Spain to impose direct rule over Catalonia +++ Kenya presidential election turnout down

Spain to impose direct rule over Catalonia +++ Kenya presidential election turnout down +++ UN condemns government siege of east Damascus +++ Syrian government ‘responsible for sarin attack’ +++ Trump orders JFK files released +++ The Weather

News | 27 October 2017

Joanna King

Spain to impose direct rule over Catalonia

Spain’s Senate has begun a session at which it is expected to adopt unprecedented measures to impose direct rule on Catalonia amid the growing crisis over the region’s push for independence. Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has said the emergency measures include the dismissal of Catalan government officials, including president Carles Puigdemont: “What would have been the answer in any country around us in a similar situation. What for example would France or Germany do if one of their regions called an illegal referendum on independence, or suspended its constitution or disobeyed the court’s rules.”

Catalan separatists claim independence is near

It is not yet clear how quickly the Spanish government will implement the article of the constitution invoking the measures in Catalonia. Catalan separatist MP Alfred Bosch says Barcelona is ready, in response to Madrid, to declare unilateral independence: “The idea is that if independence is already proclaimed, the Spanish legal system and whatever legal menace Mariano Rajoy might make does not apply to the Catalan Republic, which will be proclaimed.” Mass protests are expected in Barcelona.

Kenya presidential election turnout down

Kenya's electoral commission says turnout in yesterday’s re-run of the presidential election fell to 34%, compared to nearly 80% in the initial poll in August. The opposition leader Raila Odinga had called on his supporters to boycott yesterday’s vote, saying irregularities that led to the annulment of the first election had not been dealt with. The election is still to be held in four areas tomorrow where violence between police and opposition supporters prevented voting.

UN condemns government siege of east Damascus

The United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has said over 350,000 Syrians, under siege by government forces, in rebel-held eastern suburbs of Damascus, are suffering severe malnutrition. Zeid said the population is on the verge of famine and described the situation in Eastern Ghouta as a humanitarian outrage.

Syrian government ‘responsible for sarin attack’

A United Nation's investigation of a sarin nerve gas attack that killed over 90 people in north-west Syria in April, has concluded that government forces were responsible. The report supports the initial findings by the United States, France and Britain that a Syrian military plane dropped a bomb with sarin on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Trump orders JFK files released

US president Donald Trump has ordered the release of nearly 3000 classified documents relating to the assassination of president John F Kennedy in 1963. Trump relented to requests from the FBI and CIA to keep some documents out of the public domain because of national security and foreign affairs concerns.

The Weather

Rain showers with some sunny spells in low-lying areas, top temperatures falling to 7 to 13 degrees.

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  • Joanna King

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