• Reuters

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Spain’s central government said on Thursday it would suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule after the region’s leader threatened to go ahead with a formal declaration of independence if Madrid refused to hold talks.

In an act unprecedented since Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970s, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would hold a special Cabinet meeting on Saturday that could trigger the move. The Socialist opposition said it backed the government but suggested the measures should be limited in scope and time.

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