Catalunya is facing three days of cold weather, part of a wave of icy conditions currently sweeping Europe (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). It is forecast that temperatures could fall to -10 degrees Celsius in some parts of Barcelona, Girona and Lleida over the next couple of days. The low temperatures will feel even colder due to accompanying strong winds, which could reach 90 kilometres an hour in the northern Costa Brava region. The Generalitat has activated both its emergency plans for dealing with snow (‘Neucat’) and high winds (‘Procicat’), and has recommended the suspension of any activities planned for higher altitudes. Temperatures should slowly rise between Saturday and Sunday, although there could also be fresh snowfall overnight on higher ground in some coastal regions.
The Generalitat’s Education Minister, Ernest Margall (brother of the former Generalitat president Pasqual), said yesterday that voters are tired of the current Catalan coalition government (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Maragall said that Catalunya wouldn’t accept a repeat of the ‘tripartit’ of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Esquerra Republicana per Catalunya and Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, which has governed here since 2002. Elections for the Generalitat are due to be held this November and politicians from the different parties are already making declarations regarding possible affiliations. Maragall said that, although the three-party coalition government was better than any previous Generalitat administration, everything indicated that the electorate will not support to "new experiments" or "unstable" political creations. Instead, he said that his party, the Socialists, should be seeking a majority victory in the elections that will allow them to govern alone, a line of thought seems to be gathering weight amongst certain sectors of the PSC.
A new anti-smoking campaign is to be launched in May with photos outlining the effects of tobacco on the body to be published on cigarette packets (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Spanish health minister, Trinidad Jiménez, yesterday announced the initiative after the expiration of a period for demands brought by cigarette producers. The 14 photos to be featured (which have been taken from 42 suggested by the EU) include images of rotten teeth, mouth ulcers, cancerous lungs and open-heart surgery. The cigarette manufacturers have sought permission to not have the photos take up more than 50 percent of the front part of the packets, which is the minimum allowed by the World Health Organisation, and also to push back as far as possible the introduction of this new feature. However, the Spanish health ministry wants the photos to take up at least 70 percent of the surface of cigarette packets and has given the manufacturers a maximum period of six months for the sale of cigarettes produced before the introduction of this new law (ie without the visual warning).
Also in the news: Barça hit by lack of defenders for Sunday match against Atletico de Madrid (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Judge Baltasar Garzón accused of prevarication, bribery and fraud (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Spain still in recession during the fourth quarter of 2009 (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia)