The European Central Bank (ECB) has indicated that it will buy Italian and Spanish debt, by "actively implementing" its programme to buy public debt (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). In the announcement made last night, the ECB suggested that it would buy the debt of these two countries as a way to avoid a spread of the financial crisis (that has affected Greece, Ireland and Portugal, necessitating bailout funds from the EU) to the two. The president of the ECB, Jean Claude Trichet, said in a statement that the decision takes into account the negative functionality of some market segments and that its objective it to help "restore a better transmission of our monetary policy decisions" and "ensure the stability of prices in the Euro zone." He added that "the governing body of the ECB welcomed the announcement from the governments of Italy and Spain related to their new measures and reforms in the areas of fiscal and structural policies."
The rain that has fallen in certain parts of Catalunya over the past few months, notably in March and July that were wetter than normal in the north-east of the region, has created a situation of inequality regarding the water reserves in local reservoirs (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). While in the counties (comarques) of Barcelona and Girona, the reservoirs have accumulated water in abundance, those in the basin of the Ebre, mainly Lleida although they also supply a large part of Tarragona, have seen much more modest amounts of water fall; this situation is just the opposite to what normally happens. Reservoirs in the Ter-Llobregat area, which supply the city and metropolitan area of Barcelona, have got more than 91 percent of their total capacity, which is extraordinary for the month of August. The Catalan Water Agency reckons this is probably the highest its been at this time of the year in at least the past decade; the average over the past 10 years has been 69 percent capacity, while in 2005, the level was just 33.4 percent. While the situation isn't yet said to be worrying, it is notably different in the Ebre basin. It has rained much less at the sources of the different rivers in the area and less snow has accumulated than in previous years, which means that the large reservoirs there have got lower reserves compared to last year: Mequinensa has 15 percent less, with a fall from 80 to 65 percent, Canelles has gone down from 66 to 48 percent and Rialb from 88 to 70 percent.
The Generalitat's Civil Protection has finalised its prealert for the emergency plan for sea pollution following the rightening of a boat in Sant Feliu de Guixols that tipped over yesterday and was leaking petrol into local waters (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Water has been removed from the sunk boat by rescue services (Salvamento) and the fuel leak halted. According to Civil Protection, at around 8pm yesterday evening, a large crane started the work to take out the water from the vessel, which was followed by an operation to empty out the four fuel containers on the boat to remove what was left in them. Once this was complete, the crane lifted the boat out of the water and brought it to the quayside. The operation was made more complicated by the need to avoid the boat being damaged or giving off more fuel. To help with this, aquatic teams from the Mossos d'Esquadra regularly inspected the bottom and outside of the boat while it was being moved. The oil slick that had been created was dissolved using biodegradable products and mechanical processes using a propeller.