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Catalonia’s landslide ‘yes’ vote came at a price with nearly 1000 injured

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Catalonias landslide yes vote came at a price with nearly 1000 injured

Reports from Catalonia in Spain indicate a landslide victory for the separatists who want the state in the northeast region to declare independence. The vote, which was declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Spanish government, was marred by violence as police in riot gear used extreme measures to block and disband voters. At least 844 citizens were injured along with 33 police officers.

Over 2.2 million of the 5.3 million registered voters in Catalonia braved the attacks from police to cast their votes. The regional government declared a 9-1 margin in favor of independence. Catalan President Carles Puigemont had pledged earlier to follow through with the will of the people and declare independence from Spain if the voters approved.

The response from Spanish officials has been denial. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared that there was no independence vote today in Catalonia.

“Today, we have not had a referendum for self-determination in Catalonia,” Rajoy said during a televised address. “Today, all the Spaniards have seen that our state rule of law keeps its strength and reality, and restricts those who wish to subvert the state of law, and acts with all the legal resources, vis a vis all provocations, and does it with efficacy and in a serene way.”

Background

As an American, it’s difficult to imagine things coming to this point in a western nation. The violence, shared to the world through social media, seems unfathomable in 2017 in a democratic nation such as Spain. What makes the Catalonia-Spain situation peculiar is the distinct difference between the people. The culture, history, and even language in Catalonia is distinct. They’ve enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy since 1931. Clashes with Spain and changes to law have been on-again, off-again ever since.

The tipping point that brought us to where we are today started with the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. It was quickly ratified by Catalan voters and approved by the Spanish parliament, but was challenged by the center-right Popular Party before the Constitutional Court. Over the next four years, it was debated before they released their decision. Most outsiders viewed the changes they required as minor; 14 of the 223 articles were struck down and another 27 were curtailed. However, the Catalans were not pleased by it. Seeds were immediately planted to yield what we witnessed this weekend.

Opinion

The rule of law of a sovereign nation should be respected by outsiders, particularly when it comes from a democratically elected government. However, the modern age has given us a deeper glimpse at what happens around the world. As such, images and videos from the vote will make it very challenging for Spain to avoid international pressure.

This isn’t a situation familiar to Americans. This isn’t like Texas wanting to be an independent country. Catalan provides 1/5th of the Spanish government’s revenue. On the other hand, the differences between Catalans and Spaniards are far greater than the differences between Texans and other Americans.

Catalans overwhelmingly want out. The Spanish government and economy would have to be torn asunder and rebuilt if Catalonia becomes a fully-independent nation. The stakes are high for both sides. Semi-autonomy has served Catalonia well but their grievances cannot be overlooked.

Check out perspectives from around the internet, then scroll down further for social media reactions, including tons of videos and images. I’ll leave my final thoughts at the bottom.

Perspectives

Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy said there was no independence vote in Catalonia

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/spains-prime-minister-mariano-rajoy-said-there-was-no-independence-vote-in-catalonia-36186409.htmlIn the press conference, he blamed unrest on the Catalan government and called the referendum “a process that has only served to sow division, to confront citizens and to provoke unwanted situations”.

Hundreds Injured as Spanish Police Clash with Defiant Voters in Catalonia

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/catalonia-independence-poll-spanish-police-scuffle-defiant-voters-n806291“My government, in the next few days will send the results of today’s vote to the Catalan Parliament, where the sovereignty of our people lies, so that it can act in accordance with the law of the referendum,” he added.

Catalan referendum: Catalonia has ‘won right to statehood’ – BBC News

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41463719Large crowds of independence supporters gathered in the centre of the regional capital Barcelona on Sunday evening, waving flags and singing the Catalan anthem. Anti-independence protesters have also held rallies in Barcelona and other Spanish cities.

Catalonia firefighters form human shield to protect referendum voters from riot police | The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catalonia-independence-referendum-vote-protests-barcelona-madrid-police-guardia-civil-a7976556.htmlHundreds of voters were also forcefully removed from polling stations with violent clashes breaking out in Barcelona and near the city of Girona.

Reactions

Final Thoughts

The last thing we need to do at this point is get involved at all. Spain is a sovereign nation. Catalanio may or may not become a sovereign nation. These videos are compelling and often heartbreaking, but this isn’t America’s concern. American citizens can and probably should voice our opinions, but DC needs to stay out of it. Let Spain and the EU handle it. The U.S. government must avoid this, even on Twitter (looking at you, Mr. President).

Entertainment and Sports

Hat is back: Miles signs 5-year contract to coach Kansas

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Hat is back Miles signs 5-year contract to coach Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Les Miles is headed back to the Big 12 and another massive rebuilding job, this time taking on the downtrodden program at Kansas in a splashy hire aimed at energizing a weary fan base.

The deal was finalized shortly before Miles arrived at the airport in nearby Topeka on Sunday. Miles signed a five-year contract that will pay him $2,775,000 annually with retention bonuses of $775,000 due in November 2020 and $500,000 in November 2022.

“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a track record of success on and off the field,” Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “Les Miles is exactly what we need right now.”

Miles was considered the front-runner for the Jayhawks’ job from the moment David Beaty was told he would not be retained two weeks ago. The 65-year-old Miles has a close relationship with Long dating to their days together at Michigan, and Miles had told those around him he wanted back in coaching.

Miles and Long had been in frequent contact over the past two weeks, and it became clear a deal was close when LSU announced Thursday it had agreed to a buyout with its former coach. Miles agreed to a lump sum of $1.5 million of the remaining $6.5 million he was owed under terms of his buyout.

The school has planned an introductory news conference for later Sunday.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful for Chancellor (Doug) Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” Miles said. “We will bring Jayhawk Football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and un unrelenting drive for excellence. My family and I cannot wait to be part of the KU family.”

The quirky Miles has been out of coaching since 2016, when he was fired by LSU after a 2-2 start. His support among Tiger fans had waned considerably in a span of just a few years, even though Miles won at least 10 games in seven of his 11 full seasons, twice reached the national title game and beat Ohio State for the 2007 championship. He went 114-34 at LSU.

The most vocal critics argued that Miles had been unable to keep up with the times, sticking to an unexciting and often-stagnant attack during college football’s offensive explosion.

Miles had inherited a winner when he was chosen by LSU to succeed Nick Saban in 2005, but he had proven with Oklahoma State that he could also build a program from scratch.

The Cowboys had just one winning season in 12 years before Miles, their program in similar shape to the Jayhawks. But the longtime college and pro assistant thrived in his first head job, finding some overlooked prospects, developing them and eventually reaching three straight bowl games. He was 28-21 at Oklahoma State.

“I have no doubt that Coach Miles will have an immediate impact on our football program and our university,” Girod said. “Together as Jayhawks, we will rebuild our football program the right way, winning championships and continuing to graduate young men of character.”

The Jayhawks haven’t had a winning season or reached a bowl game since 2008, the year before Mark Mangino was forced to resign under pressure. Turner Gill won five games over two seasons before getting fired, and Charlie Weis managed six wins in two-plus seasons before he was let go.

By that point, the program had become the laughingstock of the Big 12.

The Jayhawks were woefully short on scholarship players, their facilities were decrepit, their fanbase had grown apathetic and the even the administration seemed to have little interest in supporting football. Beaty’s contract lagged far behind his peers financially, and there was little money at his disposal for hiring assistant coaches and other administrators.

Long has promised to rectify those issues, even announcing that a $300 million renovation to aging Memorial Stadium had been put on the backburner while money was invested in the program itself.

The first and most important investment came in the head coach.

Miles would earn $15.125 million by fulfilling his five-year contract. He also can earn a series of incentives: $1 million for reaching the national title game; $350,000 for a playoff semifinal; $100,000 for a New Year’s Six game; $100,000 for making the Big 12 title game; and $75,000 for any other bowl game. Miles also can earn $50,000 each for being the Big 12 and national coach of the year, $15,000 for having a Broyles Award-winning assistant, and up to $50,000 for the team’s GPA.

His contract also includes a one-year, one-time rollover extension that is triggered by winning six games in a season, and benefits such as a country club membership and moving expenses.

The Jayhawks, who lost to sixth-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday to leave Beaty with a 6-31 record in three-plus seasons, will finish out their year under their former coach Friday against Texas.

___

More AP college football.

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Economy

Pacific Rim summit highlights strained China-US relations

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Pacific Rim summit highlights strained China-US relations

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — A meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea has highlighted divisions between global powers the U.S. and China and a growing competition for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific.

The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on issues such as trade protectionism and reforming the World Trade Organization, making it likely their final statement Sunday will be an anodyne document.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and China’s President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches on Saturday. Pence professed respect for Xi and China but also harshly criticized the world’s No. 2 economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.

In Port Moresby, the impact of China’s aid and loans is highly visible. But the U.S. and allies are countering with efforts to finance infrastructure in Papua New Guinea and other island states. The U.S. has also said it will be involved in ally Australia’s plan to develop a naval base with Papua New Guinea.

On Sunday, the U.S., New Zealand, Japan and Australia said they’d work with Papua New Guinea’s government to bring electricity to 70 percent of its people by 2030. Less than 20 percent have a reliable electricity supply.

“The commitment of the United States of America to this region of the world has never been stronger,” said Pence at a signing ceremony. A separate statement from his office said other countries are welcome to join the electrification initiative provided they support the U.S. vision of a free and open Pacific.

China, meanwhile, has promised $4 billion of finance to build the the first national road network in Papua New Guinea, among the least urbanised countries in the world.

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Democrats

Andrew Gillum concedes to Ron DeSantis in Florida gubernatorial race

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Andrew Gillum concedes to Ron DeSantis in Florida gubernatorial race

It was arguably the most watched gubernatorial race in the nation this past midterm election season and it didn’t disappoint. It took a recount and multiple lawsuits to finish, but in the end Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum.

The mayor of Jacksonville finally conceded for the second time today, nearly two weeks after election day. He already conceded once on election fight.

Andrew Gillum concedes in Florida governor’s race for second time

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/11/17/andrew-gillum-concedes-florida-governors-race-second-time/2041301002/In a four-minute video posted live on Facebook, Mayor Gillum stood with his wife R. Jai, a Tallahassee park in the background and both dressed in Florida A&M University orange and green. Gillum first thanked his supporters. Then, he officially acknowledged Republican Ron DeSantis as the winner.

“R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida,” Gillum said in the video posted at about 5 p.m.

DeSantis Tweeted acknowledgement of the concession.

Florida is a bellwether for the 2020 presidential election. The closeness of the race and the apparent corruption in the state means both parties have a lot of work to do. The state needs to get their act together before then as well.

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