• Thousand marched along Barcelona in aid of refugees (by ACN)

    Thousands march along Barcelona urging Spain to take in more refugees

    More than 160,000 people hit the streets this Saturday in Barcelona to demand the Spanish Government to host more refugees from war-hit areas such as Syria. Demonstrators carried banners with mottos such as ‘Refugees Welcome’ and ‘Enough Excuses, welcome them now’ . The protest comes after Spain pledged to take in about 16,000 asylum seekers from other EU countries under a quota system agreed in 2015. However, so far it has only received 516 refugees of the 10,772 initially established in the scheme of distribution of the European Commission. The mobilisation was organised by the campaign ‘Our home, your home’, which gathers together more than 200 Catalan associations and NGOs and a hundred cultural companies and citizens. 2016 will go down in history as one of the most death-filled years in the Mediterranean: at least 4,700 people, according to the official record, have so far passed away trying to reach safety in Europe.

Euro notes (by ACN)

Catalan Government collected nearly 3 billion euros in taxes in 2016

The Catalan Government’s tax take rose by 8.3% in 2016, totalling 2.9 billion euros. More than half of this came from the real estate sector, which contributed 1.6 billion euros to the treasury due to the growth registered in both the execution of new mortgages and in the buying and selling of previously owned houses. The wealth tax also contributed to this 225.45 million euros, an increase compared to 2015, not only because the fee grew but also because there were more declarants in 2016 than in the previous years. The figures, which include the Catalan Tax Agency’s own taxes and those transferred by the Spanish state, include the new taxes applied in 2016 for the first time. In particular, the treasury benefited from the taxes applied to empty houses, which represented 11.49 million euros and the 2.99 million obtained by charging Co2 emissions produced by public aviation.  

Representatives from Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, the Leo Messi Foundation, the FC Barcelona Foundation and the IESE, who launch a campaign to help funding the SJD Pediatric Cancer Center (by ACN)

Barcelona will host Europe’s largest hospital specialising in infantile cancer

Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, the Leo Messi Foundation, the FC Barcelona Foundation and the IESE business school have joined forces to launch a campaign to get companies and the general public to help finance the new SJD Pediatric Cancer Center that is being planned for the city of Barcelona. The hospital, which is set to be Europe’s largest dedicated to infantile cancer and the third-biggest worldwide, will cost 30 MEUR. Once functioning, the centre could care for around 400 patients within its 5,137m2 installation, which will be located next to Hospital Sant Joan de Déu. If the deadlines are met, the construction of the new centre will start in the second half of 2017 and be ready by 2019. The facility will allow the increase of the recovery rate for infantile cancer, which is currently around 80%, help develop new drugs and reduce the side effects of treatments used. 

Close-up of the Catalan Government's Spokeswoman, Neus Munté (by ACN)

Catalan Government to keep referendum date despite TC suspension

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has definitely suspended the governing party ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left pro-independence CUP joint proposal to call a referendum in 2017. A decision which, according to Catalan Government Spokeswoman, Neus Munté “was not surprising” not even at “this extraordinary speed” and culminating “a tense week” during which the 9-N trial over symbolic vote on independence took place at Barcelona’s High Court. However, she assured that the ruling “won’t change the Government’s determination to call a referendum this year”. Munté emphasised that the joint resolution “was discussed and voted on by the Catalan MPs in accordance to the freedom of speech” and that these MPs were “democratically elected”. In a similar sense, CUP MP Benet Salellas warned that his group “will guarantee that the referendum takes place, regardless of the TC’s wishes”.

Spanish Constitutional Court's building, in Madrid (by ACN)

TC suspends referendum resolution and could take further legal action against Forcadell

The commitment taken by Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, to call a referendum in autumn 2017, regardless of the Spanish Government’s position, has been definitely suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). Although the body had already ordered a cautionary suspension of the governing party ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left pro-independence CUP joint proposal on this matter, this Tuesday the resolution became definite. “No court decision will change our unequivocal determination to call a referendum this year”, stated Catalan Government Spokeswoman, Neus Munté. She also emphasised that the joint resolution emerged from the democratic mandate of the 27-S Catalan elections. The magistrates also left in the Public Prosecutor’s hands whether to take further legal action against Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, who already testified before Barcelona’s High Court in December for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote amongst the Catalan MPs.

  • Spain's King brother-in-law and former Duke of Mallorca, Iñaki Urdangarín (by ACN)

    Spain’s king brother-in-law given six years in prison for corruption scandal

    Palma de Mallorca’s court sentenced Philip VI’s brother-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, for allegedly obtaining no-bid contracts from regional governments in the so-called ‘Nóos Case’. On the other hand, his wife, the sister of Spain’s King, Cristina de Borbón, has been acquitted of tax fraud complicity. However, she will have to pay a 265,000-euros fine for her role in the case. Former president of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Matas, who had held 50% of the shares of the company ‘Nóos’, has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison while Urdangarin’s partner in the company will have to face an 8-year prison sentence. The trial, which generated huge attention from the media, saw a member of the Royal Family brought to court for the first time ever.  

  • Researchers at IsriCaixa Lab (by ACN)

    Catalan researchers isolate and control AIDS virus for the first time

    A clinical trial of a vaccine has proved, for the first time ever, that the immune system of those infected with AIDS can be re-educated in order to control the virus for long periods of time and without taking anti-retroviral drugs. In particular, 5 of the 13 patients whom participated in the trial and stopped their treatment achieved control of the virus for 5, 13, 17, 20 and 27 weeks respectively. The research, which is still ongoing, is being developed in different hospitals in Barcelona and Badalona and is directed by the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute, a leading centre for research into the eradication of HIV/AIDS and related diseases, and the Fight AIDS Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to healthcare, research and education in the field of HIV/AIDS, created by Doctor Bonaventura Clotet in 1992.

  • Current Spanish Minister for Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Díaz (by ACN)

    Spanish Parliament to investigate operation aimed at smearing pro-independence process

    The Spanish Parliament will finally create a committee to investigate whether the Spanish Ministry for Home Affairs plotted to discredit Catalonia’s pro-independence process. According to a police report published last July, the so-called ‘Operation Catalonia’ was launched during last Conservative People’s Party (PP) term of office, involving former Spanish Minister for Home Office, Jorge Fernández Díaz and Inspector José Villarejo, amongst many others. Indeed, Fernández Díaz will have to appear before the Committee in relation to several tapes published last June which proved how he and former Director of Catalonia’s Anti-fraud Office, Daniel De Alfonso, plotted to discredit Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties. The creation of this Committee was first requested by left wing pro-independence ERC, former liberal ‘Convergència’, now renamed as the Catalan European Democratic Party PDeCAT and the Spanish Socialist Party, but was delayed due to Fernández Díaz’s serious illness.

Highlights

  • First day of the Mobile World Congress, at Barcelona L'Hospitalet Gran Via (by ACN)

    14.02.17 - 18:36

    More Catalan companies than ever at 2017 edition of Mobile World Congress

     

    The number of Catalan companies which will attend the 12th edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), to take place from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March in Barcelona will be higher than ever. There will be 105 Catalan businesses represented at the world’s largest event of the mobile and cell phone-related industries, exceeding for the first time the threshold of 100, explained Catalan Minister...

  • Around 300 businessmen from Catalonia and Valencia gathered together to defend the Mediterranean corridor (by ACN)

    13.02.17 - 18:24

    Catalan and Valencian businessmen urge Spanish Goverment to build Mediterranean Railway Corridor

    The Valencian Association of Businessmen and ‘Cercle d’Economia’, the main Catalan economic forum open to businesspeople and academics organised a summit this Monday to urge the Spanish Government to build the Mediterranean Railway Corridor. “The main problems are the lack of political will”, stated Vicente Boluda, president of the Valencian Association of Businessmen. In a similar sense, ‘Cercle...

  • Family picture of the volunteers and associations launching the campaign 'Our Home, Your Home' on the 29th of November 2016 (by ACN).

    13.02.17 - 12:37

    Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi hosts massive concert in aid of refugees

    More than 15,000 people attended the concert ‘Our home, your home’ which is part of the homonymous campaign aimed to emphasise Catalonia’s willingness to welcome refugees. 50 artists of different origins and musical styles contributed to make the public aware of the humanitarian crisis which has left, according to the UN, more than 200 million people worldwide escaping from war and poverty. The promoters of the...

  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas and former Catalan Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau leaving Barcelona's High Court (by ACN)

    10.02.17 - 18:51

    Mas at 9-N trial: “We didn’t disobey but faced up to the Spanish State”

    Those summonsed over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence “didn’t disobey” the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) ban by allowing the non-binding consultation in 2014 but “faced up to the Spanish State, which was abusing its power”. This is what former Catalan President, Artur Mas, explained before the judge at the 9-N trial’s last session this Friday. He made such a statement also in relation to the...

  • Representatives of the Public Prosecutor's office and the popular accusation during 9-N trial (by ACN)

    10.02.17 - 15:06

    Public Prosecutor denies Spanish Government pressure over 9-N trial

    The last day of the 9-N trial over the symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014, saw the Public Prosecutor, Emilio Sánchez-Ulled’s conclusions. “It is enough of what has been organised around this”, stated Sánchez-Ulled and denied having been put under any pressure by the Spanish Government, as many who consider this trial a political one have repeatedly claimed. “I haven’t received...

  • Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget, at the Financial Times headquarters, in London (by ACN)

    09.02.17 - 18:13

    Government to open six new trade and investment offices worldwide

    The Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge will invest 1.2 MEUR this year to increase Catalonia’s trade and investment office network abroad. In particular, six new centres will be opened in 2017, which will be added to the 36 which are already functioning on each of the five continents. The new offices will be located in Havana, Los Angeles, Tehran, Zagreb, Amsterdam and Nairobi. Thus, Catalan business will be represented in 109...

  • EPP MEP Csaba Sógor interviewed by the CNA (by ACN)

    09.02.17 - 13:20

    MEPs from all parties consider 9-N trial “counterproductive” and call for "political” solution

    The trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014, which took before Barcelona’s High Court former Catalan President Artur Mas amongst other members of the Government has provoked reactions within and outside of Catalonia. MEPs from all parties have told the CNA that Catalonia and Spain should look for “a political” solution to their differences rather than resorting to the court. “Politicising the...

  • Former Catalan Minister for Presidency and current Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, testified before Barcelona’s High Court over 9-N symbolic vote on independence (by ACN),

    08.02.17 - 18:48

    Homs during 9-N trial: “We were not violating any law”

    Former Catalan Minister for Presidency and now Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, testified this Wednesday before Barcelona’s High Court, during the trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. Homs, who was former Catalan President Artur Mas’ right hand man at the time when the non-binding consultation took place, in 2014, gave his testimony as...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, during his intervention in the Parliament's plenary session (by ACN)

    08.02.17 - 13:02

    Puigdemont: “Spanish democracy has gotten sick”

    Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, opened this Wednesday’s plenary session in the Parliament and commented on the trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which is taking place this week. “Spanish democracy has gotten sick” he said and accused the Spanish State of taking former Catalan President, Artur Mas and former Catalan Minsters, Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega before the court “without blushing”...

  •  Suárez celebrates his goal which eventually proved the difference between the two sides over two (by FC)

    08.02.17 - 09:30

    FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid: Barça battle through to the final! (1-1)

    1-1 draw against Atlético puts blaugranes into Copa del Rey final against Celta or Alavés. The blaugranes have reached the domestic cup final in seven of the last nine seasons and are currently the team who have won the competition on most occasions, 28 to be precise. Luis Suárez’s tap-in just before half-time was enough to see the Catalans into fourth consecutive Copa del Rey final...

  • MPs in the Catalan Parliament (by ACN)

    07.02.17 - 19:14

    ‘Ciutadans’ and PSC to delay budget amid controversy over referendum allocation

    Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) will take the budget bill for 2017, which was due to be put to vote this February, to the Council for Statutory Guarantees. The function of the body is to check whether the regulations of the Catalan Government comply with the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution. The spokesperson of ‘Ciutadans’ and PSC in the Parliament considers...

  • Former director of Barcelona’s Department for Education, Montserrat Llobet, testifying before Barcelona's High Court (by ACN)

    07.02.17 - 14:25

    9-N trial proceedings focus now on Ministry for Education’s role

     

    The trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014, which took before Barcelona’s High Court former Catalan President Artur Mas amongst other members of the Government continues. This Tuesday, after Mas and former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega’s testimony, the judges are analysing the role of the Catalan Ministry for Education in the non-binding consultation and several education...

  • Barça players celebrating a goal (by FCB)

    07.02.17 - 14:11

    Match Preview: FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid

    Barça hold a 2–1 aggregate advantage as they look to deliver a knockout punch at home for the fourth straight round and continue down the path to a rare Copa del Rey three-peat. In this season's Copa, which Camp Nou has been the scene of an impressive trio of second leg victories — in the last 32, in the last 16, and in the quarter-finals. And on Tuesday night, at 9.00pm CET the Catalans, now in...

  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Catalan vice-president, Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau rallied around on their way to Barcelona's High Court to testify for the 9-N symbolic vote on independence (by ACN)

    06.02.17 - 18:03

    Catalan representatives over 9-N trial: “Voting can’t be considered a crime in any democratic country”

    Many political representatives extended their support to former Catalan President, Artur Mas and Catalan Ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau, who faced trial this Monday for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. “This trial should have never happened”, stated Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell and added that “putting out the ballot boxes can’t be considered a crime in any democratic...

  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Catalan Vice-president, Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, before entering Barcelona's High Court (by ACN)

    06.02.17 - 11:36

    Mas before the court: “9-N was not a personal whim” but an “unstoppable” consultation

    Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, testified before the court this Monday for alleged disobedience and breach of trust for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. During his testimony, Mas insisted that the non-binding referendum “was not a personal whim or a last-minute idea” but “the consequence of wide parliamentary agreements and explicit and reiterated mandates of the Chamber”. Moreover, he...

  • Thousands support Mas, Rigau and Ortega on their way to Barcelona's High Court (by ACN)

    06.02.17 - 09:43

    Thousands hit the streets to support those summonsed for 9-N symbolic vote on independence

    More than 40,000 people filled Avinguda Lluís Companys in Barcelona this Monday in support of former Catalan President, Artur Mas, on his way to the Barcelona’s High Court. Mas faces trial for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence to take place in 2014. Mas could face a 10-year ban from public office for putting out the ballot boxes and he is accused, together with former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega,...