1/41 30 December 2017
An Indian muslim lifts a stool with a metal rod pierced through his cheeks to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Rafai Papa Miyan Sai at the Shah-E-Alam Dargah shrine in Ahmedabad
2/41 29 December 2017
A New York apartment fire killed at least 12 people, including a baby, with four more critically injured . Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference from the scene that ‘it is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century.’
3/41 28 December 2017
Afghan women mourn inside a hospital compound after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan
4/41 27 December 2017
Pope Francis greets newlyweds during his weekly general audience at Aula Paolo VI in The Vatican
5/41 26 December 2017
Rohingya refugees walk next to a pond in the early morning at the Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
6/41 25 December 2017
Members of ice swimming club “Berliner Seehunde” (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake in Berlin as part of their traditional Christmas ice swimming session, in Berlin, Germany
7/41 24 December 2017
Mourners carry the body of 19-year-old Mohamed Sami al-Dahdouh, a Palestinian youth from Jabalia who was killed in clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City
8/41 23 December 2017
Policemen evacuate a baby after the Cagayan River swelled caused by heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Tembin . People have died and others are missing as the storm struck the southern Philippines unleashing floods and landslides across a region of 20 million people. AFP/Getty
9/41 22 December 2017
Carles Puigdemont gives a thumbs up after the Catalonia Regional Election results
10/41 21 December 2017
A white SUV sits in the middle of the road as police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where it ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne. AFP/Getty
11/41 20 December 2017
This combination of pictures shows Syrians covering one eye with their hands, in the rebel-held town of Douma, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in government shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria.
12/41 19 December 2017
South Korean and U.S . Marines take part in a winter military drill in Pyeongchang, South Korea
13/41 18 December 2017
Belgian police officers stand guard outside the trial of Salah Abdeslam, one of the suspects in the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris, at a courthouse in Brussels, Belgium
14/41 17 December 2017
Members of the International Space Station expedition 54/55, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (C), NASA astronaut Scott Tingle (R) and Norishige Kanai (L) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) during the send-off ceremony after checking their space suits before the launch of the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan
15/41 16 December 2017
The former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela (R), and the candidate for the African National Congress presidency and ex-wife of the incumbent South African president, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma greet each other as they attend the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 16, 2017 . Thousands of delegates from South Africa’s ANC party gathered on December 16, 2017 for a five-day meeting to elect their new leader in a divisive race seen as a pivotal moment in the country’s post-apartheid history . he winner will be well placed to be the next president, but the ANC has lost much popularity since Nelson Mandela led it to power in the euphoric 1994 election that marked the end of white-minority rule. AFP/Getty Images
16/41 15 December 2017
Palestinian protesters wave the national flag during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City as demonstrations continue over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
17/41 14 December 2017
Hamas supporters take part in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement, in Gaza City
18/41 13 December 2017
Democratic candidate for US Senate Doug Jones thanks supporters as he holds his wife Louise’s hand
19/41 12 December 2017
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather during the funeral ceremony of prominent spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, who died on Tuesday at the age of 104, in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Israel.
20/41 11 December 2017
A Palestinian protester kicks a flaming tire during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Ramallah
21/41 10 December 2017
Demonstrators set US and Israeli flags on fire during a protest against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Istanbul
22/41 9 December 2017
People gather to watch the bikers’ procession during the funeral ceremony in tribute to late French singer Johnny Hallyday in Paris
23/41 8 December 2017
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops
24/41 7 December 2017
Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway, north of Ventura, California. Getty Images
25/41 6 December 2017
Palestinians burn an Israeli and a U.S . flag during a protest against the U.S . intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City
26/41 5 December 2017
Former Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, flashes a victory sign after he was freed by his supporters in Kiev
27/41 4 December 2017
A man exercises in a park on a winter morning in Kolkata, India
28/41 3 December 2017
A supporter of Salvador Nasralla, presidential candidate for the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, puts a balloon on the shield of a soldier in a protest while the country is still mired in chaos over a contested presidential election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
29/41 2 December 2017
A man dressed as Santa Claus skiis down a mountain during the Saint Nicholas Day at the Alpine ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland
30/41 1 December 2017
A nurse takes blood for a HIV test for French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits the Delafontaine Hospital on World Aids Day
31/41 30 November 2017
An activist pours gasoline as an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S . President Donald Trump burns during a protest action against Duterte’s plan to set up a Revolutionary Government, along a street in metro Manila, Philippines
32/41 29 November 2017
South Korea’s Hyunmoo II missile is fired during an exercise at an undefined location in the east coast of South Korea
The Defence Ministry/Yonhap via REUTERS
33/41 28 November 2017
People fall as police fire tear gas to try control the crowd trying to force their way into Kasarani Stadium to attend the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi
34/41 27 November 2017
Rohingya refugee Amina Khatun, 55, rests at the bank of the Naf river after crossing it on an improvised raft to reach Bangladesh, in Teknaf .
Two of her sons were killed by gun fire when her village was attacked by Myanmar military, she says
35/41 26 November 2017
Mount Agung volcano is seen spewing smoke and ash in Bali
EMILIO KUZMA-FLOYD/via REUTERS
36/41 25 November 2017
A Pakistani protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad
37/41 24 November 2017
Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives ahead of his inauguration ceremony to be sworn in as president in Harare
38/41 23 November 2017
Comrades of missing crew members express their grief after the Argentine Navy announced that the sound detected in the missing submarine search is consistent with an explosion
39/41 22 November 2017
Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic shouts at the presiding judge during the verdict hearing in his genocide trial, in The Hague, Netherlands
40/41 21 November 2017
People and soldiers celebrate after the resignation of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe
41/41 20 November 2017
Israeli security forces carry away an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrator as they disperse a protest against Israeli army conscription in Bnei Brak, a city near Tel Aviv
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.
Facebook s chief security officer warned that the fake news problem is more complicated and dangerous to solve than the public thinks. Alex Stamos, who s handling the company s investigation into Russia s use of the social media1 platform ahead of the 2016 US presidential election2, cautioned about hoping for technical solutions that he says could have unintended consequences of ideological bias. It s very difficult to spot fake news and propaganda using just computer programs, Mr Stamos said in a series of Twitter3 posts on Saturday.
Nobody of substance at the big companies thinks of algorithms as neutral, Mr Stamos wrote, adding that the media is simplifying the matter . Nobody is not aware of the risks.
The easy technical solutions would boil down to silencing topics that Facebook4 is aware are being spread by bots which should only be done if you don t worry about becoming the Ministry of Truth with machine learning systems trained on your personal biases, he said. Mr Stamos s comments shed light on why Facebook added 1,000 more people review its advertising, rather than attempting an automated solution. The company sent a note to advertisers telling them it would start to manually review ads targeted to people based on politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues . The company is trying to figure out how to monitor use of its system without censoring ideas, after the Russian government used fake accounts to spread political discord in the US ahead of the election.
A lot of people aren t thinking hard about the world they are asking Silicon Valley to build, Mr Stamos wrote .
When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers. Facebook has turned over more than 3,000 ads purchased by Russian entities to congressional investigators looking into Russian influence on the election . Twitter has said it gave the panels a roundup of advertisements by RT, formerly known as Russia Today, a TV network funded by the Russian government.
Officials from Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet s Google are set to testify to Congress on the matter on 1 November.