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Catalonia independence declaration signed and suspended

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other regional leaders have signed a declaration of independence from Spain, following the disputed referendum. However, they say the move will not be implemented for several weeks to allow talks with the government in Madrid. The document calls for Catalonia to be recognised as an "independent and sovereign state". The move was immediately dismissed by the Spanish central government in Madrid.

North Korean hackers steal US-South Korea war plans

Hackers from North Korea are reported to have stolen a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. The compromised documents include wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea. They also include reports to the allies' senior commanders. The South Korean defence ministry has so far refused to comment about the allegation. Some 235 gigabytes of military documents have been stolen and 80 percent of them have yet to be identified.

California fires: Deadly wildfires sweep through wine country

Parts of California's wine region are being ravaged by fast-spreading fires that have killed at least 10 people. Mass evacuations have taken place and at least 1,500 properties have been destroyed.


Britain and EU clash over who takes next Brexit step.

The EU and Britain clashed today after British Prime Minister Theresa May said the ball was in the EU's court as Brexit negotiations entered a critical fifth round. Officials from both sides are meeting in Brussels, but chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and British counterpart David Davis are not attending the start, underscoring low expectations for the talks. This round of divorce discussions is the last before European leaders meet at a summit on October 19 to decide whether there is "sufficient progress" to move on to the trade talks that Britain desperately wants.

US National Rifle Association urges new rules for gun 'bump-stocks'.

The National Rifle Association has called for "additional regulations" on bump-stocks, a rapid fire device used by the Las Vegas massacre gunman. The group said: "Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."
Republicans have said they would consider banning the tool, despite years of resisting any gun control. Lawmakers plan to hold hearings and consider a bill to outlaw the device.

Spain's constitutional court has suspended next Monday's session of Catalan parliament.

Spain's constitutional court has suspended next Monday's session of Catalan parliament, in a bid to pre-empt a possible push for independence. The court said such a move would be "a breach of the constitution". Earlier Prime Minister Mario Rajoy warned Catalonia's regional government against declaring independence after a disputed vote last Sunday. Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont has indicated that he could make such a declaration early next week.

Has the original Jolly Old Saint Nicholas been found in "Turkey"?

Turkish archaeologists believe they have found the tomb of the original Santa Claus, otherwise known as Saint Nicholas. An intact tomb has been found underneath Saint Nicholas Church, in the Demre district of Turkey's south-west province of Antalya. Demre was built on the ruins of Myra, where Saint Nicholas was thought to have lived in the 4th Century. Until now, the bones of Saint Nicholas were believed to be in Bari, Italy. It had been thought they were taken by Italian merchants in 1087, when Myra, at the time a Greek town, was invaded by the Seljuk Turks. During a study of old documents, notes had been found saying that the bones that had been taken to Bari, were that of another priest. The church of Saint Nicholas in Demre, is a popular destination for pilgrims, as the site of Saint Nicholas's final resting place and archaeological excavations have been taking place there for 20 years. Saint Nicholas's kindness became legendary over the centuries and he was popularised as "Father Christmas". The Dutch took their version "Sinterklaas", when they settled in America, where he became the "Santa Claus" many of us know today.

Spanish king ignored millions of Catalans

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has attacked Spain's King Felipe VI for "deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans". In a TV address, Mr Puigdemont accused the king of adopting the Spanish government's position. "This moment calls for mediation," he said. He has indicated that Catalonia could declare independence next week.King Felipe made his own TV address on Tuesday night, calling Sunday's Catalan referendum illegal and undemocratic. Twenty-four hours later, Mr Puigdemont claimed that the king had rejected a moderating role granted to him by the Spanish constitution.

Russians claim that their air strikes severely injures a high ranking Al-Qaida Leader.

Russia says one of its air strikes in Syria has critically injured the leader of an al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance and 12 of his field commanders. The defence ministry cited its sources as confirming that Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani lost limbs in the attack in the north province of Idlib on Tuesday. The strike came after Russia's military learnt where Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) commanders were due to meet, it added. There was no immediate comment from jihadist sources on the Russian claim

Pope Francis to tackle the rise of fake news

Pope Francis is to tackle the rise of fake news in a bid to stop irresponsible media outlets fomenting “hate”.  The Pontiff has chosen the theme for World Communications Day 2018, as "the truth will set you free".  The World Day Of Social Communications,  established by the Second Vatican Council will be celebrated on the 13th of May  next  year.  However, the Pope's speech will be released on the 24th of January, which is the feast of St. Francis De Sales, the patron saint of Writers and Journalists.

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