Year-to-date inflation in Spain for 2009 has hit the historic low of -1.4 percent, fuelled in part by the summer sales that started in July (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Clothing and footwear prices fell by over 11 percent last month, which outweighed rises in certain products including tobacco and alcoholic drinks, which went up by just over four percent. Food also got cheaper last month, although that is a regular trend that has been observed in July from past years. In Catalunya, the situation is slightly better, with a year-to-date inflation rate of -0.9 percent.
There has been a rise in the number of Spaniards offering to marry strangers in return for cash, so that their spouses can obtain the necessary papers for living and working here (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Recent months have seen an increase in adverts on internet sites and on-line forums where Spaniards announce that they are available for marriage with someone looking to legalise their status here; in exchange, they could be looking for between three and six thousand euros. It seems that the popularity of such arrangements (called bodas blancas, or white weddings, by the police) has grown in the face of the current economic crisis, with unemployed people who are no longer eligible for benefits seeking alternative ways to find money. In the light of Spanish laws regarding homosexual marriages, some advertisers state that they would be willing to marry a person of either gender.
The Spanish government has announced that a new six-month unemployment benefit will be introduced from this month for those people who are no longer eligible for the standard 'paro' (unemployment benefit), but have not yet found a new job (article in Catalan, Avui). However, the subsidy of €420 a month cannot be claimed by around 70 percent of those currently looking for work and not receiving any state help, due to the conditions associated with it; for example, if the partner of a potential claimant is working and earning a minimum amount (not yet announced) the claimant will not be eligible for the new subsidy. In addition, anyone who successfully claims this money will have to complete a six-month training programme. The government has said that if there is sufficient public funding, the duration that someone can claim this benefit may be extended to a year.
Also in the news: Spain's football team just manage to beat Macedonia (La Vanguardia); UAE ban sale of t-shirts in Catalan shop Desigual that show drawings of naked bodies (Avui); Barça will wear special charity tops in their Gamper match against Manchester City next week (Avui)