The unseasonal snowfall that hit Catalunya yesterday collapsed road and rail transport and left thousands of Catalans stranded and some 220,000 people without electricity (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Despite emergency plans being put into place, the snow storm caused transport chaos on most of the roads in and out of Barcelona and completely shut-down the Rodalies train network. This morning, technicians from the power company Endesa Fecsa-Endesa were still working to restore and repair damage done to power lines in the province of Girona which left around 220,000 people without electricity. Joan Saura, the Generalitat's Interior Minister announced that they expect power to be fully restored today but that it would depend on the company. A Renfe spokesman reported that commuters trapped in trains were transported by bus and that the lines affected, C1, C2, C3 and C4, were suspended until further notice. This morning a total of 174 sections of roads in Catalunya continue to be affected by the storm of which 39 are closed, while three accidents occurred on the C33, on the outskirts of Barcelona, caused by ice sheets. Staff from the Red Cross and the emergency services have been distributing blankets and food to people trapped in their vehicles and those on the railways.
A Barcelona judge has sentenced the owner of the Librería Europa, Pedro Varela, to two years and nine months in prison for spreading genocidal ideas through the works he edited and sold (read the article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The bookshop owner, a supposed neo-Nazi, was convicted for the dissemination of ideas against genocide and other fundamental rights, and for showing "a contempt for the Jewish people and other minorities and for the recommendation of racial segregation". Varela was also sentenced in 1998 to five years in prison, following a similar charge but in 2008, the Court of Barcelona lowered his sentence to seven months in prison after the Tribunal Constitucional (Constitutional Court) ruled that the denial of genocide is not a crime. The recent conviction also condemns Pedro Varela to pay a fine of nearly €3,000 and ordered the destruction of all books and items seized at the bookstore, including a bust of Hitler, a swastika and metal helmets.
Also in the news: Barcelona council asks for more time to implement and perfect new rubbish collection system (read the article here in Castilian, El Periodico); Barcelona Fotogràfic Arxiu is to exhibit hundreds of previously unpublished photographs depicting everyday life on the Rambla from 1907 and 1908 (read article in full in Castilian here, El Periodico).