“Beast of the East” leaves more than 20 dead in Europe

This Wednesday, Europe was still frozen by the polar cold wave that claimed the lives of at least 24 people. Untypically, the snow has reached the shores of the Mediterranean and islands such as Corsica and Capri.

With glacial temperatures of up to -24ºC in some parts of Germany and -29ºC at night in Estonia, the most vulnerable people were warned, such as the elderly and the homeless, and several cities provided emergency shelter and assistance for those in need.

Most people died in Poland, with nine dead, followed by Lithuania, with five, and France, with four. The “Beast from the East” also led to two deaths in Spain: One in Hinojos (Huelva) and one in Galdakao (Basque Country).

The Red Cross, which established emergency teams throughout Europe, asked people to be especially attentive to neighbors and family members. The agency called for raising 10,000 blankets in France. According to a census carried out last week, at least 3,000 people are sleeping in the streets of Paris.

According to the British meteorological services, some rural communities could be isolated for days by snow, and warned about the possibility of “long interruptions of power supply and other services such as telephone and mobile networks.” The airline British Airways canceled about 60 flights to and from Heathrow airport.

In Barcelona, snowflakes could already be spotted last Tuesday around 1pm and on Wednesday numerous schools were closed. Starting this Thursday, temperatures will go up again and on Friday the sun will finally make it back to Catalonia.

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The Power of Women in Mobile Tech

On February 27, the conference “Women in Mobile” (WiM) did prove that women indeed have a power in tech. 

This conference has been created to inspire, celebrate and connect European women working in the digital world.  WiM brought together 300 young leading professionals, the majority were women working in this sector.

Our journalist Marina Bessmertnykh from Barcelona City FM was there to witness this historical event to empower women’s leadership in technology.


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20.800 police officers and civil guards missing in Spain

Last October 31, the national police and civil guards had a deficit of 20.800 agents, according to the Ministry of the Interior. Of the 163.491 members that should have been active, only 142.691 were, which is 13% less. The most affected regions are Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Navarra. The provinces of Girona and Lleida do not even cover more than 30% of the police positions.

In the province of Lleida, the staff of the national police is set at 211 agents. Currently, only 136 are covered. 75 police officers are missing, which are 35.5% of the total. With the Civil Guards, something similar is happening, with 20% fewer Guards working than supposed. Lleida is an extreme case of a phenomenon that is seen all over Spain: A lack of members of the State Security Forces and Corps.

Deputy Miguel Ángel Heredia criticises that since Mariano Rajoy’s arrival in Government, the troops have been “brutally” cut and believes that these figures represent a degradation of public safety. Additionally, Heredia stated that this demonstrates that “the PP is committed to private security to the detriment of the public.”

“It is necessary to establish a fixed replacement rate above the political and economic swings. Spain can not afford to cut back on security, “says Ramón Cosío, spokesman for the Unified Police Union (SUP). In the same sense, Juan Fernández of the Unified Association of Civil Guards (AUGC) said: “For years we have been far from covering the places of those who were retiring.” The vice president of the Union of Officers (UO), Javier Montes, speaks of “the urgent need to reorganize the entire deployment of troops to minimize the effects of this deficit.”

Laura Kabelka
[email protected]



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Will Barcelona stay the headquarters for the Mobile World Congress?

From today on, the Mobile World Congress is held at the Fira de Barcelona until Thursday, the first of March. Annual attendance is generally more than 100,000 people. Until 2006, the event took place in Cannes and in 2011 it was announced that Barcelona had been chosen as the “GSMA Mobile World Capital” and continues to be the site of GSMA Mobile World Congress through 2023.

But, after political tensions, a debate has opened about the suitability of Barcelona as a host city for the Mobile World Congress. Several people and institutions have defended Barcelona, highlighting its outstanding tourist infrastructure. There is a lot at stake: the event puts the city at the center of the world and leaves more than 450 million euros.

The Minister of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, Álvaro Nadal, stressed that Barcelona is “unbeatable” as the venue, and criticized that some want to “make it easy” for those who want to take advantage of the political situation in Catalonia to take it to another city. Nadal believes that hosting a congress of this type requires a city like Barcelona, a technological center of international relevance. He is aware that certain “political elements” may distort the operating of the fair and others want to take it to other countries, similarly to what happened with Brexit.

But Barcelona can not only count on political defenders but also on Telefónica Spain and the Vodafone group, whose CEOs expressed their support. Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica Spain, assured at the inaugural session of the MWC, that “Barcelona is the best place to celebrate this event.” Amongst other advantages, Barcelona stands out for its art, culture, infrastructure, good weather, talent and one of the best football teams in the world, he further says.

Vittoria Colao, CEO of the Vodafone group, defended Barcelona and says the MWC and Catalan Capital have to stay together and what happened in the last couple of days does not affect the congress.

Laura Kabelka
[email protected]


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Barcelona City FM launches the drivetime. We introduce ten entertainers who turn weekday afternoons into a party


Barcelona City FM radio already has a long list of shows, radio hosts, and both resident and guest DJs. However, now we have decided it is time for something fresh and new. Every weekday, from 5 PM to 9 PM, you can tune in to listen to our drivetime – a set of 10 great shows and music mixes which will accompany you on your way home from work or get you ready for your evening out! Here, we introduce our drivetime crew – they are all experienced radio hosts and DJs, however, now they are meeting together in a whole new format of the shows.

We’re starting off Monday at 5 PM with our resident DJ Katty, whose UK garage and house mixes have sold out Garage 442 club five times in a row – and you’ll see why.  He says his mission is to bring people positive vibes and that is all that Monday’s UK House and Garage is about. He is followed by The Monday Night Project, an evening show hosted by Joe Lobo and Abbie Fantastic. They have a talent for finding interesting guests and so every Monday they create a mosaic of inspiring personas, great music selection and fun interviews.


Tuesday drivetime launches again at 5 PM, this time with Matthew Murtha’s Technically Funny show. He has years of experience with comedy and he proves his expertise in the studio as well as on a stage. He is followed by two hours of our weekly guest mix – a fresh mixdown of new music made by our guest DJs.

Wednesday programme starts with Jim and Jordan and their great combination of the British and the Irish humour. They’re not afraid to go into any topic and look at the bright side of life. They are followed by Noelle and Louise and their Pure Deadly show. As they said, they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they are definitely experts on new tunes and they always know perfectly how to mix it to make your evening enjoyable.

Thursday we’re starting off with amazing Alex Lebron, who is a pro when it comes to setting a chilled out mood and great interviews. He is our favourite entertainer and quite likely he’ll be yours as well. He is followed by Bacon and Hugo and their Business with Bacon show, where they’re onto everything new in the music industry. They have a natural talent to captivate you with their news and fun facts and turn you into music enthusiast after a single show with them.

Fridays belong to three different groups of people. We have Cedric and Abbie, two entertainers with a great selection of guests coming on air every other week, taking turns with Matthew and Farida. The very last show of the week is Anarosa’s Friyay show – if you’ve been listening to Barcelona City FM for some time now, then you know her contagious energy and the great vibes which will get you absolutely hooked for a great Friday night out.

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Support for independence decreased to 40.8%

Last October the support for independence reached a record high of 48,7%, and within three months, it dropped by 8 percent. This is a notable fall within just three months. 53.9% prefer to remain part of Spain, according to the CEO (Opinion Studies Center) of January. For this survey,  1,200 interviews were conducted between January 10 and 30 this year.

A fall of eight points in these three months when Puigdemont’s government declared independence, the Spanish Government intervened with the Generalitat via article 155, and elections took place where the independence movement got the majority in the Catalan Chamber, repeatedly.

When looking at the political parties in this respect, for the first time the Junts per Catalunya (JxCAT) formation appears in a CEO, the personal candidacy of the dismissed president Carles Puigdemont. The CUP is still the party with the most supporters of independence, with 90.3%.  The followers of Puigdemont’s party are very close to their result with 90.1% openly supporting Catalan independence and, finally, 84.9% of Catalans who sympathize with ERC answer yes when asked if they want Catalonia to be an independent state.

Of course, the opposite parties head for the other directions, with 95.8% (Ciutadanos), 92.7% (PSC) and 84.2% (PP) voting against independence.

The survey also provides information about the wishes of the Catalans regarding the legislature that has already begun, but which is still blocked by the lack of agreement between the independence forces. Asked about the process, 35.9% believe that the new pro-independence government must “seek a bilateral agreement” with the Rajoy government. 19% consider that the new Government should re-bet on the “unilateral route” while 20% urged “to abandon the process, participate in the commission for the reform of the constitution and reform of the financing system” and 11.7% to follow with the current autonomous state.

Laura Kabelka
[email protected]

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Spain says there are no political crimes, but politicians who commit crimes

The Government can not yet take steps to make Anna Gabriel return to Spain to respond before the Justice. This intervention will start when the Supreme Court asks the Executive to request the Swiss Government to extradite her.

No actions have been taken yet, but a Swiss Justice spokesman has commented very negatively on extraditing Gabriel, because his country prohibits the delivery of so-called political criminals.

A couple of days ago, Anna Gabriel (42) stated in Geneva that she has not asked for political asylum, although it is an option she does not rule out. In case of staying, she will “try to resume the academic path. I was a law professor at the University of Barcelona and will try to work and settle here. If that’s not possible due to an extradition order, I will ask for political asylum.” The former CUP leader left for Switzerland for the obvious reason that she will be more useful for the movement there than behind bars, which is the bitter fate of some of her colleagues.

Spanish Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, said that “in Spain, there are no political crimes so you can not request an extradition for this.” If the Supreme Court asks the Government to request Gabriel’s extradition, it must define the exact crimes and document will be sent to the Swiss Government.

For now, everything remains the way it is until Judge Pablo Llarena actives extradition. “The request for extradition that may eventually be requested to Switzerland will always be for ordinary crimes of our Criminal Code, which is similar to that of European democracies, whether by sedition, rebellion, robbery or murder, but never by opinions or ideologies,” the Judge reiterated. So in Spain, there are no political crimes, but politicians who commit crimes.

Written by Laura Kabelka
[email protected]

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Ten companies control almost 3,000 flats in Barcelona

Ten companies or institutions, such as the Sant Pau Foundation, own entire buildings totaling almost 3,000 flats for rent in Barcelona. This was revealed on Tuesday by the Tenants’ Union, which seeks to demonstrate two issues: First, that 80% of the neighbors who come to the union because they can not stay in their apartments are tenants of vertically owned properties. And second, “to dismantle the idea that in Barcelona the owners of the rental flats are small owners”.

The tenant organization currently has more than a thousand members and has also presented the campaigns #EnsQuedem (“we are staying”) and #LloguersJustos (“fair rent”). One of the possibilities suggested to make this resistance effective is by continuing to pay the rent before the court, but according to the current contract, or what each family considers a fair rent.

Among the companies are ones that bought properties that have been in the news because of the problems their tenants have revealed, or because of the intervention of the Barcelona City Council, either buying real estate or stopping works that did not conform to the legality. Elix, MK Premium, Norvet or Vauras are some of these signatures. “We make this data public because they do it every time we want to rent an apartment: they know our name, our payroll, who is our partner …”, said Marta Ill, one of the spokespersons for the event.  She has also denounced the complicity of local owners in these practices: “They need partners here, homeowners who play with the lives of the tenants, they also have their share of responsibility.”

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Three arrested in France for alleged relationship with the attacks in Catalonia

The French police services, the Guardia Civil and the Mossos d’Esquadra have detained three persons for the alleged relation to Driss Oukabir, who is in prison for his supposed membership of the terrorist group that attacked Barcelona and Cambrils last August. The arrests were made in the Occitan departments of Gard and Tarn, where agents searched several French homes.

After the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, one of the main lines of investigation opened up, and it was attempted to find possible connections of the members of the terrorist group, with third parties residing outside of Spain. The collaboration of the different services was essential in finding possible links.

Days before the attack, various terrorists went to Paris by car and took pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower, which led to the suspicion of possible attacks in France’s capital. Both the travels of terrorists and those of the brain of the cell, the Imam of Ripoll Abdelbaki Es Satty, has been suspected of the connections they might have in countries around Spain, such as France, Belgium and Germany.

The investigators hope that this action, and the data obtained in the registers, can incorporate relevant facts about the relationship and possible connection of the detainees with the terrorists participating in the attacks of last August.


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Bad Gyal

Bad Gyal, or also known as Alba Fareo, is a young Catalan woman who has won over the internet and her fans first when she published the Catalan version of Rihanna’s “Work”, which is called “Pai”. Originally from Vilassa de Mar, her music styles include dancehall, reggaeton and hip-hop. Bad Gyal is so fresh because she is authentic, natural and feels good about herself.

Bad Gyal is all over the place in the next few months. From New York, San Francisco, Rejkjavic to Brighton, and much more! Her upcoming events in Barcelona are on the 13th of April at Sala Apolo and on the first of June at the popular Primavera Sound Festival at Parc del Forum.

Bad Gyal tells us that “I really enjoy playing here in Barcelona!” and she has a great fan base here. If you want to hear her new mixtape “Worldwide Angel”, which will be out this Friday (23rd of February), you should definitely get some tickets for Apolo!

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