World News Beat

Bite-sized news from around the world

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By: Gabrielle McLaren

SPAIN / CATALAN – Spanish court releases arrest warrant on ex-members of Catalan government

A Spanish court has issued a warrant for former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont who fled to Brussels after his regional parliament which declared independence was dissolved last month. The European warrant calls for Puigdemont and four ex-ministers who followed the leader to Belgium to be returned to Spain. The charges leveled against Puigdemont have climbed to include rebellion, misuse of public funds, sedition, disobedience, and breach of trust. The Belgian authorities have declared that the warrant will be studied and given to an investigative judge. They have a maximum of three months to make a decision regarding Puigdemont and his extraction from Belgium. In an exclusive interview with Belgian media, Puigdemont has also announced that he still intends to run for office in Catalonia’s regional elections to be held in December from Brussels, additionally stating that the Spanish government has no authority to dissolve his government before their term is over.  

With files from CBC News, Radio Télévison Belges Francophones, RTBF Monde, and Al Jazeera.

SYRIA – Syrian government takes back last major city held by so-called Islamic State

Militants from the so-called Islamic State have been driven out of the eastern provincial capital of Deir al-Zour following the efforts of Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, and Russian forces on the ground and in the air. The city has been mostly held by the extremist group since 2014, save for one zone where 93,000 Syrian civilians and military personnel have been trapped for years. Across the border, the Iraqi city of Qaim, which had been an important border crossing, was also seized by Iraqi and Iranian forces. This development comes weeks after the Syrian Democratic Forces, lead by Kurdish fighters, took over Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, and represents a significant blow to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate.     

With files from The New York Times and The Independent.

EGYPT – A new chamber is discovered inside great pyramid

An international team of scientists has found an undiscovered and extremely large void inside Khufu’s Great Pyramid at Giza, directly above the Grand Gallery. The team used cosmic-ray imaging technology to ‘scan’ the inside of the Egyptian pyramid and detect the presence of the 30-metre long void. It isn’t clear yet whether or not the space constitutes a separate chamber, or was simply left by the pyramid’s architects to alleviate the weight of the stone on the Grand Gallery’s ceiling. The Great Pyramid was built as a royal burial chamber around 4,500 years ago and is the only surviving wonder of the ancient world.  

With files from The Globe and Mail and BBC News.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – UN expresses concerns for Australian refugees detained in Manus Island detention centre

The Manus Island detention centre, an offshore processing centre for Australian asylum-seekers located in Papua New Guinea, was closed last Tuesday. Yet 600 men inside are refusing to leave, despite water and electricity being cut off. The refugees state that they do not feel safe outside the compound, citing past violence at the hands of locals. The United Nations is calling for the Australian government to work with the Papua New Guinean government to de-escalate the situation, and for Australia to provide direly needed food and water supplies. The former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare has called Australia’s hypocrisy “astounding,” pointing out the ancestors of many Australians who opposed the migrants arriving by boat also landed by boat some years ago. The United Nations noted in a press release that the off-shore detention centres are “unsustainable, inhumane and contrary to its human rights obligations.”

With files from the Australian Broadcast Company and The Guardian.