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Catalonia

Rapper to get jail for glorifying ‘terrorism’

Spain's top criminal court sentenced a rapper to two years in prison Friday for Twitter posts and a song it said glorified terrorism, the latest such decision against an artist that has raised free speech concerns. Such was the uncertainty over whether the tweets of Pablo Rivadulla, better known as Pablo Hasel, were harmful enough to warrant prison that one of the three judges who oversaw his case made known her disagreement with the sentence. In its statement, the National Audience said it had analysed 64 of Hasel's…

Ousted Catalan leader says ready to stand in snap regional election

MADRID/BRUSSELS: Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who left Spain for Belgium after his government was sacked following a declaration of independence, said on Friday he was ready to stand in a snap election in the region next month. Puigdemont ignored a court order to return to Spain on Thursday to answer charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds relating to Catalonia’s independence push. Nine members of his dismissed cabinet were ordered to be held in custody on Thursday pending an…

Sacked Catalonia leader calls for opposition to Madrid’s rule

MADRID/BARCELONA: Sacked Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont on Saturday called for peaceful “democratic opposition” to the central government’s takeover of the region following its unilateral declaration of independence from Spain. Puigdemont, whose regional government was dismissed by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Friday, accused Madrid of “premeditated aggression” against the will of the Catalans. Rajoy removed Puigdemont, took over the administration of the autonomous region and called a new election…

Spain seizes control of ‘independent’ Catalonia

MADRID: Spain moved on Saturday to assert direct rule over Catalonia, replacing its executive and top officials to quash an independence drive that has pushed the country into uncharted waters and sent shock waves through Europe. As thousands rallied in Madrid in support for Spanish unity, a government notice officially deposed regional leader Carles Puigdemont and his deputy Oriol Junqueras. The announcement placed Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria in charge of administering the region. It is the…

Spain sacks Catalan government after independence declaration

BARCELONA/MADRID: The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament on Friday, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation, in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago. A new election will be held in Catalonia on Dec. 21, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a televised address on a day of high drama. As well as removing Carles Puigdemont as head of the autonomous region, he also fired the police chief and said central government…

EU spurns Catalan independence declaration, backs Madrid

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Friday spurned Catalonia's declaration of independence, voicing staunch support for Madrid in a crisis threatening the stability of a key member of the bloc as Brussels grapples with Brexit. President Donald Tusk said Madrid "remains our only interlocutor" after Catalan lawmakers voted to secede from Spain and appealed for a peaceful resolution to the rapidly escalating standoff. Brussels and EU member states have been steadfast in their backing of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy since the…

Canada recognises ‘a united Spain’: official

OTTAWA: Canada rejected the Catalan regional government's unilateral declaration of independence on Friday and urged dialogue between Madrid and the breakaway region of Spain. "In accordance with international legal principles, these decisions must be made within the constitutional framework," Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary to Canada's foreign affairs minister, told the Commons. "Given this, Canada recognises a united Spain," he said. "A dialogue between Spain and Catalonia within the constitutional…