One week before the new school term is due to start, there is uncertainty regarding a key element of the Catalan education model, the use of the Catalan language for the large majority of teaching in public schools (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Following the ruling last week by the Superior Court of Catalunya that schools must introduce Castilian as a 'vehicle' language within two months, doubts have arisen regarding the implications for the new school year just when everything is ready for pupils' return. The Generalitat's councillor for education, Irene Rigau, sought to calm the education sector yesterday. "The term will start as normal," she said, during the inauguration of a new nursery in Cornellà de Terri. This suggests that the Catalan government is going to ignore the ruling and not make space for more hours of Castilian in the public schools of the region at this point. Rigau's department is planning to appeal the ruling this week (they have until Wednesday to do so), and hopes that the legal arguments that they present to the court will be sufficient to put a halt to the demands of the court. "It's good that they [those in the education sector] know that in the term that's starting, it won't be necessary to introduce any changes because the law that governs it [the current model of linguistic immersion, by which one language, Catalan, is the principal vehicle for teaching in] is completely supported by the courts," Rigau added.
The Spanish King, Juan Carles I, is recuperating at the Zarzuela palace in Madrid following an operation on his achilles heel (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). He left the Hospital San José at 7.30 this morning, where he was operated on his left foot last night, being driven out in a people carrier with tinted windows, and wearing casual clothes. The King will continue his recuperation process at the Zarzuela following an operation that was labelled a "success" by the medical team responsible for the surgery, who also said that the King was in a good condition. King Juan Carlos I, who has undergone three operations in the past year or so, will have to follow between two and three weeks of absolute rest, as part of his recovery from the operation, and between three and four months of physio, which will be "long and painful" according to sources from the hospital. His official duties have been suspended for the foreseeable future, until he has recovered from the surgery, although he may recommence some work from his office later this week.
Following the introduction of additional police officers to patrol Barcelona Metro in July, the city council is planning to continue the police presence and the results achieved by it over the summer (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). The council has described as positive the improvement in security on the central part of the underground system in the city, and as such, the Barcelona mayor, Xavier Trias, has said he wants to maintain the number of Guàrdia Urbana (local police) agents who are working on the metro. After he took over at the council at the start of July, and with an increase in the number of robberies and pickpocketing taking place on the underground, Trias decided to make the issue one of his priorities. At a meeting of the security department of the city council on July 12th, it was agreed to increase the security at the main stations and connection points of the metro, creating joint patrols of Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) and Guàrdia Urbana for the summer period. The combination of hours that the two police forces have been patrolling the metro has had the effect of shutting off some of the groups of pickpockets that were operating there and reduced the feeling of insecurity on the underground. As such, Trias wants to keep the police there for at least the rest of the year, providing that he gets approval from the Generalitat's interior department. "It would be very sad," he said, if the plan was "only applicable for certain circumstances."