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Catalonia independence: Spain takes charge of Catalan government

Catalonia independence: Spain takes charge of Catalan government

World
The Spanish government has stripped Catalonia of its autonomy and taken charge of its government.The measures early on Saturday came after the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence on Friday.An official state bulletin dismissed Catalan leaders and handed control of Catalonia to Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.Earlier, Spain's interior ministry took charge of Catalonia's police after firing senior Catalan police officials.On Friday, PM Mariano Rajoy announced the dissolution of the regional parliament and the removal of the Catalan leader, and called snap local elections.Demonstrations for and against independence went on into the night.More are expected on Saturday, with a rally "for the unity of Spain and the constitution" to be held in Madrid.The cris...
Iraqi Kurdish independence gamble backfires

Iraqi Kurdish independence gamble backfires

World
In ongoing standoff following a referendum for an independent state separate from Iraq, Kurds in northwestern Iraq have suffered significant losses, including areas that supply much of the region's revenue. Iraqi Kurds lost another major territory on Tuesday to Baghdad, surrendering the town of Sinjar -- one day after losing the oil-rich Kirkuk. Kurdish troops, known as the Peshmerga, abandoned the town to the Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iran-backed and predominantly Shia militia coalition that operates as part of the Iraqi security apparatus. Iraqi forces have continued their advance on Peshmerga positions in disputed territories, exactly one year after the now-warring sides jointly launched the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS, backed by the United States. The current confrontatio...
Catalonia independence declaration signed and suspended

Catalonia independence declaration signed and suspended

World
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceCatalan President Carles Puigdemont and other regional leaders have signed a declaration of independence from Spain, following the disputed referendum.However, they say the move will not be implemented for several weeks to allow talks with the government in Madrid.The document calls for Catalonia to be recognised as an "independent and sovereign state".The move was immediately dismissed by the Spanish central government in Madrid.A 1 October referendum in the north-eastern province - which Catalan leaders say resulted in a Yes vote for independence - was declared invalid by Spain's Constitutional Court.Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Puigdemont told the Catalan parliament in Barcelona that the region had won the right to be independent as a result of the...
Catalan referendum: Region's independence 'in matter of days'

Catalan referendum: Region's independence 'in matter of days'

World
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceCatalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous region has told the BBC.In his first interview since a disputed vote on Sunday, Carles Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next".Meanwhile, Spain's King Felipe VI said the vote's organisers had put themselves "outside the law".He said the situation in Spain was "extremely serious", calling for unity.Tensions between Spain and the north-eastern Catalonia region continue to mount. The Spanish High Court said it had begun an investigation into key Catalan figures on Wednesday on suspicion of sedition - inciting rebellion against the state - including the head of Catalonia's regional police. Josep Lluis Tr...
Tensions high in run-up to Catalonia independence vote

Tensions high in run-up to Catalonia independence vote

World
Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Tensions continued to run high with Spain's national government pledging to block Sunday's planned independence referendum in Catalonia.Last week, Spain's national police confiscated 9 million ballots from a warehouse outside Barcelona that Catalonian officials had planned to use to carry out a controversial independence referendum set for Sunday.The dramatic turn of events, first reported by Catalan News, was an opening salvo by the Spanish government to prevent what it regards as an illegal vote from taking place. The government has ordered police and the Guardia Civil, or Spanish Civil Guard, to confiscate all election-related materials, including the actual ballot boxes. Polling supervisors have been threatened with fines of up to 300,000 euros if they help facilitate...