Two tourists, one Italian and one German, have died on board a cruise ship after it was struck by a huge wave just off the Costa Brava (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Sixteen other people were injured, two seriously, on board the Cypriot ship ‘Louis Majesty’, which was travelling between Cartagena and Marseille, when the six-metre wave struck at 4.30pm, close to the coast off Begur in the Gulf of León—when the incident occurred, the boat turned around and headed for Barcelona to seek medical attention for those who needed it. The ship was carrying 1,350 passengers and 580 crew-members when the incident occurred, which, as well as affecting passengers, left windows broken.
Pro and anti-bullfighting groups clashed in the Catalan parliament yesterday as the commission charged with considering the future of bullfighting in the autonomous region began (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Nine people against and five in favour took the stand during the day of questioning, which lasted from 10am to 7.45pm (with a two-hour lunch break). Those speaking against bullfighting included scientists and philosophers who questioned the treatment of the animals used in bull-fights; the scientist Jorge Wagensberg showed a typical sword used by bull-fighters to kill the animal and asked “Doesn’t this hurt?” In contrast, those who favour the continuation of bullfighting tended more towards political arguments, as well as citing the passion of those involved and personal experiences. There was also criticism of Catalan institutions by the representative of bull-fighter José Tomás, who said they had tried for 20 years to isolate and annihilate local bull-fights. The commission continues today.
Following talks with the main opposition party, the Spanish socialist government has said that it will fast-track the implementation of the three main aspects of its anti-crisis project (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The move comes as the chances of a wide-reaching joint agreement on dealing with the current financial difficulties in Spain appeared slim, but there was general acceptance of the main weapons to be used in the fight for economic recovery. The three features are: a reduction in VAT (IVA) from July to eight percent for all ‘renovation’ works; direct credit to small and medium companies by the state (which will assume the full risk on the debt); and a reform in the law dealing with those in arrears (morosidad). The opposition Partido Popular said that these are partial actions that won’t solve the crisis, but they are better than nothing. The government will continue to seek support for its plans in the next round of talks due to take place today with other political parties; once it’s done this, it will announce the steps to be taken to pass them into law by June.
Also in the news:
Generalitat examines possible reductions to tolls on some Catalan roads (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Four Mossos injured when two police cars crash in Barcelona (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Spanish football team beat France in Paris friendly (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia)