The budget deficit of the Catalan government reached €1.13 billion in April following a few months where it hardly rose (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This means that the first third of the year ended with a deficit increase of €500 million. A large proportion of the rise was due to financial costs, which totalled €423.3 million, a rise of 59 percent and the only part of the deficit that went up. Other areas saw reductions, such as salaries to government staff, an amount which fell by 5.72 percent to €1.512 billion. The Generalitat has cut back on many on its activities, for instance reducing actual investments by 18.8 percent (worth €231.7 million) and those carried out through public organisations, where capital transfers have seen a reduction of close to 60 percent.
The secretary-general of Convergència i Unió, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, said yesterday that the policy of the Partido Popular (PP) regarding immigration was exactly the same as that of Plataforma de Catalunya, a far right-wing and anti-immigration party (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Duran i Lleida also said that the PP candidate for Barcelona, Alberto Fernández Diaz, had made populist statements when he said last Friday that illnesses that had been eradicated here for some time were now returning to the city, brought to Barcelona by immigrants. Speaking in Banyoles, Duran i Lleida said that Fernández Diaz's claims were "scientifically false" and criticised the PP for having done nothing to properly manage the influx of immigrants when they were in government in Spain. He went on to call on Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the PP, to deal with the "racist and xenophobic connotations" of the discourse, although he also said that he was against the attitude of the left-wing regarding immigration, which is unremittingly positive.
A study carried out at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona has found that one of every 10 sufferers of Alzheimer's is under the age of 65 (meaning they have early onset Alzheimer's), and that in these people the disease is often detected later than in others with the illness (read article in Catalan here, Avui). One of the reasons for this late detection, according to the research carried out by the team here in conjunction with a group from the Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica August Pi i Sunyer whose results are published today in Neurology magazine, was that the patients did not show evidence of memory problems as the first symptom of the disease. Instead, it was found, a third of cases present other symptoms in the early stages of the disease's development—these could be language issues, loss of vision or antisocial behaviour. The work, led by Doctor Albert Lladó, examined 40 samples of brain tissue donated by people who had suffered from Alzheimer's. In more than half, 53 percent, of the cases studied, the disease had started with atypical symptoms and had not been correctly diagnosed. Indeed, 47 percent of those examined had died without any diagnosis. In contrast, a mistake in diagnosis only occurred in four percent of cases where evidence of changes to memory had been found.