Europe fights for Iran nuclear deal, Catalonia risks losing autonomy, India rules underage sex as rape

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  • European countries involved in the Iran Nuclear Deal are strategizing how to preserve the international agreement if the U.S. leaves the pact, a decision that President Donald J. Trump supports. Their collective plan focuses on lobbying U.S. lawmakers and President Donald J. Trump himself before a crucial October 15 deadline. (Full story here)
  • The Spanish government rejected a suspended statement of independence signed by Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. The Catalan regional parliament will have eight days to decide whether it is officially declaring independence. After October 19, Spain will invoke Article 155 of the constitution which will remove the region’s autonomy. (Full story here)
    • Puigdemont proposed suspending the declaration of independence on October 10 to avoid a showdown with Madrid and open new talks.
    • On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum, which Spain’s Constitutional Court deemed illegal. 90 percent of voters in this referendum backed independence, according to Catalan authorities. However, only 42 percent of the 5.3 million registered voters voted.
  • President Donald J. Trump asked for the U.S. nuclear arsenal to increase by ten-fold in a meeting on July 20, according to NBC News. The report cites three unnamed national security officials who were in the room when the president made the request. President Trump tweeted a strong denial of the NBC News piece.
  • India’s Supreme Court ruled that sex with a wife under the age of 18 counts as rape. Until now, men were allowed to have intercourse with women aged between 15-18 as long as they were married to them. Girls under 18 can now charge their husbands with rape as long as the allegation is reported within one year. Implementing this new standard may be challenging in a country with the world’s highest number of child brides, according to the NGO Girls not Brides.
  • Christie Elan-Cane, a campaigner for gender-rights, won a UK court challenge for passports to have an ‘X’, or gender-neutral, category, according to the Guardian. Elan-Cane has pursued the issue for 25 years and said she’s “elated” by the decision. Ten countries now have permitted their citizens to opt for an unknown, or ‘X’ category. Canada is the latest to issue the option, joining India, Denmark, Germany, Australia, Pakistan, Nepal, Malta and New Zealand. The UK’s passport office has refused to grant ‘X’ passports on the grounds that it costs too much to change computer records and that it will affect other legislation.


  • The U.S. conducted a joint military exercise with South Korea to try and deter North Korea from pursuing further military action. The exercise was conducted after months of escalating tension between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations.
    • The U.S. flew two bombers over the Korean peninsula on Tuesday night. The planes took off from the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam – which North Korea previously threatened to fire upon. Trump was also briefed by senior officials from his national security team on ways to respond to threats from North Korea, the White House said.
  • The International Monetary Fund said that the world economy is enjoying its fastest growth since the global recession in 2010. It described Britain as a “notable exception” and said the negative effects of Brexit were beginning to show. In a new projection, the IMF revised British growth in 2022 down from 1.9 percent to 1.7 percent.

What we’re reading

  • Some may know Joseph Duo from a photograph. It shows Duo’s “torso bare and muscle-carved, his face stretched with excitement after he fired a rocket-propelled grenade at rebels.” In this piece from the New York Times, ‘He Was the Face of Liberia’s Endless War. Now He Wants to Govern’, the reporter tells the story of how Duo went from being a symbol Liberia’s protracted civil war to having aspiration of governing his country.
  • Al Jazeera carries a harrowing photo essay of Venezuelans who have resorted to scavenging for valuables in rivers and sewers. The oil-rich country has been riven by economic upheaval for over a year now.

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