News Daily: Monarch Airlines closure and Catalonia vote

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Hello. Here's your morning briefing:

Monarch Airlines closes

The government is promising "the country's biggest ever peacetime repatriation" as it co-ordinates efforts to bring home 110,000 customers currently overseas following the collapse of Monarch Airlines. Monarch, the UK's fifth largest airline, has ceased trading and all flights have been cancelled. This follows the failure of last-ditch talks with the Civil Aviation Authority about renewing its licence to sell package holidays.

The company employs 2,500 people and carried 6.3 million passengers last year from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford and Manchester airports. It reported a loss of £291m in the year to last October. "We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home," said Andrew Haines, chairman of the CAA, which the government has asked to charter 30 planes to bring people back.

Read the latest developments on our live page.

Catalonia 'has won right to statehood'

The leader of Catalonia has declared that the Spanish region deserves the right to become an independent state following Sunday's unofficial referendum, marred by large-scale violence. Of those who took part in polling, 90% backed independence, it's been announced, on a 42.3% turnout. Spain's government sent in riot police, but this failed to stop the referendum, which it has declared illegal. Some 800 people were injured in clashes. In a televised address, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont refused to back down, urging the European Union to take notice of the result. "With this day of hope and suffering," he said, "the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic."

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Hammond promises £300m for rail links

It's Chancellor Philip Hammond's turn to speak at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester later. He will promise £300m extra to improve so-called Northern Powerhouse Rail - to ensure the HS2 route is linked to faster trains between Liverpool and Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and York. He will also allocate £100m for 33 road schemes, this money coming from existing budgets. And Mr Hammond will launch a defence of free-market economics in the face of what he calls an "assault" by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The computers being trained to beat you in an argument

By Prof Chris Reed, University of Dundee

What if AI were able to handle the most human of tasks - navigating the minefield of subtle nuance, rhetoric and even emotions to take us on in an argument? It is a possibility that could help humans make better decisions and one which growing numbers of researchers are working on.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Pictures of the violence surrounding the unofficial independence referendum in Catalonia dominate many front pages. The Times says Spain is being "torn apart" over the issue, while the Daily Telegraph reports that it is causing a "crisis" within the European Union. Meanwhile, as the Conservative Party conference takes place, Metro tells its readers that several senior Tory figures are questioning whether Theresa May can stay as leader, and prime minister. "What a time to be squabbling" is the Daily Mail's headline, as it says Mrs May has been told to rein in Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has made some recent interventions over Brexit. But "May's winning Brexit battle", according to the Daily Express.

Daily digest

Marseille attack Two women stabbed to death at train station

Gridiron defiance NFL players continue anti-Trump anthem protests

'The enormity' Archbishop of Canterbury hopes not to preside over Queen's funeral

Marilyn Manson Singer struck by stage scenery during New York concert

If you watch one thing today

The country where the tattoo is taboo

If you listen to one thing today

The first jazz poet

If you read one thing today

Image copyright Sabrinna Valisce

Ex-prostitute changes her mind over the sex industry

Today's lookahead

10:00 American Football players from the NFL attend an event in the Palace of Westminster on "How sports stars can be used for social good".

10:30 The winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is announced.

On this day

1968 Sheila Thorns from Birmingham undergoes a Caesarean section during which six children - four boys and two girls - are delivered. It is hailed as the first recorded case of live sextuplets in Britain.

From elsewhere

My grandmother, the Nazis and the shadow of the Olympics (New Yorker)

My brilliant and troubled friend Lou Reed (Guardian)

We moved our castle 400 yards, brick-by-brick, for a better view (Daily Telegraph)

Debrett's advice on email etiquette (Daily Mail)

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