Sunday, 30 November 2008

El Punt newspaper celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Barcelona's edition

Five years ago, November the 30th, El Punt published the first issue of its Barcelona`s edition. It was the opening of a new era for the newspaper, a milestone in the company's mission of achieving a Nation-wide Catalan newspaper. El Punt Barcelona was the result of months of preparatory works from a large team of journalists. Five years later, El Punt is the country's #1 newspaper written in Catalan by circulation and by readers.


Saturday, 29 November 2008

Brown worried about plunged retail sales in UK

Another front in his war against the crisis worries PM Gordon Brown, as British retail sales plunged in November at their joint-fastest pace since records began 25 years ago while a growing number of Britons predicted prices would fall, not rise, next year.
Lending rates on dollar loans between banks rose for the second day running yesterday amid ongoing funding concerns despite the rescue of Citigroup Inc. earlier in the week. The rate on three-month loans in dollars — known as the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor — rose over 0.01 percentage points to 2.22 percent, according to the British Bankers’ Association.


Friday, 28 November 2008

Catalan novelist Juan Marsé, Premi Cervantes

The Catalan author Juan Marsé, the writer who best portrayed Barcelona's post-war period, won the Cervantes literary award, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honor. The prize, considered a Nobel for literature in Spanish, worth 125,000 euros, has been awarded to Marsé for the body of his entore work focusing on the hardships of life in post-civil war Spain. The author of Últimas tardes con Teresa was born in Barcelona in 1933. Last year the Cervantes prize went to Argentine poet Juan Gelman. Previous winners include Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes.


Plastic bags to be banned in Catalonia

Catalonia's regional government is set to approve legislation that will ban all shops and supermarkets to give out plastic bags for free. From January next year, customers will have to pay for each plastic bag or bring their own shopping bag from home. This measure is meant to raise people's awareness on protecting the environment and follows the example of other coountries in Europe and the U.S.


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Festival del Mil.lenni kicks off in Barcelona

From December 16 to April 27, the 10th festival Mil.lenni will be offering around thirty concerts in Barcelona. Venues include the Palau de la Música, Auditori, Auditori del Fòrum and Gran Teatre del Liceu. The festival boasts a long list of Catalan artists including Raimon, Antonia Font, Jarabe de Palo, Josep Carreras, Manu Guix, Nena Daconte, Roger Mas and La Locomotora Negra, among others. Other highlights include Michael Nyman, Enrique Morente, Paco Ibáñez, Noa, Goran Bregovic and Ainhoa Arteta. Mil.lenni will also bring Sara Baras and Josep Carreras, who will be singing together for the first time in Barcelona. The festival kicks off with the Gotan Project and closes with Pasión Vega, in a show specially designed for the Gran Teatre del Liceu.


Three Mossos d'Esquadra sentenced to jail for torturing innocent immigrant

Barcelona's Audiència (High Court) has sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail to three members of the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) who tortured and threatened a Romanian man they confused with a thief in July 2006. On July 27, 2006, the Mossos d'Esquadra went to Lucian Paduraru's home, five days after a woman had identified him, although expressing her doubt, as the man who had robbed and assaulted her. According to the prosecutor in the case and eye witnesses, the officers beat Lucian Paduraru all over his body, and verbally abused him, threatened him and put a gun in his mouth to force him to confess. They also abused his girlfiend who was three months pregnant at the time. In recent years the Mossos d'Esquadra been the object of various allegations of police brutality and mistreatment. At present the three men are free and still working as police officers.


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

EU has its own Stimulus Package

Today the European Commission is presenting a huge stimulis plan to meet the looming economic downturn, with more than 130 billion euros in initiatives.

President José Manuel Durao Barroso said the plan is based on a "groundwork coordinated measures by member states, which are tailored to each specific situation."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel approved injetions of capital in Europe's biggest economy of 32 billion euros over the next two years.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants to lower its VAT from 17.5 to 15 per cent, starting next month, and even wants lower rates in some instances, such as restaurant bills.
All governments in Europe are facing the same challenge of preparing anti-crisis plans. Most choose from a menu that includes public works expenditures, tax cuts, monetary handouts, benefits for the families and other measures that can be applied fast.


Monday, 24 November 2008

Former Royal Navy officer accused of murder in Barcelona

A former Royal Navy officer has appeared in court in Catalonia accused of murdering a Scottish man in Barcelona last october. The body of Derek Cowan, 46, was discovered in his Catalonian apartment on 8 October. The Mossos d'Esquadra described his death as "violent".
William Madley, also 46, from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, was arrested by Mossos in Barcelona at the weekend after a five week search. He was sent to the city's Model prison to await trail after appearing before an investigating judge at a closed door hearing.
Mr Cowan's body was found at his apartment in the upmarket Eixample neighbourhood. The discovery was made by a German business associate of Mr Cowan, Andreas Langweider. Mr Madley is reported to have served in the Royal Navy aboard a nuclear submarine at Faslane for four years during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Police in Barcelona would not give any details of how Mr Madley was traced and arrested.