More Spanish young people are choosing to stay on at school after finishing their compulsory studies at age 16, rather than try to find work at a time when unemployment is approaching 20 percent (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). When schools restart next week, there will be 8,800 more students studying for the bachillerato and 42,000 more taking professional training courses than last year. This is the second year in a row that students have decided to stay on at school—in 2008, the number of people continuing their education beyond what they are obliged to do rose for the first time in 15 years.
The private television channels in Spain have agreed to stop broadcasting adverts for food or drink that can provoke excessive consumption in under-18s (article in Castilian, El Periodico). However, the state broadcaster, Televisión Española (TVE), refused to sign up to the agreement, which was put forward by the Spanish Health Ministry. The idea is not to stop promoting any particular products, but rather have stricter control over the messages that are conveyed to children when they're watching television. The decision of TVE not to sign up to this move was not well received; it will no longer broadcast adverts from January 2010, but for the rest of this year, it will be the only one not participating in this move that is designed to help reduce childhood obesity in Spain, which is currently the highest rate in Europe.
Following in the footsteps of Arenys de Munt, which will hold a popular vote on Sunday about whether Catalunya should become independent, the town of Calders is planning a similar move before the end of the year (article in Catalan, Avui). At a plenary session yesterday, the council of Calders (which is in the central Catalan region of Bages) was granted authorisation to create a special commission that will organise the vote in the coming months. The council in Calders is made up of members from Convergencia i Unió (CiU) and the Grup Democratic de Calders-Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), which are both parties that lean towards independence.
Also in the news: Poker championship in Barcelona (video from La Vanguardia); Spanish government has a shortfall of some €25,000 million (El Periodico); Catalan touch rugby federation admitted to the sport's international federation (Avui)