News from Spain, Catalonia and Barcelona – from a Vilanova i la Geltrú perspective
The September unemployment figures tend to be bad, due to seasonal variations. After four months of improvements, Spain once again has over 4 million unemployed people.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Spain will be the only developed economy which will end 2010 with negative growth (-0.3%). For 2011, the organization has revised its growth expectations for Spain from 0.6% to 0.7%, but warns of the high debt and unemployment levels. It also advices the PSOE government to plan for further cost cuts, as the state budget for 2011 is based on the assumption of a 1.3% growth .
The Wall Street Journal warns that Spain is still deeply stuck in the financial crises and that the country might be the "Lehman Brothers" of Europe.
Spain will, according to the IMF, end this year as the Earth's 12th largest economy, due to the crisis overtaken by Canada, India and Russia, in that order.
The Socialist Party (PSOE) is trying to downplay the increasing internal criticism against José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. That Tomás Gómez won the primary election to become the Socialist candidate for the position as President of Comunidad de Madrid was by many interpreted as a protest against the party leader.
Zapatero was during the Ocotber 12 military parade to celebrate Día de la Hispanidad once again received with cries for him to resign ("¡Zapatero, Dimisión!") while the royal family was greeted with applause.
The Spanish food consumption is projected to decline this year. In 2009, special promotions and an increasing market share for private label produce resulted in a turnover drop, but for the first time in ten years there is now a reduction in physical volume.
The real estate market remains weak - in September, prices were 5% lower than a year ago. After peaking in December 2007, prices in Spain as a whole have fallen by 18%. Worst hit is the Mediterranean coast where prices have gone down with 25.7%.
Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, the severely criticized President of the Spanish employers' organization CEOE, will call a new election but has yet to announce whether he will seek re-election. Decisions within the CEOE are hard to predict - 60% of the voting power is held by various industry groups and 40% by the territorial organizations.
An opinion poll conducted by CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas) reveals that 67.8% of the Spaniards are almost always satisfied with their family life. An entire 67.6% consider that the ideal family consists of a two spouses who both pursue professional carreers. However, if one spouse would have to resign, 45.7% think that the woman should do so, while 20.9% believe that gender should not play any role for such decisions.
The Financial Times predicts that the Spanish savings banks will be forced into a second round of mergers, because there is still a surplus of branches, while the financial recovery is weak.
As a reaction to the coming ban in Catalonia, PP in the Spanish Senate tried to protect bullfights by having them declared "of cultural interest". The proposal was voted down.
The police have arrested 57 people suspected of distributing child pornography. Two of the suspects are themselves police officers.
The Spanish international court Audiencia Nacional has accused Venezuela to have played a role in the training of ETA terrorists. Hugo Chávez's government first protested but has then agreed to investigate the case.
The U.S. magazine Foreign Policy has named Spain's José María Aznar as one of the world's worst "former prime ministers". Calling global warming a "new religion" and and the election of a black president in U.S. a "historical exoticism" were some of the comments which drew the jury's attention.
The Catalan business organizations who, in 2002, were the first to express their support for Zapatero, have lost confidence in the PSOE government in Madrid. Cercle d'Economia calls for the Spanish Constitution to be rewritten and adapted to Catalonia's claims for greater autonomy. Ate the same time, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce Cambra de Comerç protests against the government not paying its bills on time and not investing as much in Catalonia as was set out in the autonomy charter Estatut.
To strengthen the finances, the Generalitat will within shortly issue its own bonds, offering an annual interest rate of 4.75%. The issue is expected to be successful, which in turn might reduce the availability of capital for the private market and also for the Spanish State.
Catalonia's president, José Montilla (PSC), who for two years has declined to attend the traditional October 12 military parades in Madrid, this time went there "as a private individual". His coalition partners ERC and ICV-EUiA consider that this creates an unfortunate confusion over whether the Tripartit is Catalan-minded or not.
Autumn is here and the Catalan coast has been hit by thunder storms, torrential rains and strong winds.
By explaining how the canal Segarra-Garrigues is of primary general interest and undertake to implement measures counteracting its ecological impact, the Catalan government has managed to make the EU drop its environmental complaints against the construction of the canal.
For her work against anti-Semitism, journalist Pilar Rahola has received a reward by the American Anti-Defamation League. It bears the name of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who got his throat cut by Islamic terrorists while being documented on film.
The hotels of the Costa Daurada have over the summer had a very good occupancy rate but, as it was achieved thanks to special offers, the profitability of the industry has deteriorated by about 20%.
The grass at Nou Camp has been of poor quality since the start of the season and that has been used as an explanation to the unfortunate draw against Mallorca, on October 3. Pedro Rodríguez got stuck so badly that he tore his left hamstring muscle and needs three weeks to heal. The grass has now been replaced.
After a break due to international matches, the next match will be played at home, coming Saturday and against Valencia. On the same day, F.C. Barcelona will hold its annual meeting, covering, among other things, the club's finances.
Already on Thursday will former President Joan Laporta and his financial director Xavier Sala i Martin will hold a press conference to explain how the profit of Euro 11 million which they claimed to leave behind when they left office, has turned into a loss of 77 million, after the due diligence process.
Barcelona and its Metropolitan Area
The effects of the crisis are quite clear in a survey about the business climate in Europe's big cities carried out among senior business executives. Barcelona descends from the 4th to the 5th position, and Madrid from the 6th to the 8th. Like last year, London, Paris and Frankfurt take the lead.
The air quality in Barcelona is worse than allowed and after several warnings the EU will proceed to sanctions. For this reason, it may be difficult to allow any increases in the speed limits within the metropolitan area. The highest amounts of particles in the air, can be found in the districts (barri) Sants and Poblenou and the municipality (municipi) Prat de Llobregat.
Corruption Allegations have surfaced regarding licenses and permits in the district Ciutat Vella. The affair has made ICV-EUiA, which governs Barcelona together with PSC, vote with the oppostion and demand transparency.
The pickpocket gangs of Barcelona are being professionalised. One example are the young girls who, on the escalators up to Montjuïc, steal while pretending to work for an NGO. Although the police know who they are, they fail to catch them in the act.
The police Mossos d'Esquadra have revealed a giant greenhouse for marijuana plants. It was located in Begues from where it supplied a large part of Baix Llobregat.
The district Montmar of Castelldefels - since many years an integrated part of the town centre - has finally been fully connected to the sewage system.
Vilanova i la Geltrú · Garraf · Penedès
The often foul-smelling river bed Pastera in Vilanova i la Geltrú is now being covered.
Strong winds tore off the roof of the school IES Joaquim Mir in Vilanova.
With a budget of Euro 250.000, the Agència de Desenvolupament Econòmic del Garraf has been created to promote the economic development of this comarca.
The Sitges Horror Film Festival commemorates the 30th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining".
A homosexual couple was subjected to fierce stone-throwing on a small nudist beach close to cala de l'Home Mort between Sitges and Vilanova. Since the perpetrators stood atop the surrounding cliffs, the men had to flee into the sea.
During the theme days on the future of Penedès, organised by Intstitut d'Estudis Penedesencs, it was suggested that the four comarques involved create a de facto vegueria. Baix Penedès and Anoia could for example join the Mancomunitat (Alt) Penedès – Garraf, an existing entity. Sixte Moral (PSC), former mayor of Vilanova, argued that the basis for the co-operation has already been laid out in the agreement pacte del Sant Martí.
The carnival of Vilanova i la Geltrú and the Festa Major of Vilafranca del Penedès have been reclassified as Heritage Festivities of Catalan National Interest (festa patrimonial d'interès nacional)
A museum and memorial to the People's Army (exèrcit popular) in the Spanish Civil War has been inaugurated in Pujalt (Anoia).
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This news summary covers the period from my last text of this series until Tuesday October 12. If there are news which you think that I have missed, I ask you to leave a comment and, even better, include links. All news that I consider to fit into this context will be added as up-dates.
Find here an overview of the Catalan political parties and their equivalents on the Spanish level.
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Expansión.com: El paro rebasa los cuatro millones y evidencia que la recuperación ha aflojado
LaVanguardia.es: El FMI advierte a España de que deberá afrontar ajustes más severos para reducir el déficit
ElPeriodico.cat: L'FMI millora lleugerament la perspectiva de creixement d'Espanya el 2011 i alerta sobre l'atur i el deute
ElMundo.es: El FMI prevé que España crezca un 0,7% en 2011, frente al 1,3% 'optimista' del Gobierno
ElMundo.es: Así ven en Estados Unidos nuestra crisis
ElPaís.es: España, relegada a 12ª economía mundial
LaVanguardia.es: El precio de la vivienda acelera su caída y baja un 5% en septiembre
LaVanguardia.es: Los nervios por la debacle del PSOE disparan la presión sobre Zapatero
LaVanguardia.es: Esconder la crisis
LaVanguardia.es: Zapatero recibe a los Reyes entre abucheos en el desfile del Día de la Hispanidad
LaVanguardia.es: El consumo en alimentación cae por primera vez
Expansion.com: ¿Quién decide en la patronal CEOE?
LaVanguardia.es: El 45% de los españoles cree que es la mujer quien debe renunciar al trabajo
Expansion.com: El FT advierte de una nueva oleada de recortes en las cajas de ahorros
ElPeriodico.cat: El Senat rebutja que els toros siguin bé d'interès cultural
BBCNews.com: Spain 'busts child pornography network'
LaVanguardia.es: El Gobierno de Chávez investigará a Cubillas por formar a etarras en Venezuela
ForeignPolicy.com: Bad Exes
ElMundo.es: Aznar, ¿el peor ex jefe de Gobierno del mundo?
LaVanguardia.es: La burguesía catalana rompe con Zapatero
ElPeriodico.cat: El Cercle d'Economia reclama un pacte constitucional per a "un millor encaix de Catalunya amb Espanya"
Avui.ElPunt.cat: El document dels empresaris incomoda el PSC i el PP
LaVanguardia.es: Los bonos de la Generalitat estarán en el mercado en una semana o diez días
Expansion.com: Los bonos de Cataluña plantan cara a los mejores depósitos
LaVanguardia.es: Minirrebelión de ERC e ICV contra José Montilla por el 12-0
LaVanguardia.es: El temporal se desplaza hacia el Ebro, con previsión de tormenta, mar agitada y fuertes vientos
LaVanguardia.es: Bruselas archivará "de forma inmediata" la sentencia contra el canal Segarra-Garrigues
PilarRahola.com: Premi Daniel Pearl
Avui.ElPunt.cat: Baixa un 20% el negoci hoteler
LaVanguardia.es: Pedro estará unas tres semanas de baja por una rotura en los isquiotibiales
ElMundoDeportivo.es: El Barça inicia el cambio del césped del Camp Nou
FCBarcelona: Primers preparatius per a l’Assemblea
ElMundoDeportivo.es: Las cuentas bien claras
Avui.ElPunt.cat: La UE prepara sancions per la contaminació a Barcelona
LaVanguardia.es: Hereu pide ahora a la juez poder entregar el sumario de la trama de Ciutat Vella a los grupos
LaVanguardia.es: Carteristas rumanas cazan a los turistas en Montjuïc
Avui.ElPunt.cat: Barcelona baixa un lloc entre les principals ciutats europees de negocis
LaVanguardia.es: Localizan más de un millar de plantas de marihuana en un laboratorio en Begues
Avui.ElPunt.cat: La urbanització més gran de Castelldefels instal·la per fi el clavegueram
Vilanova i la Geltrú · Garraf · Penedès
Avui.ElPunt.cat: El temporal s'endú la teulada de l'IES Joaquim Mir i inunda aules del centre
Avui.ElPunt.cat: Síndrome ‘resplendor'
LaVanguardia.es: Dos hombres son atacados en una solitaria playa gay de Sitges
Avui.ElPunt.cat: Volen promoure la “vegueria de fet” mancomunant serveis
AnoiaDiari.cat: Emotiva inauguració al Memorial de l’Exèrcit Popular de Pujalt