The Catalan opposition party, Convergencia i Unió (CiU), has said that it opposes the government’s plans for changing the school calendar (read article in Catalan here, Avui). A parliamentary member from the party, Irene Rigau, said yesterday that, if CiU comes to power in the November Generalitat elections then it will modify the new timetable. “We cannot take on this calendar because it isn’t ready, has serious problems and wasn’t agreed or given the relevant resources,” said Rigau during a press conference at the Catalan parliament. She said that CiU agrees that the school year should start as early as possible, but complained that the planned four terms are not balanced and that its promoters have focused only on the new February half-term break that will be introduced. The issue had been more about the “obstinacy” of the Generalitat’s education minister, Ernest Maragall, than the needs of pupils, Rigau added.
Spanish airline Vueling had twice as many passengers in January this year compared to the same month in 2009 (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). With around 675,000 passengers flying with the company last month compared to 346,000 in January 2009, Vueling has seen a dramatic rise in its fortunes, thanks to its merger with Iberia’s low-cost airline Clickair in July 2009. This fusion means that Vueling has increased both the number of flights it offers, and the number of airplanes in its fleet, which rose from 16 to 35.
Property sales in Spain fell by 25 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The majority of the 414,000 or so transactions last year were for the purchase of new build properties, while around 47 percent were for second-hand flats and houses, according to a report published today by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spanish National Statistics Institute or INE). However, although the fall in the number of property sales was dramatic in 2009, it was actually smaller than that suffered in 2008, when they fell by 28.6 percent. The regions that saw the most house sales in 2009 were Andalucia, the Valencian community, Madrid and Catalunya.
Also in the news: Signs grow that Cesc Fabregas will play for Barça next season (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Tarragona starts process for holding popular vote on Catalan independence (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); Catalan mountaineer dies after being caught in sudden avalanche while skiing in Andorra (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico)