After more than 10 hours of talks the meeting between the government, trade unions and employers concluded at dawn without reaching an agreement (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The last meeting was set by the government, CEOE employers and the trade unions, CCOO and UGT, in order to agree on labour reforms but ended without agreement today. Government sources explained to Europa Press that the meeting had made clear that there is no possibility of reaching an agreement within the core of the social dialogue. However the government has undertaken to prepare a document that includes the principal lines of the decree to send to employers and the unions by Friday. During the afternoon on Friday they will hold further meetings and a review with the trade unions. This is the second time this term that reform talks have failed since last July when negotiations broke down at the insistence of employers that there should be a reduction of social security contributions. The executive will now have to start to seek the support of political groups to take forward the reforms in Congress. In addition to these difficulties the government also runs the risk of having to face a general strike as unions are warning that if the reform violates the rights of workers, such as reducing the dismissal cost reduction, they will move to strike again.
The age at which adolescents start drinking has gone down to 13 years with 41 percent of 14 year-olds drinking large quantities (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Figures released by representatives of Sociodrogralcohol, a scientific body, also revealed that the number of girls now drinking equals that of boys and that teenagers drink the same amount as 18 year-olds. M.ª Teresa Cortés, Professor of Psychology at the University of Valencia and director of an analysis study which shows the psychosocial drunk to excess in a short amount of time (binge drinking). The study was conducted by interviewing 6009 young people aged between 14 and 25 in schools and colleges in Valencia, Castellón and Alicante. Although girls and boys drink alike the volume of drink consumed by males is greater, especially in younger ages. This way of consuming alcohol has grave consequences, studies in adolescents aged between 13 and 17 years who consumed alcohol in excess showed that 10 percent of them had less ability to recall previously learned information, slower information processing, attention problems and difficulty performing tasks that involve planning and organising, controlling feelings or making decisions. In addition, it has been shown that the hippocampus, (crucial for creating new memories) is smaller in those that drink to excess as is the prefrontal cortex, essential for attention span and executive functions. However young people have little knowledge of the bio-psychological consequences of alcohol consumption from an early age. "We must increase awareness in the young and, above all, change the mentality of society and families, concluded Cortés.
In 2012, Barcelona will have one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, which will cost around hundred million euros (read article in Castilian here, El Mundo) The machine will be part of the infrastructure of the European Association PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) that has come to the Catalan capital. During the first working session of this association, which took place in the Palace de Pedralbes, the secretario de Estado de Investigación, Felipe Pétriz assured that despite the economic climate, Spain is committed to invest one hundred million euros in the project. Felipe Pétriz said that "today the investigation is not possible without computer simulation" making it "essential to have computing power". PRACE Partnership is headquartered in Brussels but Germany, France, Italy and Spain are major partners. These four countries will invest over five years of installation and operation of four supercomputers across Europe. The Spanish computer will be installed in the Torre de Girona, annexed to the Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya, where the supercomputer 'MareNostrum' is housed, Spain's most powerful computer so far. Pétriz recalled that "today the obsolescence of computers is so fast that it must be constantly renewed." He went on to say that "the only way to compete with the United States, Japan and emerging Asian countries is to join forces."
Also in the news: The decisive debate by the four candidates for the Barça presidency is to take place tonight on 8tv and RAC1 (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Jordi Hereu yesterday stated that he did not know if he was to run for re-election (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).