The Labour Minister, Celestino Corbacho, has said in his first appearance on the day of the general strike that "the strike is going smoothly and without incident" (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). He says: "People are exercising both the right to strike and to go to work." He estimated that there has been 97 percent compliance with agreed minimum services. He did however refuse to discuss the pickets that blocked the departure of buses at the garages of the EMT in Madrid saying only "The minimum services are met wherever they had been agreed." Corbacho has called people to both respect both the constitutional right to strike as well as "any citizen who wants to work can do so smoothly and in total and absolute freedom". He added: "We understand the work of informative picketing." With regard to monitoring the strike, the Labour Ministry is committed to "not get into a war of numbers" with the unions and to "respect the figures that each organisation give." One of the ways of monitoring is electricity consumption, which according to government sources dropped by 8.5 percent at 7am. The Ministry of Communication has enabled a website, www.mpr29s.es which will publish reports regularly on the progress of the strike.
Ferran Adrià and his team at the Fundación Alicia and the chefs at the Hospital de Sant Andreu de Manresa (FSSM) have created a new food concept to facilitate people who can't chew (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Joan Cardona, the chef de Sant Andreu admits "Purees in hospitals always have the same appearance and taste. This removes any desire to eat." Speaking of the newly created food purees, Nurse Ester Cruse said: Food is now the only moment of pleasure of the day." They say, the quality of the new pastes have not only allowed patients to go back to eat dishes, enjoy flavours and smells that they couldn't before it has also reawakened the desire to eat. "When a patient with dysphagia will take a second tablespoon of food this is an unmistakable sign that he's enjoying what he is eating." This is not the first time that the Fundación Alícia (Alimentación y Ciencia), assisted by the cardiologist Valenti Fuster, have worked to make food for people with special or restricted diet. The foundation, created by the Generalitat and Caixa Manresa has developed programs for diabetics, people with allergies, PKU and cystic fibrosis patients.
The Biblioteca Provincial, to be built alongside the estación de França, could open its doors in 2014 (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The building, which will cost an estimated €37.4, has been in the planning process since 1987 when then Minister of Culture, Jorge Semprún, wished to adapt various historic buildings, before the city council gave the site of the estación de França in 2009. Previous locations put on the table included the Modelo jail, Plaza de Toros de las Arenas, the Convent dels Angels, the former Espanyol Stadium and the Can Jorba building. Last June 21st, the Culture Ministry put out the contract to tender and recieved 71 proposals, they chose Nitidus and Betarq and to architect Josep Maria Miró Gellida. The library was expected to hold 200,000 volumes but that figure has since risen to 600,000 books. The building design will have three glass blocks arranged in steps that will allow the station to remain visible from the Ciutadella Park. Jordi Hereu said of the plan "Now I just ask you to turn plans into reality, that there are no stones to stop this progress, referring to the continuing delays. He also said that this library will be the "mother" of the 35 that are scattered throughout Barcelona. Ángeles González Sinde, the current Minister of Culture was more poetic and mentioned the importance of books, "We do not believe in a society where citizens are hidden behind LCD displays, such as C3PO or R2D2", he added that "if books go someday, then people would still need places to meet and debate".