EL PAIS, EL MUNDO, EL PERIODICO (Spain)

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Two forest fires have been raging in the northern region of Catalonia, in northeast Spain, since Sunday afternoon, El Pais reports. The first fire started around 1 p.m., in the region of La Jonquera, close to the French border -- the second, six hours later, in the Portbou coastal town. The flames, driven by the wind, spread quickly to the south. So far, according to the Catalan government, the fires, which affect an area of 13,000 hectares, have claimed four victims, all of which are French, and injured 24 others.

According to El Mundo, Felip Puig, the Catalonian Interior Minister said that the two fires were caused by human hand, "most certainly by a flicked cigarette." Later on Sunday, M. Puig declared that the fire was "totally out of control" (see for yourself in video below). He added that the fires were the most serious to have occurred in the area since 1986, El Pais reports.

According to local daily El Periodico, over 1,000 residents were forced to leave their homes and spend the night at points of shelter in the region. The emergency service of Catalonia has recommended the population to avoid areas where smoke and ash are present, while ashes have already reached the city of Barcelona, where the fire can be smelled.

Spanish news agency EFE reported that the central government will offer Catalonia the necessary means to put out the fires.

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Geopolitics

Taliban Redux, Cleaned-Up Image Can't Mask Their Cruel Reality

Twenty years later the Islamist group is back in power in Afghanistan, but trying this time to win international support. Now that several months have passed, experts on the ground can offer a clear assessment if the group has genuinely transformed on such issues as women's rights and free speech.

The Taliban have now been in power for almost five months

Atal Ahmadzai and Faten Ghosn

The international community is closely monitoring the Taliban, after the group re-seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

There is legitimate reason for concern. The Taliban are again ruling through fear and draconian rules.

The Taliban’s last regime, in the mid-1990s, was marked by human rights violations, including massacres, mass detentions and rape. The regime collapsed on Nov. 14, 2001, shortly after the U.S. launched its global war on terrorism.

Even after the Taliban officially fell from power, their subsequent two decades of insurgency produced various gross human rights violations, an encompassing term under international human rights law.

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