அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு

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அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு.

'' நீதி, மதம், அரசியல், சமுதாயம் சம்பந்தமான எல்லாவித சொல்லடுக்குகளுக்கும் பிரகடனங்களுக்கும் வாக்குறுதிகளுக்கும் பின்னே ஏதாவதொரு வர்க்கத்தின் நலன்கள் ஒழிந்து நிற்பதைக் கண்டுகொள்ள மக்கள் தெரிந்துகொள்ளாத வரையில் அரசியலில் அவர்கள் முட்டாள்தனமான ஏமாளிகளாகவும் தம்மைத் தாமே ஏமாற்றிக்கொள்வோராகவும் இருந்தனர், எப்போதும் இருப்பார்கள். பழைய ஏற்பாடு ஒவ்வொன்றும் எவ்வளவுதான் காட்டு மிராண்டித் தனமாகவும் அழுகிப் போனதாகவும் தோன்றிய போதிலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு ஆளும்வர்க்கத்தின் சக்தியைக் கொண்டு அது நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. சீர்திருத்தங்கள், அபிவிருத்திகள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆதரவாளர்கள் இதை உணராத வரையில் பழைய அமைப்பு முறையின் பாதுகாவலர்கள் அவர்களை என்றென்றும் முட்டாளாக்கிக் கொண்டே இருப்பார்கள். இந்த வர்க்கங்களின் எதிர்ப்பைத் தகர்த்து ஒழிப்பதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வழிதான் உண்டு. அது என்ன?

பழைமையைத் துடைத்தெறியவும் புதுமையைச் சிருக்ஷ்டிக்கவும் திறன் பெற்றவையும், சமுதாயத்தில் தாங்கள் வகிக்கும் ஸ்தானத்தின் காரணமாக அப்படிச் சிருக்ஷ்டித்துக் தீரவேண்டிய நிர்ப்பந்தத்திலிருக்கிறவையுமான சக்திகளை, நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள இதே சமுதாயத்துக்குள்ளேயே நாம் கண்டுபிடித்து, அந்தச் சக்திகளுக்கு ஞானமூட்டிப் போராட்டத்துக்கு ஸ்தாபன ரீதியாகத் திரட்ட வேண்டும். இது ஒன்றேதான் வழி. ''

மாமேதை தோழர் லெனின்
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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Dheevari: Fisherman's Daughter | Sinhala Full Movie

Catalonia crisis hits home in Belgium

The unity of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel's government rests on a deal between Liberals and nationalists | Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont turns up in Brussels, unsettling local politics.
By LAURENS CERULUS 10/30/17, 10:07 PM CET Updated 10/30/17, 11:17 PM CET

Barcelona’s feverish politics are giving Brussels a cold.

The reports of the ousted Catalan leader coming to Belgium and seeking refuge on Monday threatened to upset a delicate political balance between Flemish nationalists and other government parties.

As the crisis in Catalonia has played out, it has divided Belgian politics. Flemish nationalists who have at times called for the breakup of Belgium sided openly with the separatists in northeastern Spain, which makes their coalition partners in the federal government anxious.

Those divisions came out into the open over the weekend and into Monday. After Madrid filed criminal charges against separatist leader Carles Puigdemont Sunday following the regional parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence, a prominent member of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), a Belgian nationalist party that belongs to the four-party ruling coalition, said the ousted Catalan president could seek asylum in Belgium.

The next day, Spanish media reported that the separatist leader had arrived in Brussels along with five Cabinet members to take up the offer. A European Parliament source confirmed to POLITICO the Catalan leader was in Belgium.

The ensuing kerfuffle upset the uneasy peace between the four parties that Prime Minister Charles Michel, a French-speaking liberal, has managed for the past three years. It also gave a preview of the likely tenor of the next election campaign, due in 2019.

Sympathy for the Catalans

The N-VA pushed back against suggestions the proposition to the former Catalan leader from Theo Francken, the secretary of state for asylum and migration, represented its official policy. A spokesperson for the N-VA, Joachim Pohlmann, told POLITICO that “in case Mr. Puigdemont is in Brussels, he’s certainly not here at the invitation of the N-VA.”

Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken said the ousted Catalan president could seek asylum in Belgium | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
Jan Jambon, the interior minister and deputy prime minister from the N-VA, was not aware Puigdemont was coming to Brussels, his spokesman Olivier Van Raemdonck said. “Everyone knows Jan Jambon and the N-VA are sympathetic towards the Catalans. But that’s something completely different than sitting down with the man as a member of the federal government,” he added.

Still, Francken’s original suggestion to harbor the Catalan leader — echoed on Twitter by the minister later as well — is read as a frank endorsement of Catalonia’s separatist agenda.

That’s a problem for Michel, because the unity of his government rests on a deal between liberals and nationalists, under which the nationalists have put their separatist agenda on ice.

Now that Flemish nationalists are waving the separatist flag again, Michel faces a risk of seeing a Spanish-style crisis break out in Belgium.

On Sunday, he pushed back against Francken by asking him “not to add fuel to the fire.” Belgian officials stressed that the junior minister was not speaking for the Belgian government.

“We really shouldn’t be importing Spanish problems,” said a government official, asking not to be named due to the issue’s sensitivity.

Whither the Flemish nationalists

If Michel is under pressure, the nationalists are also in a tricky position.

Less than a year ago, Interior Minister Jambon implied that recognizing a Catalan independent state would be worth risking the survival of the current coalition government for. The N-VA’s vice president, MEP Sander Loones, then told De Morgen that “it’s a key principle for us that peoples have the democratic right to define their own fate, also within the EU.”

Now, having rebranded itself as a conservative Belgian force, the party is once again flirting with pro-independence demands in the run-up to the 2019 election.

Siding with the Catalan leader’s request for asylum would pit the N-VA against its coalition partners, especially the French-speaking liberal MR party of Prime Minister Michel.

“The situation in Catalonia, this is difficult to just let something like that pass by” — Dave Sinardet
Michel’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Puigdemont on Monday sought legal advice from Belgian lawyer Paul Bekaert, a specialist in human rights law who has defended Basque militants’ requests for citizenship in the past, news agency Belga wrote. Bekaert said he would defend Puigdemont.

If the Catalan leader is to get asylum under Belgian law, he would have to prove that he is in serious and imminent danger in Spain, that his prosecution is disproportionate and that it violates international human rights principles.

Francken’s off-the-cuff suggestion “means a member of the government, is openly and publicly questioning the rule of law in Spain,” said Dave Sinardet, a Belgian political analyst and academic who studies separatist movements globally. He said “in that sense, it is a far-reaching incident.”

But the political temptation may be too great for the Flemish nationalists, Sinardet said: “The situation in Catalonia, this is difficult to just let something like that pass by.”

Harry Cooper contributed to this article.

India's biggest tax reform gets mixed reactions

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Kurdish leader Barzani resigns


Kurdish leader Barzani resigns after independence vote backfires
Raya Jalabi, Maher Chmaytelli

ERBIL/BAGHDAD Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said he would give up his position as president on Nov. 1, after an independence referendum he championed backfired and triggered a regional crisis.

There was high drama at the Kurdish parliament, which was stormed by armed protesters as it met to approve the veteran leader’s resignation as Kurdish president. Some MPs were barricaded in their offices on Sunday evening.

In a televised address, his first since Iraqi forces launched a surprise offensive to recapture Kurdish-held territory on Oct. 16, Barzani confirmed that he would not extend his presidential term after Nov. 1 “under any conditions”.

“I am the same Masoud Barzani, I am a Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) and will continue to help my people in their struggle for independence,” said Barzani, who has campaigned for Kurdish self-determination for nearly four decades.

The address followed a letter he sent to parliament in which he asked members to take measures to fill the resulting power vacuum.

The region’s parliament met in the Kurdish capital Erbil on Sunday to discuss the letter. A majority of 70 Kurdish MPs voted to accept Barzani’s request and 23 opposed it, Kurdish TV channels Rudaw and Kurdistan 24 said.

Demonstrators, some carrying clubs and guns, stormed the parliament building as the session was in progress.

Gunshots were heard. Some protesters outside the building said they wanted to “punish” MPs who they said had “insulted” Barzani. Some attacked journalists at the scene.

A Kurdish official had told Reuters on Saturday that Barzani had decided to hand over the presidency without waiting for elections that had been set for Nov. 1 but which have now been delayed by eight months.

The region, which had enjoyed unprecedented autonomy for years, has been in turmoil since the independence referendum a month ago prompted military and economic retaliation from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.

In his address, Barzani vigorously defended his decision to hold the Sept. 25 referendum, the results of which “can never be erased”, he said. The vote was overwhelmingly for independence and triggered the military action by the Baghdad government and threats from neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

He added that the Iraqi attack on Kirkuk and other Kurdish held territory vindicated his position that Baghdad no longer believed in federalism and instead wanted to curtail Kurdish rights.

U.S. CONDEMNED

Barzani condemned the United States for failing to back the Kurds. “We tried to stop bloodshed but the Iraqi forces and Popular Mobilization Front (Shi‘ite militias) kept advancing, using U.S. weapons,” he said.

“Our people should now question, whether the U.S. was aware of Iraq’s attack and why they did not prevent it.”

Asked for reaction to Barzani’s resignation, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said: “I would refer you to Kurdistan officials for information on President Barzani. Also, we are not going to get into any private diplomatic discussions.”

Barzani has been criticised by Kurdish opponents for the loss of the city of Kirkuk, oil-rich and considered by many Kurds to be their spiritual home.

His resignation could help facilitate a reconciliation between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq’s central government, whose retaliatory measures since the referendum have transformed the balance of power in the north.

Barzani has led the KRG since it was established in 2005. His second term expired in 2013 but was extended without elections being held as Islamic State militants swept across vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces, Iranian-backed paramilitaries and Kurdish fighters fought alongside each other to defeat Islamic State but the alliance has faltered since the militants were largely defeated in the country.

After the Kurdish vote, Iraqi troops were ordered by the country’s prime minister Haider al-Abadi to take control of areas claimed by both Baghdad and the KRG.

Abadi also wants to take control of the border crossings between the Kurdish region and Turkey, Iran and Syria, including one through which an oil export pipeline crosses into Turkey, carrying Iraqi and Kurdish crude oil.

The fall of Kirkuk - a multi-ethnic city which lies outside the KRG’s official boundaries - to Iraqi forces on Oct. 16 was a major symbolic and financial blow to the Kurds’ independence drive because it halved the region’s oil export revenue.

Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga started a second round of talks on Sunday to resolve a conflict over control of the Kurdistan region’s border crossings, Iraqi state TV said.

A first round was held on Friday and Saturday, with Abadi ordering a 24-hour suspension on Friday of military operations against Kurdish forces.

He demanded on Thursday that the Kurds declare their referendum void, rejecting the KRG offer to suspend its independence push to resolve a crisis through talks, saying in a statement: “We won’t accept anything but its cancellation and the respect of the constitution.”

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Raya Jalabi; Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson in Washington; Editing by Andrew Roche and Mary Milliken  Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

மற்றொரு `தேசியத் தலைவர்` மனமுடைந்து போனார்!



'Nobody stood with the Kurds' says bitter Barzani
Reuters Staff

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani gave a bitter speech on Sunday to announce his resignation, saying no one outside the Kurds’ home region had stood up to support their right of self-determination. 

Barzani made a televised speech after the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament approved his request not to extend his term beyond Nov. 1, after an independence referendum he championed last month backfired and triggered military and economic retaliation against the Kurdish region he has been leading since 2005.

“Three million votes for Kurdistan independence created history and cannot be erased,” he said, referring to the referendum held on Sept. 25.

“Nobody stood up with us other than our mountains,” he said, speaking with Kurdish and Iraqi flags behind him.

He criticised the United States for allowing Abrams tanks supplied to Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State militants to be used against the Kurds. He said American weapons were also used in attacks by Iranian-backed paramilitaries.

“Without the help of Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters), Iraqi forces could not have liberated Mosul from ISIS alone,” he said, referring to Islamic State’s former stronghold in northern Iraq.

“Why would Washington want to punish Kurdistan?”

(Asked the 71 year old Kurdish National Leader!-ENB)

He said followers of rival Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, who died in early October, had been guilty of “high treason” for handing over the oil city of Kirkuk to Iraqi forces without a fight two weeks ago.

He said the Iraqi offensives since Oct. 16 and the refusal of the Iraqi government to agree to dialogue vindicated his view that “Iraq no longer believes in Kurdish rights”.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by Andrew Roche Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Saturday, 28 October 2017

கற்றலோனிய பிரிவினை ஏகாதிபத்தியவாதிகளின் நிலை


European Union 
Has backed Madrid in its handling of the crisis, which Rajoy has insisted is an internal matter.

The UK and Germany, 
Not recognize Catalonia's independence declaration.

France:
Does not recognize the declaration of independence.

United States
"Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government's constitutional measures* to keep Spain strong and united," 
* Article 155

'உரு` ஈழக் கலைப்பட கலந்துரையாடல் - லண்டன்




“உரு” என்றால் சாமியாடல், ஒரு மாதிரிச் சாமிப்போக்கு, இலேசான மனோவியாதி என்றெல்லாம் பொருள் கொள்வர்.
உருக்கொள்ளல் என்றால் உன்னதமான ஆவேசம் , உண்மையின் சுடர் தேடி ஓடும் ஒரு ஆவேச ஓட்டம் என்றே பொருள் கொள்ளவேண்டும்.

“ஆட்கொணர்வு மனு” என்ற சட்டவாதம் செல்லாக்காசாகிய ஒரு நிலத்தில் “உருக்கொள்ளல்” தவிர்க்கமுடியாத ஒன்றாகும்.
சர்வதேச யுத்த நியமங்களை அலட்சியப்படுத்திய யுத்த வெறியர்களின் ஆட்சி மக்களை உருக்கொள்ளவே தூண்டும்.

யுத்தக்குற்றவாளிகள் ஆட்சிபீடங்களை அலங்கரிக்கின்ற
நாட்டில் தாய்மாரின் கண்ணீர்  நதிக்கு அணை கட்ட வெகுசனங்களின் எழுச்சியே ஒற்றைப்பாதை.....

ஈழதேசம் எங்கும் கேட்கப்படும்

“இராணுவத்திடம் கையளிக்கப்பட எம் உறவுகள் எங்கே”
என்ற கேள்விக்கான பதில் இன்னமும்

“அவர்கள் விடுதலைப்புலிகள் அவர்களை விடுதலை செய்யமுடியாது”

என்ற யுத்தக் குற்றவாளிகளின் வெறிக்கூச்சலாகவே இருக்கின்றது.

இரஞ்சகுமாரின் “கோசலை” சிறுகதை, வீட்டை மறந்து , நாட்டு மக்களுக்காய் காணாமல் போன பிள்ளைகளை வீடு என்ற குருவிக்கூட்டில் குஞ்சுகள் கூடி வாழ்ந்த நினைவுகளின் தாலாட்டில் மீளக் கண்டு தாயானவள் நாட்கள் நடைபோடும்.

“உரு” மகனின் மாறா நினைவுகளின் தடங்களில் தொடங்குகின்றது.
தாயன்பு உலகை எனக்கு காட்டிய ஒளிவிளக்கு என்று கொண்டாடிய பிள்ளையின் கவிவரிகள் இப்போது அன்னையின் கண்ணீர்த் தணல்கள்.

பிதிர்க்கடன்கள் மீதான நம்பிக்கை காலங்காலமாக வழங்கி வந்த மண்ணில் ,
“வீழ்ந்தது உன் கர்ப்பத்தவம்” என்ற செய்தியைக்கூட சொல்ல எல்லாம் வென்ற அரசு மறுக்கின்றது.

யுத்தம் வெல்லப்பட்டு கிட்டத்தட்ட பத்தாண்டுகள் ஆன பின்பும் துட்டகெமுனுக்களுக்கு எல்லாளர்களுக்கு ஒரு வணக்கம் வைக்கக்கூட மனசில்லை அவ்வளவு கர்வம். அத்துணை அகங்காரம்.

“வென்றிலன் என்ற போதும் வேதமுள்ளளவும் யானும் நின்றுளன் அன்றோ”
என கம்பராமாயண யுத்த காண்டத்தில் இராவணன் இறுமாந்தது போல

ஈழதேசத்தவரும்
நச்சுவாயுத் தாக்குதலாலும், நரக வேதனைகளாலும் தங்களது கோரிக்கையின் நியாயம் சற்றேனும் குன்றிவிடாத வைராக்கியத்தில் காலூன்றி நிற்பதனால் வந்த கோபாக்கினியோ என்னவோ?

அரசு தனது பொறுப்பில் நின்று வழுவி நிற்பதானால் கால ஓட்டம் நின்று விடுமா என்ன? 

வாழ்வின் ஓட்ட த்துக்கும் தேடல்கள், ஆசுவாசங்கள் அவசியம்தானே...? சர்வரோக நிவாரணியாக விபூதியும், பக்தர்கள் முகம் பார்த்தே துயரறியும் 
மனோதத்துவ பூசாரிகளும் தங்கள் கடமையை நிறைவேற்றவே செய்வர்.

அதிரடியாக கிளம்புவது
“பனையாலை விழுந்தவனை மாடேறி மிதிச்ச கதை”

குருதிப்புனலில் கூட குன்றிமணி தங்கம் காண ஈனர்கள் புறப்பட்டால்
தாய்மனசு அதற்கும் தங்கம் கொடுக்கும் அன்றோ...

ஆனால் “தாயறியாத சேயுமுண்டோ”

என்ற மகுட வாக்கியத்தை மண் தின்னிகள் கொள்ளைவெறியில் மறந்துவிடுவதே அந்தக் குடும்பத்தின் எஞ்சிய சேகரங்களை
காக்கும் கவசமாகின்றது.

இத் திரைக் கதறலை காண்பதுவும்
பரப்புவதும், பரம்புவதும்

“அடம்பன் கொடியும் திரண்டால் மிடுக்கு” என்று காணாமல் போன உங்கள் காவல் தெய்வங்களுக்காய் அணி நிரை தோற்பதும் உங்கள் கடன்... காலம் உங்களிடம் கையளித்த மணிவிளக்கு...
“உரு” க் கொள்ளுங்கள்.
“உரு” ப் படுங்கள்.
--------------------------------------------------------------
'உரு` வாகுங்கள்
---------------------------------------------------------------

Catalonia government dissolved by Spain


Catalonia government dissolved after declaring independence from Spain
By Laura Smith-Spark and Claudia Rebaza, CNN
Updated 0659 GMT (1459 HKT) October 28, 2017

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called new elections and fired the Catalan police chief, as part of an unprecedented package of measures to seize control of the renegade administration in Barcelona.

He said the moves were needed to restore legality, after a political and constitutional crisis that has gripped the country for months.

"In this moment, we need to be serene and careful, but we also need to have confidence that the state has the tools, backed by the law and reason, [to] peacefully and reasonably go back to legality and take away threats to democracy," he said.

Rajoy spoke hours after the Catalan Parliament voted by 70 to 10 to "form the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state."

The day's dramatic and fast-moving events pushed Spain into uncharted territory, testing the limits of the constitution drawn up after the restoration of democracy in the 1970s.

Dramatic scenes in Barcelona

The stage was set when separatists in the Catalan Parliament tabled a motion to declare independence from Spain, arguing that a disputed referendum on October 1 gave them a mandate to split from Madrid.

Less than an hour later, the Spanish Senate granted the Madrid government powers under Article 155 of the Constitution to sack the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his ministers.


Spain  Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy 
Rajoy, who has pledged to quash the separatists, called a Cabinet meeting to agree on the measures he would take."Spain is a serious country, a great nation and we will not allow some people to blow up our Constitution," Rajoy told journalists in Madrid.

Urging Spanish citizens to remain calm, he announced that Puigdemont and his ministers would be dismissed, and new elections in Catalonia would be held on December 21.

The office of Spain's prosecutor general meanwhile confirmed it would file a lawsuit for rebellion against Puigdemont, the Catalan government and the members of the parliament board who voted in favor of independence.

It was unclear on Friday how the Spanish government would enforce the measures announced by Rajoy. A tough crackdown could risk a repeat of the violent scenes that played out in Catalonia on October 1, the day of the referendum.

But it seemed unlikely that members of the Catalan government who have fought so hard for independence for years would simply acquiesce to Spanish government forces. Another question was how the local Catalan police force would react if national forces were deployed to the streets of Barcelona.

Speaking in the Catalan Parliament building after the landmark vote, Puigdemont said legitimately elected lawmakers had cast their ballots according to a mandate earned in the October 1 referendum.

But he acknowledged that the path ahead would not be easy. "We are facing a period in which we will need to stay strong and in peace, dignified and civil as we have always been, and I'm sure we will keep being so," he said.

"The institutions and the people together built nations, societies, and a nation cannot be built without one of these elements."

Supporters followed his words with applause and repeated chants of "freedom, freedom."

கற்றலானிய குடியரசு மலர்க!


Friday, 27 October 2017

Catalonia's parliament backs independence-Spanish senate voted to direct rule.


Catalonia's parliament backs independence;
Spanish senate voted to impose direct rule.


After jubilant scenes in Barcelona, Spain's prime minister calls for calm amid the country's worst political crisis in decades.

Friday 27 October 2017 16:22, UK,

Catalonia's parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, shortly before Madrid voted to impose direct rule on the region.

Tens of thousands of independence supporters chanted their joyous support as they gathered near the Catalan parliament in Barcelona.

Watching events from inside on two giant screens, they clapped and shouted "independence" in Catalan.

The motion - boycotted by opposition parties - said Catalonia was an independent, sovereign and social democratic state, and called on other countries and institutions to recognise it.

Not long afterwards, the Spanish senate voted to impose direct rule.

The main secessionist group in Catalonia asked civil servants to respond to orders from Madrid with "peaceful resistance".

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont urged supporters to "maintain the momentum" in a peaceful way.

But in a sign of the seriousness with which Madrid is taking the vote for independence, Spain's top prosecutor may seek rebellion charges against those responsible for it, a spokesman said.

Minutes after the vote in Barcelona, Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, called for "calm from all Spaniards".

"The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia," he tweeted.

Mr Rajoy has called a cabinet meeting for 6pm UK time.

Options open to him include sacking the government in Barcelona and taking direct control of the Catalan police.

Speaking outside the senate, Mr Rajoy said Catalan politicians had done "something that is not possible - declare independence".

The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the EU would continue to deal with Spain only.

"For EU nothing changes," he said.

"Spain remains our only interlocutor. I hope the Spanish government favours force of argument, not argument of force."

Shares in Catalan banks fell after the result of the Barcelona vote became clear.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Catalonia’s leader again refused to declare independence. Now it’s up to parliament.


Catalonia’s leader again refused to declare independence. Now it’s up to parliament.


By William Booth and Pamela Rolfe October 26 at 3:26 PM

As confusion swirled around the fate of Spain’s wealthiest region, Catalonia’s secessionist leader declined to renew his call for a declaration of independence — and ruled out holding snap elections, defying predictions made just hours earlier.

As deadlines loomed and threats from Madrid of a takeover mounted, Catalonia’s pro-independence president, Carles Puigdemont, first scheduled, then canceled, then rescheduled his announcement about what would happen next.

Finally, in late afternoon, Puigdemont appeared in the government palace and said the regional parliament must decide what will happen next — a sign that his governing coalition may be unraveling.

The Catalan parliament was scheduled to debate at noon Friday.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says he has decided against calling a snap election in Catalonia. (Reuters)

If the parliament declares independence, it is likely that the central government in Madrid would act quickly to suspend the regional body and take over authority of the government in Barcelona.

Meaning? Catalonia’s chaotic bid to carve an independent republic out of Spain isn’t over yet.

Puigdemont’s words Thursday clearly upset many of his constituents, who believed they were getting close to forming a new republic.

“They don’t care about the people, because we already voted for independence,” said Joana Romera, 25, a university student who had come to the Catalan government palace to hear what Puigdemont had to say.

“At the end, it’s always the politicians who decide,” she said, flashing disappointment and anger. “We’re in the same situation as before.”

Puigdemont denounced what he described as heavy-handed tactics by the central government in Madrid.

“I have considered the possibility of calling elections,” Puigdemont said. But he ruled it out because “there are not enough guarantees” from the central government not to seize control of the region.

All eyes turn now to the parliaments in Barcelona and Madrid.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has pressed to take control of the Catalan government, including its police, public media and finances.

Rajoy last week promised to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution designed to rein in a renegade region “to restore institutional legality and normality.”

Puigdemont reportedly sought a promise from Rajoy that the Spanish senate would not vote on Article 155 — a “nuclear option” that has never been tried. The Spanish parliament is expected to make a decision on the takeover Friday.

Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the deputy prime minister in the central government, told the senate on Thursday that “secessionism’s trip to nowhere must reach its point of return, a return to lawfulness.”

She pressed for the implementation of Article 155, calling the pro-independence leaders “beyond the law.”

“By refusing to comply with the law, they have sown mistrust,” she said. “The damage to social harmony is overwhelming; the damage to trust is very deep. They have taken institutional problems down into the streets of Catalonia and into the homes of Catalans.”

Inés Arrimadas, a leader of the Citizens party, which serves in the opposition in Barcelona, displayed a frustration felt by many.

“Not even Kafka’s trial was as Kafkaesque as this process,” she said. “That’s enough, Mr. Puigdemont. How much longer are we Catalans going to have to deal with this?”

Addressing Puigdemont, she said: “You use the name of the Catalans. But we Catalans are divided. And you are hurting Catalonia.”

As rumors swirled that Puigdemont was about to walk away from a declaration of independence, his former supporters denounced him on social media and the streets as a coward and a traitor.
A former ally called him a Judas on Twitter.

Mireia Boya Busquet, a leader of a leftist pro-independence party, said: “Don't let them steal our republic in backroom deals. Bring it to the streets. Where it started, and will win, despite everything.”

Fellow party members said they would defect — and Puigdemont’s vice president reportedly threatened to resign.

The separatists in Catalonia, led by Puigdemont, staged a referendum this month despite the fact that the courts had declared it unconstitutional.

More than 2 million people cast ballots for independence, though the turnout for the referendum was around 40 percent of eligible voters.

In Madrid, people called the flip-flopping and vagueness in Catalonia “agonizing” and “unprofessional.”

But many suspected the drama was part of a long political negotiation between Barcelona and Madrid.

“Neither of the sides wants to go through to the most extreme scenario,” said Ignacio Escolar, editor in chief of El Diario newspaper. “Otherwise they already would have done it. I think we are in the last minutes of a negotiation that has time all the way up through the end of the senate’s session tomorrow.”


Rolfe reported from Madrid. Raul Gallego Abellan contributed to this report.

Spain Constitution 1978 Article 155


Spain Constitution 1978 Article 155

“If a self-governing community does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain, the government may take all measures necessary to compel the community to meet said obligations, or to protect the above-mentioned general interest.”
Spain Constitution 1978 Article 155

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sri Lanka's Debt Crisis Is So Bad The Government Doesn't Even Know How Much Money It Owes


Sri Lanka's Debt Crisis Is So Bad The Government Doesn't Even Know How Much Money It Owes

Trying to develop its infrastructure to increase its economic potential has plunged Sri Lanka deep into a pit of debt, pushing the country to the brink of bankruptcy and prompting an IMF bailout.

The official estimate of what Sri Lanka currently owes its financiers is $64.9 billion — $8 billion of which is owned by China. The country’s debt-to-GDP currently stands around 75% and 95.4% of all government revenue is currently going towards debt repayment.

This debt situation is clearly not sustainable, but there’s more:

In addition to racking up large amounts of government debt via the usual channels, it's now becoming evident that the previous government also utilized state-owned enterprises to take out additional loans on its behalf. While the full extent of this extracurricular lending seems unknown, current estimates peg it at a minimum of $9.5 billion — which is all off the books of the finance ministry.

“We still don’t know the exact total debt number,” Sri Lanka’s prime minister admitted to parliament earlier this month.

Much of Sri Lanka’s pile of debt accrued in the process of initiating an entire buffet of large-scale and extremely expensive infrastructure projects under the direction of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Between 2009 and 2014 Sri Lanka’s total government debt tripled and external debt doubled, as the country engaged in a number of costly undertakings -- such as attempting to build a new, multi-billion dollar city in the middle of a jungle (which includes the world’s emptiest international airport), constructing one of the most expensive highways ever made, as well as other pricey endeavors, such as spending $42 million just to remove a rock from the harbor at Hambantota.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that Sri Lanka's current administration is doing much better. 

Under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who came to office at the beginning of 2015, domestic debt grew by 12% and external debt by 25% without starting any new large-scale infrastructure projects.

This fact has not gone unnoticed by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who recently issued a series of public taunts, claiming that with the money the current administration has so far borrowed he could have built “two Mattala Airports, one Hambantota Port, one Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, one Colombo-Matara Highway, one Colombo-Katunayake Highway, not one, but two Colombo Port cities and one 500 MW Sampur Coal Power Plant...”

Sri Lanka may be in a debt trap that it can’t get out of. 

This year alone $4.5 billion is due to foreign lenders and next year $4 billion is owed — bills which the country has not yet figured out a way to pay.

Various interim solutions to the debt crisis have been proposed, such as offering debt-for-equity swaps to countries, such as China, that Sri Lanka owes big and privatizing and outright selling loss-incurring SOEs, which have yet to receive much interest.

The IMF did agree to provide Sri Lanka with a $1.5 billion bailout in the form of a loan in April after the country agreed to a set of criteria to attempt to right the course of its wavering economy. However, as reported by East Asia Forum, Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has stated that it is their intention to secure an additional $5 billion in loans after receiving these funds -- and corresponding seal of approval -- from the IMF as the debt trap continues getting deeper. 
===========================
Correction 10/3/2016: the $42 million rock was removed from Hambantota not Colombo.

I'm the author of Ghost Cities of China. Traveling since '99. Currently on the New Silk Road. Read my other articles on Forbes here.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/09/30/sri-lankas-debt-crisis-is-so-bad-the-government-doesnt-even-know-how-much-money-it-owes/#76d169874608

Official Statement by the Catalonia President on Article 155


Official Statement by the President on the invocation of
Article 155 of the Spanish constitution
Barcelona, 21 October 2017

All the proposals for dialogue addressed to Spain have had the same response: o silence, or
repression. In my last letter to the Spanish president I reiterated the need to speak and
reminded him that this is a clamor that is directed to us by many people, from many places.
Today, the Spanish Council of Ministers has been in charge of giving a real slam to this
clamor and this request and announces a series of measures and dismissals that directly
represent the liquidation of our self-government and the democratic will of the Catalans.
What the Catalans decided at the polls the Spanish government cancels at the offices.
Thus, the Spanish Government, with the support of the Socialist Party and Citizens party,
has undertaken the worst attack on the institutions and people of Catalonia since the decrees
of the military dictator Francisco Franco abolishing the Generalitat of Catalonia. Despising
the popular will expressed in a clear and massive manner in the elections of September 27,
2015, violating our Parliament and all the guarantees and rights of the members of the
Parliament who have elected the President of the Generalitat and have approved the
Government platform, the Spanish Government has illegally self-proclaimed the
representative of the will of the Catalans.

Without going through the polls, with little support and against the will of the majority, the
government of Mariano Rajoy wants to appoint a directory to remotely control the life of
Catalonia from Madrid.

This is not the first time that Catalan institutions have received the Spanish state once, even
with the help of the king, to reduce, reorient or directly suppress them. Every time the
Catalan people have superimposed stronger and more determined, aware that the
aggressions have always hidden the inability to make policy on the part of the State and that
consequently, had to reach higher levels of self-government. From the regionalism of the
early twentieth century to the 21st century sovereignty, the hegemonic idea in Catalonia has
always been the same.

The Generalitat is not an institution that is born with the current Spanish Constitution. Long
before the approval of the Magna Carta, the Generalitat was already functioning and was
provisionally reestablished, bearing in mind its historical legitimacy and the continuity that
Presidents Companys, Irla and Tarradellas had ensured in exile. No decision of the head of
government can erase this persistent fact over time: it has been the will of the Catalans that
has allowed us to defend and restore our institutions. What we have we have always won
with the strength of the people and the strength of democracy

The Catalan institutions and the people of Catalonia cannot accept this attack. The
humiliation sought by the Spanish Government as a guardian of all Catalan public life, 
from the Government to the public media, is incompatible with a democratic attitude and is
situated outside the rule of law. Because imposing a form of government not chosen by
citizens and without a parliamentary majority that supports it is incompatible with the rule of
law.

It is like acting with impunity against peaceful citizens, using old penal codes to keep two
persons of peace who have committed no crime, pursuing ideas and media, or irresponsibly
stimulating economic instability. Or as was the very serious irresponsibility of the PP with the
current president Mariano Rajoy as leader of an infamous collection of signatures against
Catalonia and the shameful ruling of the Constitutional Court later, I stress the after, that the
Statute of Catalonia had been approved by legal referendum and agreed. Those
irresponsible who despised the will of the Catalans and violated the constitutional pact of
1978 are those who want to rule us today.

I am aware, therefore, of the threat that weighs on all the people of Catalonia if the State
perpetrates its liquidating intent. We must confront ourselves to defend our institutions as we
have always done, in a peaceful and civilized way, but with dignity and reasons. That is why I
will ask the Parliament to set the convening of a plenary session where representatives of
citizen sovereignty, those elected by the votes of the citizens, we debate and decide on the
attempt to liquidate our self-government and our democracy, and act accordingly.
I want to send a message to the Spanish democrats. What is being done with Catalonia is
directly an attack on democracy that opens the door to other abuses of the same kind
anywhere, not just in Catalonia. Criminalize the dissident, deny reality and raise walls of
legality before the windows of the will of the Catalan people... if all these triumphs damage to
democracy, and therefore to the citizens, will be very severe and will lead to a monumental
setback. We must not allow that to happen.

I want to address a message to Europe. Not only to its political leaders but also, and
especially, to all European citizens, our brothers and sisters, with whom we share the
European citizenship.

If European foundational values are at risk in Catalonia, they will also be at risk in Europe.
Democratically deciding the future of a nation is not a crime. This goes against foundations
that unite European citizens through their diversity. Catalonia is an ancient European nation.
Is core to the European values. We do what we do because we believe in a democratic and
peaceful Europe. The Europe of the Charter of Fundamental Rights should protect each and
every one of us. You should know what you are fighting for in your home, we are fighting for
Catalonia. And we will continue to do so.

My fellow citizens: Long live Catalonia!

Carles Puigdemont Casamajó
President of the Catalan Government
-------------------------------------------
Source: http://premsa.gencat.cat/pres_fsvp/docs/2017/10/22/00/37/74735270-f58f-4bec-96dc-ea7566e33e46.pdf

Monday, 23 October 2017

Catalans said to plan human shield to block Madrid takeover

ENB File Photo:Catlan Protest
Catalans said to plan human shield to block Madrid takeover

Catalan separatists are mobilizing a human shield to block efforts by the Spanish authorities to take control of the breakaway region as both sides prepare to escalate the political conflict.

Groups will concentrate their activists around the regional government's headquarters in Barcelona's Gothic quarter and the nearby parliament building, according to two people familiar with the plans, asking not to be identified by name. They expect Spanish police to use force to try to shut down the administration and will put their bodies on the line, said one person.

"We are calling for a peaceful and democratic defense of the institutions," Lluis Corominas, the leader of the main separatist group in the Catalan Parliament, said at a press conference in Barcelona. Regional President Carles Puigdemont has called for similar action.

It's a critical week of brinkmanship. The Catalan leadership was left to plot its next move following Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's declaration of unprecedented measures to reassert his authority. The rebels in Barcelona are running out of options while Madrid attempts to bring an end to the country's most dramatic political crisis for four decades.

Puigdemont, who accused Rajoy of a "coup d'etat," is set to be ousted by the Spanish government and his allies are signaling he could declare independence. The legislature in Barcelona, which is controlled by separatist parties, will convene on Thursday and Friday just as Rajoy is expected to win approval from the Senate for his crackdown. Puigdemont may travel to Madrid to address the Senate, a Catalan lawmaker said on Monday.

Rajoy on Saturday shocked many observers with plans to clear out the entire separatist administration in Barcelona and take control of key institutions including public media and the regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra. Spain's chief prosecutor said that if Puigdemont declares independence he would face as much as 30 years in jail and signaled that he could be arrested immediately.

The euro weakened as investors watched for the next big development. The common European currency slipped 0.4 percent to $1.1735. Spain's benchmark IBEX stock index was down 0.4 percent at 3 p.m. Madrid time.

Spain is trying to snuff out an independence drive that's been gathering momentum since Rajoy took office in 2011.

Puigdemont's challenge to Rajoy's authority culminated in a referendum on independence held Oct. 1 that the Spanish constitutional court had declared illegal and whose validity Rajoy fiercely contests. Puigdemont claims the vote gives him a mandate to declare a Catalan republic.

The constitutional battle is wounding the economy, prompted companies to decamp from the region and is dividing the nation. With Spain's upper house set to give its seal of approval to his strategy by the end of this week, the focus is shifting to the mechanics of how Madrid can take charge of Catalonia's institutions in the face of secessionist resistance.

"Catalan government officials and many within the Mossos and Catalan media are not just going to stand down without a fight," said Caroline Gray, a lecturer in politics and Spanish at Aston University in the U.K. who specializes in nationalist movements. "The big question for me, really, is how Madrid is actually going to implement its proposed actions in Catalonia."

'Yes' side wins Catalonia independence vote marred by chaos; more than 800 injured
Rajoy is wielding the untested powers of Article 155 of Spain's 1978 Constitution to try to impose central government control on Catalonia. The aim ultimately is to trigger regional elections within six months.

Spain will seek to apply the clause gradually, but will act against people with the administration who obstruct it, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told Onda Cero radio on Monday. She said the Senate could still "adapt" its decision on allowing Rajoy to enforce Article 155 if Puigdemont denies he's declaring independence.

The separatists have shown they can rally support. A crowd estimated by local police at around 450,000 joined him to protest in central Barcelona after Rajoy announced his plans. CUP, a pro-secessionist party, on Monday called for mass civil disobedience in Catalonia, Ara newspaper reported.

Bloomberg's Charles Penty and Maria Tadeo contributed.

'நீட்` எதிர்ப்பு கழக ஆர்ப்பாட்ட ஆதரவுச் சுவரொட்டி-ENB


Friday, 20 October 2017

பிணக்கனம் - சூரியன் கவிமொழி


Putin slams Western 'double standards' over Catalonia

Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine
Putin slams Western 'double standards' over Catalonia
AFP 20 October 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the Catalan crisis was Spain's internal affair but slammed what he called Western double standards over separatist movements.

"Russia's position is known here. All that is happening is Spain's internal business and must be resolved within Spanish law and on the basis of democratic traditions," Putin said at a meeting with international relations experts in the Black Sea city of Sochi.

However, he argued the crisis exposed Western inconsistency and hypocrisy in backing some separatists while opposing others -- such as support for Kosovan independence, but opposition to Catalan and Kurdish claims.

"What we see is that in our partners' view there are worthy fighters for independence and there are separatists who cannot defend their rights."

"Such double standards -- this is a very striking example of double standards -- are fraught with serious danger for the stable development of Europe and other continents," Putin said.

The Russian leader said Western powers had long been aware of "the antagonism within Europe", referring to Catalonia.

"They knew, didn't they?" he said. "Yet in their day they practically welcomed the breakup of a whole number of European states, without concealing their glee."

He cited recognition of independence of majority-Albanian Kosovo from Russia's traditional ally Serbia.

"Why did they have to, so thoughtlessly, unquestioningly support Kosovo's breaking away?" Putin asked.

He accused European countries of "the wish, frankly, to please Big Brother from Washington" over Kosovo, saying this then provoked "similar processes in Europe and the world".

He questioned why Europe went on to oppose Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and independence movements in Spain and Iraq's Kurdistan.

"So now we see Catalonia. In another region there is Kurdistan. And that may still be far from an exhaustive list," Putin said.

A non-binding independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region in September saw a resounding "yes" vote.

The European Union has urged both sides "to seek dialogue in order to preserve Iraq's unity and long-term stability".

Moscow says it supports the territorial integrity of Iraq but views Kurdish national aspirations with respect.

Malwatte Chapter does not oppose new constitution - Anunayake thera


Anunayake thera
Malwatte Chapter does not oppose new constitution - Anunayake thera
Daily News LK Friday, October 20, 2017 - 06:15

Asela KURULUWANSA

The Karaka Maha Sangha Sabha of the Malwatte Chapter had not decided to oppose a new constitution or bringing amendments to the present Constitution of the country, the Anunayaka of the Malwatte Chapter Ven.Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thera said yesterday. Refuting media reports that Karaka Maha Sangha Sabha of both Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters had decided to oppose a new constitution, Wimaladhamma Thera said that a few members of the Karaka Maha Sangha Sabha of both chapters had met on Wednesday to discuss constitutional reforms and the Malwatte chapter had not taken any decision to oppose the formation of a new constitution.

The Thera also said that the Mahanayake Theras of both the Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters had not taken part in the meeting.

The Thera said that he had represented the Malwatte chapter during the talks and the Asigiriya chapter was represented by Ven.Tibbotuwawe Medhankara Thera.

Ven.Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thera said that the Malwatte chapter will only take a decision on the new constitution after briefing the Chief Incumbent of the Malwatte chapter about what transpired during the meeting.

He said that the Malwatte Chapter will not arrive at any decision without the consent of the Mahanayaka Thera. The Thera said that the Mahanayake Thera’s of both the Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters will further study the proposed constitutional reforms before arriving at a final decision.

Wimaladhamma Thera said that the comments he made on Wednesday were his personal opinion and not a collective decision taken by the Karaka Sabha of the Malwatte chapter.

He went on to say that the Mahanayake of the Malwatte chapter was currently overseas and matters related to the constitution will be discussed when he returns.

3 Major Takeaways from Xi ’s Speech at the 19th Party Congress

3 Major Takeaways from Xi Jinping’s Speech at the 19th Party Congress
By Charlotte Gao October 18, 2017- The Diplomat
   
All eyes at home and abroad were on Chinese President Xi Jinping as he kicked off the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th Party Congress — the most important Chinese political event, held once in every five years — during which the top Chinese leadership will be reshuffled.

On the morning of October 18, Xi took nearly three and a half hours to present the opening speech — known as a work report — under the title of “To secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.” The work report is a chance for the Party’s top leader to showcase achievements since the previous Party Congress and outline future endeavors. While the comprehensive speech covers almost every field related to China’s development and the Chinese people’s well-being, the followings are the three major points particularly worth noting for observers interested in the CCP’s security policy.

1. China will create a world-class military

Xi, who also holds the position of chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), said China will keep strengthening the military and comprehensively promote national defense and military modernization, including “a modern army, navy, air force, rocket army, and strategic support force, and a strong and efficient command agency for joint operations.”

Xi also set the goals for Chinese military: by 2020, Chinese military should have basically realized mechanization, made significant progress in information technology, and made a big leap in strategic ability; by 2035, modernized national defense and military should be basically achieved; and by 2050, the Chinese military should be a world-class one.

“A military is prepared for war. All military works must adhere to the standards of being able to fight a war and win a war.” said Xi, “Our army is the people’s army; our defense is national defense. [We must] enhance the education on national defense education, consolidate the unity between the military and civilian, in order to achieve the Chinese dream of a strong military.”

In fact, since Xi came into office five years ago, he had repeatedly emphasized “the Chinese dream of a strong military” and the goal of fostering a military that can win wars.

With these goals in place for China’s military modernization, expect China’s national defense expenses will keep soaring in the following years.

2. Flexing muscles toward Taiwan

Although many analysts already anticipated that Xi would mention Taiwan during his speech — as Taiwan remains one of the most sensitive and critical issues for the CCP — Xi’s strong remarks this time still somewhat exceeded people’s expectations.

Regarding Taiwan, Xi said in his speech:

[We will] resolutely safeguard the national sovereignty and territorial integrity and will absolutely not tolerate the tragedy of the country’s split. Any activity aiming to split the motherland will be firmly opposed by all the Chinese people. We have a firm will, sufficient faith, and adequate capacity to defeat any intention of “Taiwan independence” in any form. [We will] never allow any person, any organization, any political party, at any time, in any form, to separate any piece of Chinese territory from China.
In addition, Xi stressed the importance of the “1992 Consensus”, or the “One China principle,” which Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has been refusing to publicly recognize since she came into office last year. 

Xi said the 1992 Consensus is the key to ensuring the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. “Only by recognizing the historical facts of the ‘1992 Consensus’, that both sides belong to one China, can the two sides across the Strait start to have a dialogue.”

Since Tsai came into office,  the cross-strait relationship has been deteriorating. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has stopped a regular dialogue mechanism with its Taiwanese counterpart, the Mainland Affairs Council. That was the only direct official pipeline between the two central governments across the Strait. Xi’s rhetoric has once again made it clear that recognizing the “1992 Consensus” is the precondition for the CCP to resume the dialogue mechanism. It’s also likely that Xi will add more pressure on Tsai after the Party Congress. 

 3. Dangling a carrot to Hong Kong

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China. Meanwhile, the tensions between Hong Kong and the mainland have shown signals of escalating. Some Hong Kong people have even called for independence from China, as The Diplomat has reported. An increasing number of analysts are starting to cast a doubtful light on the “one country, two systems” principle implemented in Hong Kong.

In his speech, Xi also specially discussed Hong Kong and the “one country, two systems” principle.

Compared to his remarks on Taiwan, Xi’s tone toward Hong Kong was significantly softer. He said the central government will support Hong Kong as well Macau to fully get involved in the overall development of the whole country, promote the mainland’s cooperation with Hong Kong and Macau, and put forward policy to facilitate Hong Kong and Macau citizens developing the mainland.


Despite the carrot, Xi didn’t forget to emphasize the central government’s authority in Hong Kong. “[We must] maintain the central authority in Hong Kong and guarantee Hong Kong’s autonomy at the same time. [We must] ensure that the ‘one country, two systems’ policy will not change or deform,” said Xi.

Source: The Diplomat

Spain to trigger Article 155 to block Catalan autonomy


Trump: 'I think the people of Catalonia would stay with Spain'
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Mariano Rajoy met Donald Trump at the White House. Photo: AFP
Spain to trigger Article 155 to block Catalan autonomy
by Creede Newton

Spain will enact Article 155 of the Constitution which allows Madrid to suspend Catalonia's autonomy, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The measure will be sent to the Senate for approval on Saturday, the statement on Thursday said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was responding to a letter by Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, which said Catalonia will declare independence should Spain continue to block talks and enact Article 155.

Spain denounced the attitude maintained by those responsible for harming "the coexistence and economic structure of Catalonia", the prime minister's statement said, promising that Madrid would do everything in its power to restore "legality and constitutional order".

Spanish government spokesperson Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters in Madrid: "Cabinet ministers will approve the [Article 155] measures on Saturday, which will be submitted to the Senate to protect the interests of the Spanish people - including the Catalans in Catalonia.

"The government will do everything in its power to put a brake on the economic deterioration in Catalonia caused by the actions of the present Catalonia president."

Puigdemont is yet to respond to Madrid's latest move.

Article 155, which is described as the "nuclear option", has never been used since the Constitution was ratified in 1978.

Thursday's developments extend a struggle between Madrid and Barcelona over the status of Catalonia since the disputed October 1 referendum on secession from Spain, which was halted by "excessive force" from Spanish national police.

Earlier in the day, Puigdemont's second letter in a week called for talks and threatened to declare Catalan independence if Article 155 was enacted.

"If the central government persists in impeding dialogue and continuing its repression, Catalonia's parliament will proceed ... with a vote to formally declare independence," Puigdemont's letter said.

The stripping of Catalonia's autonomy is sure to increase tensions between Madrid and Barcelona, which are already high. Two pro-independence organisers, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, were imprisoned Monday without bail pending charges of sedition.

An estimated 200,000 people took to the streets to demand their release in Barcelona on Tuesday, calling them "political prisoners".

The Catalan government says voters overwhelmingly supported independence with 90 percent of votes for secession, but turnout was less than 50 percent.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Highlights of Xi's report to 19th CPC National Congress

Highlights of Xi's report to 19th CPC National Congress

Xi Jinping delivers a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on behalf of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2017. The CPC opened the 19th National Congress at the Great Hall of the People Wednesday morning. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
































BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping delivered a report to the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Wednesday. The following are the highlights of the report:

A NEW ERA WITH NEW THOUGHT

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.

The CPC has given shape to the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,
a long-term guide to action that the Party must adhere to and develop.
The Thought builds on and further enriches Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on

Development. It represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context.

GREAT MODERN SOCIALIST COUNTRY

The CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the 21st century to develop China into a "great modern socialist country."
In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, the CPC will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized.

In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the CPC will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop

China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

The principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved to be that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life.

Now the needs to be met for the people to live a better life are increasingly broad. Not only have their material and cultural needs grown, their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are increasing.

ECONOMY

China's economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development.

In developing a modernized economy, the country must focus on the real economy. China will support state capital in becoming stronger, doing better, and growing bigger, turn

Chinese enterprises into world-class, globally competitive firms.

China will leverage the fundamental role of consumption in promoting economic growth and improve the framework of regulation underpinned by monetary policy and macro-prudential policy, and see that interest rates and exchange rates become more market-based.

OPENING UP

China will not close its door to the world; it will only become more and more open.

China will implement the system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list across the board.

China will significantly ease market access and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.

LAW

The CPC will set up a central leading group for advancing law-based governance in all areas.
It will strengthen oversight to ensure compliance with the Constitution, advance constitutionality review, and safeguard the authority of the Constitution.

ECOLOGICAL PROGRESS

The CPC has incorporated Beautiful China into its two-stage development plan for building a great modern socialist country.

The modernization is one characterized by harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
China will establish regulatory agencies to manage state-owned natural resource assets and monitor natural ecosystems, and develop a nature reserves system composed mainly of national parks.

ARMED FORCES

By the year 2020, military mechanization will be basically achieved, with IT application coming a long way and strategic capabilities seeing a big improvement. The modernization of the national defense and armed forces should be basically completed by 2035.

The people's armed forces will be transformed into world-class military by the mid-21st century.

DIPLOMACY

No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.

PARTY BUILDING

Having gained overwhelming momentum in its fight against corruption, the Party is determined to secure a sweeping victory over the greatest threat to the Party.

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-18 15:19:58|Editor: ZD

ENB POSTER CATALONIA 155


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Catalonia President Statement 10-10-2017 Text





Official Statement by the President on the political situation in Catalonia

Barcelona, 10 October 2017

I stand here before Parliament to present to you the results of the referendum held on October 1 and to explain the political consequences derived from it. I am conscious, as I’m sure are many of you, that today I also stand before the people of Catalonia and before many others, who have focused their attention on what happens today in this chamber.

We are living in an exceptional time, of historical dimension. The consequences and effects run beyond our country and it’s evident that, far from being an internal and domestic affair, as we have often had to hear from those who neglected their responsibility by not wanting to know about what’s happening, Catalonia is a European issue.

Do not expect, from my speech, threats, blackmail nor insults. The current moment is serious enough for everyone to assume their corresponding responsibility and for the necessity to deescalate tension and not to contribute to it, neither through word nor gesture. On the other hand, I wish to address the people; those who came out on the 1st and the 3rd of October, those who went to the demonstration on Saturday to advocate for dialogue, and those who came out massively on Sunday in defence of the unity of Spain. And to those who haven’t come out in any of those gatherings. All of us, with all of our differences, with all our points of understanding and divergence, all form part of the same people, and we must continue to work together, whatever happens, because that is how the history of a people who want to build a future is made.

Obviously, we will never agree on everything. But we do understand, because we’ve already demonstrated it, that the way forward can be none other than through democracy and peace.

That means respecting those who think differently, and finding a way to make possible collective aspirations, with the realisation that that requires a large dose of dialogue and empathy.

As you may well imagine, in these recent days and hours many have spoken with me, suggesting both what needs to be done and what needs not be done. All of those suggestions are valid, respectable and appropriate for a moment like this. In all cases where I could I appreciated receiving them, because in each one I’ve heard good reasons which are worth listening to. I have also asked the opinion of many people, which has helped me and enriched the analysis of this moment in time and the perspective for the future, and I want to give them my heartfelt thanks.

But what I’m presenting to you today is not a personal decision, nor is it the obsession of anyone person: it’s the result of the 1st of October, of the will of the government which I preside over having maintained its commitment to call, organise and hold a referendum of self determination, and naturally of the analysis of the following facts which we have shared at the core of Government. Today is the time to talk about the results in the Parliament and that’s what we’re going to do.

We are here because on the 1st of October Catalonia held a referendum of self-determination. It was done in conditions, which were, rather than difficult, extreme. It’s the first time in the history of European democracies that an election day was held in the midst of violent police attacks against voters who were queueing to post their vote. From 8 in the morning until the close of polling stations, the Police and Guardia Civil beat defenceless people and obliged the emergency services to attend to more than 800 people. We all saw it, as did the world, which was horrified as the images came through.

The objective was not only to confiscate ballot boxes and voting papers. The objective was to cause panic and make people, as they saw the images of indiscriminate police violence, stay at home and renounce their right to vote. But those politically responsible for these ignominious acts shot themselves in the foot. 2, 286, 217 citizens overcame their fear, left their homes and voted. We don’t know how many were unsuccessful in doing so, but we do know that the polling stations which were closed down violently represented the votes of 770,000 more people.

More than two million two hundred thousand Catalans were able to vote because they overcame their fear, and because when they arrived at their polling station they found ballot boxes, envelopes, voting slips, constituted voting tables and an operative and reliable electoral list. The operations and police searches of the previous weeks in seeking ballot boxes and voting slips did not prevent the referendum. Phone taps, following people, cyber-attacks, the closure of 140 websites, interference in correspondence, none of these things could stop the referendum. I repeat: in spite of the efforts and resources dedicated to prevent it happening, when the citizens arrived at the polling stations, they found ballot boxes, envelopes, voting slips, constituted voting tables and an operative and reliable electoral list.

I wish, therefore, to recognise and appreciate all of the people who made possible this logistical and political success. To the volunteers who slept in the polling stations. To the citizens who kept the ballot boxes in their homes. To those who printed the voting slips. To the computer technicians who came up with and developed the universal electoral list. To the workers in the Government. To those who voted yes or no, and those who voted blank. To so many anonymous people who did their part to make it all possible. And above all, I send my best wishes and solidarity to all those injured and mistreated in the police operation. Those images will remain in our memories forever. We will never forget.

We must recognise and denounce that the actions of the state have caused tension and worry in Catalan society. As President of Catalonia, I’m very conscious that at this time there are many people who are worried, anxious and even scared about what is happening and what may come to pass. People of all ideas and political leanings. Gratuitous violence and the decision of some companies to transfer their headquarters, in a decision, allow me to say, more related to their markets than to real effects in our economy (what does have real effect on our economy is the 16 billion Catalan euros which are obliged to leave each year), are facts which without doubt have clouded the picture. To all those people who are afraid, I wish to send them a message of comprehension and empathy, and also of serenity and tranquillity: the Government of Catalonia will not deviate one millimetre from its commitment to social and economic progress, democracy, dialogue, tolerance, respect for difference and a willingness to negotiate. As President I will always act with responsibility and keeping in mind the seven and a half million citizens of the country.

I would like to explain where we are, and especially why we are where we are. Today as the world is watching us, and indeed, today as the world is listening to us, I think it’s worth going back and explaining ourselves.

Since the death of the military dictator Francisco Franco, Catalonia has contributed at least as much as anyone else to the consolidation of Spanish democracy. Catalonia has been not only the economic engine of Spain, but also a modernising and stabling influence. Catalonia believed that the Spanish Constitution of 1978 could be a good starting point to guarantee its self-government and its material progress. Catalonia was deeply involved in the process of returning the Spanish state to European and international institutions after 40 years of isolation. The passing of the years, however, began to show that the new institutional structure which came out of the Transition, which Catalonia saw as a good starting point towards evolving to new heights of democracy and self-governance, was seen by the hegemonic elite of the state not as a point of departure, but in fact as a point of arrival. With the passing of the years, the system not only stopped evolving in the desired direction for the people of Catalonia, but began to devolve.

Consistent with this finding, in the year 2005, a large majority, 88% of this Parliament, I repeat an 88% majority in this Parliament, following the steps marked out by the Constitution, I repeat, following the steps marked out by the Constitution, approved a proposal for a new Statute of Autonomy, and sent it to the Spanish Congress of Deputies. The Catalan proposal unleashed an authentic campaign of Catalanophobia, tied to an irresponsible manner by those who  wanted to govern Spain at any price.

The text which was finally submitted for referendum in 2006 was already very different from the initial proposal from the Catalan Parliament, but despite that was approved by the citizens who voted on it. Turnout was 47%, and the votes in favour of the Statute were 1,899,897. I’d like to point out that that’s 145,000 votes fewer than the yes vote for independence on the 1st of October.

The state, however, hadn’t had enough with the first reduction. In 2010, four years after the entry in law of the watered down Statute, a Constitutional Court made up of magistrates handpicked by the two main Spanish political parties, emitted an disgraceful sentence which watered down the Statute for a second time, modifying the content which had been voted on by the people in a referendum.

It’s worth remembering this, and underlining it. Despite having followed all the procedures of the constitution, despite being backed by 88% of the Parliament of Catalonia, and despite popular approval in a referendum, the combined action by the Congress of Deputies and the Constitutional Court converted the Catalan proposal into an unrecognisable text. And it’s worth remembering and underlining also: this unrecognisable text, doubly edited and not voted upon by Catalans, this is the current law in force. This has been the result of Catalonia trying to modify its Juridical Statute by constitutional means: a humiliation.

But that’s not everything. Since the sentence of the Constitutional Court against the Statute voted upon by the people, the Spanish political system not only has not moved a finger to try to go back and repair this break, but rather it has activated an aggressive and systematic program of recentralisation. From the point of view of self-government, the last seven years have been the worst of the last forty: continual degradation of competencies through a series of decrees, laws and sentences; inattention and lack of investment in the basic system of infrastructure in Catalonia, a key part of a country’s economic progress; and hurtful disrespect towards our language, culture and the way of life in our country.

Everything that I explain in these short lines has had a profound impact in Catalan society. It’s got to the point that during this period many Catalans, millions of Catalans, have come to the rational conclusion that the only way to guarantee survival, not only of self-government, but of our values as a society, is the foundation of Catalonia as a state. The results of the last elections to the Parliament of Catalonia are a testament to this.

Furthermore, something even more relevant has happened: in parallel with the formation of a pro-independence absolute majority in the Parliament, a broad consensus has been forged that the future of Catalonia, whatever it may be, had to be decided by the Catalan people, democratically and pacifically, through a referendum. In the most recent poll by an important newspaper in Madrid, not from here, from Madrid, 82% of Catalans expressed this idea.

With the objective of making possible this referendum, in the last few years the Catalan institutions and civil societies have generated many initiatives before the Spanish government and its institutions. It’s all documented: up to 18 times, and in all possible formats, opening a dialogue has been proposed to agree a referendum similar to the one held in Scotland on 18 September 2014. A referendum with the date and a question agreed between the two sides, in which both sides could campaign and present their arguments, and in which both sides commit to accepting and applying the result through a negotiation which protects their respective interests. If that has been possible in one of the oldest, most consolidated and exemplary democracies in the world, as the United Kingdom is, why could it not also be done in Spain?

The answer to all of those initiatives has been a radical and absolute no, combined with police and judicial persecution of Catalan authorities. Ex-President Artur Mas and ex-ministers Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau, as with the ex-minister of Presidency Francesc Homs, have been banned from holding office for having promoted a non-binding participative process without juridical effect on the 9 of November 2014. And not only banned from public office, but also fined in an arbitrary and abusive way: if they do not deposit more than 5 million euros to the Spanish Court of Accounts, all of their assets will be embargoed and their families may be affected.

Apart from them, the bureau of this Parliament and dozens of municipal elected officials have been charged for expressing support for the right to decide and permit debates on the referendum. Charges have been brought against the President of the Parliament and its bureau to prevent them permitting the debate to take place. The last wave of repression against Catalan institutions has resulted in the detainment and arrest of 16 officials and public servants in the Government of Catalonia, who had to appear in court handcuffed and without being informed of the accusation against them. The world needs to know too that the leaders of the entities which have led the biggest peaceful demonstrations in Europe’s history are charged with the crime of sedition, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. These are people responsible for having organised demonstrations which amazed the world for their civility and lack of incident.

This has been the answer of the Spanish State to Catalan demands, which have always been expressed in a peaceful way and through the majorities obtained at the polls. The people of Catalonia have demanded the freedom to be able to decide for years. It’s very simple. We have not found anyone to dialogue with in the past nor are we finding one in the present. There is no State institution that is open to talking about the claim of the majority of this Parliament and of Catalan society. The last hope we could have left was for the monarchy to exercise the arbitration and moderating role that the constitution attaches to it, but the last week's speech confirmed our worst assumptions.

I now turn to the citizens of the whole of the Spanish state who are following with concern what is happening in Catalonia. I want to convey a message of serenity and respect, a willingness to dialogue and of political accord, as has always been our desire and our priority. I am aware of the information that is conveyed to them by most media and the narrative that has been established. But I dare to ask them to make an effort, for the good of all; an effort to know and recognise what has led us here and the reasons that have driven us. We are not delinquents, nor are we crazy, nor are we attempting a coup, nor just some bad people: we are normal people who ask to be able to vote and who have been willing to undertake all necessary dialogue to carry it out in an agreed manner. We have nothing against Spain and the Spanish.

Quite the opposite. We want to understand each other better, and that is the desire of the majority in Catalonia. Because today, for many years now, the relationship isn’t working and nothing has been done to reverse a situation that has become unsustainable. And a people can not be compelled, against its will, to accept a status quo that it did not vote for and does not want. The Constitution is a democratic framework, but it is equally true that there is democracy beyond the Constitution.

Ladies and gentlemen, with the results of the referendum on October 1st, Catalonia has earned the right to be an independent state, and has earned the right to be heard and respected. I must recognise that today Catalonia is being listened to and respected beyond our frontiers. The yes to independence won an absolute majority in the elections, and two years later it has won a referendum under the attacks of batons. The ballot boxes, the only language we understand, say yes to independence. And this is the route I am committed to traveling. As is known, the Referendum Law establishes that, two days after the official proclamation of the results, and in the case where the number of Yes votes is superior to the number of No votes, the Parliament (and I cite the wording of the law) “will hold an ordinary session to put into effect a formal declaration of the independence of Catalonia, its effects and agree the beginning of the constituent process”.

There’s a before and after the 1st of October, and we have achieved what we committed ourselves to at the beginning of this legislature. Arriving at this historic moment, and as President of the Generalitat I take it upon myself to say, in presenting to you the results of the referendum before Parliament and our co-citizens, that the people have determined that Catalonia should become an independent state in the form of a republic.

That is what needs to be done today, responsibly and with respect.

In with the same solemnity, the Government and I myself propose that the Parliament suspends the effects of the declaration of independence so that in the coming weeks we may begin a dialogue without which it is impossible to arrive at an agreed solution. We firmly believe that this moment needs not only a de-escalation of tension but also a clear and committed willingness to advance the claims of the people of Catalonia from the results of the 1st of October. We must keep these results in mind during the period of dialogue which we are willing to open.

It is well-known that since the referendum different mediation initiatives have been put in place, regarding dialogue and negotiation and at national, state and international level. Some of these are publicly known, while others are not known yet. All are serious attempts, and were difficult to imagine happening just a short time ago. The cries for dialogue and for no violence have been heard from all corners of the globe; yesterday’s declaration by a group of eight Nobel Peace Prize winners; the declaration the group The Elders led by the ex-secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan and made up of people of great world relevance; the positions of Presidents and Prime Ministers of European countries, European political leaders…

There’s a prayer for dialogue which runs through Europe, because Europe already feels interrupted by the effects of what could happen with a bad resolution of this conflict. All of these voices deserve to be listened to. And all, without exception, have asked that we open a time to give dialogue with the Spanish state a chance.

That is also what needs to be done today, responsibly and with respect.

In finishing, I call on the responsibility of everyone. To the citizens of Catalonia, I ask that we continue to express ourselves as we have done up to now, with freedom and with respect from those who think differently. To companies and economic stakeholders, I ask that they continue to generate wealth and not fall into the temptation to use their power to influence the population. To the political parties, I ask that they contribute with their words and actions to lower the tension. I also ask this of the media. To the Spanish government, I ask that they listen, not to us if they don’t want, but to those who advocate for mediation and to the international community, and to the millions of citizens around Spain who ask that they renounce repression and imposition. To the European Union, I ask that they get deeply involved and hold up the fundamental values of the Union.

Today the Government of Catalonia makes a gesture of responsibility and generosity, and again reaches out its hand in dialogue. I’m convinced that, if in the coming days everyone acts with the same responsibility and fulfils their obligations, the conflict between Catalonia and the Spanish state can be resolved in a manner that is serene and with accord, respecting the will of the people. For us, this will not stop here. Because we want to be true to our long history, to all who suffered and made sacrifices, and because we want a future of dignity for our children,for all those people who want to make Catalonia their land of welcome and hope.

Thank you very much.


Carles Puigdemont Casamajó
President of the Catalan Government

http://www.catalangovernment.eu/pres_gov/government/en/president/speeches-remarks-official-statements.html

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