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Catalan separatist leaders to get up to 15 years in jail

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Spain’s Supreme Court plans to convict and sentence Catalan separatist leaders to a maximum of 15 years in prison over a 2017 bid for independence, a judicial source said.

The most prominent of the 12 Catalan leaders on trial would be found guilty of charges of sedition and misuse of public funds but none would be convicted and sentenced for the more severe charge of rebellion.

The decision was taken unanimously by the seven members of the top court, the source added.

The verdict is expected to be signed by the judges and made public next week, most likely on Monday, the source said.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman declined to comment.

The ruling could provoke a strong reaction in Catalonia, where a secessionist push two years ago triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades.

It could also complicate Spanish politics in the run-up to the fourth national election in four years.

The charges stem from the leaders’ role in an October 2017 referendum, held despite being ruled illegal by Spanish courts, and a short-lived declaration of independence that followed in Spain’s most economically important region.

Nine of the 12 Catalan politicians and civic leaders have been in pre-trial detention for close to two years.

The public prosecutor had accused all the nine jailed leaders of rebellion charges and sought the longest prison term, 25 years, for Oriol Junqueras, former deputy leader of the Catalan regional government at the time. But the court plans to sentence him to 13-15 years in jail, the judicial source said.

Sedition is considered a crime against public order, while rebellion implies stronger actions.

The sentencing years would be lower for the other eight leaders already in jail, the source said. The three politicians that are currently out of prison would be found guilty of disobedience, which does not lead to imprisonment, it added.

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24 Hours Across Africa

England dropped Sterling after Gomez altercation

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England and Machester city player Raheem Sterling has been dropped ahead of  Euro 2020 qualifer match against Montenegro.

England Football Association took  to social media to confirm that Sterling had been dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.

Sterling and Gomez had an on-field altercation during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.

But sterling has qunch the fire via his Instagram account, by stating “Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,”

“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.

“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it

“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.

England boss Gareth Southgate said on Monday: “Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.

“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.

“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken.

“Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures

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Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.

It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.

But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.

These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.

Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.

The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.

The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.

In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey

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