Las Vegas and Cataluña under Scrutiny

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We first must share our prayers and good wishes to all those caught up in the tragic events in Las Vegas. Two days after Catalonia held a banned independence referendum, the region was operating at half speed on Tuesday due to a general strike called by small unions. The two large Spanish general workers’ unions, UGT and CC OO, have encouraged people to demonstrate in a “paro de país” (country stoppage) to protest the police violence on Sunday, but underscored that they are not participating in the call for a general strike. Europe has had a rocky ride with referendums in recent years: think of Greece’s anti-austerity vote in 2015, or the Brexit shock and Italy’s failed constitutional referendum in December 2016. As the UK found with the 2014 Scottish independence vote, even holding a referendum at all can be highly destabilising to the traditional political order and political party systems. Shouting slogans such as “¡Viva España!” and chants such as “I am Spanish,” around 10,000 people, according to figures from the central government delegation in Madrid, attended a demonstration at midday on Saturday in the Plaza de Cibeles, in the heart of the Spanish capital. Britain's biggest ever peacetime repatriation mission has been launched to rescue Monarch's 110,000 stranded passengers.The airline ceased trading on Tuesday, with all future flights cancelled and nearly 2,000 people left without jobs. Transport secretary Chris Grayling promised a mass effort will now be executed to bring holidaymakers home, at a cost of £60million. Theresa May must reverse the ‘hollowing out’ of the Armed Forces, a top general has warned. In a letter to the PM, Sir Richard Barrons said states had the capability to seriously threaten the UK. The UK's second blind judge wholly failed 'to meet the standards that are demanded by the office of a judge' according to a panel's ruling. Meanwhile, a British Asian lawyer, Nazir Afzal, who was widely praised for his role in tackling the Rochdale grooming scandal, has been barred from making the keynote speech at the Society of Asian Lawyers annual awards and ball in London on October 28.

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