The Catalan kidnapped aid worker Alicia Gamez landed yesterday at El Prat airport with the Spanish Secretaria de Estado de Cooperación Internacional, Soraya Rodriguez, and her brother Germain, after she was released following 101 days as a hostage in the desert of Mali (read the article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Gamez read a brief statement in which she mentioned the health of her two colleagues that are still being held and said that her happiness would only be complete when Albert Vilalta and Roque Pasqual are also released. Gamez went on to say that all three "had been well treated and respected within the constraints of the desert". She expressed her appreciation for the efforts made by different institutions to secure her release, and for the support of Catalan and Spanish society. She also requested that the media respect her need for rest and to have private time with her family. While confirming the release of Gamez, the Spanish deputy prime minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, said that no ransom had been paid for her release. At a press conference, De la Vega confirmed that the other two hostages were in good health, and added "We would have preferred that the release was complete." She went on to say that the "main concern of the government is that they use all means available to ensure they return home in the shortest time possible".
Google Earth announced yesterday the launch of an application that allows users to experience three-dimensional images of Barcelona designed by users (read the article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Already there are 70 other locations across the planet that offer this experience including Madrid and Valencia, which were both launched last month. At present, only users with programmes SketchUp and the more complicated Building Maker and those who have installed Google Earth can activate the application and make buildings in 3D. One such user, Andrés Raya from Cabrils, who created the image of the Montjuïc Castle said, "It's an addictive habit. That so many people can see your work, fills you with pride." Barcelona City Council has spent years poring over a draft of a 3D virtual map of the whole city, with around 120,000 buildings and projects planned or underway. Michele Marino from the Centre d’Innovació Barcelona Media, said "The first phase will be presented in April but so far has only been implemented on the intranet of the administration".
A women of 40 has died and two others are seriously ill as a result of inhaling toxic fumes from generators installed in places where electricity remains down due to the recent snow (read the article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The two affected people, from Ultramort in the Girona region, were evacuated at around 7pm yesterday and taken to the Hospital de Palamós. It is thought the death of the woman and the hospitalisation of the couple, both in their 70s, is the result of inhalation of toxic fumes produced by the generators but this will be confirmed in the forthcoming autopsy. A further 17 people were thought to be affected by fumes after various fires started by faulty generators, were reported yesterday afternoon in different incidents around the Girona area.
Also in the news: El Prat Airport has begun to record increases in passenger numbers (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia) In February, the airport reported that passenger figures grew by 3.5 percent compared with a decrease recorded in the same month last year when passenger traffic plummeted 21.5 percent; Real Madrid pushed out of the European Championships last night after failing to beat Lyon at the Bernabeu (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico).