Premier rejects calls for referendum talks
the country’s courts and a criminal investigation into three out of four Catalan mayors actively supporting it.
In the letter, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau also say Spain has launched “an offensive of repression without precedent”.
Meanwhile, Spain’s finance minister has said the central government has decided to take over payments of essential services in Catalonia.
Cristobal Montoro said the government is also giving officials in Catalonia 48 hours to comply with a new system to scrutinise public payments to ensure no public funds are being used on the illegal vote.
Mr Montoro’s ministry ordered regional authorities in July to send weekly spending reports, but Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, who is in charge of econ-omic affairs, has said he would stop providing them because scrutiny was politically motivated. ABOUT 240,000 children have fled Burma’s
Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh over the last three weeks, according to a UN agency.
The figure – amounting to about 60 per cent of an estimated 391,000 Rohingya refugees – includes about 36,000 children under a year old, said Unicef spokeswoman Marixie Mercado.
She added the children’s agency also estimates about 52,000 pregnant women.
Ms Mercado said the figures include about 1,100 unaccompanied minors who have crossed over the past week.
She spoke at a regular briefing in Geneva that included comments from many UN agencies addressing the crisis in Bangladesh.
Ms Mercado said: “As everybody here is going to tell you, the needs are seemingly endless and the
Rohingya Muslims carry food items to a refugee camp.
suffering is deepening.”
A Rohingya insurgent group attacked police posts in Rakhine on August 25, and the Burmese military responded with “clearance operations”.
Fleeing Rohingya say security forces shot indiscriminately, burned their homes and threatened them with death. The government says hundreds died, mostly Rohingya, and that 176 out
of 471 Rohingya villages have been abandoned.
With refugee camps overflowing and hundreds of thousands of Rohingya struggling to find shelter, food and other essential services, aid workers say they are deeply worried by the continuing influx of people by land and water.
UN agencies fear continued violence in Burma may eventually drive up to a million Rohingya into Bangladesh.