NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION
with Madeleine McMullin
Café de la Paix in receivership
The Café de la Paix in Perpignan is struggling for its life. It was placed in judicial administration by its manager last December after the Brasserie Milles who own the café premises and business changed its rent from a fixed amount to a percentage of the turnover at the end of 2015. Before that the café was thriving to such an extent that the management was envisaging taking over the pizzeria next door to allow them to offer Italian food, but now the staff has been reduced from around 30 to 19 and may be cut further. The staff are demotivated and the manager is struggling to stay positive.
Family violence causes couple to lose new-born
A young couple got involved in a family quarrel last August when the husband told his mother that if his brother carried on maltreating his 16 year-old girlfriend, he would be obliged to go to the police about it. The mother, brother and sister-in-law all came round and according to the couple, they attacked them, hit and kicked the 7 and a half month pregnant wife and threatened her with a screwdriver in front of their other children. The couple went down into the street so that there would be witnesses. Then the wife started contractions and was rushed to hospital by the emergency services where she gave birth. The baby girl died less than an hour after she was born, because she was premature and also in shock due to the violent attack according to the medical staff. This is not the first time that the couple have argued with his parents who objected to the marriage as the two are first cousins. They claim that they are now too afraid to go out, even to take the children to school. The case is being investigated as the exact details are unclear and versions of events differ.
Unanimous vote to buy Café de France, Place de la Loge
The town council of Perpignan voted unanimously to buy back the Café de France in the Place de la Loge to turn into the town Tourist Office. The Loge de Mer is a historic building that dates from 1397 when it was initially the seat of the legal consulate of the sea and also served as a market place. Later it was used by ship-owners in the same way. In the 18th century it became a theatre and then a café. The café de France which currently occupies the site is in receivership. The town hall has been restoring the civil and religous heritage of Perpignan over the past few years, and wants to use the building as the tourist office, the point of departure for guided tours of the old town centre and a shop window for local products.
16 year old kills mother
On Tuesday 7th Feb, a mother and daughter had an argument in the car near Millas. The mother pulled over to the side of the road and got out to calm down the teenager. The daughter grabbed the steering wheel and set the car in motion, hitting her mother who died from her injuries. The girl was arrested and placed in detention. She was examined by a doctor who had her hospitalised in a specialist unit as he thought she was not in a state to be held in gaol. She is now under investigation for murder.
Perpignan airport gateway to Andorra?
The head of the Andorran government and the Minister for Territorial Development made an official visit to Perpignan on Monday 6th Feb, where they met the Prefect, the president of the CCI, the president of the Centre of competitiveness for DERBI (development of renewable energy for building and industry) and the director of Perpignan airport. The person in charge of customs and police cooperation in Le Perthus and the interpartmental director for roads were also present. The purpose of the visit was to look at Perpignan airport as an alternative to Toulouse for tourists heading for Andorra, in particular ski charters. The airport is attractive because it is less busy than Toulouse with shorter waits etc. and it only takes 10 minutes longer to get to Andorra from it. There would be 3 or 4 flights a week during the 15 week season.
Andorra is also seeking to develop renewable energy in the Principality to decrease their reliance on energy imported from France and Spain (currently 85% of their needs). They will be looking to the DERBI Centre in Perpignan for help with technical solutions.
Gale Marcel Damage
The strong winds on Monday 6th Feb saw various roads blocked by trees and 1700 households suffering electricity cuts and flights cancelled at Perpignan airport. Winds of up to 200km/h were experienced at Pas de la Case and 152km/h at Cap Bear.
21 people rehoused and 3 vehicles burnt in fire
Fire broke out in the basement of a block of flats in Céret at around 11.30pm on Thursday 2nd Feb. The fire burnt 3 vehicles but was quickly brought under control. However the residents of 7 flats had to be rehoused urgently. 4 people were rehoused by the town hall, the rest went to their families. The cause of the fire was unclear.
Stones thrown at teacher
The atmosphere in the Pablo Picasso Lycée in Perpignan is not good: the teachers suffer insults and even attacks with objects being thrown at them. The students also fight amongst themselves. The teachers feel that they can no longer guarantee their work will be up to scratch. They are blaming numerous restructuring exercises and a lack of human resources and materials and are considering strike action.
St Cyprien Town Hall wanting to sell artworks
The Millon auction house is holding a sale of Asian art from the St Cyprien Town Hall on 13th April. The Mayor of the commune has said that they are awaiting authorisation for the sale from a national commission at the beginning of March. If this is obtained the town council will have a vote on the sale and its decision will be final. There is currently an exhibition of more than 300 netsuke and other objects, called “Traversée d’Asie” (Crossing Asia) being held in the village from December to 26th Feb.
Animals rescued in Millas
The SPA has taken in and is trying to rehouse a large number of animals that were found in a pitiful estate on private land near Millas. There were two chinchillas, around 30 hens, 2 geese and 3 dogs. The dogs were hairless, extremely thin and with obvious fractures. A man who was present on the property denied being the owner, just the person who looked after the animals and denied cruelty. At least one of the dogs is chipped and the police are looking into finding the owner and establishing the extent of the cruelty.
Oui au pays catalan to stand for election
Borne out of the movement to change the name of the region, the party Oui au Pays Catalan has confirmed that it will be presenting candidates at the legislative elections without saying who they will be. The aim is the creation of a local authority in the Catalan region along the model of the one in Corsica and also since 1st January in the Basque region.