Just a couple of days after Convergència i Unió (CiU) said that it would respect the most-voted-for candidates from the May municipal elections, the party has changed its mind, specifically regarding the council in Tarragona city (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). While the leader of CiU, Artur Mas, has said since his election as president of the Generalitat last November that the party prefers to govern in the parliament without an official partner, the recent refusal of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) to support the Generalitat's budget plans for this year has meant that CiU has had to look for ways to garner support from other parties to ensure that its budget passes. This means that, while the CiU pledge to respect the victory of candidates who won the most votes in the council elections, even if they didn't get an absolute majority will stand in most places across Catalunya, in Tarragona, the party will make a coalition with the Partido Popular (PP) and thus deprive the incumbent PSC candidate of a second term. CiU had hoped that its declared strategy of not making such coalitions would ease the way to support from the PSC in parliament, but in the face of reticence from the Catalan Socialists, the party has decided instead to team up with the PP, with the aim of getting the support of that party for budgets. CiU has also burnt more bridges with the PSC by introducing the so-called 'ley de omnibus', which threatens to repeal much of the legislation introduced by the previous tripartite coalition government, headed by the PSC in partnership with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds.
A contortionist has been arrested by the Mossos d'Esquadra, accused of stealing items from luggage stored in the hold of buses travelling between Girona airport and Barcelona, by hiding himself in a suitcase that an accomplice loaded into the hold, then coming out during the journey and searching through the other cases to find items of value (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). For some time, the company that operates the bus route, Barcelona Bus had realised that something strange was happening with luggage on its buses. It had received five complaints about the loss of valuables that had taken place at some point during the journey. One of the victims noted that she had seen someone who seemed nervous while waiting to collect his case at the arrival point and had had the impression that when he was walking away with the case, he was talking to it. She thought it was just an unusual occurrence, until she realised that her laptop was missing from her own suitcase. The story of 'the thief inside a case' became a kind of urban legend and was the source of jokes amongst employees of the company. Until last Friday, that is, when one of them noted that a man was struggling to put a heavy case in the hold and so notified the Catalan police. When they arrived, the officers touched the case and discovered that it was hot; they opened it to discover a man inside, sweating heavily and who said that he was there because he didn't have enough money to buy a ticket.
Parc Güell has turned into a kind of bazaar with a large number of sellers plying their trade to the many tourists who visit the Gaudí landmark (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The largest group of sellers are of Pakistani origin, while there are also Chinese and South American people with items to sell. The products available range from handkerchiefs to imitation sunglasses to Panama hats, which have become popular this year amongst these unofficial traders, whose manner of selling has become known locally as 'top manta' (manta means blanket in Castilian, referring to the item that they use to lay out their wares). Yesterday, there were some 200 vendors, many offering the same products, located along the main esplanade of the park. There are also people selling original creative work, human statues and groups of musicians, of varied genres, playing to entertain the crowds of visitors, which can number up to four million in a year.