• Artist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri (by ESO)

    International team led by Catalan scientist discovers an Earth-like planet

    Proxima b orbits within what is considered to be a habitable zone of the star Proxima Centauri. The temperature in the surface of the rocky planet could allow the presence of liquid water, according to the research, developed at the Queen Mary University of London. This means that Proxima b, that is 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, could potentially be the first planet to host life outside the solar system discovered by humans. The planet takes 11.2 days to travel around its star, Proxima Centauri, and orbits at only 5% the distance that separates the Sun and the Earth. However, scientists argue that this star is smaller and less intense, making the existence of life possible.

Anti-Franco activist Jordi Carbonell has died aged 92 (by A.Moldes)

Anti-Franco activist Jordi Carbonell dies aged 92
He was the president of the left-wing pro-independence party Esquerra Republicana (ERC) between 1996 and 2004 and a renowned Catalan philologist. Carbonell was responsible for the first four volumes of the Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana (the ‘Big Catalan Encyclopaedia’), that he did between 1965 and 1971. During the Franco dictatorship he was incarcerated twice because of his anti-fascist and pro-Catalan language activism. One of the more famous sentences of the pro-independence movement is his: “Que la prudència no ens faci traïdors”, (“Don’t let caution turn us into traitors”, in English). He pronounced it on the 11th of September 1976, during the first demonstration of the Catalan National Day after the death of the dictator.

A tourist buying postcards in Barcelona's Les Rambles (by O. Campuzano)

Barcelona is almost excellent –just a bit too crowded, say tourists

A new poll shows that tourists in the Catalan capital gave the city an 8.6 score in a scale 0 to 10. An almost excellent result, which is, however, overshadowed by concerns by those same visitors that the city attracts way too many people. In fact, 58% of those that took part in the poll consider that Barcelona’s tourist spots are overcrowded. On summer Sundays, up to 20.000 people arrive to Barcelona on a cruise ship. The figure will peak on the 11th of September, when up to 28.100 people are expected to arrive by sea. The tourism poll was conducted in 2015 in different tourist areas, hotels and airports and ports of Barcelona. From those taking part, 47.5% were visiting the city for the first time, and 52.5% were there before.

Aerial shot of the 'Gateway to the Catalan Republic', the pro-independence demonstration which gathered together milions of people on Catalonia's National Day, on the 11th of September 2015

ANC urges Parliament to call a binding referendum on independence this autumn
The president of the civil society organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, stated on Sunday that the process towards independence has to be completed and a binding referendum needs to be called by the Catalan Parliament this autumn. Otherwise, he admitted, Catalan independence supporters might not achieve their goal. “We either start to complete this process (towards independence) or it will finish us off”, he said, admitting a certain fatigue amongst pro-independence groups. The ANC, together with Omnium Cultural and other civil society organisations in Catalonia, have been organising for years massive pro-independence demonstrations every 11th of September, the Catalan National Day. In 2013, for example, they did a human chain from north to south of the country inspired in the Baltic Way, and in the last two years more than 1.5 million people demonstrated in Barcelona. The ANC is planning a new rally in 2016, this time with five different events across Catalonia.

Passengers at Barcelona El Prat airport (by ACN)

El Prat Airport records second-largest passenger grow in Europe

12.7% more passengers used Barcelona El Prat Airport’s facilities during the first half of 2016 than in the same period last year. According to data released by the Airports Council International (ACI) and adding the figures corresponding to July, 25,028,393 people used El Prat’s facilities in the first seven months of the year. Thus, Barcelona’s airport has the second-largest passenger growth in group 1, which includes those airports with more than 25 million passengers per year, only behind that of Dublin, which registered 13.4% growth. However, in June, El Prat was the European airport which saw the highest increase in the number of passengers (10%) and its pace of growth was double that of the European airport average. According to ACI these good results are mainly due to the high amount of low-cost flights operated to and from El Prat, which was double the amount operated from Madrid. Moreover, the number of movements from January to July reached 117,326, which represents 6.5% more than in the same period last year.

  • Children in a classroom within public school in Catalonia (by E. Rosanas)

    The Catalan school model, at stake in negotiations to form a new Spanish government

    The conservative People’s Party (PP) and liberal unionist Ciutadans (C’s) are negotiating in order to form a stable majority for a new government in Spain and Catalonia is one of the main issues on the table. The MP from Ciutadans Jorge Soler has confirmed that the so-called ‘Catalan package’ of demands from C’s to the PP includes changing the school model, even though education is a devolved power in Catalonia. The current school model has been in place for more than 30 years and is widely recognised by school teachers unions, associations and experts, as well as families. In Catalan schools, Catalan is the language of instruction in order to guarantee that all pupils end their studies knowing both Catalan, that not everyone learns at home, and Spanish, which is widely used both in the media and the street. However, C’s has always campaigned against this system, saying that it discriminates Spanish families that want their children to be taught in Spanish language. That’s why they’re asking the PP to scrap the system and introduce a trilingual model with Spanish, English and Catalan. Some of the other ‘Catalan-package’ demands of C’s is a new fiscal system and to prioritise key infrastructure projects such as the Mediterranean corridor. Both PP and C’s frontally reject a referendum on independence in Catalonia.
  • A picture from Gas Natural Fenosa's headquarters, located in Barcelona (by ACN)

    Gas Natural to invest €120 million in Australian wind farm project

    The Catalan multinational, through its international generation business company Global Power Generation (GPG), has been awarded its first wind farm contract in Australia. The 91 megawatt park will be constructed in the New South Wales state, 90 kilometres from the capital-city of Canberra. Gas Natural will invest €120 million euros in the wind farm, that will be named Crookwell II and will be situated in one of the more environment-friendly areas in Australia. The contract will last for 20 years. The wind farm will be operational in the second half of 2018, according to Gas Natural.
  • The spokesman in the Catalan Parliament of the liberal and unionist party Ciutadans, Carlos Carrizosa (by V.Gumà)

    C’s foresees a bad result for pro-independence parties in 2017

    The spokesman in the Catalan Parliament of the liberal and unionist party Ciutadans, Carlos Carrizosa, said in an interview with the CNA that voters in Catalonia will have to go to the polls next year because, according to him, the current government will collapse. “This very unstable government has the support of an unreliable and dangerous ally, the CUP, and it will not be able to survive beyond 2017. There will be elections and their result will worsen”, he stated. In September last year, both Junts pel Sí and CUP achieved 48% of the vote. According to Carrizosa, they won’t be able to improve this result in a new election, and this will mark the beginning of the end of the independence process. The Catalan government roadmap towards independence, led by President Carles Puigdemont, already foresees the call of an early constituent election next year.


  • Leo Messi returned with style with two fine strikes (by Miguel Ruiz)

    22.08.16 - 12:43

    FC Barcelona v Real Betis: Back with a bang (6-2)

    FC Barcelona’s defense of their league title began with a 6-2 win over Real Betis on Saturday evening with a goal from Arda Turan, two for Leo Messi and a Luis Suárez hat-trick. It may be a new season, but it was the same free-flowing attacking football on display at the Camp Nou that the home faithful have come to expect, as Barça cruised to a comfortable win to open the league campaign. If there were any nerves ahead of kick-off, they...
  • Two 'flat scouts' in Barcelona, checking whether the apartments have the required licences to legally host tourists (by ACN)

    11.08.16 - 18:35

    Barcelona cracks down on illegal subletting for tourists and closes 256 apartments

    The Catalan capital’s action plan against illegal accommodation for tourists resulted in July in the closure of 256 apartments whose activity has been considered illegal, a figure which has to be added to the 112 orders announced in the first half of 2016. Besides ordering the ceasing of their activity, the accommodation websites responsible for the flats, Airbnb and Homeaway, will have to face a 30,000 euros fine for not having the...

  • Barça squad with the Joan Gamer trophy at Camp Nou (by FCB)

    11.08.16 - 15:49

    FC Barcelona v UC Sampdoria: Gamp-iones! (3-2)

    FC Barcelona have won the 51st edition of its own Joan Gamper Trophy with a 3-2 win over Italian guests Sampdoria on the night that the Camp Nou made its first contact with the 2016/17 squad, and especially with the five new signings. All of them were given time on pitch in front of a carnival atmosphere that was led by a sparkling performance from MVP Leo Messi, who scored the second and third goals after...

  • Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte beating her gold medal in 200 m butterfly at Rio Olympics (by David Gray / Reuters)

    11.08.16 - 10:57

    Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte brings first gold for Spain at Rio Olympics

    Mireia Belmonte won the 200-metre butterfly this Wednesday and became the first Spanish woman to win an Olympic swimming gold medal. The 25-year-old, trained at Club Natació Sabadell, not only improved her result obtained four years ago in London, where she obtained the silver medal, but registered the fastest time so far this year, 2 minutes 4.85 seconds, beating Australian Maddie Groves by three hundredths of a second. World...

  • Catalan Government's spokeswoman, Neus Munté (by ACN)

    10.08.16 - 18:22

    Catalan Government spokeswoman warns CUP: “Confidence is non-negotiable”

    The pressure radical left pro-independence CUP have put to meet with Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, in order to tackle the vote of confidence he will submit himself to on the 28th of September hasn’t been well-received by the Catalan Government’s spokeswoman. According to Neus Muntéit is “inappropriate for CUP to set the pace and conditions of the vote of...

  • FC Barcelona's five new players with the trophy they'll be playing for on Wednesday night (by FCB)

    10.08.16 - 18:10

    Joan Gamper Trophy: FC Barcelona v UC Sampdoria

    Welcome back to the Camp Nou! August 10 brings the traditional curtain-raiser to the new season as Barça host Sampdoria of Italy in the 51st edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy. This is the last of four friendlies for Barça before things get really serious with the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. UC Sampdoria were Barça’s victims both in the 1989 European Cup Winner’s...

  • An image from last year's Circuit Festival (by Circuit Festival / ACN)

    09.08.16 - 18:20

    Barcelona hosts world’s largest LGBTI festival for 9th consecutive year

    Isla Fantasia waterpark, located 30 kilometres north of Barcelona, hosted this Tuesday the 'Water Park Day', the main highlight of Circuit Festival 2016, the world’s largest LGBTI party. Around 8,000 people from all over the world, mainly gay males between 25 and 40 years old, enjoyed the sun, the water facilities and live sessions from nine different DJs, in what is considered to be the biggest open-air gay party in Europe. Circuit...

  • Radical left pro-independence CUP's members at Barcelona's Plaça del Rei (by ACN)

    09.08.16 - 15:14

    CUP insist on the “need” to meet with Puigdemont before vote of confidence

    Radical left pro-independence CUP have insisted on the “need” to meet with Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, before he submits to a vote of confidence, on the 28th of September. The Government’s partners aim to discuss the pro-independence roadmap first, which was ratified two weeks ago by the Catalan Parliament and suspended a few days afterwards by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). Regarding the...

  • The Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte, who won the bronze medal in the 400m in Rio (by David Gray / Reuters)

    08.08.16 - 18:43

    Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte wins bronze medal in 400m at Rio Olympics

    The first medal for the Spanish delegation at the Rio Olympics was brought this Saturday by Catalan swimmer Mireia Belmonte. The record holder from Club NatacióSabadell came third in the women’s 400-metre individual medley, behind Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who obtained the gold medal, and Maya DiRado from the US, who obtained the silver. The Catalan winner’s registered...

  • The modernist building 'Casa de les Punxes' standing in the middle of Barcelona's Avinguda Diagonal (by ACN)

    05.08.16 - 18:06

    Modernist castle ‘Casa de les Punxes’ opens to public after 100 years

    The so-called ‘Casa de les Punxes’ (‘House of Spikes’) has opened its doors to the public after being closed for a century. Standing in the middle of Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal, this modernist building in the shape of a Gothic castle was completed in 1905 and designed by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who was together with Antoni Gaudi one of the most outstanding figures of the modernist art...

  • A boat of refugees about the reach the Greek coast (by Doctors Without Borders)

    05.08.16 - 14:31

    Catalan volunteers to bring dignity to Vasilika refugee camp in Greece

    Two months after the Greek Police evicted the self-managed refugee camp at Eko Station, which hosted 1,800 people at a motorway petrol station 20 kilometres south of Idomeni, a group of Catalan volunteers aim to reproduce the projects which were carried out there in Vasilika, a military-run refugee camp located in an old warehouse in Central Macedonia, Greece. Most of the people settled in Eko Station,...

  • Project of the exhibition 'Franco-Victory-Republic: impunity and urban space’ to be displayed at Barcelona's Born Centre Cultural (by ACN)

    04.08.16 - 18:33

    Barcelona to display Francoist sculptures on the street as part of a controversial exhibition

    The possibility that two Francoist sculptures may be displayed in Barcelona’s city centre as part of a temporary exhibition has unleashed controversy in the Catalan capital. ‘Franco-Victory-Republic: impunity and urban space’ aims to “force society to think about what Franco’s dictatorship represented” and the “impunity” this period has had “during Spain’s democracy”,...

  • Police officer addressing the passengers inside a train (by ACN)

    04.08.16 - 18:18

    Spanish and French police join forces in an effort to patrol High-Speed Trains

    The terrorist attacks in Paris in November last year unleashed a wave of police checks throughout the continent, especially along the French border near Girona. It is suspected that criminals have given up using cars to transport illegal goods across the border and are now using the train network as their preferred means of transport. To battle against this, a strategy had to be designed by both the Spanish and French police agencies that...

  • Promotional image of Beyoncé's new album 'Lemonade' (by Robin Harper)

    03.08.16 - 18:37

    Beyoncé chooses Barcelona as her only world tour stop in Spain

    The pop diva Beyoncé chose the Catalan capital as her one and only stop in Spain on ‘The Formation World Tour’. Nearly 50,000 fans will enjoy the show, which is set to combine both the diva’s main hits and her latest songs from her album ‘Lemonade’. ‘The Formation World Tour’, which started in Miami last April, will end in September and has sold more than a million tickets so far. The...

  • PDC's leader in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, during a press conference (by ACN)

    02.08.16 - 18:22

    Former Convergència party won’t have its own group in the Spanish Parliament

    The Spanish Parliament’s Bureau, headed by the Conservative People’s Party (PP) decided this Tuesday to integrate the Catalan Democratic Party (PDC), former liberal Convergència, into the Mixed Group rather than allow them to be constituted as a parliamentary group. Thus, the PDC will see its influence in the Chamber much reduced and its interventions will have to be shared amongst the other minority forces in the Mixed...