September 22, 2017 Last Updated 8:47 am

Judge releases Catalan officials, but tensions rise as dockworkers refuse to aid Spanish police; iPhone 8 sales appear sluggish

Morning Brief: Hurricane Maria moved on from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, to begin battering Turks and Caicos, but forecasts are for the storm to move north and avoid a direct hit of the East Coast of the US

Tension in Barcelona may have been lessened today when a judge released Catalan officials arrested for cooperating in efforts to support the independence referendum, still scheduled for October 1, ten days away. The arrest of the official led to two days of mass demonstrations against the Spanish government, and concern among Spain’s European counterparts that the country was moving towards conflict and authoritarian rule.

The Catalan officials, while free to go, have been charged various crimes, while the Public Prosecutor’s Office said it plans to charge Catalan government itself with sedition.

In other developments, Dockworkers in Barcelona voted to stop offloading supplies from ships in city docks used by the Spanish police. The ships will be allowed to dock — but workers, known as stevedores, will not unload supplies, calling the arriving ships “repression ships.”

Catalan News, ACN:

All Catalan officials arrested over referendum released with charges

All Catalan officials arrested in a major anti-referendum operation were released on Friday. The judge charged them with misappropriation of funds, breach of official duty and disobedience; they will also have to attend the court once per week to make sure they don’t collaborate in the organization of the independence referendum to be held on October 1.

In total, 15 people were arrested in the police operation on Wednesday. On Friday morning, six of them who were still being held in custody started to appear in court.

La Vanguardia, Jose Maria Brunet:

The Prosecutor’s Office will present today a complaint for sedition by the Barcelona concentrations

The Public Prosecutor’s Office will present a complaint for sedition offenses before the National High Court today . The initiative will allow the Audiencia to investigate all the facts regarding the concentrations and demonstrations that have occurred after the start of the Aquarium operation , which led to the arrest of 14 Generalitat posts, including Josep Maria Jové , number two of the vice president of the Govern, Oriol Junqueras .

The denunciation is not going to be directed against specific people, but will consider that in the streets of Barcelona have occurred facts constitutive of the crime of sedition and that should be acted against those who are guilty of the same.



Hurricane Maria is today battering Turks and Caicos, while conditions in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic begin to improve.

Current forecasts have Maria staying off the US coast, though its path could change over the weekend.

Meanwhile, somehow, Puerto Rico’s newspaper is online and publishing. A search of the site and other news sources could not determine how they are managing this, but it is not surprising: newspaper people work in the worse of conditions, often with horrible corporate bosses, but work they do, they do not stop due to hurricanes.

I worked in the Bay Area at the time of the Loma Prieta earthquake, and witnessed how the entire newspaper staff came together to make sure the newspaper continued to cover the community. I still remember, though, how at least one manager suggested that we all should ignore the tragedy and go out and sell more advertising. I was almost fired that first day after the quake for suggesting that we should indeed go out to our advertisers, but not to sell, but to see how they were doing, and sit down and talk to them (everyone wants to tell their story after a quake).


One suspects that there is no one at Apple these days that has a good feeling for how the rest of the world views it. So insular has the company become that it would have made such a silly, rookie error: launching a new iPhone while at the same time launching a second, more desirable one later. The result of this was so predictable: sales of the iPhone 8 appear to be sluggish as many buyers choose to wait to see the iPhone X.

Apple stock opened sharply lower on early reports of a lack of long lines as the iPhone 8 officially went on sale. But investors jumped in to grab shares at a discount, driving the price of Apple stock nearly back up to its opening price. Everyone likes a bargain after all, except iPhone owners.

The Guardian, Samuel Gibbs:

iPhone 8: small queues and muted reaction lead to questions over demand

As the iPhone 8 goes on sale, questions remain over the demand for Apple’s latest offering with smaller crowds outside stores and muted customer reaction.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, two of the three new iPhones in Apple’s 2017 lineup, went on sale around the world, starting in Australia where hundreds of people usually gather outside Apple’s Sydney city store for previous launches. But instead of queues winding down the street there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday.

NY Post, Reuters:

No one cares about the iPhone 8

Mentions of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X on popular Chinese social media platform Weibo, an indicator of consumer interest, were less than levels seen before the previous two launches.

Poor reviews of the iPhone 8, which comes 10 years after Apple released the first version of the revolutionary device, drove down shares of the company to near-two-month lows of $152.75 on Thursday, as investors worried that pre-orders for the device had come in well below previous launches.

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