Unemployment in Spain grew again during April, with almost 40,000 additional people now without work, bringing the total throughout the country is 3,644,880 (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). However, the Finance Minister Elena Salgada said that despite this latest rise, it was possible to see a deceleration in the rate of growth of unemployment here and that the measures put in place by the Socialist government to fight the crisis are beginning to show their effects. In contrast, the European Commission has said that Spain is still on course to reach 20 percent unemployment this year, and that it could be even higher; this would mean over four million people would be out of work. In the same report, the Commission said that the risk of deflation in Europe was not as high as previously thought, thanks to the stimulation efforts made by national governments throughout the continent.
The new Catalan Education Law (LEC), which is due to be approved in the near future, will require that all teachers here have a good understanding of a foreign language with particular emphasis on English to be able to work in public schools (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The political party Convergencia i Unió has successfully sought the inclusion of this requirement in the proposed legislation, which will mean teachers have to have a B2 written and spoken grasp of English, which is a high intermediate standard. The LEC will see the Generalitat have the power to create its own teaching body, organising specific entrance exams (oposiciones) to test the requirements for teachers in Catalunya including language skills and IT knowledge.
Following the success of a pilot project run since last summer, the Ajuntament is to introduce more motorcyle-only grids (indicated by a box of yellow criss-crossed lines) at 12 key junctions around the city (article in Catalan, Avui). However, it also plans to put up closed-circuit cameras at some of these points to catch motorcyclists who break the law, for example in passing red lights. In addition, high-definition cameras will be placed at those junctions in Barcelona where the most incidents happen or that are prone to high levels of traffic. This is because the existing cameras often have difficulty in reading the licence-plate of mopeds or motorbikes.
Swine flu (gripe A) latest: Seventeen people are now affected by the flu in Catalunya. The three latest cases, of which one caught the disease from a family member who had travelled to Mexico, are all at home and are stable. The Spanish government is to undertake an information campaign at airports regarding the precautions travellers should take to avoid contracting the illness.