, which always comes with surprises because you already know that short-term memory sometimes fails.

Who was the Prime Minister of Spain? How many female ministers did Felipe González have in his first government? And Aznar? Do you remember what was said about Zapatero’s ministers? When did parity arrive?

Sorry not sorry

In the UK, Boris Johnson has apologized for something that he claims has not happened. There are pictures and information about a Christmas party by his cabinet workers last year, when they were banned, inside a government building. The prime minister, who for months put the importance of the pandemic down, says he is “furious” with his team and at the same time says that he is not aware that anything illegal was done. The blow to its popularity, according to a survey already conducted, is serious: half ask for his resignation.

  • Hello, Scholz. It’s official now. Angela Merkel’s successor has taken office. It’s Olaf Scholz, the moderate social democrat who was Merkel’s number 2 in the ‘grand coalition’ government. Now Scholz relies for his government on greens and liberals.

Don’t let it pass you

  • The price. We have talked a lot about the tragedy that the appointment in the Constitutional Court of two new members especially linked to the PP meant for the left. Today we tell you the other part: that assignment will allow a progressive majority in court for nine years.
  • Professors acquitted. Remember that we talked about the conviction of two teachers for the death of a minor on an excursion. The boy did not know how to swim and went across a stream. Well they resorted and they have been acquitted.
  • Deadly frontier. More than 2,000 people have died or disappeared on the Canary Islands migration route in 2021. And nothing happens.
  • Chi, chi, chi. Chili, immersed in full political transformation with the far right with a slight edge in the polls, approved on Monday gay marriage. It is the eighth Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, after Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Costa Rica and several states of Mexico.
  • Pepe, a cigarillo. I know by heart all the tobacco and alcohol commercials I heard as a teenager on sports radio broadcasts, before they were restricted, and I love to read in this report to Pepe Domingo Castaño complaining about the current limitations on betting house advertising. As a child I recited their advertisements and the adolescent in me continues to romanticize them. But my adult self knows that, precisely because of this, it is dangerous and wrong.

Things i didn’t know

  • He did not knowAnd how little that says about me as a patriot, that the origin of the flag of Spain is very pragmatic. The Spanish ships carried on their flags a shield on a white background that could not be seen from a distance. Carlos III asked in 1785 options of more showy things, that were seen from afar. And up there you have the winning option, and you discard them. Seen in another great thread by Fernando de Córdoba.
  • He did not know that the ‘döner kebap’, in the meat and salad sandwich format that is sold throughout Europe, was introduced into Western customs by two Turkish immigrants in Germany in the 70s. They adapted a typical dish common in the Middle East to invent a sandwich that from the first moment was successful as a fast food to reduce the effects of alcohol at the end of party nights.
  • He did not know which was the last European country to approve The divorce. I got the question playing trivia on this bridge and I thought it was Poland. But no. Poles can be divorced since 1964. The inhabitants of Ireland, also very Catholic, since 1997. The law was approved in a referendum with a margin of less than 1% of the vote. In Malta, since 2011.

Tomorrow we read again.

A hug!


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‘Al día’ and ‘Un tema al día’ are the newsletter and podcast of to keep you informed with the current keys every morning. With Juanlu Sánchez, deputy director of, and the contributions of the entire editorial team.

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