The Generalitat is to introduce plans to promote reading and knowledge of Catalan writers in a bid to promote a sense of belonging amongst citizens in Catalunya (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). Ferran Mascarell, the Minister of Culture, announce his intentions several week ago but it is thought that the plans will be fully presented in September with Irene Rigau, the Minister of Education adding that they also hope to promote reading in schools. Rigau, speaking from a centenary celebration of the birth of poet Joan Maragall in France, said "many parents can't recite Maragall's La vaca cega to their children and this is where schools should come in." Going on to say that the historical and literary references are essential in building the cultural heritage that each person creates and receives." She also stated that this also served another purpose in providing a feeling of belonging to a nation. The ideal outcome for the plans is to encourage children, as well as immigrants, to grow rooted to the Catalan language and culture. The plan has three basic sections, firstly to analyse and improve ways of learning, secondly to affect the enrichment that reading gives children and lastly to incite in children a passion for reading that will continue into their secondary educations. On why the minister thinks the plan is needed Rigau said "Reading is the gateway to knowledge." In addition to the plans they will also be launching a special prize that will recognise the literary efforts of students, teachers, schools and institutions.
Projects already put in action by previous mayor Jordi Hereu are to be put to public consultation under the government of Xavier Trias (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Councillors Gerard Ardanuy, Maite Fandos and Eduard Freixedes from the districts of Eixample, Gràcia and Sant Marti respectively are planning three different consultations, the result of which will decide the outcome of projects already put in motion by the government of Hereu. The subjects being put up to vote involve the land on which Modelo Prison currently sits in the Eixample, retractable bollards in Gràcia and in Sant Marti the consultation will focus on roads that cross Poblenou Park. Councillor Ardanuy says that the vote will decide whether or not to continue with the plans of the previous government to create a green zone and the reservation and preservation of some of the prison building, or to replace it or to knock it down completely. As such the current plan has no timetable as work depends on the transfer of prisoners to other prisons. Ardanuy advises that the decision will be made within one or two years. The district of Sant Martí the debate is over whether or not to create a road for cars across the green space inaugurated there in 2008. Currently the district council is in favour of annulling the road. In Gràcia residents will be formally called upon to vote on the matter of street bollards that close traffic on streets such as Perla, Encarnació and Torrent d'en Vidalet. This will hopefully close the matter that has been causing arguments for over five years. Councillor Maite Fandos has already decided to put the matter to referendum and wants to do so in the first half of 2012.
In Rocallaura, a small town in Urgell, the Virgin has "appeared" (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). A priest, the only person thought to know the whereabouts of a 25cm carving has returned to the town the revered sculpture after holding it without residents knowing of its locations. According to the priest, the fourteenth-century marble carving of the Virgin del Tallat had remained hidden for reasons of safety. The Virgin's secret location, had been a bone of contention for residents and had caused trouble between them and the rector. Asked by journalists and citizens alike the whereabouts of the statue the priest refused to reveal it. For the faithful however, yesterday was a day for celebration as the statue was greeted with applause and chants. In among the cries of joy there remained however distinct cries of "out, out" and "we want an explanation". For over three decades the Cal Miquel family had safe-guarded the statue only used for large celebrations but last June after a period of pilgrimage, the priest Pere Lluís Ramon, refused to return the carving saying that it should remain in a safer place. Merce Marimon, speaking on behalf of the family said, "We kept the Virgin in a safe, we never had any incidents." Tensions rose on August 15th when during the Feast of Mary, a traditional date of worship, the priest did not return the Virgin to the alter of Sant Llorenç church a plaster replica was used instead. A group of residents have collected signatures calling the resignation of the priest.