NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION
with Madeleine McMullin
Perpignan Mayor carried away over Linky
The Mayor of Perpignan became rather animated when he was questioned about the safety of the Linky electricity meters that are being installed in Perpignan during a public meeting. He said “the biggest killers in France are alcohol, tobacco and sugar and of course cars. If you’re worried about electrical waves, the biggest danger in the home is the microwave: I hope you don’t own one”. He then carried on “the Germans have refused Linky but sent people to the gas chambers!” The mayor isn’t actually responsible for equipping the town with Linky, that is ERDF, but he has to grant the company a concession to allow them to do the work, and many mayors in France are opposed to the installation because of fears about health risks from the signals emitted by the boxes which link with antennae nearby. Perpignan should be fully equipped by the end of 2017.
Attempt to dissolve the Committee for the self determination of North Catalonia rejected
The high court in Perpignan yesterday gave its verdict on the demand by the French State as represented by the Prefect of the P-O who had asked for the banning of the society “the committee for the self-determination of North Catalonia” and the awarding of costs against its president, Robert Casanova. The society wanted to have a private referendum on the question of Catalan independence and were intending to hold the vote on the same day as the vote in South Catalonia on 9th November last year. This was prevented by the launching of the court action. The lawyer for the Prefect argued that it was an assault on the State as it was trying to separate the department from France whereas the society’s lawyer denounced the attack on liberty and the freedom of speech. The court ruled that the society was exercising its right to freedom of expression and not violating the state’s rights as the results would have no official value. It judged itself not competent to rule on the question of the dissolution of the society and ordered the State to pay the costs and €1500, but rejected a claim for damages from the pro-catalan society.
6000 tonnes of artichokes and 14400 tonnes of cucumbers
These are the amounts of the vegetables that are produced in the P-O, 97% and 87% respectively of all production in the region.
Electoral fraud complaint relaunched in Villeneuve-de-la-Raho
An adjutant from the gendarmerie said that the mayor accompanied him to 3 peoples’ houses to talk to them about signing powers of attorney for the elections in 2014, despite having been informed that she shouldn’t do this. One of the three old ladies was subsequently ruled unfit to understand what was being asked of her, and struck off the electoral register. The affair has already been investigated once and dismissed by the state prosecutor, but certain members of the commune are trying to reopen it by lodging a new civil complaint with the examining magistrates.
Delivery driver steals Porsche
Police went to Auto Prestige in Perpignan after an alarm went off at 9.15pm on Thursday 28th April and found an individual in there who was trying to open the door. He then got in to a Porsche Cayenne and headed straight towards the policemen, making them jump out of the way and narrowly missing them. He then crashed into some parked cars and ran away on foot, before being apprehended. A breathalyser revealed that he was drunk. He admitted everything, saying that he had broken in and taken several registration documents and keys to luxury cars, that he’d not seen the policemen until the last moment, and had swerved to avoid them, which is why he crashed the car. He claimed to hear voices and his explanations seemed quite incoherent, so it is likely that he will be subjected to psychological tests and be charged with theft, destruction of property and violence against people in authority.
Two Catalans in the French team for the pizza world cup
Stanislas Sitz owns a pizzeria in Claira. He’s being making pizza for 18 years and loves it. He is a member of a group of professionals which goes to forums and holds meetings all over France and internationally. Through this he met the triple world champion of the pizza world who invited him to join the French team and take part in international competitions. He won a place in the world championship at a competition in Paris in January and is also one of the team representing France in the European championships in May. Christophe Toix passed his CAP in cookery at the age of 40 before which he was the director of a local group who was made redundant after 7 years. He retrained before entering the profession at the bottom and working his way up, finally buying his own pizzeria in St Esteve 2 years ago. In 2015 he came 10th in a competition and Thierry Graffagnino asked him to join the French team. He will also be in the European Cup and the world championship this year.
Biggest employers in P-O
The biggest employer in the area is La Pyrénéenne, an industrial cleaning group which has 1130 employees in the department and 1800 people nationally. The second biggest is Médipole Partenaires with 1119 employees in the St-Roch and St-Pierre clinics. Auchan employs 658 people at the Porte d’Espagne store – a number which has declined over the years, but is still the biggest number of employees on a single site in the department.
New method of tracking lost and injured walkers tested in Osséja
An app that allows mountain rescuers to find people quickly was developed by a member of the Grenoble PGHM (group of gendarmes in the high mountains) and has been tested in Osséja. GendLoc doesn’t work in areas where there is no mobile signal, but in other areas it will allow the police to quickly find the person who is lost or missing by sending them a text asking them to click a link. This brings their exact location up on a screen in the police control room. It has even saved lives in certain situations when the person is not visible from the air, by allowing the rescue team to find them more quickly. So don’t forget to charge your mobile up before you set out hiking.
Contraceptive for wild boars
The Autonomous University of Barcelona is testing a contraceptive to try to control the spread of wild boar on the Franco-Spanish border which is causing problems as they are migrating towards urban areas where food is readily available. The boar in 4 municipalities north of Barcelona will be vaccinated during the 4 year test. This semi-urban area is already practically enclosed and the boar there are already fitted with transmitters. The vaccine was developed in the US to control deer in the State of Virginia. Other methods of controlling the population are being looked at: such as managing the forests better so that they find enough to eat there and educating the population not to feed them, and of course hunting.
Drug trafficker arrested by the police after putting a video on the internet
Police arrested a man with 20kg of cannabis, €15000 and a shotgun after he put a video on the internet showing himself surrounded by money and drugs and bragging about gangs, drugs and violence. The 25 year old lives in Perpignan and has had his hearing deferred pending reports.