Masks No Longer Compulsory Outdoors

Masks must still be worn in indoor areas – except on private property with one’s own household members and are strongly recommended when meeting other friends or family at their homes and in cars, unless travelling with members of the same household.

Masks will still be a legal requirement on public transport, including open-top buses, but have so far not been mandatory when taking part in rigorous sports activities, such as running or cycling, where they may inhibit breathing. 

If a person suffers from a medical condition making it dangerous – not just slightly uncomfortable, but genuinely painful and harmful – to wear a mask, they must get a note from their doctor and will need to show it if the police stop them, to prove their ‘exemption’. Unmasked members of the public, with or without a doctor’s note, are not permitted inside shops or public buildings without wearing a mask, except at the discretion of the owners or managers who can deny entry to people without a mask on. They could face fines if customers enter with their faces uncovered, but customers can take the mask off in the street.

New ITV Compulsory Vehicle Inspection Criteria

The ITV is carried out on all cars of four years old or over, every two years. Once the car is 10 years old, the ITV is compulsory annually. Some vehicles may need to start their ITV’s before the end of their fourth year as is often the case with courtesy or hired cars. For those with cars which have already undergone at least one ITV, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the vehicle passes before the previous one expires. On passing the test, a sticker with the expiry date must be displayed prominently in the top left-hand corner of the windscreen, the right way up, with all previous ones removed.

ITVs are conducted at official, State-run testing centres. The owner drives through the ITV testing centre and performs the moves requested by the tester. Although oil and water levels and filters do not form an integral part of the test, the car could fail if they are dry or in a very bad condition. 

If the car fails the ITV, the owner has up to 30 days to fix the defects and re-test. This fee is 50% of the initial test. After a failure and prior to passing a subsequent ITV, the car can only be driven to a garage or inspection centre. Driving with an out-of-date ITV attracts a fine of €500 and driving after a fail, but before passing a re-test means a fine of €200.

Changes 

Any fault in ABS braking systems will become a defect automatically, subject to a fail.

‘Minor faults’ could lead to failure if they are not fixed by the next test, depending upon their severity. A loose wing mirror or one that was hanging off is now a ‘serious fault’, meaning the car will fail unless it is fixed first.

Emissions-Checking will also affect electric cars with an extended battery life per charge, known as Range-Extended Electric Vehicles (REEVs). This will also include procedures for identifying motorcycles with advanced emission-control systems.

The ‘log book’ will now be held on the traffic authority’s General Vehicle Register, meaning it can be identified by the test centre if the owner forgets to bring the hard copy. Spanish law requires that this document be kept inside the vehicle at all times and failure could result in a fine.

The re-registration British number plates is now likely to be more convoluted since the UK is no longer part of the European Union. 

Five-Metre Neckbone From 145-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Unearthed In Teruel

A perfectly-intact piece of a sauropod spine dating back around 145 million years has been unearthed in the province of Teruel. Even though it is five metres long, it is only a small section of the entire backbone.

The fossil discovered near the village of Camarillas, which is known to be a hotbed of dinosaur remains, is made up of 15 vertebrae which is only the neck. Other than being identified as a giant sauropod, the exact species has not been determined. Each vertebra is at least 30cm long and 1mt high and the original dinosaur may have been over 25mts long. As well as being one of the best-preserved remains discovered in recent history, it may belong to the biggest dinosaur known to walk on Earth. 

The team poured liquid ‘plaster of Paris’ into the dig around the vertebrae to cushion them, then split it into two as it was too heavy to lift it mechanically. They built an iron frame like a giant cardboard box around it, which they lowered the neck-bone into, packing it with polystyrene loops for protection.

The fossil is awaiting restoration and scientific examination. The Camarillas’ dinosaur dig was unearthed years ago totally by accident by a local resident out walking and so far over 80 fossils have been found and restored, most of which were parts of sauropods.

€5 Billion Investment To Tackle Unemployment In Young Adults 

Good, solid careers, is part of the government’s aim in getting young adults into the workplace. Salaries of €436 a month gives a very poor impression of national culture and companies. With the funding, a micro-credit programme and free legal and financial advice will help young people to start their own businesses. The project, called the Plan de Garantía Juvenil Plus, (Youth Guarantee Plus Plan), has many different sub-sections and will be rolled out over the next six years, financed by the European Social Fund.

The scheme has been worked out with significant input from companies, unions and regional governments focussing on career advice, training and education, job opportunities, equal opportunities, new business and becoming self-employed and brand improvement. The ultimate aim is to offer ‘personalised advice and guidance for every single young person’ providing them with the skills, training and qualifications to transform the Spanish productivity. They also need to attract back to Spain those young adults who have been forced to emigrate to find meaningful work.

Unemployment in the under-25s is a huge problem, but the scheme will target those aged up to 30/35. Joblessness in the young varies drastically according to region, but the national figure is over 39% – the highest in the Eurozone. Unemployment, or poor-quality employment, varies largely by geographical location. Whilst it is less of an issue among younger adults in huge cities, jobs in coastal areas depend strongly on tourism and are more likely to be seasonal and menial. 

Today’s young adults are considered the highest-qualified generation yet. When they finish university, college, the equivalent vocational training is almost essential to be able to get any job, let alone a meaningful career. Even lower-skilled positions generally require experience. Getting this experience is impossible without having a job first, resulting in a vicious circle.

The micro-credit scheme, together with free financial and legal advice, is aimed at those young people who have ideas for businesses that they want to put in place, but cannot do so as banks won’t lend them the money for set-up costs. Small business loans will be given subject to full career counselling and without requiring a guarantor or security.