The council of Barcelona is considering whether to reduce the speed limit to 60 kilometres per hour on some parts of the city’s ring roads in an effort to ease noise pollution (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Proposed by the party Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (ICV), which has a strong environmental manifesto and runs the council's environmental department, the project was announced yesterday by the main ICV councillor Imma Mayol, to the surprise of the ruling Catalan Socialist group in the council. ICV said it is studying the possibility of reducing the speed limit on the rondes in three areas: Sarrià, Montbau and the Vila Olímpica. A similar undertaking has already been implemented on certain roads into the city, where the speed limit has been reduced to 80 kilometres per hour in an effort to reduce both air pollution and accidents. However, if approved, the change in speed limit on the ring roads will not be passed in the current mandate, which is due to end in May 2011.
The Spanish Civil Protection service has activated an alert for the cold weather for the whole of Catalunya, the first time that the entire region has been affected by such a warning (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The low temperatures, which could descend to -10 degrees Celsius inland and 0 degrees on the coast, and accompanying strong winds mean that locals are being called on to take care with any activities they do in the open air, especially in the Pyrenees. Six roads in Catalunya have been affected by snow or ice in various parts of the community including in the Val de Aran and Pallars Sobirà region. Overnight, temperatures in some high areas fell far below with zero, with -21.3 degrees Celsius the lowest temperature recorded, registered in Boí, in the comarca of Pallars Sobirà, and -20.6 degrees Celsius in Ulldeter in Ripollès. Yesterday nowhere in Catalunya was warmer than seven degrees Celsius.
José Montilla, president of the Generalitat and leader of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) has denied that there is a crisis within the ranks of the party (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Speaking to journalists at the Catalan parliament yesterday, Montilla made efforts to reduce speculation about internal discontent amongst members of the PSC following the declarations on Wednesday by education minister Ernest Maragall, and PSC member that Catalans are tired of the current coalition government, who was later supported by fellow socialist and finance minister Antoni Castells. Montilla said that he would not take any action to discipline the two and assured those present that there are no “factions” within the PSC. It was the second time in less than 24 hours that Montilla undertook such an ‘informal’ meeting with journalists, an unusual move for the Catalan president.
Also in the news: Spanish King Juan Carlos makes moves to help with crisis (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Human trafficking group that used voodoo broken up by Catalan police (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Zapatero tells parliament that Spain is solvent and not in the same trouble as Greece (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia)