Artur Mas and José Montilla are to come face to face in a televised debate (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Artur Mas, the CiU candidate and José Montilla, of the PSC party will take part in a televised debate, the first of its kind in electoral history in Catalunya. Campaign managers from both parties, David Madi (CiU) and Jaume Collboni (PSC) confirmed in statements on Món a RAC1, that the debate will be recorded for TV3 on Tuesday but did not say when it would be aired. Collboni said of the debate, that the duration and format it is still unknown but what has been confirmed is that journalist Josep Cuni will take the role of moderator. The fact that all other candidates have already chosen the dates of their appearances on Catalan public television, will make it difficult to find a date that satisfies all parties. TV3's director, Mònica Terribas, was confident that they will find a prime time to air the programme which wouldn't harm the appearances of those already agreed with the other candidates. Montilla has already expressed that it would be good for citizens to know the proposals of both candidates so that they can compare their proposed policies and ideas to deal with the economic crisis.
The end of old rental laws threaten historically important businesses in the Ciutat Vella (read article in Castilian here, El País). The end of the rental contract, (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos LAU) due to finish in 2014, means that many shop futures are threatened, such as El Indio, Casa Llobet and cerería Subirà in the Ciutat Vella. Vice-president of the Fundació Barcelona Comerç, Salvador Albuixech said that around 30 percent of businesses will be affected in Barcelona. Some contracts are centuries old and most are concentrated in the Ciutat Vella, with thousands of merchants currently paying the same rental sums they have been paying for decades. According to a study done by the Generalitat the average rental sum was under €600. Víctor Riera, owner of El Indio, a textile shop that has been open since 1870, says of the possible hike in rents, "if we are drowning now, then imagine if they raise the rent. It would be impossible for us to continue." From their website, the Departamento de Comerico de la Generalitat, are urging the business owners to renegotiate the contracts before 2014. It gives advice to tenants and explains the law step by step. Josep Maria Roig, the third generation to be working in the family-owned pastelería La Colmena on plaza del Àngel said, "The craftsman's work is not mass produced, we can not afford to pay the prices Zara and Desigual pay." As in other cases, the expiring contract was inherited from his father. "With higher rents, artisan shops that are part of the country's tradition will be lost."
The reduction in the size of mosques in Catalunya is preventing women from worshipping (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Around 30 women have claimed their right to have a place of worship and are calling for land or financing. Almost all the local mosques in Catalunya are very small, and they do not make it possible for women and children to have their own space to worship as set out by Islam. Dr Huma Jamshed, president of Associació Cultural Educativa i Social Operativa de dones Pakistaneses (ACESOP) said, "Religion is something private and it is good that society is secular. Our priority is to integrate and enjoy all we have here. Yet we also want to pray and share faith with our children. On specific dates as such as Ramadan or the Fiesta del Cordero, we would like to go with our entire family, with our children so we can educate and pass on our traditions." Head of Diversdid y Diálogo Interreligioso de la UNESCO Catalunya, Francesc Torraadeflot says, "the new Ley de centros de culto, approved by the Generalitat in 2009, puts in order the technical requirements for opening centres of worship and limits the number to open, but it does not solve the need for larger spaces." He went on to point out that having a mosque in a neighbourhood has its virtues, "European studies, well known to those who work in the field, shows that the opening of a mosque in a troubled neighbourhood causes a significant decrease in crime."