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Asia and Australia Edition: Donald Trump, North Korea, South China Sea: Your Thursday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times • The massacre at a Texas church was captured on video. The images, according to an official briefed on the contents, show the gunman methodically shooting his victims in the head, including children, over seven minutes. [The New York Times] • The latest revelations from the “Paradise Papers,” a leaked trove of documents from an offshore firm: American universities are also using secretive overseas investments. [The New York Times] Continue reading the main story • In Catalonia, protests and a general strike shut down roads and services as leaders of the Spanish region’s secessionist movement sought to regain political momentum. [The New York Times] • An Australian television journalist is winning praise for standing up to a heckler who hurled profane abuse while she was preparing a live report. [News.com.au] • Italian officials approved, after years of debate, a plan to divert large cruise ships farther from Venice’s landmarks like St. Mark’s Square, the Grand Canal and the Ducal Palace. [The New York Times] • Zookeepers in Australia were amazed to find two jelly-bean-size “puggles,” or infant echidnas […]

Llivia Journal: This Catalan Town Has Already Broken From Spain, Physically at Least

For over 350 years, Llivia has remained effectively landlocked as a Spanish enclave inside France.Today Llivia is connected to the rest of Spain by the thinnest of filaments, the N-154, a “neutral” road that passes less than two miles through France and connects Llivia to the nearest town in Spain, Puigcerda, a couple of hours’ drive from Barcelona.“The Spanish police were never going to go through France to prevent the people from voting here,” Llivia’s mayor, Elies Nova, said with a smile.FranceLlivia(spain)N20EstavarN-154N116PuigcerdaSpain4 milesFRANCECATALONIAPORTUGALBarcelonaMadridSPAIN200 milesBeing enveloped by French territory gave Llivia certain tactical advantages as it faced many of the same hurdles as other parts of Catalonia to carry out a vote declared illegal by the Spanish government.On referendum day, when a mysterious internet shutdown hit the Spanish enclave, Llivia’s mayor decided to use the French internet connection so the vote could proceed, said Laurent Leygue, the mayor of the neighboring French town Estavar.“As a precautionary measure, they even took the ballots from Llivia to France to count the votes,” said Mr. Leygue, who joined the cheerful crowd on referendum day.Given their unusual position, Llivia’s residents have long maintained a strong sense of independence.“This can partly be explained by the peculiar history of the town,” said Marc Delcor, 35, the director of the municipal museum, which is home to the remains of the medieval Esteve Pharmacy, one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe.Continue reading the main story“The inhabitants needed that sense of belonging, especially after Franco,” he added, referring to the dictator Gen. Francisco Franco, whose death in 1975 opened the way for Spain’s democracy.So it is perhaps no surprise that support for independence from Spain runs strong in Llivia, even if it is unclear what independence would actually mean.On referendum day, Llivia voted overwhelmingly in favor of separating from Spain, according to officials — “561 votes out of 591 in favor of the sí,” Mayor Nova said proudly.PhotoLlivia remained part of Spain after the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees stipulated that villages were to be ceded to France, while Llivia was considered a town.Credit Samuel Aranda for The New York TimesSupporters of the separatist movement in Livia even broke a Guinness World Record by lighting about 82,000 candles in the form of the Estelada, the pro-independence flag, just before the referendum was held.“It was a beautiful, very unique moment,” Ms. Cortizo said. “The whole village was there to sing ‘Els Segadors,’ the official national anthem of Catalonia.”In the tumultuous aftermath of the vote, Ms. Cortizo was among the around 200,000 people who demonstrated in Barcelona in support of the two secessionist leaders jailed following an order by a Spanish court.Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyThank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.“We brought the 82,000 candles” to the demonstration, Ms. Cortizo said. “We won’t stop protesting until they are released and until we are independent.”After the referendum, the struggle over Catalonia intensified in an often confusing exchange between the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain. […]

Letters: Teenagers’ View of the News

Along with the onslaught of articles condemning Mr. Weinstein are articles blaming victims for their reactions, expressing shock at the fact that some of the women accepted money settlements […]

Article 155: The ‘Nuclear Option’ That Could Let Spain Seize Catalonia

The article allows the government to intervene in one of Spain’s regions if its autonomous government “fails to fulfill the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution or other laws, or acts in a way seriously prejudicing the general interests of Spain.”It is such a broad instrument that its use has been considered only once before, in 1989, when Felipe González, the Socialist prime minister, threatened to wield it against the Canary Islands to force it to comply with tax obligations.The second part of Article 155 calls upon the government to “issue instructions” to restore constitutional order, which is why legal experts are also now debating how Mr. Rajoy’s government could use Article 155 to seize back power in Catalonia if faced with a full-blown insurrection.Given the lack of precedent, however, Mr. Rajoy starts with a blank canvas. He could make Article 155 as broad or narrow as he wishes, as well as keep its measures in place for as long as he deems necessary.One option may be to use it to suspend from office Catalonia’s political leadership, starting with Mr. Puigdemont, but also including other lawmakers and to dissolve the Catalan Parliament to force early elections.Mr. Rajoy and his government could also suspend other Catalan officials across the region’s public administration, from the leadership of the Catalan autonomous police force to the directorship of the Catalan public television and radio broadcaster.How quickly will Article 155 be used?Following his cabinet meeting, Mr. Rajoy must follow a parliamentary procedure that culminates in a plenary vote in the Senate. […]

Spain Will Remove Catalan Leader, Prime Minister Announces

Mr. Rajoy said the Catalan government had never offered real dialogue with the central government in Madrid but had instead tried to impose its secessionist project on Catalan citizens and the rest of the country in violation of Spain’s Constitution.He said his government was putting an end to “a unilateral process, contrary to the law and searching for confrontation” because “no government of any democratic country can accept that the law be violated, ignored and changed.”Mr. Rajoy said he planned to remove the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, and the rest of his separatist administration from office.The central government was also poised to take charge of Catalonia’s autonomous police force.Mr. Rajoy did not ask to dissolve the Catalan Parliament, but instead said that the president of the assembly would not be allowed to take any initiative judged to be contrary to Spain’s constitution for a period of 30 days, including trying to propose another leader to replace Mr. Puigdemont.Mr. Rajoy said that his goal was to arrange new Catalan elections within six months, so as to lift the measures taken under Article 155 as soon as possible.However, it’s unclear how such elections would be organized or whether they would significantly change Catalonia’s political landscape, let alone help to resolve the territorial conflict.In fact, the steps announced by Mr. Rajoy run a serious risk of further inflaming an already volatile atmosphere in Catalonia, where tens of thousands braved Spanish national police wielding truncheons to vote for independence during the barred Oct. 1 referendum.Continue reading the main storyMr. […]

Paleontologists discover lost ecosystem off the coast of southern California

The ecosystem had thrived for thousands of years but collapsed less than two centuries ago. […]

URIDU fights poverty & empowers rural illiterate women with solar powered MP3 players

The MP3ForLife device is loaded with 400+ answers to common questions about health, nutrition, family planning, and more, translated into more than 100 languages. […]