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Spain

Moody's Downgrades Spain, Global Markets Dive Again

Worldcrunch

EL MUNDO (Spain), LE FIGARO (France) BLOOMBERG (U.S.),

MADRID - At the beginning of the week, Spain was supposed to have been saved. So much for that: Moody's downgraded Spain's debt rating three steps to Baa3. The main reason for this downgrade "is obviously the need of Spain's government to ask for external help," Kathrin Muehlbronner, senior analyst at Moody's, told Bloomberg.

Clearly, the 100 billion euros ($125 billion) set aside by the EU to help save Spain's banking sector have not convinced the ratings agency, and "Spain is on review for further downgrade," Bloomberg adds.

Asian stock fell following this announcement, with Japan's Nikkei down 0.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sliding 1.2%. European markets were heading in the same direction, with the French stock market also lost 1.09 percent this morning, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.

A second Spanish bailout plan is now considered, El Mundo reports. According to Alberto Matellán, director of macroeconomics and strategy for the Spanish brokerage firm Inverseguros, Spain has nevertheless "not reached the critical point." A markets strategist at IG Markets, quoted by the Spanish newspaper, concludes: "What we need now to reassure the markets are decisions at the European level."

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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