Speaking in response to the popular vote that took place on Sunday regarding the possibility of Catalan independence, Artur Mas, the leader of the Catalan opposition party Convergencia i Unió, said that the time is not yet right for Catalunya to be its own country (article in Castilian, El Periodico). With many commentators on the issue saying it isn't clear who were the 'winners' in Sunday's vote—due to a clear majority in favour of independence amongst those who voted, which was, however, only about 30 percent of the possible turnout—the main Catalan political parties are now trying to gain what advantage they can in the face of the less-than-conclusive results from the popular vote. Mas has on previous occasions said that he would vote yes in a referendum on Catalan independence, and there are many in his party who lean the same way, but he is clearly urging caution at the present time. In the face of a lack of majority amongst the Catalan population for independence, he suggested that the time is not right for such a significant move and instead insisted that the campaign had to be led by a major party rather than by the organisers of the popular votes, which tend to be disparate local groups.
This coming Friday, a preliminary vote will take place in the Catalan parliament regarding the abolition of bullfighting in the autonomous community (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). It comes as a result of a 'iniciativa legislativa popular' (a popular legislative initiative, or ILP), which gained 125,000 signatures in support of the proposed outlawing of the bullfighting tradition in Catalunya, which has been around since the 15th century. The campaign has provoked passions on both sides of the debate, and even from beyond Catalunya, with a letter written by 133 French politicians recently sent to the members of the Catalan parliament calling on them not to ban bullfighting here. Efforts have also been made by the Federación de Entidades Taurinas y la Plataforma en Defensa de la Fiesta to convince politicians to vote against the motion. However, despite this, the anti-bullfighting sector is confident of success in Friday's vote, when they need at least 68 members to vote in favour of what could become the first major step to banning the sport throughout Catalunya.
In 2008, the tap water of more than 70,000 people in Catalunya registered a level of contaminants that was above legal limits, according to data gathered by the Agència de Protecció de la Salut (article in Catalan, Avui). The main contaminants that were found to surpass the legal limits in the affected tap water were arsenic, nitrates, fluorines and trihalomethanes. Some of the places affected by the contamination were Sant Vicenç de Castellet, Piera and Sant Cugat del Vallès (trihalomethanes) and Calaf, Cambrils and Mont-roig del Camp (nitrates), although not necessarily the whole town was exposed to the polluted tap water. The authority that supplies water to homes is responsible for controlling water quality, while the town councils in places affected by such contaminants must notify residents if it is found that the water has permanent problems of contamination, according to a spokesperson for the Agència de Protecció de la Salut.
Also in the news: Roads still closed in Tarragona due to yesterday's snow (Avui); Public transport costs in Barcelona to rise significantly above inflation (El Periodico); Spanish inflation rises again following eight months of negative rates (La Vanguardia)