Spain is 2019’s healthiest country – Bloomberg

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2019   •   8090

MANILA, Philippines – The 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index named Spain as the healthiest nation in the world.

The data company ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO); United Nations Population Division (UNDP); and the World Bank.

Spain, which placed sixth in the previous report published in 2017, scored 92.8, surpassing Italy which slipped from number 1 to number 2 spot with 91.59.

Other nations in the top 10 include:

Iceland (3rd) with 91.44;

Japan (4th) with 91.38 climbing from seventh spot in 2017;

Switzerland (5th) with 90.93;

Sweden (6th) with 90.24;

Australia (7th) with 89.75;

Singapore (8th) with 89.29 dropping from 4th spot in 2017;

Norway (9th) with 89.09;

and Israel (10th) with 88.15.

Variables weighed include life expectancy, while imposing penalties on health risks i.e. tobacco use and obesity, plus environmental factors like access to clean water and sanitation.

Based on data from the UNDP, Spain is forecast to have the highest lifespan in 2040 at almost 86 years having the highest life expectancy at birth among European nations, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

The main factor for Spaniards and Italians being the healthiest, according to researchers from the University of Navarra Medical School, is their eating habit – a “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet”.

The United States, meanwhile, ranked 35th, a 1-point drop from 34th in the 2017 results as life expectancy in the country on downtrend due deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

Bloomberg analysis focuses in its final index nations with at least 0.3 million population and sufficient data and 169 WHO states met such criteria. – Marje Pelayo

Elderly couple killed as torrential rains sweep away cars in Spain

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 13, 2019

An elderly couple died on Thursday (September 12) when floodwaters caused by torrential rain dragged their car and flipped it over in eastern Spain, local emergency services said.

The victims, both aged 70, were killed in the region of Castilla La Mancha, the 112 service said on Twitter. In the neighbouring Valencia region, at least two rivers burst their banks, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people.

The Clariano river flooded parts of Ontinyent, south of the coastal town of Valencia, while television footage showed a deluge tumbling through the streets of nearby Mogente, sweeping debris along with it.

Schools in Valencia and the Murcia region suspended classes, expecting the heavy rains to continue. Local authorities recommended people stay in their homes in the worst affected areas, where the weather interrupted traffic on roads and railways and at ports. (REUTERS)

Thousands of revelers hurl tomatoes in La Tomatina food fight festival

UNTV News   •   August 28, 2019

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Thousands of revelers waged what is considered the world’s biggest food fight in the eastern Spanish town of Bunol on Wednesday (August 28), hurling tonnes of tomatoes at each other and cavorting in the red pulp underneath their feet.

The town hall had distributed over 20,000 tickets to the annual festival this year, attended by many foreign tourists and locals alike.

A thunderous yell greeted six trucks carrying a total of 145 tonnes of the fruit as they rolled through the streets of Bunol and organizers tossed the over-ripe tomatoes into the crowd, quickly converting it into a sea of pink and red.

Some revelers wore goggles as protection for their eyes and quite a few buildings were draped with tarpaulin to preserve the walls, while others were soaked with the pulp, creating a scene worthy of a modern art painting.

The Tomatina is said to have originated from a spontaneous bust-up amongst villagers in 1945.

It was banned for a while during the 1950s at the height of General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship but survived to gain popularity across Spain in the 1980s and today draws large crowds of visitors from abroad as well as Spaniards. (REUTERS)

(Production: Guillermo Martinez, Catherine Macdonald)

Evacuees fleeing Canary Islands wildfire rise to 8,000

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Around 8,000 people have been evacuated as firefighters battle an out-of-control wildfire in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, regional authorities said on Monday (August 19).

The blaze, which began on Saturday (August 17) near the town of Tejeda, is advancing on several fronts, propelled by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

So far, the fire is affecting the mountainous central part of the island rather than coastal areas busy with tourists in the summer months.

A spokeswoman for emergency services in the region told Reuters the fire was very serious and remained out of control.

Sixteen planes and helicopters, as well as more than 700 firefighters, are currently working to contain flames as high as 50 meters, authorities said.

More than 3,400 hectares have burned so far and the fire is moving aggressively towards the northwestern Tamadaba natural park, home to some of the island’s oldest pine forests.

The regional president of Gran Canaria said it was impossible to use airborne means to extinguish the fire in areas where the flames were 50 meters high.

Some 400 firefighters spent the night battling the fire’s flanks, hoping to choke it off as it moved towards more populated areas.

The blaze marks the second time that Tejeda has been evacuated this month due to wildfire. (Reuters)

(Production: Borja Suarez, Catherine Macdonald)

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