Car sharing'Green' cars heading into Barcelona will enjoy a reduction on the tolls they have to pay
Catalan police have this morning dispersed without incident a group of around 50 protestors ('indignados') who were protesting outside the Barcelona stock exchange (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The protestors had been staging their sit-in for two nights and were planning to block access to the building this morning as it opened for business after the weekend; however, workers at the stock exchange have already been able to get in to their offices. The group was part of the movement 'Occupy Wall Street', organised from the US and which aimed to encourage citizens to camp out in front of stock exchanges as a way to demand a change in the economic policy of governments three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The initiative was repeated in various other cities, including Paris, Milan, Athens, Berlin and San Francisco. This is the second time that protestors have targeted the Barcelona stock exchange with calls for a "more human economy".
The number of adoptions in Catalunya of children under three from a foreign country has drastically fallen in the last five years, due to the increasing difficulty in carrying out such a process, with the countries of origin imposing more stringent criteria and longer time periods for completing the different steps involved (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). In 2005, there were 1,419 adoptions of children from abroad in Catalunya, whereas by 2010, this had fallen by more than half to 627. As such, the general director of the Catalan Institute of Adoption, Núria Canal, has said that it is a priority to find new countries, "which meet all the guarantees of security and ensure that the [adoption] process is transparent." Agreements are due to be signed in the near future with Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam. In the case of Kyrgyzstan, a delegation has already visited Barcelona to check the process for preparing future parents and the post-adoption follow-up here. An agreement with Vietnam used to be in place but it ended two years ago because the country made changes to its laws regarding children. "Last year, we were the country with the most adoptions, after the US and Italy," said Canal, "and we want to give a solution to the greatest number of families possible." It is estimated that there are currently 12,000 children and young people living in Catalunya who were adopted abroad. Other countries with which the institute is working to establish adoption agreements are Cambodia, Kenya and Mozambique.
The Catalan government has decided to take new measures to improve the air quality in Barcelona, including a reduction in tolls to be paid by environmentally-friendly cars driving into the city (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). As the main cause of pollution in Barcelona is traffic, the Generalitat, looking for ways to reduce contamination levels, has decided to reward those who are doing their bit for the environment by driving a 'green' vehicle. Those drivers who come into Barcelona on the C-16, C-33 and C-32 Maresme and Garraf, will be able to use a different lane at the toll station and thus enjoy a 20 percent discount on the standard toll; the application of this measure will be almost immediate. This is one of 30 new measures that the government is introducing as part of its clean air programme, which is due to be officially presented this Thursday at CosmoCaixa.