Global Beat: Catalan to Declare Independence, and More
October 6, 2017

Global Beat is your weekly stop for news from around the world. Join us every Friday morning for important stories you should know about.

This week, protests rock Spain following Catalan’s independence referendum; the conflict over Kashmir escalates; the presidents of Iran and Turkey vow to oppose the Iraqi Kurds’ quest for independence; and more.

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Americas

President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico Tuesday prompted outrage from politicians and citizens alike, who felt his comments minimized the severity of the disaster. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz described his actions, which included lobbing paper towels into a crowd and joking about the cost of the recovery efforts to the federal government, as "terrible and abominable." New polls reveal that only a third of Americans think Trump has handled the Puerto Rico crisis well. About 95 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power.

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Central & South Asia

Cross-border fighting between India and Pakistan continued in the Line of Control (LOC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, killing two children and three Indian soldiers. Pakistan accused India of trying to provoke conflict by "falsely" claiming to have carried out surgical strikes across the LOC, and urged the United Nations to take action over Indian threats. The disputed region is shared between the two countries and has been mired in conflict despite a 2003 ceasefire agreement.

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China & East Asia

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered defense companies to accelerate their development of supercomputing ballistic missile defense and satellite navigation systems according to a documentary aired on CCTV Monday. Xi, who also chairs China’s Central Military Commission, stated that "it’s impossible to win a battle if there is a weaponry gap." China showed off its newest weaponry during an event celebrating the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army in July.

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Europe & Russia

Spain’s King Felipe VI has denounced the leaders of the Catalan independence movement as guilty of "inadmissible disloyalty" in the wake of Sunday’s successful independence referendum. Police violence at the polls injured almost 900 people and prompted protests across Spain. The vice president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, said it was "time to talk" and negotiate a peaceful resolution between the Spanish and Catalan governments, while Catalonian leader Carlos Puigdemont said that his government would act on the results of the referendum and declare Catalan’s independence from Spain "at the end of this week or the beginning of next."

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Middle East & North Africa

The presidents of Iran and Turkey met in Tehran on Tuesday and vowed to oppose the Iraqi Kurds’ quest for independence. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the independence referendum "a sectarian plot by foreign countries" and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed closing the border with Kurdistan and reiterated his claim that Israel is behind the referendum. Kurdistan announced on Tuesday that it would hold presidential and parliamentary elections on November 1 , prompting further punitive measures from Baghdad. At the meeting, Iran and Turkey also discussed the conflict in Syria and the possibility of implementing economic sanctions on Kurdistan.

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Southeast Asia & Oceania

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has shared Australia’s experience with gun control in the wake of Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas, which killed at least 59 people. Bishop credited the national firearms agreement, which tightened control on semi-automatic and automatic weapons and established a national firearm buyback program, with dramatically reducing gun violence in Australia following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Over 660,000 rapid-fire weapons were destroyed, and a study concluded that the 1996 reforms were followed by a "decade free of fatal mass shootings, and accelerated declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides." White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday that it was too early to begin a debate on gun control in the United States.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

Four soldiers were killed and 14 wounded by rebels in South Sudan Monday as regional leaders planned peace talks to end the four-year civil war. The conflict began in December 2013 and has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 4 million. The spokesman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army said violence coinciding with the resumption of peace talks indicated that "rebels are trying to use this to blackmail the international community because they want to gain more territory."

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