Four Spanish provinces have seen a joint police operation carried out this morning against Russian mafia members in the country (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Twenty-four people, the majority of them from Georgia, were arrested during the early morning raids, which took place in Barcelona as well as in Madrid, the Basque country and Levante. Across Europe, further detentions took place, with a total of 69 arrests in various countries, again, the majority of who are Georgian nationals. In Spain, the operation involved different police forces, including the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra and the Unit against Drugs and Organised Crime.
Yesterday, there was a repeat of the electricity fault that left 100,000 people in the Costa Brava without power last week, according to the Civil Protection department (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The issue was caused by a problem on a high-tension line between the towns of Tordera, in the Maresme region, and Lloret de Mar in the Costa Brava area of La Selva. While the failure was gradually dealt with during the day, today there are around 3,000 homes still without power in different parts of the Girona area. The Civil Protection department said that they had increased emergency services in the towns affected by this latest break-down. Despite this incident, most of the towns that had lost all power as a result of the dramatic snowstorms of a week ago, have now fully recovered their electricity supply.
The majority of Catalans are strongly in favour of equal rights for both native-born residents and immigrants, but at the same time, they feel that the number of immigrants in the autonomous community is excessive, according to findings in a survey carried out for La Vanguardia newspaper (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The research found that about 80 percent of those asked agreed that everyone should have equal rights, while 52 percent said they felt that there are too many immigrants in Catalunya, while 27 percent feel that the number is high, although not excessive. Just 19 percent of those questioned thought that the current number of immigrants is ‘acceptable’. There was a notable tendency to the line of thought that there are too many immigrants in Catalunya amongst people who would vote for the Partido Popular or Convergencia i Uniò, as well as a significant number of Socialist Party and Esquerra Republicana voters—in addition, amongst these two left-wing groups, only one in four thought the number of immigrants is ‘acceptable’. In contrast, amongst those who favour the party Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, 41 percent thought the number of immigrants is acceptable and 27 percent that it is excessive. Other notable findings from the survey include a general agreement that everyone should have the same rights, although 24 percent think that Catalans should be given priority when it comes to getting work, 21 percent that they should be at the head of the queue for choosing schools and 18 percent that native-born Catalans deserve preferential treatment in terms of medical services.
Also in the news: Messi gets crucial hat-trick to keep Barça in league race (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Anti-bullfighting protests take place in Madrid and Valencia (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Former spokesman for political wing of ETA says terrorist group must give up violence if it is to have a future (read full article in Catalan here, Avui)