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Spain

Spain And UK Data Show Two Tales Of Europe's Limping Economy

EL PAIS (Spain), GUARDIAN (UK), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

MADRID – Good and bad news arrived Thursday as Europe continues its struggle to emerge from a five-year-long economic crisis.

Bad news first: Spain has again marked record-high unemployment figures, with a 27.2% jobless rate for the first quarter of 2013, the seventh straight quarter of rising jobless numbers.

The euro zone’s fourth-largest economy (and the world’s 12th largest) counts some 6.2 million people out of work, with youth employment rising to a staggering 57.2%, El Pais reported.

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Indignados (Zarateman)

Jose Luis Martinez, a strategist at Citi in Madrid, told Reuters: "These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy.”

Protests against austerity measures and rights for the jobless were expected later Thursday in the Spanish capital. Here was a different take, however, on the continuing crisis, with one Spaniard declaring: “16.6 million people working in this country for the rest. #unemployment #EPA”

16'6 millones de personas trabajan en este país para el resto. #paro#EPA

— Daniel Ampuero (@danielampuero) April 25, 2013

On a more positive note, Britain announced Thursday that its economy grew more than expected, expanding 0.3% in the first quarter. The data avoids a triple-dip recession. “Today's figures are an encouraging sign the economy is healing," said George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. “Despite a tough economic backdrop, we are making progress. I can't promise the road ahead will always be smooth, but by continuing to confront our problems head on, Britain is recovering and we are building an economy fit for the future."

The Office for National Statistics said the numbers were boosted by services and manufacturing, but that the construction sector continued to struggle, with output down 2.5%.

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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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