More than 700 mayors from Catalonia met in Barcelona in a show of strength amid pressure from Spain’s central Government not to hold an independence referendum for the northeastern region. Political tensions in Spain are increasing as the proposed voting date of October 1 nears. The Catalan Government has been scrambling to push forward the vote, despite the central government’s warnings that local municipalities are not allowed to use public buildings for it and mayors can be legally prosecuted for it.
A Nato official says there’s reason to be concerned about the large-scale Zapad 2017 military maneouvers being conducted now by Russia and Belarus, since they could be seen as “a serious preparation for big war”. General Petr Pavel, head of Nato’s Military Committee, said that Nato is increasing efforts to re-establish military-to-military communications with Russia to avoid any “unintended consequences of potential incidents during the exercise”. The war games run until September 20 and involve 5500 Russian and 7200 Belarusian troops.