SPAIN – Catalonia president opposes Spanish bid for direct rule

Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont has voiced his opposition to a plan by the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to invoke an article that will allow for the state to implement direct rule in the autonomous regions. The plan comes after a referendum earlier this month where the majority voted in favour of Catalonian separation, though the vote was deemed unconstitutional by Spanish courts. Invoking Article 155 of the constitution would enable the Spanish government to replace Catalonia’s regional leaders with their own. Concerns have been raised about the implications of using the article, namely a takeover by the Spanish government and the threat to Catalonia’s right to autonomy. 

With files from BBC News.

JAPAN – Japanese prime minister elected, aims to counter North Korean threat

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the decisive victor of a recent election held in Japan that resulted in another strong majority for the coalition. The election comes as North Korea becomes increasingly hostile towards the nation, and last month Hokkaido island was just below the above trajectory of two missiles launched from Pyongyang. After winning the election, Abe reaffirmed the imperative to address North Korea’s growing threat to Japanese national security, which would drastically change the country’s pacifist policies. The vote took place despite the onslaught of Typhoon Lan affecting airline and rail services in Japan’s southern areas.  

With files from BBC News.

UNITED STATES – Former presidents offer concerted support at hurricanes fundraiser

Five former American presidents — George W. Bush, his father George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — appeared at a fundraiser to support people affected by the many hurricanes that have hit the country this year. The funds from the One America Appeal event will help those displaced by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria which have caused extensive damage in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The fundraiser has brought in $31 million.

With files from BBC News.

ZIMBABWE – World Health Organization reverses appointment of ambassador Mugabe

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the new leader of the World Health Organization, has revoked the decision to make Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador. The choice attracted criticism when it was revealed last week for many reasons including the president’s alleged poor leadership which critics say compromised Zimbabwe’s health care system, leaving medical staff without salaries and limited access to medical supplies. There are also concerns over human rights abuses by the government and out-of-country medical treatment allegedly sought by the president.

With files from BBC News.