18.06.2013 - 10.44 pm
The ice melting from the mountain tops and the heavy rain episodes of the last 24 hours have caused flooding of the Garonne, Noguera Pallaresa, Noguera de Cardós and other rivers in the mountain counties of the Val d’Aran, Pallars Sobirà, Alta Ribagorça and north of Pallars Jussà. More than 300 people have been evacuated from their homes in flooded or at risk areas. No victims or missing people have been reported, but material damage is considerable. Bridges have been swallowed by the waters and some roads have partially collapsed since the land beneath them has been swept away by the flood. Road access to the Val d’Aran County was closed as a precaution. Rain is expected to continue during the night and the reservoirs are overflowing because they have reached their maximum capacity.
17.06.2013 - 02.40 pm
Poor road conditions and a high rate of traffic accidents have led the Catalan Government to approve a strict circulation restriction for four axle lorries throughout 90 kilometers (56 miles) of the N-II, a road linking Madrid with Barcelona and the French border, which has only one lane per direction. Although the measure is of temporary character, it has outraged roadside shopkeepers and lorry drivers, but neighbors from towns close to the highly-frequented road totally support it. According to the Catalan Ministry for Public Works, now is the moment for the widening project of the road drawn up by the Spanish Government in 1995 to be restarted after years of delay due to a lack of funding in order to improve road conditions for the main entrance road to Spain from France.
06.06.2013 - 11.41 pm
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, which is one of Australia’s main universities, will offer Master and PhD programmes in Barcelona. The RMIT University, which has three campuses in Melbourne and two in Vietnam, is now coming to Europe and will coordinate its activities in the continent from Barcelona. The Australian education institution will also cooperate with several Catalan universities, in particular the UPC, the UPF and ELISAVA. The Catalan Minister for Economy and Knowledge, Andreu Mas-Colell, attended the opening ceremony. He underlined that Australia’s higher education system is “the most internationalised in the world”. He also stated that the RMIT campus in Barcelona “is a bridge towards Europe, the Mediterranean Area and Latin America”.
04.06.2013 - 11.04 pm
The healthcare tourism sector is growing. Russian, British and German visitors make the most of their holiday trip by visiting specialists, passing medical tests or undergoing a surgical operation. As a response to this, a private medical center in Girona has announced that it will invest more than €1 million to profit from healthcare tourism.
29.05.2013 - 08.59 pm
The new species has been named “Nievisia sossiensis” and has been discovered by researchers at the Catalan Paleontology Institute. Described as a small primate that weighed between 100 and 150 grams and lived in the Eocen epoch, the remains have been found at the archeological site of Sossís near the town of Conca de Dalt (Lleida Pyrenees). The research has been published this month in the international magazine ‘Journal of Human Evolution’, specialized in Paleolithic Archaeology and Primatology.
28.05.2013 - 11.23 pm
Political parties agree on a common strategy to face the Spanish Government's Education Law against the Catalan language
The parties defending the current Catalan school model, which represent 80% of Catalonia’s Parliament, met on Tuesday to discuss how to face the Spanish Government’s Education Reform, known as LOMCE. They all agreed to act together in Madrid to try to change the law. The Catalan Government proposed modifying the reform in the Spanish Parliament in order to make it honour Catalonia’s main law – approved via a binding referendum – which clearly states that Catalan is the language of instruction. The Catalan school model is based on the linguistic immersion principle, guaranteeing equal opportunities and social cohesion. The Spanish Executive’s Education Reform aims to stop linguistic immersion and allow parents to choose Spanish as their children’s language of instruction.
24.05.2013 - 10.01 pm
Norway’s former PM Gro H. Brundtland and Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai awarded the ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’
Both women have been awarded Catalonia’s most prestigious prize for “their determination and courage in the defence of human rights”. Malala Yousafzai is the young activist in Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban for defending the right to education, particularly for female students. Gro Harlem Brundtland coined the term “sustainable development”, advocated for fighting climate change, was the Director of the World Health Organisation and had the luck to escape from Utoya’s deadly attack. Each year, the ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’ is given to individuals who have greatly contributed to humankind’s development. Brazil’s former President Lula da Silva, received the prize last year. Other awardees include: Haruki Murakami, Jimmy Carter, Aung San Suu Kyi, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Doris Lessing, Jacques Delors, Amartya Sen and Karl Popper.
17.05.2013 - 10.53 pm
Madrid to oblige the Catalan Government to pay for a privately-owned school if a pupil wants to study in Spanish
The Spanish Government has approved its Education Reform, which aims to make Spanish a teaching language in Catalonia and reduces the Autonomous Communities’ power to manage their education system. The new law states the Spanish Government is to decide on the curricula of the main subjects, such as History. In addition, tests will be set at the end of the schoolstages and their contents will be exclusively decided from Madrid. Since the tests will be the same for the whole of Spain, items regarding Catalan culture, geography or history will not enter into the final examinations. The Catalan Education Minister, Irene Rigau, considered the law to be “pre-democratic” and “re-centralist”. She also stated that “it is impossible to honour it in Catalonia”, since privately-owned schools teach in Catalan and the law goes against the Catalan Statute of Autonomy (Catalonia’s main law).