AP Interview: Catalan leader says ‘No’ to Spain govt budget
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Spanish government's bid to pass a national budget is doomed unless it bends to the demands of Catalonia's separatists for a referendum on secession, the leader of the wealthy northeastern region says.
Trial ending for Rome mayor over City Hall hire
ROME (AP) — A verdict is expected within hours for Rome's mayor, on trial in the Italian capital for allegedly lying about a City Hall hire.
Testimony wrapped up on Friday in the trial of Virginia Raggi from the populist 5-Star Movement, which is also the main coalition party in the national government.
Tokyo Olympic minister promises transparency on spending
TOKYO (AP) — The minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics said Tuesday that national government spending on the event is billions less than a recent national government audit showed.
Tracking Olympic costs is difficult with many murky areas and disputes about what are — and what are not — Olympic expenditures. It gets particularly difficult as deadlines near, late spending is needed and budgets shift.
Germany’s governing parties punished in state election
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's governing parties lost significant support in a state election Sunday that was marked by discontent with infighting in Chancellor Angela Merkel's national government and prompted calls for her coalition to get its act together quickly.
The Latest: German govt parties lose ground in state vote
BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Germany's local election the central state of Hesse (all times local):
Exit polls show Chancellor Angela Merkel's party leading in a state election in the central German region of Hesse, but a significant drop in support for both her conservatives and their center-left partners in the national government.
German state vote in Hesse tests Merkel’s unhappy coalition
BERLIN (AP) — The stakes are unusually high for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government as the central state of Hesse votes in a state election this weekend.
Sunday's election has become an important test for Germany's governing parties. It may help determine whether Merkel's unhappy federal coalition in Berlin has a long-term future, and even how much longer Germany's leader of the past 13 years can carry on at the helm of the European Union's largest economy.
Merkel vows to restore Germans’ confidence in government
BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Monday to do more to restore Germans' confidence in her unhappy coalition after a battering for both of her governing partners in Bavaria's state election added to tensions in the alliance.
Bavarian voters punish Merkel allies in state election
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative allies lost their absolute majority in Bavaria's state parliament by a wide margin in a regional election Sunday, a result that could cause more turbulence within the national government.
The Christian Social Union took 37.2 percent of the vote, down from 47.7 percent five years ago. It was the party's worst performance since 1950 in a state vote in Bavaria, which it has traditionally dominated.
Merkel allies brace for big setback in German state election
BERLIN (AP) — This weekend's state election in Bavaria has been casting a long shadow over German politics for the past year — and the aftershocks could cause more turbulence for Chancellor Angela Merkel's struggling national government.
Tokyo Olympics: Costs hit almost $25 billion _ may go higher
TOKYO (AP) — The price tag keeps soaring for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics despite local organizers and the International Olympic Committee saying that spending is being cut.
A report just released by the national government's Board of Audit shows Japan is likely to spend $25 billion to prepare the games, and the final number could go even higher.
The Latest: Brown sees new California energy policy as model
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California climate policy (all times local):
California Gov. Jerry Brown says he hopes a law he's signed moving California toward eliminating fossil fuels for electricity will serve as a model for other state and national governments.
Brown is hosting a summit in San Francisco starting Wednesday that he hopes will "wake up the national leaders" on the need to confront climate change.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Iraq urged its political leaders on Wednesday to listen to the people and seize the opportunity to form "a patriotic, inclusive and non-sectarian national government" that will use the country's vast resources including oil to benefit all Iraqis.
MADRID (AP) — Fervent Catalan secessionist Quim Torra was sworn in Thursday as the restive Spanish region's new leader, with his demands for an independent Catalonia set to prolong a standoff with Spain's national government.
Torra formally took office at a ceremony in the Catalan capital, Barcelona. He was elected by the Catalan parliament's secessionist lawmakers on Monday.
ROME (AP) — Italy's political leaders eyed the country's latest regional election Sunday in hopes the outcome would strengthen their hand after eight weeks of wrangling over the makeup of the next national government.
Some 1.1 million people in the northeastern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia were eligible to vote for their governor and regional legislature. The region's outgoing governor is from the Democratic Party, which was trounced in the national parliamentary election held last month.
Italy’s ex-premier Berlusconi campaigns against populism
ROME (AP) — Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi jumped into politics a quarter-century ago vowing to save Italy from the communists. Now he's waging a crusade to keep Italian populists out of the government.
To be clear, the 81-year-old Berlusconi cannot seek his fourth premiership or even run for a seat in Parliament in Italy's March 4 election due to a tax fraud conviction.
4 Catalan separatists kept in jail as campaigning begins
MADRID (AP) — Political parties in Catalonia, including candidates either in jail or out of the country to avoid arrest, started campaigning at midnight Monday for the early regional elections called by Spain's government seeking to quash the Catalan independence movement.
German Greens signal flexibility in coalition talks
BERLIN (AP) — The leaders of Germany's Green party are signaling that they may drop demands for a 2030 deadline to phase out combustion engines and shut coal-fired power stations as Chancellor Angela Merkel's government-building efforts intensify.
Spain, Catalonia battle to the end over independence bid
MADRID (AP) — Tension is gripping Spain, with the national government and Catalonia's political leaders clashing over the wealthy region's push to secede.
Such a standoff has never happened before and is crucial for Spain's future. "They are approaching a cliff ... with consequences that are hard to predict right now," says Joan Barcelo, a researcher on political conflicts at Washington University in St. Louis.
Here is a look at the latest developments in Spain's worst political crisis in decades.
The Latest: Lombardy chief says 95% vote ‘yes’ for autonomy
MILAN (AP) — The latest on autonomy referendums in Italy's two richest regions, Lombardy and Veneto (all times local):
The president of Italy's rich Lombardy regions says an overwhelming 95 percent of the vote in the northern area's autonomy referendum went to "yes" to seeking more powers and tax revenues from the national government.
Spanish premier urges Catalan secession leaders to back down
MADRID (AP) — Spain's prime minister on Wednesday urged Catalonia's leaders to back down from their bid to gain independence for the region, a day before a central government deadline that could significantly deepen the country's political crisis.
AP Interview: Tokyo Gov. vows to change nation from her city
TOKYO (AP) — Popular Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, a rumored candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections, says she wants to push the national government to speed up changes needed in Japan by starting them in her city.
Koike, who became Tokyo's first female leader last year and led her local party to a stunning victory in July city elections, has launched a new national party, the Party of Hope, to challenge Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oct. 22 parliamentary vote.
Catalans say secession vote to happen, they hope peacefully
MADRID (AP) — Authorities in Catalonia intend to ensure that a disputed referendum on independence from Spain will take place peacefully on Sunday despite a crackdown on the vote by the national government, the region's interior chief said Thursday.
Minister Joaquin Forn said that Catalan officials are determined to proceed with Sunday's vote for the region of 7.5 million people in northeastern Spain even though the central government in Madrid says referendum is illegal and can't happen.
AP Explains: How Spain-Catalonia standoff has evolved
MADRID (AP) — From courtroom battles to noisy street demonstrations, a confrontation between the central government in Madrid and independence movements in the wealthy northeastern Catalonia region has been gripping Spain for weeks.
The conflict is due to come to a head Sunday when Catalonia intends to hold a regional ballot on whether to break away from the rest of Spain, despite government efforts to prevent the vote.
The Latest: ‘Yes’ campaign for Catalan secession kicks off
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on Catalonia's independence referendum and the Spanish government's efforts to stop it (all times local):
The head of Catalonia's government has kicked off a two-week "yes" campaign for a referendum on independence from Spain by calling on the region's voters to cast ballots.
The Latest: Catalans demand independence on national day
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on Catalonia's referendum on whether to break away from Spain (all times local):
The hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Catalonia's national day in Barcelona have shouted in unison: "Independencia!" (Independence).
The symbolic moment came after organizers counted down from 10 over a public address system to 5.14 p.m., which on a 24-hour clock is 1714 — the year when Catalonia lost it self-rule to Madrid.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Opposition protests in Venezuela took a deadly turn again Wednesday when a teenager was killed at a march demanding an end to the government's push to rewrite the struggling nation's constitution. Hours later, the body of a national guardsman was found in a residential neighborhood in eastern Caracas.
Leftist alliance agrees to govern Berlin, eyes German vote
BERLIN (AP) — An alliance of three left-leaning parties has laid out the cornerstones for its coalition government in the German state of Berlin, revealing plans to invest in schools, housing and integration of migrants.
The center-left Social Democratic Party, environmentalist Greens and ex-communist Left party won enough seats in September's vote for a majority in the German capital's assembly.
Another German state, Thuringia, became the first to get such a governing coalition in 2014.
Spain: Political wrangling continues after regional votes
MADRID (AP) — Spain's political quagmire showed no signs of being resolved Monday after a regional election gave a small boost to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party, but failed to dispel doubts over whether he can form a new national government.