MADRID — Talk to a Spanish official about Catalonia these days and it won’t be long before they mention democracy rankings. It's become so commonplace that the Economist — whose Democracy Index ranks Spain among the world’s 20 “full democracies" and ahead of the U.S., France and Italy — has acquired a totemic aura ahead of the trial of Catalan independence leaders set to begin Tuesday. Twelve former Catalan government officials, lawmakers and civic leaders will respond before Spain’s Supreme Court to charges related to the October 2017 referendum on secession and subsequent declaration of independence by the regional parliament. Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, his ministers and the most senior judge in the country have brandished the 175-year-old U.K. publication as proof of Spain’s democratic credentials, amid a high-stakes PR battle against Catalonia’s independence leaders. The … [Read more...] about Global Spain vs. Catalan separatists: The ultimate PR battle
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Venezuela has been receiving massive attention from the international community since National Assembly chief Juan Guaido declared himself acting interim president of Venezuela. With socialist President Nicolas Maduro hanging on to power, these are their respective key supports, inside and outside the OPEC member: - Maduro - Military: The Venezuela armed forces are considered the backbone of the government, and on Thursday senior military officers reaffirmed support for Maduro, claiming that there was an effective "coup" under way. Of 32 cabinet ministers, nine are from the military and run portfolios such as Defense, Interior, Agriculture and the intelligence service, as well as state oil giant PDVSA, which contributes 96 percent of the country's income. They also control a television station, a bank and a vehicle assembly plant, among other companies. But their support has come under some threat. The military attache of Venezuela in Washington, Colonel Jose Luis Silva, announced … [Read more...] about Maduro vs. Guaido: Who is backing whom?
Arsenal face Liverpool at the Emirates on Saturday evening. It's a fixture which for the last nine years has been played in the shadow of a remarkable evening at Anfield in 2009 when Rafa Benitez's title-chasing Reds were ambushed by Arsenal's little Russian, Andriy Arshavin, in a never to be forgotten 4-4 draw. Arshavin became the first player in more than 60 years to score four goals for a visiting side at Anfield, as Arsene Wenger's side put the breaks on a winning run that had looked set to take Liverpool to the Premier League title. We take a look at where the players that started the game that night ended up. Arsenal Lukasz Fabianski The Pole spent another five years at Arsenal largely deputizing for Manuel Almunia and Wojciech Szczęsny, making his Gunners swan song in the 2014 FA Cup Final victory over Hull. Error-prone during his time in North London, he revived his reputation as a dependable presence in goal after signing for Swansea, and joined West Ham upon the … [Read more...] about Where the players from 2009’s eight-goal Liverpool vs Arsenal epic are now
Press play to listen to this article By MARK SCOTT with ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH PRESENTED BY CEFIC Send tips here | Tweet @markscott82 | Listen to today’s Playbook and view in your browser JEAN-CLAUDE, THE EARLY YEARS: The internet can be a wonderful thing. We’re more than halfway through August, and a photo has surfaced of Jean-Claude Juncker as an eager 30-year-old in 1984, wearing almost identical glasses to those he currently sports. (H/t Diego Velazquez) Other old skool pics: Playbook still thinks a young Joe Biden comes out on top of photos of politicians in their youth (take a look), though for consistency, it’s hard to beat Angela Merkel. Günther Oettinger looks like he was quite the sporty chap. And then there’s this lovely snap of a youthful Margrethe Vestager. Send us your faves. Good Tuesday morning. I’m Mark Scott, POLITICO’s chief technology correspondent, stepping into Florian’s shoes from London. … [Read more...] about POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by CEFIC: Greece aftermath — Brexit talks — James Bond in Brussels
Dropped into Europa League qualifying rounds by AC Milan's reprieve, Atalanta has been drawn against an opponent in Israel or Iceland if it first beats Sarajevo. Atalanta was in the group stage until Milan's win at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday overturned an expulsion by UEFA for breaking financial monitoring rules. Milan regained its group-stage entry, leaving Atalanta in Monday's draw for the third qualifying round next month against Hapoel Haifa or FH Hafnarfjordur. The draw was made before the two-leg second qualifying round games are played this week and next. Europa League specialist Sevilla would take on Zalgiris Vilnius or Vaduz if it beats Ujpest. Also, Istanbul Basaksehir meets Aberdeen or Burnley; Leipzig or Hacken play U Craiova; and Gornik Zabrze or Trencin face Feyenoord. Draw list for the Europa League third qualifying round Draw made Monday for the Europa League third qualifying round: First-leg games, Aug. 9 Second-leg games, Aug. 16 Champions … [Read more...] about UEFA Europa League: Atalanta faces trek after AC Milan reprieve