The Al-Qaeda-linked group that kidnapped three Catalans at the end of last year have demanded the release of 12 prisoners before they will set their hostages free (article in Catalan, Avui). The group has sent a video to the Spanish government with its conditions for the release of the three charity workers who were taken in Mauritania on November 29th. The prisoners that they want released are 12 people found guilty of connections to Islamic terrorism who are being held in Mali and Mauritania. The kidnappers also demanded a payment of $7 million (around €4.85 million). The video shows one of the three Catalans, Albert Vilalta, with an injured leg—it’s known that Vilalta was shot during the kidnapping when the group attacked a convoy of the charity Barcelona Acció Solidària.
A woman has been found safe after spending a week trapped in the lift of her house in Sitges (article in Castilian, El Periodico). She was rescued by agents from the Catalan police (Mossos d'Esquadra) on Tuesday, who found her conscious and in relatively good health, although they reported that she was shaky and nervous. It appears that there was an electric problem in the house last week that occurred when the 45-year-old Spanish woman was in the lift. The fault caused the electricity in her house to cut out and the lift to stop. She was stuck there until a relative finally went to the Guardia Civil on Tuesday of this week, concerned by the time that had passed without hearing from the woman. The Guardia Civil immediately notified the Mossos who went to the house with a team of fire officers; when there was no response when they rang at the front door, they broke in and heard the woman calling for help from the lift.
The cost of buying property in Spain fell by 6.3 percent last year to reach an average of €1,892.30 per square metre (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). This means that the cost of buying a second-hand apartment or house here is now at its lowest level since 2006. House prices have been falling for over a year, although they seem to have recovered slightly from the fall of eight percent that was registered in the third quarter of 2009. The cost of new property also fell, although slightly less with an average reduction of 6.1 percent.
Also in the news: Fire services acknowledge errors in managing forest fires in Horta de Sant Joan last July (Avui); Winds up to 120 kilometres per hour affect south of Catalunya (El Periodico); Barcelona mayor makes assurance that the 2022 Winter Olympics bid is not the main priority of the decade (La Vanguardia)