Spain issues arrest warrant for Puigdemont, CIA releases bin Laden files, sanctions for Myanmar

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  • Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would implement economic sanctions and travel restrictions on Myanmar military officials. The bill is a response to the military’s campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority. It also marks a reversal of U.S. policy in lifting sanctions on the Southeast Asian country since it began its transition to democracy from military dictatorship.
  • The CIA released 470,000 files that were recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The files include an unseen video of bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden. Others show bin Laden’s notes on topics including the 2011 Arab uprisings. CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in a statement the agency released the information “for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization.”
  • The U.S. Justice Department identified more than six Russian officials in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal said prosecutors have amassed enough evidence to charge the officials and bring a case next year. The 2016 DNC hack was a collection of email leaks, and included some involving Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton, which were subsequently published by WikiLeaks.
  • Spain’s state prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four others for failing to return from Belgium to testify in court. Puigdemont, who is currently in Brussels, was called to attend Spain’s court on accusations of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds over the decision to declare regional independence from Spain last week. Earlier this week, WikiTribune journalist George Engels reported from Catalan on the toll the crisis is having on ordinary people.


  • President Donald J. Trump said Sayfullo Saipov, who’s been charged with killing eight and injuring 12 using a truck in New York, should face the death penalty or go to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. New York state has banned the death penalty, but the charges against Saipov are federal. Reuters reported that the FBI said it has located a second Uzbek man, 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, who was wanted for questioning. The BBC reported that the attack was planned for a year.

Trump tweeted: “NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”

  • Catalan separatist leader, Carles Puigdemont failed to turn up to Spain’s high court to face rebellion, sedition and breach of trust charges. Puigdemont, who is now in Belgium but has denied seeking refuge, said: “This is a political trial.” Other officials of the former Catalonian regional government who were suspended and replaced by central control from Madrid were in court for questioning. If found guilty of committing rebellion, they could face maximum 30-year jail sentences. Prosecutors could order the arrest of those who don’t go to today’s trial, including Puigdemont.
  • Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in Rakhine province for the first time since violence broke out in the region in late August. As of October 23, about 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, according to the UN. The refugees say Myanmar’s military is targeting Muslim civilians, while the government says its operations are aimed at rooting out militants, including the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. WikiTribune reporter Charles Turner has written an analysis of why the Rohingya are described by aid agencies and humanitarian groups as the “world’s most-persecuted minority.”

What we’re reading

  • Vocabulary typically reserved in political conversation have become some of the most used words in online communication, according to Collins Dictionary. ‘Fake news’ was named as the ‘word of the year’ by the U.K-based service. Popularized after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the term was used 365 times more in 2017 compared to 2016. The term ‘antifa’ spiked by 7000 percent since the Charlottesville conflict over confederate statues. – Charles Turner
  • British historian Simon Schama, writing in the Financial Times, has a personal account of his family’s experience of the 100 years since the signing of the Balfour Declaration which led to the creation of modern Israel as a Jewish homeland. “Jews have not been the only people to have suffered uprooting. But they have been the only people in the world eternally unable to find a place where shelter would not be given on sufferance,” he writes. (Story may be behind a paywall). – Peter Bale
  • He has an aura of glamour and saw a meteoric rise to the highest political office in France, but Emmanuel Macron is attracting criticism as he moves to reform tax and labour laws in France, earning the nickname, “President of the rich.” In this New York Times piece, six months after he took office, Macron’s interactions with workers are described as awkward. He has described them as “people who are nothing.” About the president’s policies, the economist Thomas Piketty wrote that Macron is “guilty of a heavy moral, economic, and historical sin.” – Angela Long
  • In a series of tweets early on Thursday, New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi, who covers ISIS, looks at what a single Arabic word – baqiya – found in a note at the scene of the deadly Manhattan truck attack tells investigators about how ISIS influenced Sayfullo Saipov. She goes on to annotate the criminal complaint filed in the case against Saipov and how the evidence links to ISIS messaging. – Jodie DeJonge

What the WikiTribune community’s up to

  • At least 10 members of the WikiTribune community contributed to this analysis of cryptocurrency initial coin offerings by reporter Linh Nguyen.


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