Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Salamanca private documents return to Catalonia

The first private documents taken from Catalonia by Franco's nationalist forces in 1940, and kept in the Archivo General de la Guerra Civil Espanyola in Salamanca, returned to Catalonia's National Archive last Monday. The documents include 120 books, 75 of which were part of the private library of the writer, historian and politician Antoni Rovira i Virgili.
The rest of the documents, inlcluding private documents of political parties and various associations, are set to return to Catalonia in 2009.
More than 300,000 files and 1,000 photographs were taken by Franco's nationalist forces in 1940. Catalonian officials have campaigned for the return of the documents for more than 20 years.


Monday, 22 December 2008

Catalan investors buy a part of Spanair

The tourism group Consorci de Turisme de Barcelona and Catalana d'Iniciatives, a private equity group, will buy a part of Spanair, announced the Scandinavian airline operator SAS AB. The Stockholm-based company said it had signed an initial agreement with the Catalan investors. A final agreement is expected by January 31, SAS said. SAS has been trying to sell Spanair, Spain's second-largest airline after Iberia, for more than a year as the carrier struggles to turn a profit amid tough competition and a slumping Spanish economy.


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

House prices lowest in 50 years

New property prices are set to drop to their lowest level in almost 50 years, recent studies warn. Real estate experts are now predicting a drastic drop in residential construction next year, meaning that only 150,000 homes will be built in the whole of Spain, which is the fewest since 1960. This situation will certainly have a negative effect on employment as well. Studies say that one million people working in the real estate and construction businesses are likely to lose their jobs next year.


Friday, 5 December 2008

Pottery fair in Quart

The village of Quart, near Girona, has become popular for its first-quality pottery. 43 potters and ceramists from all the corners of Catalonia will gather at the 19th annual Fira Mercat de la terrissa catalana from December 6-8. Visitors to the fair will have the opportunity to see the different traditional techniques used by locals to make various kinds of pottery, such as rakú, or just practise their skills with the clay. Declared an area of artesanal interest, Quart has known how to use its geographical location (the village is located in an area with an extremely clayey ground) to build a long tradition in pottery -making. Quart is especially famous for the black ceramics, the terrissa negra.


Ever-green fir trees at Espinelves Christmas fair

What would be Christmas without a tree? For all those in love with the festive season, Espinelves (Osona)celebrates the traditional Fira del Avet, its annual fir tree festival, from December 6-14. Espinelves has become famous for this rural Christmas fair, over 25 years old. Visitors can choose from a myriad of fir trees, as well as Christmas decorations and crafts, exhibitions and street shows.


Plastic bag controversy goes on

The three members of the Catalan government don't seem to agree on the hot issue of plastic bags. While ICV-EUIA goes for the elimination of the bags, the other members of the government propose to charge customers for plastic shopping bags beginning with next year. The three left-wing parties need time to clear their thoughts and have given themselves six months to take a mutual decision. A special commission including government experts in environment, businesses, customers and other groups will be created to help them reduce the use of the environmental-damaging plastic bags. The deadline is June 2009.


Thursday, 4 December 2008

Explosion in Gavà

A gas explosion injured 24 people, 16 of them seriously, and killed a 60 year-old woman in a block of flats near Barcelona in northeast Catalonia on Wednesday. An accumulation of gas in the lower part of the three-storey block in the town of Gava could have set off the explosion, the spokeswoman for the interior ministry of the Catalan government said. The blast happened around 3am and at least four children were among the injured.The building was almost completely destroyed by the blast and a subsequent fire. Around 50 people living in neighbouring blocks of flats had been evacuated as a precaution.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Joan Baptista Humet dies aged 58

Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Baptista Humet died Monday in Barcelona of stomach cancer, aged 58. Humet's songs, such as Que No Soy Yo , Terciopelo, and Gemma, among others, put to music the difficult years of Spanish transition, and became instant hits. Soon after, his songs Busco una Flor, Hojas, Clara, Hay que Vivir and Terciopelo, turned him into one of the most symbolic singer-songwriters of the 1980s.