Last month in Spain, unemployment rose by 98,906 people, a significant number but half of what it was in October 2008 (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The total number of unemployed in Spain is now over 3,800,000, and has risen by 2.6 percent compared to September. October is a typical month to see a rise in people out of work so the higher figure was to be expected; however, compared to this time last year, when unemployment rose by 192,658 in a month, the numbers continue to show an overall downward trend that started back in March this year. In Catalunya, in contrast, over 12,000 people lost their jobs last month, which was 43 percent more than in October 2008 (article in Catalan, Avui). In total, 543,603 people are now without work here.
Following the recent exposure of corruption cases at the Palau de la Música Catalana and the town council of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, various Catalan parties have voiced support for new ‘anti-corruption’ measures (article in Catalan, Avui). The Partit Socialista de Catalunya has said that it is open to undertaking legislative reform against future corruption, while Convergència Democràtica has announced that it will draw up an ethical code of good practices for its members in the next few months. Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds has proposed a pact that would, amongst other measures, introduce a maximum sale price on land and limit the business profits of urban activities.
A climate change summit being held in Barcelona ahead of the major Copenhagen event next month began yesterday with a general sense of pessimism surrounding the discussions (article in Castilian, El Periodico). While the environmental organisation Greenpeace hung a huge banner from the Sagrada Familia saying ‘World Leaders, Make the Climate Call’, representatives from different organisations and governments showed themselves despondent about the chances of effecting real change on the environment. Yvo de Boer, the main UN representative on climate change, insinuated that no significant resolutions would be ready for Copenhagen, despite two years of pre-discussions and six high-level international meetings; Connie Hedegaar, the Danish Minister for Energy (and host of the Copenhagen summit) addressed delegates, asking “What are you waiting for? The world can’t wait any more.” Hedegaar specifically called on the US to bring firm ideas to the table, and many echoed the notion that the international community wouldn’t accept an agreement if Washington had nothing to offer in exchange. Indeed, the African block of countries asked that negotiations be suspended until the Americans presented something concrete. The US delegation responded by committing to work hard, but offered no firm ideas on figures for reducing emissions or providing financial assistance.
Also in the news: Two Catalans invent a belt that doesn’t have to be taken off at airport control points (La Vanguardia); Food collection campaign gathers 220 tonnes of goods to be redistributed to those in need through social schemes (El Periodico); Local language organisation says that Johann Cruyff should speak Catalan, as new trainer of the Catalan football team (Avui)