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- The Spanish government has declared it will move to impose direct rule on Catalonia, after the region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, failed to comply with a deadline this morning. Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy will chair a cabinet meeting in Madrid on Saturday to trigger Article 155 of the Constitution (see below), which allows it to suspend Catalonia’s semi-autonomous status.
- President Donald J. Trump is deciding whether to name a new Chairperson for the Federal Reserve, the independent institution responsible for setting U.S. monetary policy. Reuters reports that conservative members of congress want President Trump to replace current Chair Janet Yellen.
- House Republicans alleged in 2015 that Chair Yellen used her position to advance liberal policy goals.
- China has called on the U.S. to “abandon its prejudices”, according to CNN. The response came after America’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea challenge international law.
- Meanwhile Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the Communist Party’s five-yearly congress on Wednesday with a speech pledging to build a “modern socialist country” for a “new era”, and laid out a vision for a more prosperous China.
- Brazil’s President, Michel Temer, escaped corruption charges in a Congress committee. The Senate justice committee voted 39-26 against corruption charges. It will now proceed to the lower chamber. Mr Temer is accused of obstruction of justice and being part of a criminal organisation. The president denies any wrongdoing and his lawyers have argued that the case is flawed.
- The Rio 2016 Olympics head, Carlos Nuzman, was charged with corruption. Mr Nuzman, who was arrested on October 5, denies any wrongdoing.
- DeepMind’s latest version of AlphaGo can now teach itself how to play the game of Go without feedback from humans or data from past plays, researchers in Nature reported. This is a leap in AI using reinforcement learning which potentially removes the need for human expertise in some area. AlphaGo made headlines when it defeated Go 18-time world champion Lee Sedol in 2016.
- An anti-corruption court has indicted Pakistan’s former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. The charges stem from revelations in leaked documents, known as the Panama Papers, about ownership of London residential properties.
- New Zealand has its youngest prime minister in 160 years, 26 days after a general election failed to produce a decisive result. Jacinda Ardern, 37, will become the country’s leader.
What we are reading
- A month ago a devastating earthquake struck Mexico City, killing 228 people. Here, the Associated Press reports on the recovery efforts of ordinary Mexicans to return home after weeks away.
- The popularity of bitcoin has led to a trend towards “Initial Coin Offerings” or ICOs in markets. This Reuters story looks at a recent example of a crypto-currency battle.