Catalan former president flees to Belgium +++ Investigation of Trump-Russia links develops
News | 31 October 2017
Catalan former president flees to Belgium
Spain's Supreme Court has said it will investigate six former members of the Catalan parliament for possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds following the parliament's declaration of independence last week. The ousted president of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium yesterday with several members of his former cabinet is addressing the media in Brussels around now, amid speculation he may apply for asylum. A leading member of Spain’s governing People’s party, Fernando Martinez Maillo, says Puigdemont has damaged his country: “What Puigdemont has done has been a failure and a mistake. It has caused a lot of damage to Spain and Catalonia, both socially and economically. And all for nothing.”
Investigation of Trump-Russia links develops
In the United States, the special investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election last year has revealed that a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump has secretly pleaded guilty to perjury, over his contacts with Russians with ties to the Kremlin. Analysts say the advisor, George Papadopoulos, may have been cooperating with the investigation, led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, to help it gather information. Lawyer David Tafuri: “Papadopoulos’s guilty plea discloses facts and communications between the Trump campaign and Russia we didn’t know about, and that could be a much bigger problem for Trump.” The investigation has also placed two former officials from Donald Trump’s campaign under house arrest. Paul Manafort and his former deputy Rick Gates have pleaded not guilty to 12 charges including money laundering and conspiracy. The White House has dismissed the indictments and said Manafort’s activities date from long before he joined the campaign. Trump has again denied any collusion with Russia to win the election.
Facebook reveals extent of Russian propaganda
Facebook has revealed that over 120 million users in the US may have viewed Russian-backed propaganda during and after the presidential election. The company’s lawyer Colin French says many of the ads and posts were intended to amplify divisions in society and were deeply disturbing. Lawyers for companies Facebook, Twitter and Google appear at a Senate hearing today examining Russia's impact through social media.
Refugees refuse to leave Manus island centre
Six hundred asylum seekers trying to reach Australia have barricaded themselves inside a detention centre in Papua New Guinea that is due to be closed. The High Court in Papua New Guinea last year ruled the Manus Island site illegal. The refugees say they fear for their safety.
UN warns on climate change
The United Nations has warned that there is a catastrophic difference between commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and what is needed to limit global warming. A new UN report says the emission cuts agreed under the Paris accord are only a third of what is needed to prevent drastic effects from climate change.
Mainly sunny in the west and south. Cloudy with scattered showers elsewhere. Top temperatures 5 to 13 degrees.
- Joanna King