The current mayor of Tarragona, Josep Fèlix Ballesteros, has thrown his hat into the ring as a contender in the upcoming leadership contest for the Catalan Socialist Party (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The position has become available as the current first secretary of the party and former president of the Generalitat, José Montilla, has decided to step down from the head of the Partit dels Socialistes del Catalunya (PSC) following the party's poor showing in last year's Generalitat elections. The new PSC leader will be chosen at the party's assembly, due to be held in October. "I see myself leading the party," Ballesteros told the newspaper Diari de Tarragona, following his selection as the mayoral candidate for Tarragona by local party members last night. He confirmed that he is "agreeable and available" for taking on maximum responsibility within the party and said he had already had high-level conversations with key PSC members. Ballesteros thus joins the former Generalitat minister Joaquim Nadal and the current mayor of Lleida Àngel Ros in the race to take over from Montilla. "If they ask me to present myself to lead the party, then I'll do so, but with the condition that I can continue as mayor of Tarragona," insisted Ballesteros.
The education sector in Catalunya is concerned about the growing list of budget cuts being announced by the Generalitat's Education Department headed up by Irene Rigau (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The latest move, following the decision to stop the roll-out of laptops into classrooms, has seen the arrival of letters at schools throughout the region saying that they will need to tighten their spending even further and that this year, they will only receive financing equivalent to 80 percent of what was received in 2010. "This is a preventative cut," said the secretary-general of the Education Department, Maria Jesús Mier yesterday. In response, Jaume Prat, president of the Association of Directors of Public Education in Catalunya said that, "Unquestionably, schools are already being squeezed. It won't be easy to make further cuts and it's true that many centres will be against the ropes." "It's a cut that affects the whole life of schools, not just teachers," said Àngel García, responsible for Public Education in the trade union CCOO. "And in many schools, the lack of money could signify an inability to pay for basic services." The unions believe that the cuts could affect the purchase of educational materials and resources, including classroom materials and furniture.
The coach of FC Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, has said that he thinks the team played better this year against Arsenal in the Champions League than in last year's contest, when the two teams also met in a match that ended in a 2-2 draw (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Guardiola admitted that last night's result, where the Catalan team lost 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium of the London team was "bad" but said that the quality of Barça's players would ensure victory in the second leg of the confrontation in two weeks' time. "I don't know where we went wrong," he said at the post-match press conference. "If we analyse the result, it's bad. I think that we played better than last year, with lots of opportunities to score. We played against a great team and now we have to prepare for the return match."
Catalan chef Santi Santamaria has died suddenly of a heart attack while on a business trip to Singapore - read about the news on our Food and Drink blog here.