This year’s final of the Davis Cup starts today in Barcelona, with Spain hoping to repeat their win here of nine years ago (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The Palau Sant Jordi is the venue where the Spanish team will face the Czech Republic; Spain is playing in its fifth final since they beat Australia at the Palau back in 2000, and hoping to add a fourth victory to their collection. The first match in the contest will see world number two Rafa Nadal take on the Czech number two Tomas Berdych, followed by David Ferrer playing Radek Stepanek. Tomorrow are doubles matches, and the final singles games take place on Sunday.
As the December long weekend (Puente de la Constitución) begins today, it seems that Catalans who want to go away have chosen to stay close to home, with hotels in the Pyrenees forecasting a high level of occupancy (article in Castilian, El Periodico). This is a very important time for the skiing sector in Catalunya, as the season traditionally gets seriously underway this weekend each year. Although hit by the financial impact of the current global crisis, Catalans have, in recent times, chosen to holiday in places within Catalunya rather than forego any kind of break. As such, hotels in the Pyrenees are expecting to have 80 percent occupancy this weekend; this is also true in some other areas of Catalunya popular for short breaks, such as the region of Garrotxa and the Delta del Ebro. In contrast, travel agents report a fall of eight percent in bookings compared to this time last year, although they are hoping for a rush of last minute reservations today.
The Catalan Interior Ministry has denied permission to Falangist groups who wanted to carry out demonstrations on December 13th, the day planned for various popular votes on Catalan independence (article in Catalan, Avui). Instead, they will be allowed to carry out their protests on December 12th, with the aim of avoiding “disturbances”. The decision was taken based on a report by the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, that warned of the risk of confrontations and noted the objections brought by the councils of the towns where the Falange wanted to hold their demonstrations on the day of the non-binding vote; in a letter to the Interior Minister, Joan Saura, the organisers of the popular vote in the affected towns asked that permission not be given to the demos because councils couldn’t guarantee the necessary level of security required.
Also in the news: Barcelona’s old rubbish containers sent to South America and Africa (La Vanguardia); Government backtracks on policy towards download websites (El Periodico); Catalan caixes oppose planned reforms by Zapatero (Avui)