Government may fine Gas Natural over death of old woman allegedly due to energy poverty

November 15, 2016 06:52 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government may sanction the energy company Gas Natural Fenosa over the death of an 81-year-old woman, who died on Sunday night in a fire at her home in Reus. All evidence points to the victim, whose energy supply was cut off two months ago, being affected by energy poverty and illuminating the flat with candles. Indeed, the candles appear to be the cause of the fire that burned the mattress where she slept, according to the investigation carried out by the Catalan police, Mossos d’Esquadra. Municipal sources explained in a press conference this Tuesday that the Social Services of the City Hall were not aware of the woman’s lack of electricity due to a non-payment, as they didn’t receive any request for financial assistance, nor a notification from the supplier. Gas Natural now has a period of five days to respond and prove that it fulfilled the established protocols, otherwise the Catalan Government will fine the company.

Spanish court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia

October 20, 2016 02:12 PM | ACN

The ban on bullfighting in Catalonia, approved by the Parliament in 2010 and effective since 2012, has been suspended this Thursday by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). Eight of the eleven magistrates in the court considered that the prohibition to host bullfighting in Catalonia “restricted the citizens’erights and freedoms”. Moreover, the TC emphasised that it is for the Spanish state to regulate this “intangible cultural heritage”nand “guarantee its preservation”. Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, insisted on the executive’s commitment to preventing “shows which imply animal suffering”hfrom taking place in Catalonia and assured that bullfighting won’t return to Catalonia. Bullfighting has been, for centuries, presented by Spanish nationalism as ‘the national fiesta’, the utmost celebration of Spanish pride. In other Autonomous Communities, such as the Canary Islands, bullfighting has been banned for decades.


Catalan companies subject to EU regulation increase CO2 emission by 4%

June 8, 2016 05:16 PM | Marc Ferragut Massanet / Laerke Saura

Carbon dioxide emissions by Catalan companies subject to EU regulation grew by 4% between 2013 and 2014, according to the report entitled “The Situation of the Worldwide Emissions of CO2”, and published by the Business and Climate Foundation, an organisation that works for an entrepreneur agreement on the fight against climate change. The figure is lower than the Spanish one, which increased by 7.2%. It is the first year that CO2 emissions have grown after many years of declining figures in Catalonia and one of the explanations given for the phenomenon by the author of the report, Arturo De las Heras, is the “reactivation of the economy after the closure of companies during recent years and the associated decrease in production”. Catalan companies emitted 13.5 million tons of CO2, which puts Catalonia in fourth place in the ranking among other Spanish regions, after Andalusia, Asturias and Galicia. 

Tourism website Airbnb contributed 740 million euros to Barcelona´s economy

March 16, 2016 06:57 PM | ACN

In 2015, Barcelona saw 740 million euros from American home-sharing website Airbnb, through which over 800,000 guests connected with over 9,000 hosts. This number marks an increase in guests, in amount earned, and in overnight stays. This year also saw a shift in lodging location as the rented spaces are no longer primarily centred in the historic ‘Ciutat Vella’ neighbourhood. By the website´s data, Barcelona is now the fourth most important destination, preceded by Paris, London, and New York. CNA spoke to CEO of Airbnb in Spain and Portugal Arnaldo Muñoz, who explains the negotiations in progress between the company and the Catalan and Barcelona authorities. 

The EP approves a new regulation which would grant Barcelona Port newfound autonomy

March 10, 2016 11:09 AM | ACN

The European Parliament has approved a new Port Services Regulation (PSR) which grants each port the legislative power to regulate its own rates and internal structure. This new regulation could end the “hypercentralism” of the Puertos del Estado, the government-run sector which controls the ports in Spain. As the Port of Barcelona has seen more and more traffic in the last few years, this could allow for it to truly ¨thrive”, by allowing it to lower its rates to more competitive prices, and opening it to becoming a European port for international commerce. The conservative People’s Party (PP), the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), and Unionist Ciutadans all voted against the legislation. 

Catalonia leads Spain in patent applications, surpassing Madrid

March 4, 2016 04:50 PM | ACN

The number of patent applications submitted in Barcelona exceeded those of Madrid, leading Spain in number of applications filed, and registering an increase from 2014. Within the EU, Spain is “at the tail end of the main group”, while Catalonia shows a “certain innovation that possibly doesn’t exist yet in other Spanish regions”. In Barcelona, the Esteve pharmaceutical laboratory is the Catalan business which has submitted the most patent applications, followed by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and the pharmaceutical company Almirall. Spain has not yet decided to join the EU Unitary Patent, which would give it access to the standardised patent system but exclude it from having “any influential capacity” in its regulatory bodies.