• Sagrada Família hosts state funeral for Alps air tragedy, where 53 Catalan residents died

    A memorial ceremony for the 150 victims of the Germanwings plane, 53 of whom were living in Catalonia, has taken place on Monday evening at Barcelona's Sagrada Família Basilica, the world famous church designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. In the end, the ceremony also included a few words from representatives of the Protestant, Jewish and Muslim communities, after the controversy surrounding the Archbishop of Barcelona, Lluís Martínez Sistach, who had initially planned a solely Catholic ceremony. The mass was attended by relatives and close friends of 52 victims. Out of the 150 victims on the Germanwings plane, which was flying between Barcelona and Düsseldorf and was intentionally crashed in the Alps, 47 had Spanish nationality and 72 were German citizens. The ceremony in Barcelona was held in Catalan, Spanish, German, French, English, Greek and Italian. It was attended by the King of Spain, the Spanish PM and the Catalan President.

The French Alps mountain, where the Germanwings aircraft crashed (by G. Sánchez)

King to attend state funeral for Germanwings victims at Sagrada Família on Monday evening

A state funeral for the victims of the Germanwings plane that was intentionally crashed in the French Alps in March is to be held this Monday evening at 6pm (CET) at Barcelona's Sagrada Família basilica. The flight was going from Barcelona to Düsseldorf and, out of the 150 casualties, 53 were living in Catalonia. The ceremony follows the state funeral that took place in Cologne's Cathedral 10 days ago. The King of Spain, Felipe VI, is going to be attending the Barcelona ceremony, together with his wife, Queen Letizia. There has been some controversy over the fact that the Cardinal Archbishop of Barcelona, Lluís Martínez Sistach, has chosen to celebrate a Catholic mass, instead of holding a multi-confessional ceremony in order to represent as much as possible the victims' different faiths. Regarding language diversity, the ceremony will be held in Spanish, Catalan, German, French, English and Greek. In the German ceremony, Catalan was not included, nor was it included on the memorial plaque set at the crash site.

The Montserrat Basilica, located next to the monastery (by M. Martí)

The feast of Our Lady of Montserrat: A Catholic celebration with a Catalan nationalist twist

The 27th of April is the feast day of the Mare de Déu deMontserrat,Our Lady of Montserrat, or as she is more affectionately called in Catalonia, la Moreneta, "the little dark-skinned one". One of the only black images of the Virgin Mary in Europe, the Virgin of Montserrat is the patron saint of all dioceses in Catalonia and together with St. George (Sant Jordi) is considered the patron saint of the territory. In recent history, she has also become a symbol for Catalan national identity and Catholic Catalan nationalism. Up in the mountains of Montserrat, the Santa María abbey celebrated on Monday with a mass dedicated to the Virgin, and outside in the main square there were numerous traditional activities including people making human towers (castells), music bands and food stalls, as well as groups dancing the traditional Catalan dance, La Sardana.

Isabel Coixet, interviewed by the Catalan News Agency (by I. Peracaula / P. Francesch)

Isabel Coixet wins Málaga Film Festival award for her career's work and screens 'Learning to drive'

The Catalan film director Isabel Coixet screened her second latest film 'Learning to drive', starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson at the Málaga Film Festival this Friday. Coixet,is probably the most internationally acclaimed contemporary Catalan filmmaker, having directed 10 feature-length films including 'Things I Never Told You' (1996),  My Life Without Me (2003) which won a Goya Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Berlin's Golden Bear, 'The Secret Life of Words' (2005) which won the main Goya Awards, and ' Map of the Sounds of Tokyo' (2009). Coixet manages to craft her films in her own style, whilst also working  also  with Hollywood stars such as Ben Kingsley, Tim Robbins and Penélope Cruz. She has also been involved in the making of many documentary films and commercials.

  • Luís Suárez a few days ago at the Camp Nou (by FC Barcelona)

    FC Barcelona vs Getafe: Barça cannot afford any slip ups

    Barça’s 2-0 win at the weekend in the Catalan derby against Espanyol kept them two points ahead of rivals Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish League table with just five games in the league season remaining. The first of that quintet of title deciders comes on Tuesday against Getafe at Camp Nou, a game that kicks off at 8.00pm CET. The blaugranes cannot afford any slip ups with Carlo Ancelotti’s side breathing down their necks, so victory is imperative at home against the team from Madrid who come into the game in 13th place on 36 points, still needing results to lift them once and for all away from the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table.

  • La Masella ski resort, in the Catalan Pyrenees (by La Masella)

    Record foreign tourist spending in Catalonia in first quarter of 2015; 12.6% increase

    Foreign tourists spent a record €2.289 billion in Catalonia in the first quarter of 2015, 12.6% more than in the same period last year, according to the Tourist Expenditure Survey (EGATUR) of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. This figure surpasses the previous records set in the first quarters of 2014 and 2013, official results published on Monday reveal. This year, the average amount spent per stay in Catalonia between January and March amounted to €854 per foreign visitor, 7% more than in 2014. The average daily spend was €142 per person during this period, 8.3% more than the first quarter of 2014. Catalonia accounted for 21.3% of foreign tourist spending in Spain during the first 3 months of 2015, while total spending by foreign tourists amounted to €10.764 billion, also a new peak.

  • The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, on Monday morning in Madrid (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    Rajoy does not rule out holding Spanish elections on same day as Catalan vote

    The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has not ruled out the possibility of holding the Spanish General Elections – which should normally be held in late November or early December – at the same time as the Catalan Elections, which are to take place on 27 September. The Catalan Elections are to be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence and have been called a year early, as the only option left in order to hold a self-determination vote, after Rajoy's total opposition to any such vote and his failing to even talk about it. During the last few weeks, the possibility of Rajoy calling the Spanish Elections early in order to ensure that they coincide with the Catalan vote (with the aim of partially neutralising the plebiscite effect) has been widely discussed. However, Rajoy also said that he would like to hold them "at the end of the year".

Highlights

  • CDC's main offices in Barcelona (by R. Garrido)

    24.04.15 - 21:18

    Governing Liberal CDC sells party headquarters, put as judicial warranty if illegal funding were to be proved

    Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), which is the Liberal party within the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, has announced the sale of its headquarters, based in Barcelona. CDC, whose leader chairs the Catalan Government since 2010, has justified the decision in order "to save money", as they will relocate their activities in a smaller building, better adapted to the party's current needs, they...

  • Barça and Bayern Munich will face each other once again in the Champions League's semi-finals, as in 2013 (by FC Barcelona)

    24.04.15 - 18:57

    FC Barcelona to face Bayern Munich in UEFA Champions League semi-finals

    The stage is set and the semi-finals for the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League promises to be one for the ages. Friday's draw in Nyon paired off Barça with Bayern Munich and Juventus with Real Madrid in the final four of Europe's top club competition. The first leg will be played at Camp Nou on 6 May and the second leg will be at Allianz Arena on 12 May. Both games are set for 8.45pm. Luis Enrique's squad will be going up against their...

  • Sant Jordi Day in Tarragona (by ACN)

    23.04.15 - 20:53

    Sant Jordi 2015: the sun shines as loved ones exchange roses and books

    Like in 11 other countries around the world, Catalans celebrate their national patron saint, St. George the dragon-slayer, on the 23rd of April every year. In Catalonia, however, rather than an occasion entrenched in patriotism, Sant Jordi is revered as the lovers' day and the book's day, on which loved ones demonstrate their affection for one another with the exchange of roses and books. The sun is shining and the buzzing atmosphere that...

  • A construction worker (by ACN)

    23.04.15 - 20:38

    Slight unemployment increase in Catalonia, reaching 20.05% in last quarter

    The number of unemployed people in Catalonia has risen by 1,500 people during the first quarter of 2015. The percentage has increased for a second consecutive period although the figures are better than a year ago. According to figures from the Spanish Government's Labour Force Survey, released on Thursday, 758,000 people are out of work in Catalonia and the unemployment rate has risen in quarterly terms. However the first quarter of 2015...

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, on Tuesday (by R. Garrido)

    22.04.15 - 22:48

    Catalan President: left-wing pro-independence ERC is not honouring elections agreement

    The Catalan Government President and leader of the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Artur Mas, complained on Wednesday that his ally, the left-wing pro-independence party ERC, is not fully honouring their agreement to call elections on 27 September, which should become a 'de facto' vote on independence. According to Mas, the ERC is not offering its full parliamentary support to the Government. "There is an agreement signed in...

  • The Day of Sant Jordi in Girona, in 2014 (by ACN)

    22.04.15 - 22:38

    Catalans celebrate Sant Jordi Day by exchanging roses and books with their loved ones

    On the 23rd of April, Catalans celebrate the day of their patron saint, Jordi (Saint George). The day is Catalonia's equivalent to Valentine's Day in the Anglo-Saxon world but it is also a day that pays homage to worldwide literature and reading. Men and women offer books and roses to those they love: relatives, friends, work colleagues and particularly to lovers and partners. Every year introduces twists to the tradition with...

  • The founder of Mango, Isak Andic (by ACN)

    22.04.15 - 22:05

    Fashion retailer Mango's sales up 9% for 2014 but profits down by 11%, to €107 million

    The Catalan fashion retailer Mango closed 2014 with a profit of €107 million, 11.2% less than in 2013, when the multinational based in Greater Barcelona earned €120.5 million. However, sales last year increased by 9.3%, reaching some €2.02 billion, with 82% coming from foreign markets, and the remaining 18% from the Spanish market. Online sales turnover now accounts for 9.1% of the company's total sales. In 2014, Mango...

  • Barça players celebrate their win on PSG at the Champions League quarters (by FC Barcelona)

    22.04.15 - 02:17

    FC Barcelona vs PSG: Neymar brace books Champions League semi-final berth (2-0)

    Two first half goals from Neymar were enough to book Barça a spot in Friday’s Champions League semi-final draw, as Luis Enrique’s side denied the French champions any chance of a comeback from last week’s 1-3 win in Paris with a performance that combined champagne moments and cool headed determination. Luis Enrique’s side got a 5-1 aggregate win over PSG.

  • The meeting of Education representatives from the Autonomous Communities and the spanish Minister in Madrid (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    21.04.15 - 20:40

    Catalonia, Basque Country, Andalusia, the Canaries and Asturias protest against recentralising education

    The governments of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, the Canary Islands and Asturias, which are the only Autonomous Communities that are not run by the governing People's Party (PP), have protested once again against yet another recentralising measure of the Spanish Executive that violates their exclusive powers on Education. The representatives of these 5 Autonomous Communities, which together represent almost 50% of Spain's...

  • The post-card of CataloniaVotes.eu (by Diplocat)

    21.04.15 - 20:35

    CataloniaVotes website, focusing on self-determination process, celebrates 1st anniversary

    CataloniaVotes.eu provides an international audience with basic information on Catalonia as well as its self-determination process. On Thursday 22 April, the website will celebrate its 1st anniversary with almost 150,000 hits. According to its traffic statistics, people based in the USA, the UK and France were its top followers in these first 12 months. The website is an initiative of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia...

  • Jérémy Mathieu scored a goal against PSG in the first leg (by FC Barcelona)

    21.04.15 - 18:42

    FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain: A last effort to secure semi-finals

    Barça are just a possible 90 minutes away from a place in the semi-finals of this season’s Champions League. Standing between them and the last four are a PSG side who will have to overcome a 3-1 deficit from the first leg if they are to upset the odds and take their place in Friday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The blaugranes trained on Monday for the final time before the second leg against the French League champions...

  • Michelin-starred chefs from the Girona Province, announcing the initiative last week (by T. Tàpia)

    21.04.15 - 14:47

    Restaurants promote Girona as the area containing most Michelin stars per capita in the world

    The Province of Girona, in the north eastern part of Catalonia, contains 13 restaurants which among them have 17 Michelin stars, thus making it home to some of the best restaurants in the world. In fact, Girona is the area with the highest Michelin star to population ratio (one star for every 44,000 inhabitants), in the world, ahead of Paris, Rome or London. On top of this, Girona hosts what was awarded Best Restaurant in the world in 2013...

  • Police and medical emergency services at the door of the Joan Fuster High School (by G. Sánchez)

    20.04.15 - 18:02

    Teenager kills teacher in Barcelona high school, armed with crossbow and knife

    A 13-year old pupil has entered his classroom carrying a crossbow on Monday morning in Barcelona. The pupil first attacked his teacher and a student who happened to be the daughter of the teacher. Then, he fatally stabbed a substitute teacher who came after hearing people screaming. The 4 people wounded are not in a serious condition. The young aggressor has been arrested and transferred to a psychiatric unit of the Sant Joan de Déu...

  • The Nazi concentration camp of Ravensbrück, on Sunday, when a tribute to the victims was held (by L. Pous)

    20.04.15 - 16:50

    Catalan tribute to 70th anniversary of the liberation of Ravensbrück Nazi concentration camp

    L'Amical de Ravensbrück association and the Catalan Government commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany on Sunday. The association of Catalan survivors of this Nazi camp and their relatives organised the event, in which some of the camp survivors participated, including Neus Catalá - the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück. The commemoration coincided...

  • Barça players celebrate Messi's goals (by FC Barcelona)

    18.04.15 - 21:45

    FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF: Big plays early - and late - deliver victory (2-0)

    The game itself was just as heavenly, a thrilling end-to-end affair for all 90 minutes, even if the biggest plays of the day — a first-minute Luis Suárez goal, immediately followed by a saved penalty kick by Claudio Bravo, and a record-breaking 400th career goal by Leo Messi — came at the very beginning and at the very end. While Valencia put forth a back-breaking effort in between, it wasn’t enough to...

  • The dance show 'Wonderland' opened last year's Grec Festival (by P. Cortina)

    17.04.15 - 21:46

    Barcelona's performing arts summer festival Grec to be opened by Catalan dance company La Veronal

    Barcelona's summer Festival Grec is the city’s main yearly event for theatre, dance, music, circus and other stage arts, taking place from the 1st to the 31st of July. On Wednesday, the Festival's Director, Ramon Simó, announced that the dance show 'Vorònia' by Catalan company La Veronal will open the event, also disclosing some of the shows in the 2015 programme. This year, the Grec will celebrate...