Pro-Independence Parties Win Majority in Catalonia Elections, Dealing Blow to Madrid
Pro-independence parties have won an absolute majority in elections in the Spanish region of Catalonia, dealing a blow to the Spanish government under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The election was called after Madrid sacked the Catalan government and arrested many secessionist leaders, after they tried to declare independence following a disputed referendum in October.
Independence supporters gathered to celebrate the results Thursday night, as it became clear that the three pro-secessionist parties kept their overall majority by two seats.
Prime Minister Rajoy had called on Catalan voters to restore political normality. Instead, they overwhelmingly rejected his Popular Party, which lost eight of its 11 seats.
Appeals Court Rejects Trump Efforts to Delay Transgenders Joining the Military
A federal appeals court Thursday rejected the Trump administration's efforts to postpone admitting transgender men and women into the military.
The three-judge panel simply said such recruits can join starting January 1 while the legal challenges proceed.
A federal judge ruled last week that the new policy can go forward.
The administration wanted a delay while it appealed earlier court rulings against the president's ban on transgender troops.
But Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said the government failed to prove it would be harmed if transgender men and women started signing up beginning on New Year's Day.
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter opened the door last year for transgender men and women to join the U.S. armed forces starting July 1.
But President Donald Trump tried to slam that door shut in an executive order, citing health costs and possible morale problems among non-transgenger members. He also ordered current transgender military members to be discharged.