Briefing :- 21/10/17

Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 21st of October 2017 :-

1. Spain to suspend Catalonia government, call elections :-

Spain said Saturday that it will move to dismiss Catalonia’s separatist government and call fresh elections in the region in a bid to stop its leaders from declaring independence.

Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his government had no choice after the administration of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont acted in a way that was “unilateral, contrary to the law and seeking confrontation” in holding a banned independence referendum in the northeastern region.

Taking Spain into uncharted legal waters by using Article 155 of the constitution, which allows Madrid to wrest back control of rebellious regions, Rajoy said he was asking the Senate to give him permission to dissolve the Catalan parliament and “call elections within a maximum of six months”.

He is also requesting that all of Puigdemont’s government be stripped of their functions, which “in principle will be carried out by (national) ministers for the duration of this exceptional situation.”

The national Senate will now have to agree to these unprecedented steps — a process that will take about a week.

Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party holds a majority in the Senate. As the measures enjoy the support of other major parties, they are highly likely to pass.

Catalonia sparked Spain’s worst political crisis in decades with the chaotic referendum on October 1, which Puigdemont said resulted in a 90 percent vote in favour of breaking away from Spain.

But turnout was given as 43 percent as many anti-independence Catalans stayed away from the vote, which had been ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court, while others were hindered from voting by a police crackdown.

2. 15 cadets dead, four wounded in suicide attack on Kabul Military Academy :-

The Afghan Ministry of Defence has said 15 cadets were killed and four wounded in the suicide attack Saturday on the Kabul Military Academy.

The blast took place near the gate of the Marshal Fahim Military Academy. The bomber had targeted a bus carrying academy cadets.

This latest attack came just hours after an early-morning rocket attack on downtown Kabul. At least three rockets landed on the city in the attack. Reuters reported there were no casualties.

Two mosques — one in Kabul, one in Ghor province — were attacked by suicide bombers on Friday. At least 72 people have died in those attacks.

3. At least 72 dead after suicide bombers attack two Afghan mosques :-

Suicide bombers attacked two mosques in Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 72 people including children, officials and witnesses said.

One bomber walked into a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in the capital Kabul as people were praying on Friday night and detonated an explosive, one of the worshippers there, Mahmood Shah Husaini, said.

At least 39 people died in the blast at the Imam Zaman mosque in the city’s western Dasht-e-Barchi district, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but a statement from the group did not provide evidence to support its claim.

Shi’ite Muslims have suffered a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, many of them claimed by the Sunni Muslim militants of IS.

Separately, a suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in central Ghor province, a police spokesman said.

The attack appeared to target a local leader from the Jamiat political party, according to a statement from Balkh provincial governor Atta Mohammad Noor, a leading figure in Jamiat.

No one immediately claimed responsibility.

4. Rohingya crisis: China official says foreign interference does not work :-

Experience shows that foreign interference in crises does not work and China supports the Myanmar government’s efforts to protect stability, a senior Chinese official said on Saturday, amid ongoing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

More than 500,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladeshfollowing a counter-insurgency offensive by Myanmar’s army in the wake of militant attacks on security forces.

UN officials have described Myanmar’s strategy as “ethnic cleansing”. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday the United States held Myanmar’s military leadership responsible for its harsh crackdown.

Guo Yezhou, a deputy head of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department, told reporters on the sidelines of a party congress that China condemned the attacks in Rakhine and understands and supports Myanmar’s efforts to protect peace and stability there.

China and Myanmar have a deep, long-standing friendship, and China believes Myanmar can handle its problems on its own, he added.

Asked why China’s approach to the Rohingya crisis was different from Western nations, Guo said that China’s principle was not to interfere in the internal affairs of another country.

“Based on experience, you can see recently the consequences when one country interferes in another. We won’t do it,” he said, without offering any examples of when interventions go wrong.

China does not want instability in Myanmar as it inevitably will be affected as they share a long land border, Guo said.

“We condemn violent and terrorist acts,” he added.

Guo’s department has been at the forefront of building relations with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who visited China in 2015 at the Communist Party’s invitation, rather than the Chinese government’s.

Department head Song Tao also visited Myanmar in August and met Suu Kyi.

Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar in large numbers since late August when Rohingya insurgent attacks sparked a ferocious military response, with the fleeing people accusing security forces of arson, killings and rape.

The European Union and the United States have been considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s military leadership.

Punitive measures aimed specifically at top generals are among a range of options that have been discussed, but they are wary of action that could hurt the wider economy or destabilize already tense ties between Suu Kyi and the army.

5. 52 Egyptian policemen, conscripts killed in shootout with militants :-

At least 52 Egyptian police and conscripts were killed and six more wounded in a gun battle on Friday during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in the western desert, three security sources said.

Sources had said late on Friday at least 30 police were killed. Egypt is battling an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, that has killed hundreds of security forces since 2013.

The interior ministry released a statement on the operation on Friday but has so far not given any details on casualties. At least 23 police officers were killed and the other victims were conscripts, the sources said.

Security sources on Friday said authorities were following a lead to a militant camp in the desert where eight suspected members of Hasm Movement were believed to be hiding. The group has claimed attacks around Cairo targeting judges and police.

A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, one senior security source said.

Militants are mostly fighting in remote northern Sinai where the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. Attacks mostly hit police and armed forces, but militants have also targetted Egypt’s Christians and tourists.




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