More than 40 years since the Tour de France last passed through Barcelona, the cycle race arrives here this afternoon on a rainy July day, which will see many of the main streets of the city closed to traffic, potentially causing chaos for many residents (link to Metropolitan article). More than 5,000 security and health workers will take part in ensuring the success of today's stage from Girona to Barcelona (181.5 kilometres), and then tomorrow from Barcelona to Andorra (224 kilometres) (article in Castilian, El Periodico). While there is general excitement about the inclusion of Catalunya in this year's Tour, with plans to create the longest 'yellow wave' in the world amongst other related initiatives, some Barcelona residents have apparently voiced their displeasure over the closure of city streets for three hours to let the cyclists through.
Barcelona's wholesale market Mercabarna has released figures showing that the price of fish, fruit and vegetables have all gone down by between 10 and 15 percent since the start of the year (article in Catalan, Avui). While fresh fish is now about 10 percent cheaper than it was six months ago, fruit and vegetable can be bought for up to 15 percent less than at the end of 2008. According to Mercabarna, this has been caused by shops forcing wholesalers to cut their prices because they are worried about buying 'expensive stock which they are then unable to sell. Another reason is that there is an abundance of all these products, a factor which traditionally forces prices down.
The Spanish finance minister, Elena Salgado, is reported to be putting the finishing touches to the budgets for the different autonomous communities, which have been worked on more than a year in the face of drawn-out negotiations, and now have a deadline of July 15th for their agreement (article in Catalan, Avui). Over the next couple of days, Salgado is due to meet with representatives from some of the autonomous communities in an attempt to deal with last-minute issues regarding the proposal. The Catalan government is one that has been particularly unhappy with the way that the finance plan has progressed, arguing that it needs more money than has been offered.
Also in the news: FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta says Samuel Eto'o won't talk to him on the phone (La Vanguardia), Vueling and Clickair begin joint operations following recent merger (La Vanguardia) and Spanish finance minister seeks €10,000 million for a new fund to restructure the national economy (El Periodico)