The Generalitat has activated the maximum level of its emergency plan to deal with adverse weather in the face of continued snow across much of Catalunya (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Last night, the cold weather caused snow in many parts of Girona, Osona and much of Tarragona, where the Civil Protection Department recommended that school transportation be cancelled on what should have been the first day of the new term for many pupils. Almost all comarques (counties) in Catalunya saw snow fall yesterday, and in some areas up to 15 centimetres collected. Various roads were closed including the motorway at the border crossing between Spain and France at La Jonquera, while strong winds caused difficulties for people in Barcelona and the Maresme. Today, the forecast is for fewer precipitations but an intensification of the winds and even colder temperatures, especially overnight. Some meteorologists are predicting that this weekend could see the coldest temperatures in the area of recent years.
A medical team led by Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic has deciphered the genome code of lymphatic leukemia (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The findings will help doctors to develop personalised treatments for those suffering from the cancer as well as to create new medicines. The research, led by Doctor Elías Campo at Hospital Clinic, is part of the wider International Cancer Genome Consortium (with teams from more than 20 countries) and so far it has successfully sequenced the complete DNA of three patients with chronic lymphatic leukemia; it is hoped that by the spring, they will have the sequence from 10 patients. Lymphatic leukemia is the most common type of the illness amongst populations in Western countries.
An article in the latest edition of The Economist magazine discusses relations between Catalunya and Spain (article in Catalan, Avui). The report covers a variety of themes including the recent vote in the Catalan parliament regarding the future of bull-fighting in the region (described therein as “a political game” between Catalunya and Spain), the wave of popular votes regarding Catalan independence and the long-awaited sentence from the Spanish Constitutional Court about the new version of the Catalan Statute, which is described as “key for Spain”, although it only represents “small steps along the long path towards decentralisation”. It suggests that the delay regarding the statute is due to the fact that the authors of the Spanish Constitution in 1978 didn’t include an adequate definition of the word ‘nation’. Reference is also made to next year’s Generalitat elections, and the possibility of a win for the current opposition party Convergencia i Unió even if they don’t get a majority of the vote.
Also in the news: Barça sees dramatic rise in shirt sales and new members over Christmas (El Periodico); La Caixa says the worst of the crisis has passed (Avui); Spanish stock exchanges have lost more than three million investors since 2008 (La Vanguardia)