Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Ban on Bullfighting to be Debated in Parliamant

Current legislation in Catalonia bans cruelty to animals with the notable exception of bullfighting. On Friday 18th December this matter will be debated in Parliament after 180,000 signatures were collected across Catalonia to demand the end to this practice.
The 11 members of the promoting commission of this Popular Initiative will be present in the Parliament; one speaking from the podium in favour of the change in the Law in a 15 minute speech. This will be followed by 15 minute speeches from Members of Parliament from the three parties (the Popular Party, the Citizens’ Party and Socialist Party of Catalonia) who wish to scrap the whole initiative.
Finally, representatives of the CiU, ERC and ICV parties (Convergencia i Unió, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and Iniciativa Verds) will explain their reasons for not requesting any amendments.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Catalonia's Dignity

In an unprecedented move, all the Catalan newspapers have joined together to issue the same statement on their front covers about the legal decision pending on the future of Catalonia.
Almost three years have passed while the Constitutional Tribunal has dragged its collective feet in reaching a decision on the Catalan Estatut, the central document defining Catalonia's status and relationship with the Spanish state.
First published in 2006 and thrice democratically approved: first by voters through a referendum; secondly by Parliament and thirdly by the Head of State King Juan Carlos, the law has been batted back and forth to the point that serious doubts have been raised as to the validity of the process. It will be the first time since the restoration of democracy in 1977 that a tribunal will make a decision on a law that has been fundamentally approved by voters. Expectation is high.
One of the main causes of concern has been the the membership of the tribunal itself Out of the twelve judges that make up the tribunal, only ten are allowed to decide upon the official outcome as one (Pablo Pérez Tremps) has been disenfranchised after a deliberate move to influence the balance of the debate, and another (Roberto García-Calvo) died. Out of the ten judges able to vote, four remain in office despite losing their mandate as a consequence of the sordid disagreement between the government and the opposition over the renewal of an entity recently named by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as the 'Heart of Democracy'. A heart with hardened valves and no more than half of its parts neither free or able to reach an independent decision. This is the make up of the cassation court about to make a decision on Catalonia's Estatut.
The definition of Catalonia as a nation forms the opening part of the the Estatut. Matters of language and jurisdiction are central to the issue and have been cause of a constant friction which many people consider can only be cured through radical surgery: amputation of the Spanish state.
The Catalan press expressed concern that Catalonia has reached a cross roads and an important decision has to made about future direction. They reiterated the feeling that for too long Catalonia has been depicted by others as the thorn in the side of a strong unified Spain and underlined the annoyance caused by the continuous lack of respect shown towards its institutions, economic infrastructure, language and cultural traditions. They also pointed out that, despite this negative treatment, Catalonia has continued to make a huge contribution to the finances of the Spanish state while receiving little fiscal benefit in return.
An important part of the concluding part of this joint declaration was a warning that nobody should underestimate the determination of the Catalan people to have a satisfactory outcome to this judicial process: 'Nobody who knows Catalonia would doubt that a recognition of its identity, improvement in its self-government, a just financial agreement and marked improvement in infrastructures are, and will continue to be, pursued with due political and social vigour.'


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

200 waiters wanted

"Wanted 150 waiters and 50 room maid for four and five star hotels". Temporary employment agency Adecco noted the recovery of employment in the catering sector in Barcelona with a job offer that has registered only in very specific points of the year, mainly during the month of December, when the companies make the Christmas dinner. In this case, the offer is also to cover peak work, "but ensures the continuity of the worker in one of the hotels that are associated, because now the templates are very fair and encouraged the activity", says a spokesman for Adecco.


Friday, 31 July 2009

Cyrille Gossard signs for two more years with the Catalans Dragons

Rubgy League Catalans Dragons international second row Cyrille Gossard signs today a two more years contract with the club. I’m delighted to extend my contract with the club for the two following seasons. I’m looking forward to another two successful years with the Catalans”, said Gossard.

Sebastien Munoz, footbal manager of the Catalans, added that “it is a fantastic signing for us. Cyrille became an important player in the squad and among the forwards. It’s a great player on and off the field. Last season was difficult for him with a long term injury but he’s back now to his best. I’m sure he will play to his full potential the two next seasons. It’s a great french player.”


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Concerts represent 87% of the Catalan music industry business

Live music has turned out to be the motor of the Catalan music industry, according to the Annual Conclusion of Music and Entertainment by the Group Enderrock. Last year the promoters and concert halls of Catalonia have collected seven times more money than the record labels. With a billing of about 150 millions of euros in 2008, the companies that have dedicated themselves to live music concentrate 87% of the business volume of music in Catalonia. According to Joan Roselló, president of the Association of Representatives, Promoters and Managers of Catalonia (ARC), 13 million people have been attending the 22.000 concerts last year, an amount that beats the audience of Barça, Español, the theater and dance altogehter.


Friday, 10 July 2009

Settlement of offices increases in June, but rental prices drop about 10%

The settlement of offices in Barcelona has increased during the second quarter of the year, just when the rental prices in the principal zone of the city are dropping constantly up to 10% since the beginning of the year. Jordi Toboso, general director of the consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle in Catalonia, who has initiated the study, explained on Wednesday that money is beginning to reappear in the market and that something is moving forward. In addition, foreign companies have entered the market again, settling down in Barcelona and opening new offices.


Monday, 6 July 2009

Ryanair receives half of the complaints against airlines

The low fare airline Ryanair has received half of the general complaints against airlines from the Catalan consumers . From January to April, the Catalan Agency of Consumption (ACC) had to face 700 complaints against airlines, 50% of them against Ryanair. Due to the general rise of complaints, the ACC has initiated a campaign of inspection of journeys contracted via internet. The director of ACC, Jordi Anguera explained that the campaign was initiated due to the fact that the sector of air transportation received the second most complaints last year, only the telephony had to face more. Most of the problems reported by the users were delays and cancellation of flights, problems with luggage and the collection of hidden fees and taxes.


Friday, 3 July 2009

Residents of Sun Village appeal for help to avoid the demolition of their houses

The 42 owners of the houses of Sun Village in Palau-Saverdera ask the institutions for help to avoid the demolition of their homes. At a press conference in Girona on Wednesday, the president of the Neighbours Community of Sun Village Hans van Schaick and the spokesman Juan Manuel García Ortega expressed their worries about the future of their homes. The Federal Court of Justice of Catalonia has forced the council of Palau- Saverdera to destroy the houses of Sun Village until Octobre. In September 2001 the Council of Palau-Saverdera granted the licence to build the houses of Sun Village but at the end of the same year, a resident of the locality brought an action against this building licence, claiming that the houses overtopped the maximum height permitted. In September 2006 the Federal Court of Justice decreed a decision annulling the building licence and ordering the demolition of Sun Village.


Tuesday, 30 June 2009

MACBA offers four summer concerts in the context of the Nights of MACBA

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) offers the opportunity to visit and experience its exhibitions in a different format: MACBA has extended its opening time to midnight every Thursday and Friday until the 18th of September. There will be a reduced price for tickets of 3,50 Euros for visting the whole museum, as well as many guided tours included in the entrance fee. In addition, in this context the MACBA is going to present the cycle of summer concerts Post-rock? throughout July, which is part of the programm of the concerts of the Festival Grec 2009. On the other hand one of the terraces on the 1st floor of the museum will be turned into the summer bar, with the same opening time, but remaining open until the 24th of September.


Monday, 29 June 2009

2.000 people demonstrate against gene-modified products

Yesterday people demonstrated in Barcelona against the cultivation of gene-modified products and demanded an advance concerning the application of a law to stop the cultivation of transgenic products in Catalonia, opposed by the PSC, CIU and PP. With the slogan "Democracy, health and good food" the demonstration moved from Plaza Cataluña to the Parliament, where they had to face a confrontation with the police trying to stop them. The cook Santi Santamaria, who headed the demonstration, read a manifest from professionals of the gastronomy, alimentation and health sector, claiming the need of a model for agricultural food based on an organic and artisan local production that is eco-friendly and respects the varieties and distinct culture.


Friday, 26 June 2009

Ceremony in honour of Narcís Monturiol in the Catalan Parliament

Today a ceremony in honour of Narcís Monturiol will take place in the Catalan Parliament to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first dive of the submarine Ictineu. Amongst others Sr. Joan Manel Tresserras i Gaju, Minister of Culture and Media and Sr. Ernest Benach i Pascual, President of the Catalan Parliament will take part in the ceremony, as well as representatives from important institutions like the Institute Ictineu, the Catalan Centre for Submarine Research and the Institut d'Estudis Catalans IEC. On June 28th 150 years ago at the port of Barcelona, for the first time a submarine dived into the ocean and sailed without incidents.


Thursday, 25 June 2009

Playwright Pau Miró completes trilogy about wild animals

The playwright and director Pau Miró has successfully completed his trilogy about wild animals. His recent creation called "giraffe" will be performed during the Festival Grec in Barcelona from 2 to 5th of July. Within one year Miró has initiated three plays and has completed the trilogy that takes place in a laundry in the district of Raval where the characters identify with wild animals. The play is set in the fifties and deals with the limitations of the Franquismo. It shows how the characters turn to a silent fantasy to get over their frustration.


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Safe celebration of Sant Joan with less firecrackers

The main objective of the governmental campaign this year is to avoid minors to encounter with powerful pyrotechnic articles. Last year 269 people in Catalonia have been injured in the night of Sant Joan, the majority of them were minors who had launched firecrackers that were prohibited for their age. The campaign of this years celebration of Sant Joan therefore wants to sensibilize the points of sale and the parents to the high danger of the powerful pyrotechnic articles and that they may only be launched by people older than eighteen years. To raise the peoples awareness of the danger of firework, about ten thousand placards have been distributed among schools and youth centres, district offices and points of sale throughout Catalonia. These placards contain general advices how to avoid accidents with pyrotechnic articles.


Monday, 22 June 2009

Privalia increases staff with 110 employees, 50 of them in Barcelona

This year, the internet sales label Privalia will increase their staff with 100 employees. Currently the company employs 150 people in Barcelona, 30 in Milan (Italy) and 30 in Sao Paolo (Brasil). Privalia has specialised in selling fashion and sportswear but they are receiving many offers for selling other things that have been affected by the crisis, like cars or apartments. With a market share of 34 % an 1,5 million clients in Spain, Brasil and Italy, Privalia is the leading company of the club of private purchases in Spain. At the end of the year, the staff in Barcelona will comprise 200 people and the company will move to a bigger building due to space limitation.


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Guitar festival starts with series of concerts in the area of Girona

The VI. Girona Guitar Festival directed by Josep Manzano will start today with a free concert by Maurizio di Fulvio Trio in the Casa de Cultura of Girona. Most of the concerts will take place in different locations around the Costa Brava such as Begur, Tossa de Mar and Palamós from July to August. For the first time the festival will be divided into three sets of concerts. One part will take place in the old town of Girona, another in the church of Santa Maria de Fenals, and finally there will be three concerts in the Casa de Cultura in Llança. There will be international artists performing, as well as important Catalan guitarists.


Monday, 8 June 2009

Campgrounds in the area of Girona confront 10% less bookings

The bookings for campgrounds in the area of Girona are delayed in regard to other seasons and the camping sector assumes 10% less bookings on average compared to the last year. The association of camping advised the campgrounds not to react with a reduction of prices, as this could affect the quality of the complete offer of campgrounds, which is among the most recognized in Europe. There are 144 campgrounds in the area of Girona and 40 % of them are first class.


Friday, 5 June 2009

Zapatero and Montilla stage reconciliation after one year of alienation

The Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero promises to maintain a just financing for Catalunya and calls to defeat the right wing party in the elections of 7th June. After one year of alienation, above all because of the default of financing, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and José Montilla yesterday staged the reconciliation at the final convention of the campaign of the Catalan Socialists in the facilities of Mar Bella in front of 5.000 people. All this took place prior to the European elections to defeat the PP, that shows an advantage in the surveys. Zapatero assured Montilla of working "shoulder to shoulder" and guaranteed him their support in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Catalunya.


Thursday, 4 June 2009

Tomb of famous pharao Tutankamón comes to Barcelona

Tutankamón, the tomb and its treasures. Thats the name of the exhibition that will open for the public in the Maritime Museum of Barcelona this saturday. The exhibition, produced and organized in Germany, recreates the tomb of the most famous pharao of Ancient Egypt, Tutankamón. Almost one hundred Egyptian artisans have worked on rebuilding the pharao with every detail. The exhibition will open its doors in Barcelona until the 6th of September, continuing its unstoppable international circuit with already thousands of visitors in towns like Zurich or Munich. People have the opportunity to experience the sensational discovery of the tomb by the English archeologist Howard Carter in 1922.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Renting an apartment is 19% cheaper due to the decline of sales and more offers

The price of homes for sale continues to fall but shows signs of stabilisation in some communities. The current difficulty to sell apartments has caused that a great part of the stock is offered for rent with a loss of the rental prices of 19% in the area of Girona within the last half of the year. According to the last study of market prices of the Association of Promoters and Constructors Girona and Real Estate Agents, the development of homes for sale also shows a general decline, although in some towns like Blanes or Roses a stabilisation emerges. All this is related to a drop of demand due to the economic crisis. Regarding the rental prices of the two-bedroom apartments, the largest price drop was detected in Lloret with 14,9 %, whereas referring to homes with three bedrooms, Roses is the town with the most significant decline (19%).


Monday, 1 June 2009

Festival of dance collects money for an NGO working with disadvantaged Christians in Egypt

A festival of classical Egyptian Dance, organized for the second year in Barcelona, yesterday offered a variety of captivating melodies, colors and festive rhythms. The aim of the festival organized by the association Aida Danza Oriental is to collect money for a NGO south of Cairo to provide socially disadvantaged Christians. The assistance of the NGO is mainly for economical and health demands, as the population has to face a big threat by hepatitis C. In the first year of the festival 2.000 euros have been collected, an amount they would like to achieve as well this year.


Friday, 29 May 2009

Primavera Sound launches its most intense and exultant edition

Yesterday The vaselinas and Yo La Tengo opened the ninth edition of the Primavera Sound festival, where 130 groups will go on stage until Saturday. The six locations in the Forum Park already attracted 20.000 visitors on the first day and thousands more are being expected this weekend. The Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, together with the Sonar, is the most famous festival of rock, pop and electric music in Catalunya. This year people even received free plugs for the ears as a remedy to listen to the famous rock group My bloody Valentine, known for its great passion for the noise.


Thursday, 28 May 2009

Neighbours promote a commemorative plaque for Catalan poet and literary critic Manent

The people living in the district of Raval campaigned for the placement of a commemorative plaque dedicated to the poet, literary critic and translator Marià Manent on the façade of the house where he was born and had lived the early years of his life. Yesterday the revelation of the plaque took place within the scope of his family, neighbours and friends, announced the delegate of culture of the city of Barcelona, Jordi Martí. Roser Manent, the daughter of Marià Manent said that it was an honour to see, that even twenty years after his death her father was still remembered.


Catalans make more claims for loans and fees because of the crisis

In the first quarter of 2009, the number of requests for loans to the Agencia Catalana de Consumo (ACC) has increased up to 42%. In 2008 the number of inquiries had already increased by 51%. Especially the information technology has to face a great amount of complaints, as 43% of last years complaints were in the sector of telephony and internet. Jordi Anguera, director of the ACC claimed yesterday, that 2008 has been a difficult year, as all indicators related to consumption have fallen. He said that people have changed their consumer behaviour and are more aware and demanding.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Catalan government to give $ 500 for buying vehicles that cost up to 49.000

Yesterday the government passed the Catalan plan for the direct aid to the purchase of a new, low-polluting car. The Catalans will receive discounts of 2.000 euros for the purchase of a vehicle up to 30.000 euros with the aim to limit the CO2 emissions. For purchasing a vehicle up to 49.000 euros with higher emissions, people will receive $ 500. The condition to obtain the discount is to scrap a more polluting vehicle with more than 250.000 kilometers or older than 10 years. The principal aim is to induce people to purchase low-polluting cars to sustainably reduce the CO2 emissions.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Festival Tàrraco Viva claims the biggest audience of the first weekend since its beginnings

The roman festival Tàrraco Viva started with the biggest audience on the first weekend since the first edition. Not only citizens from Tarragona visited the festival, but the organisation of Tàrraco Viva could also claim an increasing number of visitors from other parts of Catalunya and from other european countries. The festival represents the former life and history of the romans, as well as its customs and literature. Magí Seritjol, the coordinator of the festival, explained that in the future the organistaion would like to attract even more people from european countries.


New wine route through Empordà and Catalunya Nord to be opened in 2012

The wine route of the Catalan Pyrenees. This is going to be the name of the new touristic location that will be released in 2012. The idea of developing a wine route now has a specific date, as introduced officially by the Minister for Innovation, Universities and Enterprise, Josep Huguet. The project will be started this year and has the aim to link the two territories through their wine resource, heritage and historical landscape.


Monday, 25 May 2009

The price and employment of 4 and 5 star hotels in Barcelona will fall to 26%

As an effect of the recession of the touristic activities in big cities all over the world, the price and employment of the 4 and 5 star hotels in Barcelona will fall about 26% on average, according to Jones Lang, consultant of the LaSalle Hotels. The negative trend of the year 2008 will intensify even more and the hotel market will have to absorb about 3.600 rooms in the Catalan capital, of which 47% will be 5 star establishments.


Montjüic Castle: make peace, not war.

Barcelona yesterday wrote another chapter in its history and finally closed the military museum opened by the dictator Franco 47 yars ago, in the Castle of Montjuïc, from where the city of Barcelona were bombed so many times in the past. Music and chocolate made a festive note to a crowded but not massive act. Yerterday was the last of three days of open doors of the castle and hundreds of people, including tourists, citizens of Barcelona and other towns in Catalonia, did not want to miss this appointment with the history of the city and the country.


Monday, 11 May 2009

Carsharing services grow fast in Barcelona

The number of subscribers to the multi-car service has increased by 326% in the past two years. The crisis seems to be the main cause of the CarSharing boom, a kind of Bicing for cars that has won fans since its kick-off, in 2004. The service is available in Barcelona, Sabadell, Granollers and Sant Cugat del Valles, but they are thinking on extending it to other populations. This formula is fairly standard in some countries. In Switzerland, for example, is visible in all the cities and now has about 70,000 users.


Friday, 8 May 2009

Reus' airport will have a new railway station with a TGV direct link

Spanish minister José Blanco announced a new railway station in the south of the airport of Reus, linked with the great central station of Tarragona, with a planned investment of 62 million. The station will be located between the runways at the airport and the road T-11, along with access to the AP-7.


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A yellow wave to welcome the Tour de France in Barcelona

A human yellow wave will accompany the Tour de France in Barcelona, in the last 13 miles to the sixth stage, which will start in Girona. This is one of the many initiatives included in the program of activities prepared by the City Council, seeking a successful citizen participation. "We want Barcelona to always remember the Tour" said the mayor, Jordi Hereu.
To create the effect of a wave yellow, the colour of the Tour, the Council will provide cardboards and flags among the fans. "We want the cyclist to realize that they arrived in the city," added the delegate of Sports Pere Alcober. Yellow will also be on public transport during the Tour's days.


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The building of the new marine zoo starts in Barcelona

The bulldozers began yesterday to draw the surplus lands of the place on which the future marine zoo will be rised in Barcelona. It was the starting step of a reform of the City Zoo, that should allow to shift part of the zoo's collection from the Parc de la CiutadellaThe City Council is planning to spend in 2009 15 off the total 200 million Euros to create a new marine zoo and update the current one.


Monday, 20 April 2009

Seventy years against the Catalan culture

Seventy years ago Franco's troops occupied Catalonia and began a dark period for the Catalan culture and language. This was remembered yesterday more than 500 people who attended the event sponsored by the Commissió de la Dignitat, the Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (AELC) and the Associació d'Actors i Directors de Llengua Catalana (AADPC).


Friday, 17 April 2009

Catalan public libraries hit new record: 20 million users

Never such as access to knowledge was so widespread. Public libraries are becoming not only centres or access to knowledge and culture (through consultation and lending of books and audiovisuals, and free internet access), but also hotspots of social gathering of different generations of Catalans and newcomers. In Catalonia, the 333 public libraries jumped last year for the first time the barrier of 20 million users. The Catalan minister of Culture, Joan Manuel Tresserras, admitted yesterday that the economic crisis may be one of the reasons behind the increasing number if users, but also insisted on the "improvement and modernization" of these facilities.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New green points in Barcelona

This month, Barcelona will have five more green point in the districts of Les Corts (Jardins Bacardí) Nou Barris (the square of Basses de la Peira) Sarria-Sant Gervasi (in Frederic Soler square), Eixample (Jardins Montserrat) and Robbie Keane (Dante-Lletres street). The green points are facilities for small reusable, recyclable materials or special waste collection. These new green points will be added to the existing network of the city, which already has 12 collection sites.


Monday, 30 March 2009

Vueling airlines to fire 100 workers

Vueling announced the supression of the aircraft maintenance department, firing more than 100 people after the merger with the other low-cost airline Clickair. Maintenance duties will be transferret to Iberia, the main shareholder of the new merged company.
The aircraft maintenance department employed about 90 people in Barcelona, 15 in Madrid and 6 in Sevilla.


Friday, 27 March 2009

The cheaper the better

Two shirts for 30 euros, an apron for 8 or a shirt for 15 are some of the reduced prices displayed yesterday at the street fair promoted by Cor Eixample, the association of merchants and professionals of the right side of the Eixample. An exhibition that took out the Rector Oliveras street with huge offers from 25 shopkeepers, as a way to fight against the crisis that seems to be affecting everyone. Elisabet Prat, Cor Eixample manager, said that the customers are 'very happy': 'Many have said that we should do this more often. »


Thursday, 26 March 2009

Barcelona is hungry

Soup kitchens and parishes that distribute food to needy people are facing a huge increase in the demand. The Food Bank Organization, which supply food products to over 500 organizations, warns that the beneficiaries increased 25% this year, an unprecedented leap. In addition, the profile of the users of the dining and charitable organizations is changing. Months ago, they were mostly immigrants. Now, they are more middle-aged natives, who have lost their jobs as a result of the crisis and not have enough income to cover their basic needs.
(Photo: Oriol Duran. A long queue in Pompeia parish)


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ryanair says NO to Barcelona's airport

Ryanair has no intention to open an operational base at Barcelona's El Prat airport, because of the high taxes imposed by the spanish airports authority, Aena. said yesterday in a press conference the chairman of Ryanair , Michael O'Leary. Based on Ryanair's own data, Barcelona could lose this year to 6 million passengers due to the crisis, a situation that the presence of the low-cost company would help to avoid. O'Leary confirmed the strong commitment with Girona and Reus airports and the strong role of the company in this situation. "We love the crisis," he said.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Fundació Dalí, against Hollywood films about the genius

In front of the accumulation of film projects on the life of Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí warned the US film industry that "there are red lines that must be respected", in words of the manager of the foundation, Joan Manuel Sevillano. The foundation has authorized only the single film already filmed and ready to be unveiled, Little Ashes, in which Paul Morrison explores the relationship between the writer Federico Garcia Lorca and Dali. "There are things in the film we do not like, but the foundation is not a censor, and at least you can see the intention to be minimally rigorous", something that the foundation does not appreciate in projects like the one led by Al Pacino and Antonio Banderas. Yesterday, the foundation presented the report of 2008 and three new acquisitions.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Barcelona will adapt all its bus stops for disabled people

In Barcelona there are 2,135 bus stops, of which only 335, ie 16%, are adapted for people with reduced mobility. Having achieved a bus fleet 100% accessible, the removal of architectural barriers at the bus stops is one of the major matters pending in the City of Barcelona. For this reason the Council has decided to dedicate 3.7 million euros from the State funds for local investment. The action must be completed by the end of the year, which means 39 adapted stops each week.


Monday, 9 March 2009

Tarraagona wants to improve its Roman heritage

The tourism competitiveness' plan for Roman Tarraco is starting the engine. Four months before its official launch, the ambitious initiative was presented, with the support of the Spanish State and the Generalitat. The Catalan government will fund 4.2 million euros over the next three years to the project, to will create a ring of towns with Roman heritage -Tarragona, Constantí, Altafulla and Roda de Berà, and consolidate the area as a main destination of cultural tourism in the Mediterranean. Among the proposals, there is the creation of a Tourist Center to reinforce the Roman Tarraco heritage worldwide.


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Barcelona, city of entrepreneurs

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) believes that Barcelona is a world reference as an example of the fast economic transformation of a declining industrial city, which has managed to become "a dynamic economy with a world-class reputation.". The international organization puts the Catalan capital as a model to follow in the first in a series of meetings that will bring to Toronto, Cape Town, London and Glasgow, among others, in order to open a process of reflection on the local role and the role of local authorities in speeding up the economic recovery of cities. In October, they will be back in Barcelona to present the conclusions of the tour.
The organization presented yesterday in Barcelona a study that analyzed the policies of the city in the promotion of entrepreneurship and noted that the city has no outstanding weaknesses, but the need to increase the scale of their actions. Greg Clark, who is chairman of the Local Development Forum of the OECD, explained yesterday that Barcelona has managed to successfully develop its economy, but now another approach is needed. The focus should be put in the diversification of sectors (as has been done so far, where in fields such as fashion, design and food), now perhaps in areas where innovation and creativity are leaders.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Barcelona, a virtual city

Barcelona will be a virtual city in a year, literally. The City Council yesterday presented the draft of the Barcelona 3D project, which will allow to visit the Catalan capital with a click, thanks to a digital reconstruction in three dimensions to be consulted from the municipal website. The Council is developing the project thanks to an agreement with the Fundació Barcelona Media. In a first phase, which must be completed within a year, 120,000 buildings in the city will be digitally rendered. 250 buildings will receive special treatment, to make them accesible with extra details, even froom the inside. In a second phase, for which there is no timetable, the street furniture will be added. (Picture: A virtual image of a street of El Born neighborhood)


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

El Corte Ingles to open in Tarragona in 2010

"El Corte Ingles" obtained permission to build a new mall on a car park lot from the City Council of Tarragona. The company and the council continue to negotiate the final project of the building, because right now there are still differences of opinion. The company has extended the deadline and expects to open in the first half of 2010. (Photo: the place where the new mall will be builded)


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

El Punt newspaper celebrates its 30th anniversary with an all-new website

"Independent, Catalan, local and democratic", was El Punt's motto 30 years ago, and it still is. In a world where information is increasingly global and universal, the leading newspaper in Catalan believes that local information is what readers want. El Punt celebrates the anniversary updating and improving its digital edition featuring one web page for each of the municipalities in Catalonia. On paper, El Punt already has seven daily editions around Catalonia, and two weekly editions in French Catalonia and Valencia. Since today, its digital edition is already in every city and town of Catalonia.


Friday, 20 February 2009

The new Passeig de Sant Joan in Barcelona to eliminate two lanes of traffic

The new Passeig de San Juan will have two fewer lanes of traffic for cars -one in each direction, widen the pavements are 4.5 meters, and will become a real boulevard. This is the project presented yesterday by the district of Eixample. Now begins a process of consultation with residents and organizations. Works are set to begin before the end of this year. The first works will be between the Arc de Triomphe and Tetuan square. The reform will cost 3.5 million euros and will be ready at the end of 2010.


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Susi is depressed

The elephant Susi has no interaction with anything around it. Hardly moves. Doesn't eat anything thrown by the visitors to the zoo, either a rubber ball or a cut of ham. According to experts, these symptoms reveal that Susi is in depression, anxiety and boredom.
Susi, who was born in the wild in Africa 36 years ago, lives since 2002 in the zoo of Barcelona in an area of just over 1,000 m² and since last year is alone. His only companion, the elephant Alice, died in February 2008. Alice was the dominant female. An important role for elephants, because their social organization is matriarchal.
To be in a healthy environment, Susi should live with other elephants in a semi-open space of at least 20,000 sq. m., according to the recommendations of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The association Libera has begun collecting signatures for releasing Susi from Barcelona's Zoo. The Born Free Foundation joined the campaign to save Susi. Elephants in zoos are living fewer years, have few children and are affected by psychological disorders, as explained yesterday the biologist and spokesman for Born Free Foundation Daniel Turner.


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Ciutat Vella district in Barcelona has closed 474 illegal tourist apartments in 10 months

In the last ten months, the District of Ciutat Vella in Barcelona closed 474 tourist apartments operating illegally. This means 33% of all 1,396 apartments for tourists existing in Ciutat Vella (Old Quartet). 683 apartments were legalized. Rita Gonzalez, Councilor of the Ciutat Vella, said that the regulatory actions will not stop here. (Photo: Oriol Duran).


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Barcelona starts today the demolition of the fascist monument to Primo de Rivera

Today begins the demolition of the monument to José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange fascist movement, at the confluence of the avenue Diagonal with Josep Tarradellas. This is one of the last remaining vestiges of the fascist regime in Barcelona. The monument was inaugurated in 1964, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falange Española. During the early years of democracy it became a normal concentration of local fascists. In 1981 fascist symbols were dropped, but the structure was mantained.


Monday, 16 February 2009

Brussels cuts down Segarra-Garrigues channel

More than 18,000 farmers from the Segarra-Garrigues area are called to demonstrate today in Barcelona. Farmers are shocked by the decision from the European Union to cut substantially the irrigated area to be created by the new channel, because the project does not protect the birds of the zone. According to them, the cut makes the huge project something failed and unworkable. The Government is negotiating with Brussels in order to get a compromise that would allow both the irrigation and the protection of birds.
The Segarra-Garrigues canal is to open the gates early this March, to bring to life the territory's largest transformation ever planned in Catalonia. Following similar projects in Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, provides a wide turn arid region of about 100,000 hectares of dry land in an irrigated area, with more intensive farming and new economic activities in what is now one of the most depressed areas of the country. The transformation will take place through a channel of 85 kilometers length, taking water from the river Segre.
The current project, under construction, expected to 26,000 acres could not be watered because they have been declared as specially protected areas for birds. The European Commission, however, has decided that it is not enough and has added more than 20,000 hectares. This would reduce the area of irrigation to 54,000 hectares, half of the total area.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

50 new hotels to open in Barcelona in 2009 and 2010

The capital of Catalonia will open between 2009 and 2010 more than fifty new hotels, which will provide 5,600 extra rooms, 3,700 of them in four and five-star establishments.
In the last fifteen years, Barcelona has risen from 155 hotels to 315, with 29,500 room available, according to data provided by Turisme de Barcelona.
The real estate consulting firm Christie + Co brings into question the ability of Barcelona to absorb the new hotels projected for 2009 and 2010, although admitting that "the development of new hotels will continue, but some projects may be canceled because of the current economic crisis". Mar Vila, from Esade Business School, believes that the city does have enough factors to continue to grow both in number of hotels and in number of rooms . "I don't know if any of these projects will fall by the wayside or is poorly defined, but the city will go on growing. Barcelona has a powerful brand and is working on the right path", she says. "But only an increase in numbers was not always accompanied by a growth in revenue and profitability of the hotels, and there are already establishments that are losing money, and this is critical," she concludes.


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Serrat joins the celebrations for the Centennial of the Palau de la Música Catalana

Joan Manuel Serrat offered yesterday the first of his two recitals in the Palau de la Musica Catalana, both sold out the tickets months in advance and scheduled for the 100th anniversary of the building by Modernist architect Domènech i Montaner. Serrat will travel to Chile and Argentina and will return to Catalonia in March with more concerts of his tour "100 x 100 Serrat".
Six of our readers enjoyed the show, invited by Catalonia Today, one of the sponsors of the Centennial celebrations.