The Spanish government is reinforcing security at airports and rail stations in Catalonia before a meeting at which the regional leader could declare independence from Madrid, a police source said on Tuesday. Catalan police tightened their protective ring around the region’s parliament on Tuesday where secessionists have pledged a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain despite warnings from Madrid of swift counter-measures. Regional leader Carles Puigdemont held a meeting of his cabinet to decide how to press an independence drive that has stirred powerful emotions across Spain and raised fears of turmoil among European Union partner states.
Catalan police armed with automatic rifles guarded Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella that houses the elegant 18th century parliament as it prepared to convene at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) . About 20 armoured Catalan police vans blocked every entrance to the park and the entrance to parliament itself was guarded by three armoured vans and officers wearing balaclavas. Spanish national police, denounced by separatists for their use of force to hinder the region’s Oct .
1 referendum, were not to be seen . However, the Spanish government was reinforcing security at airports and rail stations in Catalonia. Pro-independence activists were gathering around the parliament, where big screens had been set up for them to watch proceedings .
Farmers parked half a dozen tractors near the assembly, flying the separatist Catalan flag. A declaration of independence would deepen Spain’s biggest political crisis since an attempted military coup in 1981 and would almost certainly draw a crackdown from Madrid, possibly including suspension of Catalonia’s autonomous government. Both Spain’s government and European Council President Donald Tusk appealed to Puigdemont not to proclaim independence.
“I ask you to respect, in your intentions, the constitutional order and not to announce a decision that would make such a dialogue impossible . Diversity should not, and need not, lead to conflict, whose consequences would obviously be bad for the Catalans, for Spain and for the whole of Europe,” Tusk said in a speech in Brussels.
The government of Spain’s wealthiest region says 90 percent of those who voted on Oct .
1 backed independence, but turnout was only 43 percent as many opponents of statehood stayed at home. The Spanish government appealed to Puigdemont to reflect and not to take an irrevocable step by declaring independence.
“I want to ask Mr . Puigdemont not to do anything irreversible, not to take a path of no return, not to carry out any unilateral declaration of independence and to return to legality,” Madrid government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters. French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU should not play a mediating role in the Catalonia crisis, expressing confidence in Madrid’s ability to handle the situation.
The Catalan parliament and other buildings, such as the regional high court building, could become a focus of contention between Spanish and Catalan authorities. Thousands of national police reinforcements sent by Madrid for the referendum remain in the area, many of them in two cruise ships docked in Barcelona harbour. Supporters of independence were already congregating near the parliament hours before a pro-independence rally called for 6 p.m .
to coincide with Puigdemont’s speech to the assembly.
“We are very excited, it is another historic day and we’re hoping they will declare independence,” said Laura Moreno, a 21-year-old literature student, sitting wrapped in a Catalan flag near the parliament. If independence is not declared, she said, “the fight will go on and we’ll try again .. . If it doesn’t happen now, it will in the future.”
Aitor Llado, 30, walking near the Catalan parliament carrying a Catalan separatist flag, also said it was an historic day. “Today is the day they are going to declare independence and we hope to leave Spain because it s an oppressor country.”
The issue has deeply divided the northeastern region as well as the Spanish nation . Opinion polls conducted before the vote suggested a minority of around 40 percent of residents in Catalonia backed independence. Losing Catalonia, which has its own language and culture, would deprive Spain of a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of exports.
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in Barcelona against independence at the weekend, waving red-yellow Spanish flags through the city centre. That rally occurred a week after some 900 people were injured when police fired rubber bullets and stormed crowds with truncheons to disrupt a referendum ruled illegal in Madrid. Puigdemont has said he is determined to apply a law passed by the Catalan assembly that called for a declaration of independence within days if Catalans voted “yes” on Oct .
Puigdemont could ask the parliament to vote on a motion of independence, which lawmakers say would start a period of up to six months during which Catalonia would write a new constitution and negotiate a divorce with Spain . Or, he could make a statement of intent on a future independence declaration. Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull refused to disclose what Puigdemont would say but told a news conference after the cabinet meeting he would be “clear and explicit” and Tuesday would be an historic day. The Madrid government has said it will respond immediately to any unilateral independence proclamation.
Spanish ruling party lawmakers said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was considering taking the unprecedented step of dissolving the Catalan parliament and triggering new regional elections, the so-called “nuclear option”. The European Commission repeated its call for dialogue in Spain to end the crisis in Catalonia . Puigdemont has also called for talks and international mediation, but Rajoy has said he will not negotiate with the Catalan leaders unless they abandon plans to declare independence. Markets have been rattled by the Catalan crisis, raising Spain’s borrowing costs and pushing down shares.
Spain’s benchmark 10-year bond yields were a touch lower on Tuesday, but above lows hit the previous session as investors awaited Puigdemont’s speech . Spain’s benchmark Ibex share index was down nearly one percent. The tension is taking its toll on the business climate.
On Monday, three more Catalonia-based companies joined a business drift from the region that has gathered steam since the referendum. Property group Inmobiliaria Colonial and infrastructure firm Abertis both decided to relocate their head offices to Madrid and telecoms firm Cellnex said it would do the same for as long as political uncertainty in Catalonia continued. Publishing house Grupo Planeta said it would shift its registered office from Barcelona to Madrid if the Catalan parliament unilaterally declared independence.
The Las Vegas gunman1 opened fire on a security guard six minutes before he rained down bullets on a crowd and killed 58 people2, officials said on Monday in a change to the timeline of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, was seen on numerous occasions in Las Vegas without any person accompanying him and he gambled the night before the shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a news conference . He killed himself after the attack.
This individual purposely hid his actions leading up to this event, and it is difficult for us to find the answers, said Lombardo, who said he was frustrated with the speed of the investigation.
Paddock sprayed an outdoor concert with bursts of gunfire from high above in a Las Vegas hotel window on 1 October, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more, before shooting himself.
In coordination with the FBI’ s3 behavioural analysis unit, a comprehensive picture is being drawn as to the suspect’s mental state and currently we do not believe there is one particular event in the suspect’s life for us to key on, Lombardo said. There is no indication anyone other than Paddock fired on the crowd, Lombardo said, adding investigators are talking to family members and the girlfriend of the gunman. Paddock shot and wounded a security guard who came to his floor at the Mandalay Bay hotel to investigate an open door down near Paddock’s suite, Lombardo said, providing new details on what occurred immediately before the mass shooting.
The security guard, Jesus Campos, was struck in the leg as the gunman, from behind his door, shot into the hallway on the 32nd floor . Paddock apparently detected Campos via surveillance cameras he set up outside his hotel suite, police have said. Paddock shot the guard at 9.59pm local time, Lombardo said, shortly before raining down bullets on the Route 91 Harvest festival in an attack that began at 10.05pm and lasted 10 minutes.
Police officers found Campos when they arrived on the floor. Paddock had a document in the room with him that contained numbers, Lombardo said, adding he could not immediately say what purpose the figures served. Las Vegas police officer David Newton told CBS News programme 60 Minutes on Sunday that he entered the room and saw a note on the shooter’s nightstand with numbers that appeared to be designed to help his aim.
It was unclear why Paddock stopped firing at the crowd, suggesting he may have initially planned to escape, Lombardo said.
He shot at jet fuel tanks at McCarran International Airport and had protective gear in the hotel suite and explosives in his parked car, Lombardo said.
Chinese company behind new UK nuclear power plant ‘refused to give security details to British authorities’
1/32 2 October 2017
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond arrives to speak at the Conservative Party’s conference in Manchester
2/32 1 October 2017
Protesters holding flags and placards demonstrate along Oxford Street during the annual Ashura march in London . Thousands of protesters march through London today to mark Ashura and celebrate the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria . Ashura is a Muslim festival of remembrance that falls on the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar
3/32 30 September 2017
Protesters hold up placards during the London March for Choice, calling for the legalising of abortion in Ireland after the referendum announcement, outside the Embassy of Ireland in central London
Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP
4/32 29 September 2017
Former UKIP leader Paul Nuttall (C) speaks with delegates at the UKIP annual conference being held at the The Riviera International Centre in Torquay
5/32 27 September 2017
England and West Indies fans enjoy themselves during the 4th Royal London One Day International between England and West Indies at The Kia Oval in London
6/32 26 September 2017
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn takes photographs during Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey’s speech in the main hall, on day three of the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
7/32 24 September 2017
Naked bathers enter the water as they take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge bay in Druridge, England . The popular annual event takes place around the autumn equinox at Druridge Bay as the sun rises . Participant registration fees have been pledged to the mental health charity MIND. Getty
8/32 23 September 2017
Rollo Maughfling, Archdruid of Stonehenge and Britain (R) conducts a ceremony as druids, pagans and revellers gather in the centre at Stonehenge, hoping to see the sun rise, as they take part in a autumn equinox celebrations at the ancient neolithic monument of Stonehenge near Amesbury in Wiltshire, England . Several hundred people gathered at sunrise ar the famous historic stone circle, a UNESCO listed ancient monument, to celebrate the equinox which is a specific moment in time that occurs twice a year when the Earth tilts neither towards (summer) or away (winter) from the sun in either the northern or southern hemisphere .
Although yesterday marked the actual meteorological calendar change from summer to autumn, for druids, the following dawn is when they celebrate ‘the dawning of the new season’ following the day of equal night, which it is named after. Getty
9/32 22 September 2017
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her Brexit speech at the Complesso Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy . British Prime Minister Theresa May will seek to unlock Brexit talks on September 22, after Brussels demanded more clarity on the crunch issues of budget payments and EU citizens’ rights
10/32 21 September 2017
People protest against the actions of the Spanish government in front of the Spanish consulate in Edinburgh . Spanish police stormed ministries and buildings belonging to Catalonia’s regional government yesterday, in an attempt to try and put a stop to the region’s independence referendum
11/32 20 September 2017
One of the final 55m turbine blades is manoeuvred into position . The last of 116 wind turbines have been installed at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm 13 kms off the Brighton Coast . It will provide enough electricity to supply the equivalent of half the homes in Sussex
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
12/32 16 September 2017
An armed police officer patrols in Horse Guards Parade in London . An 18-year-old man has been arrested in Dover in connection with yesterday’s terror attack on Parsons Green station in which 30 people were injured .
The UK terror threat level has been raised to ‘critical’
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
13/32 13 September 2017
Demonstrators hold banners during a protest to lobby MPs to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, after Brexit, outside the Houses of Parliament
14/32 12 September 2017
Rupert van der Werff, Summer Place Auctions’ Natural History specialist, moves a one-year-old baby mammoth skeleton at Summers Place Auctions on September 12, 2017 in Billingshurst . A family of four mammoths, found together during building works near the Siberian city of Tomsk in 2002, will be on sale on November 21, 2017, and are expected to sell in the region of 250,000 – 400,000
Rob Stothard/Getty Images
15/32 11 September 2017
Members of the Royal Navy carry supplies on board the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean at the Naval Base in Gibraltar before leaving to provide humanitarian assistance and vital aid to British Overseas Territories and Commonwealth partners affected by Hurricane Irma . Britain has pledged 32 million (35 million euros, $42 million) in aid and sent hundreds of troops, supplies and rescue equipment on several flights to the British territories in the Caribbean since the disaster
JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images
16/32 10 September 2017
His Holiness The Dalai Lama holds the hand of Richard Moore as he gives a public talk on the theme of ‘Compassion in Action’ to celebrate 20 years of the Children in Crossfire initiative in Londonderry, Northern Ireland . The Dalai Lama is the patron of the Children in Crossfire charity which was founded by Richard Moore . Mr Moore was blinded by a plastic bullet fired by a British Soldier during the Troubles in Derry. Getty Images
17/32 9 September 2017
Participants in the annual Jane Austen Regency Costumed Parade dance on the lawn of the historic Georgian Royal Crescent before they walk through the city centre in Bath, England . This year, the annual event coincided with the 200th anniversary of 19th century author’s death and saw hundreds of people parade through city centre streets dressed in regency costume .
The event marks the start of a 10-day Jane Austen festival that celebrates the 19th century author who lived in the city from 1801 to 1806 and set two of her six published novels, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’, in Bath. Getty
18/32 8 September 2017
Festival goers brave the wind and the rain at Bestival festival on the Lulworth Estate in Dorset
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
19/32 7 September 2017
Conservators and museum staff pose as they inspect the Manchester suffragette banner hanging in the conservation department of Manchester People’s History Museum . For nearly 50 years the banner lay undiscovered in a Leeds charity shop . It will go on public display next year to mark the centenary of women gaining the vote
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
20/32 6 September 2017
Protesters wave placards in Parliament Square during a protest against a Government pay cap in London . Thousands of protesters made up of nurses and supporters hold a demonstration in Westminster today calling on the Government to end the 1% cap on public sector pay
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
21/32 5 September 2017
U Soe Win, the great-grandson of Burma’s last King, visits Buckingham Palace
John Phillips/Getty Images
22/32 4 September 2017
Protestors demonstrate in support of workers at British McDonalds restaurants striking over pay and other industrial relations issues, near the Houses of Parliament in London
23/32 3 September 2017
World War II veteran from the Auxiliary Territorial Service Betty Webb (R) joins other veterans who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations for a group picture in front of Bletchley Park Mansion during an annual reunion in Milton Keynes, England . Bletchley Park was the Government Code and Cypher School’s (GC&CS) main codebreaking centre during World War II and the site where codebreakers famously cracked the German’s Enigma and Lorenz cyphers.
24/32 2 September 2017
50,000 people making the foot crossing over new Queensferry road bridge
25/32 1 September 2017
Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, is greeted by Emperor Akihito of Japan during her visit to the Royal Palace in Tokyo, Japan . Mrs May is on the third and final day of her visit to Japan where she has discussed a number of issues including trade and security
Carl Court/Getty Images
26/32 31 August 2017
Well-wishers and Royal ‘enthusiasts’ gather outside the gates of Kensington Palace where tributes continue to be left, on the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
27/32 30 August 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May takes part in a tea ceremony in Kyoto, during her visit to Japan. PA
28/32 28 August 2017
Revellers dance to music from a sound system with a Grenfell poster on it during the Notting Hill Carnival in London . The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place since 1966 and now has an attendance of over two million people
Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
29/32 27 August 2017
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan takes part in a release of doves as a show of respect for those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, during the Notting Hill Carnival Family Day in west London.
30/32 26 August 2017
Eight people have died in a crash involving a minibus and two lorries on the M1 near Milton Keynes . All of those who died are believed to have been travelling in the minibus, which was from the Nottingham area . The two lorry drivers have been arrested, one of them on suspicion of driving while over the alcohol limit. Alamy
31/32 25 August 2017
A Science Museum employee poses next to the Wells Cathedral Clock mechanism during a photocall at the Science Museum in London, England . The Wells Cathedral Clock mechanism is believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
32/32 24 August 2017
Lavlyn Mendoza (left) and Jennifer Quila celebrate after collecting their GCSE results, at Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls school in west London
Ben Stevens/PA Wire