The so-called Sinde Law that aims to close down websites allowing illegal downloads has been approved in the Spanish congress (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Named after the Spanish minister of culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, the Law of Economic Sustainability, to give it its official name, passed with the support of the Spanish Socialist party, the opposition Partido Popular and the Catalan nationalist party CiU and a total of 323 votes in favour; 19 votes against the proposed legislation were insufficient to halt its progress. González-Sinde said that the law will send out "a message of tranquility to both users and creators", and added that it was a measure that was totally balanced, as shown by the support it received from both sides of Congress. The law was previously rejected by Congress on December 21st, 2010 in the Economic Commission; however, it was rescued by a pact between the main parties in the chamber when the wording was amended to strengthen the judicial guarantees throughout the process of closing websites that contain content to be downloaded that are subject to the rights of authors.
Low-cost airline Ryanair is to close the majority of its services to and from Girona airport (read article in Catalan here, Avui). An announcement is expected today from the Irish company where it will reveal the transfer of most of its operations to Barcelona airport, from where it launched flights last year. As such, it is ignoring the wishes of the new Catalan government to renegotiate its declaration of intentions, which was signed with the previous government at the end of December last year. The declaration was signed with the knowledge of all the political parties and in the face of pressure from Ryanair to modify an agreement that was due to expire this year. The agreement sees Ryanair due to be paid a fixed payment of €7.5 million if it stays at Girona airport and brings in four million passengers. However, the payment could reach as much as €11.5 million, the majority of which would be paid by the Generalitat, a significant increase on the amount Ryanair was paid in 2009 of €4.7 million for bringing in five million passengers. While governing party CiU said that it did want to maintain this agreement, in recent weeks and in light of the difficult financial situation it finds itself in, it has shown a willingness to renegotiate the terms of the pact. It has tried various times to sit down with representatives from Ryanair to discuss the matter, but the airline has always refused to do so. Instead, the company has applied pressure to definitively sign the December agreement.
The authors of the latest anti-smoking law have said that there shouldn't be an amendment to the legislation to take into account smoking as part of theatrical performances, but that the existing regulation should be applied in these cases with common sense and sensitivity (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The issue has arisen over the musical Hair, currently showing at the Apolo Theatre in Barcelona, where characters on stage smoke cigarettes. However, despite these voices in the Spanish Socialist Party recommending turning a blind eye to such actions, others in the party believe that smoking on stage shouldn't be permitted. Party spokesperson Pilar Grande said that the Generalitat had to take the decision on the issue and pointed out, as has health minister Leire Pajín, that the law clearly states that smoking is not allowed on a closed stage, which is also a workplace. Instead, Grande said, methods should be used to give the impression of smoking without actually lighting up. Gaspar Llamazares, president of the Health Commission in Congress, said that in the case of Hair and similar theatrical presentations, the law should be applied with "flexibility". Meanwhile, a spokesperson for CiU, Conxita Tarruella, said that "it's not the same to smoke for five minutes on stage, which doesn't hurt anybody, as to smoke throughout the entire performance. We shouldn't take things out of context."