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News Wrap: Kenyan police battle protesters over election upheaval

In our new wrap Friday, new violence erupted across Kenya over the repeat presidential election, and officials postponed attempts to finish the voting tomorrow. The death toll rose to six as police battled protesters who say the election is rigged and refused to take part. Also, Spain's national government declared direct rule over Catalonia after the regional parliament declared independence.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: New violence erupted across Kenya over the repeat presidential election. And officials postponed attempts to finish the voting tomorrow. Police battled protesters in several cities today, and, in some places, rival political gangs also fought.

    The death toll rose to six. Opponents of President Uhuru Kenyatta say the election is rigged, and they have refused to take part.

    The crisis over secession in Spain's Catalonia region came to a head today in its capital, Barcelona. The regional parliament declared independence, and the national government then declared direct rule over the region.

    Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News reports from Barcelona.

  • Jonathan Rugman:

    This morning, a crowd of several thousand gathered outside the Catalonian parliament, pressurizing M.P.s inside to vote for the independence they have been dreaming of and following their every move.

    Adding to that pressure, dozens of rebel mayors from across the region bring their staffs of office, but all too aware they could lose that authority when direct rule is imposed.

  • Patro Cini Canal:

    If we have to disobey, we will do it.

  • Jonathan Rugman:

    You could be arrested, couldn't you, sent to jail?

  • Patro Cini Canal:

    Yes, everybody can be arrested. They can't arrest our hearts.

  • Jonathan Rugman:

    In the chamber, opposition M.P.s tried to keep talking, but it didn't work. Three parties walked out, shouting, "Long live Catalonia" and "Long live Spain."

    The vote was 70 in favor of independence and just 10 against with two abstentions.

    Amid all the back-slapping here in the Catalonian parliament, the applause, the sense of history in the making. What these M.P.s have effectively done is take this region over a political precipice into the unknown.

    But look at these Catalonian mayors waving their ceremonial staffs with delight and shouting for a freedom which Spain's leaders and Spain's constitution had refused to bestow. As the news broke outside, a crowd of many thousands joined in the celebrations. If there still is a majority in favor of Spanish rule, it had stayed away.

    And it didn't take long for the Senate in Madrid to vote for direct rule and for the Spanish prime minister to move towards imposing it.

  • Mariano Rajoy:

    (Through translator) The aim is to insist on taking back legality, and therefore I want to tell Spaniards and all Catalans to be calm, that things will be fine and will be measured, as they have been up until now.

  • Jonathan Rugman:

    And these scenes of jubilation may not last for long. Several European governments have refused to recognize the independence voted for today. While the regional government here could be sacked, the talk is of peaceful resistance to Madrid. But nobody knows how long that peace will last.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.

    The State Department today banned doing business with more than three dozen Russian groups. They are linked to Russia's defense and intelligence agencies. The sanctions list was about a month overdue. It is required by a new law aimed at Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

    The United Nations sounded new warnings today about Rohingya Muslims who have fled Buddhist Myanmar. More than 600,000 have crossed to Bangladesh since August to escape assaults by Myanmar's military. Today, the U.N.'s Human Rights Organization said refugees tell of a — quote — "methodical pattern of gross human rights violations," including killings, torture and rape.

  • Louise Aubin:

    Many children are very traumatized. Women and older persons have been brutalized. And it is very important that we give them a sense of security, giving them a moment, a chance to make their lives more normal, and this is what you're offering in this country.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The death toll among the Rohingya is unknown, but the U.N. officials warned that it may be high.

    Back in this country, the Trump administration says that it played no role in a $300 million contract to restore electric power in Puerto Rico. The island's sole power utility agency struck the deal with the tiny company, Whitefish Energy. Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has — quote — "significant concerns" about the arrangement.

    Whitefish is based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown in Montana, but he said today that he had nothing to do with the deal.

    President Trump will approve plans to shrink the size of two national monuments, federally protected areas in Utah. That word today from Orrin Hatch, one of the state's U.S. senators. He says the president called him today with the news. The White House wouldn't confirm or deny it. The monuments are Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

    The latest trove of documents on President John F. Kennedy's assassination is out. The National Archives made 2,800 documents public last night, but President Trump held back others for further review, at the behest of the FBI and CIA. He tweeted today that he hopes to make nearly all of it public eventually.

    On Wall Street today, upbeat earnings and sales reports from Microsoft and Amazon fueled a rally in technology stocks. The Nasdaq rose 144 points, more than 2 percent, to top 6700. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 33 points, and the S&P 500 added 20.

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