The ex-president of the Palau de la Música Catalana, Felix Millet, took almost €10 million from the organisation over six years (article in Castilian, El Periodico). This is the latest estimate by the Public Prosecutor’s office in Barcelona about what Millet, together with the former administrative director Jordi Montull, stole from the Fundació Orfeó Català-Palau de la Música between 2003 and 2008. The case of mass fraud came to light back in June when a judge opened a case about the presumed appropriation of funds and falsifying documents against five people: Millet and Montull, the daughter of the latter and former financial director Gemma Montull, the current treasurer of the foundation, Pau Durán Basté and his predecessor Enric Álvarez.
The Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) have set up a special team of agents dedicated to dealing with combating drug selling on the streets of Ciutat Vella (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Although the group is still being formalised, it is thought that it will contain 12 plain-clothes officers that will patrol the streets of Barcelona’s old town. This is a district where the number of drug dealers is said to have notably increased in recent times and there is a reported growing sense of insecurity amongst residents. The Mossos are taking advantage of the presence of 250 new officers who were brought into the city in the summer; they will now remain here and this has enabled the police force to create the new Ciutat Vella team, as well as one dedicated to combating muggings in the vicinity of hotels.
The next school year, starting in September 2010, will begin one week earlier than this year and there will be a new one-week holiday in February (article in Catalan, Avui). The Generalitat’s Education Minister, Ernest Maragall, has decided to move forward with this change that has been debated on various occasions over the past few years. As such, children will probably return to school after the summer holidays on Tuesday 7th September; in exchange they will have a ‘half-term’ style break in February. These are also known as ‘setmanes blanques’ (white weeks), because many families take the opportunity to go ski-ing. One consequence of this new initiative is that pre-registration and matriculation for children in a new school will also be brought forward—while in past years, this has taken place in March and April (around the Easter holidays), it will now be done in February.
Also in the news: Suspected lioness turns out to be large dog; authorities shoot animal (El Periodico); Catalan universities to offer more courses in English (La Vanguardia); AVS pays outstanding debt to Barça (Avui)