Aminetu Haidar, the activist from the West Saharan area of Morocco, who has been on hunger strike for 32 days in Lanzarote, has arrived at her home in El Aaiún (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Haidar started her action because the Moroccan authorities refused to let her enter the country through El Aaiún airport in November because she wouldn’t give her nationality as Moroccan on a customs form; as a result she was arrested then expelled, at which point she flew to Lanzarote and began her hunger strike. The doctor who has been treating Haidar over the past month, said today that her state of health is stable and confirmed that her Moroccan passport had been returned to her by the local authorities. Haidar is a humans rights' activist, who has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize and has fought for the independence of the Western Sahara, which used to be a Spanish colony and was annexed by Morocco in 1976.
The mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, is to approve action to increase the level of security around the city (article in Castilian, El Periodico). In the face of growing complaints about feelings of insecurity from residents in different parts of the city, and with municipal elections planned for 2011, the council has put together a plan of action that is due to come into being in the first quarter of 2010. It will include efforts to stop criminals who are able to continue their activities despite being arrested multiple times; this has been a recurring theme in recent times, with the municipal authorities complaining that their hands are tied in trying to deal with such repeat offenders by the Spanish Penal Code. New posts for judges dealing with misdemeanours will be created to ease the workload on existing criminal judges and a register will be set up to record the details of those arrested in the city with the aim of making it easier to track those who continually break the law. The existing Commission of Public Space will take on the responsibility for much of what takes place in public areas of the city, including cleaning, social events and dealing with conflicts through mediators. The president of this commission, Assumpta Escarp, has been given greater powers by Hereu to help with the work it does.
A vote will take place in the Catalan parliament today that could see the autonomous community outlaw bullfighting (article in Catalan, Avui). Following the successful preparation of a public initiative (iniciativa legislative popular) to bring the motion before the parliament, there will be a debate about whether or not the proposal should become law here. The political parties Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) and Ciutadans have each presented amendments to the motion, while Esquerra Republicana and Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds have both shown their support for it. Several of the parties (PSC and Convergencia i Unió) are letting their members vote as they wish on the matter, while the PP and Ciutadans members will both be voting against it, and Esquerra Republicana and Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds will be doing their best to oppose the suggested amendments. Members will place their vote in secret, the result of a petition from the PSC. The issue has captured the attention of media from around the world, and some 130 journalists (including from The Times, and France Presse) have been accredited to follow today’s events, which is around twice the normal number covering parliamentary events. If passed, the law will affect bullfights (corrides de toros) but not the correbous that are typical in the Ebre area of Catalunya, which see the driving of oxen through the streets of local towns.
Also in the news: Forty percent of women in Spain have problems buying clothes (La Vanguardia); Broadband in Spain continues to be more expensive than the European average (El Periodico); Private television channels Antena 3 and La Sexta could merge (Avui)