by Madeleine McMullin
News from around the region, collated from local sources.
Region name latest
The Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) has agreed to look at the claim by the Committee for the Self-determination of North Catalogna that the decision on the Region’s new name was unfair. The Assemblée du contentieux (Administrative Law Assembly) will examine it on 7th July at 14:00. The assembly is composed of 17 wise men and is a formal sitting of the highest court in France. It is only held for very rare cases which are considered extremely important. This was greeted as excellent news by Robert Casanovas, the president of the committee which made the claim about irregularities in the way the decision was reached by the ex-Interior Minister, Manuel Valls as he was at the time, and also the method used to count votes which they claim is illegal.
Over-zealous Catalanism or paranoid schizophrenia?
A young man who is an avowed Catalanist was up before the court in Perpignan for having scratched out the word “France” on the memorial to the dead in Serralongue, having damaged a pennant and burnt two French flags. He admitted all of the facts and said that he had originally been going to play on the nearby petanque ground, but had ended up burning the flags in the public barbecue area because “the Catalans who died in the First World War didn’t want to die for France”. He was initially handed a 3 month suspended sentence and a €600 fine, but on production of psychiatric reports showing that he suffered from personality problems, a schizophrenic pathology with paranoid tendencies, this was changed to €1000 suspended fine and €500 for the contravention.
Border police open fire when suspect tries to ram them
Two members of the border police (PAF) were in a Perthus backstreet trying to arrest a suspect at the wheel of a car that had been reported stolen the day before, when he grabbed the arm of one of them and set off dragging him and trying to squash him into the wall. The other tried to shoot the tyres to stop him but he then tried to run both of them over again, hit the police car and sped off while they continued firing and hit the chassis before he disappeared. The policemen were admitted to hospital with light injuries but discharged later the same day. A search including dogs and helicopters was launched but has so far failed to find the driver although the car was found in the Maureillas area. An investigation is ongoing.
Cat shot for the 3rd time in Bages
The cat had already been shot by an air pistol twice in 2016 – the first time in the stomach, the second in the kidneys which nearly killed him. He had just got over his injuries and started going out again, when he was shot a third time in his shoulder and spinal column. His owner has made three formal complaints to the police and an animal cruelty association, but has heard nothing, although she was hoping for a neighbourhood investigation. If they do catch the culprit, the acts are punishable by a heavy fine and imprisonment and the large vets bills will be repayable.
Pick up rubbish the English way!
Edmund Platt, an Englishman was in Claira on Sunday 2nd July with rubbish bags and some converts to his challenge to clean up the rubbish that is left around the country who had come to help him clear a vineyard of rubbish. Several months ago he launched “Operation 1 Bit of Rubbish per Day”. “If everyone picked up one bit of rubbish per day, that would be 7 billion bits of rubbish less per day”. He is covering France in 90 days trying to educate people to take part. He started his trip in Marseilles where his friend had already asked him to get people to join in. 350 people helped him pull 2.2 tonnes out of the sea there. He now has 13000 Facebook fans who post selfies of them picking up rubbish.
Fire in Elne
The first fire of summer broke out on the Route de Bages between Elne and Montescot on Sunday afternoon. It burnt 15 hectares and partially destroyed the Tubert compost plant, sending 10,000 tonnes up in smoke. The blaze spread to the neighbouring breakers yard but was extinguished before it did too much damage there. The flames were fanned by the Tramontane which was blowing that day, but luckily was contained before it managed to spread too far.
Sorède parasite in local turtles
A non-native parasite has been identified in the local Catalan turtles by researchers from Perpignan University. The parasite, which has been christened polystomoîdes soredensis, or Sorède for short, lodges in the turtles’ pharynx and can cause problems to its host. After examining both wild turtles and those at the Vallée des Tortues in Sorède, the researchers went to Florida to examine the turtles from there which are found throughout the world unlike the local turtles. They found that the parasite was present in them and was likely to have been spread by them to their Catalan cousins.
FN official overstepped the mark in Perpignan?
Alexandre Bolo, a town councillor in Perpignan representing the Rassemblement Blue Marine (or National Front) was expelled from the committee for tenders last Friday, 30th June. He is accused of taking photos of documents and disseminating false information about the company chosen to run the town car parks in the future. He was summoned by letter to explain himself , but as he didn’t turn up, the committee expelled him. He has rejected the accusations and questioned the validity of the expulsion. The choice of company has not yet been made and should be finalised at the next meeting of the council in September.
Departemental Council 2016 expenditure: €317 of debt per P-O inhabitant
In 2016 the level of debt held by the département was lower than average at €317 as opposed to €563 for the average across all départements of the same level, and €527 nationally. This is despite the fact that the département spent more on investments than the national average. The interest amounted to €4 million. Personnel costs were 0.3% lower. €137.2 million was spent on the RSA, €48.5 million on help for the aged (APA) and €59.1 million on help for the disabled