|   Current affairs and social issues  

Barcelona City Council plans a facelift for Les Rambles

CNA / Sara Gómez

Barcelona’s famous central artery and main tourist street will undergo a major transformation due to the degradation experienced over the last number of years. Barcelona City Council has decided to make Les Rambles an appealing location and presented an investment plan based on six main points. It aims to increase security and to make the street more pleasant to walk on. The plan has a €10 million budget and will be gradually implemented between 2012 and 2018.

December 21, 2011 07:49 PM

Catalan doctors help a patient become the first woman in the world with no ovaries to get pregnant

CNA / Bertran Cazorla

Sant Joan de Déu Hospital in Greater Barcelona has become the first facility in the world to assist a woman who lost her two ovaries to get pregnant. A decade ago she had to have her ovaries completely removed because of two tumours. Ovarian tissue was frozen, kept for ten years and now re-implanted. The patient has had her period again and, thanks to in vitro fertilisation, is now pregnant.

December 16, 2011 07:17 PM

Two thirds of Catalans regularly access media in Catalan


The Catalan public television and radio broadcaster continues to lead the audience share in Catalonia. Regarding newspapers, ‘La Vanguardia’ tops the ranking in Catalonia, followed by ‘El Periódico’. The number of consumers choosing newspapers in Catalan has grown by 29% in the last year, thanks to the recently created ‘Ara’ and the new edition of ‘La Vanguardia’ in Catalan. This totals 48% of its readers.

November 29, 2011 10:26 PM

Catalan scientists develop biomarkers for the early detection of babies with learning disorders

CNA / Guillem Sánchez

The brain damage a foetus may suffer during pregnancy is sometimes not detected in the first few years of a child's life. If that damage could be detected early, psychological stimulation could reduce future learning disorders. Scientists from Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic have identified biomarkers indicating possible brain damage while carrying out a brain scan.

November 23, 2011 09:21 PM

The ‘Ombudsman’ has “less influence” and is under “threat of disappearance”

CNA / Esther Romagosa

In an international conference taking place in Barcelona of Ombudsmen from Europe, America and Africa, the Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, has warned that the institution has “less influence”. Furthermore, in some areas of Europe there is a threat that they will “disappear”. The Ombudsmen have been discussing their role in the face of the privatisation of basic services. The conference has been organised with the ‘Cercle d’Economia’, which is mainly an economic forum, open to businesspeople, academics and economic professionals.

November 21, 2011 09:22 PM

Strike against university budget cuts has uneven support in Catalonia

CNA / Sara Gómez

Students have protested against the Catalan Government’s measures intended to adjust university budgets. Protesters have criticised “privatisation”, with budget cuts and university tax increases. However, the Catalan Government denied these claims and said it had no intention of laying off 4,000 lecturers and researchers. As with other strikes, the figures presented by both sides are contradictory. Organisers talk about a “success” and stress that in some faculties classes were completely suspended. Nevertheless, official information states the uneven support of students for the strike action, ranging from 25% to 40% depending on the faculty.

November 18, 2011 06:27 PM

Intel and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to build a lab on the fastest calculation speeds


The Spanish IT multinational company Intel and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center will create a joint research and development lab to calculate speeds on the exaFLOP scale, which are a thousand times quicker than the current fastest computers in the world. The lab will be created in Barcelona over the coming years, at the BSC facilities. Intel hopes to reach Exascale performance within the next ten years.

November 16, 2011 11:02 PM

Catalan healthcare is unevenly affected by the doctor strike to halt budget cuts

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The trade union organising the protest has said that 70% of doctors took part in the strike, while the Catalan Ministry of Health reduced the figure to only 20%. Doctors are protesting at the budget cuts in the Catalan healthcare system in order to decrease the public deficit, which included a 5% salary reduction. The doctor’s union called for a strike on November 15th and 16th, coinciding with the negotiations on the 2012 budget and the Spanish elections. The Catalan Government stated that the strike asks for unrealistic salary increases and considered it has “failed”. 20,000 medical consultations have to be postponed.

November 15, 2011 10:02 PM

‘Le Monde’ condemned paying a 15,000 euro fine for damaging FC Barcelona’s honour in 2006


The French newspaper ‘Le Monde’ published an article in December 2006 that falsely linked FC Barcelona with doping practices. A first trial condemned ‘Le Monde’ to pay 300,000 euros to the Catalan sports club, but the French newspaper and the journalist Stéphane Mandard appealed. A second court reduced the fine to 15,000 euros, but they appealed again. The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld the last sentence and dismissed the French newspaper's appeal.

November 15, 2011 03:27 PM

World pioneering foetal surgery against spina bifida successfully undergone in a Catalan hospital

CNA / Maria Bélmez

For the first time in the world, a foetus having the spina bifida congenital disorder went through a new intra-uterus surgery technique. A medical team from Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital operated on the foetus in its 24th week by placing a biological fabric on the spinal cord, in order to protect it from amniotic liquid and to ease the gap’s closing. The baby is now five months old and doctors are confident she may walk without any problems.

November 2, 2011 09:58 PM

High-Speed Train between Barcelona and Madrid is reduced to 2h 30 min


Trains will reach a maximum speed of 310 km/h along some points of the trip. The improvement is due to the implementation of a new navigation system that has reduced the journey time for direct trains by eight minutes. The Spanish train operator, RENFE, hopes to overtake air travel as the preferred way to go from one city to the other. The air route between Barcelona and Madrid is the busiest in Europe and it used to be the busiest in the world.

October 25, 2011 12:04 AM

Latest updates and breaking news on society, social issues, and current affairs from Barcelona and Catalonia. Keep up to date on protests, the housing crisis, the ongoing drought, the climate crisis and environmental management, urban development and management, the language immersion system, and much more here.