• Sundar Pichai, Google's Vice President, at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress (by J. R. Torné)

    Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona with top companies presenting new products

    The major players in the cell-phone-related industries such as Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and Google are currently presenting their new products in Barcelona, consolidating the city’s position as a true meeting point for the sector. For the 10th consecutive year, the biggest event in the world of mobile industries kicked off in the Catalan capital on Monday. The 2015 Mobile World Congress, organised by GSMA, will be in Barcelona until Thursday, breaking all records during this time. 90,000 attendees are expected from 201 different countries, representing more than 2,000 companies distributed across more than 100,000 square metres at Fira de Barcelona's Gran Via venue. Furthermore, the event has raised the attention of the world's main media and trade publications, with more than 4,000 accredited journalists in attendance at this year’s edition. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Vice President, Sundar Pichai, were Monday's main speakers.

A fruit stall at La Boqueria market (by A. Martínez)

One challenging week as a vegetarian in Barcelona

Is life really that difficult as a vegetarian in Barcelona? We challenged the predominantly meat and fish-based Catalan cuisine through a week of discovering restaurants, organic shops and vegan eateries in the city. Ham legs tied to the ceiling do not help the perception that vegetarians would have to survive on a diet of nuts and bread, but after our search we found that Barcelona is an incredibly vegetarian-friendly city. This short guide, organised following the days of the week, will help you to know your way around it.

People arriving at last year's Mobile World Congress (by ACN)

Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress to generate €436 million for the local economy

The 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC) will have an economic impact in Greater Barcelona of some €436 million and create 12,627 jobs, figures that beat last year’s results, when the event generated €397 million and 7,220 jobs. The 2015 edition of the MWC, which is the world’s largest event in the mobile and cell phone-related industries, will take place in the Catalan capital from the 2nd to the 5th of March. It aims to attract 5,000 more visitors than last year and reach 90,000 attendees. For the second consecutive year, Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg will participate in the event. Android creator, Sundar Pichai, and Wikipedia creator, Jimmy Wales, will also be some of the most outstanding speakers at this year’s edition.

Judge Santiago Vidal on Thursday, minutes after the CGPJ's decision (by P. Solà)

Judge who wrote draft of Catalan Constitution is expelled from judiciary by Spanish authorities

Barcelona High Court judge Santiago Vidal, who has openly supported independence, has been expelled from the judiciary for a 3-year period by the Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ). The sanction is far from unanimous and has been adopted after an 9-hour-long debate among the CGPJ’s 21 members, since the liberal minority was against sanctioning the judge for having written a draft Constitution for an independent Catalonia. However, the conservative majority considered Vidal to have committed a grave mistake regarding his duty to respect the Spanish Constitution. Vidal has been arguing over the past few weeks that such a draft was written in his free time and is part of his freedom of expression and ideology. In addition, he defended himself by saying that when working as a judge, he has always followed the current Constitution and legal framework. After hearing the CGPJ’s decision, Vidal stated that the decision is “political” because he is “hostile to the regime”, “an expression from 40 years ago that I thought I would not hear in democracy”.

John Mayall at last year's Black Music Festival in Girona (by ACN)

Girona’s Black Music Festival brings together more than 50 local and international artists for its 14th edition

In 2002, the ‘Black Music Festival’ was born when the ‘La Mirona’ concert room was created in Salt, a small city next to Girona. The festival wanted to become a shop window for both local and international artists of black music styles that have evolved from their original soul music source. This weekend it will kick off its 14th edition, which brings together almost 50 artists from English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States. Jazz greats Maceo Parker and Richard Bona will be the stars of the 2015 edition but other great soul, blues, funk, hip hop and reggae musicians such as Myles Sanko – a soul revelation artist from the UK – and The Coup – a controversial hip hop and soul band from the USA – will complete the lineup of the festival, which ends on 21 March. 

  • Abertis' headquarters, based in Barcelona (by ACN)

    Barcelona-based Abertis to purchase 7,377 mobile phone towers in Italy for almost €700 million

    Barcelona-based Abertis, a multinational company specialised in the management of toll roads and telecommunications infrastructure, has reached an agreement to purchase 7,377 mobile phone towers in Italy at a total cost of €693 million. The Catalan group – which saw its net profits rise last year to €655 million – will acquire 90% of the shares of Galata, the subsidiary of the Italian operator Wind that owns the telephone towers. Abertis will thus strengthen its presence in the transalpine country and become the "largest European operator of telecommunications infrastructure for mobile telephony and audiovisual broadcasting", as the company announced through a press release.

  • Lewis Hamilton driving his Mercedes at Catalunya Circuit (by A. Barrionuevo / E. Jorge)

    Team Mercedes sets the pace at Catalunya Circuit in last F1 pre-season tests

    German manufacturer Mercedes AMG Petronas have confirmed during the last Formula 1 tests at the Circuit de Catalunya that they are two steps ahead of the rest of the teams. Nico Rosberg notched on Friday the quickest time of the second week of tests, with a time of 1:22.792, with British driver Lewis Hamilton also dominating Saturday’s time trials. Williams seem to be the second-best team in the paddock according to these test days that have also confirmed problems with the McLaren. After two weeks of tests at the Circuit de Catalunya marked by the accident suffered by Fernando Alonso last week, the teams will now take a break until 13 March, when the first round of the F1 World Championship will be held at the Albert Park track in Melbourne (Australia).

  • Súarez, Rakitic and Neymar celebrating the Croatian's goal against Granada (by FC Barcelona)

    Granada CF vs FC Barcelona: Three goals and three points (1-3)

    Goals from Rakitic, Suárez and Messi produce an important win in Andalusia that put the pressure on Real Madrid, the Spanish League leaders. A workmanlike performance from Barça against relegation-threatened Granada resulted in the perfect response to last week’s setback at home to Málaga. A thoroughly deserved 3-1 win keeps the Catalans well in the hunt for the Liga title. The only downside to a fine performance from Barça was a yellow card for Neymar, which means he’ll be suspended against Rayo Vallecano.

Highlights

  • The Catalan President and CiU leader, Artur Mas (left), and the ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras (right), when they announced the agreement to call early elections and to develop state structures (by ACN)

    26.02.15 - 23:07

    Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees criticises state structures included in 2015 budget

    The Catalan Government’s Budget for 2015 includes some “unconstitutional” measures, according to the Council for Constitutional Guarantees (CGE), which is an advisory body issuing non-binding reports. The CGE has criticised a number of bill amendments developing some state structures, but not all of them. The body has highlighted the way the budget bill is to develop Catalonia’s own tax administration and its own...

  • A rehearsal of the Yunnan Acrobatic Troupe of China before the festival's opening (by A. Recolons)

    26.02.15 - 14:08

    4th edition of Figueres Circus Festival to break participation record

    The 2015 edition of the Figueres Circus Festival, in the north-eastern part of Catalonia near the French border, will break all records. The festival will be held from Thursday, 26 February to Monday, 2 March. This edition will feature 24 previously unseen performances in Europe by more than 80 artists from 17 different countries, thanks to the incorporation of new countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Uzbekistan....

  • Spain's Constitutional Court, based in Madrid (by ACN)

    25.02.15 - 22:47

    Constitutional Court bans Catalan Law on Consultation Votes and call for original independence vote

    Spain’s Constitutional Court has ruled against the Catalan Parliament’s Law on Consultation Votes, approved in September, and the President of the Catalan Government’s Decree calling for a consultation vote on independence on 9 November last. The Constitutional Court had already temporarily suspended both legal measures in October, but it still was yet to issue its definitive verdict. After the temporary suspension, the...

  • Catalan GDP grew by 1.3% in 2014 and will increase by 2.5% in 2015 (by ACN)

    25.02.15 - 21:49

    Catalonia’s economy to grow 2.5% in 2015, according to Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce

    Catalan GDP grew by 1.3% in 2014 and will increase by 2.5% in 2015, claims Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce. “The Catalan economy had a very good performance in 2014, even better than that of Spain as whole, and this acceleration will continue during 2015”, stated the President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Valls, on Wednesday. The day before, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced a revised...

  • Luís Suárez scored Barça's two goals against Manchester City (by FC Barcelona)

    25.02.15 - 00:45

    Manchester City FC vs FC Barcelona: Suárez double stuns the Etihad (1-2)

    Two goals from the Uruguayan have set things up perfectly for FC Barcelona for the Champions League last-16-tie’s second leg at the Camp Nou on March 18 by repeating last year’s feat of winning at the Etihad. Kun Agüero pulled one goal back for Manchester City. This Tuesday’s game ended 2-1, with Joe Hart giving Man City a glimmer of hope by saving a Leo Messi penalty in the final minute of injury time. However, a 2-1...

  • Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday at the Spanish Parliament (by Congreso de los Diputados)

    24.02.15 - 22:44

    Rajoy will “never” accept questioning of Spain’s unity and does not recognise a ‘de facto’ referendum in Catalonia

    In the annual Debate on the State of the Union in the Spanish Parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy repeated that he will “never” accept putting Spain’s unity in question. He said that the next Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September, are not a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence, as pro-independence parties are claiming. However, Rajoy said he is willing to talk but only if “the law...

  • Catalan companies at last year's Mobile World Congress (by ACN)

    24.02.15 - 21:36

    Two Catalan apps finalists at the Mobile Premier Awards recognising the world's best apps

    Cookbooth and dondeEsta Family are two of the sixteen apps which are finalists at the Mobile Premier Awards, which will be awarded at Barcelona's Sala Apolo on the 2nd of March, coinciding with the first day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC). The MWC is the world's largest event of the mobile and phone-related industry, which takes place each year in the Catalan capital at the end of February or in early March. The Best App...

  • Albert Serra (with sun glasses) at the movie set with some of his latest movie's actors (by ACN)

    24.02.15 - 21:17

    Catalan director Albert Serra to finish filming his latest film ‘Singularity’ in Lleida

    After having filmed in Ireland, Albert Serra has chosen Lleida to finish ‘Singularity’, his latest project. The Catalan filmmaker won the Golden Leopard – the top prize at the Locarno International Film Festival – in 2013 for ‘Story of my death’. His new film will be presented in a multi-screen format at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia. The Ramon...

  • The Escolania de Montserrat Choir, singing in the Abbey's Basilica (by Abadia de Montserrat / ACN)

    24.02.15 - 18:01

    Children’s Choir of Montserrat on tour in China

    The Children’s Choir of Montserrat is participating in a tour of China between 23 February and 10 March. Montserrat is home to one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Europe, dating back to 1223. Concerts will take place in China’s largest auditoriums in Beijing and Shanghai. Around the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the music school at Montserrat really began to grow in importance and recognition at international level and...

  • A factory near Girona (by ACN)

    24.02.15 - 17:42

    An independent Catalonia would be the world’s 38th most competitive country

    According to a recent study published by the Swiss research centre, IMD World Competitiveness Centre, Catalonia would be the 38th most competitive state in the world if it were independent. The list, headed by the United States, shows that an independent Catalonia would be 2 places above Spain, which currently occupies 40th position (including Catalonia). The report highlights the strengths of Catalonia such as...

  • Jordi Pujol Ferrusola at the Catalan Parliament's comission investigating fraud and corruption (by N. Julià)

    24.02.15 - 12:03

    Son of former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, speaks about some of his businesses but not the Andorran money

    Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, the eldest son of former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, has testified before the Catalan Parliament’s commission investigating fraud and corruption. He did so after the testimonies of his father and mother, while all 3 have been indicted and are in the middle of judicial processes for alleged fraud. Unlike his parents, Pujol Jr answered most of the questions posed - except those related to money the family had...

  • Gerard Piqué at Manchester City's press room (by FC Barcelona)

    23.02.15 - 22:30

    Piqué sees Manchester City as top five in the world side

    In the press conference ahead of the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie, Gerard Piqué has declared that he expects a “similar game” to the one last season. He also added that despite the defeat against Málaga in the Spanish League at the weekend, the Catalan team are in good form as well as highlighting Manchester City’s strengths. Piqué on the Champions League tie: “I think it will be...

  • Marta Ferrussola and Jordi Pujol after their parliamentary hearing (by B. Fuentes)

    23.02.15 - 22:21

    Former Catalan President Jordi Pujol insists on previous statements on fiscal fraud in parliamentary hearing

    Before the Catalan Parliament's commission investigating fraud and corruption, former President of the Catalan Government Jordi Pujol has testified in order to address his family's alleged fiscal fraud. Pujol was asked to talk before the parliamentary committee despite having been indicted by the judge and having already testified in front of her in January. Pujol, who ran the Executive between 1980 and 2003, did not add any new information...

  • Fernando Alonso had to be airlifted from the circuit (by Wayne O'Connor)

    23.02.15 - 18:23

    Fernando Alonso airlifted to hospital in F1 testing accident in Catalonia

    Former two time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso had to be kept in hospital last Sunday night after he was involved in a serious accident at the Circuit de Catalunya, in Greater Barcelona. The Spaniard suffered head injuries and concussion and had to be airlifted from the circuit to hospital via helicopter. Alonso was given the all clear after undergoing a series of scans and tests but was kept in hospital overnight for...

  • Dancing dragon waiting for the parade to start (by Marina Force Castells)

    23.02.15 - 17:27

    Colourful Chinese New Year parade in Barcelona joined by Catalan cultural groups

    The Chinese community welcomed the 'Year of the Goat' last week. The biggest New Year festivity took place this Saturday, when a parade of a thousand people filled the Barcelona streets with a trail of red dancing dragons and lions. This is the second year that Chinese organisations and Catalan folklore groups, such as Catalonia's traditional human tower builders (‘castellers’) and the traditional giant figures representing...

  • Neymar, at the end of the game against Málaga (by FC Barcelona)

    22.02.15 - 10:16

    FC Barcelona vs Málaga FC: Early lapse spells doom (0–1)

    All it took was one small mistake. A seemingly innocent back-pass from Dani Alves to Claudio Bravo in minute seven ran out of steam and was intercepted by a charging Juanmi, who beat Bravo to the ball and waltzed in all alone for the game’s only goal, stopping Barça’s 11-game winning streak dead in its tracks. The loss means that Barça, playing in front of a raucous home crowd, have missed an opportunity to become...