Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 12th 2017 Contents A27
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Spain Catalonia: Barcelona rally
urges prisoners' release
Three-quarters of a million people
have rallied in Barcelona to protest
against Spain's detention of Catalan
independence leaders, police esti-
They shone phone torches in uni-
son at sunset as calls were made to
free eight regional ministers and two
grass-roots campaign leaders being
held on remand.
Some of the detainees will be in-
cluded on the list of a Catalan sep-
aratist party at next month's snap
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano
Rajoy is expected to visit the city
In another development, Barce-
lona's mayoress has condemned
The Catalan parliament declared
independence last month following
an unrecognised referendum on in-
dependence from Spain.
Madrid responded by dissolving
the parliament and calling a regional
election on December 21.
Since the crackdown by Madrid,
Catalonia's sacked President Carles
Puigdemont has gone into self-im-
posed exile in Belgium, and his top
allies have been prosecuted.
A lawyer whose irm represents
two of his imprisoned former
ministers told BBC News their sit-
uation had been made worse by Pu-
igdemont's decision to flee.
Protesters marched behind a ban-
ner declaring "We are a republic"
and carried placards declaring the
10 detainees political prisoners.
Iraq begins ight for inal
IS-held town, Rawa
Iraqi forces have launched an offen-
sive to recapture Rawa, the last town
controlled by so-called Islamic State.
The town, and a few small parcels
of land, are all that remains under
the militants' control in Iraq, after
the larger town of al-Qaim fell last
The group's last urban stronghold
in Syria, Albu Kamal, fell afterwards.
Retaking Rawa in the offensive,
which began yesterday, would leave
the jihadist group on the verge of
complete defeat in Iraq.
The Joint Operations Command
said in a statement that two Iraqi
infantry divisions and Sunni tribal
forces were being supported by "war
Rawa was one of a number of
towns on both sides of the Iraqi-Syr-
ian border which IS had designated
part of its "Euphrates Province",
which it had used to transfer ight-
ers, weapons and goods between the
The cross-border province was
also a symbol of the jihadists' inten-
tion to eradicate all of the region's
frontiers and lay to rest the 1916
Sykes-Picot agreement, an emblem
of the colonial division of the area
resented by many Arabs and Kurds.
Albu Kamal and al-Qaim also
formed part of this self-styled prov-
IS has now been driven out of
about 95 per cent of the land the
group once held in Iraq and more
than 4.4 million Iraqis have been
freed from its rule, according to the
US-led coalition. --- BBC
Trump says Putin insulted by
US election meddling claim
President Vladimir Putin feels
insulted by allegations of Rus-
sian interference in the 2016 US
election, Donald Trump has said
after meeting him briefly at an
Asia-Paci ic summit in Vietnam.
"He said he absolutely did not
meddle in our election," Trump
Trump, who defeated Demo-
cratic rival Hillary Clinton, said
the allegations were a "Demo-
cratic hit job".
The US intelligence commu-
nity concluded earlier that Rus-
sia had indeed tried to sway the
poll in favour of Trump.
The US justice department
has appointed special investiga-
tor Robert Mueller to examine
any possible collusion involving
Trump's team, and legal action
has already been taken against
several former aides.
President Trump has refused
to acknowledge a reported as-
sessment by the CIA and other
intelligence agencies that Russia
was behind the hacking of the
Democratic National Committee
(DNC) in the run-up to last year's
The contents of the emails,
passed to Wikileaks and posted
online, were embarrassing to
the Democrats and shook up the
In addition to the Mueller in-
quiry, congressional committees
have been set up to carry out
their own investigations.
Relations between the US and
Russia have been strained for
years, with the Kremlin long
accusing Washington of seeking
to sway elections in Russia and
other ex-Soviet states including
Ukraine and Georgia.
While Russian hackers are
widely suspected of involve-
ment, there has been no conclu-
sive link to the Kremlin.
Denying that Russia had tried
to interfere last year by fos-
tering contacts with Trump's
campaign, Putin told reporters
in Vietnam: "Everything about
the so-called Russian dossier
in the US is a manifestation of
a continuing domestic political
He said he believed Putin had
been "very insulted by" the alle-
gations and that was "not a good
thing" for America.
Asked if he believed Putin,
he replied, "He is very, very
strong in the fact that he didn't
do it. You have President Putin
very strongly, vehemently says
he has nothing to do with that.
Now, you are not going to get
into an argument, you are going
to start talking about Syria and
Mr Putin said he regretted that his talks with Mr Trump were too brief
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