Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs: Polanski Retrospective Sparks Protest in Paris

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs: Polanski Retrospective Sparks Protest in Paris

Article excerpt

Catalans appear daunted

Spanish authorities moved aggressively Monday to quash Catalonia's bid for independence, as separatist leaders appeared to retreat just days after declaring their region a free nation.

With Catalonia's ousted president fleeing the country, Spain's top law enforcement official pressing charges of rebellion and sedition, and local government employees bowing to direct rule by Madrid, the region showed signs of acquiescence, not autonomy.

The stark turnabout raised questions about a lack of preparations by Catalan leaders after the regional parliament voted to break from Madrid on Friday. Many ordinary Catalans who support independence said they were crestfallen that the former regional president, Carles Puigdemont, did not push more forcefully against Spanish authorities. Puigdemont and five members of his government traveled to Belgium,

Instead, Catalan politicians largely appear to be accepting a Madrid plan to hold new regional elections on Dec. 21.

U.S. agrees to help African troops * The U.S. pledged up to $60 million Monday to help a 5,000-troop African force get going on fighting extremists in western Africa's vast Sahel region. But Washington remains cool to putting U.N. resources into the nearly $500-million-a-year effort, though Sahel countries are looking to the body.

The promise of U.S. money announced separately by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson comes after the region's dangers hit home for Americans with the deaths of four U.S. military members in Niger on Oct. 4. Niger is among the "Group of Five" countries launching the joint force, along with Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad.

The nations have been grappling with a growing menace from extremists, including Islamic State, Boko Haram and groups linked to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

Libyan airstrike blamed in deaths * The municipal council of an eastern Libyan town under siege by forces loyal to the region's military strongman says warplanes have killed and wounded dozens of people.

The Derna council declared three days mourning following the airstrike in the al-Fatayeh district late Monday. …

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