The four Renfe-Rodalies and four regional train services from the area south of Barcelona that come into Sants Estació will not operate between today and August 27th, due to works to cover tracks (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). As such, passengers travelling on this route will have to get off the train at the station of either Bellvitge or L'Hospitalet de Llobregat to continue their journey either by bus or metro. More than three million people, an average of 150,000 users each day, will be affected by the postponement of these services and have to use alternative transportation, according to information provided by Renfe. It will mean that affected Rodalies passengers will take on average 20 minutes more in their journey than normal, while users of the regional services will need an additional 45 minutes to get to their destination. The operation also means that Barcelona's El Prat airport won't have a train service, but instead buses will run between Sants and the airport every quarter of an hour.
The Spanish government is waiting to see how the international markets will respond in the face of a bond sale by the exchequer (Tesoro público) that starts today, which it is hoped will raise €3.5 billion (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The bond sale is particularly important at this point, due to the current debt crisis that Spain is experiencing and that yesterday saw the country's debt premium reach another high at 407 basic points compared to German bonds, although it eventually closed the day at 390 points. Financial experts consulted by La Vanguardia say that today's bond sale by the Spanish exchequer will act as a confidence test regarding the solvency of Spain, as well as an examination of the moves taken by the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to reduce the public deficit and cut spending. Last night, the Spanish economy minister, Elena Salgado, confirmed that the bond auction would go ahead today, but warned that over the next few days, there will still be tension in the markets regarding Spanish debt.
The law of rights and duties that the Catalan interior department is starting to work on—as advanced by the interior minister, Felip Puig, on Monday—will restrict, for the first time, the use of items such as the burqa, niqab and other 'complete veils' (vels integrals) in public spaces in Catalunya. The legislation, which is still at a very early stage, will regulate the situations in which the members of the public can cover their face and those cases in which it will not be permitted. The difficulties that the police currently have in identifying anybody who has their face covered is one of the problems that could be avoided when the new law comes into force, which is due to be completed over the coming months, according to sources at the interior department. In addition, the new law on security and social behaviour (civisme) in public spaces—which has to enable the homogenisation of municipal ordinances—will have a special section dedicated to prostitution, especially the practice that takes place each day on the highways and roads of the region. The fact that currently each municipality has to fight against this issue via its own regulations means that prostitutes are constantly moving from one town to another that doesn't yet have laws against such roadside prostitution. It is hoped that this vicious circle will be eliminated by the new Catalan-wide regulation, which is expected to look very much like the so-called òmnibus law due to the large number of issues that it covers.