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Protesters scuttle Gibraltar minister’s speech in Spain

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Spanish activists and fishermen hurled insults Thursday at the political chief of Britain’s outpost of Gibraltar, preventing him from speaking to law students in Spain.

Several dozen Spanish protesters including activists and fishermen joined in the rowdy rally against Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo at a time of high tension over the sovereignty of the “Rock”.

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A group of young men and women, some with their faces covered, unfurled banners and Spanish flags while hurling insults and chanting “Gibraltar is Spanish” at the event in a faculty in Algeciras, across the bay from Gibraltar.

Fishermen from the Spanish ports of La Linea and Algeciras joined in, shouting that Picardo and Gibraltar had ruined their livelihoods.

After about 20 minutes of angry scenes, organisers from the University of Cadiz cancelled the event, citing safety concerns.

“The visible level of hate and violence I witnessed was frankly remarkable. I sincerely believe that we should be talking to resolve the political issues between us,” said Picardo, a lawyer by profession.

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“Violence and intolerance will not achieve anything. It will certainly not change my pro-dialogue views,” he said.

The conservative Popular Party-run Algeciras city council had opposed the invitation for Picardo to speak to students. Socialists members of the council, however, defended the event as a matter of academic freedom.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity in 1713 but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty, and the territory remains a source of diplomatic tension.

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Gibraltar dropped 70 concrete blocks into the sea in July, saying it aimed to create an artificial reef. But the barrier also prevented Spanish fishing boats that trawl for shellfish from operating in the area.

Spain then introduced stringent border checks in August, leading to lengthy delays for motorists trying to enter the tiny territory on the southern tip of Spain.

This month, Britain called in the Spanish ambassador over a “provocative” day-long stand-off in which a Spanish state research vessel defied Royal Navy orders to leave waters Gibraltar claims as its own.

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In the latest spat, Prime Minister David Cameron said this week that Spain had promised there would be no repeat of an “extremely serious” incident in which its officials searched British diplomatic bags at the Gibraltar border.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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Mulvaney handed investigators the ‘smoking gun’ on ‘one of the most significant days of the decade’: Morning Joe

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had offered "smoking gun" evidence in a stunning confession to the crime at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The "Morning Joe" host said Mulvaney had made a stunning "confession," but he said the president had on the same day endorsed the ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish allies he had betrayed to Turkey.

"There's so much to talk about, we joke for a few minutes at the top of the show, Mika likes do that, me, I like to get straight into the news," said Scarborough, who frequently annoys his wife and co-host by bantering about sports at the start of the show. "But there's so much going on that if somebody just woke up this morning they might not think that yesterday was not one of the most significant news days in, during the trump presidency, and I may even argue one of the most significant news days over perhaps the last decade, just in terms of volume."

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Vote-splitting fears raised in final days of Canada election

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In the dying days of what Justin Trudeau described as one of the "nastiest" election campaigns in Canadian history -- with plenty of mudslinging, attack ads and misinformation -- he played up fears on Thursday of vote-splitting handing victory to his rival Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.

Policy announcements gave way to calls to vote strategically to keep Trudeau's Liberals in power and prevent a rollback of his progressive policies by the Tories.

Pollsters predict a minority government -- either Liberal or Conservative -- resulting from the October 21 ballot.

Attack ads accused Liberals of seeking to legalize hard drugs and the Tories of allowing assault rifles on Canadian streets -- claims that are flat out wrong or exaggerated, respectively.

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Japan emperor to proclaim enthronement in ritual-bound ceremony

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Japan's new Emperor Naruhito will formally proclaim his ascension to the throne next week in a ritual-bound ceremony, but the after-effects of deadly typhoon will cast a shadow over proceedings.

Naruhito officially assumed his duties as emperor on May 1, a day after his father became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years.

But the transition will not be complete until his new role is officially proclaimed on Tuesday, in a series of events expected to be attended by foreign dignitaries from nearly 200 countries.

The event will come just over a week after Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan, killing nearly 80 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

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