A commission from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), has visited Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia to see what effects the high-speed train works in the vicinity are having on the landmark (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The commission met yesterday with representatives from the Junta Constructora de la Sagrada Familia (responsible for the spending of the cathedral's funds as well as the pace and plan of the building's construction work) to evaluate the consequences that the plans for building the new train line metres from the foundations of Antoni Gaudí’s cathedral could have. At the end of the meeting, which lasted around two hours, the president of the Junta Constructora, Joan Rigol, said that he felt comforted by UNESCO’s interest in the matter. During the meeting, two fundamental issues were discussed by the attendees: firstly, the danger of building works on the sandy ground on which the Sagrada Familia is built, and secondly, the effects that the passing of AVE trains could have on the foundations of the cathedral and the increased risk of water passing through the base of the Sagrada Familia as a result. At present, the Sagrada Familia, part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List as one of seven key works by Gaudí, is not on the organisation’s list of buildings at risk; the conclusions of the commission members are due in around a month.
Around 480,000 Spanish housewives are currently seeking paid work outside the home, according to a study by the HR company Adecco (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This figure has risen by 150 percent in the past two years and is a result of the difficult financial situation that many families currently find themselves in. There are currently just over four million women in Spain who are exclusively dedicated to housework (amas de casa), and more than one million households where all their members are unemployed. The typical profile of women currently seeking work is one who is between 40 and 54 years old, with children and primary education; they are usually seeking part-time work in the mornings—to give them time to keep doing their housework—in jobs that don’t require specific education or qualification. Many of them, according to the Adecco report, have previously worked but gave up when they had their children.
Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has responded to calls from opposition parties for him to appear before the Spanish congress to explain his anti-crisis plan (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Zapatero has submitted an official request to be able to make an address to Congress to talk about the current economic situation in Spain; the request was presented to the Chamber registrar and a decision will be taken by the relevant board at the Congress as to whether to give the prime minister the forum he has sought. One possible day for Zapatero to appear is February 17th, which will also give him the opportunity to present information about the European Council meeting due to be held in Brussels on Thursday. The call for the PM to explain his approach to the crisis was led by the main opposition party Partido Popular, and joined by the Catalan party Convergencia i Unió and the Basque party Partido Nacionalista Vasco.
Also in the news: Barcelona mayor originally planned to compete for hosting the summer Olympics (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Business owners and unions agree a one percent salary increase for this year (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Catalan activist freed from jail in Israel after paying bail (read full article in Catalan here, Avui)