The parks and gardens of Barcelona are increasingly being used by homeless people as a place to sleep (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). As an apparent result of the financial crisis, the number of people who have lost their home has grown significantly in the city and many have found a spot to install themselves in green spaces. The trend is particularly evident in the Raval, Sant and Eixample, specifically in the area close to the Estació del Nord bus station. Many parents are reluctant to take their children to play in the parks affected because of problems with rubbish, drug-taking and aggressive behaviour by some of those living there.
Less than one percent of prostitutes who are living illegally in Barcelona have been repatriated (article in Castilian, El Periodico). In the face of difficulties for dealing with street prostitutes through existing legal avenues, Barcelona city council has appealed to the Spanish Interior Ministry for harsher penalties for women found selling sex. Following the publication of explicit images of prostitution taking place in public spaces in the centre of Barcelona, councillors have asked for help from the central government to deal with the issue; the municipality can only impose fines in cases where the sexual act contravenes local regulations, but can do nothing when faced with prostitutes who don't have the necessary paperwork for living in Spain. Between January and August of this year, the Guardia Urbana arrested more than 600 women without papers for receiving money in exchange for sex, which falls under the remit of 'unsocial behaviour' city laws. Currently in Spain, prostitution is not prohibited or regulated.
According to a report in Forbes magazine, Barcelona is the third happiest city in the world, after Rio de Janeiro and Sydney (article in Catalan, Avui). A survey was carried out by a market research company that questioned 10,000 people in 20 different countries about their perceptions of happiness in different places around the globe, with 50 cities being rated as the happiest. Rio scored highly thanks to images of people dancing, its popular Carnival and local scenery, while Barcelona was marked well due to its climate, lively culture and successful football team.
Also in the news: Additional unemployment extended (La Vanguardia); Works start on high-speed train tunnel under La Sagrera (El Periodico); Bank of Spain puts pressure on Catalan caixes to speed up merger (Avui)