Spain is amongst the EU countries with the highest rate of young people between 15 and 24 years old who neither work nor study (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Along with Bulgaria, Italy and Ireland, Spain has a notably high number of 'ninis' ('ni trabajan ni estudian') in that age group; 14 percent of young Spaniards aren't working or studying, compared to a European average of 10.8 percent, according to a report published today by the European Commission. In contrast, in Denmark and the Netherlands, the percentage of young people who are effectively 'doing nothing' sits at around just four percent. The Commission report notes that these people run the risk of permanent exclusion from the employment market as they lack experience and knowledge that they would need to escape unemployment at some point. Spain is currently also the European country with the highest level of unemployed young people: 40.9 percent, double the EU average and far above the Netherlands' level of 8.5 percent.
Two students have been sentenced to jail sentences of three years and eight months each for attacking Mossos d'Esquadra during celebrations for FC Barcelona's victory over Chelsea in May 2009, which saw the football team win a place in the Champions League final in Rome (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Albert Perich Valenzuela and Cristian Martínez García, both 21, were found guilty of throwing bottles, cans and stones at police agents during the early hours of May 7th. In addition, they both have to pay a fine of €1,500 and pay €959 to the bike rental company Bicing, as they are blamed for the destruction of one of its rental bikes. According to legal sources, such a sentence is unprecedented for this kind of crime, with the judge apparently looking to make an example of the two men.
The closure of Catalan book distributor L'Arc de Berà, and its bookshop Ona in Gran Via, could result in the collapse of some of the hundred or so small local publishers (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). L'Arc de Berà was founded in 1971 to handle the marketing, distribution and invoicing of books in Catalan but, after almost 40 years of business, at the start of this week its director announced that it was to close, leaving money owed to its clients for all book sales since April, including the most important day of the year for booksellers in Catalunya, Sant Jordi. It is estimated that around €1.5 million is owed, a significant amount for the smaller publishing houses that worked with L'Arca de Berà. The company is hoping to raise money to pay its debts from the sale of its Ona bookshop in Gran Via, which is valued at around €3 million. The affected publishers met yesterday and on Friday will make an official request to the Catalan Culture department for the "necessary financial aid" to cover them in the short-term while the sale of Ona is sorted out.
Also in the news: Caixa Girona to approve takeover by La Caixa (read article in Catalan here, Avui); Tarragona to fine negligent pedestrians (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Teachers planning more radical action, including mass resignations, as part of their campaign against Generalitat Education minister, Ernest Maragall (read article in Catalan here, Avui).