with Madeleine McMullin
Heavy Hail on Sunday hasn’t affected fruit trees
The very heavy hail storm on Sunday in Céret and elsewhere in the department didn’t affect the cherry blossom as the trees are mostly still in bud and the hailstones were too small to damage the trees. In fact it might even have been beneficial as the region has been very short of water this winter. Elsewhere the peach and apricots were also spared.
Demonstrations against the proposed employment law
A group of about 500 high school kids and young adults calling themselves the “rebellious youth” blocked the entrance to the Picasso Lycée on Tuesday, in protest at the government’s attempts to reform employment law. Around 100 students still managed to get into the assembly hall to take their mock bac which was nearly cancelled. The youths then moved on to several other schools and ended up at the Maillol Lycée where a teacher got caught behind a door that was forced open and was injured. A young man was arrested for throwing stones and pens, one of which hit a girl in the eye, hurting her.
There was also a day of protest on Thursday with high school students and university students holding a meeting at the Via Domitia University of Perpignan and a rally in the centre of town.
Come up with a name for the region
The authorities for the new region are asking for suggestions for names. Go to WEBSITE to throw any suggestions into the hat. They will be debated on 15th April and then the short list will be put up for public consultation before the beginning of June. The final name will be decided at a meeting of the Assembly on the 24 June and will be adopted officially by a decree from the Council of State before the 1st October.
Volunteer climbers clean the Abbey of St Michel de Cuxa near Prades
The caretaker of the Cortalets refuge, a mountain guide and a third climber recently volunteered to abseil down the abbey to rid it of the vegetation that was growing on the clock tower, the tower and part of the roof. There were even 3 fig trees growing up there. One of the climbers, the caretaker of the Cortalets, said that the hardest part was coordinating their movements so that they didn’t drop anything on one another. The monks thanked the climbers with a good meal in the evening.
Jacqueline Alduy dies aged nearly 92
The Jacqueline Alduy who was mayor of Amélie-les-Bains for 42 years from 1959, died at her home on the 15th March. She had also sat on the Conseil Général for 34 years and briefly as a senator. As well as all this she ran her husband’s office when he was mayor of Perpignan and was very influential in the social affairs of the town.
1 year in prison & €5000 for crashing the toll barriers
A Romanian lorry driver was sentenced by the court in Perpignan to 1 year in prison and a €5000 fine for forcing his way through toll barriers 246 times between 2013 and 2014 while delivering building materials between Romania and Spain. When he was caught on Sunday, he initially claimed to have skidded on the wet surface, but then admitted that he was trying to get through because he didn’t have the money to pay.
Two baby camels born in the Sigean African Reserve
Alba and Fiesta gave birth to 2 female baby camels a few days ago. This year is the pink year in the reserve so all babies will be called by names being with “P”. Each year there are a number of births of different animals at the reserve, including in the past various very rare species such as white rhinos, rheticulated giraffes, Lycaons, Hartmann zebras, Missippi alligators and chimpanzees.
Promotional campaign to encourage French visitors to Catalonia
The border controls have been hurting the economy on the Costa Brava and in the Alt Emporda with spending down by 30 – 40%, so local officials and representatives from the tourism and retail industries met in Figueres on 17th March to discuss launching a promotional campaign to try to lure customers in the south of France back. A French advertising company will be hired to help with the task.