The Basque terrorist group ETA yesterday announced a definitive end to its armed struggle for independence (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Following the peace conference held earlier in the week that called on the group to take this step, and one month before the Spanish general elections, the band has thus brought to an end four decades of terrorist activity. Although ETA didn't refer at any point to an eventual dissolution of its internal structure in the announcement, politicians in Spain received the news with satisfaction, and it was celebrated by prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the candidates to replace him, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and Mariano Rajoy, as a victory for democracy.
Around two and a half million Spanish families are currently living in poverty (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). This is around 9.3 million people, according to information released by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (National Statistics Institute), or one in five families in Spain. This is a rise of 1.1 percent compared to 2010, bringing the total to 21.8 percent of Spanish families. Behind the statistics, "there is a new reality...which is now approaching an emergency situation," said Àngels Guiteras, president of the Taula del Tercer Sector de Catalunya social organisation. "The problem is that there is an increasing number of people who are outside the system, people who have gone from having serious problems to get to the end of the month to be directly in a situation of social exclusion," said Jordi Roglà, director of Càritas in Barcelona. And, everyone is warning, the future does not look bright, but quite the opposite. If the calculations of these social organisations (and of the Generalitat) are correct, between this month and next March, there will be 173,000 people no longer eligible to receive unemployment benefit and who have already been looking for work for two years.
An impressive audiovisual ceremony marked the official inauguration of FC Barcelona's new training centre for young footballers last night at the club's Ciudad Deportiva (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). Although the new 'Masia' (named after the club's previous training centre located in an old country house in the grounds of the Camp Nou) actually opened in the summer, yesterday's special event was organised to coincide with the opening of the old Masia exactly 32 years previously. The new centre, which is called after Oriol Tort, the man behind the essential ideology of Barça, is completely different from the historic stone building that used to house the club's up-and-coming players, although the values, both sporting and personal, will remain the same. "In this building, we create and bring up people and sportsmen who have what we call the DNA of Barça in them," said the club's president Sandro Rosell during the inauguration, as the walls of the building, used for the event as a huge cinema screen, reflected words such as 'effort', 'solidarity', 'fair play' and 'sacrifice'. Rosell pointed to what the Masia can achieve with the example of current trainer and his deputy, Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova: "Both men went through all the stages [of Barça] until they became the first-team trainers," he said.