In the latest news around Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain, Catalonia President Carles Puigdemont and other regional leaders signed a declaration of independence on Tuesday, Oct. 10. However, they have put off implementing the document and the actual declaration for several more weeks. The announcement was dismissed by the Spanish government in Madrid, as was the referendum on Oct. 1. Almost 90% of voters in the banned referendum voted for independence, say Catalonian leaders. The Spanish government has denied Catalonia the right to declare independence, and discussions will be ongoing. In the meantime, citizens in Catalonia are speaking out in favor of independence while thousands throughout the rest of Spain are marching in support of unity.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga announced on Tuesday, Oct. 10 that he will not run in the scheduled Oct. 26 election. The Supreme Court invalidated incumbent Kenyatta’s win against Odinga in August due to procedural irregularities. They ordered a new election between the two candidates to be held within 60 days, and it was scheduled for Oct. 26. But now, Odinga announced that he is dropping out of the upcoming election, leaving Kenyatta as the only candidate. Given the turbulence that’s risen after elections in the past, there is fear of widespread protests in the coming weeks.
Hundreds of suspected Islamic State militants have been have been captured in Iraq after being driven out of their last strongholds in northern Iraq, according to a Kurdish security official. The official made his announcement on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Militants are surrendering or retreating now, revealing wavering convictions in their cause. In the past, the militants have refused to give ground or surrender even in losing situations. The Islamic State organization’s influence has been on the decline over the last two years, although they’re still fighting hard in some parts of the Middle East.
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, the Greek Parliament passed a law making it easier for citizens to change their gender on official documents. Before the new law, people seeking to officially change their gender had to have sex-change surgery and medical tests. Under the new law, citizens over the age of 15 can change their gender with a court order, bypassing the costly surgery as a requirement. This is a huge step forward, but controversy surrounds the move. Pro-LGBTQ groups have criticized the law for not going far enough in allowing full self-determination. Meanwhile, conservative lawmakers have criticized the minimum age of 15 as too young, pointing out that they’ll be able to officially change their gender but not buy alcohol. The Greek Orthodox Church also opposed the bill, condemned the move as “amoral”.