Jordi Hereu home
Jordi Hereu, the mayor of Barcelona, has admitted that he's made mistakes during his mandate, but insisted that he has been right about the priorities he's set (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Hereu was speaking yesterday at the annual city conference organised by the Col·legi de Periodistes where he took the opportunity to outline the efforts made by the Barcelona city council to confront the current economic crisis. The event, which has recently become more of an evaluation of the mayor's mandate than a yearly round-up, attracted significant media attention due to the presence in the audience of Montserrat Tura, Hereu's future opponent in the primaries to choose who will stand for the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) in this year's municipal elections. Tura arrived before Hereu, and sat in the front row of the Palau de Congressos, with the first secretary of the PSC and ex-president of the Generalitat, José Montilla. When Hereu arrived, he amiably greeted Tura, a moment captured by many of the photographers in attendance. At the start of his speech, Hereu spoke about the "special circumstances" that surrounded the conference, and told the audience to take off their "serious faces" because, despite everything, "It still gives me as much pleasure as ever to talk about Barcelona."
The Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, have arrested four people accused of stealing credit cards from people's postboxes in the Eixample and then using them to swindle the legitimate owners (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).The investigation into the alleged crimes began at the end of August last year, when the Mossos' Fraud Group noticed that there had been a series of reported crimes where the victim said that they had been phoned at home by someone claiming to be from the security department of their bank. The caller would say that the credit card of the victim had been used fraudulently and ask them for the PIN number of the card in question, which they had to enter, along with their DNI, using the keypad of their telephone; several days later, the victims had realised that money had been taken out of their accounts without their knowledge. The Mossos analysed the facts and judged that a group was taking advantage of the fact that banks were sending out large numbers of the new chip and pin credit cards. Once the victims had entered the PIN number into their phone, the robbers had a special electronic widget to extract the number, which they used with the cards to withdraw large quantities of money from banks in the Baix Llobregat region. It is reckoned that more than 150 people fell foul of the fraudsters who managed to steal around €200,000.
A judge in the town of Gavà will have to re-investigate the incident that took place at Castelldefels Platja train station last year, when 12 people were killed crossing the tracks when a train passed through (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The deaths occurred on the evening of June 24th, 2010, the night of Sant Joan, when a group of people were heading to the seaside to celebrate the traditional summer festivities. A Barcelona court has ordered that the judge re-open the case after it was archived in July last year. The move has come as a result of the deemed defencelessness of the families of the victims, who weren't taken into consideration by the judge during his investigation; he rejected the proof that their lawyers had prepared. However, this time, the judge will have to repeat his investigation and include the petition of proof that the families submit and then make a new ruling. The original ruling had caused some surprise because of the speed with which it was produced; it was just one month after the incident occurred that the judge determined that the deaths were the result of negligence on the part of the victims by crossing the train tracks.