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Batecs de Hyde Park (1): La caverna

Batecs de Hyde Park (1): La caverna | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Si s’ha d’anar alguna vegada a Hyde Park, que sigui un dia assolellat. El parc es mostra amb tot el seu esplendor i l’ambient és indescriptible. Als jardins italians, a la porta nord-oest del parc, el temps sembla que s’hagi aturat, amb el borboll constant de l’aigua caient de les fonts i una tranquil·litat infinita.

Presideix el jardí l’estàtua d’Edward Jenner, el pare de la vacunació moderna. El jardí està envoltat d’estàtues i d’escultures clàssiques, de bancs i de flors. En un dels bancs, una noia amb trets asiàtics ensenya xinés a un senyor anglès. Hi ha un petit monticle ple d’hamaques verdes i blanques amb gent ajaguda. Al fons, Long Water, l’extrem allargat del llac Serpentine.

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AC Affairs
Catalan imputs on the English Media
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Thierry Henry factfile: from Arsenal to Barcelona and back again - The Guardian

Thierry Henry factfile: from Arsenal to Barcelona and back again - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Thierry Henry fact file: from Arsenal to Barcelona and back again
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Champions League draw: Manchester City to play Barcelona in last 16 - The Guardian

Champions League draw: Manchester City to play Barcelona in last 16 - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Champions League draw: Manchester City have been drawn against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, while Chelsea will play PSG and Arsenal will face Monaco
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Getafe 0-0 Barça: Barça labour to stalemate at Getafe as Lionel Messi draws blank - The Guardian

Getafe 0-0 Barça: Barça labour to stalemate at Getafe as Lionel Messi draws blank - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Barcelona lost ground on Real Madrid when they were held to a draw at rain-lashed Getafe on Saturday and slipped four points behind the La Liga leaders.

 

Real flew to the Club World Cup in Morocco after Friday’s 4-1 win at Almería extended their Spanish record winning streak to 20 matches and Barça struggled against some resolute Getafe defending at the Coliseum in the Madrid suburbs...

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Barça 3-1 PSG: Neymar’s spectacular strike propels Barcelona to top spot above PSG - The Guardian

Barça 3-1 PSG: Neymar’s spectacular strike propels Barcelona to top spot above PSG - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Neymar’s dribble and long-range finish lit up the match and propelled Barcelona to group winners ahead of PSG, who qualified second

 

Neymar scored a spectacular goal as Barcelona came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 in their battle for top spot in Champions League Group F.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the French side ahead against his former club after 15 minutes with their first threat on goal but Lionel Messi equalised as he maintained his remarkable scoring form with his eighth goal in Europe this season. The Argentinian slotted in at the far post from a Luis Suárez cross and, although Barça continued to look exposed at the back, Neymar scored with a drive from distance, which nestled in the corner of the net...

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: tit-for-tat miracles getting ridiculous - The Guardian

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: tit-for-tat miracles getting ridiculous - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Real Madrid and Barcelona marvels will go head to head for the Ballon d’Or again, but only one can win while the other is likely to wear a very bad suit
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Sport picture of the day: Lionel Messi the master - The Guardian

Sport picture of the day: Lionel Messi the master - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
To give an impression of speed and dynamism, the photographer has used a slower shutter speed when capturing this shot of Lionel Messi attacking at pace
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How do Scotland's tax and spending powers compare with Catalonia? - The Guardian

How do Scotland's tax and spending powers compare with Catalonia? - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
After the report of the Smith Commission it looks like Scotland is set to get new powers over taxation and welfare but how does it compare to the similarly nationalist Catalonia?

 

Scotland is set to get powers over income tax and welfare, after the cross-party approved Smith commission released its recommendations.

 

The full list of new key powers is listed here but will it be enough to put-to-bed the issue of independence for Scotland?

One obvious comparative is the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain, where, despite an increase in devolved powers over the years, there is significant demand for a referendum similar to the Scottish one.

 

Taxation

The big news from the commission is that Scotland is set to be handed the power to set the rate of income tax. However, Westminster will still control certain elements of it including the personal allowance (the amount earned before tax) and what is defined as ‘income’...

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Barcelona’s second appeal gets Lionel Messi’s yellow card rescinded - The Guardian

Barcelona’s second appeal gets Lionel Messi’s yellow card rescinded - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Lionel Messi’s yellow card for time-wasting after he was apparently hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd in Sunday’s La Liga game at Valencia has been rescinded by the Spanish federation.

 

Barcelona’s initial appeal was rejected by the competition committee and the club lodged a second challenge with a higher appeals committee which ruled in their favour on Thursday.

The Spanish federation said the committee had been unable to detect “deliberate time-wasting” on Messi’s part but only “a normal reaction from someone who had suffered an aggression by a spectator”.

Messi was celebrating his side’s 94th-minute winner near the corner flag at the Mestalla stadium when a plastic bottle was thrown from the stands and appeared to strike him on the head...

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Mr Mas throws down the gauntlet - The Economist

Mr Mas throws down the gauntlet - The Economist | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Catalonia's president dares separatists to unite, and Madrid to try and stop them

 

SPAIN'S central government had hoped that the mock referendum on independence which Catalonia staged on November 9th might release steam from the separatist pressure-cooker. Instead, Artur Mas, the president of the wealthy north-eastern region, seems ready to escalate the confrontation. In a speech on November 25th, he pledged to call a plebiscitary election on independence—a snap vote around the issue that would also elect a new regional parliament—if the separatist movement can unite behind him to form a single list of candidates.

 

Unlike the November 9th vote, there would be no doubts about such an election's legality. If it returned a separatist majority, it would plunge Catalonia into a period of deep political uncertainty. The main independence movement, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), is pushing Mr Mas for a vote in February...

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Lionel Messi’s yellow card stands after he was hit by bottle at Valencia - The Guardian

Lionel Messi’s yellow card stands after he was hit by bottle at Valencia - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Barcelona’s appeal against Lionel Messi’s yellow card for time-wasting after he was hit on the head by a plastic bottle in Sunday’s La Liga game at Valencia has been rejected by the Spanish football federation.

 

Messi was celebrating Barça’s 94th-minute winner with his team-mates near the corner flag at the Mestalla stadium when the bottle was thrown from the stands.

 

Messi was examined by a member of Barcelona’s medical staff after the final whistle and did not appear to be injured, giving the thumbs-up as he walked off the pitch...

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Catalonia’s vote was not constitutional - Spanish Ambassador to the UK - The Guardian

Catalonia’s vote was not constitutional - Spanish Ambassador to the UK - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Letters: The Spanish government did what all democratic governments are supposed to do: uphold the law
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Spanish prime minister visits Catalonia in wake of independence poll - The Guardian

Spanish prime minister visits Catalonia in wake of independence poll - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Mariano Rajoy said recent unofficial referendum ‘failed resoundingly’ despite 81% voting for independence
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Madrid says fresh Catalan independence push is ‘step to nowhere’ - FT

Madrid says fresh Catalan independence push is ‘step to nowhere’ - FT | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

The political stand-off between the Spanish government and leaders in the region of Catalonia has hardened further, after the Catalan president outlined a plan to achieve independence from Spain by 2016 and Madrid dismissed it as a “step towards nowhere”.

Tensions between the two sides have risen steadily in recent months, fuelled by the Catalan government’s decision to hold an informal independence ballot on November 9.

The vote went ahead despite the opposition of Spain’s government and constitutional court. More than 2.3m voters – roughly one-third of the regional population – took part in the poll, with more than 80 per cent backing an independent state. Artur Mas, the Catalan president, is now under criminal investigation for defying the court’s ruling that the vote be suspended.

 

Shrugging off the rising pressure from Madrid, Mr Mas on Tuesday outlined a new road map towards independence. At its core is a proposal to hold an early regional election and to transform the ballot into a quasi-referendum on independence.

 

The Catalan president said he wanted pro-independence parties and individuals to run on a joint list, with the aim of securing an absolute majority – and a powerful mandate to negotiate independence with Madrid and other European governments...

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Neymar ruled out Manchester City move because of muddy English pitches - The Guardian

Neymar ruled out Manchester City move because of muddy English pitches - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Manchester City learned there was no chance of buying Neymar in 2013 when they were told the Brazilian believed playing in England required specially tailored boots

 

Neymar is unlikely to be seen in the Premier League soon, though the Champions League draw on Monday has given him the chance in February to learn the truth about English playing conditions. Neymar’s Barcelona will face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the opening leg of their last-16 tie on 24 February...

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Catalonia’s independence bid is harming property market, says CEO - FT

Catalonia’s independence bid is harming property market, says CEO - FT | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

One of Spain’s largest property companies has warned that Catalonia’s bid for independence is beginning to affect real estate investment in the region.

 

Merlin, which invests in commercial real estate such as offices and shopping malls, is not pulling out of Catalonia. The company has €200m of its €2.2bn portfolio in the region, and will continue to add properties, Mr Clemente said.

 

The Catalan government said political tensions are not having a negative impact. “We are seeing an increase in investment because of the recovery,” Joan Josep Berbel, director of Invest in Catalonia, said. “From the whole pipeline of projects we are managing, less than 1 per cent of the companies are asking about this issue.”

 

Real estate analysts suggested that Barcelona still stands to benefit from a continued recovery in Spain, but that political risk may temper the boost it receives.

 

“On the one hand, Barcelona is benefiting from the recovery,” said Patricio Palomar Murillo, head of alternative investment at CBRE Spain, a commercial real estate company. “However, the region is not maximising investment because of continued political risk.”...

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Two PSG fans taken to hospital in Barcelona after being stabbed - The Guardian

Two PSG fans taken to hospital in Barcelona after being stabbed - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Two Paris Saint-Germain fans were taken to hospital after being stabbed following Wednesday night’s Champions League match against Barcelona at the Nou Camp
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Books of the Year: Page turners - The Economist

Books of the Year: Page turners - The Economist | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Fiction


Uncertain Glory. By Joan Sales. Translated by Peter Bush. Foreword by Juan Goytisolo. Maclehose Press; 560 pages; £20. Buy from Amazon.com; Amazon.co.uk

Originally published in 1956 in heavily censored form, this novel by a Catalan writer who fought in the Spanish civil war and died in 1983 was the first to tell the story of that conflict from the point of view of the losers. A timeless classic about lost illusions, lost ideals, lost youth, now translated into English for the first time.

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s feats approaching new extremes - The Guardian

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s feats approaching new extremes - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Sid Lowe: The remarkable thing about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s twin hat-tricks is they are no longer really remarkable

There were 44minutes on the clock, nine players between him and the goal and more than one club in Catalonia when Leo Messi appeared. In the time it took for the ball to leave his left foot, curl around the defenders and then curl back towards goal, somehow ending up in Kiko Casilla’s net, everything changed. The whistles died, the hankies were tucked away and FC Barcelona were back on course to win a Catalan derby that had started as a virtual irrelevance but now threatened to be become an insurrection, another fire they desperately need to put out...

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Barça 5-1 Espanyol - Lionel Messi scores another hat-trick as Barcelona thrash Espanyol - The Guardian

Barça 5-1 Espanyol - Lionel Messi scores another hat-trick as Barcelona thrash Espanyol - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi scored yet another hat-trick and surpassed 400 club goals as Barcelona came from behind to win the Catalan derby 5-1 against Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday
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Is Catalonia’s bid for independence affecting its housing market? - FT

Is Catalonia’s bid for independence affecting its housing market? - FT | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona attracts foreign buyers despite fears of possible political and monetary instability in the Spanish region 

What stands out most about Barcelona’s skyline today is something that is largely absent: cranes. There are still some over Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família basilica, but otherwise Spain’s second city is almost bereft of major construction projects.

 

The dearth of cranes is no surprise. Battered by the pop of the country’s real estate bubble, Spanish property prices have plunged more than 40 per cent from their 2007 peak, according to property website Fotocasa, and 1.5m construction jobs disappeared, according to Spain’s INE statistics bureau.

 

Yet over the past two years, the low prices and lack of new properties have led to a brisk trade in high-end Barcelona apartments, as foreigners with cash have pounced on apparent deals in the Mediterranean seafront city...

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Andrés Iniesta’s return from injury boosts Barcelona for derby - The Guardian

Andrés Iniesta’s return from injury boosts Barcelona for derby - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona have been boosted by the successful return from injury of their playmaker Andrés Iniesta as they prepare to host their city rivals Espanyol

 

Iniesta played for the first time since damaging a calf muscle at the end of October in Wednesday’s 4-0 Copa del Rey victory at third-tier Huesca...

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Food, beauty, anarchy: new guided tours of Barcelona by the locals - The Guardian

Food, beauty, anarchy: new guided tours of Barcelona by the locals - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona is full of tourist traps, but new, bespoke walking tours, operated by locals – and backed by superstar chef Ferran Adrià – offer a glimpse into the hidden life of the city, says Paul Richardson
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Barcelona’s home kit next season will feature horizontal stripes - report - The Guardian

Barcelona’s home kit next season will feature horizontal stripes - report - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Barcelona could be about to adopt horizontal stripes on their home kit for the first time in their 115-year history, according to the Catalan newspaper Sport.

 

Under the headline ‘Revolution in the new shirt’, the paper quotes an inside source from the club and says the new design has already been approved by the club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, having been presented by their kit manufacturers, Nike, at a secret ceremony at the Camp Nou on Monday...

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Lionel Messi hit by a bottle in Barcelona’s late win at Valencia - The Guardian

Lionel Messi hit by a bottle in Barcelona’s late win at Valencia - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi was struck when celebrating Sergio Busquets’ winner for Barcelona, who are two points behind the leaders, Real Madrid
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Luis Suárez scores first Barcelona goal as Lionel Messi breaks record - The Guardian

Luis Suárez scores first Barcelona goal as Lionel Messi breaks record - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Luis Suárez says he has developed a good understanding with Lionel Messi after he scored his first Barcelona goal

 

Suárez returned to action at the end of October after serving a four-month ban for biting the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup and, although it took him six matches to open his account, he has looked sharp – playing in a central position with Messi mainly to the right but with freedom to roam and Neymar on the left...

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