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The scene tonight in Barcelona. Photo: Clara Margais/Getty Images

Spain’s supreme court today sentenced 9 Catalan politicians to between 9 and 13 years for their roles in an unauthorized 2017 independence referendum.

The latest: Protestors outraged by the severe sentences for sedition and misuse of public funds filled the streets in cities across the semi-autonomous region and flooded into Barcelona’s airport, causing more than 100 flight cancellations.

  • The trial of 12 separatist leaders, 3 of whom were convicted today of lesser charges, captivated Spain. The verdict comes ahead of a general election next month — the 4th in 4 years.

What’s next: Asked where the independence movement goes from here, Catalonia’s secretary for foreign affairs, Mireia Borrell Porta, says the Catalan government continues to push for dialogue with Madrid, but “right now there’s no one at the other side of the table.”

  • Pedro Sánchez, the center-left prime minister, has been “unable and unwilling to solve this issue," she says. He's distanced himself from the separatists since they helped him gain power.
  • “I think the verdict has shown that Spain is really not a well-functioning democracy,” she argues.

Asked why what she calls a clear "violation of fundamental rights" hasn’t generated backlash from countries across Europe, she says:

“The European Union is a club of states and this is realpolitik. There’s been a lot of pressure from the Spanish government for leaders of other countries to treat this as an internal issue.”

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.