• The Catalan President, Artur Mas (left) and the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy (right) in the meeting they held in July (by ACN)

    Spanish Government is preparing appeal against not-yet-approved Catalan law on consultation votes

    With the aim to stop Catalonia's self-determination vote, the People's Party (PP) has confirmed that the Spanish Government is already preparing two appeals to the Constitutional Court against two legal measures that have not yet been approved. The Government chaired by Mariano Rajoy is preparing a first appeal against the Catalan Law on Consultation Votes, which should be approved in mid-September. This law will be the legal base for the self-determination vote, scheduled for the 9th of November. Rajoy's second appeal is against the Catalan President's formal call to hold the independence consultation vote; a call that would be issued after the approval of the Consultation Vote Law. With these two appeals against two legal means that still do not exist, and whose exact wording is therefore still unknown, the Spanish Government is looking for the Constitutional Court to temporarily cancel the law and the call, and therefore stop November's vote from happening.

Peret singing with his guitar (by ACN)

Peret, the 'father' of Catalan rumba, dies from cancer aged 79

Pere Pubill i Calaf, better known as Peret, died at noon on Wednesday in a Barcelonan hospital, aged 79. The singer, guitar player and composer Peret was considered to be the 'father' of the so-called Catalan rumba, a fusion music style mixing Afro-Cuban mambo with flamenco and rock and roll. This rhythm was born in the 1950s within Barcelona's Gipsy community and became increasingly popular in the 1960s thanks to some of Peret's hits. Soon it became part of Catalonia's culture and common heritage, being extremely popular and receiving institutional recognition. Peret started his musical career extremely young in the 1940s. He published a total of 27 albums, and he was about to release his first disc entirely in Catalan. In his last years, he became particularly active in social and political movements, criticising poverty and supporting Catalan self-determination. A few weeks ago, he issued a press release announcing he was undergoing anti-cancer treatment.

The Catalan Government's Spokesperson and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs (by J. Bataller)

Catalan Government insists in its "unequivocal commitment" to November self-determination vote

"The time for speculation is over; now it is time for decisions, and this goes for everybody", stated the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, after the first Cabinet Meeting held after the summer break. Homs was referring to the Spanish Prime Minister's monolithic opposition to the self-determination vote and to the warning sent by the leader of the left-wing independence party ERC, Oriol Junqueras. The ERC President "cannot imagine" somebody "breaking the enormous unity" around the independence consultation vote, scheduled for the 9th of November, which is "the only scenario" agreed on.  Homs insisted in the Catalan Government's "unequivocal commitment" to such a vote. However, he rejected making any speculation on how Catalan authorities should react "to things that have not passed", referring to the likely ban from the Spanish Constitutional Court to the November vote. "We are entering a new stage", he concluded.

Brazilian Douglas Pereira will sign for FC Barcelona (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona announces an initial agreement for wing back Douglas Pereira

FC Barcelona and São Paulo FC have reached an initial agreement for the transfer of defender Douglas Pereira. The deal will cost Barça €4 million with performance variables of another €1.5 million based on number of games played. Douglas will sign a 5 year deal. The Brazilian player will travel to Barcelona for a medical at the end of this week, when he will also put pen to paper on the contract. He will be officially presented as the Catalan club’s latest summer signing. The 24-year-old Douglas is a pacey right wing back who after three seasons, 75 appearances and 5 goals for his home town club of Goiás signed for Sao Paolo in 2012. Over the last three seasons, Douglas has played 95 matches for Sao Paolo and scored 4 goals.

  • Officers from the Barcelona Local Police and the City Council looking for illegal tourist flats (by ACN)

    Barcelona City Council starts to shut down illegal holiday rental flats

    Barcelona has become one the main European tourist destinations and, probably, the hottest low-cost tourism hub. It attracts millions of foreigners each year, many of whom show up in the city mainly for the beach and partying. The Barceloneta neighbourhood is one of several hotspots affected most severly by the tourism boom. It is near the beach and has become the preferred housing spot for holidaymakers. However, some visitors' unruly attitudes on the street – such as urinating, getting fully naked or singing loudly – have become a problem. Several neighbourhood protests against the so-called "drunken tourism" and illegal holiday apartments have been held in the past two weeks in the Barceloneta area. As a response, the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, declared ''war'' on the illegal tourist accommodation and promised to bring an end to the disturbances caused by wild tourism. As a start, the City Council has begun to shut down tourist flats without license.

  • Foreign tourists spent €8.15 billion in Catalonia between January and July (by ACN)

    Catalonia leads the way in foreign tourist spending between January and July in Spain

    Catalonia is at the forefront of international tourist spending within Spain in the first seven months of this year with €8.151million, a 5.3% increase over the same period of last year, according to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. In Spain as a whole, international tourists spent €34.497 million between January and July, a 7% interannual increase from 2013 and the highest ever figure recorded in this period. Catalonia also accounted for 23.6% of the total figure for Spain during this period of the year.

  • The Catalan Rumba band La Màlaga in a beach near Barcelona (by La Màlaga Essència Rumbera)

    Catalan Rumba, the soundtrack of Barcelona

    Catalan Rumba is part of the Catalan cultural heritage as much as the traditional folk dance Sardana or the famous human towers known as Castellers. This musical genre, born on the streets of Barcelona during the Sixties, is often mistaken for flamenco or other popular Latin sounds. Musicians such as Peret, Antonio González ‘El Pescaílla’ or Gato Pérez were pioneers of this style and contributed to its institutional and social recognition. Different waves of groups and artists have left their footprint on the Catalan Rumba, which is experiencing a third new age defined by a more eclectic sound that reflects Barcelona’s multicultural and cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Highlights

  • Javier Mascherano (left) and Josep Maria Bartomeu (right) on Tuesday (by FC Barcelona)

    26.08.14 - 18:53

    Javier Mascherano signs new deal with FC Barcelona until 2018

    The Argentine international has committed himself for another four years with the Catalan club, which will take him through to 30 June 2018.There’s an option on a further year plus a buy-out clause of 100 million euros.  The deal was negotiated and agreed before the World Cup. Mascherano told reporters, "I’m committed to this Club until the final day of the contract.  I hope I can live up to expectations of the Club"....

  • Desigual's new headquarters were unveiled in June 2013 (by ACN)

    26.08.14 - 18:17

    Barcelona-based fashion company Desigual increases profit by 50% in the first half of the year

    The Catalan urban clothing firm Desigual posted a €66.4 million profit in the first six months of 2014, which represents a 47.9% increase on the same period of the previous year. The fashion company registered a turnover of €452.9 million between January and June, 23.1% higher than the figure registered in 2013 during the same period. "The results confirm the company's growth, strength and good financial position", stated Desigual...

  • A vineyard whose grapes will be used to make Clàssic Penedès in the Colet cellar (by S. Sabaté)

    21.08.14 - 21:08

    Clàssic Penedès: A new name in sparkling wine

    Producers of sparkling wine from Catalonia's Penedès region have chosen the brand name 'Clàssic Penedès' to identify their product. This variety is not Cava but rather a sparkling wine produced under stricter regulations to ensure the product is of a higher quality. Wine under the Clàssic Penedès name can only use grapes which are 100% organic and which come from the Penedès wine appellation. Josep...

  • Carme Forcadell, President of ANC, in a recent press conference (by R. Garrido)

    21.08.14 - 19:13

    Extreme-right organisation sues President of main pro-independence grass-roots organisation

    Manos Limpias, an extreme-right and Spanish nationalist trade union, will file a judicial complaint against Carme Forcadell, President of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grass-roots NGO that is organising the main campaign for independence from Spain. The far-right organisation will sue Forcadell for "provoking sedition", as they consider she is "the driving force" and "the leader of Catalan civil society", and the main promoter of...

  • The representatives of the 4 parliamentary groups supporting November self-determination vote (by A. Recolons)

    20.08.14 - 21:27

    Parties supporting self-determination vote collectively reaffirm their will to vote on November 9

    After the controversy of the last few weeks about whether the independence consultation initially scheduled on the 9th of November might be postponed if the Spanish authorities were to ban it, the 4 Catalan Parliament groups supporting this vote appeared together on Wednesday and reinstated their commitment to such a consultation. They reaffirmed their unity of action and their will to vote even if the Constitutional Court bans...

  • Barça's football academy, La Masia (by FC Barcelona)

    20.08.14 - 17:39

    FC Barcelona to appeal to CAS against FIFA ban to sign new players in 2015

    Following the resolution announced this Wednesday by the FIFA Appeals Committee on violations of regulations regarding the transfer and registration of children aged under 18 years, FC Barcelona announced that it will continue to defend its interests before the highest sporting authority, in this case the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). FIFA confirmed the sanction imposed on the Catalan club which bans them from signing new players...

  • The Media TIC building, in Barcelona's 22@technological district (by ACN)

    19.08.14 - 20:29

    Startupbootcamp accelerator lands in Barcelona to develop Internet of Things business projects

    Barcelona will host one of the main and most innovative business accelerators in the world, Startupbootcamp, which is winner of Europe's 2014 Best Startup Accelerator and specialises in new technologies. The German company will select 10 start-ups from all around the world to help them develop their projects specifically related to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which is the technology connecting electronic devices to each other in...

  • Container Terminal 'BEST' in Barcelona's Port (by ACN)

    19.08.14 - 20:18

    Catalan exports in June grow by 0.1% while Spain's drop by 1.2%

    Exports from Catalonia between January and June 2014 reached €29,769.5 million, which represent a 1.8% increase compared to the same period last year. They also represented 24.9% of Spain's total exports, which reached €119,265 million, a 0.5% growth on the previous year's figures. However, despite growing at a slower pace, Spain's total exports posted a new historical record since comparable figures started to be registered in...

  • Messi and Neymar celebrate one of Barça's six goals against Mexican side Club León (by FC Barcelona)

    19.08.14 - 10:12

    FC Barcelona vs Club León: Barça's promising night (6-0)

    With less than a week to go till the start of the Spanish League season, Barça put on an encouraging show for the Camp Nou this Monday evening, putting six past Club Leon to take the 49th edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy.  Goals from Messi, Neymar (2), Munir (2) and Sandro gave the side their second 6-0 win of the pre-season and to add to the upbeat atmosphere, Luis Suárez  made his debut, coming on for the final...

  • Luis Suárez with the Joan Gamper trophy (by FC Barcelona)

    18.08.14 - 18:57

    FC Barcelona v León FC: Party atmosphere for Camp Nou debut

    La Festa del Gamper will climax with the presentation of the squad and the match against Mexican side Club León on Monday evening (20.30 CET). The game gives the fans a chance to see the FC Barcelona's new summer signings. Bravo, Masip, Ter Stegen, Mathieu, Vermaelen, Rafinha, Rakitic and  Luis Suárez, who will be making his first appearance in a Barça shirt after re-joining the squad for training last Friday. Five...

  • Old people with Alzheimer's attending the Fundació Alzheimer Centre Educacional in Barcelona (by ACN)

    14.08.14 - 20:42

    The age of ageing: Barcelona’s growing elderly population

    Like many major European cities, Barcelona is ageing fast. In the years ahead the city must grapple with many of the problems associated with an increasingly top heavy demographic: as the over-65 population burgeons, health and social services are stretched, the financing of pensions is challenged, and a growing number of frail and vulnerable people face competing over declining resources. Today’s elderly cohort constitutes a greater...

  • Luis Suárez will be allowed to train with his team mates and to be presented as new Barça player (by FC Barcelona)

    14.08.14 - 20:32

    Luis Suárez to join Barça training on Friday after the CAS nuance the FIFA sanction

    Luis Suárez will be able to train with FC Barcelona after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) nuanced the sanction imposed by FIFA. After the Uruguayan bit another player in the last World Cup, FIFA sanctioned Suárez with a severe 4-month ban from participating in any activity related to football, including training and press conferences. In addition, he was banned from playing 9 official matches with Uruguay's national...

  • The Catalan President (centre) unveiling the Talamanca Battle monument with people dressed as soldiers from that period (by L. Busquets)

    13.08.14 - 22:06

    Catalan President: the only plan is to vote on November 9 and partisan fights have to be kept aside

    After doubts generated in the last few days around the possibility of postponing next November's independence vote and Tuesday's quarrel among the forces supporting self-determination, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has cooled tensions down. On Wednesday, Mas emphasised that the Catalan Government's only plan is to vote on this 9th of November, as was agreed among a wide majority of parties. In addition, he...

  • The Secretary General of Manos Limpias, before filing the complaint against Jordi Pujol (by R. Garrido)

    13.08.14 - 22:01

    Extreme-right organisation files a complaint against former Catalan President Jordi Pujol for corruption

    Manos Limpias, a Spanish far-right nationalist trade union, has finally filed a judicial complaint for corruption against the historical leader of Catalan nationalism and President of Catalonia between 1980 and 2003, Jordi Pujol, and his wife, Marta Ferrussola. For the last two years, there has been increasing news that allegedly link Pujol's sons to illegal businesses and hidden fortunes. On top of this, two weeks ago, Pujol confessed that...

  • Catalan inflation rate fell this July, placing the interannual CPI at 0% (by ACN)

    13.08.14 - 21:52

    Catalan inflation rate fell this July, placing the interannual CPI at 0%

    In Catalonia prices fell by 8 decimal points this July compared to a year ago and interanual inflation rate stood at 0%, according to the Spain's Statistical Institute (INE). This is a contrast to Spain as a whole, where prices fell by 9 decimal points in July, placing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in negative figures, as low as -0.3%. This level of negative inflation has not been recorded in the country since September 2010, when the CPI...

  • The Vice President of the Catalan Government, Joana Ortega, a few weeks ago (by P. Francesch)

    12.08.14 - 21:04

    Self-determination forces clash over possibility to postpone 9th November vote if Spain blocks it

    In the last few days, the centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, has sent several messages suggesting that the self-determination vote scheduled for the 9th of November would not take place on that day if the Spanish authorities managed to declare it illegal, despite that fact that it would be backed by Catalan legislation. At first it was the President of the Catalan Executive, Artur...