The swimmer Aschwin Wildeboer, from the Catalan town of Sabadell but whose parents are both Dutch, yesterday beat the world record for the 100-metre backstroke (article in Catalan, Avui). Wildeboer was competing in the Mediterranean Games when he recorded a time of 52.38 seconds in the 4 x 100 relay, thereby beating the previous record of 52.54 seconds held by US swimmer Aaron Peirsol.
Irish pop band U2, which this week started their latest world tour at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, could be fined for being too loud and running late during its rehearsals leading up to the inaugural '360º Tour' concert on June 30th (article in Catalan, El Punt). Following complaints from neighbours when the rehearsals started on June 15th, the council of Les Corts, the neighbourhood where the football stadium is located, had set a timetable for the sessions to finish at 10pm, but on various occasions they continued until midnight; in addition, city regulations fix a maximum noise level of 70 decibels, which was apparently breached by the band.
Unemployment in Spain fell for the second consecutive month in June, which saw 55,250 less people signing on; Catalunya was the autonomous community that saw the biggest fall in the number of unemployed, where 16,700 found work and stopped claiming unemployment benefit (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia).
The main political parties of Catalunya, Convergencia i Unió (CiU), Partit dels Socialistes del Catalunya (PSC) and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) yesterday approved a new Education Law for the autonomous community (article in Castilian, El Periodico). This means that both governing parties (PSC and ERC) as well as the opposition (CiU) were in agreement about the future of education for the region and gives the law a good chance of remaining in place even if there is a change in government after the next Generalitat elections. This stability is something that hasn't been achieved at a national level in Spain and politicians here hope that it will see education in Catalunya improve.