The mayor of the Catalan town of Ascó is to press ahead with a council vote as to whether to put Ascó forward as a candidate for a nuclear waste ‘cemetery’ despite opposition from the Catalan government and main political parties to the plan (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Despite the objections put forward, including from Mayor Rafael Vidal’s own party of Convergencia i Unió, this morning the town council was due to hold a special meeting on the issue with members expected to vote in favour of the proposal to put Ascó forward to the Spanish government as a potential location for the ‘Almacén Temporal Centralizado’, the so-called nuclear waste cemetery.
The train journey time between Barcelona and Paris should be cut to eight hours by 2012 (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Although there won’t be a full high-speed connection between the two cities until 2020, which will see the journey take just five hours and 20 minutes, the new time will be four hours faster than that of the current night-trains which have been running since 1974. Between 2011 and 2020, the plan is for the trains to alternate between standard tracks and those used by the high-speed TGV trains in France. The first stage in the reduction in travel times is due to come into effect at the end of this year, with the opening of a tunnel to the west of Figueres that will offer a place for trains to change tracks and thus take an hour off the journey.
The Spanish minister of employment, Celestino Corbacho, said yesterday that his department is considering extending the timeframe for the €421 monthly payment to unemployed people no longer eligible for the main state benefit (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The scheme was introduced at the end of August and is due to run out in the middle of February. However, the minister said, the reasons that had originally impelled the government to introduce the supplementary payment still haven’t disappeared, and in fact have slightly worsened. People eligible for the special benefit are those who have not claimed the standard unemployment benefit (paro) since January 1st 2009 and whose income is less than 75 percent of the minimum interprofessional salary (SMI).
Also in the news: Barcelona has its rainiest January in 14 years (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Property promoters owe millions of euros and threaten Spain’s estate agency sector (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); More than 200 exhibitors at the fashion shows 080 and The Brandery (read full article in Catalan here, Avui)