General strike brings Catalonia to a grinding halt

"We are to declare independence 48 hours after all the official results are counted", said Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in an interview with the BBC Tuesday.

Pique tearfully offered his Spain resignation on Sunday night amid a day of violence in the Catalonia region, with Barcelona forced to play their win over Las Palmas behind closed doors. Still, European leaders - many of them with separatist movements in their own back yards - were quick to voice support for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the national government and constitution.

The European Commission also said the Catalonian referendum was illegal.

SPAIN is facing a political and constitutional crisis after Catalans voted in favour of independence in a contested referendum that descended into chaos when police launched a widespread and violent crackdown. Analysts, however, are less optimistic saying Madrid will likely suspend the government or the autonomy of the Catalan state. We also speak with Pau Faus, filmmaker and writer from Barcelona, Spain.

The Commission Vice President said it did not change the fact that everyone saw saddening images on Sunday. "We want a new understanding of the Spanish state", he said.

Hurricane Maria weakens into tropical storm
Klotzbach said Lee becoming a major hurricane doesn't mean much for the rest of the season as far as number or strength of storms. The system is about 275 miles east-northeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 470 miles northwest of Bermuda.

Just the opposite. Spanish authorities generally commended the police.

Schools and some businesses also shut in a dramatic protest bound to further ratchet up fever-pitch tensions with Spain's central government, as Madrid comes under growing global pressure to resolve its worst political crisis in decades.

Puigdemont said the vote was valid and binding, and that "we have to apply it". Spain's Justice Minister Rafael Catalá warned on Monday morning that the central government in Madrid was prepared to use its emergency powers to prevent a unilateral declaration of independence.

In a rare nationwide address King Felipe launched a blistering attack Catalonia's pro-independence regional government, accusing the secessionists of "breaking democratic principles" and trying to split up Spain.

"I think in any democracy there has to be surely a legal way for people to express their view and therefore there should be a process of dialogue that allows Catalonia and the Spanish Government to decide the way forward here".

  • Lawrence Cooper