Barcelona’s famous and popular city-centre market, La Boqueria, is to undergo a series of renovation works (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The archway at the entrance to the market, which is also called the Mercat de Sant Josep, is to be restored and also moved forward, so that it sits right on La Rambla, rather than some metres back from it, as at present, a change that will give a big boost to its presence on Barcelona’s most famed street. While the work was supposed to be carried out by the city council, delays in it getting underway have meant that stall-holders ended up seeking private financing for the project; Banco Santander is providing the €160,000 necessary for carrying out the changes. Work will begin in spring 2010, when the entire portal will be removed and taken away to a workshop to be restored, a process that will take six months.
The Spanish government is to crack down on websites that provide illegally obtained contents by cutting their access to the internet (article in Castilian, El Periodico). In the new Law of Sustainable Economy, this measure is being proposed as a way to reduce the amount of online piracy in Spain. The Spanish Culture Minister, Àngeles González-Sinde, said yesterday that there would be no case of cutting internet access for users in any eventuality, as is the approach that has been taken in some countries including France and the UK, where individual users who download material are the objective of anti-piracy legislation. Instead, the target of this part of the law will be websites that offer downloads for which it doesn’t have copyright or permission to do so (for example, songs and films); once the law is passed, such sites could be blocked after they have been assessed by a group of experts from a Commission of Intellectual Property.
Barcelona mayor Jordi Hereu has proposed a series of measures that he hopes will deal with the issue of reoffending by petty criminals in the city (article in Catalan, Avui). Last year, there were 17 people who between them were arrested 437 times for theft, and this attitude of impunity with which some criminals act in Barcelona is partly responsible for the high perception of insecurity that the Catalan capital has in some quarters. As such, Hereu has called on the Interior minister of the Generalitat, Joan Saura, for coordinated action on the matter between the city council and the government of the autonomous community. Amongst the ideas suggested by the mayor are the creation of a register of crimes that would give judges a full criminal history of people that appear before them. In addition, Hereu wants changes to the law so that a lower number of crimes committed would signify an offence; at the present time, the Penal Code says that four crimes in a year is officially an ‘offence’. However, this change needs to be done at a State level rather than local, which makes it much more complicated to achieve.
Also in the news: Significant slow-down in number of new unemployed (La Vanguardia); Latest snow-fall in the Pyrenees good news for ski resorts (La Vanguardia); Leo Messi wins Ballon d’Or with highest-ever score (Avui)