• 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.

A construction worker (by ACN)

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 has 82,100 less unemployed people than those in the same period in 2014, when the rate was 22.1%. Throughout the whole of Spain, the unemployment rate also increased since the previous quarter, reaching 23.78%.

Sant Jordi Day in Tarragona (by ACN)

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 fills the streets means that just walking along Les Rambles is enough of an adventure on a Sant Jordi Day such as this one. Rose sales have exceeded those of last year by 7%. The best-selling books this year have been 'Algú com tu' by Xavier Bosch (fiction) and 'És l'hora del adéus' by Xavier Sala i Martín (non-fiction) in Catalan and 'Destino, la Templanza' by María Dueñas (fiction) and 'MasterChef. Grandes platos para todos los días' by Jordi Cruz (non-fiction) in Spanish. In total, 1.5 million books will have been sold by the end of the day.

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

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 January, and it is also an agreement that talks about stability until elections are called" and "some [parliamentary] votes are being lost, which harm such a stability agreement", he said. Furthermore, he stated that elections will be "expectedly" held on 27 September and did not rule out the option of running in a cross-party list yet. The leader of the left-wing party, Oriol Junqueras, replied that the ERC is honouring the agreement and that Catalans will vote on 27 September.

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

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.

  • 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.

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

    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 said. However, the Córcega building is famous for being CDC's warranty before the judge investigating a corruption case (known as the Palau case) that could affect the party's funding scheme. The judge asked the CDC to pay a bailout or present assets as warranty for the payment, if the party was finally found guilty of illegal funding. No trial has taken place yet. The CDC explained they have replaced the headquarters by a group of other properties as warranty, in order to sell the main building.

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

    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 ex-coach Pep Guardiola — who led the Catalans from 2008 to 2012 — in a high-profile knockout series that pits two teams with wide-open attacking styles and that should produce a pair of very entertaining football matches, regardless of who comes out on top.

Highlights

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Experts of Endesa undertaking a study on trouts in the Western Catalan Pyrenees (by Endesa)

    17.04.15 - 20:55

    Trout fishing in Western Catalan Pyrenees, an activity to be promoted at European level

    The river Noguera Pallaresa, in the Catalan county of Pallars Sobirà, used to be known for its trout fishing until the species decreased, accompanied by a decrease in fishermen. Now it is only known for its adventure sports. Located in the Western Catalan Pyrenees, near the border with Aragon, the County Council is now working on building new canals in Llavorsí and Escaló where the fish will be able to grow and swim...

  • Josep Lluís Trapero (right), next to the Catalan Minister for Home Affairs (middle) and the Director of the Catalan Police (left) (by ACN)

    16.04.15 - 22:03

    Catalan Police Chief accuses Spanish Government of not sharing information affecting Catalonia's security

    The highest-ranked officer of the Catalan Government's Police Force Mossos d'Esquadra, Chief Josep Lluís Trapero, has accused the Spanish Police Force of not sharing important information that affects Catalonia's security. Despite the Mossos d'Esquadra force being in charge of the main police tasks for Catalonia, it does not have access to relevant intelligence that the Spanish Police receives from international organisations and...

  • Barcelona's Comic Book Fair (by P. Francesch)

    16.04.15 - 21:54

    Barcelona International Comic Fair kicks off: organisers hope to attract 100,000 visitors

    The 33rd edition of the Barcelona International Comic Fair opened its doors on Thursday. The event is an initiative organised by FICOMIC, a non-profit entity aimed at spreading comic and Japanese manga culture. This year it is taking place from the 16th to the 19th of April at the Fira de Barcelona’s Montjuïc venue. The fair has increased its exhibition surface from 32,000 square metres in 2014 to...

  • Luís Suárez and Neymar scored Barça's two goals against Paris Saint-Germain (by FC Barcelona)

    16.04.15 - 15:28

    Paris Saint-Germain vs FC Barcelona: Barça's and Luís Suárez's"magnifique" performance (1-3)

    Neymar Jr gets the first and Luís Suárez adds two absolute blinders to put Barça on fine course for the Champions League semi-finals. Barça unleashed all their class in the French capital on Tuesday evening to inflict a more than convincing 3-1 defeat on Paris Saint-Germain. In a wonderful performance all round for Luis Enrique’s team it was hard for any single player to stand out, but with two brilliant...

  • The members of Spain's Constitutional Court meeting a few months ago (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    15.04.15 - 20:50

    Spanish authorities temporarily ban Catalonia's External Action Law

    As was expected, the Constitutional Court has accepted the Spanish Government's appeal against the Catalan Law on External Action and Relations with the EU, which was approved last November and was already foreseen in the 2006 Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The Court's acceptance of a Spanish Government appeal automatically represents a temporary suspension of the legal measure for an initial 5-month period. The temporary suspension does not...

  • Neymar Jr and David Luiz, both playing in Brazil's national team (by FC Barcelona)

    15.04.15 - 18:57

    PSG vs FC Barcelona: First leg of Champions League quarter-finals

    The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals brought the blaugranes face to face once again with the current French League champions. The two teams were in the same group earlier in the competition with Barça pipping Laurent Blanc’s team to top spot in Group F. With the Catalans having overcome Manchester City in the last 16 and Paris Saint-Germain having eliminated Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, the two clubs are now set...