- Spain govt says Catalan independence vote would be illegal
Spain's Justice Minister on Thursday said a vote on Catalan independence would not happen because the Spanish Constitution does not allow it. "The vote will not take place because our Constitution does not allow any region to organize a vote or a referendum that concerns national sovereignty," Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told national radio after separatist parties in the northeastern region agreed to hold such a vote on November 9, 2014.
- Spain's Catalonia to push on with plans for independence vote
MADRID (Reuters) - Separatist parties in Spain's northwestern Catalonia region have agreed the wording of a referendum on independence from Spain on November 9, 2014, the head of the regional government announced on Thursday. Artur Mas said the vote, highly likely to be stopped short by the central government in Madrid despite rising nationalist fervor, would ask two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to be a State?" and "Do you want that State to be independent." (Reporting By Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Julien Toyer)
- Catalonia parties seek independence vote in November
Barcelona (AFP) - Political parties in Catalonia agreed to hold a referendum on independence for the northeastern Spanish region on November 9, 2014, the head of the regional government Artur Mas said on Thursday.
- Jihadist site urges Syria militants to free journalists
An online forum that frequently features statements from jihadists has called on an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group to free two Spanish journalists who were kidnapped in September in Syria. The Honein jihadist forum urged "our brothers the mujahedeen (holy warriors) in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) militant group to free reporter Javier Espinosa and photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, in a statement accompanied by their photos posted online on Tuesday. The site said the two journalists were a "good hand for advocating our issues in Iraq and Syria, and carrying the silenced truth," adding "there are those among us who know them well, and were working with them to serve our issues."
- Stunning City fightback ends Bayern's record run
Munich (Germany) (AFP) - Manchester City fought back from two goals down to earn a 3-2 win at Bayern Munich on Tuesday and break the holders' record 10-match Champions League winning streak. The German giants also suffered their first defeat in major competition since coach Pep Guardiola took charge in June. Bayern also fell to their first home defeat -- after 18 wins in Munich -- since losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal in last season's knock-out stages of the Champions League in March. "Perhaps we needed a defeat to remind us of a few things," said Guardiola, whose Bayern are on a 40-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga.
- Finance chief quits embattled lender RBS after 10 weeks
British state-rescued lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was dealt a fresh blow on Tuesday when its finance chief announced he was to quit, less than 10 weeks after taking the job. The bank confirmed reports that group finance director Nathan Bostock had "informed the board of his intention to resign". Sky News earlier reported that Bostock, who was appointed to the post on October 1, was on the verge of joining Spanish bank Santander. RBS, currently 81-percent-owned by the British government after the world's biggest bank bailout following the 2008 financial crisis, was recently hit with a 391 million euro ($538 million) fine by the European Union for rigging key interest rates.
- Qaeda kidnappers silence journalist survivors of Syria bombs
From Baba Amr to Aleppo, they braved countless army bombardments to tell the world about the suffering of Syrians, but two Spanish journalists have fallen prey to another danger: Al-Qaeda kidnappers. Reporter Javier Espinosa and photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova have been held since September 16 by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to a statement released Tuesday by the Spanish journalists' families. "Embedded" with rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, the journalists had been working in battered Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria on their last trip. Espinosa has ventured into rebel areas of Syria a dozen times since the anti-Assad revolt broke out in 2011.
- Families of Spanish journalists abducted in Syria break their silence
The two men join a growing list of journalists kidnapped or captured in Syria and whose plights are routinely kept from public view while negotiations are ongoing. Press advocacy groups say that at least 30 journalists are missing in Syria, mostly after entering rebel-held territory. Javier Espinosa, a correspondent for the Madrid newspaper El Mundo, and Ricardo GarcĂa Vilanova, a freelance photographer working with Espinosa, were kidnapped onÂ Sept. 16Â at a checkpoint in Tal-Abyad, near the Turkish border. El Mundo and the relatives said the kidnappers belonged to the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), a militant group linked to Al Qaeda and one of several jihadist groups operating in Syria.
- Western Saharans protest EU-Morocco fishing accord
LAAYOUNE, Western Sahara (AP) â€” Police clashed with stone-throwing demonstators in a city of Western Sahara on Tuesday during a protest against a new fishing accord that gives EU boats access to rich coastal waters.
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