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.


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Barcelona will have a trade fair to buy and sell innovative projects

The Mayor of Barcelona. Jordi Hereu, presented yesterday one of his planned actions against the crisis: focusing on innovation and the emerging economic sectors. Jordi Hereu introduced the launch of an unprecedented conference in June to meet in the Catalan capital some 2,500 executives from large companies with leading creators of projects in the fields of telecommunications, renewable energy and biotechnology. The meeting, called Hit Barcelona, aims to become a world reference. (Photo: Mayor Hereu arrives to Fira de Barcelona to present the new fair, with its president, Josep Lluís Bonet).


Monday, 9 February 2009

Chinese culture invades Barcelona

The Cotxeres de Sants facilities in Barcelona welcomed yesterday the Xinafest festival, organized by Orígens cultural association, aiming to bring toghether Chinese and Catalan cultures. Throughout the day there were lectures, workshops and demonstrations who gave a touch of color to the festival.


Friday, 6 February 2009

Mayor Hereu defends Barcelona's model in London

"It is the cohesion, gentlemen." The mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, adapted the well-known phrase 'It's the economy, stupid ", to synthesize in London how Barcelona is facing the crisis, with the same values of civic participation and complicity between the government and the citizens who have ordered the development of the Capital of Catalonia in the last 30 years. Hereu insisted that the current transformation is more powerful than the changes made because of the 1992 Olympic Games. After all, "the Barcelona of today is closer to 2020 than 1992," recalled the mayor, who boasts a lead Barcelona which turned out to be a city of small things without giving up the big projects of a great city.
Hereu said all this in a lecture at the London School of Echonomics after visiting the works of the 2012 Games, where he recommended to his hosts that the Olympic facilities need to be "linked to the city's main strategy" and to be "very aware of the post-Olympic stage". The mayor also took the opportunity to support the candidature of Madrid for the 2016 Games, and before returning to Barcelona, he inaugurated a new Consolat de Mar in the British capital. It is the fourth of these commercial offices, after the Deputy Mayor, Jordi William Carnes yesterday inaugurated the third in Paris.


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Minister Maragall wants to change the schools calendar

Advance one week the beggining of the school year, and set seven days of vacation in February, dates and variables adjusted for Easter. This is the new proposal the Catalan Minister of Education, Ernest Maragall, presented the School Council of Catalonia and was greeted by political parties, unions and parents with concerns to consider the "hasty" and "inappropriate." For Maragall, the changes would improve teaching and a more rational application of the school calendar.

The proposal stems from a report by a committee of experts based on the school calendars of other countries (the majority are spread over the holidays throughout the year) and changes the balance of Easter, Winter and Summer holidays. maintaining the 176 days of classes. According to Maragall, the change should not pose any problem because the teachers would continue back at the beginning of September, having been in June to prepare the classes.


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Can Fargas finally belongs to the people of Horta

The large masia Can Fargas is already public property after the City Council has paid five million euros for its expropriation. Neighbors and politicians "took ownership" of the house yesterday, in a ceremony full of symbolism meant to the final ten years of litigation, demonstrations and some clashes. With a total area of about 5,000 square meters, the building will be converted into a music school, while its gardens will be open to the public. According to municipal sources, the proposed facility will have about 400 studentsand more than 20 teachers.


Monday, 2 February 2009

Javier Fesser's Camino tops Goya awards

Javier Fesser's Camino, a haunting drama about the Catholic group Opus Dei's influence on a terminally ill girl, dominated the 23rd Goya Awards last Sunday in Madrid. Camino won a prize in six of the seven categories in which it was competing, including best film, best director and best actress.The movie portrays the last months in the life of an 11-year-old girl (new actress Nerea Camacho) educated strictly in line with the dogmas of Opus Dei.
Carme Elias won best actress award in the role of her religious mother.
Puerto Rican Benicio del Toro won the best actor award for his interpretation of revolutionary Ernesto Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's Che, el argentino (Che the Argentine).
Main awards inculde: besta ctor for Benicio del Toro in Che, el argentino; best supporting actress for Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and best European film for 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu.


Spanish judges jailed 115 islamic people, but only nine got a sentence since 2002

Police operations against Islamic terrorism made in Catalonia since 2002 have led to at least 115 arrests, mainly focused in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, in those kernels, such as Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Badalona, and the Raval district of Barcelona, where there is more concentration of people of Islamic origin. Seventy of the detainees are awaiting trial (fifty with provisional freedom and twenty in jail), and thirty were acquitted of terrorism-related root gihadista because the police investigation provided no evidence against them. Nine were convicted of collaborating or belonging to terrorist organization. Another of the detainees was prosecuted and convicted in Morocco.