Recent months have seen a growth in the number of burglaries of shops and robberies in the street in Barcelona and other towns in Catalunya (article in Catalan, Avui). In particular, jewellery shops have been targeted, with a rise since 2008 of 30 percent in attacks on places that have just one assistant working. Last year saw an increase in other types of crime compared to 2007, including robberies using violence and muggings in the street, and the trend appears to be continuing this year. Another area that has seen a rise is in the robbery of cheap essentials, including food. Hoteliers, shop owners and jewellers called for stricter punishment for organised groups of criminals, who are regularly arrested but due to current laws don't face prison sentences.
The red palm weevil (escarabajo picudo rojo, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) is continuing its spread through palm trees in Catalunya, with the latest affected tree being discovered at Barcelona's Hospital Sant Pau (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The tree where the insect was found has since been destroyed—almost 4,000 palm trees throughout Catalunya have been infected by the red palm weevil, which can kill Canarian palm trees. According to a spokesperson from the Agricultural Department of the Generalitat, the spread of the insect in Barcelona is more under control than in other Catalan towns—the first tree infected with the weevil was identified in December 2006 and since then 42 trees have been attacked.
The health department of the Generalitat has said that it doesn't regard as essential the vaccination of under-15s against swine flu (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The decision is part of discussions taking place within the health ministries of the various autonomous communities around Spain, as they seek to put in place appropriate policies to deal with a possible rise in the spread of the illness when schools go back in September. There are different attitudes regarding what to do to prevent a significant number of cases with disagreement as to what conditions would necessitate school closures, when to begin the vaccination programme (whether to tie it in with the standard flu vaccination scheme or to start earlier than normal) and who will be vaccinated first.
Also in the news: Catalan government cancels September 11th reception due to crisis (La Vanguardia); Latest Barça acquisition presented today (Avui); Cardiologists' congress on now in Barcelona, suggests new ways to save lives (El Periodico)