The fast train (AVE in Castilian, TGV in Catalan) service between Barcelona and Madrid was halted this morning after a corpse was discovered on the line close to the town of Vilafranca (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The dead body was found around 4 o'clock this morning, leading the police to close the lines in both directions. One of the lines was reopened at 7.20am, and the AVE service from Barcelona restarted as a result with the timetable gradually returning to normal. Six AVE trains were affected as well as two Avant trains that were due to use the lines. Train operator Renfe has offered affected passengers the opportunity to get a refund or change their ticket for another day. The cause of death of the person found is unknown at this point.
The Generalitat's education department has decided to stop the initiative started by the previous government to introduce computers into classrooms (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The minister of ensenyament, Irene Rigau, announced yesterday that the programme '1x1' would be frozen as a result of the current economic situation; the plan had been to give a laptop computer to all pupils in primary and secondary education, and those affected by this decision numbers around 40,000 students. Rigau also spoke in her press conference about the points system used to select pupils for schools, which sees some students awarded an additional five points in the case that their parents had attended the same school in the event that there is a draw in points between two or more children; the minister said that this was a discriminatory system that encouraged segregation. Instead, she said, it should be the catchment area and geographical location of the family home compared to the school that should be the deciding factor for parents selecting a school for their child.
The cost of living in Catalunya rose in January as a result of rises in the cost of electricity here (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The retail price index (índex de preus al consum in Catalan) is now the highest that it's been since 2008 at a level of 3.3 percent. Although in general prices fell by 0.6 percent last month, as a result of the winter sales, the price of electricity has risen by 15 percent in a year, taking it to its highest level since January 2002, and this is the main cause of the increase in inflation here and across Spain. There were also annual price rises in alcohol and tobacco, which had a knock-on effect on the inflation rate.