Tag Archive: Catalonia

Published time: December 13, 2013 09:35
Edited time: December 13, 2013 13:48


Head of the Catalunyan regional government Artur Mas (C) stands during a press conference on December 12, 2013 in Barcelona announcing that political parties in Catalonia agreed to hold a referendum on independence for the northeastern Spanish region on November 9, 2014 (AFP Photo / STR)

Head of the Catalunyan regional government Artur Mas (C) stands during a press conference on December 12, 2013 in Barcelona announcing that political parties in Catalonia agreed to hold a referendum on independence for the northeastern Spanish region on November 9, 2014 (AFP Photo / STR)


The Catalan regional parliament has set November next year for a referendum on the Spanish province’s independence. The government in Madrid blandly said the vote won’t happen, but activists wonder how it might be stopped.

Catalonia’s four pro-independence parties, which hold a majority in the regional parliament, announced Thursday that the rich industrial Spanish province will hold a referendum on whether to gain greater autonomy or even total independence from the country’s central government.

The vote’s preliminary date is November 9, Catalan regional government head Artur Mas said. The people will be asked two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” and “Do you want that state to be independent?”

The former question was added for those Catalans who seek to change Spain into a federation, with Catalonia forming part of it. According to a Metroscopia poll in newspaper El Pais last month, 46 percent of Catalans favor separatism versus 42 percent who wish to remain within Spain. The support for greater autonomy, however, is very strong.

Just minutes after the announcement Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon rejected the idea, saying it would be unconstitutional.

“The vote will not be held,” he said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke out later in the day, saying his government will not allow the Catalan referendum to happen.


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Catalonia sets date for independence referendum, but Madrid vows to block it

Catalan parties agree wording of proposed November 2014 referendum but Spanish government says it will not allow vote
Artur Mas

Artur Mas announceas that political parties in Catalonia have agreed to hold a referendum on independence next November. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Separatist parties in Spain‘s north-eastern Catalonia region on Thursday agreed the wording of an independence referendum proposed for November 2014 but the Spanish government immediately said the vote was illegal and would not happen.

The Catalan regional government head, Artur Mas, said the vote would ask two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” and: “Do you want that state to be independent?”

Spain’s justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, immediately said the vote could not take place because the constitution would not allow it.


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Earth Watch Report  –  Hazmat

Image Source


Today HAZMAT Spain Catalonia, Barcelona [Church of Sant Vicenc de Gualba] Damage level Details


HAZMAT in Spain on Monday, 21 January, 2013 at 05:58 (05:58 AM) UTC.

A total of 35 people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning during a concert in the parish church of Sant Vicenc de Gualba in Barcelona yesterday evening. 130 people were at the concert – part of the town’s Winter Festival. According to the emergency services, three of the 35 affected are in a serious condition – an 81-year-old woman, a 50-year-old woman and an eight-year-old boy – another is in a less serious condition and the rest have suffered only mild ill-effects. The alarm was raised at 8.30pm and the cause of the intoxication was found to be the “faulty combustion of the heaters used during the concert”. 13 people were allowed home after being treated at the church, but a further 12 were taken by ambulance to Girona’s Hospital de Palamos and four to the Hospital de Sant Joan d’Espi Moisses Broggi in Barcelona because of breathing difficulties. One person was taken by ambulance to the Hospital de Sant Celoni in Barcelona and five more were treated there after making their own way to the hospital. After venilating the church thoroughly overnight, firefighters confirmed this morning that the levels of carbon monoxide were back down to normal and that it could be reopened to the public.



Europe, Not Euro, May Break Apart

Who needs nations? Scotland, Catalonia, other European regions seek closer ties with EU

By Joergen Oerstroem Moeller

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond launches the YES campaign for Scottish independence in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 25. The campaign for independence prepares for an autumn 2014 referendum on severing the more than 300-year-old union with England. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond launches the YES campaign for Scottish independence in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 25. The campaign for independence prepares for an autumn 2014 referendum on severing the more than 300-year-old union with England. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)

The fear about the euro’s collapse has receded, but Europe as forged after the industrial revolution is fracturing, reverting to traditional regional entities with cultural traditions, languages, and animosity against nation-states that swallowed them without their consent.

There’s Scotland in Britain, Catalonia and Basque Country in Spain, Flanders in Belgium, Lombardy or Padania in Italy; Soon maybe Wales in Britain, Bavaria in Germany, Brittany and Occitania in France. On top of this litany, there’s also growing concern about Britain exiting the European Union.

The Holy Roman Empire dominating Central Europe before industrialization counted 1,800 states ruled by kings, knights, and bishops.

The states were too small to reap the fruits of industrialization. Fragmented markets prevented transnational supply chains and were incapable of shaping the logistics, transport infrastructure, and, most important of all, the political system necessary for transition from feudal and agricultural states to manufacturing.

So the European nation-state emerged. Admittedly Britain, France, and Spain could trace their roots back 100 or 200 years earlier, but were not solidly secure until around 1800. Italy and Germany were born between 1860 and 1871.


The nation-states masterminded regional economic integration, but never completely succeeded in shaping a national culture. Yes, a national language gradually took over, but the regions preserved distinct cultural identities. They acquiesced with the nation-state and obeyed respective capitals in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, or Madrid because force compelled them to do so and the economic advantages were evident.

The standard of living rose as industrialization conquered the regions, and prosperity followed. The end result: The increasing standard of living was sufficiently higher to compensate for attacks on cultural identity to ensure the nation-state’s prerogative. The people in the regions traded in some but not all cultural identity.

This became even more manifest as industrialization went into the next phase: economic globalization. International treaties strengthened the capitals’ hold over regions. The regions could not access global markets without the capitals’ consent as laid out in international rules negotiated among nation-states.

Scotland could not on its own strike a deal with the United States or Argentina for export of ships from the shipyards at the Clyde. Only London could. And over the first half of the 20th century, Europe showed little support for regionalism or cultural identity. Few Scots genuinely felt as Scots or saw Scotland in any other way than as part of the United Kingdom.

The role of the nation-states as imperial powers solidified this view. For the Scots, being part of the United Kingdom provided a platform for a central role in running the empire and profiting by doing so.

Conditions for Nation-State Disappearing

Conditions favoring the nation-state are disappearing—and rapidly. The empires are gone. Industrialization is giving way to an economic age shaped by information and communication technology, ICT, opening access to the world outside the nation-state framework.

Manufacturing used to be the cornerstone of European economic activity, but except for Germany, no longer.

The burden of transition has been unevenly distributed aggravating the skepticism among regions about the virtue of the nation-state. Over the last four years national political systems have lost legitimacy because of impotence in dealing with the crisis.

A feeling of unfair distribution of hardship and burdens when capitals cut welfare and increased taxes fuels the idea among regions that more fairness may be found if they handled these questions on their own while relying on the EU despite its shortcomings for economic policy.

The EU has taken away from the nation-state and its capitals the key to participate in economic globalization.

Most important of all, the EU has taken away from the nation-state and its capitals the key to participate in economic globalization. Regions no longer need to go through the capital to request changes in rules of the game or help in accessing foreign markets.

Regions have set up embassies and lobbying associations to promote export and attract investment abroad. For example, in Washington, a Scottish Affairs Office implements Scotland’s plan for engaging with the United States. To drive home the point, the office flags its Gaelic name, Riaghaltas na h-Alba.

Or the Scots work via the European Union with Scotland’s European Union Office implementing an action plan for engagement.

If Scotland, Catalonia, or Lombardy want to safeguard their interests in global negotiations, the negotiators are no longer found in London, Madrid, or Rome, but in Brussels. Sure enough, politicians and civil servants in the capitals still want, indeed crave, serving as the channel to the EU for all regional preferences, but this posture increasingly falls on deaf ears.

The view in London that Scotland’s interests should be weighed against interests put forward by other parts of Britain doesn’t matter much north of the border.

Separatist Sentiment

The wave of austerity rolling through all of Europe reinforces the separatist sentiment. During the industrial age, in particular when the welfare state was introduced, the center or capital was shuffling large sums of money around via taxes and welfare payments to and from the regions.

Then, it seemed quite the gamble to cut this lifeline. Now such fiscal transfers are falling by the wayside as the state pulls back from the super welfare state. Regions increasingly view themselves as capable, perhaps even better equipped, of competing without the support of the nation-state, and find it less attractive to be part of an acrimonious redistribution struggle.

The European Union is on the radar screen. Not only do the nation-states shave fiscal transfers, but current plans for a fiscal union augur a stronger role for the EU. Plans are being drafted to give the EU some kind of veto over national budgets, further transferring power from the capitals of the nation-states to the EU, stimulating regions to strike their own deals with the supranational political leadership.

The proposed banking union works the same way. The regions do not see why their interests and the negotiating about a European supervisory body should be controlled by the nation-state. They may or may not have common interests with banks in other parts of the nation-state, but it cannot be taken for granted, and in some cases they may fear being held hostage to nation-state policies disregarding their interests.


It’s no coincidence that Scotland stands first in line to have a go at secession. Britain’s Conservative Party, the leading coalition partner in the British government, toys with the idea of a referendum about continued membership of the EU.

Polls indicate that in the U.K. as a whole 51 percent of the voters favor leaving the EU with only 34 percent preferring to stay. Inside the Conservative Party 83 percent want a referendum, and 70 percent would vote to leave.

But Scotland has always voted overwhelmingly with the Labor Party and abhors the risk of being forced out of the EU by a political party that enjoys limited support among the Scots. The prospect of the Conservative Party taking Britain out of the EU combined with Scotland leaving Britain to join the EU might have once seemed like pure fantasy, but no more. Breakup may be the most realistic scenario.

The Scots will vote yes or no to stay in the U.K. in 2014. The next general election of the British Parliament is set for 2015. But if Scotland decides to leave the U.K., all dates and plans are up in the air. The vote in Scotland may advance the parliamentary election, giving the EU referendum a dominating role.

Joergen Oerstroem Moeller is a senior visiting research fellow, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore Management University. He is also adjunct professor for Singapore Management University and Copenhagen Business School. Copyright Yale Center for the Study of Globalization (Yaleglobal.yale.edu).

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

LiveScience Staff

The figurine dates back to 6,500 years ago and is named “El Encantat de Begues.”
CREDIT: University of Barcelona

It’s missing a head and some limbs, but an “enchanted” ceramic idol recently unearthed near Barcelona is thought to be the most ancient human figurine ever found in Spain, archaeologists say.

The 3-inch (8-centimeter)-long pottery fragment was uncovered over the summer during excavations at Can Sadurní cave in Begues, Barcelona province — a site perhaps best known for the discovery of the oldest evidence of beer-drinking in Europe. Researchers say the statuette is 6,500 years old, making it the most ancient human figurine from Catalonia, as well as the whole Iberian Peninsula.

The majority of Neolithic idols found in the Mediterranean are female, but the lack of breasts on the torso suggests this figurine is male, the researchers said. Holes in the arms indicate it was strung up with a cord or a leather strap to be used as a necklace or to decorate a cave home.

The figure is thought to have had some religious or spiritual importance, and “all its characteristics point towards what, in prehistory, can be defined as an idol,” read a statement about the discovery from the University of Barcelona.

So far, only the figurine’s torso, neck and right arm have been found. Archaeologists think it represents a human, probably a male.
CREDIT: University of Barcelona

Because of its possibly magical significance and the fact that Begues residents are sometimes given the Catalan nickname “Els Encantats” (“The Enchanted”), archaeologists have called the figurine “El Encantat de Begues.”

The lower limbs seem to be attached to the torso at an angle, suggesting, the researchers believe, that when the figurine was whole it would have been in a sitting position or would have had its legs bent. From what’s left of its arms, the archaeologists believe its upper limbs were outstretched. The team also speculates that the figure’s head would have been mobile and interchangeable, fitting into the neck-hole like a puzzle piece.

The dig at Can Sadurní is led by researchers from the University of Barcelona and the organization CIPAG (Collectiu per la Investigació de la Prehistòria i l’Arqueologia del Garraf-Ordal). The team hopes further excavations at the site will turn up other fragments of the figurine.





Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Economic News  /  World News  :    Activism – Global Economy- Fiscal Irresponsibility – Excessive Use Of Force – Police Brutality – Blow Back

Published on Sep 25              , 2012 by


Use link above for live updates and to watch 4 streams live Police in Spain viciously beat protestors in Spain demonstrating against harsh austerity cuts to pay for banker bailouts.

Live updates at link.

As Spain teeters on the brink of civil war with the Military threatening treason as the Catalonia is set to hold a vote to secede from Spain thousands of protestors have hit the streets surrounding the Spanish parliament to protest harsh austerity measures.


Those protestors were fired upon with rubber bullets and tear gas and now are being viciously beaten for their protests against the bank bailouts as clearly can be seen on the live stream of three feeds embedded below.

Don’t be surprised if these protests aren’t even mentioned on your television news as such widespread demonstrations across Europe routinely face corporate media blackouts.

Republished upon request in English via http://www.youtube.com/user/FalseAmelie

Spanish Police Fire On #25s Protestors Inside Subway

Published on Sep 25, 2012 by

Watch live: http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2012/09/25/police-viciously-beating-peaceful…

Live updates: http://twitter.com/kr3at

Translation of original Spanish:
The riot losing the north and down to the platforms of Atocha firing rubber bullets and clubbing people endangering those of us around. If someone falls to the tracks the same goes something serious.
In the video it looks like someone who was stuck next to a guy in a wheelchair.
In short, Spain .

Los antidisturbios perdiendo el norte y bajando a los andenes de Atocha a disparar pelotas de goma y aporrear a la gente poniendo en peligro a los que estábamos alrededor. Si alguien cae a las vías lo mismo pasa algo grave.
En el vídeo se ve como pegan a alguien que estaba al lado de un chico en silla de ruedas.
En fin, España…

Video Creative Commons:
Original Spanish Version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XatZ2g_ox0M&feature=youtu.be



Thousands Surround Spanish Parliament in Bid to “Occupy Congress” and Stop Austerity


Thousands of people surrounded the Spanish Parliament in Madrid on Tuesday to protest austerity measures and the loss of public confidence in elected leaders. The “Occupy Congress” protest came as the conservative administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy prepares to unveil further austerity measures on Thursday. After hours of protest, police in riot gear charged against demonstrators with batons and fired rubber bullets. Thirty-five people were arrested, and at least 60 people were injured. We go to Madrid to speak with independent journalist Maria Carrion. [includes rush transcript]


Voices From Spain’s “Occupy Congress” Protest, interviewed by Brandon Jourdan and Carlos Delclos.

Maria Carrion, independent freelance journalist based in Madrid.


Rush Transcript