Olympic Committee suspends Brazilian arm

Olympic Committee suspends Brazilian arm

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended its Brazilian arm amid an investigation into corruption allegations.

It also suspended the head of Brazil’s Olympic committee, Carlos Nuzman, as an honorary member, and has frozen all its payments to the body.

Mr Nuzman was arrested on Thursday and is being investigated as part of a cash-for-votes probe linked to the bid for the 2016 Rio Games.

He denies all wrongdoing.

The IOC said Brazil’s athletes would not be affected and they will continue to be paid.

They will also still be allowed to compete in the Winter Games in South Korea in February.

Leonardo Gryner, the Brazilian committee’s director general, was also arrested on Thursday.

The inquiry – known as Operation Unfair Play – is being conducted in conjunction with French and US police.

In September, Mr Nuzman’s home was searched. He was questioned and had his passport seized.

Brazilian prosecutors believe he acted as an intermediary in an alleged $2m (£1.5m) payment to Papa Massata Diack, the son of an influential Senegalese member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It is alleged that this was done to secure the vote of Lamine Diack, who was then serving as the head of the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

All parties have denied the allegations.

Mr Nuzman, 72, led the committee from 1995 and headed Rio’s successful bid to host the 2016 Games.

A statement from Mr Nuzman’s lawyer, released last month, read: “The entire journey of the Rio Olympics, from the bid to the closing ceremony, was conducted within the law.”

In June, former Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral was jailed for 14 years after participating in the embezzlement of $64m from construction contracts, including the renovation of Rio’s Maracana stadium, where the 2016 opening and closing ceremonies were held.

French prosecutors announced last year that they were widening their investigation into corruption in athletics to include the bidding-and-voting processes for the hosting of the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

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Storm Nate kills 22 in Central America

Storm Nate kills 22 in Central America

Tropical Storm Nate has killed at least 22 people in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras.

It caused heavy rains, landslides and floods which blocked roads, destroyed bridges and damaged houses.

In Costa Rica, nearly 400,000 people are without running water and thousands are sleeping in shelters.

The eye of the storm has since moved over the sea, heading towards Mexico and the United States, where it could become a hurricane.

At least eight people died in Costa Rica, while another 11 were killed when Nate moved north and reached Nicaragua, where as much as 15ins (38cm) of rain had been predicted to fall by the US National Hurricane Center.

Three people were killed in Honduras, including two youths who drowned in a river, and several are reported missing.

One man was killed in a mudslide in El Salvador, according to emergency services.

Oil companies have been evacuating staff from platforms in the Gulf of Mexico that lie along the predicted path of the storm.

In Costa Rica, people were trapped on a stretch of the Inter-American Highway known as the Mountain of Death, after the bus in which they were travelling got stuck between two landslides on Wednesday, according to La Nación newspaper.

There are also concerns crocodiles may be lurking around the overflowing Tárcoles river, and could appear in places where they are not normally expected.

“Please do not kill crocodiles,” said officials, according to news site CRHoy.com. The advice was to avoid standing in overflowing water, to protect children and pets, and to call emergency services if one was spotted.

All train journeys were suspended in Costa Rica and dozens of flights cancelled on Thursday, when the weather worsened.

More than a dozen national parks popular with tourists have been closed as a precaution.

The storm also caused extensive damage to infrastructure in Nicaragua.

“Sometimes we think we think we can cross a river and the hardest thing to understand is that we must wait,” Vice-President Rosario Murillo said on state radio.

“It’s better to be late than not to get there at all.”

Forecasters say the storm could become a category one hurricane before it makes landfall on the southern coast of the United States on Sunday.

Residents from Florida to Texas have been told to prepare for Nate, which, if it does strike, would be the third major storm to hit the southern coast this year.

Texas and Florida are recovering from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey, which hit the former in August and caused “unprecedented damage”, and Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida in September.

A state of emergency has been declared in 29 Florida counties, and in New Orleans.

The city’s mayor told people who live on low-lying ground to evacuate.

“There is no need to panic,” Mitch Landrieu tweeted. “Be ready and prepare. Get a plan. Prepare to protect your personal property.”

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Musk’s Tesla ‘can power Puerto Rico’

Musk’s Tesla ‘can power Puerto Rico’

Renewable energy entrepreneur Elon Musk says he could rebuild Puerto Rico’s shattered electrical infrastructure with his solar energy technology.

The vast majority of the island territory remains without power, weeks after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.

On Twitter, Mr Musk said his technology, which powers several smaller islands, could be scaled up to work for Puerto Rico.

The island’s governor responded to Mr Musk with the message: “Let’s talk”.

“Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your Tesla technologies? Puerto Rico could be that flagship project,” the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, said.

Mr Musk’s Tesla company is best known for its electric cars, but it also incorporates SolarCity – a solar panel firm which specialises in efficiently storing large amounts of electricity in power banks.

The company says it has powered small islands, such as Ta’u in American Samoa. There, it installed a solar grid which can power the entire island and store enough electricity for three days without any sun.

“The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico, too,” Mr Musk tweeted.

But he added that such a project would need the support of Puerto Rico – something the governor appears to be open to.

It is also understood that Tesla has already sent a number of battery systems to Puerto Rico to store energy from the island’s existing solar panels to help offset the energy shortage.

The latest conversation is reminiscent of the bet started on Twitter between Mr Musk and an Australian software entrepreneur which led to plans for the world’s largest battery storage project in South Australia.

That battery installation – which Tesla guaranteed could be working “100 days from contract signature” – was declared half-built within days of the start of construction.

The Puerto Rican governor also used the exact same language – “let’s talk” – as South Australia Senator Sarah Hanson-Young used before the project became a reality.

Puerto Rican residents with solar panels are among the few with a stable electricity supply.

One flower grower, Hector Santiago, invested $300,000 (£230,000) in solar panels six years ago, Reuters reported this week.

“Everybody told me I was crazy because it was so expensive. Now I have power and they don’t,” he told the agency.

It is understood that Tesla has already sent a number of battery systems to Puerto Rico to store energy from the island’s existing solar panels to help offset the energy shortage.

Mr Musk has been largely successful in his renewable ventures.

Alongside his successful Tesla motors company and solar projects, he is also the founder of SpaceX, which has developed reusable rockets for space flight.

Last week, he unveiled plans for a city to city rocket transport system, which could fly people from London to New York in less than half an hour, and for a manned Mars mission by 2024.

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Children set on fire in nursery attack

Children set on fire in nursery attack

Four children and a teacher have been killed in Brazil after a security guard threw flammable liquid on them and set them on fire, officials say.

The man also set himself alight at the childcare centre in the remote town of Janauba in Minas Gerais state.

Video footage showed chaotic scenes outside, as parents cried and panicked as the news broke.

Twenty-five people, mostly children aged four and five, are being treated for burns in local hospitals.

Some of the patients may still need to be airlifted to a specialised burns unit in the state capital, Belo Horizonte.

The mother of one of the victims, four-year-old Juan Miguel Soares Silva, told O Globo newspaper that she had been considering enrolling him in another nursery prior to the attack.

“We are about to move to a different neighbourhood,” Jane Kelly da Silva Soares said.

“I woke up early to drop him at the nursery. When I saw him again he was already dead in hospital.”

‘Security guard sacked’

The security guard has been identified by police as Damiao Soares dos Santos, 50. He died in hospital of his wounds.

The reasons for the attack are still being investigated.

Local media has reported that he was dismissed after returning from annual leave last month with an alleged health condition.

He went to the Gente Inocente childcare centre to hand in his medical certificate and then started the fire, O Globo newspaper reported.

President Michel Temer tweeted: “I’m very sorry about this tragedy involving children in Janauba. I want to express my sympathy to the families.”

“This must be a very, very painful loss,” he added.

The mayor of Janauba has declared seven days of mourning.

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Trump paper towel-throwing ‘abominable’

Trump paper towel-throwing ‘abominable’

The mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, has described Donald Trump’s visit to the hurricane-hit island as “insulting” and called him a “miscommunicator-in-chief”.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz described his televised meeting with officials as a “PR, 17-minute meeting”.

The sight of him throwing paper towels to people in the crowd was “terrible and abominable”, she added.

Mr Trump tweeted it had been a “great day” in Puerto Rico.

But he also took another swipe at the reporting of his trip.

Tuesday’s five-hour presidential trip to San Juan came two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, and followed complaints that the US government’s handling of the storm’s aftermath was too slow.

Only 7% of the island has power and more remote parts of the island – a US territory – have been without food, water and basic medical aid.


‘Second-class citizens’

Aleem Maqbool, BBC News, San Juan

It may have been a “great day” in Puerto Rico for Donald Trump, but more than 90% of the 3 and a half million people living on this island remain without power and phone communications.

It means many of them would not have heard his remark about how much the disaster in Puerto Rico was costing the US government.

Nor would they have seen that he only visited Guaynabo, a wealthy part of town, and joked with people there that they no longer needed the torches being handed out.

Many of those we have met who are aware of this week’s visit say this is more evidence that the president views them as second-class American citizens.


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During his televised meeting with emergency responders and officials of Puerto Rico, he went out of his way to praise – and seek compliments for – the federal response.

“Every death is a horror,” the president said, “but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous – hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here, with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody’s ever seen anything like this.”

He then turned to the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosello, and asked how many people had died in the storm.

“Seventeen? Sixteen people certified, 16 people versus in the thousands,” Mr Trump said, referring to the 2005 hurricane that killed 1,833 people in New Orleans.

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Governor Rosello later clarified that the number of people in Puerto Rico killed by Maria had increased to 34.

Mr Trump also pointed to the impact of the cost of storm recovery on US domestic spending, which was already facing a budget shortfall of $72bn (£54bn), telling Puerto Ricans “you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack… but that’s fine”.

After his meeting, he toured in and around San Juan, stopping at a church to hand out relief supplies and throwing paper towels into the crowd.

At one point he reportedly glanced at a pile of solar-powered flashlights and – apparently unaware of the ongoing power problems – said “you don’t need ’em anymore”, the Washington Post reports.

Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told MSNBC after the visit that his meeting with officials had been a PR exercise in which “there was no exchange with anybody, with none of the mayors”.

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She went on to say: “This terrible and abominable view of him throwing paper towels and throwing provisions at people, it really – it does not embody the spirit of the American nation, you know?”

She said his comments about throwing the US budget out of whack were “insulting to the people of Puerto Rico”, and his comparisons with Katrina “minimised our suffering”.

“Well you know what? They are dying. They don’t have the medical resources,” she pointed out.

Ms Cruz said he had become “sort of like miscommunicator-in-chief” who showed no interest in reaching out to those who were suffering. But she went on to say “his staff, on the other hand, seemed to want to approach this a different way”.

She tweeted after the meeting:

Ms Cruz had been called a poor leader by President Trump in a tweet at the weekend after she accused his administration of “killing us with the inefficiency”.

On Tuesday, she shook hands with him and told him: “It’s about saving lives, it’s not about politics”. He did not respond.

Following the visit, the White House announced it was preparing to send a $29bn (£22bn) disaster aid request to Congress.

Of that, $13bn would be for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas, while the other $16bn would be for the government-backed flood insurance programme.

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Spain apologises to injured Catalans

Spain apologises to injured Catalans

The Spanish government’s representative in Catalonia has apologised to those injured during police efforts to stop Sunday’s independence referendum.

But Enric Millo blamed the Catalan government for holding an illegal vote.

Meanwhile the government in Madrid has issued a decree making it easier for companies to move their headquarters away from Catalonia.

A Catalan minister told the BBC his government would go ahead with an independence debate in parliament.

“Parliament will discuss, parliament will meet,” said Catalan foreign affairs chief Raül Romeva. “Every attempt the Spanish government has used to impede things to happen, they have been demonstrated completely not only useless but counter-productive,” he told the BBC in English.

In the first apology by a Spanish government official over the violence on Sunday, which saw hundreds injured as police, trying to enforce a Spanish court ban on the vote, attempted to seize ballot boxes and disperse voters, Mr Millo said he could not help but “regret it and apologise on behalf of the officers that intervened”.

Friday has seen a number of political, business and judicial developments in the unfolding crisis in Catalonia.

The political developments

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont now plans to address the Catalan parliament on Tuesday at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the speaker of the parliament says.

Spain’s Constitutional Court had earlier suspended the Catalan parliament session that had been planned for Monday.

There is speculation that the parliament will declare independence unilaterally at its next sitting, based on last Sunday’s disputed vote.

The final results from the outlawed poll show 90% of the 2.3m people who voted backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

There have been several claims of irregularities, and many ballot boxes were seized by the Spanish police.

After a cabinet meeting, the Spanish government spokesman also expressed regret that people had “suffered consequences” during Sunday’s vote – though he cast doubt on the numbers who had been injured.

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo suggested that new elections in Catalonia might be a way to heal the fracture caused by the disputed referendum.

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The business developments

Madrid’s decree making it easier for companies to relocate their legal base away from Catalonia means such a decision will now not need the prior approval of shareholders.

  • According to media reports, the board of Barcelona-based Gas Natural Fenosa voted on Friday to move its headquarters to Madrid. The multinational utility company supplies gas and electricity to customers in Spain and beyond
  • CaixaBank, a large Barcelona-based institution, has decided to move its headquarters from Barcelona to the city of Valencia. The bank said in a statement that it had taken the decision “in light of the current political and social situation in Catalonia”
  • Sabadell, another major Barcelona bank, decided to transfer its legally registered base from Barcelona to the south-eastern Spanish city of Alicante on Thursday. Its HQ and workforce will remain in Barcelona

This would ensure the banks remained within the eurozone and under the supervision of the European Central Bank, even if Catalonia broke away from Spain.

Catalonia is Spain’s richest region and accounts for 19% of Spain’s GDP.

  • 16% of Spain’s population live in Catalonia, and it produces:

  • 25.6% of Spain’s exports

  • 19% of Spain’s GDP

  • 20.7% of foreign investment

Getty

The judicial developments

Meanwhile, the Catalan chief of police, Josep Lluis Trapero, has appeared before a judge in Madrid on suspicion of sedition against the state.

His Mossos d’Esquadra force is accused of failing to protect Spanish national police from protesters ahead of the 1 October independence referendum.

The “sedition” hearing took place at the national criminal court in Madrid. The defendants are accused of failing to help Guardia Civil police tackle thousands of pro-independence protesters outside the Catalan Economy Department in Barcelona on 20 September.

Along with Commander Trapero, another Catalan police officer and two leading independence activists, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, are also being investigated in Madrid.

They all left the court after Friday morning’s hearing free, without facing any Spanish restrictions. It is not yet clear what they told the judge.

The Guardia Civil submitted an official accusation against the Mossos.

Leading newspaper El Pais says the allegation of sedition is extraordinary in post-Franco democratic Spain.

As recently as August, the Mossos was being widely praised for quickly tackling the Islamist cell that carried out the Barcelona terror attack in that month.


More on the Catalan crisis


Are you in Catalonia? Have you experienced tension or division over the referendum debate? Email

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Anti-nuclear arms group wins Nobel prize

Anti-nuclear arms group wins Nobel prize

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The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican).

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Nobel committee chair, said it was due to the group’s “groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition” on nuclear weapons.

“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” she continued.

She cited the North Korea issue.

In July, after pressure from Ican, 122 nations backed a UN treaty designed to ban and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. But none of the nine known nuclear powers in the world – including the UK and the US – endorsed it.

Ms Reiss-Andersen called on nuclear-armed states to initiate negotiations to gradually eliminate the weapons.

Ican, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), is 10 years old and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The group will receive nine million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million, £846,000) along with a medal and a diploma at a ceremony in December.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the group, told reporters that the prize had come as a surprise but that it was “a huge signal” that the group’s work was “needed and appreciated”.

“The laws of war say that we can’t target civilians. Nuclear weapons are meant to target civilians; they’re meant to wipe out entire cities,” she said, adding: “That’s unacceptable and nuclear weapons no longer get an excuse.

“It’s a giant radioactive bomb, it just causes chaos and havoc and civilian casualties. It is not a weapon that you can use in line with the laws of war.

“Every state matters here. The more states that sign and ratify this treaty the stronger the norm is going to get. They’re not moving towards disarmament fast enough.”

The Nobel prize citation read: “Some states are modernising their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has launched a series of rockets and a nuclear test this year, leading to an escalating war of words with US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump, who commands one of the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenals, threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if his country is forced to defend itself or its allies.

Last year’s winner, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, said the peace prize was “like a gift from heaven” as his government tried to negotiate a deal with the main rebel group, the Farc.


The alternative approach to nuclear weapons

Analysis by Jonathan Marcus, BBC Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent

The Nobel Committee’s decision provides a powerful and timely reinforcement of the opprobrium and concern attached to nuclear weapons.

It comes at a moment when North Korea is actively developing its nuclear programme, the fate of the Iran nuclear deal is in the balance, and the US and Russia are both actively seeking to modernise their nuclear forces.

There is of course already the Non-Proliferation Treaty under which most countries agreed never to develop nuclear weapons and those that already had them agreed progressively to disarm.

But campaigners have long been unsatisfied with this process insisting that the nuclear “haves” have no intention of giving up their arsenals. So Ican set about an alternative approach – to raise popular awareness of the issue and to pressure governments to open up a new treaty for signature earlier this year that would seek an outright ban on nuclear weapons.


Who are Ican?

  • a coalition group supported by hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in over 100 countries across the world
  • formed in 2007, inspired by a similar campaign to ban the use of landmines worldwide
  • supporters include actor Michael Sheen, artist Ai Weiwei and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
  • its lobbying encouraged the UN to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons earlier this year which has been signed by 53 countries so far

How the prize is decided

  • Eligible nominators from around the world can put forward candidates up to 1 February of the award year, while Nobel Committee members have more time
  • All nominations are reviewed by the committee – whose five members are chosen by the Norwegian parliament – before a shortlist of 20-30 candidates are selected
  • A group of Norwegian and international advisers write individual reports on the shortlisted candidates. Using these and further reports, the committee narrows the selection down to a handful
  • A decision is reached in the last meeting of the committee, usually in late September or early October, before the prize is announced
  • If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, a simple majority vote is used
  • After the announcement, the award ceremony takes place on 10 December, the date of Alfred Nobel’s death

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Model Arvida Byström gets rape threats after an advert featured her hairy legs

Model Arvida Byström gets rape threats after an advert featured her hairy legs

Arvida Byström

Swedish model, Arvida Byström, says she’s received rape threats after posing for an advert with hairy legs.

The 26-year-old featured in an Adidas campaign promoting a new brand of trainers.

She received dozens of abusive messages after the advert was released on YouTube.

In an Instagram post, which is getting more and more attention, she says she was also threatened with rape in direct messages on social media.

She said: “My photo from the @adidasoriginals superstar campaign got a lot of nasty comments last week.

“Me being such an abled, white, cis body with its only nonconforming feature being a lil leg hair.

“Literally I’ve been getting rape threats in my DM inbox.”

As well as being a model, Arvida is a photographer and is well known for posing with her body hair on show.

Adidas says she “questions femininity and gender standards using so-called ‘girly’ aesthetics”.

The model, who turned 26 on Wednesday, is being backed by her followers on Instagram.

Brian said: “As a human being, I’m male in case u can’t tell, I don’t see the problem w hairy legs. It’s there for a reason.”

Linonono writes: “You should decide for yourself if you shave or not. Or what else to do with your body.”

Ina adds: “I don’t get the hairy legs but if you feel happy and well in your mind that’s great. Do what you want.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWxWA9xgMlc/

In a statement, Adidas said it’s “honoured to work with creators like Arvida for their creativity, diversity and unique ideas.”

The company says it wanted to provide its collaborators with “a platform for positivity, discussion and change”.

Along with fellow artist Molly Soda, Arvida released a book called Pics Or It Didn’t Happen, which features 270 photos of women’s bodies which Instagram has taken down for breaking its community rules.

She also appeared in a series for Vice called There Will Be Blood in 2012, which featured photos of women during their periods, and has a gallery space called GAL in London with Hanna Antonsson.

Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat

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Spain eases firms’ exit from Catalonia

Spain eases firms’ exit from Catalonia

The Spanish cabinet has issued a decree making it easier for companies to relocate their legal headquarters away from Catalonia.

Such a decision will now not need the prior approval of shareholders.

One of the region’s biggest lenders, Caixabank, is considering the change in the light of the political crisis there.

Another major Catalan bank – Sabadell – decided on Thursday to shift its legal domicile elsewhere in Spain.

The economy ministry said the decree was in response to demand from companies “in the face of difficulties that have arisen for the normal running of their activities in part of the national territory”.

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) country head in Spain, Andrea Schaechter, has said tensions in Catalonia could affect confidence and investment decisions.

However, the IMF has kept its growth forecast for Spain this year unchanged at 3.1%.

EU coverage

The board of Caixabank – which is Spain’s third-largest bank and accounts for about half of Catalonia’s banking sector – is due to meet later.

Earlier, Sabadell – which is the second-biggest bank in Catalonia and the fifth largest in Spain – said it had decided to move its legal base “in order to protect the interests of our customers, shareholders and employees”.

It said it wanted to operate “under the supervision of the European Central Bank and the regulations of the European Banking Authority”, something that would be removed were Catalonia to declare independence.

The European Union has said it will not recognise an independent Catalonia, which would mean the region would not be subject to EU rules nor protection.

Italian asset manager Banca Mediolanum followed Sabadell’s move, saying it would shift the legal base of its Spanish unit to Valencia from Barcelona.

  • 16% of Spain’s population live in Catalonia, and it produces:

  • 25.6% of Spain’s exports

  • 19% of Spain’s GDP

  • 20.7% of foreign investment

Getty

Catalonia accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economy, with factories for companies including Volkswagen and Nestle based there, as well as containing Europe’s fastest-growing sea port of Barcelona.

Volkswagen briefly stopped production on one line at its Seat plant in Catalonia when protests disrupted the supply of parts. Stoppages also affected production at Nestle’s instant coffee plant in Girona.

The Catalan business lobby Cercle d’Economia has said it is extremely concerned by the prospect of Catalonia declaring independence and has called for leaders from both sides to hold talks.

Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel, which has several plants in Catalonia, said it was monitoring developments.

Spain’s constitutional court has suspended next Monday’s session of the Catalan parliament, in a bid to pre-empt a possible push for independence.

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Train hits bus in Russia killing 16

Train hits bus in Russia killing 16

At least 16 people were killed when a train hit a bus on a crossing in the Russian region of Vladimir, 100km (62 miles) east of Moscow.

Russian media report that the bus engine may have stalled after the driver ignored a red warning signal.

Authorities said the driver had tried to get the 55 passengers from Uzbekistan to leave the bus.

The Russian Tass news agency reported that some escaped passengers attempted to move the bus before the collision.

It said all of those who died were on board and no train passengers were injured in the incident.

The Russian Investigative Committee revised the number of dead down to 16 on Friday morning, after regional health authorities originally said 19 had been killed.

“Other passengers, including minors, have been taken to hospital with various injuries”, a spokesperson said.

They said the number of dead and injured was still being assessed and that they have opened an inquiry.

The bus and the two drivers on board were reportedly from Kazakhstan.

Russian television reported that the passengers of the bus could have been migrant workers from Uzbekistan.

A spokeswoman for the regional governor’s office described the bus as being “literally torn apart” by the oncoming train.

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