Lottery ticket - El Gordo
The hit Catalan film Pa negre (Black Bread) has been selected by the Spanish Film Academy to represent the country at next year's Oscars awards (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). With this selection, the film's director, Mallorcan Agustí Villaronga, has made the move from a "strange creature" in the industry to a film-maker who people approach for autographs on the Barcelona metro. Pa negre will now hope to be shortlisted as one of the contenders in the Best Film in a Foreign Language category. The film, which deals with the post-Civil War period in Catalunya, beat off the other contenders for the nomination, La voz dormida, a melodrama about Francoist repression in jails, and La piel que habito, Pedro Almodóvar's latest production starring Antonio Banderas. Pa negre has already made history when, in February this year, it became the first Catalan film to win the maximum Spanish film prize, the Goya for best film.
The state lottery company, Loterias y Apuestas del Estado (LAE) has had its launch on the Spanish stock exchange postponed until October 19th from today, as had been planned by the government; this is according to an official calendar to which the agency Europa Press has had access (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Private investors, who will be able to invest between €1,500 and €200,000, will have to make their purchase orders between tomorrow, September 30th and October 11th. "Market conditions are not suitable at the moment to guarantee income that reflect [the stocks'] value," explained a press release from the Economy Ministry. The applications to buy stocks will open between October 12th and 14th, the final offer price will be definitively fixed on October 17th, and the following day, the adjudication and payment will be carried, out, with the shares starting their quotation on the exchange on the 19th. LAE will offer retail investors a monthly dividend with an annual profitability of eight percent, according to the information that the banks involved in the offer are providing to potential clients.
More than 64,000 homes in Catalunya were supplied with water not suitable for drinking in 2009 (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). According to a report by the Agència de Protecció de la Salut, to which El Punt-Avui has had access, the water exceeded the legal limits for pollution of certain elements, specifically arsenic, fluoride, nitrates and trihalomethanes. It was the latter that affected the most Catalan homes, with 28,762 supplied water with excessive amounts of trihalomethanes—this is a potentially carcinogenic compound formed when mixing chlorine with the organic material naturally found in water during the process to make water potable. The number of homes that the other elements were found in was as follows: 17,595 with excessive amounts of fluoride (pollution of geologic origin that can cause fluorosis affecting bones and teeth), 15,122 nitrates (a problem associated with underground water sources, which can cause long-term health issues to pregnant women and children) and 8,923 with arsenic (a natural element that may result in serious health problems). In some areas, more than one of these elements was found in drinking water.