The Spanish general strike planned for September 29th will see only a 25 percent of Barcelona's public transport system operating (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The services affected are the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC), the Metro and buses, which will all only operate during rush hour periods; 6 to 9am and 6pm to 9pm - the rest of the day, there will be no services at all. These minimum services were agreed by the trade unions and Employment Ministry in 2006 and 2007 at a time when no strikes were forecast, to avoid having to negotiate when a strike was imminent. However, sources at the Employment Ministry said that these were agreements were no longer binding. It is not yet known which minimum services will be operated by the train company Renfe for the local Rodalies trains. The trade unions have put forward a minimum service that would see a train run every 30 minutes during the morning rush hour and one an hour during the evening rush hour, with no service the rest of the day - this timetable has yet to be agreed by the Spanish Public Works Ministry. There will be no medium or long-distance trains running at all.
Less than a month since he was released from nine months of captivity by an Al-Qaeda group, Catalan charity volunteer Albert Vilalta has appeared back at work on a public visit yesterday to a future bus lane project on the outskirts of Barcelona with the Generalitat's Public Works' minister Joaquin Nadal, who gave him a public welcome back (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Colleagues say he returned to his job a fortnight ago, although he is still using the crutch that he has needed since his release.
The president of the Generalitat José Montilla has given an insight into his personal life during a conference to inaugurate the new season at the Teatre Romea (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Montilla spoke about his life during the Seventies in Catalunya following his family's move to the region from the south of Spain when he was 16. Describing his family as 'humble', he explained their arrival in the city, coming by coach which arrived at Poblenou, and his first sight of Catalan in the form of a graffiti-ed 'Visca el Barça'. Montilla also spoke about the working-class nature of the Baix Llobregat where his family were living, which helped inspire his interest in politics and his decision to join the PCI (an underground left-wing party).
Also in the news: Zapatero meets with Moroccan head of state Mohamed VI at UN but they avoid discussing recent tension in Melilla (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Barça star Andrés Iniesta to become a father (read article in Catalan here, Avui); Barcelona council has spent €355,800 on reports concerning bid for 2022 Winter Olympics (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).