The former head of Catalonia was detained after a European arrest warrant was reactivated on Friday, and he is due to appear in court today
26 Marzo 2018 12:00
Catalan crisis deepens - Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who spearheaded the region’s illegal vote for independence, is due to appear in court following his arrest in Germany, triggering huge protests in Catalonia where thousands of separatists engaged in a stand-off with police. Puigdemont, having lived in self-imposed exile in Brussels since October, was travelling in a car on the way from Finland to Belgium on Sunday when he was detained. German police arrested him after he crossed the border from Denmark, under a European arrest warrant Spain reactivated on Friday, where he is wanted on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds. Puigdemont will be brought before a German judge on Monday to confirm his identity. The court will then decide if they will keep him in custody pending extradition proceedings. The news of Puigdemont’s arrest sparked fresh protests in Catalonia, some violent, with three arrests and at least 52 people injured in Barcelona.
To read about how Catalonia arrived at this point, check out our A-Z guide here.
Deadly blaze - A deadly fire at a shopping centre in the Siberian city of Kemerovo has killed at least 64 people, many of them children. Emergency workers from Russia are still recovering bodies from Kemerovo’s Winter Cherry shopping centre and are searching for more than a dozen people still reported missing. The blaze ravaged the shopping centre on a busy Sunday afternoon and quickly engulfed the top floor of the building, spreading through a children’s ice-skating rink, play centre and a two-screen cinema.
Intercepted missiles - Saudi Arabian air defences have shot down seven ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi militia in an escalation of tensions in a three-year military campaign against the rebel group at the hands of the kingdom. Debris from one of the shot-down missiles killed a man in the first reported death in the Riyadh during the conflict. Other missiles were fired at the southern cities of Najran, Jizan and Khamis Mushait, the coalition said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
March for Our Lives - Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched across the United States to protest gun control following the massacre that killed 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Florida. The ‘March for Our Lives’ crowd exceeded expectations, with some estimations suggesting the crowd outnumbered that of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Organisers of the march told NBC News that the estimated crowd size was 800,000 people.
Election in Egypt - Egyptian voters have begun three days of voting to elect a new president, but there are fears of voter apathy as the current president looks set for a landslide victory. President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi will almost definitely win a second term after most of his challengers withdrew from the race. The only other candidate is the little-known centrist politician Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who is said to be a big supporter of the president as well. Seven candidates initially put themselves forward for the presidency but the majority of them pulled out of the race, including human rights lawyer Khalid Ali and former Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq. A former chief of staff in the Egyptian army, Sami Anan, was detained in January after announcing his intention to run, prompting some opposition figures to call for a boycott of the vote.
Mars on Earth - Dust from a sandstorm in the Sahara desert is causing snow in eastern Europe to turn orange, transforming mountainous regions of Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania into Mars-esque landscapes. The phenomenon is believed to be created by a mix of sand, dust and pollen particles swept across from storms in northern Africa. According the meteorologists, the phenomenon occurs roughly every five years.