Our daily editions ended December 31, 2013.

We’re evaluating the lessons from the past eighteen months and the current Evening Edition model. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Spain to Block Catalonia’s Independence Referendum

The leaders of the main political parties in Catalonia announced on Thursday that they had agreed to the questions that would be posed to voters in a referendum on the region’s independence from Spain, but were immediately rebuked by the Spanish central government, who said the referendum would be blocked and that the region’s autonomy could be suspended. The phrasing of the question in the referendum was announced by the head of the Catalan government, Artur Mas, who said voters would have to answer “Do you want Catalonia to be a state” and, in case of a positive response, would then be asked “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state” in a referendum to be held in November 2014. Reacting to the news, both Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and opposition leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba said the referendum would not go ahead. “There will be no referendum. Mas is a representative of the State in Catalonia and his function is to carry out our laws. It is impossible that such a referendum is put forth. It seems to me profoundly irresponsible”, said the ruling party (PP) spokesman, Alfonso Alonso.

Global Cancer Cases Top 14 Million

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday that cancer rates increased sharply in 2012 and that “a substantive increase” would be seen in the coming years, with new cases to surpass 19 million by 2025 as the world’s population increased. The WHO also estimated that more than 14 million people developed cancer in 2012, compared to 12.7 million in 2008, with breast cancer becoming “a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world”. According to David Forman, a member of the organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, this was “partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions”. The organisation stressed the need for early detection in bringing cancer death figures down.

Japan Carrying Out ‘Secret’ Executions

The government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been criticised for speeding up the rate of “secret” executions in the country, bring the total number of inmates executed to eight in his year-old administration. The previous government executed nine people in over three years in office. The latest executions were of two men who were sentenced to death for homicides in 2000 and 2008. “The executions were carried out after careful consideration of their cases”, said Japanese Justice Minister Sadazaku Tanigaki. Besides being one of only two countries in the G7 to execute inmates, with the US being the other one, Japan is also criticised for the way it handles the executions. Prisoners on death row are only told of their execution hours before it occurs, while lawyers and family are only informed after it is carried out.

ISS Cooling System in Automatic Shutdown

NASA, the US space agency, is assessing a problem with the shutdown of one of two cooling systems aboard the International Space Station late on Wednesday, but said the problems posed no danger to the six astronauts aboard it. One of the two pumps used to circulate coolant aboard the station shut itself down after lower than normal temperatures were detected, affecting the system’s ability to regulate temperatures within it. The station’s more critical systems are now being cooled by the second functioning system, Loop B. “All the thermal loops have been shifted to Loop B, which is struggling to keep up, so we’re going to be looking at some additional power downs in other modules to make sure that the highest priority loads get adequate cooling”, said NASA capsule communicator Lucia McCullough. If the agency determines that the problem is faulty hardware, astronauts may be required to make an emergency spacewalk to fix the faulty pump.

Share on Twitter    Share on Facebook