The Festa Major of Vilafranca del Penedès is being celebrated for five days. "La tronada" - several minutes of firecrackers, fire and the smell of gunpowder - was held in the recently inaugurated Rambla de Sant Francesc. The complete program is available in Catalan, but I want to make some recommendations: Monday Agust 30: 12.30: Human towers (Castells) as good as they get – Diada de Sant Felix. 19:45 Processó – a parade with performances. Tuesday August 31: 11:30: Catalan folk dances and Falcons in plaça de la Vila, followed human towers – Diada de Sant Ramon. 19:45 Processó - (again) a parade with performances. Wednesday September 1: 17:00 Children's Parade with the outcome (cercavila).
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, with a branch in Vilanova i la Geltrú, has serious financial problems.
In Sant Pere de Ribes, temperatures this week reached almost 40ºC - the highest temperature for 10 years.
A two meter long and 400 kg heavy seaturtle was found dead in a fishing net off Sitges.
The fine for travelling without a ticket on Barcelona's commuter trains Rodalies will be increased to 50 Euro.
In Barcelona, more than 44.000 recently built apartments remain empty, an increase of 27% over two years. The most serious situation can be found in Vallès where there are whole districts of towns which have not been sold, since the price drop gives people the opportunity to find affordable alternatives in the inner city.
The success comedy El mètode Grönholm (The Grönholm method) will from September 23 re-appeared in Teatre Poliorama, Barcelona. Seven years ago, the piece had its worldwide premiere here and it has since been staged in 35 countries.
Catalan philosopher Raimon Panikkar has died at the age of 91. He spent much of his life in India and wrote some 80 books, eg. on the need for dialogue and understanding between cultures and religions.
Many Catalan municipalities find it harder than ever to finance their activities. The Mayor of Martorell and the socialist dominated Federació Catalana de Municipis propose to make a trip to Madrid and symbolically hand over their townhall keys to the Spanish government.
The liga premiere between Racing Santander and FC Barcelona ended 0-3, with goals by Messi, Iniesta and Villa. Victor Valdés saved a penalty.
Zlatan Ibrahimović will be lent out to AC Milan for a year, after which the Italian club has signed a contract to buy him for 24 million Euros. The player has accepted a lower remuneration - from a his current annual gross salary of Euro 12 million, to Euro 8 million net pay, because the tax percentage is higher than in Spain. The move comes after negotiations in which Ibrahimović has complained that Josep Guardiola has only spoken to him twice during the last six months. The player's agent, Mino Raiola, was even sharper in his criticism and that has irritated the club management. Barça has, so far, not provided any explanation as to why the co-operation between player and coach did not work better, although Ibrahimović was the most expensive player the club has ever bought.
FC Barcelona has had a lot of luck in the play-off draw for the Champions league and is expected to win Group D where they will meet Copenhagen (Denmark), Rubin Kazan (Russia) and Panathinaikos (Greece). Both the first and last matches will be played on home turf and the away game in Russia will take place in the autumn, i.e. not in winter temperatures.
The negotiations with Liverpool about the Argentinian midfielder Javier Mascherano have been completed. The player will take on the role previously held by Touré Yaya.
Real Madrid coach José Mourinho has started the psychological warfare. He claims that it does not matter if Barcelona has 20 top players, because they only get to play with 11 men, but also suggests that Spanish referees tend to make sure that Barça’s opponents have to end their matches with 10 men on the pitch.
The list of delayed infrastructure investments, as announced by the PSOE government late July, will be shorter than initially expected. Nine motorway projects in Catalonia will thereby be initiated according to the original plans, but the direct train to Terminal 1 of the Barcelona airport will have to wait.
Opinion polls show that the Catalans feel less and less as Spaniards: 7-8% of Catalonia's inhabitants only feel Spanish, 4-9% see themselves as more Spaniards than Catalans, 40% feel as much as Spanish as Catalan, 22-28% see themselves primarily as Catalans and 14-19% see themselves solely as such. The latter two groups have recently grown at the expense of the first two ones and that is attributed to the changes of Estatut made by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Financial Times announces that Spanish government bonds are again more accepted as collateral when Spanish banks seek credit. However, only to well-established institutions are able to borrow money and only on a short-term basis.
In April, when Standard & Poor cut Spain's credit rating to AA, they added that the outlook was negative. The rating remains at that level, but the agency has made a statement in which it praises the Spanish government for its "bold" measures to reduce the budget deficit.
- - -
The summary covers the period from my last text of this series until Sunday August 29. If there are news which you think that I have missed, I ask you toleave a comment and, even better, include links. All news that I consider fit into this context will be added as up-dates.
- - -
Sources and Inspiration:
Vilanova i la Geltrú
Avui/ElPunt: La UPC pateix greus problemes econòmics
Garraf and Penedès
VilanovaDigital: Temperatures de rècord al Garraf: 39,6
Avui/ElPunt: Un 15% més de places a Rodalies
Avui/ElPunt: Els alcaldes anuncien el “col·lapse” a les arques
LaVanguardia: Ibrahimovic cierra su pase al Milan
ElPaís: Mascherano como pieza táctica
LaVanguardia: Mou: "El Barça juega con 11 y muchas veces contra 10"
Catalonia and Spain
LaVanguardia: El Gobierno salva del recorte nueve obras en Catalunya
LaVanguardia: Los catalanes se sienten cada vez menos españoles