Spain is planning to carry out an analysis of the damages suffered as a result of the "cucumber crisis" following claims from Germany that the source of the current outbreak was contaminated vegetables from here (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The government will also consider the possibility of seeking compensation from the European Union for farmers negatively affected by the affair, said Spain's foreign affairs minister Trinidad Jiménez this morning. "What we are now waiting for, in the first place, for questions of food safety, is the identification of the origin of the outbreak so that it can be halted," said Jiménez. She went on to say that Spain would evaluate if it was able to seek financial compensation for those who have suffered losses as a result of a drop in sales caused by the spread of the disease. Speaking in Mexico, where she is on an official visit, Jiménez also said that from the start of the "cucumber crisis", Spain had called on Europe to prevent one or other country being picked out as the origin of the bacteria that has led so far to 16 deaths and hundreds more falling ill. It is not yet known if the bacteria contaminated food at its origin or while in transit.
The majority of complaints brought against agents from the Mossos d'Esquadra following last Friday's charge against the protestors in Plaça Catalunya have been shelved as a result of judges being unable to identify those involved, as the officers did not wear their professional number in a visible place (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This is an infraction of a regulation brought in by the Generalitat, which was also regularly ignored under the former interior minister of the 'tripartite' coalition, Joan Saura. Of the 15 complaints brought, nine have been rejected by the judge dealing with the cases, while it has been agreed that the other six will be taken forward, due to the injuries caused to those who have brought the complaints. However, court sources say that if it is not possible to identify the author of the injuries, then these cases will also be rejected. This is not the first time that such complaints have failed to prosper; in protests against the Bolonia scheme for universities, during which members of the Mossos were accused of violence, cases were archived due to a lack of evidence regarding those said to be responsible for causing injury to demonstrators.
While agreement has been reached regarding the start date of the new school year in September, Monday 12th, it is still not clear what timetable pupils under the age of 11 will do (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Although the Catalan education minister, Irene Rigau, announced yesterday a general timetable to be applied in public primary schools, she also left open the possibility that these schools finish half an hour earlier than the standard timetable, at 4pm. The official timetable will thus be 9am to 12.30pm and 3 to 4.30pm, but Rigau made it clear that some schools could choose to finish instead at 4pm. The Convergència government has decided to eliminate the controversial 'sixth hour' of teaching introduced by the former coalition government, apart from in schools that are located in disadvantaged areas, which led many centres to extend their school day to 5pm. If schools did want to finish at four, they would follow a timetable of 9am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 4pm. Before such a timetable can be implemented, however, it has to be approved by the Consell Escolar of the school in question. With regards holidays, the minister said that although there would no longer be the official 'setmana blanca' half-term holiday, which was introduced during the current school year, individual schools could choose to take their five free-choice days off together to make a full week break.