The government extends the state of alarm until January 15th (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). The government yesterday formally requested that the Congreso de los Diputados extend the state of emergency until January 15th to ensure air traffic control during the Christmas holidays, the house will vote tomorrow on the proposal. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero called a special cabinet to make the request in order to keep the air traffic controllers under military command. In a press conference, vice president, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba announced the move and said that "we believe it is what we need." The vice president refused to comment on the fact that this move could be possibly challenged in court as it is preventative rather than reactive saying that the government does not use this measure as a "just in case" method. Rubalcaba said that the minister of the presidency, Ramon Jauregui will be responsible in defending the application in Congress tomorrow in the absense of Zapatero. Parliamentary groups are able to submit amendments to the proposal and the CiU has already advised of their support but the left parties, EERC, IU-ICV, BNG have rejected the measure outright. The PP have not yet publicly said what their voting intentions are. It is thought that there are to be around 90,000 scheduled flights between December 20th and January 10th including the number of passengers transiting through airports between those dates, with figures estimated at around 9 million passengers. The potential new wild strike could affect 3.5 million people. The Consejo has stressed that the government must push through the reforms necessary to prevent the possibility of massive abandonment of service.
The Catalan parliament is the most equal in the history of the Cámara with a total of 56 women occupying seats out of a possible 135 (read article in Castlian here, El País). This figure is the joint highest in the history of the house and reaches for the first time the 40 percent set out by the Equality Act of 2007. Out of the parties, the Partit dels Socialistes e Iniciative and the Catalunya Verds-Esquerra show the most equality with around half of their members women. The other extreme is Joan Laporta's Solidaritat Catalana per la Independència which is made up of 4 male members. The Esquerra Republicana y Ciutadans has 30 percent women whilst the Convergència i Unió has 40 percent and the Partido Popular has 44 percent. The average age of members is 47, two years older than in the previous legislature. The two youngest members are Roger Montañola of the CiU and José Antonio Coto from the PP who were both born in 1986. Only one member has sat since the House was reestablished in 1980 after 40 years of Franco's dictatorship. Higini Clotas has been a member for three decades.
The Ateneu Barcelonès celebrates its 150th birthday (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). By way of celebrating they have initiated a restoration of old books with the aim to invest €15,000 for the 40 most popular books. However the books that require special care number around 3,000 at an estimated cost of around €1.1 billion. Donors can donate money, from €35, for the repair of books chosen from the collection of around 150,000 titles. The library at the Ateneu was created by donations and still loans out around 15,000 titles annually. Members have grown from around 2,500 to 4,166 in recent years resulting in an investment of around six million euros from which they have restored the reading rooms, recovered the 18th century facade and updated technological equipment. Vice president, Ferran Mascarell said, "It's a building, but above all a spirit." In a conference alongside Mayor Jordi Hereu and president Oriol Bohigas they announced scientific conferences and lectures as well as a book detailing the history of the building. They also joined Twitter and Facebook and as of yesterday had 198 followers.