The initiative prompted by the Ciutat Vella district in late July to ban the sell of alcohol after midnight in shops is now being adhered to by all but 4 of the 38 grocery stores under inspection (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The legislation which was instigated by councilor Itziar González was initially ignored by most of the 38 establishments in the area which opened between 11pm and 3am. Checks undertaken between mid-August and September found that 23 shops opened after midnight despite the measure and a total of 20 penalty proceedings were initiated. As a result of the operation, activity and noise in the street have fallen this summer claim sources in the district. See also: Informer October 15th - Generalitat cracks down on ‘happy hours’
A new contract, which is to come in effect this Sunday, for street cleaners will increase cleanliness by more than 15 per cent, Deputy Mayor Imma Mayol announced yesterday (article in Castilian, El Periodico). In addition to the implementation of new containers, the number of street cleaning vehicles and sweeping machines will increase by 50 per cent going from 84 vehicles to 128 and the number of people employed will increase by 7.5 per cent. Mayor Jordi Hereu's effort to adapt the latest technologies to the systems of cleaning and garbage collection is to be reflected in a slogan change from BCNeta to Barcelona pel Medi Ambient and the new vehicles will be much less polluting and quieter. The new trucks will use bio diesel and gas and the smaller ones will be electric - therefore reducing the noise from 6 decibels to around 4.
Judge Baltasar Garzon of the National Court yesterday ordered an operation against urban corruption in Barcelona when the mayor of the Santa Coloma de Gramenet, the socialist Bartholomew Munoz was arrested alongside 4 other councilmen. (article in Catalan, El Punt). All 5 men are accused of peddling, bribery, falsifying documents and tax evasion. They are all expected to appear in front of judge in Madrid on Friday. Judge Garzon is investigating the alleged plot from 2006 in a case that stems from previous investigations in 2002 on money laundering and tax evasion. A note published by the council yesterday stated the "preservation of dignity, transparency and honesty of the image of the City of Santa Coloma is for us an absolute priority." It added that the council will continue to provide all municipal services to residents.
Also in the news: Catalunya registers the highest number of births since the Seventies (La Vanguardia). Barcelona returns to a more traditional theme for the Christmas lights this year after controversy over last year's contemporary approach (La Vanguardia).