• Jordi Pujol in a press conference a few months ago (by ACN)

    Jordi Pujol's fiscal fraud becomes a threat for self-determination process

    Catalan politics and society are shocked after Jordi Pujol, President of the Catalan Government between 1980 and 2003, confessed on Friday evening that his family had €4 million in Andorra for 35 years which had never been declared to the tax authorities. Madrid-based media and politicians have immediately linked Pujol's scandal to Catalonia's self-determination with the aim to delegitimise the process since the retired politician had been the historical leader of the conservative Catalan nationalists. Parties supporting self-determination have distanced themselves from Pujol, including CDC, the Liberal party he founded in 1974 during Franco's dictatorship that now runs the Catalan Government. It is expected that Jordi Pujol (84) will resign as CDC's Founding President in the next few hours. His confession comes after his family and particularly two of his sons have been targeted by the media and judicial investigations for corruption since 2012.

A lab of Irsi Caixa (by Irsi Caixa)

Catalonia, a hub of global biomedical research

Catalonia has established a reputation as a global centre of scientific excellence, pioneering research and innovative ideas. This corner of Europe, with just 0.1% of the world’s population, accounts for nearly 1% of global scientific production. The Catalan Research system, formed of 12 internationally esteemed universities, over 60 research centres, 15 world class hospitals, and almost 9,000 innovative companies, attests to the Catalonia's ambitions in science. This territory is also a magnet of international funding: with 1.5% of Europe’s population, it receives 2.2% of European competitive funds and 3.5% of European Research Council (ERC) grants. There can be no doubt that Catalonia is now a benchmark in Southern Europe, producing frontier research and punching considerably above its weight in terms of scientific contribution.  It is attracting worldwide talent and projects, and many consider it to be fast becoming the Palo Alto of biomedical research.

CaixaBank's headquarters, located in Barcelona's Diagonal Avenue (by ACN)

CaixaBank registers a net profit of €305 million during the first half of 2014, 25% less than last year

Barcelona-based CaixaBank, which leads the Spain's banking market, registers a net attribute profit of €305 million during the first half of 2014. This is 25.3% less than 2013 and it is due to extraordinary operations such as the costs of totally integrating Banc de València and the effects of 2012 regulatory regarding the restructuring of toxic real estate assets. Apart from that, the profit attributable to the banking and insurance business, which excludes real estate activity and the investments portfolio, stands at €665 million. The banking business has generated €1.72 billion, representing a 6.8% increase, and highlights the acceleration of the decrease of the delinquency rate, which fell for the second consecutive quarter and now stands at 10.78%, 88 basis points less. 

A bar in Girona (by ACN)

Unemployment rate in Catalonia falls from 22.1% to 20.22% in the second quarter as 79,300 jobs are created

The number of unemployed people in Catalonia has decreased by 69,800 in the second quarter of this year; the largest drop in unemployment rates in the whole of Spain and the biggest decline in the jobless population in the last 12 years. Catalonia also created 79,300 new jobs in the second quarter of this year, a rise of 2.68% in comparison to the first quarter. This means that the total unemployment rate in Catalonia has dropped by nearly 2 percentage points since March 2014, falling from 22.1% to 20.22%. Spain as a whole has also registered a drop in unemployment of 310,400 people, meaning the number of jobless citizens is down to 24.47% of the total active population.

A high-speed train in Girona (by ACN)

Spanish Government cuts infrastructure investment by 50% in Catalonia and only 25% in the rest of Spain

According to a report published on Thursday by Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish Government's investment in infrastructure in Catalonia has dropped by 50% in the last 10 years, while it has been reduced by 25% throughout the rest of Spain in the same period. The President of the business association, Miquel Valls, stated that this reduction represents "a break"in the Catalan economy's growth, which could be in a better position to speed up the economic recovery. The report takes into account the executed investment made by the Spanish Government and its public companies in areas such as airports, high-speed railway or harbours. In 2006, the Spanish Parliament recognised "a historical" lack of investment in Catalonia when it approved the Catalan Statute of Autonomy and set a minimum investment percentage share to be made in Catalonia to compensate this in the next 7 years. This share was never respected.

  • A beach in Tarragona (by ACN)

    Foreign tourists spent €6 billion in Catalonia during the first half of 2014, 4% more than last year's same period

    International tourists spent €5.986 billion in Catalonia during the first six months of the year. This represents a 3.9% increase on the same period of 2013. Furthermore, it is also 22.7% of the total foreign tourist expenditure in Spain for this period. Catalonia is the second Autonomous Community where foreign visitors spent more money during the first half of 2014. The Canaries came first with an expenditure of €6.069 billion.  However, both the tourist expenditure in Catalonia per stay and per day in the first half of 2014 fell in comparison with the same period in 2013. Foreign tourists spent €840 per stay (2.6% less than in 2013) and €129 per day (-1.4%). Catalonia is also the area where international tourists spent more money during June, reaching €1.551 billion. This represents 0.2% less than in June 2013, but 24.9% of the total foreign tourist expenditure in Spain that month.

  • An image from Tortosa's Renaissance Festival (by ACN)

    Tortosa recreates the Renaissance with its annual international festival

    From Thursday to Sunday the 19th edition of Tortosa's Renaissance Festival attracted more than 200,000 visitors from all over Europe, who filled the city located in the Ebro Delta area in southern Catalonia. The Mayor of Tortosa, Ferran Bel, emphasised the consolidation of the festival  and the high participation numbers with many international visitors, including foreign tourists and participating companies, such as theatre groups, music bands and food traders. Bel revealed that development work  would soon take place in the old town of Tortosa and further changes would be introduced to improve next year's festival.The Mayor said that the festival had attracted considerable attention not only in southern Europe, but across the entire continent.

  • The first firework night in Blanes' International Competition (by A. Recolons)

    Blanes' International Fireworks Competition gathers 100,000 people in its opening night

    Blanes' annual International Fireworks Competition (Costa Brava), which this year celebrates its 44th edition, started on Thursday night, attracting more than 100,000 people to watch the show, according to initial estimates by the Mayor of the Catalan coastal town,Josep Marigó. The event was supervised by pyrotechnic and three-time festival winner, Tomás de Castelló. The competition, which will run until Sunday, involves four professional pyrotechnics: the Valencian which opens the competition, last year´s winner from Granada, one from Aragón and a last one from Slovenia. The winner will be chosen by a jury, which this year is open to the public and formed of volunteers.

Highlights

  • Joan Fontcuberta in front of some of his pictures shown in London (by L. Pous)

    24.07.14 - 21:31

    London shows the nature photography work by Catalan and Hasselblad Award-winner, Fontcuberta

    Barcelona-born photographer Joan Fontcuberta presents his first major exhibition in the UK, ‘Stranger than Fiction’, which represents an overview of 30 years of his artistic work on nature photography. It opened on Wednesday at London’s Science Museum's Media Space and will be running until the 9th of November. The six-part collection of pictures and artefacts aims to examine the presumed reliability of...

  • Angel de la Fuente presenting the new fiscal balances, calculated with a new methodology for the occasion (by ACN)

    23.07.14 - 21:34

    The Spanish Government downplays Catalonia's fiscal deficit and rejects reviewing its funding

    On Tuesday, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, rejected to review the funding scheme of the Autonomous Communities to grant them more resources, despite the fact that the Catalan Government is under-budgeted. On Wednesday, the Spanish Finance Ministry downplayed Catalonia's fiscal deficit by issuing the so-called fiscal balances, which calculate the inter-territorial fiscal transfers, posting a significantly low Catalan...

  • The opening concert of the 2014 Bachcelona Festival (by L. Roma)

    23.07.14 - 21:32

    The harpsichord duo Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot opened Bachcelona Festival

    The Bachcelona Festival kicked off on Sunday with a concert by renowned harpsichord duo Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot at the Catalan capital's Palau de la Música concert hall. The performance included the famous ‘Art of Fugue,’ one of the most celebrated compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. The festival, which is designed to showcase the work of the great composer, will run in Barcelona until 27 July 2014. Koopman, a...

  • Part of the old Ca l'Alier factory, in Barcelona's 22@ technological and business disctrict (by J. Eloy)

    23.07.14 - 17:50

    Cisco and Schneider to invest €37 million in smart city innovation centres located in a Barcelonan old factory

    An old factory in the 22@ technological and business district of Barcelona, named Ca l'Alier, will be transformed into an innovation centre focused on Smart Cities. The French multinational Schneider Electric and the American networking giant Cisco Systems will invest €6 million in the building's renovation in order to set up their new research centres. The two companies then plan to invest a total of €37 million...

  • Jérémy Mathieu in Barcelona El Prat airport (by FC Barcelona)

    23.07.14 - 17:49

    Defender Jérémy Mathieu joins FC Barcelona for €20 million

    FC Barcelona and València CF have reached agreement for the transfer of the French player, Jérémy Mathieu. The French defender will sign a contract with FC Barcelona for the next four seasons, plus an optional season more. The cost of the transfer is €20 million and the buyout clause will be €50 million. Mathieu, born in 1983, is a physically imposing defender who can play in various positions at the back....

  • Bojan training this summer with Barça's first team (by FC Barcelona)

    23.07.14 - 17:33

    Bojan Krkic quits FC Barcelona and will play for Stoke City

    The FC Barcelona forward will join the Premier League's Stoke City side this summer. After spending nearly his entire footballing life at FC Barcelona, Bojan Krkic says goodbye to his club. The Catalan forward, who was always one step ahead of his age in terms of skill and quality, leaves FC Barcelona with the distinction of being the all-time highest scorer in the Barça youth system. His tally from all his years at La Masia exceeds...

  • A protest for the Spanish Government's abortion reform in Lleida, last June (by ACN)

    23.07.14 - 17:19

    Catalonia and 4 other Autonomous Communities oppose the Spanish Government's abortion reform

    The governments of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Asturias and the Canaries have spoken out against the Spanish Executive's draft bill on the Protection of the Life of the Unborn and the Rights of the Pregnant Woman, presented in December 2013. This legislative reform, which still has to be approved in Parliament, aims to restrict the right of abortion only to cases of rape, incest or when the mother´s health is at...

  • Participants of the 2014 WCCM, which is held in Barcelona until the 25th of July (by G. Sánchez)

    23.07.14 - 17:15

    Barcelona is hosting the world's most important conference on computational mechanics and numerical methods

    From the 20th until the 25th of July, more than 4,000 scientists, researchers, engineers and academics from 52 countries will meet in Barcelona's Palau de Congressos de Catalunya for the 11th World Congress on Computational Mechanics (WCCM). Experts will be presenting 3,200 scientific papers and 220 mini-symposiums. They will also develop computer simulations that allow studying the operation of aircrafts,...

  • Mas and Rajoy in the same event in Barcelona in October 2013 (by ACN)

    22.07.14 - 21:21

    Rajoy will meet with the new Socialist leader two days before talking to the Catalan President

    The much awaited meeting between the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has finally been announced for Wednesday 30th of July at 11am, after both politicians have stated during several months that they were open to talk. In the meeting they will discuss the institutional and social affairs related to the economic crisis, but they should also talk about the organisation...

  • Foreign tourists in Barcelona (by ACN)

    22.07.14 - 21:20

    Catalonia reaches a new tourism record with 7.1 million foreign visitors in the first half of the year

    Catalonia received 1,677,679 foreign tourists in June, an increase of 2.4% compared with the same month in 2013. The combined number of foreigners who visited the Autonomous Community in the first half of this year reached 7.129 million, which is an increase of 6.7% and sets a historic new record for the number of foreign visitors passing through Catalonia. This good performance has been shared throughout Spain, as it hosted 28 million...

  • BBVA's main offices in Barcelona (by R. Pagano)

    22.07.14 - 20:57

    BBVA buys nationalised Catalunya Banc for €1.19 billion, meaning taxpayers will lose more than €11 billion

    BBVA will pay €1.187 billion to the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB) for the nationalised Catalan bank, beating the other two offers in the final phase of the auction process presented by Santander and Barcelona-based CaixaBank. This means that Spanish taxpayers will lose €11.84 billion considering guarantees and due to the fact that the Spanish Government injected €12.622 billion into Catalunya Banc since it was...

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas (left) and Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida (right), on Monday (by P. Mateos)

    21.07.14 - 20:59

    CiU's 'number 2' quits his post within the coalition but continues leading the Christian-Democrats

    Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, who was the Secretary General of the centre-right pro-Catalan State two-party coalition CiU, quit his post on Monday in the middle of the tensions for the self-determination vote and Catalonia's potential independence from Spain. However, Duran will continue to lead the Christian-Democrat party within the CiU (UDC) and to be the CiU's strong man in Madrid. In addition, one of his closest allies within UDC, Ramon...

  • Basf plant in Tarragona (by ACN)

    21.07.14 - 20:58

    BASF postpones its Tarragona intermodal station to 2017 due to Madrid's delay building the Mediterranean Corridor

    German chemical multinational BASF does not expect to launch its intermodal merchant station in Tarragona's petro-chemical compound until early 2017, two years after it initially forecast. The date of commissioning, as recognised by the company, is conditioned by the start of construction of the third rail connecting the railway line in Tarragona to the Mediterranean Railway Corridor (a strategic transport priority for the European Union),...

  • Headbirds playing in New York's Central Park (by Institut Ramon Llull)

    21.07.14 - 20:54

    Catalan bands Mishima, Txarango and Headbirds perform in New York´s Central Park

    Three of Catalonia´s most popular music groups played in Central Park in New York City on Sunday 21st July as part of the SummerStage Festival. The three Catalan performers, Mishima, Txarango and Headbirds, participated in the event under the slogan ´Catalan sounds on tour´, with the aim to internationalise Catalan musicians and performers. The festival is organised by New York´s City Parks Foundation with...

  • The new electric bikes that will be added to the Bicing service (by J. Regué)

    21.07.14 - 20:42

    Barcelona´s public bicycle service due to launch an electrical bike service by the end of this year

    Barcelona´s bicycle sharing service, Bicing, has announced plans to launch an electrical bike service designed to aid longer journeys around the city. This service aims to improve the effectiveness of the current Bicing service by promoting the use of electrical bicycles, which will further enhance the image of Barcelona as a ´Smart City´. An initial trial of the new service will begin this December when 300...

  • Luis Enrique (centre), in his first match as Barça's Manager (by FC Barcelona)

    20.07.14 - 10:16

    Recreativo Huelva v FC Barcelona: Barça's winning start of the 2014/15 pre-season (0-1)

    Luis Enrique led Barça to a win in Huelva thanks to a Joan Roman goal. All FC Barcelona's 23 players got to play, and the visitors dominated from start to finish. The Colombino Trophy match between Recreativo Huelva and Barça will always be remembered for being Luis Enrique’s debut as first team manager. Goalkeeper Ter Stegen got to make his debut, and although he didn’t have much to do, on the few occasions when...