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Europe briefing: Six stories to know about today

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Europe briefing: Six stories to know about today

Europe briefing: Six stories to know about today
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REUTERS
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1) FYROM referendum results

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has pledged to move forward with the ratification process to change the country’s name to the "Republic of North Macedonia," although his coalition acknowledged the referendum failed to secure the 50% turnout needed to make it legally valid.

Results from 97% of polling stations showed 91.4% approval for the deal, with 36% of registered voters casting ballots according to the Associated Press.

Zaev says he is determined to take FYROM into the European Union and NATO. After the polls closed, the prime minister called the referendum "a success for democracy."

2) Indonesia death toll soars above 800, disaster agency confirms

At least 844 people have been killed after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, the country's disaster agency confirmed Sunday.

They added that the affected area is much larger than previously thought.

There are also fears the death toll could rise to the "thousands" as contact is restored with remote areas where communications were downed, Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said.

Rescue teams on Sunday were struggling to reach communities in affected parts of the island.

3) Canada, US reach new trade deal

The US and Canada reach new trade deal on Sunday to keep alive a three-country trade alliance with Mexico and prevent a disruptive break-up. In a joint statement, the two nations said the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would "result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region".

4) Swedish court sentences Frenchman at centre of Nobel scandal to two years in prison for rape

A Swedish court has sentenced Jean-Claude Arnault to two years in prison for rape. Arnault is at the centre of a scandal that has rocked the body that awards the Nobel literature prize. The 72-year-old was found guilty of two counts of rape against a woman dating back to 2011, said the court on Monday. Arnault, who is a major cultural figure in Sweden, is married to a former member of the Swedish Academy — in charge of awarding the prize.

5) Separatists block traffic on Catalonia independence vote anniversary

Activists advocating for Catalonia’s secession from Spain blocked major highways, train lines and avenues across the northeastern region. In Girona, north of Barcelona, hundreds of activists occupied the high-speed railway tracks. Regional police tried to stop more protesters from entering the area of the station. Local media also reported road blockages on the AP-7 highway, the main artery along eastern Catalonia leading to the French border, and in central streets of the cities of Lleida and Barcelona, the regional capital. Six people were arrested on Saturday as pro-independence protesters clashed with riot police.

6) Nobel prize for medicine awarded for cancer research

James Allison and Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discovering new approaches to fight cancer.

"Allison and Honjo showed how different strategies for inhibiting the brakes on the immune system can be used in the treatment of cancer," the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute said, on awarding the prize of nine million Swedish crowns (€870,467).

Both laureates studied proteins that prevent the body and its main immune cells, known as T-cells, from attacking tumour cells effectively.

This is how we covered key developments this morning: