Having studied a report submitted by the Spanish delegation at the latest gathering of its world heritage committee in Seville, UNESCO has decided that the work to construct the AVE tunnel under the Eixample area of Barcelona, and which will run very close to the emblematic Sagrada Familia, will not threaten Antoni Gaudí's religious building (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia).The two-part report included information from the Ministry of Culture about the technical plans of the Public Works department along with a study by an international organisation for the conservation of historical monuments. However, those responsible for the ongoing construction of the Sagrada Familia are not convinced by the assurances of the Ministry of Culture, and have sought an independent report on the proposed work, which is yet to be published.
The charity Càritas has announced that it is receiving requests for assistance from around 200 families a day, often to pay for such essentials as food, electricity or rent (article in Catalan, Avui). Many of those who come to Càritas are women who are single parents and need economic help for the supermarket shop or one-off amounts to cover school costs. In comparison, last year, the average was 120 people a day applying for aid and in 2006, around 70. Since 2008, the charity has had to use a waiting-list system to cope with the amount of people coming to it for help, and it can take between three and five weeks for an application to be dealt with.
Between 2,000 and 4,500 people gathered in Plaça Catalunya yesterday to demand that Catalunya become free of transgenics, or genetically-modified organisms (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Organised by the association Som lo que Sembrem (We are What we Sow), the gathering was inspired by the recent blocking of an ILP (Iniciativa Legislativa Popular; literally a People's Legislative Initiative) declaring Catalunya a 'territory free of transgenics'; in practical terms, this would have meant prohibiting the cultivation and consumption of genetically-modified organisms in the autonomous community. While the minimum requirement to initiate a parliamentary discussion of an ILP is 50,000 signatures on a petition, and this one gathered over 100,000, the main Catalan political parties (PSC, CiU and PP) have presented a motion for its rejection and this motivated Sunday's demonstration.