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As separatists in Catalonia jockeyed Friday to elude court rulings and find ways to deliver on their promise to declare independence, business giants hit back with plans to relocate their headquarters elsewhere in Spain amid the increasing political uncertainty.

Caixabank, Spain's third lender in global assets, said Friday that it was moving from Barcelona to the eastern city of Valencia, "given the current situation in Catalonia." It said it wants to remain in the eurozone and under the supervision of the European Central Bank — two things that would not happen if Catalonia did manage to secede.

The region's separatist government has vowed to use a pro-independence victory in a disputed referendum last weekend to go ahead with secession, while calling for Spain's central government to accept a dialogue.

But the government of Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected any negotiations unless the separatists drop their secession bid. Rajoy urged Puigdemont to cancel plans for declaring independence in order to avoid "greater evils."

"In order to dialogue, you must stay within the legal framework," Spanish cabinet spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters Friday, blaming the secessionists for breaking Spain's constitutional order.

"Coexistence is broken" in Catalonia, he said, warning Catalans that a parliamentary declaration of independence "is not enough" and that the international community needs to recognize independent nations.



Uber lawyers are in a London courtroom trying to overturn a ruling that its drivers are employees of the ride-hailing service — not independent contractors.

Britain's employment tribunal decided earlier this year that two drivers who brought a claim against the company were Uber employees, entitling them to paid time off and a guaranteed minimum wage.

Uber is appealing, arguing that drivers would lose the "personal flexibility they value" as a result of the decision.

Uber attorney Dinah Rose told the tribunal the company is incorrectly lumped together with "a variety of other platforms and businesses" amid debate over the so-called gig economy.

She says Uber has the same business model as taxi firms that use self-employed drivers but technology allows it to do so on a "much larger scale."



Foxconn Technology Group could appeal lawsuits directly to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court, skipping the state appeals court, under changes to a $3 billion incentive package the Legislature's budget-writing committee approved Tuesday.

The unprecedented change to the usual judicial process drew criticism from Democrats, who also blasted the $3 billion incentives as a corporate welfare giveaway. But they didn't have the votes needed to stop the proposal.

The Republican-controlled committee approved the bill on a party line 12-4 vote. The state Senate planned to vote on it Sept. 12, with the Assembly expected to quickly follow. Both are under GOP control.

The Assembly approved it last month, but will have to vote again since the committee changed the measure which amounts to the largest state tax break to a foreign corporation in U.S. history. It must pass both houses of the Legislature in the same form before going to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Taiwan-based Foxconn signed a deal with Wisconsin to invest up to $10 billion in the state on a massive flat-screen manufacturing campus that could employ up to 13,000 people. The plant is to be built in southeastern Wisconsin and be open as soon as 2020, although Foxconn has not identified its exact location yet.

"This is probably the biggest thing to happen to Wisconsin since the cow," Republican budget committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren said Tuesday.

Proponents say the plant offers a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the state, while critics say the state is giving away too much with the $3 billion incentive package. The bill also waives environmental regulations that will allow Foxconn to build in wetland and waterways and construct its 20-million-square-foot campus without first doing an environmental impact statement.


A South Korean court sentenced the billionaire chief of Samsung to five years in prison for crimes that helped topple the country’s president, a stunning downfall that could freeze up decision making at a global electronics powerhouse long run like a monarchy.

The Seoul Central District Court said Friday that Lee Jae-yong, 49, was guilty of offering bribes to Park Geun-hye when she was South Korea’s president, and to Park’s close friend, to get government support for efforts to cement his control over the Samsung empire. The revelations that led to Lee’s arrest in February fed public outrage which contributed to Park’s removal.

A panel of three judges also found Lee guilty of embezzling Samsung funds, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury. Prosecutors had sought a 12-year prison term.

The court said Lee and Samsung executives who advised him caused “a big negative effect” to South Korean society and its economy.

“The essence of the case is unethical collusion between political power and capital,” the court said in a statement. It led the public to fundamentally question the public nature of the president’s work and to have “mistrust in the morality of the Samsung group,” it said.

The families who control South Korea’s big conglomerates, known as chaebol, were lionized a generation ago for helping to turn South Korea into a manufacturing powerhouse put public tolerance for double standards that put them above the law has been rapidly diminishing.

Analysts said the verdict will not immediately have an impact on Samsung’s business operations, which are overseen by three chief executives. The company has successfully weathered past crises that include two recalls of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones prone to catch fire and Lee’s arrest. It is set to report its highest-ever earnings this year.

But long-term business decisions, such as finding future growth areas and identifying companies for acquisitions, may have to be put on hold.


A Moscow court postponed a hearing Tuesday in the case of a flight attendant who is suing Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot. She says she was taken off sought-after long-haul international flights because of her looks.

Moscow City Court said that the hearing would now be held on Sept. 6 over Yevgeniya Magurina's claim that she has been sidelined in an apparent drive to make the cabin crew younger and more physically attractive.

Aeroflot has denied her claims.

Magurina submitted pay slips showing that she stopped receiving bonus pay, roughly 20 percent of her salary, after she asked for a larger-sized uniform, and that she was no longer assigned the role of senior steward.

Magurina is seeking $8,500 in damages and wants the court to rule that the company's regulations on clothing sizes are discriminatory.



The Court of Arbitration for Sport has cleared former 2018-2022 World Cup bids inspector Harold Mayne-Nicholls to return to football duty.

CAS says its panel cut the Chilean official's three-year ban by FIFA to two years on appeal for a conflict of interest in seeking unpaid intern work in Qatar for relatives.

Mayne-Nicholls's ban has expired because it started on July 3, 2015.

The court overturned a charge of unethically accepting benefits, saying two years is the "appropriate and proportionate penalty."

In 2010, FIFA appointed Mayne-Nicholls, then president of Chile's soccer federation, to lead a six-member team evaluating the nine World Cup bid candidates. Qatar won the 2022 contest.

Mayne-Nicholls was a potential FIFA presidential election contender when his ethics case was opened in 2014.



The battle over now-famous selfie photographs taken by a macaque monkey will head back to federal court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco on Wednesday will hear arguments on whether an animal can own the copyright to a photograph. The proceedings will be broadcast online .

A federal judge last year ruled that the monkey cannot be declared the photos’ copyright owner, saying that while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.

The lawsuit filed in 2015 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sought a court order allowing PETA to administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which it identified as Naruto, a free-living crested macaque from Indonesia.

PETA says Naruto has been accustomed to cameras throughout his life and took the selfies when he saw himself in the reflection of the lens. The animal rights organizations says the monkey drew the connection between pressing the shutter release and the change in his reflection, and made different facial expressions while pressing the shutter release.

The photos of the monkey of a toothy grin were taken in 2011 in Sulawesi, Indonesia with an unattended camera owned by British nature photographer David Slater.

Slater says the British copyright obtained for the photos by his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., should be honored worldwide.


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