October 19, 2017 Last Updated 7:23 am

Slow boil Catalan crisis to heat up this weekend; Rodale sale a local story in Lehigh Valley

Morning Brief: Spain’s prime minister may be off to a EU summit today, but on Saturday the Spanish parliament is expected to certify an end to Catalunya’s regional autonomy, spurring the Catalan parliament to formerly vote for independence

The Spanish crisis continues on, with today supposedly the deadline given to the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, to clarify whether he has, indeed, declared Catalunya independent. The threat from the prime minister, Mariana Rajoy, was that he would invoke Article 155 of the constitution, which allows for the suspension of home rule for the region.

But Puigdemont has not responded today, and the spokesman for Rajoy has today said any action in the Spanish parliament in regards to Article 155 will not take place until Saturday.

The Washington Post, William Booth:

Spain threatens to take over Catalonia’s government as constitutional crisis looms

Spain’s central government announced Thursday it would quickly move to take control of the autonomous Catalonia and restore “constitutional order” after the region’s president refused to back away from a push for independence. Facing a deadline imposed by Spain’s central government to answer the question whether Catalonia was declaring independence or not, the regional president replied Thursday that Madrid should stop threatening to seize control of the autonomous region but instead agree to dialogue.

Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont answered Spain’s demand for clarity by sending a second letter to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, stating that Catalonia’s suspension of its declaration of independence remains in force. But Puigdemont then added a threat of his own: if Madrid did not agree to talks, and continued its “repression” of the region, then the Catalan parliament would meet to vote on a formal declaration of independence.

BBC, Katya Adler:

Catalonia crisis: A slow, dangerous game of political chess

So what’s actually going to happen now?

Prime Minister Rajoy has called an emergency cabinet meeting this Saturday to decide whether to proceed with triggering Article 155 and if so, which precise measures they plan to take and in what order. They can start gently – removing the Catalan government’s powers to pay public sector workers, for example. They could be more severe, such as disbanding the regional police and security forces or there is always the nuclear option of dissolving the Catalan government and parliament; giving back the reins of power to the central government in Madrid…

…Catalonia is not officially on the discussion agenda at this week’s EU summit but around the water coolers, along corridors and over coffee there is sure to be heated debate.

Move over Brexit. Considering the deadlock in negotiations with the UK, Catalonia is the EU’s new hot topic du jour.



In case you missed it, Hearst acknowledged yesterday that the reports of its acquisition of Rodale were true, and the transaction is expected to be completed by early next year (see announcement here).

The move is seen as a sign of just how much the downturn in the fortunes of the magazine industry has hurt small to medium sized publishers. For me, it is confirmation of the trend I said in 2010 we would see: that while the leading print magazines would survive, those with less dominant positions in their categories would go away. What is true of individual titles is proving true for whole companies.

Of course, while the industry will see this story as part of the publishing business as a whole, which for the most part is centered in NYC, for Pennsylvania, the sale of Rodale is very much a local story.

The Morning Call, Kayla Dwyer:

With sale to Hearst, a look at Rodale’s Lehigh Valley impact and legacy

The Rodale family has long-established and widely cast roots in the Lehigh Valley — beyond the company’s portfolio of lifestyle and fitness publications such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, and Bicycling and Prevention magazines.

Here are some of the ways Rodale contributes to the economic health of the region, and some of the ways it’s helped shape the Valley over the decades:

As of last year, the company employed about 450 people in the Lehigh Valley. Today’s total employment isn’t clear since there have been rounds of job reductions since then.



Photo: Aftermath Of The Catalonian Independence Referendum by Sasha Popovic, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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