Death toll due to heavy rains in Chennai at 8

Death toll due to heavy rains in Chennai at 8

Death toll due to heavy rains in Chennai at 8

Brussels prosecutors said in the statement that they and federal prosecutors are jointly examining the arrest warrants from Spain "to start the judicial proceedings as soon as possible and in conformity with the law".

Also in the interview he said that he was "willing to be a candidate" in the regional elections on December 21 and added that he could campaign from overseas.

"It's the moment for all democrats to unite".

If the separatist leader and his former collaborators refused to be extradited to Spain, as media reports predict, an extradition procedure would be initiated.

Mr Puigdemont has said he would be willing to co-operate with the Belgian judiciary but that he has lost confidence in Spanish justice, which he claimed has become politicised. "When you once bragged about flouting the law, you can not now be indignant when a judge opens an investigation into your acts".

While Mr Puigdemont and others flew to Belgium, eight members of his government stayed in Spain. "This is time to build bridges, not raise frontiers".

Puigdemont and some of his former ministers turned up in Brussels earlier this week after Spain's state prosecutor announced he would seek charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds against them.

Catalonia's ousted leader says he's ready to cooperate with Belgian authorities after Spain issued a European warrant for his arrest, though he isn't giving any clues about his whereabouts.

He said that, unlike a normal global extradition, "the executive power does not play any role in the EAW procedure".

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It was as yet unknown why their hearings were adjourned by the court, which deals with cases involving lawmakers. The high court, known as the the Audiencia Nacional, had ordered Puigdemont and the 13 other ministers to appear.

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Mr Puigdemont's Belgian lawyer was not available for comment on the arrest warrant but has said his client would fight extradition to Spain without requesting political asylum.

But the authorities said any appeals process could last for up to three months.

"We will study it, and put it in the hands of an investigating judge", prosecutors' spokesman Eric Van Der Sijpt told The Associated Press. "That could be tomorrow, the day after or even Monday... we are not in any hurry". On Thursday the 54-year-old ignored a summons to appear before the same judge in Madrid. "For Catalonia, for the freedom of political prisoners and the Republic", he wrote, endorsing calls for pro-secession political parties to unite in a coalition for the forthcoming poll.

One of them, Republican Left's president, Oriol Junqueras, is the region's former vice president.

Told of Puigdemont's unity call, the ERC's deputy leader, Marta Rovira, responded simply: "We must win (the elections) and that is what we will do".

In protest at the jailings, Catalan civic groups Asamblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural - whose leaders were imprisoned last month on sedition charges - called for a general strike on November 8 and a mass demonstration on November 11.

Embroiled in Spain's gravest political crisis since the return of democracy in the late 1970s, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the election when he took control of Catalonia in response to last week's declaration of independence by its parliament.

The 7.5 million people of Catalonia, which until this past week had considerable autonomy, are fiercely proud of their language and culture but are also deeply divided about the push for independence. The Basque Country region has its own separatist movement.

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