No ‘basis’ for keeping minister in jail, says professor
Decision to prevent re-offence based on “future prediction” according to Marc Balcells
Decision to prevent re-offence based on “future prediction” according to Marc Balcells
Latvia’s Anti-fraud Office couldn’t find any evidence to prove that former Latvian Prime Minister, Valdis Dombrovskis, was bribed to back Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations. In an exclusive interview with the CNA in 2013, Dombrovskis, who was still Latvia’s Prime Minister at the time, defended the possibility of his government recognising Catalonia’s independence as long as the process was “legitimate”. Soon afterwards, Spanish magazine ‘Interviu’, citing a Spanish police report, accused Dombrovskis of allegedly receiving 6 MEUR in exchange for expressing his support for Catalonia’s political aspirations. According to Latvia’s Anti-fraud Office spokeswoman, Laura Dusa, there are “no reasons to open a judicial process” because “there is no proof of a bribe”.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont met with former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, during the President’s official trip to London. In a face-to-face interview on the radio programme ‘El Balcó’, from Cadena SER radio, Puigdemont praised “Scotland’s know-how in terms of organising referendums” and assured that Catalonia would like to conduct its pro-independence process “in the Scottish way” but lamented that Spain “is not the United Kingdom” and therefore “it is hard to negotiate if there is no one at the other end of the table”. For his part, Salmond insisted that “it is not for Scotland to instruct Catalonia on the specific techniques to follow” in order to achieve their purposes but emphasised that “ballot boxes and democracy will prevail” and “the opportunity shall arise”. This was Puigdemont’s first event in London, where he will be on an official trip until Friday.
Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, will be interviewed this Thursday on the radio programme ‘El Balcó’ of Cadena SER radio station. The conversation will take place during Puigdemont’s official trip to London, during which the Catalan President will give the talk ‘Mapping a Path Towards Catalan Independence’ at London’s Chatham House, one of the most important think tanks in the world. Puigdemont will be in London from Wednesday to Friday, and on the diplomatic trip he will also hold an interview with the BBC and attend business meetings in the financial heart of the city. London will be Puigdemont’s second official trip abroad, after visiting Belgium in the beginning of May.
The Catalan film director Isabel Coixet screened her second latest film 'Learning to drive', starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson at the Málaga Film Festival this Friday. Coixet,is probably the most internationally acclaimed contemporary Catalan filmmaker, having directed 10 feature-length films including 'Things I Never Told You' (1996), My Life Without Me (2003) which won a Goya Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Berlin's Golden Bear, 'The Secret Life of Words' (2005) which won the main Goya Awards, and ' Map of the Sounds of Tokyo' (2009). Coixet manages to craft her films in her own style, whilst also working also with Hollywood stars such as Ben Kingsley, Tim Robbins and Penélope Cruz. She has also been involved in the making of many documentary films and commercials.
Carlus Padrissa is the most active of the current artistic directors of the La Fura dels Baus, one of the most well-known Catalan theatre performing arts companies, internationally known for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics. Always looking to break the barrier between the audience and the artists, La Fura puts their focus on interaction mixed with traditional cultural elements of Catalan street celebrations. Pieces such as ‘Actions’, ‘Suz/O/Suz’ and ‘Tier Mon’ established them as innovative creators for both critics and spectators alike in the 1980s. Carlus Padrissa cannot escape from his vocation: the ambition of breaking conventions and renewing cultural contexts while redefining concepts. Now in his 50s, he is working more than ever without limitations. As long as he keeps creating, retirement isn’t part of his future plans.
The Catalan actor David Verdaguer, known for his comic roles in Catalan TV programmes such as ‘APM’ and ‘Crackòvia’, has recently received the Gaudí Award in the best actor category for his leading role in ‘10,000km’, directed by Carlos Marqués-Marcet. After the success of the film, Carlos Marqués is planning a new project to be filmed in London with a supporting role for Verdaguer. Deeply dedicated to theatre, David Verdaguer has just performed in the play ‘El somni Americà’ at the Teatre Lliure in Barcelona.
Salvador Sunyer, Director of the theatre festival Temporada Alta, is a great example of what defines an entrepreneur. He created the company ‘Bitò Produccions’ in Girona in 1992 along with two professional local actors who wanted to stimulate theatrical activities in the city. They immediately planned the creation of a new festival called the ‘Temporada Alta’ 24 years ago as a short cycle based on premieres, but it has grown at such a great speed that they have achieved a 90% occupancy rate every year since 2000. Last year they sold 94% of all tickets. Without a doubt, the Festival has become a point of reference in the sector, considered by experts as the best festival in Spain in terms of quality and pioneering spirit. For this reason, in 2010, Sunyer received Catalonia's National Theatral Award. Sunyer works hard to bring to Girona the greatest artists from the international scene as well as being a platform for presenting new local talents
The Tour of Catalonia, known as ‘La Volta’, was born in 1911 and is the 3rd oldest cycling competition in the world, just behind the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. Its Director, Rubèn Peris, is proud of the event and says that “‘La Volta’ is something bigger than a race” and is an ambassador for showing Catalonia to the rest of the world, included in the UCI World Tour calendar. From the 23rd to the 29th of March, this competition will hold its 95th edition with the presence of some of the best riders in the world such as Chris Froome, Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez and Alberto Contador. The CNA interviewed Peris a few days before the start of the race, which "has reached an extremely high level and which is always co-ordinated by amateurs", showing "how strong the associations’ network in Catalonia is".
Isona Passola, the producer of the internationally-acclaimed Catalan film ‘Pa Negre’ (Black Bread), the Spanish contender for an Oscar in 2013, believes that “Catalan culture can be appreciated worldwide”. Passola has made many historical documentaries and is now convinced that “life acquires meaning when working for collective benefit”. Last year she presented ‘L’Endemà’, a documentary aimed at countering the arguments against Catalan independence and financed through crowd-funding. Passola, the current president of the Catalan Film Academy, is “a true defender of the right to form a family” and “has never lost the joie de vivre”.
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, insisted on Friday that “a clear absolute majority” will be needed for the pro-independence parties in the early elections scheduled for 27 September to make the world understand that the creation of a new independent state must be negotiated. In a radio interview, Mas explained that the road map towards independence - if there is an electoral majority - is still being negotiated among the different parties and organisations, in order to run separately but with a shared road map in case of victory. This road map would include demanding the start of immediate negotiations with the Spanish Authorities to reach an agreement on Catalonia’s independence from Spain if a majority of citizens vote for this scenario on the 27th of September.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, who is also leader of the conservative and Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP), strongly criticised the announcement of early elections made by the Catalan President, Artur Mas, the evening before. Mas announced elections in Catalonia for 27 September this year, transformed into a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence. These elections are the only way Catalans can vote on this issue, taking into account the Spanish Government’s total opposition to even talking about self-determination demands, which were backed by an absolute majority of citizens in the last Catalan elections (held in November 2012) which themselves were already a plebiscite on having a legal vote on independence. However, as opposed to the British Government, Rajoy refused to even discuss these demands, has not made any concessions, and has showed total opposition, which has even involved the criminal prosecution of the Catalan President.
Miquel Iceta, First Secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), is currently rejecting a vote on independence and is proposing a broad Constitutional Reform to grant Catalonia a better fitting within a truly federal Spain. On Wednesday evening, Iceta exposed his proposals in a conference, emulating what the main pro-independence leaders – Artur Mas and Oriol Junqueras – had done one and two weeks ago. On Thursday, he was interviewed by a radio station about his proposals and he was asked about would happen if Catalans were to reject the Constitutional Reform he is pushing for. In such scenario, the leader of the PSC – which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – stated that he would support the organisation of a referendum on independence. However, before voting on breaking up with Spain, Iceta insisted on the need to vote on a new agreement set through a Constitutional Reform.