Category : Spain

(C of E Diocese of Europe) A drop-in center enables growth in a Spanish Parish

When St Christopher’s Church on the Costa Azahar in Spain (the name means Orange Blossom coast) north of Valencia, opened a drop-in centre in Alcossebre a few years ago they called it El Camino ”“ The Way ”“ and it has proved to be the way the Anglican church has reached out to residents and visitors in the community.

A friendly welcome is assured and there is a cup of tea or coffee and home-made cakes or savouries in an atmosphere where visitors can relax and learn that Christians do not have two heads and are really a joyful bunch. The centre also stocks second hand books and a selection of clothing and bric-a-brac and the bonus is that it helps to fund the payment of clergy and the general work of the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spain, Theology

(CSM) Google News shutdown in Spain: Does anyone win?

Google is shutting down its Google News service in Spain next week in response to new legislation that requires the search giant to pay for content from Spanish news organizations.

Richard Gingras, the head of Google News, announced the decision on Google’s Europe blog Thursday. “With real sadness,” he wrote, Spanish publishers will be removed from the site on Dec. 16.

The change to Spain’s copyright law, which goes into effect in January, allows Spanish newspapers and other publishers to charge Google each time their content appears on Google News. The so-called “Google tax” applies to all news aggregation sites, including Menéame, Google’s Spain-based rival.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Politics in General, Spain, Theology

(Telegraph) Christopher Howse on Vic, Spain–Sunshine in the City of Saints

Three things immediately strike a visitor to the tiny cathedral city of Vic in Catalonia: the smell of pigs that hangs in the air, the lovely arcaded square surfaced with raked sand, and the fog that envelopes the place for 100 days a year. The last may bring out the richness of the first.

Fog was used by the writer Miquel Llor (1894-1966) as a metaphor for the closed, hypocritical society that he portrayed in his novel Laura a la ciutat dels sants ”“ Laura in the City of Saints. I don’t recommend it, except as an indicator of the way things seemed to middle-aged intellectuals in 1931, the year that the Republic was declared in Spain.

Vic was known as the City of the Saints because it produced saints at times that other Spanish towns did not. To acquire a new saint it is necessary first to supply holy men and women as candidates, but then to have people determined to persevere with the slow process of canonisation.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain

A European court ruling on Religion in Spain–Which freedom comes first?

The European Court of Human Rights has just handed down a verdict (PDF) which some people have hailed as a victory for “religious freedom”. Actually it would be more accurate to describe the decision as a victory for the freedom of religious organisations””as opposed to that of individuals making religious or ethical choices. And the outcome will be disturbing to many people, even including some who broadly agree that religions should be able to determine their own doctrines, rules and even disciplinary procedures without interference from the state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Spain

The Dutch Stun World Champions Spain 5-1

Wow.

Still sitting here in eerie silence. Robin Van Persie’s first goal changed that game.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Globalization, South America, Spain, Sports, The Netherlands

Congratulations to Real Madrid for Winning the Champion's League Final

Ángel di María the best player today he deserves the most credit for the win.

By the way, di María will be playing w/ Lionel Messi in the world cup–Argentina will be dangerous

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Portugal, Spain, Sports

Spain's La Liga Football goes down to the final game of the season for the title

Atletico Madrid and Barcelona will play a La Liga title decider at the Nou Camp stadium next weekend after the front runners drew on Sunday to set up one of the most dramatic finishes in Spain’s top flight for more than 60 years.

On a day of nerve-jangling tension, when leaders Atletico came desperately close to a late goal that would have clinched the championship, the Madrid club had to come from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Malaga while second-placed Barca were held to a 0-0 stalemate at Elche.

Real Madrid dropped out of the title race when they suffered a surprise 2-0 loss at Celta Vigo that left them five points behind their city rivals with one game remaining.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Spain, Sports

Lionel Messi becomes top El Clasico scorer as Barcelona beats Real Madrid in 4-3 thriller

Lionel Messi’s late first half goal made him the all-time leading El Clasico goal scorer on Sunday, and he scored twice more in the second half for a hat trick in Barcelona’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid.

Barca struck first thanks to a perfectly-weighted pass from Messi that found Andres Iniesta at full stride, and he lashed a left-footed laser into the upper netting. It was a powerful strike that put the visitors ahead in the 7th minute.

Cristiano Ronaldo was harassed, banged and brutalized early as Barca looked to intimidate the Portuguese superstar, but he was still effective early.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Spain, Sports

(Telegraph) Nick Squires–The Rise of the exorcists in the Roman Catholic Church

Dioceses across Italy, as well as in countries such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in administering the rite of exorcism, fabled to rid people of possession by the Devil.

The rise in demonic cases is a result of more people dabbling in practices such as black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards, often exploring the dark arts with the help of information readily found on the internet, the Church said.

The increase in the number of priests being trained to tackle the phenomenon is also an effort by the Church to sideline unauthorised, self-proclaimed exorcists, and its tacit recognition that belief in Satan, once regarded by Catholic progressives as an embarrassment, is still very much alive.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain, Theology

(Telegraph) Christopher Howse–Sacred Mysteries: Granada ”“ a tale of two mosques

Granada was of course, in 1492, the last Moorish city to surrender to the “Catholic Kings”. The return of Islam today has loud historical resonances. The Grand Mosque of Granada, as it calls itself, is now celebrating the 10th anniversary of its controversial opening.

It is the brainchild of Abdalqadir as-Sufi, born in Scotland in 1930 and christened Ian Dallas. He became a Muslim in 1967 and spent years seeking permission from the city council of Granada to build a mosque here.

What I had not realised, until I read a fascinating chapter in In the Light of Medieval Spain (Palgrave, £61), is that, down the hill, a mosque had long been functioning in Granada that is more open to the mainstream of Islam than the cliquish Albaicín mosque. Near the Plaza Nueva, next to the Oasis Backpackers’ Hostel, stands the al-Taqua mosque. It has been there since the 1980s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spain

Real Madrid come up just short versus Borussia Dortmund

Congratulations to Borussia Dortmund for making the Champions League Final.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Spain, Sports

(WSJ) Mary Lewis–El Greco's "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz"

At the center of Spain and of ancient Castile, and less than an hour from Madrid, Toledo has always existed in another world. Countless settlers have been drawn to the city’s impregnable perch on a mountaintop, and they have shaped its cultural history: Romans, Visigoths, Moorish caliphates and, in the medieval period, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities all left their mark on monuments that fill the small city. Domenikos Theotokopoulos””the 16th-century painter from Crete known as El Greco””left his adopted home some of its greatest treasures, including his magisterial painting of “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.” On a monumental scale (almost 16 feet by 10 feet) and in astonishingly original form, the canvas reflects not only centuries of Toledo’s history as a cultural melting pot, but the profound faith and tolerance that sustained it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Art, Europe, History, Religion & Culture, Spain

(Toronto Star) Cathal Kelly–Lionel Messi’s greatness cannot be measured

In assessing the greatness of Lionel Messi, Arsene Wenger, usually the world’s most insightful soccer manager, once said a trite thing: “When you look at the numbers, you have to kneel down and say they are fantastic.”

Wenger was referencing the 2010-11 season, in which Messi scored 53 goals in all competitions.

On Saturday, in his last game before the Christmas break, Messi scored his 91st goal of 2012. So Messi not only crushed the 40-year-old calendar-year scoring record held by German Gerd Muller (85), he reversed over it a few times.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, History, Men, Spain, Sports

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of John of the Cross

Judge eternal, throned in splendor, who gavest Juan de la Cruz strength of purpose and mystical faith that sustained him even through the dark night of the soul: Shed thy light on all who love thee, in unity with Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Spain, Spirituality/Prayer

(NY Times) Jere Longman–Messi’s Brilliance Transcends His Numbers

It was Pep Guardiola, the former manager of Barcelona, who once suggested that Lionel Messi should be observed instead of dissected. He is, after all, widely considered the world’s greatest soccer player, not a biology project.

“Don’t try to write about him,” Guardiola said. “Don’t try to describe him. Watch him.”

On Sunday, Messi set an international record by scoring his 86th goal in a calendar year, for both Barcelona and the Argentine national team, delivering an average of one goal every four days, more frequently than a starting pitcher takes the mound, as often as Starbucks opens a new store in China.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, History, Men, South America, Spain, Sports

Wednesday Morning Mental Health Break–See Lionel Messi score all 86 of his Goals This Season

Watch it all. Simply stunning.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, History, Men, South America, Spain, Sports

NPR Talks to Placido Domingo about his new album

Placido Domingo is one of the most influential people in classical music. During a 50-year career, he’s played more than 140 roles, conducted more than 450 operas, and won just about every award that a human being can win in opera and life.

Domingo has a new album of solo songs and duets with other singers, whose names might surprise you. Take, for example, his version of Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On” ”” a duet with Susan Boyle.

Listen to it all (slightly over 9 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Music, Spain

(Busines Week) Spain has a modern Day Robin Hood?

For 33 years, Sánchez Gordillo has been mayor of Marinaleda, pop. 2,700, another farming settlement about 100 miles west of Jódar. Like Jódar, Marinaleda is mostly inhabited by jornaleros. Over the decades, Sánchez Gordillo has transformed the poor village into an islet of social justice and relative prosperity, with almost full employment through communal farming, low taxes, a salary of €1,200 ($1,572), food and housing considered as rights, and “direct democracy” exercised through frequent general assemblies. Sánchez Gordillo and his townsmen launched their movement to build what he calls “a communist utopia” after the death of general and dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, occupying land owned by a member of the royal family and distributing it for communal ownership as well as taking over local airports.

His efforts in Marinaleda long ago earned him a regional following, but Sánchez Gordillo and his lieutenant, the 57-year-old Diego Cañamero, the SAT union’s national spokesman, have gained renown in recent months with a series of controversial protests against the austerity measures embraced by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish government. On Aug. 7, the two led union members on raids on Carrefour (CA) and Mercadona supermarkets, leaving the stores with shopping carts full of “expropriated” food they gave away to the hungry poor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Poverty, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) Spanish Voters Deliver a Mixed Message to Rajoy

An exit poll showed Mr. Rajoy’s conservative party winning 39 or 40 of the parliament’s 75 seats in his native Galicia, a gain of at least one seat over the Spanish Socialist Party and two smaller rivals. He had touted Galicia as a regional model for the economic-austerity program his government has pursued amid rising popular protest in the rest of Spain.

In the Basque Country, another exit poll showed a surprisingly strong second-place finish by a new radical separatist coalition, apparently enough to help a more-moderate nationalist party oust the ruling coalition between Mr. Rajoy’s party and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party.

The exit polls, taken by the regional government-owned television networks in Galicia and Basque Country, are widely regarded as reliable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Reuters) Spain ready for bailout, Germany signals "wait"-sources

“The Spanish were a bit hesitant but now they are ready to request aid,” a senior European source said. Three other euro zone senior euro zone sources confirmed the shift in the Spanish position, all speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said Spain is taking all the right steps to overcome its fiscal problems and does not need a bailout, arguing that investors will recognise and reward Spanish reforms in due course.

Privately, several European diplomats and a senior German source said Chancellor Angela Merkel preferred to avoid putting more individual bailouts for distressed euro zone countries to her increasingly reluctant parliament.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Spain Warns of Wider Budget Gap

The Spanish government Saturday said the effort to clean up an ailing banking system will have a big impact on its finances, widening its budget gap and increasing its debt load.

Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said the government forecasts its budget deficit will stand at 7.4% of gross domestic product this year. Excluding the impact of measures to help banks to digest a massive pile of toxic real-estate assets, he said Spain will comply with the deficit target of 6.3% of GDP for 2012 it has committed to with the European Union.

The new budget projections come at a time of uncertainty about the country’s solvency amid soaring borrowing costs. Many analysts expect the government’s effort to lower a budget gap to below the 3%-of-GDP limit for EU countries by 2014 to go off track also because of a deep recession that is pushing the unemployment rate to a record high of almost 25%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Bloomberg) Catalonia to Hold Election, Seizing Chance to Force Rajoy on Autonomy

…Rajoy is the victim of his electoral success: his majority government, ironically, is weaker for not including regionalist partners. The Catalan government sees the dissatisfaction with Madrid’s handling of the crisis as an opportunity: it may give the regionalists enough of a boost at the polls to force Madrid to hand them more autonomy, in other words, control of taxes. If Catalonia had control over its own taxes, the argument goes, the region would not have needed a bailout.

Rajoy’s choices are limited: he either refuses Catalan demands for more autonomy and risks enflaming Catalan nationalist sentiment, or agrees to increased autonomy, and risks enflaming Spanish nationalist sentiment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Spain, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

After High Note for [Mario Draghi's Latest] Euro Plan, Discord Emerges

Greeted with initial fanfare by investors and economic officials, the unlimited bond-buying plan that the European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, announced Thursday ran into immediate political problems in the crucial countries of Germany, Spain and Italy.

In Germany, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for Mr. Draghi and the independence of the Central Bank, political and news media reaction was scathing, with accusations that the bank, in seeking to stabilize the euro currency union, was subverting its mandate to fight inflation and forcing debt upon euro zone members.

“A Black Day for the Euro,” “Over the Red Line” and “Pandora’s Box Opened Forever” were some of the German headlines, with the normally sympathetic Süddeutsche Zeitung headlining an editorial: “The E.C.B. Rewards Mismanagement.” Even the German Bundesbank, officially part of the European Central Bank, put out a statement commenting acidly that the plan was “financing governments by printing bank notes.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

King-size costs: European crisis puts new spotlight on monarchies’ spending

Shortly after confiding to his countrymen that he had been unable to sleep at night because of all the young unemployed people in his country, Spanish King Juan Carlos secretly hopped aboard a plane and went on a lavish safari to Botswana, where he shot elephants.

When word leaked out this spring, Spaniards were outraged. Newspapers calculated that such hunting trips cost twice the country’s average annual salary. Tomas Gomez, a Socialist party leader, called on the king to choose between his “public responsibilities or an abdication.” Now, critics are calling on him to slash his budget and reveal how he is spending the money.

The backlash against the 74-year-old king is part of a broader soul-searching in Europe about the role and relevance of monarchies as the economic crisis deepens.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Spain, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Zenit) Washington State Roman Catholic Bishop Guides Voters in Defending Marriage

Attached to the bishop’s letter was a series of points as to why voters should consider repealing the law under Referendum 74. Stating that the new marriage law does not expand but redefines marriage in terms of a relationship between two people, the American prelate stated that such a change would cause marriage to lose its unique identity.

Another matter of concern was that a redefinition of marriage would inevitably lead to a redefinition of parenthood. The letter cited examples of similar laws passed in Spain and Canada, where traditional designations such as “mother” and “father” have been replaced with either “Parent 1 and Parent 2” or “Progenitor 1 and Progenitor 2.”

Words matter, Bishop Cupich stated, “especially words like mother and father, which have real depth and meaning. We lose a great deal when they are substituted by terms and designations not otherwise used. They are strange to the ear, but they also fail to convey what fathers and mothers each bring as male and female to the critical task of generating, rearing and educating their sons and daughters.”

Read it all and please take the time to read the full text of Bishop Blase Cupich’s letter.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain, State Government

([London] Times) Alan Posener–Germany reaches its Eurosceptic Moment

The anger within the three parties of the ruling coalition is understandable. These are the parties of the German taxpayer, after all, and ever since the sovereign debt crisis began they have been reciting the mantra that the eurozone is not and will not become a “transfer union”; that there will be no mutualisation of debt; that Mediterranean sloth and tax evasion will not be rewarded by payments from hardworking, honest Nordic Germany.

If this sounds racist, it’s because the debate is tinged on all sides by nationalist stereotypes. The German middle class feels it has been had and the country is digesting Moody’s downgrading of its credit rating. “Is this what we get for saving the Greeks?” asks the tabloid Bild. Good question….

It is impossible to explain to a German who has had her retirement age upped to 67, or an unemployed German whose benefits have been cut to balance the budget, why billions of euros should go south to support governments that didn’t have the guts to slash social spending or who let their citizens retire to the beach at 55.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Psychology, Spain

(BBC) Gavin Hewitt–Spain's euro woes: Crisis deepens

Spain is heading for a general bailout. It may not happen immediately, but that is what the figures suggest – that sometime in the autumn, maybe sooner, the country will need a full-blown rescue.

It is fiercely denied, of course. The Spanish Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, said “Spain is a solvent country, there will be no bailout… I believe that Spain is a competitive country. We have a trade surplus with the eurozone, we have a very competitive tourism sector”.

Then there are the facts on the ground. The bailout of the Spanish banks – sealed last Friday – lacks conviction. House prices are still falling. Indeed in the second quarter they were declining at the fastest rate since the start of the crisis. The real estate bubble, stoked by the eurozone’s low interest rates, continues to take its toll.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Congratulations to Spain, Winners of the Euro 2012 Championship

It was a dominant performance today.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Italy, Men, Spain, Sports

Spain Wins in Euro Quarterfinal by Beating France

I was hoping for more from France but Spain is just amazingly good and patient.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Men, Spain, Sports

(Bloomberg) Euro Crisis Shifts To Spain As Merkel Faces G-20 Pressure

Group of 20 leaders focused their response to Europe’s financial crisis on stabilizing the region’s banks, raising pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to expand rescue measures as contagion engulfed Spain.

As U.S. President Barack Obama called after-dinner talks with euro-area leaders at the G-20 summit in Mexico, the Treasury department’s top international negotiator, Lael Brainard, said Europe is making an effort to “break the feedback loop” between banks and government debt, the link that is worsening Spain’s woes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--