More than 10,500 people applied for the basic state financial aid during the first half of this year, four times more than during the same period in 2008 when 2,677 people sought the help (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The monthly payment, called the renda mínima d'inserció, pays between €414 and €550 and is aimed at helping those families with no other sources of income; people claiming it may have lost their job due to the crisis and whose right to unemployment benefit has run out, or those who had a company that has been forced to close recently. The benefit was created 20 years ago to help those without the means to cover essential costs, and to claim it requires a commitment to certain social and employment initiatives. Twenty-seven thousand families now receive this benefit, with the majority of claimants being women.
FC Barcelona is changing all the grass on the pitch of the Camp Nou stadium following problems during Sunday's match against Mallorca (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The condition of the pitch has been problematic since the beginning of the season at the end of August and the club has decided to take advantage of the fact that there is now a break in league games, thanks to various national-level fixtures, to try and deal with the issue. It is thought that the bad condition of the grass contributed to difficulties suffered by the players on Sunday, including an injury to key striker Pedro, who is now unlikely to be fit to play for the next three weeks. Changing the grass was decided to be a preferable strategy rather than trying to improve the quality of the existing pitch, which the club has been attempting to do over the past few weeks with little visible success. The new grass will be in place for this weekend, giving it a week to settle in before the next Barça home match, which will be played against Valencia on October 16th.
With three days to go until the winner of this year's Nobel peace prize is announced, there has been massive on-line support given to the Catalan Vincent Ferrer Foundation as a candidate for the award (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The number of people that have signed up to the campaign for the Indian charity to win the award has far exceeded the expectations of the group behind the initiative, which believes that the Fundació Vincent Ferrer should win because of the help it has given to around 2.5 million people in one of the poorest areas of the sub-continent, Annantapur. "We started with 40,000 people signed up on Facebook and now we have 326,000 signed up on the dedicated website that we created for the purpose in February," said president of the campaign for the NGO to win the prize, Rafael Vilasanjuan. "We've reached the major decision-making centres," he added. "We've managed to make the EU look at this project as a model for future development. We've made some of the most prestigious universities and think tanks take interest in the NGO... As such, if it doesn't win this year, the connections to win the prize are now in place."
Also in the news: Pickpockets target tourists in Montjuïc (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Six people arrested for cultivating 300 kilos of cannabis in southern Catalunya (read article in Catalan here, Avui); Young man electrocuted while trying to steal copper cable (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico).